Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Only Love Can Do That!

In light of recent events, I thought it appropriate to share a quote and a "what I'm loving" post!

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
Dr. Martin Luther King

What I'm loving... 

Families melding together.

A house with lights.

A German Christmas fest that would make my Gpa proud!  Complete with krat, spiced wine and a mini boot!

Christmas flowers from Andy.
The sparkle of the season.

CHEERS, Everyone! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Acupuncture for Infertility

I am no fan of needles.  But, somehow, I dislike the fact that I don’t like needles even more than the needles themselves.  I’m a subscriber to the whole “mind over matter” train of thought.  Because of that, I always think I can mentally push through the whole needle-hating situation.  In fact, one time I left a class in high-school to give blood, and announced that I would be back after “saving the world!”   True to form, I headed in, had my finger pricked, and passed out.  True, embarrassing story!

So, I warned my doctor.  I told her I don’t like needles, and she was nice enough to cover my eyes with a scrumptious “lavender pack” before inserting needles into all of my pressure points and leaving me with a nurse to properly “harness my chi!”  I harnessed for three minutes.  Yes, you read that right.  Three minutes before I began to sweat like I had just finished a marathon, and lose all of my color.  Thankfully that nurse noticed (because this stubborn girl was hell-bent on pushing through) and removed all of the needles.  I lasted one-tenth the amount of time an actual acupuncture session typically lasts.

They talked to me about how my body was hitting a “reset” button, and how the energy was actually moving.  They attempted to convince me that this was a good thing.  And, I appreciate their effort.  I really do. Hell, everything they said may even be true!  But, nothing could stop the avalanche of tears that followed.

The problem with infertility is that it’s a constant battle with the idea of failing.  And, as I have explained before, I am an achiever.  This particular day may very well have been the hardest day I’ve had on this journey.  I couldn’t stop the flow of tears, the idea that I would never be able to give my husband a baby or the thought that if I couldn’t handle acupuncture than maybe I couldn’t handle the pain and anxiety of being a parent.  Another problem with infertility is that you come face-to-face with yourself at your most vulnerable.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

More on Infertility Choices

I started writing this post because I couldn’t find any resources that really spoke to me as I was experiencing each of these stages of infertility.  What I was looking for was someone to walk me through the choices that were offered, and how they decided what their next step would be.  Unfortunately, I never found this.  Maybe it was a futile quest.

Ultimately, I hope our decision-making process is helpful to someone else.  

Following our initial baseline testing including; a sample from Andy, blood work from me, a sonohysterogram, and another ultrasound, we were left with little answers.  Although my reproductive anatomy seems to skew left, no one has indicated that this issue should be cause for any major alarm.  Because fibroids were detected in my earlier MRI, we went forward with a sonohysterogram that did not show any blockages due to fibroids.  Ultimately, there is suspicion of endometriosis but we walked away with a diagnosis of “unknown infertile!” 

By “walked away,” I mean we literally told the doctor that we would like more time despite feeling pressure to make a decision that day.  The options we were given included:

Clomid and IUI:
Thanks to the blood work and semen analysis, we know that I am ovulating and that Andy has healthy little swimmers.  So, to me, this seems like we would be attempting to solve a problem that we don’t have.  My logical mind tells me that this strategy could potentially lead to more problems (hello, multiples!).

This procedure seemed to me, to not be the “right” solution for us because it would be expensive and limiting.  Although it could give us an idea of issues undetected before now, we could easily end up lighter in the pocket and with no further answers!  Ultimately, our doctor indicated that we could get many of the same answers that we would from this procedure from option #3 and more!  (Who doesn’t love a good BOGO sale?)

Laparoscopic Surgery for Endometriosis
For us, this seems to be the most appropriate next step.  My fear is undergoing an unnecessary surgery should I not actually have endometriosis.  And, frankly, more extreme poking and prodding doesn’t sound appealing right now.
So, we decided to take our time.  We are taking a few months to explore some “holistic” methods such as chiropractic and acupuncture.  And, in three months, we will revisit our options!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Infertility Choices

Month one was followed by many more months of unprotected intercourse.  I say it that way because I always hated the idea of “trying.”  I had this notion that trying was for the couples who were desperate to have a child.  We weren’t.  We were living in Florida for a year following a year in Oregon.  We were traveling the country, gaining experiences with each other and building careers.  But, I was smart enough to know that it would be convenient to experience the early stages of pregnancy while we were living away from home-base, and I was working from home.   In my perfectly-plotted plan, I would be able to “toss my cooks” in my very own toilet while growing ears, lips and little lungs!

As the months wore on, the worrier that lives inside my brain began to grow.  I experienced more periods that were heavy and abnormally uncomfortable so I decided to call my doctor.  We had been at this for around nine months, and while I wasn’t overly concerned about the time, I began to be concerned about my cycle and the increasing severity of it.  I also wanted someone to tell me that it was okay.  That everything was normal – the periods, the time period and the emotions that were just starting to pop-up around the whole ordeal.  Unfortunately, that’s not what I got.

I withstood them taking my blood to check my hormone levels (I hate needles!  But, more on that later!), an ultrasound and a very uncomfortable internal ultrasound.  The internal ultrasound lasted a long time.  I had never had one done before so I didn’t know how abnormal this was.  I also didn’t know that ultrasound techs typically prod around gently (rather than violently) while talking to you about the weather, your job or the holidays (rather than where the heck your left ovary is!). I later got a copy of the report from this ultrasound and the tech described it as “very difficult!”

This is the part where I have to stop and tell you a little about myself.  I am an achiever by nature.  I literally have one of those corporate signs that sits above my desk so people can easily identify my strengths.  Second on the list is “achiever!”  This means that I set goals for myself, for organizations, and I go after them.  Relentlessly.  This means that when something is described as “very difficult,” I want to conquer it!  This isn't a particularly favorable strength when it comes to fertility.

The ultrasound seemed discouraging, and my instincts were confirmed when I got a call from the doctor’s office.  They indicated my estrogen was extremely low, and that they’d like to have me go in for an MRI to rule out any “masses” that may be pushing my organs to the one side.  All the sudden this seemed like it could be a much larger issue than infertility.  

I experienced the whole scary MRI process complete with multiple pokes at various parts of my body in an effort to insert an IV, tears and an uncomfortable joke made by a nurse about my inability to be a drug-addict due to my fear of needles and apparent bad veins.  (Mental note:  Add drug addict to the long-list of things I am not good at that also includes; making babies, internal ultrasounds and dealing with needles!)  I waited a few anxious days for the results of the MRI and was only somewhat relieved when I got a call explaining that there were no masses in my abdomen.  

I say somewhat relieved because both the questions that I started with, remained – why are my periods abnormal, and is this somehow linked to issues with fertility?  I was however given a drug that could help with my heavy periods which I never took.  Because I would be moving to a new state soon, I was able to pick up my file including all the reports from the MRI, etc. so that I would be able to share it with a new doctor in my new state.  I’m happy I did this as the reports offered more insight into potential issues – mainly mentions of fibroids, etc. 
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