Archives for the month of: January, 2012

Here’s how our first appointment went:

Appointment 1 – Cycle day 30 – Duration: about 2 hours

The appointment started with a pelvic ultrasound (scanner goes on the belly), which required a full bladder. After a trip to the toilet to empty my bladder (“Make sure you get everything out”, said the technician. Uh…what?), next came the transvaginal ultrasound. The camera is shaped like a wand, which is covered with a condom, and then the technician takes images of your uterus and ovaries while it’s inside you. It’s mildly uncomfortable, but no big deal at all.

After those procedures, we waited to speak with the doctor. Covering the walls of the waiting room were photographs of babies and thank you letters to the various doctors at the clinic. While I’m sure the idea behind it was to provide patients with a sense of hope (“See? These people all had problems, too, and now they’ve got babies!”), it seemed like an especially awful kind of hell to have to sit there with a reminder of what my body was incapable of producing.

I should mention I was on the verge of tears for most of this portion of the appointment. The ultrasound technician asked if I was alright, which is a question that, for some reason, often brings me to tears, but I managed to keep it together. I was really nervous about crying in front of the doctor, so I tried to avoid looking at any of those frigging baby pictures. At this point, we still didn’t know if it was physically possible for us to have kids. Stress rate=high. Babies everywhere=not helping aforementioned stress rate.

The doctor started off by asking me a whole pile of questions about my periods (long and painful, but predictable), my family (awesome and healthy, but a history of painful periods), past pregnancies (none)

and then a whole bunch of questions about hair.

Have I ever had to wax, receive electrolysis or laser hair removal on my face, around my nipples, abdomen, toes…

What is happening? The only time I’ve thought about body hair is when I noticed my husband lacks any hair on his arms. I am not a hairy person. I have no facial hair (in fact, I barely have eyebrows), and I think it’s safe to say my boobs have been hairless my whole life.

Where in the hell did those questions come from? I didn’t expect them, and I feel like I was pretty prepared for what we would be discussing.

Our doctor told us that as we answer questions, he flags answers that he thinks might be clues for why we’re suffering (a very suitable word) from primary infertility.

After all the hair questions, it was my husband’s turn. He had significantly fewer questions to answer than I did, but it was nice to relax for a little bit.

When we were done giving our answers, the doctor explained that this process is sort of like a guessing game where he rules out possibilities for why things aren’t happening as they should be. He showed us the images from the ultrasounds, saying that my ovaries were well-stocked with what seemed like good quality eggs. I do not have ovarian cancer (which I was a little more than slightly paranoid about), and I had ovulated from the left this month (I knew it–I always feel it on the left). He suspected my diagnosis would be either PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) or endometriosis. The doctor kept referring to the Bearded Lady in relation to PCOS, and that I would likely disagree with his diagnosis if I read about it on the internet.

(Fast forward to us returning home and me investigating PCOS–doctor was right. I have like zero symptoms of this spectrum disorder).

Anyway, we came up with a plan and decided we would continue to try naturally while doing “cycle monitoring”, which would require me to come for semi-regular blood work and ultrasounds throughout my cycle to see what’s going on. The doctor discussed Clomid briefly as another course of action if the case for PCOS was strengthened.

We were sent off to get blood work done, and I was told to call the clinic on day 1 of my period to book an appointment for an HSG test (hysterosalpingogram), which are done between day 5 and day 10 of your cycle. The doctor warned me some people experienced severe pain during this test, so I was hoping it wouldn’t be necessary.

We left the appointment feeling positive and like we were finally getting somewhere. We still needed to get sperm tested for good swimmers and fallopian tubes tested for blockages, but we were on our way to finding answers, and hopefully, a solution.

Our doctor is incredibly positive and as a result, so am I. Maybe something is actually going to happen now.

-Hairless Regular Van.

It’s been a while.

Like, a year a while.

I had absolutely no idea when I started this blog that a year later, here we’d be. I wish I had written more during the past year, but it’s been rough. This process has been the most challenging experience of my life, but I feel ready to write about it now, and part of me feels like I need to get it out.

We had an appointment at the CReATe Fertility Clinic in Toronto earlier this week, and though the lead up to the appointment was stress-inducing, I feel excited and hopeful about the future for the first time in a really long time. That appointment has made me feel ready and able to share what’s been going on.

Before I describe what’s happened, I have to say how much all of this has sucked. There’s no other way to put it. Okay, I guess there are other ways of putting it, but they all involve a whole lot of expletives, and I’m trying to keep those to a minimum. I’ve spent too long crying my eyes out, feeling miserable and totally hopeless. Facebook was intolerable, as it seemed every single frigging person in the world was getting pregnant except for me. People were having their second, their third, and it all just made me cry. I couldn’t talk about it without busting into tears, yet had a hard time thinking about anything else, so it would ultimately come up in conversation with those close to me.

I feel ashamed of the way I treated my friends who were pregnant or had just given birth. I genuinely felt happy for them, but I also felt angry and sorry for myself that it was them who got to experience it and not me. The lowest point was bailing on a meeting with friends who were days away from giving birth. I couldn’t face it.

I’m sure at that point in my life, I would have been diagnosed with depression, had I sought out professional help. I feel a lot better now, after our appointment at the fertility clinic.

So here’s where we’re at: We’re a couple who needs some help. We’ve tried it on our own for the amount of time that warrants a “primary fertility” diagnosis, and we’re now in the process of taking the necessary steps to try to get this train out of the station (no sexual innuendo intended there).

Our doctor at CReATe is fantastic, and instantly eased my mind. I held it together during our first appointment, which I was really proud of. I’ll write about our appointments in further posts in an effort to lay out our experience for those who may be going through the same things.

My advice for others who are traveling a similar path to us is to be easy on yourself. Cry when you need to, talk when you need to, and address your feelings, as difficult as that is sometimes. You’ll be told at least a bazillion times to “just relax” by very well-meaning people who have zero idea how stressful that is to hear. The reality is, though, people have no idea the emotional rollercoaster this process is until they’ve been through it.

-Miserable Regular Van.