This is Part I of the abbreviated, watered down version and I’ll post more about this crazy journey in subsequent posts. I realized this thing would be as long as War and Peace otherwise. So I’ll start with just the PREP work that needed to be done prior to TTC (try to conceive). Oh, how I envied other women who got pregnant by having sex!
Note: You may not be familiar with some of the infertility (IF) lingo I use here, but if that’s the case, consider yourself lucky, and if you do want to know, a google search should give you the info you seek about fertility acronyms.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 19 and had my first laser laparoscopy at age 20. It was then I found out that this can cause infertility. After my fiance and I broke up when I was 28, I met another guy and we dated for 5 years and broke up. I was 33, and decided to ttc on my own, because of my age, the endo, and lack of a partner. Coming to that decision was agonizing and also deserves its own separate post at another time.
Here is my prep story in summary:
My gynecologist had recommended an RE (reproductive endocrinologist) to me a couple of years prior, when I mentioned my concerns that having endo might make it difficult for me to get pregnant.
March – I called my RE’s office and set up my first appointment for an “intake” for mid-April.
April – The intake was successful, but nerve-racking. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this, not friends, not family, not coworkers, no one. The nurse asked a series of questions such as how many sexual partners I’d had, and other invasive questions that a married woman would not be asked—if you are single, the clinic will determine whether you are psychologically fit to be a parent. I passed that test, then she did an ultrasound (u/s) to look at my ovaries and uterus. All looked well and we decided upon a tentative course of 6 injectible IUIs over the course of 6 months.
Late April – Next appointment was an HSG test to determine whether my fallopian tubes were clear. They put a dye through the tubes to see if it runs through. I was very nervous about this invasive procedure, and it was an excruciating process because of it. The result came back: blocked tubes. I was devastated beyond words.
May – Met with my RE to discuss where to go from there. We decided a laser laparoscopy was necessary to clear the tubes and any endo around the uterus, ovaries, organs, etc. I also had an FSH test done and had a great number: 6.
Late May – I had a laser laparoscopy in the hospital (my third one overall). When I awoke from the anesthesia, my RE said my tubes had been clear, that the test was not 100% accurate, and that she had removed the endo and we could proceed with IUIs upon my recovery. The nurse caring for me was lazy and nasty, and used a dirty cath on me to drain my bladder, causing a severe infection that nearly sent me back to the hospital with a kidney infection.
Early June – Joined an internet fertility board and found many other women going through fertility treatments and we supported each other throughout the journey to pregnancy.
CHOOSING A DONOR
June – Post-op appointment with my RE. I wanted to start cycling that month but she said I would need a month to recover. During the same visit, I met with the andrologist to select a sperm donor from information that she gave me. The biggest decision is whether to select a donor that is willing to be contacted later by the child that is conceived, or to choose one who is not willing to be contacted. I chose the latter for two reasons. Mainly because there weren’t many to choose from who didn’t wish to remain anonymous, but also because I did not and do not consider the donor to be anything to us other than the paid conduit through which to meet the goal of having a child.
It’s a controversial subject because obviously I had to make a choice then and there for my child, when perhaps it should be the child’s decision. But, there was no child to consult, and I did not want to set my future son or daughter up for disappointment if they were rejected by the man later on. I did not even get a childhood photo of him, only a description that he has dimples and is “very cute” the woman at the donor center told me. I chose someone with physical characteristics that were close to mine so that my children would look like me. I also chose someone with the same heritage and blood type that I have, so that I can donate blood to them if it’s ever needed. He answered some basic personality questions that I have in a folder somewhere and seems like a nice guy. This was one of the hardest parts for me in going it alone—that we will never know the “other half” of my children’s DNA, but the problem did not outweigh my desire to have a baby before it was too late.
The andrologist ordered 4 vials, 3 for IUIs and one more as a last resort if I had to do IVF.