Ya’ll: life is so unfair sometimes.
But before I get to that, I want to backtrack and cover the last 24 hours which were equal parts exciting and comical, which ultimately took us a step closer in our journey to becoming moms.
Yesterday, I was scheduled for my mock transfer and hysteroscopy (which replaced a test of a similar name that I was supposed to have at a local hospital, but there were no available time slots in the near future so my doctor ordered this one instead). These were intended to chart the path that the doctor will take with the catheter on the day of the actual embryo transfer, as well as scope my uterus for potential imperfections that would prevent the embryo from being able to adhere and find a cozy home.
The only time they had available was at 9:30, which is 1.5 hours into my work day, and I manage a team of seven people so continuing to sneak out for doctor’s appointments is starting to get challenging (but obviously that didn’t stop me from doing it anyway). I also work with two family members (long story – they are in other departments), so I’m REALLY trying to be sneaky, as we’ve elected to hold off on telling our friends and family until we have a healthy pregnancy to announce. So, I came into work, got my team set up for the day, and ran around putting out figurative fires and answering questions, before I realized that it was almost 9am and I was supposed to have consumed several glasses of water to fill my bladder for the mock transfer, so I promptly started throwing water back, and rounded up my belongings before *quietly* running out the side door of our building. I made it to the edge of the parking lot in my car when I attempted to call my wife – only to realize I’d forgotten my phone in the office (which I wanted to keep close by in case anyone needed me while I was gone). So I snuck back in and almost walked right into one of the people on my team who had a question about something so entirely unrelated to anything that is going on in the remote future, so I walked and talked with her – completely flustered – until I got to the door, at which point I began galloping to my car and racing out of the parking lot.
When I arrived at the facility, I spied a “breaking news” notification on my phone about the dingo-in-chief’s latest tweetstorm about transgender people not being allowed to serve in the military, at which point I could visualize the blood racing to my face and smoke billowing out of my ears like an old Looney Tune’s episode.
(Small rant: WTF?!? Dude was a draft dodger and claims to want to protect our country, and trans people are SO STRONG: physically, emotionally, mentally, and so on. and he wants to ban THEM?!? I can’t. I literally can’t. His dumb smug face makes me levels of angry that I never knew I could experience.)
So…that’s how I started my appointment.
So I race inside, and my amazing patient wife was waiting for me – she had checked us in and taken care of our paperwork (at least…I assume there was paperwork. I suppose I never asked, but either way – she was there. Present. Standing in for us as I was running about 5 minutes behind due to the phone incident). The woman at the counter says, “Mrs. _____, I just wanted to let you know that the full payment is due today.” I was expecting that – my wife and I had discussed over the weekend, and agreed to put the bill on my AMEX card so we could at least collect the points and buy something for the house: tiny blessings from a MAJOR bill. Of course, my purse is in a state of complete disarray from all of the traveling I’ve done recently, and I had to dig through piles of receipts to retrieve the card, but I found it and proudly slapped it on the counter, eager to get going with this process.
“Um…we don’t take American Express.” This lady literally could have said, “your dog is dying” because I immediately burst into tears and even though I knew it was my fault (they probably told me and I forgot with all of the craziness with the insurance company) so I kept blubbering, “I wish I knew. I could have planned better. You never told me!” (which I apologized for before I left.) Fortunately, one of the AMAZING finance ladies happened to be there (not grouchy Denise) and she jumped in after I agreed to put half on my other credit card and pay the other half with a check, and suggested that I pay half on my other credit card and then pay off the balance over the weekend, and pay the rest when I come back in for an appointment I have next week. Ugh. That lovely angel woman. I need to send her a fruit basket or something.
So we’re going to do just that (and pray that nothing happens to screw it up between now and next week).
So after the credit card debacle of 2017, I parked myself by the water cooler and drank two more cups of water – which did little in the required time to put any additional pressure on my bladder, before they called us back.
I’m not going to lie – it was a little weird having my wife there, as I am used to all of my lady-doctor appointments being solo, so she held all of my belongings as I hiked up the dress I was wearing, removed my undies, and got my feet ready in the stirrups for the doctor to join us.
He came in with a nurse and excitedly welcomed us, before dimming the lights and asking if I wanted to move my dress any higher so that it didn’t get ultrasound jelly on it. I was surprised at the external ultrasound (it was my first) and he began to explain each procedure as I profusely apologized for not drinking enough (which he seconded, and suggested I start earlier, the day of our actual procedure). He showed my wife and I some pictures of the embryo transfer catheter moving around, but I was super uncomfortable at this point while the speculum was inside and he was doing – what felt like – rooting around for buried treasure.
My wife was standing by my head and stroked my arm to which I growled “DON’T TOUCH ME” and the doctor immediately backed away and told me that he had to in order to finish the procedure. We quickly clarified and my wife finds this story hilarious and I know it will be one of the first she shares with our friends and family once we tell them. I don’t know why I said that, but there was just so much pressure down there, and he was spending so much time trying to help her see what was on the screen which I appreciate and adore, but I just wanted to speed things along, as I was starting to feel the need to go to the bathroom and absolutely hate a crowd around my lady parts – especially when I’m in pain (I know, welcome to labor, etc. etc. I’m sure I’ll look back one day and say, “I had it so easy back then.”) If we’re fortunate enough for all of this to work, of course.
So doctor now wraps up the speculum portion and leaves in the catheter so he can inject a saline solution to look at the walls of my uterus and make sure that everything looks smooth and clear for baby. I asked if I would experience any pain similar to the HSG test, to which he responded, “no, nothing like that. Maybe just a little cramping.”
This is why I need a woman doctor.
The pain was: EXACTLY. THE. SAME.
(and if you have followed this blog for a few months, you know how much I adored the HSG test). So at this point, I’m white knuckle gripping the exam table as he almost gleefully shoots several rounds of the saline solution into my uterus and he, my wife, and the nurse watch the reactions on the screen. (Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but that’s what it felt like when I was at that level of pain).
Finally, he wrapped up and I sat up feeling a mixture of nausea, intense cramping, and a serious need to pee and my teeth started chattering uncontrollably as I raced for the bathroom.
After a few minutes, the cramping subsided, and by the time we finished filling out a bunch of consent forms and leaving the office, I felt like a relatively normal person.
The good news is, he said that everything looked beautiful and he was excited to see us in a few weeks for my wife’s egg retrieval.
The bad news is: I have an extraordinarily low pain tolerance and a tendency to be dramatic (hey – at least I know myself), so I’m unsure how I’m going to survive nine months of pregnancy, not to mention labor. Pray for
us my wife.
Next steps are blood work and additional monitoring, and the introduction of two new pills for me next week (estrace and asprin?) Lupron is still going well. I’ve graduated to shots in my belly, delivered by my wife. Her shots will commence in two weeks, I think.
So I mentioned at the beginning of this entry that life is unfair. In addition to the complete and total political nonsense that is happening in this country and the garbage that my wife and I had to go through with the insurance company, and every other unfair, horrible thing that is happening on this planet, a dear friend of ours who is going through IVF with her husband for different reasons than ours, got word that her stims aren’t working and she doesn’t appear to have healthy developing follicles and they may have to pull the plug on the treatment that they’ve already invested a lot of time and money in (they did a lot of pre-genetic testing because of family conditions that they were concerned about). Even though we are fairly certain that they had a different insurance company experience than we did, at the end of the day – it didn’t matter. Life still appears to be yanking away their ability to be parents, and I know they’d be good ones. It breaks my heart and TERRIFIES me because we still don’t know if we’ll be in a similar boat. All signs point to “no” but we’re not in the clear, yet. But in the meantime, friends of ours have breaking hearts and I wish we could do something. I told my wife previously that I felt pretty confident that I would consider donating my eggs (provided they’ll still take them since I’m 30+ as it is) if we walk away from this process with multiple viable embryos that we could use in the future, and we’ve since discussed donating any additional viable embryos we have that we do not implant (provided we are that blessed). I have read so much from people who feel a connection to the embryos – they can visualize the babies’ faces after holding their siblings, and can’t imagine giving any away or destroying them, but as of right now, we both feel really strongly that we would donate potential “extra” embryos (again, if we happen to be so fortunate). Maybe that will change. But I don’t think so. Maybe it won’t even be a decision we have to make. Who knows. But it’s funny – we had to sign forms indicating what we would do with any leftover embryos in the event of our unexpected deaths (God forbid), and before we knew what was happening with our friends – we both looked at each other, and suggested that we put their names down for who we would want to have “custody” of them, because we knew they were in our IVF boat and would make great parents of them, if needed (or make a good decision, if not).
There are so many shitty, shitty parents in this world. I wish everyone who truly ached for children, and wanted to give them loving homes and supportive lives could have them, and those who didn’t want them or wouldn’t take care of them – couldn’t. But that’s not our world. That’s not life.
In the meantime, my wife and I have decided that before we bring children into this world, that we want to bring good into it, so we’ve made a list of volunteer projects that we’d like to do together. We’re going to cook breakfast at a home where families stay when their children are in the hospital (my wife majored in culinary arts, and loves opportunities to “treat” people to her cooking skills, so it’s a double bonus). This world can be so bad, and mean, and ugly – but we can spread as much good and love as we can, and bring children into THAT space. So that’s what we hope to do. And that’s what we’ll work to create, regardless.
Love and positive wishes to you all.