Wednesday, April 23, 2008

HSGee whiz, my tubes are clear!

I got my HSG done last week. Everything looked good, thank God. Here goes....

I arrived at the hospital early as I was told with all of my proper paperwork. I was more nervous than I anticipated, not so much that I would have something wrong with me but that it would hurt. When I scheduled my appointment, the nurse explained that I would be brought in right away because I was the first HSG of the day. I waited for a while in my chair right next to the check-in counter.

Reading a magazine kept me busy for a bit but then I was just pretending to read. I was too nervous to focus. People-watching was an easier, less mentally challenging task. I wondered why each person was there and what they were getting x-rayed. Nobody seemed a logical choice to fall into my infertility category either because of their age or the fact that they were wearing a huge cast. Hmmm...another lonely IF adventure.

Until I spied a couple approaching the counter. I couldn't help but check them out. Are you infertile, too? How long have you been trying? Are you the only infertile person you know of? Do you cry as much as I do? Could we hold hands? (OK, maybe the last question would be awkward.) Sure enough, the woman explained to the receptionist behind the counter that she was here for her HSG! I'm not alone. I'm sitting 3 feet from another infertile couple!

I pretended to keep reading but I couldn't help but fixate on the couple now seated just a few seats away from me. He had his arm around her and they were reading a magazine together.

My watch showed that I had been waiting for 40 minutes. When the hell was I going to be taken back? Twenty seven students and one clock-watching principal were waiting on me. I approached the counter and asked if I would be seen soon and explained that my HSG was scheduled for 12:30. I was told that I would be taken back shortly.

"Are you nervous?" a voice urgently asked. It was the other woman. I told her that yes, I definitely was. She told me how anxious she was and how she was afraid it would hurt. We shared our concerns, validated each other's feelings and I offered her a kid's sticker from a roll on the counter. Hey, if some 10 year old gets a sticker for x-raying a broken arm, we absolutely deserve one for having a catheter shove dye through our fallopian tubes. I took two.

I was eventually called back for my procedure. The woman and I said goodbye and I assured that if she was here when I came out, I would let her know what it was like. The RE prepped me by explaining everything that would happen and talked me through the procedure as he did it. It hurt but it was a manageable amount of pain. There were 3 people in the room for the event which seemed like a lot of people to be hanging out with my vagina.

I was struck by how close the RE had to get to my vagina. He really had to lean in there to make sure the catheter and everything was placed correctly. My knees were bent about halfway and resting on the table. When I looked down at him, his head was so close to my knees. He looked like he was going to crawl in! Nobody but my husband has had their face that close to my crotch in a very long time. That was a little embarrassing, but the doctor was extremely professional. Also, when the x-ray tech was doing all of his stuff getting the equipment centered on my abdomen and all that, the RE had to hang out "down there" to make sure that everything stayed where it should. That was awkward, too...y'know, on account of my nudity from the waist down. I'm not gonna lie. He spent a lot of time down there for barely knowing me.

Everything looked good, I thanked the doctor and headed out. As I stepped through the doorway, the couple was sitting in the hallway to my right. The woman had her head in her hands and when I walked out she looked up at me expectantly. You know how, on TV and in the movies, when the doctor is in the room working on somebody, and the person's family is in the waiting room, and then the doctor comes out and they all look up expectantly, waiting for an answer that will offer some relief? You know the face they make when they see the doctor coming to talk to them? That's the face she was making. I swear it. Now I am not so naive or self-centered to think that she was that concerned about my personal fertility issues. I realize that her primary concern was the fact that she had to get her HSG done right after me. But it felt good nonetheless. It felt good to know she cared, even if it wasn't really towards me so much.

I assured her that it wasn't that bad and that the discomfort was tolerable. I wished her and her husband luck and headed back to work. As the door of the hospital closed behind me, I felt a pang of regret that I hadn't offered her my e-mail address, just in case she doesn't have anybody else to talk to who's going through this crazy adventure called infertility.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


My dog and I went out in the backyard to play when I got home from work today. My dog was happy, the sun was warm on my face, I felt good. From two doors down, my 3rd grade neighbor began singing a Dora the Explorer song to her two year old little sister as she pushed her on the swing. She sang it over and over as the toddler squealed in delight. Can your uterus actually ache? Because I think it did. Listening to the two of them was so bittersweet.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Day of Hope

March 21st- the best infertility day I’ve had yet…the day I went to my first RE appointment. I opted to go by myself. My husband doesn’t get tons of days off and I didn’t want him to use one on this visit when I knew I might need him with me for future appointments.

I didn’t realize how nervous I really was until I was waiting in the room for the doctor. My legs started jiggling and just wouldn’t stop. I read every poster in the room at least twice. I was practically rocking in my chair. A nurse popped her head in to say the doctor would be a little longer because someone just came in for an ultrasound. I asked her if I could get a magazine to distract myself. It turns out reading month old entertainment gossip isn’t all that distracting.

When the RE arrived, he reviewed all of my paperwork, examined my charts, explained the basics of both fertility and infertility and made a tentative plan with me right there on the spot. Then, he did my first ultrasound and before I left I had bloodwork done. I accomplished more in one hour then I had in the previous 8 months.

The ultrasound was interesting. Having what amounts to a sex toy with a condom on it put inside you by someone you’ve known for 45 minutes is an experience. He looked at my left ovary and said, “There’s a cyst. It looks like you very well may be ovulating.” He looked at my right ovary and said, “There are more cysts.”…….pause…….in my mind, the pause means I think he thinks polycystic ovarian syndrome.

“And…?” I ask. He mentioned the possibility of PCOS and said we’d talk more in his office. Then he was quiet again.

There’s such power in silence. So many muted words rushing through the air. Oh nos! were zipping back and forth across the room while the What ifs? circled lazily above my head. I stared at a ceiling tile as they all came to rest on the sheet draped across my legs.

We went back to the office and the doctor said that for now PCOS was probable and we’d be more certain when all my lab work was back. And, you know what? It was oddly comforting to know that something was wrong, even if it was just probable. Something with a name, that other women also dealt with and that had treatment options. Somehow it was reassuring. It had crossed my mind a few times in the prior weeks that the label (or non-label) of unexplained infertility made me uncomfortable. I'd had visions of a doctor shrugging his shoulders apologetically and announcing that he didn't know what the hell was wrong with me. That diagnosis wasn't tangible enough for me. PCOS felt more certain...something my inner control freak could address and make plans for.

As I left, the doctor told me I no longer had to temp. For a moment, I felt panic. No temping? How will I know if I ovulate? He reassured me that now it was his job to monitor and worry about that, and then he said,

"Every morning when you take your temperature, it's a reminder that your body is not doing what it should be. You start your day off with that message. You don't have to put yourself through that anymore." His tone was gentle, yet matter of fact. I loved him. A stranger, a man, understood what it was like to be in my shoes.

As I went to leave the office, I stopped at a bulletin board. Every possible inch of it was covered in birth announcements. Beautiful, tiny babies created with the help of the very office I was standing in. I was flooded with hope. Tears filled my eyes and I forced myself to walk away before I embarrassed myself by being that girl bawling in the hallway.

I was, and continue to be, overwhelmed that people take on the job of reproductive endocrinologist. This includes the nurses and office staff. I am in awe of them. I try to imagine being in their shoes, giving the news to a hopeful couple that a procedure has failed, taking the call from a pregnant woman who has begun bleeding, holding the hand of a woman trying again after yet another miscarriage. I bear the weight of only my own story while they shoulder the burden of so many women's heartbreaking journeys.

Without a doubt, they are doing God's work.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'll take the antibiotics and a minor breakdown

Conclusions up to this point:

1. I refuse to go on anymore Valentine's Day dates with my gynecologist because he throws around dirty words like infertility on the most romantic day of the year.

2. I feel broken...most of the time.

3. I feel very alone...sometimes. Even when surrounded by the love and support of family and friends, I sometimes just feel so alone in this.

Moving on...
March 8th~ I blindsided my family doctor today. Looking back, it's a little funny. I was sick and I mean sick. It was just a sinus infection but it was one of those ones where you're bargaining with God....if you make me feel a little better, I'll be nicer to people who annoy me, if you bring me any relief at all, I will be less sarcastic and even try to swear less (that's right, I felt so bad I was willing to give up the swearing). On the way to my appointment, I decided that I would also ask my doctor if he could refer me to a counselor. I'd been having a hard time dealing with my problems trying to conceive, some issues at work and just feeling unhappy in general. I knew that when I went to ask him, I was probably going to get a little teary.

So, I'm in with the doctor, he's checking me out and diagnosing my sinus infection. He casually asks, "How are things going with trying to get pregnant?" and I proceed to lose my sh*t. I wasn't teary, I went straight to the ugly cry...y'know the one where your whole face gets red and puffy, tears are streaming down your cheeks, and you can't talk clearly. I was even making those little, pathetic, hiccup-type noises. Well, my poor, sweet doctor looked like he wanted to die. He's apologizing and trying to console me while I'm telling him that it's okay because I was going to cry today anyway and that it's not his fault. The whole situation was so ridiculous that I can't even write about it now without giggling. Ahh, the joys of infertility.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I just got my first comments to my blog. And after a long, crappy infertility day, they made me cry. It overwhelmed me to see that, not only did people bother to read my post, but they even took time to write me a supportive comment. Thanks. It means a lot.

Olly Olly Oxen Free!

Mid-March~ second batch of progesterone is complete.... where are you, period? Hello? Can you hear me? Are you anywhere in the vicinity? This may be a good spot to insert a visual of me doubled over trying to talk up into my nanny hoo hoo...strictly for comedic purposes. Come out, come out, where ever you are, my monthly (actually not so much) friend! I've got 50 milligrams of Clomid waiting on you.

And nothing. No period. And it scared the crap out of me. I'm so broken that the medicine to fix me won't work?? And how the hell am I supposed to start the Clomid?

The 10% deep-down-keep-it-to-myself part of my brain that was worried something might be wrong with my body grew to inhabit about 40% of my brain. I finally asked myself the scary question. Is it time to call the reproductive endocrinologist?

To consider an RE is to admit there is a problem with my inner workings. Generally, women see an RE after a year of trying to conceive or if there's a problem before the one year mark. Was I ready to acknowledge the elephant standing in my living room? The elephant that hadn't ovulated since October?

With a deep sigh, I picked up the phone.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Clomid, will you be my Valentine?

I spent Valentine's Day with my gynecologist. If I can be completely honest, it wasn't as romantic a holiday as I was hoping for (I blame it on the speculum sitting on the counter beside me). My gyno had previously hoped the first batch of progesterone would get me right on track and then it would be clear sailing. But I was back in the office with my crappy chart on Valentine's. To celebrate, my doc had also brought my crappy bloodwork results. I hadn't ovulated.

The gyno was still positive. I'd take the progesterone again to start a new cycle, I'd start Clomid, we'd throw in some more bloodwork. Honestly, 90% of my brain was thinking, "I'm just having issues from being on the pill so long." The other 10%, the deep-down-keep-it-to-myself part, was starting to freak out. What if it's a real problem? What if it's not just from coming off the pill?

We wrapped up the appointment with a solid plan and I headed up to the front desk with my check out paper from the doctor in hand. I stopped dead in my tracks about halfway there. Under "Reason for Visit", my doctor had checked off "Infertility".

It actually took my breath I was punched in the stomach. One little check in a teeny tiny box stopped my world on its axis for just a moment. Really??!! You're already calling it infertility?? We're already calling it infertility?? I'm not ready to call it that.

I got in my car and just sat there, the word infertile bouncing around in the empty silence. And then, I got angry at my gynecologist. Like I wanted to go back in that office and, in front of his patients, yell at him. The only words I could come up with were f*ck you with some c'mons and seriouslys thrown in. I decided that would not be a very wise choice. Instead I went home, feeling angry and sad about a little check in a teeny tiny box.

Saturday, April 12, 2008 I am

Where I never really thought I'd be....creating a blog about trying to make a baby. It's actually surprising for two reasons. One, I am technologically impaired so I never even thought about creating a blog. Two, the husband and I are having a hard time creating a kid. I know, right? It's shocking. I never thought I'd be in this position.

This position started creeping up just this past holiday when I realized it had been a while since I had a period. I had gone off of the pill in July and was just "seeing what would happen". No charting, no temping, just seeing what would happen. A laissez-faire attitude seemed like the best way to approach this whole thing. So I got 2 periods, maybe the cycles were a little long but I wasn't concerned because I had just come off the pill. Things weren't necessarily supposed to just go right back to normal. But then right around the hecticness of getting ready for Christmas, it hit me that I hadn't had a period lately. When was the last one? Not in the past couple weeks...rewind...not at all in December...rewind...ummm, it was in the beginning of November. Hmmmmm.

The holidays wrap up, still nothing. I make an appointment with the gyno, he gives me the magic pills. Progesterone works and the 85 day cycle finally comes to a close. I bought the babymaking bible, Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

I took charge!...I studied my bible, I bought my basal body temp thermometer, I joined Fertility Friend and started charting, I bought my Mucinex/green tea/Evening Primrose Oil. And nothing. My body didn't seem to do any of the stuff that the bible said it would do because I am a beautiful, fertile woman blessed with the ability to create a child. Nope. Nothing. Damnit.