I'm sorry, guys. I feel like I've abandoned you, but I needed the break. I have lots that I want to share with you, such as how the rest of summer was, first day of school (students started back today!) and updates from some other things. However, I wanted to let you know how things are going on the baby front. I feel like I dumped a bomb on you and then never came back to help clean up the pieces. My bad.
Also, please note that this will not turn into a fertility blog. I just write about everything and anything going on in my life and this is a pretty big part right now. I also still feel like Brad and I are very much supposed to share our story.
OK, so when we left off, we had just heard initial notes from the doctors. We have come so far since then.
August 7, 2012: Brad saw a urologist who officially diagnosed CBAVD (Congenital Bilateral Absence of the Vas Deferens) (laymens' terms--he has no tube to carry sperm out of the body). Brad may be a carrier of the cystic fibrosis gene or he may only have one kidney--both are linked to CBAVD. We are waiting on the Dr. to put in the order for an ultrasound for Brad. Brad's hormone levels are also a little low, so the urologist prescribed Clomid. The plan for Brad is to take the Clomid for three months in preparation for sperm extraction. The doctor's refer to this as "testicular aspiration" and I think that sounds ridiculous. They're going to knock him out and take sperm. Call it like it is, people.
August 15, 2012: We consulted with a fertility doctor who specializes in artificial insemination (also called IUI). He ordered a lot of blood work and procedures for me to finish out the diagnosis for my side of things. So far, I know that my estradiol and FSH are good. I also know that I am heterozygous for the MTHFR gene, which is involved with blood clots. That gene puts me at a higher risk for developing blood clots, but it turns out that another of my factors is wonky (will update when I know the name Update: It is the anticardiolipin antibody IGM that is elevated.) is a more significant risk. I also had an x-ray today (8/22) called an HSG. They injected contrast dye into my business and x-rayed to make sure that all my tubes and uterus are open and inviting. Good news--they are. We are still waiting on some of the blood work to come back (including my CF gene testing). Current medications: Prenatal with DHA, Vitamin D, Calcium, MTHFR capsule. Also, he explained why we would need to investigate IVF (which he doesn't do)--sperm goes through its final maturation period in the vas deferens. When it is extracted before going through that, it's like pulling out tadpoles when you need frogs. The sperm aren't great swimmers and won't be able to make it to an egg. That rules out not only IUI, but regular IVF. We would need IVF with ICSI. In everyday words, IVF puts eggs and sperm in a petri dish and plays the love-making music. With ICSI, scientists will literally place a sperm in an egg and make the magic happen.
August 22, 2012: In addition to the HSG x-ray this morning, I consulted with an IVF doctor this afternoon. He went over a lot of the history (which I'm getting a little sick of sharing) and then did an ultrasound (my second this week). He said everything looked great and even did a mock implantation to see if my systems are open to IVF. They are. The Dr. explained that for the first go, they would implant one embryo. I have over a 50% chance of that resulting in a "take-home baby" (their words). If subsequent rounds of IVF are needed, they will start with any frozen embryos we have and implant up to two. My chance of "take-home baby" are around 38%. I met with the financial adviser, too, to see exactly what we were looking at.
The group offers a money-back guarantee IVF, but we aren't eligible for that since we have to surgically extract the sperm. So, the first round of IVF will cost us $9200 (plus the cost of drugs, which can reach $2,000-$3,000). My plan is to call insurance tomorrow to see exactly which pieces they will and will not cover. Then, I want to start baking for a Bake Sale for Babies. Ha. The financial piece is big. I'm trying not to focus on it, but Brad and I certainly don't have $9200 for IVF, plus whatever other pieces we'll need, such as sperm banking and embryo freezing. I'm not sure how we'll come up with the money, but I know that neither of us want money to stand in the way of having a baby.
*Sigh* There's all the official things we've done since finding out the initial news. We've also talked with friends who we have found out are facing the same issues and coworkers who have gone through similar struggles and emerged with children. So far, we have yet to talk to anyone who has gone through IVF. I'm also struggling with anger and frustration. I'm getting really upset while reading facebook and twitter if one of my friends is complaining about morning sickness or pregnancy discomforts. I am doing a pretty good job of biting my tongue because I am so happy for them and I love them. I know they aren't trying to hurt me. I also know that I'm frustrated and angry with what Brad and I have to go through--I'm not mad that they're pregnant, but I'm hurt that I'm not.
Again, I feel like I'm not explaining all my feelings very well. I'm sorry. I'll try to work on that, but it is not easy to explain the myriad of emotions I feel (sometimes in five minutes' time). Please feel free to ask questions.