What people may not realize is, infertility is SO common. A lot of people battle it silently. They don’t share it with others. I think as the years go on, this is less and less common, but for now, it’s still kind of the standard practice. I totally get it, too. Infertility and IVF treatments are hard. Not only are you emotionally hurting, physically- at least for the ladies going through the injections and monitoring- you are hurting. You’re being poked and prodded, you’re having wands shoved up your vagina every other day, you’re having needles shoved up your vagina and poked through your ovaries- this is a very physical labor of love! (I think shoved is the wrong word, as of course the doctors and nurses are very gentle, but you understand me, right?) Why would you want to share that with the world?
Not only that, but you can be judged by others for even fighting so hard for something that might not be “meant to be” for you. (Full disclosure, I hate that term sometimes.)
I had a tough time coming to terms with actively bringing science into having children. I look at the world around me, I hear about people starving or out of water in other countries, I see climate change and the way it will go if we don’t do something about it, I see rampant racism and sexism and how our society is, and I wonder- am I/are we being selfish for trying so hard to have a child, to bring one into this world? Not only that, but there are so many children already out there that need loving homes and great parents to look after them, love them, and raise them. Morally I wrestled with this for a long time, and truth be told, I still do. My conclusion is that strife has long existed in our world and will continue to exist. I’m only human, and biologically, the pull to not only have children, but to grow them inside of me for nine months, to give birth, to raise them with my husband- is a pull I cannot fight. I may be selfish, but I’m human, too.
So, trudging on, in October of 2015 we had our first consultation with our fertility specialist- our reproductive endocrinologist (RE)- Dr. Beth Plante. She works with the Fertility Centers of New England. She asked us about our struggles so far, got some information about us, and talked to us about the processes we could go through. Before we decided/she could recommend IUI or IVF or any of that, though, we had to go through the testing cycle. She made us feel very comfortable and she is a sweetheart. I’m glad we found her.
The testing cycle included a sperm analysis for Adam, some blood work for the both of us, and an HSG test (Hysterosalpingogram) for myself. I was very nervous for this test. I had an IUD to prevent having babies years ago (ha! I guess I didn’t need that after all, eh?) and it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I’m not sure if it was because a resident was putting it in, or because I wasn’t on my period when it was being ‘installed’, or what- but flash backs to my legs up in stirrups with several doctors looking at my bits while I held a nurses hand and screamed obscenities and made awful noises for 45 minutes were flooding my brain. They had to dilate my cervix and try many many painful times to get the damn thing in. One of them quipped that this was what childbirth felt like- as someone who considered a natural home birth I thought to myself- epidural please! By the way, after all of that after two months I pulled it out myself- it gave me awful side effects and was just not for me.
So anyway, back to the HSG test. The reason I was so nervous was because it involves inserting dye into your cervix- and any time I hear that anything is going into my cervix I think back to the IUD party I just described- and shudder. The dye goes through your fallopian tubes and if it spills out the end of them, your tubes are okay! If it doesn’t they are blocked.
Dr. Vitiello did my HSG test, she is another one of the doctors over at the Fertility Centers of New England. She is hilarious. She’s straight to the point, sarcastic, and very good at calming a crazy anxious lady (ahem, me) down. When I told her I was nervous she quipped that she was too, as it was her first time preforming the test. (In case you are wondering, no, it was not her first time preforming the test. I’m sure you caught the joke but just in case…) When she told me that the dye was already running through my tubes, I said “NO way, you’re joking!”, and she said “I just met this girl and she’s calling me a liar!”
The same day I was having my HSG test, Adam was having his sperm analysis. He described going into the room, seeing the recliner with a pad on it he was to.. ahem.. produce his sample on. He also described the light reading materials he had to choose from 😉
After the test he left and there was a waiting room full of women that watched him go. I laughed as he recalled his story but I also reminded him that their husbands/partners/donors/friends/what have you were also going through this so not to fret too much.
Adam sent me this photo as he arrived in his specimen collecting room, I responded with a thumbs up. Go get em’ tiger!
The testing cycle took a bit for us and our testing was completed in late November of 2015. This post is getting pretty long, so next time I’ll tell you our results and all about cycle one.