Wednesday, August 6, 2008

RE #3

The whole of yesterday was an unending stream of emotions. It started with our first appointment with RE #3 (and with any luck, our final RE). I liked her and while she did not give us any information that was completely earth shattering (after all, I've been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt), she was more thorough than any RE we had encountered (read: $$$). Since my miscarriage and the fact that my husband's family does have a history of developmental disabilities, I wondered about genetic testing. But beyond my Cystic Fibrosis panel (I was negative), no one had ever mentioned it. The doctor shared some new research that being a carrier for several chromosomal abnormalities (including Fragile X), can actually be a cause for low sperm count. And seeing as how my husband doesn't have any clear physical problems that are leading to the low count and motility, she sent us off to explore.

I was delighted to go in this direction because in the back of my brain I have always wondered: "what if we keep going through treatments and/or miscarriages only to discover that the reason we couldn't get/stay pregnant in the first place was because our genes together are some sort of lethal combination?" I want to save myself the money, heartache and time, or in the very least have answers. Unfortunately we learned that the initial tests are $1,000, just for him. Ouch.

On top of this, I learned that my eggs may be wise beyond their years. Forgive me, for I have sinned. I should be an IF master, bouncing acronyms around as if I owned the place, but to be honest, I had never completely understood what the FSH numbers meant until yesterday (which is unlike me, as I generally research things microscopically, but I think this was an avoidance technique). Anyhow, the RE was concerned that two years ago, my FSH was over 12 and that this may indicate an advanced 'age' of my eggs, or rather a low number. But then I later thumbed through my records only to discover that my labs last year came back more in the 'normal' range (as I mentioned previously) with an FSH of 5. What does this mean? Is it possible to turn back time on one's eggs? Are they getting younger, multiplying somehow? I don't think so. So, I need this answered. Nevertheless, she was concerned that my reserve may not be an abundant one and mentioned that it was good we were pursuing this now.

Holy cow. I just turned 30. I started this process at 28. I had no idea that anyone's reproductive years could be so brief.

I did see something I had never seen before that left me feeling slightly optimistic: a big fat, mature follicle on the ultrasound screen that I had produced on my very own, without clomid. I honestly had lost faith that my body even knew how to do that, but apparently I am ovulatory after all. At least for now.

On the way home from the appointment, my husband was in quite the mood. He's generally a pretty even keel guy and one who, might I add, can spend money with the best of them, dropping a car payment down on one meal without breaking a sweat. I wondered where the mood came from. As I drove, he sat in the passenger's seat and confessed that it was the money we were spending on all of this and that it seems 'endless'. No, let me rephrase that. I shouldn't say he 'confessed'. He yelled. And kept yelling as we were speeding down the highway, tears inking their way beneath my sunglasses. Yes, I said in a calm voice, it is a lot, but in the scheme of life priorities, it's worth it, right?

I wondered and always have: does he believe it's worth it? This is another point at which I questioned his devotion to the process. And given the effort and money, it does take devotion. He was almost more delighted than I was when we finally got pregnant and I thought for sure that having a taste of that would make pursuing treatment more tangible for him. But I really think, as I did before, that he's doing this more because of how badly I want it, not for his own desires. And while it's admirable that he loves me that much, going to the appointments without complaint, taking the supplements even when they wreak havoc on his stomach, sticking needles in me, it makes this process that much harder. I am lifting my own weight while at the same time dragging him behind me. Sure, he's not fighting it, but he's certainly not running up alongside me.

After I dropped him off, I went to my monthly infertility drop-in support group, which was an entirely different bundle of emotions. It's good because I get to feel 'normal', I have others who understand, but their stories are just as painful. 75% of our meeting is spent in tears. So, today, I am exhausted. I am finally turning my back on immediately draining our bank account and will be pursuing a line of credit, so that neither of us will have a heart attack after walking out of our RE's office. Yes, I'll have a credit card baby, but I suppose that's better than no baby at all.


lifeslurper said...

Hi Shelby! It is tough isn't it? There is all the emotional upheavel to consider, and then the financial issues....oh my. I keep reminding myself that here in Australia the government hands out a 'baby bonus' of around $5000 AU on the birth a child (nice of them!)So should there ever be a Baby Lifeslurper he/she will instantly pay back part of the financial burden....but I am sure any of us would soon forget these difficulties the moment we first laid eyes on our babe!

Lost in Space said...

This whole journey is so hard. We are over $30k into it already and often wonder how much more it will cost (or where it will come from).

I have elevated FSH (11.1 was my highest reading). It's not a fertility death sentence, but it can make it harder to find that golden egg as well as respond to meds. Be careful what you read on the net as it is a scary place out there. FSH can fluctuate month to month. My RE explained it as a gradually increasing, but fluctuating curve which will eventually just stay elevated as pre-menopause approaches.

DH's always have their own concerns on this that manifest in such different ways. Hugs to you both.