Friday, April 28, 2006


Hi, I know from my previous post here you probably think I am all Mr. Gloom with zero personality and zero humour (yes that is spelt correctly). I just thought that I should share my worries and concerns for my wife and impending child(ren). You will probably notice that I keep saying child(ren). The reason is simple: we would like more than one and twins are in our bloodlines.

So, for those unfamiliar with my blog, I am a bona fide geek and a really big child (almost makes you think why I would need the competition). Fridays are typically my day to share a little online humour (yes it is!) with my readers.

So, today, in keeping with the theme of this blog, I want to appeal more to the male side of the equation and speak to the guys. Now guys, nothing to be embarrassed about it, but we all know that in the course of trying to get pregnant the woman does most of the work, what with all the prodding, and poking and exploring and testing. The guys pretty much are left to cheerleading duty. Well, except for our all important task in this whole process: provide the seed of life.

Now, any male still warm-bodied will tell you that at any time one is put into the "right circumstance", we will produce this substance of life for you in a heartbeat. A clinically cold room, people walking outside the door, examinations heard in the room next door, a waiting room full of folks who KNOW what you are doing in THERE, a doctor and a wife waiting expectantly for results and one's own ego and fears that one won't produce is NOT a "right circumstance". So, what does one do?

Well, much like you do with the inane chatter from the wife during your favourite sporting event on TV, you need to find your happy place and tune everything else out. Not every place has a sound proofed room with multiple video selections (like Forrest Hump) for you to enjoy privately. Most of the time it is worn, used magazines (I don't really need to elaborate as to why they are worn and used, do I?), a place to sit and a place to lie down (neither of which is enticing knowing that someone else did THIS on HERE) and a sink area to clean up when the mission has been accomplished. In the end, you will have to get creative and figure out what works best for you.

Let me get a few drinks into me first (strictly for medicinal purposes to kill this cold creeping up on me) and I will try to come back and give some helpful tips.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

X marks the spot

Visiting for the first time? Returning visitor? Whatever you are, how about "signing" my guest map? Just click over on the right below "There's no place like home" and mark your spot on the guest map. Thanks for visiting.

Doctor Update

Well I just called into the doctor's office to find out if the ultrasound tests were back and when I needed to come back in. Yes they are and the earliest she has is June 2!!! That's just par for the course with the waiting I've done so far, but at least we're moving forward. On a positive note, I asked if there'd been any cancellations for an earlier surgery date and she said that there is a patient who is having second thoughts but wants to talk to the doctor directly. Apparently when a patient has second thoughts, the doctor usually cancels the pending surgery and reschedules for later when the patient is ready. If that's the case, then they'll call me to move me into her time slot. The only date I know is May 31st. So I don't know if that's the pre-surgery appointment or the surgery appointment. She thought she'd know by tomorrow but thought by Monday for sure. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Somewhat true I think...

Occasionally I will step away from the story at hand, if I have nothing to update, and drop in some other items. However, I will try to maintain this blog as a running dialog regarding our journey, with only the odd veering off of the track. This is one such post. :) So borrowed from Penny Shagwell...

You Have a Phlegmatic Temperament

Mild mannered and laid back, you take life at a slow pace.
You are very consistent - both in emotions and actions.
You tend to absorb set backs easily. You are cool and collected.

It is difficult to offend you. You can remain composed and unemotional.
You are a great friend and lover. You don't demand much of others.
While you are quiet, you have a subtle wit that your friends know well.

At your worst, you are lazy and unwilling to work at anything.
You often get stuck in a rut, without aspirations or dreams.
You can get too dependent on others, setting yourself up for abandonment.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Now, where do we go from here?

Well, Pam has already covered where we are headed. I just have to express how I feel about the journey. The end result is going to be, what we hope, a wonderful experience in bringing up our one or two or however many we are blessed with children. I am the hammer of caution and reality in all of this so while I try not to be negative, I try to be true. I would not be who I am or who Pam expects me to be if I did any less.

In this grand process, let's just be honest for a second, I am simply an initial genetic seed donor and then I morph into lead cheerleader. My job is really not all that hard (sorry for the pun). I choose a method of assistance to help set the right atmosphere, get the little guys swimming and then expel genetic material into a glass or plastic receptacle for processing. With a feeling of euphoria, I can now sit back and relax as the rest of the procedures go on without me. Contrary to what you may be thinking, I am not exactly okay with that.

My DW gets poked, prodded (better than me, I might add), pushed and pulled in every which way to get samples, get pictures, count things, look for things, put things in, take things out, and all manner of testing. Our donor, D., may not have had many things happen to her at the moment, but still has to go out of her way to get tests done, and will eventually have to put needles into herself for the cause. We love her for her sacrifice and dedication to this.

I would be lying if I said I was not worried for Pam's health in all of this. When I heard about the fibroids, I was not happy about them but I accepted that they occur. When we went for the recent tests though, Pam made the mistake of mentioning the fibroids and cancer in the same sentence and she knew, without me saying a word, that I now had a new item to add to my list. It will stay on that list until Dr. L. takes it off the list when the procedure is completed. Pam's body has been stressed through all of this as she has been on various medications, and then that gets compounded with the worrying about it all.

I actually think the mental and emotional part of this process is far harder on us all than the physical part. Most people want this as much if not more for the two of us; it is a wonderful feeling to have friends and family think of you like that. Some, and we understand why, are concerned why we would take the risk and are concerned for Pam's health and the possible health of the child(ren). We are concerned about that as well and have recently talked about the pre-tests that can be performed now and what we would do if something is found in them. They are not easy choices to make, not easy things to have to deal with. We have to deal with them and be prepared for the worst as a matter of consequence with what we are doing.

I also have to be concerned for my wife. As young as she continues to look and act and feel and is at heart, she is no longer (sorry honey) a spring chicken. The stress on her is very real and the concern is as well. We came so close naturally and it was devastating when it simply was not to be. It took a while for her to even open up and express how she felt being that close and then losing that chance. I felt it as well but I had to be the strong one for the both of us. I do not take that role lightly and will do anything to protect her, including to shut down this project of ours if it means choosing her life over continuing. She knows there would be no choice in that instance. I do not intend to be that close to losing her again as long as I have a say in it.

So, here we are. It continues to be an interesting journey and I continue to be a supporting partner. I actually want this more for her than I do myself. Understand that not as I do not care to have another child(ren) (because I really do welcome that opportunity) but rather it is so important to her that I would do anything to make sure it happens for her. I even offered to knock up a suitable candidate of her choosing but for some reason she nixed that offer very quickly. So, we follow our path and we will try our best. I feel that we will succeed and having you all supporting us and wishing well on us could only help bring the dream to life.

Thanks for being here and see you online.


Now what?

Pam has basically given you the details on what we tried previously and what we are currently doing so I will not bore you with a recap of that. If you missed it, look below and start from the beginning. Instead, I would like to share with you, the audience, how it feels from this side. Let me start with the reference that Pam made earlier about the appendix.

When I was much younger, I had appendicitis which went undiagnosed and wrongly diagnosed up until the damn thing burst and I was on an operating table at The Hospital for Sick Children fighting for my life as poison enter my body cavity. I had three tubes in me draining nasty brown stuff out of me and I missed Christmas at home as I spent that in the hospital too. The HSC also saved T.'s life when she was born in 1991 at Centenary Hospital. She had meconium aspiration and had to be transported down to HSC where she would spend the next couple of months fighting for her life against that, jaundice, pumped with steroids, muscle relaxations (as she kept tearing out the leads), blood pressure meds, antibiotics and more. She was wired like a little video came under those ultraviolet lamps (phototherapy). So, I have a very special spot for the HSC for saving both my life and T.'s life; we hope to not have to use them in that manner ever again in the future. Anyhow, back to the appendix issue.

One day, my DW (dear wife, for those who do not read my blog) complained that her side was sore and extremely tender. I suggested that we go see someone about it but a certain stubborn someone insisted that it was nothing. I observed from a distance for the next day as I watched her wince, and bend over in pain and have to shift herself to get comfortable. On the Sunday morning, she awoke out of sleep in a lot of pain and was brought to tears. I asked exactly where she was feeling the pain. When shown, I did the same test my doctor did to diagnosis me those many years ago: I poked her! She immediately yelled out in pain and I told her that she had appendicitis and needed to see a doctor. She refused to go to the emergency ward with me and when it continued the following day, I said that the deal was that she had to see the doctor or I would drag her there myself.

Well, on the Tuesday morning, she went off to the doctors and I went to work and was teaching a class downtown. At the break, the receptionist handed me a message. I knew what it said before I opened it. Pam was on her way to Women's College to be assessed. Ok, I will simply wait for the next message that would complete the process to prove me right. It did not take an hour for that to happen and this time the receptionist came and got me out of class. You see, when she was assessed at the hospital, they confirmed that it was appendicitis. What we would learn once I left class (early that afternoon because I was worried and could not teach) is that the appendix was perforated and needed to be removed before it posed a real danger by rupturing completely like it did in me. That would be more dangerous in an adult than it was in a child and potentially fatal. Now, for real, I was scared that I could lose the woman I love.

Unlike the new medical dramas, there was no place for me to sit and observe so when they took her in, they told me to go on home. I would get a call later to let me know she came through it okay and I could come in the next day to see her. I went home and gathered the things she would need in her room. I also called her family to let them know that their twit of a daughter/sister/cousin/niece was in the hospital and would be there for a little while. Mum, Pam's mother, was actually out of town at the time so I had her brother track her down and tell her and to make sure that she did NOT cut her trip short to come back to Toronto. Pam was not going anywhere and would be there in the hospital when she got back. Okay, I would have been able to go to sleep since all the calls were made and her bag packed. I would have except I could not as I lay there thinking how close I came to losing her. Now I was angry.

The next day, after I made sure she was okay, comfortable as she could be, and up to date on everything, I admonished her for risking her life like that, for not listening to me, and (as I broke down and cried on her chest) for nearly leaving me without my partner. She promised to never do that again. I told her I would make sure she never forgot it and would remind her about it all the time to ensure that it never happened again; and I still do. In fact, several family members parading the "poo-poos" at her risking her life like that for no reason.

Between our two families, we have so many genetic markers and trends, it is a whole soup of possible issues that we have to be careful of. We have cancer on both sides (her mother, my mother, my grandmother), diabetes (pick a person in my family, except me and my siblings), high and low blood pressure, kidney failure, and on and on. So, we have to be careful about the signs that say something is wrong. Sure, none of the family history "guarantees" that we will either contract something ourselves or are destined to develop anything, but it does mean that it is more possible.

Which brings us to now.

A note from the other side of the spouse.

Hi there. It's me. V. I thought I would join my wife on this blog as I did not think a lot of men/husbands did; apparently I was mistaken and I really am joining a community of blogging couples in this particular genre. It's a shame that any of us have to blog about this but I guess it is just another curve in life. I will try to be to the point when I blog here. That does not necessarily mean brief but it does mean I won't meander off to topics that do not concern this topic area. So, I guess I should start with an introduction of how we got here and how I see it from my POV.

Around the end of 1997, I met Pam and, being a somewhat different person than most (i.e. I watch the old black and white shows, live in Star Trek, smoke "Popeye" cigarettes and love musicals), we quickly struck up a friendship. I had married my daughter's mother because I wanted to give my baby girl the life that I did not have. I was young and stupid and hopeful that giving 'B' the marriage she craved, I would get the family that I craved. It was a doomed connection from the start but I fought against all odds to make it work. In the end, I learned that a leopard cannot change its spots and I made the decision to end the marriage. Much strife came from that and one day I will finish my blog (created but not shared) that deals with that failure in my life.

On the good side of that, it meant that Pam and I, if we wanted, could now explore if we were truly meant for each other. There really was not a question to it. I am not exactly the easiest person to deal with, be around or please. I am not an ogre or abuser or anything like that. I am just an old Trinidadian male set in a middle-aged Trini-born, Canadian-bred body. I am very much set in a lot of the old ways of doing things and it brings many clashes with many people. I was open and honest about this from the start with the promise to be fair and flexible where my lady was concerned. If you ask her, I have more than kept my end of the bargain.

In Pam, I found my computer gaming, magazine and book reading, movie loving, musical singing, TV watching, freely speaking, strong willed, intimate equal partner. You would think people who were always around each other like we are would grow resentment or something. We haven't because we are not in each other's company so much due to obligation or domination by one partner over the other; we do it by choice and that makes all the difference in the world. I love the time we have together and I crave that time. We definitely have things to do and friends to see separately (as all healthy relationships should), but we are completely fine being on our own as long as we are together.

We have been together for eight years, married (in June) for two and are planning the rest of our lives together. It really does not get much better than that. Well, it does in a couple of respects. First, there is a whole lot of drama going on with our teenaged daughter from my first marriage. In a nutshell, she was taught to run from her problems, hide from the truth and to use those around her for selfish gains. We are trying to change those lessons to more positive ones but she has a big, negative influence in the form of her maternal grandparents (see other blog when I finish it for the gory details).

The second reason it would be, could be better is the reason that this blog was created. Understand that Pam treats my first child extremely well and T. calls her "mom" and everything; something I am very thankful for. However, we all know that ultimately, one to call your own is always a special feeling. It would diminish how we feel about T. not one iota but it will allow us to feel and share in the special feeling that only bringing a life into the world can bring. We have a lot of children from family and friends in our life and we are like parents to many of them. We want to be able to share that love with one of our very own. T. has been bugging us for seven years for a sibling as well so she wants this as much as we do.

So, that is how we got here. Now what?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Something the doctor said...

I was thinking about my appointment the other day, remembering some things she'd said and stuff. I tend to do that. You know, get focussed on something. Anyway, one thing that came to mind during her questions was if I had experienced dizziness. Some of you know that I have been getting these dizzy spells and vertigo off and on for the past several months. Not really bad, just the kind of stuff like when you get up too quickly. But it was getting more frequent and hadn't happened previously. It was a bit disconcerting considering I really hadn't been sick during that time (except for one bout of a really bad cold several weeks ago).

It was during the March break, V. and I were home relaxing. We had tickets I'd scored from the office for a Raptor's game - really good, lower bowl seats - that we didn't want to miss. But I had more intense dizziness and this time was experiencing nausea as well. Movement of my head intensived everything. I was feeling ill enough that eating was not possible, so I was spending the day on the couch. I'm thinking I've got the flu or something and I wasn't happy since I was on vacation. I was also at the point where I was thinking I wasn't going to be able to go to the game which would have really sucked because we hadn't been at all this season. Anyway, I took the laptop out to google for some info. I find all kinds of references to Ménière's disease but I'm pretty sure that's not my issue, but who knows. I figure when I see my GP in June for my annual checkup I'll ask her about it, if the problem is still there. (Yeah, yeah I tend to put off diagnosis. Ask V. about my appendix.) Meanwhile, I keep looking. I changed my search criteria to be dizziness and fibroids because it occurred to me that today was day 2 of my cycle, or CD2 (sorry guys if that's TMI) and maybe I could attribute this crappy feeling to that. Sure enough, I found this link. At least now it seems I have a reason for the dizziness that seems plausible. Oh, and the anemia that's mentioned as a result of the fibroids? That's me too. One doctor has me taking elemental iron, or ferrous sulphate, for the anemia.

Anyway, I managed to "expell" the nausea and V. and I headed to the game.

That's it for now.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Doctor, Doctor Gimme Da News

Well the day finally arrived, the one I've been waiting, obsessing over. My appointment with the surgeon who is going to remove my fibroids - Dr. L.

My appointment was for 10am this morning. V. and I went down in separate cars because I was going to be heading to work in the west end afterwards. I met V. at his company's downtown office and we went from there in the one car. Her office is at Women's College Hospital, right downtown. We got there early so I could fill out the necessary forms, only to be told that she was running late because she was downstairs with a patient. Dr. L. is more than a surgeon. She is also an OB/GYN with a large patient base. So it sounds like one of her patients had been admitted at some point and she was checking on her. In any case, our appointment was for 10, but by the time she came up and saw 3 or 4 pregnant women for their check ups (about 5 minutes per patient), it was 11am. I had mentioned to V. after I saw her call a couple that had come in after us that if she called someone else who came after us, I was going to go ask what was going. However, that wasn't necessary as she called us next.

We did the usual 20 questions for my history. (Sorry guys, TMI warning). You know, how long is my cycle, is it regular, any cramping or pain - the usual type of questions. Plus covered family history for cancer and such. We also discussed our upcoming plans, the IVF, and that we're using a donor. I mentioned that we've got the green light from the clinic and this is the only issue holding us back.

She then said that she'd read the referral letter which indicated I had one fibroid (I had been told two - more on that in a little bit) but that the ultrasound pictures hadn't been sent with the letter. But based on the limited information she had she thought she'd be able remove the fibroid(s) by laparoscopic myomectomy. Yeah! This was great news. After all, laparoscopic surgery, which is through the navel, has a recovery period of 2-3 weeks versus an abdominal myomectomy which has a recovery period of 6-8 weeks. Add onto that time a mandatory 3 month period following the recovery period to ensure that my uterus is fully healed and able to handle a pregnancy. So for me, time is of the essence.

Her next question was "when did you want to do this?" My answer of course was "as soon as possible". She's hiding her head in her hands waiting for my answer. Looks up and says "you're not going to like the date I'm going to tell you". Remember, she's got an extremely busy practice. V. says "August?". She didn't actually confirm that verbally but said "we can book you in and then move you up if there's a cancellation". She gave us an option to have a colleague of hers perform the surgery because he could probably do it next month. She thought his schedule was more open because many women wouldn't want a man performing the surgery. Personally, I didn't care (although I really liked her) I just wanted it done. However, V. was shaking his head and said to schedule it with her. Just a feeling he had. I've learned to listen to him when he gets these feelings. So, she calls her assistant to ask her what the next available surgical date was. She finds out that there was just a cancellation and we're booked for July 11th! Yippee!!

Because she didn't have the ultrasound pictures, I don't think she felt comfortable asking me to go through the process again. I think she was going to ask the other doctor who referred us to send them. However, I told her it was fine. I didn't mind. After all, I've had a very close relationship with the dildo-cam over the past two years. She laughed and said she'd never heard that name for the ultrasound wand. I was amazed considering how many people I've heard refer to it as that, or a cooter-wand or other such names. In any case, we wanted to get them done asap so as to get this all moving along. So we go up to reception to get the order written for the lab across the street for the abdominal and pelvic ultrasound for the fibroid mapping. This will provide her with their location, size and type. I also found out that should another cancellation come up that moves the date up even closer, I'll get a call. Keep your fingers crossed for that.

V. and I head down to the main floor. Once we get there V. remembers that we forgot to ask about validation for parking. I head back up to get the ticket stamped. We then headed over to the lab expecting to be waiting an hour before they could see us since I was a walk-in. I was hoping for a short wait because I had to pee from the wait so far. But I knew I couldn't do anything about that yet. When you get an ultrasound, they need your bladder relatively full as it shows off ones ovaries more clearly. Anyway, the wait was about a half hour before I was called - not bad really. For anyone who has had a baby, they know about the ultrasound and the full bladder. Invariably, the ultrasound technician is pressing down right on your bladder. Sure she moves the wand around your belly, but there's little relief until she says "go empty your bladder" . During the entire exam she's talking to the monitor. When she told me I was going to hear her talking to the monitor, I did ask her if it ever talked back. I know, me bad. :)

The entire exam took about a half hour, abdominal ultrasound, pelvic ultrasound, and kidneys. I asked her why scan the kidneys but because she was soft spoken with an eastern european accent I didn't really hear her reply. I believe it was to ensure the doctor was not confusing the kidneys with something in the uterus, but I'm not sure.

In any case, I asked her if she could tell me how many she saw. I knew that I couldn't ask her anything else because they won't say. They leave that up to the doctor. She did say that she saw three. Three!! I've now been told one, two and three. She did say two were small and one was very small. Anyway, they will send the results to Dr. L. within 3-4 business days. I'll be getting a call from Dr. L.'s office to schedule an appointment in a week or so to come in and discuss the results and confirm if she's able to do the surgery laparoscopically.

Once we were done there it was 1pm. Even if I ate lunch while driving to work, I still wouldn't get to the office until 2pm. As V. said, did it really make sense to go all that way for 3 hours? I had sent my manager a message from my blackberry letting him know that the doctor had requested tests and I didn't know how long it was going to take. Once I decided it made no sense to travel out to the office, I sent him a message letting him know that I would work from home for the rest of the day.

V. and I headed to the car so I could drop him back to the office. Thank god I went back up to get the parking ticket validated. Saved us $9.50!!! Parking at the hospital is a frickin' $3.50 for every half hour to a maximum of $21.00. By the time we ended up leaving, it was almost 3 hours for the morning. We paid $12.00. That's what you get for having to park in downtown Toronto.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'll let you know the next steps when I find out.

For those that want to know more about uterine fibroids and how they are removed click here. Warning, there are photographs from a laproscopic myomectomy.

According to what I heard the ultrasound tech saying during the exam, it sounds like mine are subserosal and intramural. This is a good thing as they tend to be removed laparoscopically.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The next step...

We have some amazing friends. Those who know what we're going through have been extremely supportive. They know how badly we both want to have children. Some have suggested adoption. Now in Ontario, a domestic adoption takes a long time, and invariably will be for an older child. I really want an infant. I really don't want an older child. V. has a 14 year old from his first marriage. She lives with us most of the time. So I already have an older child. Some of you may think this is a poor attitude. After all, I can't have children. Why am I being picky? Don't misunderstand me, I'm not against adoption. Far from it in fact. I would adopt from overseas if we had the money, but we don't. And with me being over 40, who knows if we'd even be accepted as adoptive parents.

Our next choice would be an egg donor. In the US, many fertility clinics have a list of available donors. In fact, some let you go online to their websites and browse their donors by nationality, age, hair/eye colour and religion. But this process can cost in the range of $4000-5000 as a fee to the donor PLUS the medication that they will require. When you go through a clinic in the US, you can be looking at a fee of upwards of $18,000-$20,000 for the IVF procedure, meds and donor. In Canada, it is illegal to sell eggs, sperm and/or embryos. This means that if you want a donor, you have to find someone who is willing to do this for nothing. For some people this can mean a family member, such as a sister or cousin. In my case, this wasn't an option. I don't have any sisters and how do you ask someone to do this for you, especially when we really hadn't told anyone in our families except our parents and siblings. However, we have the most amazing friend. I will call her D. When she heard what we were now considering, she stepped up, unasked and offered to help us. Unaware of what she would have to go through, she volunteered. This from a person who is terrified of needles.

We were floored. Humbled in fact. Absolutely speechless and in awe of this most generous offer. V. and I discussed it. We discussed it with D. She was sure. She asked what the next step was.

So I began researching on the internet, trying to find out costs and such in Canada. Because our doctor doesn't do IVFs we would have to be referred to another clinic. In Ontario it seems that fertility clinics don't want to post costs on their website. They'd rather get you into their office. However, I found several clinics in Montreal that did post prices and they seemed reasonable. I emailed one and got a response with a price that was half the cost to that of the US. We were astounded - $8000 plus meds. It was at that moment that we realized that maybe we could do this.

August 2005 we were able to get into one the clinics to meet with the RE. I had come prepared with our file from our doctor. We all met with the RE and discussed our history. We came back the next day to meet with the psychologist. This was a requirement of the clinic that both the donor (and her spouse if there is one) and the receiving couple meet together and separately with their staff psychologist. We all passed with flying colours. At that same visit, we also met with the head nurse to go through our history again, find out more detailed requirements (we needed V. and D. to have genetic testing), and get the required list of tests that we all had to get done. We were all excited. We liked the people we met, especially M., the nurse, and we liked the overall feel of the clinic. This was it! We were on our way!

Back home I called our doctor and explain the need for tests. Because we're working with a clinic out of province, our doctor will carry out my treatment and liase with the clinic on a daily basis once we begin the procedure. In the meantime, I need the full battery of blood work and ultrasounds done again, and V. needs blood work but because his semen analysis was within the last year, retesting is not required.

When I have the ultrasound the doctor sees the two fibroids that have apparently been there since we started fertility treatments. Because we've made the decision to move forward with IVF and a donor, our doctor decides that it's important that we get the fibroids dealt with because they can affect implantation of the embryo. So off I go to get them evaluated and measured. It turns our I have two under 5cm which is considered small. Based on this report I'm referred to a doctor to see if he can remove them. This appointment is in November. I meet with him but because of their location and type, he is unable to remove them vaginally and has to refer me to yet another physician. This referral is not until April 2o06!!!

Meanwhile, October finds us in Sherbrooke for the genetic testing.

Christmas comes and goes. We all get our tests done and results sent to the clinic. I'm in touch with them because I want to bring them up to date with the fibroid situation. We're deemed good to go, and all is looking good based on our combined results. We are now in a holding pattern while we wait for the appointment in April. I speak with our Doctor at the clinic. She tells me that she would do the exact same thing and send me to deal with the fibroids. She explains the possible surgeries. And she says that regardless of the recovery period based on the method (either 3-4 weeks or 6-8 weeks) she says that she requires a 3 month period following full recovery before we can begin any procedure to ensure that my uterus is fully healed. She suggests that I call the doctor's office weekly and ask about cancellations and just be a pain in the ass. :) Maybe it will get me in earlier. So I do that. Every week I call, sometimes twice a week. Sometimes I leave a message, sometimes I speak to the receptionist. She's very nice. She has my name on a post it note on her computer screen. She's trying to get me in but no luck. Finally, in March I tell her that we're now just waiting for this appointment because we've got the go ahead from our doctor. Unfortunately that doesn't help things. There are just no cancellations. So we wait.

The appointment is this week! April 20th! Keep fingers crossed that a) the surgery is scheduled for the next couple of weeks and b) it is laproscopic rather than full abdominal meaning the recovery time is the lesser.

I will update when I know something.

The middle...

We've now taken the next step. We're looking into our fertility, or rather, infertility. Without the blood tests, sperm analysis and other tests, I already know that the issue falls on me. After all, at this point, I'm almost 44. For the last few years my mother has been asking me "has Dr. J. said anything to you about your eggs? About them being old?" I know I'm older, but do I really need to have my mother remind me? ;)

Dr. M. doesn't pull any punches. She quotes the stats for us, that it's 5-10% chance we could conceive naturally, the risks to me and the baby if we did, all of that stuff. She performs all the necessary blood tests, semen analysis and confirms what I already knew. V. is fine, but I am of "advanced maternal age". In other words I've got old eggs. She wants us to discuss things and make a decision. She is conscious of costs and asks if we have any kind of health coverage. She suggests that we start with some cycles of clomid. Both V. and I have health plans that cover fertility treatments. So because of this coverage we decide to go ahead and give it a shot. Over the next four months, September-December 2004, we use clomid, increasing the dose over those four months, in conjunction with trying naturally. I didn't respond well on the Clomid, only producing one or two eggs. After the four month without success, she suggests that we move to injections. I had wanted to start with injections from the beginning because I know that poor resonders to clomid fare better on injectibles, as do older patients.

January 2005 we moved to the next level - injections with intrauterine insemination (IUI). That first month she put me on 150IU of Gonal-F. We were both hopeful that this would be the key. I did respond a bit better, but I still only had 2 or 3 follicles by the time we triggered. We hoped that by being able to put V.'s sperm right up there it would work. Just like everyone else going through this, we had high hopes for success. Of course it didn't work. However, because she said I had a couple of follicles that had retained fluid after the procedure, we had two wait for them to diminish before we could try again. I know now that I probably had a mild case of OHSS (overian hyperstimulation syndrome) if there is such a thing.

April and May had has trying again with dosages of 225IU and 375IU respectively. I responded a bit better but never had more than 4 or 5 follicles. Even with the IUI it didn't make any difference. It didn't seem like this was meant to be.

Each failure was devastating for me. I knew going into this that it was all a long shot, but even so, the failures were hard. And time was just not on my side. It was time to make a decision. What are our options? Egg donor? Adoption? It's a big decision, and there is a definite cost involved.

We take the summer to talk and think about things.

The Beginning...

Ever wonder why you get dealt the hand in life that you do?

In my younger years, I knew I wanted to have children, but it was never a really compelling need. Maybe because I wasn't with someone with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. In my 30s I was in a long term relationship. Initially I thought he was "the one". We were together 7 years, I think. Lived together for several of those years. My mother was not happy with this relationship. Although a fitness professional, he was a hyprocrite as he did more than just dabble in street drugs. Yes I was exposed, but thankfully I had more sense than he and did not participate. Now I'm not saying I'm a saint, (I have inhaled), but when it comes to shit like Crack, it definitely wasn't something I was going to put into my body. Suffice it to say, he was not a saint and I wouldn't wish him on my worst enemy. Eventually I came to the realization (much to my family's relief) that this relationship was bad for me and I needed to move on. He wasn't in the same place. It was a messy breakup. And because he wasn't in the same place, he couldn't understand why I wanted this. Being the nice person that I am, I tried to be nice about it. I still saw him at the gym and felt that I shouldn't have to change my life to get rid of him. Because of that, I got sucked back into a pseudo-relationship with him and at 35 years of age found myself pregnant.

Now what do I do? Of course, telling my mother was not easy but she was surprisingly supportive. She knew how much I wanted to keep the baby. But how could I have this child when I wanted nothing to do with the father? There was just no way I could do that, and so I went ahead and terminated the pregnancy. I still think about that day, wondering what that child would be like. What would he/she have looked like? Did I make the right choice? I know it was the right decision. Having a relationship with the father of that child was not an option. I wouldn't have been able to deprive that child of a relationship with the father, regardless of how bad a father he would have been. You may be thinking "how can you say that"? I can say that because I saw how he was with his other five children with his ex-wives. Yes, I said 5 kids and ex-wives. He was an absentee father, disappointed them on a regular basis, and didn't pay child support. Did I make a good choice? I think so.

Fast forward to 2002. V. and I got engaged in September 2002. I had wanted us to try to have kids before that, but V. didn't want to yet. However, now we started to try more seriously. In May, 2003 I was "late" for the first time during all of our trying. I took a HPT and it was inconclusive. Was that a line? Neither of us was sure. We decided to wait a couple more days and try again. However, that day I started bleeding. It was different. Because of those differences I knew I had been pregnant and miscarried. I was devastated. I didn't realize just how badly I wanted this until then. I made an appointment with my doctor and explained what happened. She confirmed that I probably had been pregnant and did miscarry. She wanted me to get a Day 3 FSH test. I didn't know what this test meant or what else it was used for. I went in on Day 3 of my next cycle and then waited for a call from the doctor's office. No call. So I call the doctor's office and spoke to her nurse who tells me "everything looks good". It wasn't until we went back a year later, in May 2o04, because we were no further along that we found out that this test is also the same one that is used to determine if a woman is pre-menopausal. The nurse hadn't bother to find out why I was sent for this test and assumed, incorrectly, that based on my age, the test was for menopause not whether I was still able to have kids. Because of her error, we lost a year - valuable time when you're trying to conceive.

Two months before we were set to get married, we were referred to a doctor who specialized in fertility. And so it begins...