Wisehubby and I had been TTC for a while and, on a hunch, discovered his severe male factor infertility--basically, he has an army of mutant sperm. I'm also mutant; I have a clotting disorder: Factor V. We were on the IVF with ICSI track, and I gave birth to a beautiful boy after IVF #2. We've tried varicocele repair, too--ugh. Our frozen embyro transfer ended in miscarriage at 9 weeks 1 day. We don't know where the quest will take us from here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Selective Jealousy OR why I hate some pregnant women and not others

I almost had a meltdown at my cousin's baby shower on Saturday. Bitch had the nerve to get pregnant and invite me to her baby shower (I do actually love my cousin. I'm just in my crazy place).  I struggled just to pass around the gifts without snickering along with my awesome grandma, who couldn't understand why someone would need a book about breastfeeding. Grandma Wiselady raised six babies; she knows!  The only thing that kept me from throwing an epic, pre-school style fit was that my 15-month-old niece kept running up to me to say, "Hey Tia!" and giving me hugs.

Side note: I am incredibly proud of my gifted, sweet, and easy going niece and goddaughter. No jealousy there!

Anyway, I eat lunch every day with a work colleague and her husband, who are expecting their first in December. Occasionally, I feel a little pang of jealousy, but mostly I am happy and excited for them. They're both so cute, and their baby will be adorable.

Why does it seem that I am uncontrollably, unpredictably jealous? I'm not quite sure. Thoughts?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How many to "put back"?

Today, on my way back from shopping for bigger pants--stress eating much?--with my mom, she asked if we had made a decision about how many babies to try for. This is a complicated, challenging, and hard decision to make.

Basically, when you're in my position--healthy, young, dealing with male factor infertility--you stand a fairly good chance of conceiving through IVF, about 60-70% depending on the RE and your quality of sperm sample. So, the recommendation for how many embryos to "put back"--this is a strange choice of terminology that seems to be consistent among the community (odd?)--is 1-2 embryos. There are some major advantages and draw backs to both.

If you "put back" one embryo, you have a smaller chance of a pregnancy. The embryo may not implant, and then you have got to go almost all of the way back to square one. This involves another round of surgery, unfreezing of embryos, and injectable meds to support the pregnancy. You also have to pay for another round of IVF, which is no small mountain to climb, especially for a pair of public school teachers. Texas Teacher Retirement Service (TRS) health insurance only will pay to diagnose infertility. Once you know that you can't have kids, it is your problem. IVF will cost us about $15,000 when it is all said and done, and it has to be paid up-front without a guarantee of success. Whew!

If you "put back" two embryos, you have a greater chance of pregnancy; you could even end up with two babies. However, the embryos may split, and then you could have not twins, but triplets or quadruplets. Multiple births come with an increased risk of complications for the pregnancy and NICU stays for the babies. (Un?)fortunately, health insurance pays for stays in the NICU and other complications associated with multiple births.

In Ontario, Canada, the government noticed the public health risk and cost associated with the rise in multiple births because of fertility treatments. They now subsidize IVF for women who agree to single embryo transfer. This kind of makes me want to move to Canada. They saw the moral dilemma that most couples pursuing IVF face, and removed the financial complication. Kudos!

Anyway, Wisehubby and I decided to go the two embryo route. We want a family, a big one, and we don't know if we can afford it another way. I'd like to give my children the best possible lives, but our hands are tied by the reality of living in a red state and working in the public sector. We love being teachers, so we have to consider that as a major part of our life and decision.

I applaud women who can face the risk and still just transfer one embryo. Unfortunately, it's not for me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We're not alone. You're not alone.

I don't exactly have a booming audience yet; I have had 20 page views. I am pretty sure that 10 of them have been mine and most of the rest have been my sister's. I like to look at the color scheme because it's the color scheme of my fertility-challenged alter-ego. The Wise Lady everyone else knows would have gone with red, but that is neither here nor there.  There have been three page views from Russia, so that's exciting. If I knew a Russian greeting, I'd use it.

Anyway, I write this to say--if you are out there--please know that you're not alone.

Wisehubby and I have felt a bit like we're the only twenty-somethings out there struggling with fertility issues for a while now. Sometimes while waiting at the RE (reproductive endrocrinologist for all you fertility newbs), I feel the other--older--women burning holes in my uterus with their mind lasers. I get it; I probably look a little fresh faced for fertility treatments, but I'm there--so deal.

Anyway, I found out tonight that a dear friend of mine from college is dealing with almost the exact same issue as us at practically the exact same time. I'm not sure what made me call her, but I did. It was hard to come out and tell her about our infertility, but she lead with, "Oh, God, you're not calling to tell me you're pregnant; are you?" I had a feeling that my message was about to land on sympathetic ears.

Turns out, they've got some several male factor infertility that's not related to environment or injury, too! Don't get me wrong, I am NOT happy to hear this. I am a bit relieved, though. Dear-friend was, too. She suggested that our hubby's could support each other. I don't know if that is going to happen, as Wisehubby is very reluctant to open up about this stuff, but I am happy to know that he now has the option. Sometimes, the choice is what makes the difference.

It will be interesting to see how our paths diverge. We're headed towards IVF with ICSI like an express train, and I think they're looking at the urology side of things first. I'm just happy to know that I can pick up to phone and talk to someone who knows exactly what I am going through. She even liked my crack about asking for a print out of my next vaginal sonogram. Success!

Let me recap for you the moral to this really rambling story (no, I haven't been sleeping like I should): WE'RE NOT ALONE! Good news, you're not alone either.

Come join Dear-friend and I in the club of women who are sad about their empty uteruses and the fact that they can't seem to do anything to make their husbands feel better about it. It's a small club, but I'm trying to keep things exclusive.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

TTC since 2010

I wish that I could say that my worries about infertility started with my miscarriage or at the time Wisehubby and I decided to try for Wisebaby, but I have deeply and thoroughly feared infertility for much longer. After my brother died when I was fifteen, I realized just what a profound thing family is. While the ground shifted underneath my feet, the one thing that I knew I could count on was my family. Although I continued to have many aspirations for my life, family shifted firmly into a first-place lead. All I have wanted since the day my brother died was a chance to expand our family and provide to my own children the love that my parents gave to me. It’s a kind of pay it forward approach to life that I believe in down to my bones.

When I was eighteen, I worked at a summer camp. This experience changed my life in so many ways by allowing me to work with children, meet exciting young adults, and experience life away from home while being financially autonomous. I met a beautiful young woman who was a twenty-year-old sophomore at Louisiana Tech University. She wore sorority letters and carried herself with grace. At my age, she seemed so worldly to me.

Halfway through the summer, I fell ill with a serious case of tonsillitis. She was sick at the same time with cysts on her ovaries. We spent a lot of time resting in the staff lounge together, and she explained to me all about her chronic reproductive problems. At twenty, she knew that she would never have her own children. It was then that I began to understand the profound sense of loss that accompanies infertility. I felt powerfully sad for this woman, and I knew that I would be devastated if I ever struggled with infertility myself.

Fast forward eight years, past a happy honeymoon period of marriage. Once Wisehubby and I were comfortable financially, we stopped using hormonal birth control. It killed my sex drive, and we could afford to stop playing it safe. A year after that, we decided to try to conceive in 2010. 

I come from a long line of women who do not struggle with getting pregnant, so we thought we could be one of those couples who times their pregnancy to land the perfect amount from the end of the school year. That way, I could enjoy a super maternity leave from my teaching job. 

Now, over a year into my saga, I have had to face infertility. One of my worst fears has become my reality. Of course, as with anything, it did not take the shape or form that I had dreaded, nor am I dealing with it in a way that I thought I would. More on that later...

Quest For Wisebaby

My life has taken a pretty crazy turn in the last year and half, and I feel the need to write about it. I may not have any readers other than my sister, especially since Wisehubby likes the privacy, but I don't care.