Saturday, January 26, 2008

Maiden Voyage

So, this is my first voyage into the world of blogging & I have to say, I am pretty excited about it! After a little inspiration from a friend's blog, I decided to chronicle my adventure into the world of infertility.

Yes, I said 'infertility' and yes, it's a scary, scary word. I have come to accept into my life though, I don't really have a choice I guess. I am trying not to let the word define me, but it's tough. There are days when it feels like a life sentence & there are other days when I am so full of hope & belief in the power of miracles & medicine that I shrug it off like a jacket on a warm spring day.

I have always wanted to be a mother. In some ways, I feel like I was born to be a mom. I have always felt in my heart that I would have children of my own. Conversely, since my adulthood, I have also had a nagging feeling that infertility was to be part of my journey. I was not shocked or surprised in the least (sad, yes, surprised, no), when one year of trying to conceive (TTC) turned into two with no end in sight.

At the 2 year mark, Sean & I decided it was time to dig a little deeper & visit a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). We discovered very quickly that I had a troublesome little polyp in my uterus. The polyp was removable and just a tiny blip on the radar. The diagnosis that rocked our world for a few days was the diagnosis that we had severe male factor infertility. With that diagnosis we were told "GO straight to IVF with ICSI - do not pass go, do not collect Clomid, do not try a single IUI, go straight to IVF."

Even though I was prepared for bad news, even though I "knew" something wasn't right, I was not prepared for this. I cried & cried & cried & cried some more. For the first time, I felt the doubt creep in that I may not be a mom. In retrospect, I feel terrible for taking it so badly. I should have been able to better support my poor husband through a devastating diagnosis, (which, in reality, he should have taken far worse than me), but all I could do was cry. Sean, on the other hand, was a rock, solid as granite. He took it all in stride. He comforted & reassured me that we would get through this, we would do whatever we needed to do to have a baby. For me, at that moment, IVF felt like the last stop on the infertility train. It was where most people's journey ended & mine was beginning there. If this doesn't work, then what???

I have made my peace with our diagnosis for now, if it doesn't work, we're not sure what our "then what?" will be, but for now we are focused on taking it one step at a time. Looking back, I am glad we were given a diagnosis & treatment plan from day one. I'm not sure I could've handled months or years of the "Let's try ____________insert your ART treatment of choice here" plan only to have it fail month after month.

So, I guess that brings us to our first step & we took that step today. I got my period over the weekend & we went to the clinic this morning for our day 3 bloodwork - (basically they do a quick hormone screen to check on the health & quantity of eggs). ****DISCLAIMER****I am going to try to keep it simple, but informative for those of you not "in the know" when it comes to infertility lingo & jargon.

My bloodwork came back & my hormone levels were great, excellent even, which means I should respond well to the meds. I started Birth Control Pills tonight - I know sounds counter-productive, but, it kind of resets your body & gives RE a blank slate to work with & it suppresses ovulation. On Feb. 15th, I start Lupron which puts me into a "mini-menopause", if you will, & shuts everything down so the RE can take over. Sean will be giving me Lupron injections everyday for about 2 weeks & I should be hormonal mad-woman - night sweats, hot flashes, headaches...Oh the romance of it all!!! That's basically step one & since that's our focus for now, I'll leave it at that. Otherwise, your head might explode if you are not familiar with all this IF talk.

I've read the books, Googled & Googled & Googled some more, joined a support board, started Acupuncture (more on that in future installments), & driven Sean up the wall & back down again with all my new found "knowledge" & we are ready, scared as hell, but ready. Sean is incredibly reasonable & realistic about what our chances really are - about a 30-35% chance we will find ourselves expecting on our first attempt - or about a 70% chance we won't. I, on the other hand, am insanely optimistic and expect nothing less than a pregnancy on our first cycle. In my mind it's 50/50 & I'm a glass half full kinda girl...

....and that maybe the only thing getting me through anyway!