Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back story

Some of you have indicated that I haven't really shared what got Irish Boy and I to this point in our attempt to spawn life, so while on a break, I thought I'd lay it out for those who are remotely interested.

Irish Boy and I will be married 10 years by the end of the summer. Let me qualify this to say that I was a child bride!! I was in my early twenties and about to head back to school for post-graduate work that would take me five years. (I know you're thinking, 5 years!!? Yeah, 5. Two of those years I went to school part-time and worked so that I could afford school and one year was a full year out working in the field. Now ya know and will no doubt sleep better for it!) Irish Boy had come over from Ireland (who would've guessed, eh?!) when we got married, so it took him a year or so to sort out all of the immigration bits n' pieces and then settle into a job.

We were young, idealistic and definitely not ready for kids. We had our first "pregnancy scare" within six months of marriage. My period had gone AWOL and I automatically assumed that I was pregnant. Silly, silly girl. Words like "amenorrhea" and "anovulation" were tossed around by my then family doctor and I was sent for my first ultrasound. PCOS was ruled out because there were no cysts on my ovaries (I've since learned that they're just wacky that way). Since I had just started back to school, I opted for birth control pills (oh, the irony!) and for the next 6 years, didn't really think too much about anything.

After I graduated, we moved away from my hometown so I could take my first job. It was a stressful year! Irish Boy had been through a couple of layoffs and was finally working again. I had gone off birth control, but we weren't actively trying to spawn, and honestly I was so stressed out at work I wasn't even thinking much about it! I put on (more) weight and for the next few years, coasted. In the back of my head I was getting worried about the whole failing to spawn thing. But choosing avoidance (my personal vice of choice), I figured that if I ignored it, this potential problem might resolve itself.

I changed job locations about a year and half ago. Though work still drives me nuts, this overall, was a really good move. My stress level reduced but my period woes did not. I started searching out fertility clinics on the web. Found one five minutes from work and our adventure into IF began. I didn't have a family doctor at the time, so my initial tests were done by the clinic's OB/GYN. Went through more ultrasounds and more declarations that I did not have PCOS. I persisted, because in spite of my non-cystic ovaries, I had practically every other symptom presented in PCOS. Much bloodwork later, it finally was declared that I did have PCOS and was insulin resistant (IR). Believe me, to finally get this diagnosis, was almost a relief! I was prescribed Metformin. I know that many people equate Met to hell. But I have to say, for me it's been a wonder drug. I really haven't had any negative side effects with it and it has definitely helped with weight loss and general sense of well being.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Prior to the PCOS declaration, I begged the OB/GYN to try Clomid. He sent Irish Boy for a sperm analysis (SA) but agreed that I could go on 50 mg. that month - even before we got Irish Boy's results back. I was certain I was holding us back.

Well what happened next completely floored us. Irish Boy is the eldest of five. His extended family is HUGE. He's Irish Catholic for goodness sake! The results came back with nothing. No sperm. Not even one. What. The. Fuck?! We were devastated. Shocked. Confused. We later learned of a surgery that Irish Boy had as a child that likely led to this unfortunate result. It's a long story - and really his to tell, so we'll leave it at that. We were to be referred to a urologist. At that point we were told it could be more than 6 months before we might get to see him.

Internet, let me break in to say here, as many of you already know, you have to be your own advocate with IF. Once again, I turned to my BFF Google and searched for urologists (with a focus on male fertility) in our general vicinity. It was there that I found our urologist, whom I will call Dr. Wonderful. It had his email address on the website that I found. So I emailed him and told him our story. I figured I'd either never hear anything back or maybe he'd eventually write back and tell me to piss off. He wrote back within 24 hours and was willing to see us. I love him. So Irish Boy went through tons of tests and was given the option of having varicocele surgery in an attempt to bring forth swimmers! It was a long shot but Irish Boy, bless, figured that since the surgery was totally covered, we should at least try. So we did. Last summer.

Unfortunately, it didn't make a difference for us. So, we were recommended to consider donor sperm by the urologist and the clinic. For us, moving to that was not a difficult decision. I have to say that I must be married to the greatest guy in the entire world, because never once did Irish Boy balk at the idea. We chose the donor together and haven't looked back.

We've done two injectible IUI's. Each time we got one mature follicle to trigger but were unsuccessful. I tend to respond slowly to the meds. (good times - more needles for me!) and am hoping they'll get a bit more aggressive with me when I do my next cycle. Now we're on a break until September when we'll do one more IUI and see what happens from there.

In the meantime, as you've been reading, I've delved into the world of acupuncture and naturopathy. I know some people are skeptical - but I've had a number of "close to me" experiences from others that make me a believer. I'm doing regular acupuncture and am currently on an array of supplements. If you're super interested in what I'm taking, let me know, I can blog about it!

So that's our story. Slightly abridged, but you get the gist.


Mad Hatter said...

Thank you for sharing that - I'm really sorry to hear about all the challenges you've both been through. You sound like you have a really wonderful relationship. AND I am super interested in what you're taking, so blog away, sister! ;-)

jenicini said...

I really appreciate you sharing your story with us. I think both you and your Irish boy show a lot of strength to simply keep rolling with the punches. I agree with Mad Hatter...keep blogging!

Beautiful Mess said...

Thanks for the back story! Irish Boy sounds like an amazing guy! Sending you LOTS of luck in September!

Anonymous said...

we def. need to talk accu/naturopath. i'm big into it--the husby is not (he thinks it's all witchdoctory) so i'd love to know what you're doing, how you like it, etc...

Queen D said...

Well first of all, sorry about all that the two of you have been through. *Hugs* Thanks for the story and bringing us up to date. I would love to read a blog about the acupuncture, I've thought about it many, many times but just haven't gone.

Eileen said...

It's always wonderful to read the backstory into someone's IF stuggle. Thank you for sharing. I love reading your blog and your honesty and have given you award on my blog for that reason.

Melissa G said...

Thanks for the history. Sorry to hear that you've been through so much. But at least we all learn a little from the heartache, right?

I just started acupuncture again and I am a big believer as well. Hoping it will do the trick for dIUI #2.(The first time I did acu was WAY before our MFI...Oh well)

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