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.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wiselady's IVF Tips

Looking back on my IVF cycle, I learned so much about myself and IVF in general were I to do things again, here are some tips that I would follow.

  1. Have band aids ready during injections. You never know when you'll get a little blood droplet, and Wisehubby had a better time not staining my waistband or cringing when he could quickly apply a band aid. It didn't really help physically, but it was easier on both of us.
  2. Take off at least one day after the retrieval. I only took off the minimum amount of days by doctor's orders, and it was a little bit of a mistake. Retrieval was, to me, the most painful part of the process. Your ovaries still feel so swollen, even after being relieved of your eggs, plus you have cramping because the retrevial involved puncturing of your lady parts with a needle. I was totally distracted by the two week wait, anyway, so I wasn't any good to my students at work.
  3. The needle goes straight in with a firm push. Seriously, push a little. Nothing sucked worse than the morning that I accidentally let my Lupron sharp bounce out of my tummy. Who wants to stick themselves twice?
  4. Put on your glasses and double check the dosage. Wisehubby administered only half of the dose of progesterone in oil, which is delivered in big, nasty needles into the butt. Ok, so something did suck worse than letting my sharp bounce out. That was a rough morning, because we had to switch needles for drawing down, draw down again, and then stick the other cheek. It was the hardest day to keep from crying.
  5. Get a good audio book to listen to while you're waiting. Wisehubby and I listened to Catching Fire, the second book in Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games trilogy, in the car and using headphone splitters. It got our mind off of all of the what-ifs that nag you while you wait, which you do a lot when you're going through an IVF cycle. Day time TV stinks anyway, so it was nice to avoid pretending to be interested in it while we waited after the transfer.
  6. Make an IVF box. I had a plastic box dedicated for storing all of my non-refrigerated IVF supplies. I appreciated it after the male Dr. B confirmed our failure; I just put the lid on it and shoved it to the back of my closet. It'll be there for when we try again.
  7. Make an IVF bag. I used a pretty insulated lunch sack for storing all of my refrigerated IVF supplies. I could easily grab it, throw in an ice pack, and go if I needed to administer drugs on-the-go. It also looks just like a lunch sack, so it reduced questions. If people saw it while we were out on the town, it just looked like a lunch sack or purse. If house guests looked in our fridge, it didn't stand out. I did tell a lot of people about our IVF, but it didn't mean I wanted them staring at our meds.
  8. Wait until you are "all done" to get a log of all procedures and charges. I started off trying to provide substantiation to our FSA for every charge, but it got to be too much. Plus, the male Dr. B's office staff would file everything with insurance and then carry charges over into your next visit. This made individual visit receipts worthless to the FSA. You have a long time to provide substantiation, so I just asked for a complete itemized receipt of all services when I went in for our WTF follow-up appointment. Faxed to the FSA, it seemed to take care of business.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nothing Left Beneath

It’s been a decade since I first slipped
this mask on,
the day my mother said
goodbye to her child.
You left me,
a broken girl, masked for protection.

I unmasked myself
only in that split second before I fell
asleep, drifting into a void
of feeling.

My mask became a part of me,
the way my friends don’t recognize me
without my eye glasses.

When I said goodbye last year
to my child
whom I’d never met,
I tried to take off the mask.

That’s when I found that there was
nothing left

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ball is in his court

We went for another follow-up with Dr. B(alls) today, and things are starting to look better for Wisehubby. His steri-strips came off, and he doesn't have the world's worst case of blue balls, just a bad case of them.

The ball is in Wisehubby's court now; it's time to ease back into real life and hope for the best. He's now allowed to take warm baths to help alternate hot and cold (icing) for comfort, and in a week he can return to his normal habits. His abnormal recovery still looks like it is functional, and Dr. B(alls) finally said that everything should go back to normal eventually. Apparently, the alternative to letting things stay wonky would have been a risky extra incision which could have lead to the demise of a testicle. So, we're pretty glad that Dr. B(alls) decided to play it safe when he had Wisehubby on his table.

Wisehubby is going to have a few more follow-ups, so that Dr. B(alls) can help him through the recovery. He'll do a follow-up semen analysis at months three and six, and that is when we'll know whether or not this extremely painful, expensive gamble has paid off. Here's hoping for the best!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why his throat hurts

Wisehubby has been complaining about his sore throat that appeared because of his three-hour long intubation during his varicocele surgery. A lot. He's never complained this much about anything medically related before. He even has been talking in this weird whisper voice that my damaged ear drums can't manage to understand.

Finally, today, Wisehubby confessed to why he keeps bitching about his sore throat. He said, "My balls are sore and my abdomen is swollen; nothing seems to be going right." He complains about the sore throat because it is something that he seems to have some control over. He should be able to kick this, but he knows that his fertility issues and the new issues springing from his varicocele surgery mystery aren't going anywhere soon.

If I could just heal the hurt, I would, but I can't. So, until then, I'll try to understand what he's saying when he croaks at me softer than I can understand.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Well, balls!

I'm not going to get into major specifics here because I'm pretty sure Wisehubby would kill me for talking too graphically about his reproductive organs. Plus, I'd have to kill you, dear reader, if I knew you were spending too much time thinking about Wisehubby's reproductive parts.

As vaguely as an over-sharer like me can be, here is the story: his surgery went textbook perfectly on one side, and left things looking a wee bit abnormal on the other. His urologist brought him back in early for a follow-up and swears that the functionality should be fine. There may be ways to correct the abnormality in the future, if nature doesn't right itself.

I know that almost every time I post I use the expression "it's been tough", but I mean it this time. Wisehubby has been my rock and source of comfort through everything, but I've been struggling to do that for him. The first couple of days post-surgery, Wisehubby was sore and drugged and lying flat on his back, so that was pretty easy. I brought him ice, gave him medicine, cooked him dinner, and even learned to mow the lawn. Since he started being more mobile, it's been harder to baby him and keep him from comforting me.

I know Wisehubby doesn't like being made a fuss of, but he does deserve to be treated that way. I learned to love aggressively from my family, and I am so grateful that they have supported me in loving him aggressively both this week and during our entire marriage. Wisesister called a couple of times a day, just to check in, since she couldn't make the drive out to see Wisehubby. My parents didn't ask if they could bring lunch; instead, they asked, "What would you like us to bring over for lunch?"

So, my family, his family, our friends, and I fought the good fight this week, but I don't think it's made much of a difference. Wisehubby has had a long string of bad news related to his manhood, and it is starting to take a major toll. First, he's got weird-shaped sperm. Then, his hormone levels are off and he has low count, too. Then, he's told that IVF with ICSI will overcome our problems, but none of our 22 fertilized eggs survive either in the womb or for freezing. Finally, his urologist offers the panacea of varicocele repair, a painful surgery that will supposedly improve many of these issues and the health of embryos in the early stages of growth. Of course, you know how that works out.

What's hurting Wisehubby isn't the longer than anticipated incisions, or his swollen and bruised man-parts, or even the sore throat that he developed because of intubation. What's hurting him is that he feels like he's failing. He longs for a family; you can see it in the way he plays with our niece and our friends' children. He knows how much I long for a family; he's never been able to say no or disappoint me. He knows how much our families long for Wisebaby; he wants our children to grow up surrounded by love. He knows how much our friends ache to see our desires fulfilled; they talk about the day that we have prayed for for so long. So, yeah, he's not just disappointing himself or me, but a whole slew of people that he would do anything for.

So, we'll just have to keep trying to love Wisehubby aggressively as he deals with another set-back. Well, we can also make a few good ball jokes along the way; he seems to like those.