Pass/Fail, it’s something we spend the majority of our young life worrying about. But, once you graduate from college you hope that you don’t have too many more tests to worry about. When it comes to infertility, the whole thing revolves around tests and whether or not you pass or fail!
When we got back from Christmas in Louisiana I saw Dr. R and after our wonderful meeting and getting to know each other, we jumped right in to tests. It was so fast in fact that I did my first IUI (intrauterine insemination) the next week! It started with the ultrasound; I became very close friends with Dr.R’s u/s machine! During test one I found out that I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). PCOS affects each woman differently, for me it means lots and lots of cysts in both ovaries. The cysts grow so large that a follicle containing an egg doesn’t have room to grow, which means that I ovulate late in my cycle….. too late for a possibly fertilized egg to survive. FAIL! Dr. R also did several blood tests where he found that my estrogen levels were low, so I would need to take a pill to help with that…..FAIL! But, I wasn’t the only one with tests to deal with. Steve had to go in to be tested also, the results came back pretty quickly and we found out that there was a problem with him too. After these few initial tests we were told that we only had a 3% chance of conceiving naturally…3%!!!!! Let me make sure you understand3% = FAIL!!
Are you kidding me?!?! I instantly felt my world fall apart. Steve wasn’t with me when I got these results. I was able to hold it together in Dr. R’s office, but when I got to the car it hit me hard. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know how to tell him. I didn’t want to, I wanted to run back in to Dr. R and beg him to call Steve in and tell him so I didn’t have to. The only thing I could think to do was call my parents, they had been through this, they would know what to do.
Inside my chest I was shaking, I don’t know if it was my lungs begging for air or my
heart trying not to break as I made the call. My mom knew within two sentences that something was wrong. I asked her if she would get my dad on the phone too. I know she must have been so nervous about what I was going to say. My throat was so dry and I was trying not to cry as I explained that we were trying to give them a grandchild and we had hit a roadblock. I gave them the little bit of information I had and asked how in the world I tell the man I love that there is something wrong with both of us and that it is almost impossible for us to make a baby on our own. There is also a chance that we won’t be able to have a baby at all.
Wow, even thinking back on that day I feel teary. That was a hard day. My mom said that she could tell that we had been TTC from a conversation we had over the Christmas visit. They were amazing about the whole thing. They gave me details on their struggles and the problems they BOTH had. My mom told me about how she had to have this conversation with my dad and how she did it. My dad told me about how I should word things so that I didn’t hurt Steve’s ‘manhood’. That was my concern, not his! I knew I could handle any problems that came MY way, anything could be wrong with me but to have to tell Steve that there was a problem with him was my worst nightmare. I didn’t know how he would take it and I didn’t want him to feel blame at all. My dad told me to give him the news about my test results first, then tell him what Dr. R said was the solution to those problems, and then tell him about his results and the solutions for them. I am a lucky girl, to be able to speak so openly to my parents about such a sensitive subject and to have them understand so fully. I could tell that they were very careful about all of their word choices so that they didn’t scare me or hurt my feelings. I LOVE my parents and I pray that I will be half the parent to Amelia that they have been to my sisters and me.
That night I gave Steve the news. I did exactly what my dad said to do and Steve seemed a little overwhelmed by the time I finished the part about me. When I gave him the news about him I was so surprised, he handled it better than he handled my test results. It turns out he was in the same boat I was in, more worried about me than himself just as I was more worried about him than myself. Again, I am a lucky girl. I have an amazing husband. He knew how upset I was and he stayed so strong and so positive. We discussed every option and decided together how to proceed. I would continue using the fertility monitor and we would do the IUI with a trigger shot that month. A trigger shot is a shot of HCG (hormones) given when the follicle containing the egg is very mature and ready to pop, the shot forces the egg out so that you have a better chance of the IUI working.
After the IUI, you have to wait two weeks to do a pregnancy test- we in the TTC world call it the two week wait. I was having the longest cycle of my life, I was on day 35 when I realized that I wasn’t pregnant. It was devastating. I mean if we know what the problem is and we know how to fix it and we did those things then why wouldn’t it work? There was no reason for this. My hopes had been so high for this month, it was our 7th try at TTC and our first with help. The next day I made myself a promise, no matter how long it took I would stick with it as long as Dr. R said I had a chance. Also, if I ever had to find out that I wasn’t pregnant again then I would give myself one day to be sad and the next day I would call Dr. R’s office and get ready to try again. That’s exactly what I did.
After that unsuccessful month I was sent for more tests. I had the HSG or Hysterosalpingogram, this test pushes dye through the uterus and fallopian tubes to look for any abnormalities or a blockage. Well, guess what? I had both! The nurse was able to use the dye to push through the blockage in my right fallopian tube and correct that problem but there was nothing she could do to help with the fact that I have a bicornuate uterus. What that means is that my uterus is shaped like a heart and the septum in the middle could make it very hard to both conceive and carry to term! Great! Now not only do I have to worry about just getting pregnant but I also have to worry about having a miscarriage. FAIL!!! I also had my progesterone levels checked. We found that at the end of my cycle when the level should be at it’s highest it wasn’t! FAIL again!
You would think that after having problems on all of these tests that I would be discouraged. It was the exact opposite. Each test gave me an answer. They told me why I hadn’t been able to get pregnant so far and for each failed test there was a solution. It did mean lots of meds and monitoring, but it also meant possibility. Each test result gave me hope, hope that we could solve this problem and have a a baby.
I’m not saying that I was happy to have something, or lots of things, wrong with me; I’m just saying that it was a relief to have a plan and not left in the dark. Sophie and I were going along at the same pace, having the same tests at the same time. For her all of her tests came back with passing grades. She had no reasons for her infertility. We were the same woman on the same path with totally different outcomes. It continued to make us perfect infertility soul mates. She was able to listen to me tell her about my troubles and my frustration with them and I was able to listen to her results of having nothing wrong and her frustration with that. Our friendship was truly meant to be.
I really do believe that without my amazing husband and Sophie I may have given up. There were plenty of times that I wanted to but with their support and the support of my parents I kept going. Thank God I did! I wouldn’t be a mother today if I hadn’t…and that is the best and most important PASSing grade of them all!