Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The One Where She Gives "The History"

Alright, this post will most likely definitely be a long one.  Since I didn't start this blog until well into our journey through infertility there is some stuff you need to know.  I am notorious for saying "Long story short..." and then telling a super long story, so I won't even pretend like this is going to be short.

Hubs and I started dating in 2005.  We met through mutual friends and neither one of us had any idea how old the other was when we went on our first date.  I got carded and we discovered a 16 year age difference.  Fast forward through lots of dates, a few vacations, and a major house renovation, and we got engaged on Christmas Eve 2008.  We threw a big wedding on July 3, 2011 with lots of family and friends and had an amazing time.  Hubs and I had a big fat family honeymoon (yes, we took 40 people along with us!) and returned knowing we wanted a baby right away.  I stopped birth control pills back in April 2011 and we hoped for the best.  Charting, basal body temps, and ovulation prediction kits (OPKs) were the norm in our house for several months and still no baby.  In my heart I knew something was wrong, but we kept trying on our own until May 2012.  I went in for my yearly appointment with my gyno and explained the situation.  He immediately referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) to help us figure out what was happening.  I had my initial appointment and met with the RE (who will now affectionately be referred to "Dr. Bow Tie" because they are his neckwear of choice) and I immediately knew he was the right doctor for us.  He was straightforward and funny and talked almost as fast as I do.  Dr. Bow Tie ordered a sperm analysis (SA) for Michael, blood work for me, and two tests based on his exam - an HSG and an SIS.  The HSG test is a dye x-ray test that looks at the structure of the uterus and fallopian tubs and checks for blockages.  The SIS is a saline ultrasound that checks for fibroids (which Dr. Bow Tie suspected I had).

We got the tests done and the results in a few weeks later:
HSG = normal (good news)
SIS = small fibroid that isn't impacting the uterine cavity (more good news)
blood work for me = normal (very good news)
SA for Michael = low numbers across the board - number of sperm, motility, and morphology (not so good news)

Did a few more follow-up appointments and tests and the official diagnosis was male factor infertility (MFI).  Hubs and I talked a lot about what this meant and how we felt about it.  He jokes around a lot but I know it's something that bothers him.  But, with this piece of information, we met with Dr. Bow Tie again and decided on a plan.

On July 5, 2012 we made the decision to move forward with in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Some of the precursor treatments (timed intercourse, IUI) were not options for us because of the low counts with Hubs' sperm.  This was going to be an invasive, costly, intense process but we knew that it was our only choice if we wanted a baby.  I couldn't, in good conscience, toss this choice out the window because of the potential side effects, difficulties, high costs, and emotions involved with it.  It was our best shot and we couldn't walk away from it.

I made calls to our insurance company and spoke with the financial counselor at the center.  We are extremely fortunate that our insurance covers 80% of the costs involved with IVF.  Most of the meds are covered at 65%.  That means we are talking about a cost in the thousands as opposed to the tens of thousands.  Still a lot of money, but it pales in comparison to what a lot of couples shell out for IVF.

And then I waited for my period to start.  It arrived on July 7th and I started birth control pills (BCPs) on the evening of July 8th.  I spoke with a nurse at the center on July 10th and she told me that Hubs still had blood work that needed to be done.  He got that done on July 13th and I received a phone call from the IVF coordinator on July 17th.  I am going to do a separate post about all the dates and meds she talked to me about on the phone that afternoon.

So, that brings pretty much catches you up through today.  Hubs has one more SA to do next week to make sure that he isn't allergic to his sperm (could explain some of the low numbers) and then we move forward with our cycle.

Just remember I warned you this wasn't a "Long story short..."

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