Wednesday, March 28, 2012

bump #4: $$$$

It goes without saying that if you cannot conceive a child naturally, there are going to be some astronomical expenses involved.  I am now acutely aware of this fact.  And of course my insurance conveniently doesn't cover any of it.

We have just barely began the alternate/medical journey to pregnancy and still don't even know exactly what the problem is, which is very discouraging.  The solution: pay more money to take more tests to get some idea of what medicines to take to increase the chances of conception. In all honesty, I prefer the Frank Jr. (of Friends) method who insightfully remarked, "How 'bout you get drunk, that worked for a bunch of girls at my highschool!" Yeah, I could definitely afford a six pack sooner than a round of IVF :)

The toughest part of this stage in the game is that there are are still so many unknowns.

My consultation appointment and ultrasound ($400) were unrevealing.

The HSG x-rays ($300) showed everything as normal, with the exception of an arcuate uterus, which is fairly common and not medically significant.

Next up is the Fertility Panel ($1,000) consisting of blood work to test for anything in my blood that could affect my fertility from diseases to anti-bodies. And I thought having a strong immune system was a plus! Turns out it could also be another obstacle to getting pregnant.

After that is probably a round of anti-biotics, fermara (ovulation inducing medicine - $100), and then an IUI (intrauterine insemination -$1,000) If that doesn't work after a few cycles, then the doctors will suggest IVF ($25,000) which we have decided is not an option for us at this point, and so we will go home baby-less and more depressed.

So no guarantee of a baby, and thousands of dollars down the drain.

On the plus side, I am not currently with child, so
I could drink a six pack of shiner bock if I wanted to!

I have been frequenting the interwebs and stumbled upon a few other gals in similar situations as mine. The fabulous Erika's blog has a particularly humorous yet accurate depiction of precisely what we are going through. It is comforting to know that we are not the only ones. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

bump #3: waiting

If there is anything God is teaching me throughout these baby bump hurdles, it is how to wait with hope. {You probably thought I was going to say that He is teaching me patience. Ha! I'm 28 years old and can honestly tell you that i will struggle with patience the rest of my life. Infertility issues have definitely not helped in the patience department. I'll leave it at that.}

My dad is always good for advice. He is the one who told me so many, many years ago that "anything worth having is worth waiting for." I'm almost certain this conversation took place in the toy section at Target in 1992 and was in reference to the Beverly Hills 90210 Kelly Taylor Barbie Doll I had been wanting. I put it in the cart, and dad put it back on the shelf, mumbling something about waiting for it.

If you're reaching for relevance here, it's this: My dad had already bought that doll and was just wating to give it to me until a later time.

He knew what he was doing. I didn't.

I did not see the whole picture.
I could only see exactly what I wanted,
just out of my reach.

1 week later he gave me the doll.

And I thought "it's about flipping time! I've been waiting for this all season!" You thought I was going to say how grateful I was, didn't you?
I was grateful, but I was also tired of waiting.

I keep hearing this voice, a whisper, remiding me ever so gently to "be grateful for the waiting."

I also keep hearing the voice of Tom Petty, "the waiting is the hardest part."

I'm inclined to agree with Tommy.

Why would anyone be grateful for waiting?

Every major event in my life has involved waiting.

Waiting to grow up.
Waiting to graduate.
Waiting to hear back from colleges.
Waiting to move.
Waiting in a long distance relationship.
Waiting for my wedding day
Waiting to hear back from the doctors.
Waiting for my new insurance policy.
Waiting to decorate a nursery.

All of this waiting and I'm not sure I would desbribe any of these as my most grateful moments.

The Bible says this: "In all things give thanks (be grateful)."

Especially in waiting.

I have been somewhat blind-sided by how long we have been waiting for a baby.

I am still not sure how to be grateful for it, but I am learning how to hope through it.

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

There is overwhelming hope that God is in control

I am grateful that
He sees the whole picture, and I just can't.

And, as always, my dad was right... "Anything worth having is worth waiting for."

And so we wait.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

bump #2: HSG

First things first, there is NO UNICORN *unicornuate* in my uterus. Hooray!!!

I managed to snap this picture during the xray today and the doctors said everything looks good... no blocked fallopian tubes and nothing of concern. Phew! (all the black stuff is the iodine (dye) they inserted so they could make sure the tubes look right) I don't have the slightest idea what anything else is, but hopefully at my next doctors appointment they'll explain it to me.

Infertility (ugh I hate that word) is not something I ever thought would be part of my vernacular. My family background is anything but infertile (not quite Duggar's status, but close) and there were never any signs that would indicate that getting pregnant would be difficult for me. That sounds smug, what I mean to say is that I wish someone would have told me years ago that 1 in 10 couples will struggle to get pregnant, so I would have been better prepared for the last year and a half of disappointment. I guess that's why I'm blogging about it here.

The only thing worse than infertility would have to be unexplained infertility. I am a problem solver and I need some explanations here!  If the first bump along the way was realizing that we (let me clarify: ME, lucky hubbs is in the clear) may in fact be infertile. The second bump is determining what the specific problem is.

This leads us to
Bump # 2: the hysterosalpingogram (HSG)  read about it here (the current step in our fertility journey)

I mentioned this beast of an x-ray yesterday, (and praise God!) I survived it this afternoon.
I hope that no one ever has to go through one of those procedures and would describe it as an annual exam times 50.  Not to say that I didn't handle it like a pro... the doctors were very impressed with my pain tolerance and said most women cry when they:

1. wedge in the "speculum" (something resembling salad tongs) to open the cervix
2. put in the balloon thing (definitely the most painful part) that they inflate to hold everything open so
    they can take pictures of the cute-erus (it does sound better than uterus), and
3. insert the catheter (to inject the iodine)

I'd say it was tear worthy, but crying, - NOT THIS GIRL

Although I have a confession to make:

I rarely take medicine, but after my doctor did that ultrasound on Friday and described my cervix as "Fort Knox" (i.e. super tight and closed up) he recommended that I take a valium to calm me down a bit for this procedure. Duly noted, Doc.

I also took a big fat naproxen for the cramps (although in all honesty, they were no worse than minor menstrual cramps.)

And I'm on antibiotics (doxycyclene) to prevent any infections from such an invasive procedure.

I'll keep y'all informed once I know the official results of the xray and figure out the next step.
I'm just so glad that that's over with!!!

Now for the humorous part of the day:

Hubbs is out of town this week, but it was the only time I could go in for this appointment and apparently with fertility stuff there are certain times of the month that you have to do things and today was the day. So I went all by my lonesome.

And I had to take a valium.

I'm admittedly not a great driver. Add the equivalent of a six pack mike's hard lemonade to the mix and we'd have a disaster on our hands.

Solution: I left an hour early for my appointment and took the valium when I arrived at the doctor's office.

The whole procedure only took about 30 minutes, so when I stood up to leave and was falling all over the place a little wobbly, I decided it would be best if I didn't make the 25 minute drive home right away.

Solution: I drove across the street, shopped a bit, and apparently had a really nice nap in the car afterwards...

I woke up to discover I had bought 8 boxes of hair dye and a planner with only two things written in it for today: Doctor's Appointment and Dye my hair

I flipped through the US Weekly that has been in my passenger seat for over a week and figured if I was disgruntled and worked up enough about that skanky snooki getting knocked up while I still couldn't, that I had enough coherency to make the drive home. And I did.

If I'm learning anything through this experience, it is definitely to maintain a sense of humor about everything.  I am not prone to depression, but could see how easily one might become discouraged through all of this and sink into a deep pit of self pity and sadness. I choose to see it as a journey that has its ups and downs, but ends with a baby in my belly. I don't want to think about the alternative at this point.

And the alternative to brens baby bump is brens big booty bump and that in itself is depressing.

Guess I'm off to dye my hair now :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

bump #1: timing

After 5 years of marriage, I can sum up in 8 words exactly what every conversation undoubtedly turns to:
"When are you going to have a baby?"

Such a sweet, innocent, (just a lil bit nosey) question. In all honesty I loved this question, heck I even asked this question to all my friends, and it never ever bothered me because we knew we would have children sometime "soonish." It never bothered me until recently when we discovered that we don't exactly have a say in the matter.

Let me catch you up...

We always wanted children. We've been talking about it since highschool. (Don't read too much into that, we only ever talked about it, we never acted on it :)  Hubbs wants 2 kids and I want 4, we have names picked out and bla bla bla.  Always the planner, I drew out a timeline:  graduate college at 22 [check] get married at 23 [check] bonus: we got married 07-07-07 it was perfect!  Live it up in San Diego [check] and so on. 

We both wanted to be married for a couple years before having kids so we could look back fondly and say "remember when we went to Hawaii /New York / Vegas before we had kids, those were the days!"  Silver lining: we've gotten to go on A LOT of vacations sans kiddos. I digress.

On our third anniversary we decided it was finally time to start our family. I had no delusions of grandeur, I know these things take time. So we "sort of" tried. I say sort of because we took the que sera approach, you know whatever will be will be. And a year went by. Nothing.

No big deal, life went on and we thought nothing of it.  We figured "well,the time just isn't right." So we prayed about it and waited a while.

A good friend recommended the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, so I read it and realized we needed to step up our game if we were serious about baby making. So we did.

After 1 (unsuccessful) year of trying to get pregnant {taking my basal body temperature to track ovulation- perfectly predictable, reading every. single. pre-pregnancy book- um, yeah I already knew all of that, and making sure everything on hubby's end was in working order- it is} we reluctantly made an appointment for a consultation at the fertility clinic.  
I must confess, this was an absolute last resort as I loathe going to the doctor for any reason, especially pertaining to this super private matter.
Well, I had to get over that real fast... enter mega invasive lala procedures (i always called it a lala, I  guess I think it sounds prettier than alternate terms.) 

At the consultation (last Friday) the doctor performed an ultrasound giving a fairly detailed look at my uterus - too bad there isn't a cuter word for uterus... perhaps "cute-erus?" -Anyway, Everything looked great; I'll spare you the details about follicles and ovaries mostly because I don't really know the difference, all I can say is they're there and that's what matters. Everything looked great... until we got to the left ovary, which was a little out of place and had only half as many follicles as the right one. No good. The doctor also mentioned something about a possible unicorn uterus (medical term unicornuate - google it) Seriously?! Who comes up with this stuff?

This is most likely a worst case scenario and it's probably not that bad. Even if my uterus is somehow malformed, getting pregnant is not impossible. I'm trying to stay positive until I know exactly what the problem is. And then I plan on consuming mass quantities of ice cream and/or chocolate until I feel better.

*I have, however, learned what pray without ceasing means, to say the least. "God, please please don't let it be that unicorn whatever!" Never thought I'd say that in a sentence :)

And with that overly thorough synopsis, you are sufficiently caught up.

Tomorrow I am going in for a follow up appointment to perform an xray (hysterosalpingography) HSG on my reproductive system that will hopefully rule out any potential pregnancy problems and reveal a fantastic looking uterus without anything resembling a unicorn. All of this medical stuff is so incredibly foreign to me! (x rays and ultrasounds and mythical horned creatures, oh my!)

I'm thinking I'd much prefer a "my little pony" fallopian tube than a "unicorn" uterus.

Sometimes trying to get pregnant for so long makes you unbelievably sad, but
Sometimes you just have to laugh about it.  A unicorn, really?!

first comes love

First comes love.

Then comes marriage.

Then comes... the horse before the carriage.
(Or the cart before the horse. Whatever... I never understood that expression!)
Let me explain... I am Bren, but there is currently no baby bump.

* There is however a deceptively large "I ate way too much food bump" but we'll save that for another blog - stay tuned for bren's breakfast bump. {Riveting} 

So, you may be asking why... why this blog now?
The answer is two-fold.

1. Copyright. Like I learned nothing from the overnight success of (my maiden name is bing, and if I had a penny for everytime someone used *my* search engine, I'd be a bing-jillionaire.) I doubt this silly blog will ever have that kind of publicity, but I might as well claim ownership of it now before some other bren comes along. You know the saying "fool me once, shame on you..." I, like the Who, will NOT get fooled again!

2. The real reason. It turns out there are quite a few bumps between marriage and the baby carriage. I want to share some of them here in the hopes that someone else might be walking the same path we are and find comfort in knowing they're not alone. 

So this blog, at least for now, is about overcoming the bumps on the path to pregnancy
one bump at a time.