Monthly Archives: September 2011

The First Appointment (or, Why All Offices Should Have a Fainting Couch)

Our first of what I assume will be many appointments with a reproductive endocrinologist was today. I was happy that we were able to get an appointment just a couple of weeks after finding out about the “bad” semen analysis results. It went well and it also went weird. I’m left feeling a lot of hope for our future though, which is good.

The RE that we went to seems fantastic. She brought us into the office and had already looked over Jon’s analysis report as well as other records and was ready to talk about our specific case. We didn’t have to bring her up to speed on where we were, she already knew all the information that was available and was ready to talk to us about what the results mean and what could happen going forward.

First, we learned that Jon had an appointment with the “wrong” kind of urologist. She recommended a male factor infertility urologist that he should see instead. At this point, I’m already feeling good about seeing an RE so soon, since Jon would’ve wasted time going to a urologist who wasn’t skilled in the specialty we needed. I feel like we’re being led confidently in a good direction.

Then she outlined all the different reasons azoospermia occurs. It could be obstructive or non-obstructive. If it’s obstructive it could be the vas derens, it could be the result of being a cystic fibrosis carrier, it could be a duct obstruction. If it’s non-obstructive it could be a Y-chromosome deletion, Sertoli-only syndrome (rare), testicular failure, other genetic defects or unexplained.

We started talking about what needed to happen to determine which of these factors is affecting us. To be fair, the process does not sound like it will be fun for Jon. The urologist visit this time might be preliminary but it’s likely that Jon’s going to need to have a biopsy, that’s right..sensitive areas cut open and explored. And right as Jon starts asking great questions and getting into the nitty gritty, he turns a weird shade of yellow, asks for some water and…..

…his eyes roll back into his head, he starts making a sound like he’s snoring, and his arms seize up. Because of my dad’s history of seizures, I immediately panicked. While our level-headed RE called other women into the room to help get him on the floor and onto his side, I pretty much cried and asked repeatedly if she was sure he wasn’t having a seizure. To her credit, at no point did she laugh at me while she explained that he had fainted and would be totally fine.

And of course, after a few minutes he opens his eyes and says “hey…what’s goin’ on?” and things are fine. He sits on the floor and drinks some juice while we finish up the meeting. We decide that while he needs to have bloodwork done, maybe today isn’t a good time for that.

I left the meeting feeling pretty good! I feel like we have a plan, there are explained reasons why this is happening, and there could be sperm in there and we could get it out and do IVF and all would be fine. It will  be a hard process no matter what, but the RE seems pretty confident that sperm will be found and we’ll be able to work with them. I feel good about leaving for our wine country vacation with answers and that vacation will be relaxed because at least we’re on a path that could lead us to the end goal of having a family together.

Post, the First

Like I just posted in my About Me page (which, hey! go check it out!), I don’t really know what I want this space to be beyond somewhere I can put down my thoughts at any given point in this whole process. There are a lot of strange things going on in our life and there’s no way to know where it will end up so I want to have somewhere to get it all out.

I guess for an outside reader “get what out?” is a pretty fair question at this point.

We got married in September 2009. We decided to wait a year before trying to have kids. To be honest, at that point I wasn’t even sure that I WANTED kids. We have a great life. We travel, we eat out, we go to shows, we enjoy ourselves and I couldn’t really see where having kids fit into that lifestyle that I was enjoying so much. I actually had some major crying fits trying to figure why I just didn’t KNOW whether or not I wanted a family. I could honestly envision our life both ways and I didn’t know and it drove me nuts. It seemed like every couple we knew had children and they knew from the start they wanted them in their lives. I couldn’t understand why it was so obvious to everyone but me. Shouldn’t I have strong feelings about having a baby? Why aren’t I normal?

So that went on for the entire year. September 2010 finally arrived and even though I still wasn’t sure, I stopped taking birth control. Now, whatever happened happened! Even though “fate” is not really a belief system I subscribe to, we decided we’d just see how it went. I started tracking my cycles and found that while I ovulate every month, they’re all over the place in terms of length. One cycle would be 30 days, the next 46, the next 35. There was no consistency, it was all over the place. While I worried about that, I was still struggling with whether or not we should even be trying to have kids, so emotions were all over the place. I didn’t know why I was bothering to track my cycles if we were just letting things happen. I didn’t know why I was paying attention if I wasn’t even sure I wanted to deal with the possible outcome.

After a regular visit with my OB/GYN in August 2010, after I’d been off birth control for nearly a year, she prescribed me a cycle of Clomid but also suggested that Jon go in for a semen analysis. Yesterday, we got the results of that analysis and no sperm were found. Not just a low sperm count, NO sperm count.

I feel like I’ve been punched in the face. When we started trying, I was so on the fence about things I thought maybe it was better if it just didn’t happen. But to find out that it is not going to happen feels wrong. It feels like something was stolen from me.  It’s weird that it takes a crisis like this to make you realize what you want in life. All of a sudden I can’t imagine not having a family around. No first days of school, no first steps, no singing and rocking a child to sleep, no watching my husband be an awesome father instead of just an awesome uncle. That seems like a lot to have taken away.

I had a date scheduled with my mom and my sister and by the time I got down to their house to go out, I was a mess. But I hadn’t even been able to tell Jon about the results of the analysis yet, so I certainly couldn’t tell anyone else. My sister knew immediately that something was wrong. I couldn’t eat, I could barely participate in conversation and I’m sure my mother was well aware that something was wrong. But I couldn’t say it out loud. I think I was probably afraid that they’d both tell me that we were fine without kids anyway and I wasn’t ready to say that this had strongly pushed me in the other direction. Having the possibility removed altogether made things clearer and made me broken hearted to think of not raising a family with the man I loved.

Telling Jon the results of the analysis that night was scary. I didn’t want to deliver the bad news and I knew it wouldn’t happen without some tears. But, we got through it, talked about it and made the decision to make appointments with an RE and a urologist to start figuring out what the problem is. I feel like no matter what, we’re a strong couple. Our relationship will withstand this and we’ll figure it all out together. I know there are going to be a lot of hard times ahead and there’s no way to know what will happen, but I think no matter what, we’ll be ok. And that is a comforting feeling. Together, we’ll be fine no matter what else happens around us.

And I guess I don’t have to take the Clomid then, huh?