Tag Archives: medical testing

The RE and this month’s results

30 Nov

We had our appointment with the Reproductive Endocrinologist last week and it went really well. He’s a good listener and seems to have a great sense of empathy for his patients. That seems so hard to find these days, doesn’t it? At the appointment we talked a lot about what our methods are and how the process has evolved for us so far as well as our philosophies on medical intervention and fertility drugs. He agreed that we seem to be doing most everything right and made a strong recommendation to change the pattern of days that we try. Initially we were inseminating every day for 5 days and then I was told to change that to once every other day for a span of 5 days. This RE suggested that we try once a day for three consecutive days beginning maybe a day before ovulation if we can time it that way. Apparently the every other day technique is more of a recommended strategy for heterosexual couples that are TTC with intercourse, not through insemination. (Cue *eyeroll* that the advice had come from this doctor)

Above all, I was really happy that this doctor heard my plea that I felt as though it was time to take action. I was happy that he was willing to make suggestions to modify our method, but I really needed to know that we were on the track to solving this. If we’re dealing with infertility and it’s me, I need to know. He recommended that we do some blood work to check my hormone levels about a week after ovulation and get our donor’s sperm count lab tested and go from there. Luckily, it was exactly one week since I’d ovulated that day and we could do my blood work on the spot. The control freak in me cried “Hooray!” and I walked out with a pretty pink band-aid and a follow up appointment in a month. So we went on with our life and our two week wait. To tell you the truth, I hoped that we’d tempted fate and that a positive pregnancy test result would be followed by the bill for those blood tests in the mail in about a week. It’s like finding the thing you were looking for right after you’ve gotten home from buying a replacement for it.

Thanksgiving came and went. My Mom THOROUGHLY stressed me out over stupid crap and just when things seemed to be calming down, I went to the bathroom Friday afternoon and noticed that I was spotting. I couldn’t believe it. Typically some light spotting 6-12 days is usually thought to be implantation bleeding and weird as it may sound, it’s a pretty good sign. The bleeding occurs because the fertilized egg is implanting itself into the uterine lining and about 4 days after that HCG can become detectable (which is the stuff that makes a pregnancy test turn positive). This type of bleeding isn’t rare, but only about 30% of women experience it. I never had before and therefore was never really looking for it anymore. We tried to keep a level head about things but admittedly, we were both pretty pleased with such a well-timed good sign.

I went crazy. My POOR wife. I thought my other waits had been bad and although this was not as bad as my very first one I wondered every single second if I was pregnant. On top of the spotting (which continued off and on through the weekend), I was tired, a little queasy at times and my temperature stayed up. I had experienced some twinges in the same spot in my lower left abdomen for a week. It wasn’t unusual to have them, but usually not in the same spot so consistently. We decided that we’d take a test on Monday morning since we were both off work. We knew it was early, but I thought  we might get lucky if we used a really sensitive test and could get a very faint line.

I woke up and took the test but no lines appeared. Despite the negative result, the symptoms continued though so we hung onto hope that it was just a little too early. That afternoon the spotting continued and I was still feeling pretty bummed about the test so we went to the gym hoping I’d get a little endorphin pick-me-up from it. I teach spin classes regularly so through this whole process I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing how hard I can push myself so I don’t risk overexertion while we’re TTC. With a full class, the spin room got pretty hot so I took it easy and hydrated a lot but found myself getting abdominal cramps towards the end of it. I eased up even more but it didn’t seem to help. After class I realized I had really started bleeding quite heavily and had gone from spotting to heavier than a normal period. It stopped for a few hours when we got home so I went to bed hoping that the worst was over and planning to try to take another test again when I woke in the morning. I still had 2 days before I expected to get my period anyway so I hoped it was just intensified bleeding from all the activity.

I went to bed last night and woke up again less than an hour later and was really disoriented. I remember feeling like I didn’t know what was going on or where I was but my wife said I was asking a lot of questions and just looking generally confused. I think I was in some sort of between-dream-and-awake place but I was drenched in sweat so she turned a fan on over our bed and encouraged me to go back to sleep. I don’t know if that was related to what was going on but it wasn’t a regular occurrence for me to wake up like that. The heavy bleeding had returned by this morning and I woke up with strong stabbing cramps. It was much worse than my heaviest period but backed off by midday but the cramps still have not. I’ve had a couple bouts of hot flashes today that last 5 minutes or so but then they go away. I’m near launch for a HUGE project at work right now and while I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a very stressful time. I had to do an hour presentation today to about 30 people in the room and about 50 viewing online. Being in front of people was just the absolute last thing I wanted to do today but on the bright side, the day flew and I had no time to think about much else other than my work.

So it appears that we’re out this month. I’m not sure if what I was experiencing earlier was actually implantation bleeding and then something happened? Did we have it, then I lost it? Could this be from stress? I certainly hope it didn’t have anything to do with the spin class since I do them regularly and I’m pretty cautious about my limits. We try not to get our hopes up but it feels pretty devastating when something like this happens. We felt so close and now back at square one again in just the span of a few days. We are comforted by the fact that we already have another appointment on the books though. Hopefully, in a few more weeks we’ll be able to shed some light on the situation and figure out if we are achieving a chemical pregnancies and how we can make them stick.

I also just wanted to give a big THANK YOU to those reading this and still following our journey. I can’t express to you how awesome it is to know we have a supportive group of people behind us when it feels like the world is against us. There are some days (like today) when knowing that you guys are rooting for us and thinking of us really helps pull me through and keeps me from melting down. We’re determined to have our family and are so grateful for the energy and motivation you provide. WE LOVE YOU GUYS!


Dr. Runaround

3 Nov

I’m about a week-ish late now. Pregnancy tests have confirmed that I’m definitely not pregnant. I’ve been feeling really tired, crampy, super irritable and started spotting so will probably be counting either today or tomorrow as day 1 of another cycle.

I never heard back from my doctor so I called them again yesterday. It perturbs me that I got NO explanation as to why she hadn’t called me back for 5 days. Basically I explained that I had talked to her several months ago and she told me we had to be trying 8 or 9 months until I could have my fertility assessed via blood work. Now that we were going on 8 months, I wished to go ahead with that…and that now I had experienced some cycle irregularity too. She obviously read my tone and said that my cycle variation could very well be stress and that that wasn’t something she would refer me for until we had been trying a year. I was really starting to grow impatient with her dismissive nature. Now the magic number was A YEAR?!?

She started to ask me a bunch of other questions and when one of my answers involved the words “donor” and “insemination” she said “Forgive me, but why are you going about it this way, again? Does your husband have a low sperm count?” UM….WHAT? I could tell based on other information she had told me that she must have been looking at my records or chart or something. I can’t say I was too comforted by having to explain our situation all over again. “I’m in a same-sex relationship and we are working with a known donor.” I told her. “Oh, oh, oh…that all makes much more sense now.” I think she was a little embarrassed but she seemed more willing to give me the damn referral after that. Sidenote: I’m seriously considering switching doctors over the last few interactions I’ve had with her. I just don’t feel like she’s got her shit together or has shown a reasonable amount of compassion for us.

I got a referral though and our appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist is on the 22nd. We should be able to get some blood work done and figure out if my levels have been high enough to ovulate. I’ve suspected in the past that they aren’t when I have trouble getting a positive ovulation test. I was sent to this doctor before for some ultrasounds and was very happy with how he explained things and talked to us.  The thought of stepping it up to the next level is scary. We always wanted to keep things as simple as possible but we’re at the point where we’re willing to introduce fertility drugs and deal with a bit more evasive techniques if it’s likely to result in a pregnancy.

In the mean time, I’m just going to sit here with a heating pad applied to my cramps and hope that my body decides to chill out and get back to normal soon. Hopefully some answers are on their way.

Syringes, Lawyers and Lab Tests. OH MY!

22 Apr

Well, the last few days have certainly been busy. We’re in our final stages of preparing for our first insemination. Last weekend we had a hellacious storm, got water in our basement and spent most of our free time dealing with that. We did manage to get to the drug store and find our “turkey baster” tool so we were happy to have that out of the way. We’re pretty much just going to be using a plain old oral medication syringe. I also bought some instead softcups but I don’t know if we’ll actually use them or not. Figured that it couldn’t hurt. We do still have to go out and get containers for “the product” but that’s about all that’s left to do. I’ve read that they shouldn’t have been washed with any detergents as that can kill sperm so we’ll figure out how we’re going to do that some time this week.

Yesterday we also went to see our lawyer. Usually when I think of “lesbian” and “lawyer” I think of Jane Lynch as Joyce Wischnia on the L Word. Luckily, our lawyer is very UN-Joyce like and kind. She was genuinely excited for us. YAY!

Joyce is so boss. I’m kinda glad she’s not our lawyer though.

Our attorney has known us for over five years but is happy that we’re finally taking this journey. After explaining our plans and what we want, it looks like the first thing we’ll be working on is an agreement that says that our donor intends to relinquish parental right after a birth takes place (you legally can’t do it beforehand). Since we can’t really penalize him if he decides not to sign away rights, the agreement  also states that he would pay an ASTRONOMICAL amount of monthly child support should he refuse and decide to stay a legal guardian. Support owed to a child is really the only deterrent that we could enforce. So basically, we’ve made it so that there’s no way in hell he could afford to keep the kid. Our lawyer assured us that even though he could fight it, a court would be pretty likely to enforce it since it would be beneficial to the child. I kind of hate that we have to do it that way but we have to play devil’s advocate and hopefully this is a safety net that we’ll never deal with anyway. After that gets all signed next week we can move on to revising our wills and working on second parent adoption prep later on in a pregnancy. We left feeling pretty good! Although this adoption is going to cost us several thousand dollars, it’s pretty straightforward and our attorney is a BOSS at this stuff.

So, the only other thing left to do was to get our last round of medical screenings out of the way for our donor. I paid for the tests in advance and scheduled an appointment and went with him this morning. It only took about a half hour to get all of his samples taken and I should have the results emailed to me in a few days. We did all the same screenings about six months ago but we’re doing them twice just to be as safe as possible. Since we’re not using a sperm bank that will screen and clean his swimmers for us, we don’t mind the cost of being extra cautious. The tests cost about $250 each time and I use this service that let me pay for them out of pocket and find a nearby clinic online (or you can even do them by mail). Our donor doesn’t have medical insurance right now but if he did I’m sure there’s other ways to get these tests covered. I think Planned Parenthood might be an option too but I’m not sure. This just worked best for us.

While I was with him we talked about the terms of the upcoming agreement and how we plan to actually “make the trade” on our insemination days. He’s being really, really great about everything and both he and his boyfriend are excited for me to get pregnant. I can hardly believe that it’s only a few days away already. THAT IS CRAZY!!!

Lastly, if you know me, you know I LOVE Grey’s Anatomy and so here’s a humorous moment that I just had to share with my fellow fans…
Since we will be inseminating some on week days and some next weekend days, we’re discussing playing with the times of day a bit and just seeing how it goes. The donor’s boyfriend suggested that maybe after we try next Saturday morning we could all head over to the local farmers market, which is something we all love to do.  I said that I’d be lying on my back with my legs in the air for about a half hour but after that, sure we could go do whatever. He looked at me very matter-of-factly and sang “If I lay here….If I just lay here….We will wait half an hour until you’re knocked up.” I died laughing. Maybe it was totally cheeseball of him but I don’t care. Things were feeling far too serious at that moment and I love that they just get that and wanted to make me smile anyway.