Well bloody hell. I’m sitting on my couch with a sharps container and an alcohol swab, and it feels like I’m living in a different universe from my last post. If i looked where we’d come I’d get whiplash.
After the not so cosy hy-co-sy, we went in for visit 2 to the Gynae. Hub in boots along for the ride for this one. The hy-co-sy was all good, tubes clear, endometrium a ok for an old trout, apart from a small gremlin in my left ovary. A dermoid tumour / cyst. Apparently this is a confused group of cells that tried to become a person, and because it is made of stem cells sometimes they contain parts of organs, or fingernails, or teeth. Which is why you should NEVER google a health issue. I now have a mental image of a small bodiless troll doll living on my insides. Giant teeth, long hair, and U. G. L. Y ugly. My ugly little friend has been giving me quite a bit of trouble in the 4 weeks since the test, not sure who upset him but I’ve had this weird pressure and distended side, a constant feeling of wrongness on the left side. Not pleasant. There’s a small chance it’s malignant I think, but no one seems too worried.
We went back and saw mr gynae. He was underwhelming, underprepared and had a) misfiled my hy-co-sy results so did not discuss them and b) forgotten that hub in boots went the andrology lab a second time to count his swimmers. It was not until I prompted that he looked those up. The small fact he neglected to mention on the phone / in his letter was that in this second test the count was not only lower the morphology (number of abnormals) was a problem. Only 13% normal, count around 4 million. Ugly numbers indeed. Hub-in-boots was well pissed after that one.
He briefly discussed how f#$d we were, then discused referral possibilities. I was hedging my bets at this point, trading off private clinic IVF Australia against the public Royal Prince Alfred hospital fertility clinic. It soon became a non issue when the initial doctor appointment at RPA was not available until late Jan 2012 at the earliest, and appointments were not yet open. Bugger that.
Next on the list was IVF Australia. After a day or so of umming and ahhing I rang them, getting the impression from their abilities at answering the phones that this may well be the fawlty towers of IVF. I finally got a person who was new and vague and pointed out both doctors we’d been referred to were about to go on leave. This was going very well.
After juggling two branches we got in to IVF australia Castle hill for the initial appointment, literally seeing the Gynae on the wednesday and the Fertility Specialist on the following Tuesday. Talk about moving.
Got to say I was a little put off.
In the meantime, the referrals came in the post, not only addressed to the wrong doctors, but stating I had not had the hy-co-sy as it was not necessary given Hub-in-boots’ low test scores. Tubes not needed. Yes. Thank you for that. Very helpful observation AFTER the humiliating-think-i’m-going-to-die-from-the-pain-whatdoyoumeanits$400andIget $100 back from medicare test. Needless to say I was FURIOUS. Received it on a Friday night, emailed Gynae. NOT HAPPY JAN. Gynae clearly saw the lawsuits flashing in front of his eyes and replied Saturday morning with an unreserved apology for the errors. Idiot. If you want to treat professional people my friend, you gotta be professional. We expect it.
So fast forward a difficult few days.
1. The first thing that hit me in the reception area is the bold and the beautiful playing at 250 decibels. They were talking about a paternity suit. (As they do, regularly). I did not feel this was appropriate, funnily enough.
2. The second thing that hit me was this is not my kind of suburb. The faux indoor fountain, the shabby waiting area, the clientele. Not wanting to be uppity here, but seriously? She was in a led Zeppelin hoody and hubby was in his best trackies and thongs.
3. Another couple were a bit out there, and he walked outside and fell and hit his head, and some random passer by came in asking could the wife come out to help. She was getting her blood test done, and the receptionist kept saying she’d already left. The wife was literally 2 metres away, the husband is outside concussed and bleeding, and the receptionist does not a) leave her desk or b) look like this is out of the ordinary. This is going VERY WELL.
4. By the time we got seen to I was saying to hub-in-boots “this place is a factory”. The number of bodies passing through reception, to doctor, in to blood tests, back out, was extraordinary. Scary even.
Hub in boots had set up in reception, ostentatiously reading a brochure on “Male Infertility“. He said it was to make me feel better by making everyone aware HE was the problem. He was pulling hilarious facial expressions behind the brochure, the bold and the beautiful had moved on to the “person everyone thought was dead but is actually living just around the corner” section of this week’s plot, and I was getting the giggles.
But we saw our doctor, and he was lovely, made an effort to shake our hands. Does have a habit of saying mmmm randomly, kind of like Mr Mackey on South Park. Slightly disconcerting. He went through tests, I supplied him with all the ones the Gynae had failed to enclose, we discussed an all to brief history. He seemed to imply we were candidates for IVF, but we could continue to try naturally. It was hard to know what to make of it, and I did not feel it was that thorough. There was no clear guide of where to next. I agreed to do some paperwork on the spot because I wanted to keep things moving. The doctor suggested an antagonist cycle which is shorter and works on your naturaly cycle (for about 5 minutes!).
Hub in boots had stage fright. Especially when he had to drop his pants.
Apparently he has a large varicocole on his left one, and apparently the left one is the one that counts where swimmers are concerned, damn it. Big fat old vein cooking the books perhaps, overheating his boys. I know someone who knows someone who had surgery for this and went on to have 5 kids. It was certainly playing on my mind whether this would be a better option.
We were bewildered, and Doc said he could make time to meet me on Friday to discuss it more when he had more time, perhaps go over the blood tests. I agreed. Happy freaking birthday. Feel like a total cliche, sitting in reception of an IVF clinic on my 40th birthday. Geez louise.
We were all a kerfuffle that night. Unsure where to next. Unclear. Worried. Intimidated by the costs and the hassle factor. By the next morning, mid morning, I experienced a click, an alignment, a clarity. It didn’t matter if surgery on hub in boots may fix it, it didn’t matter if we could try for another few months, I am about to hit 40. We are going to run out of time. So other options will just use time up and the science says they may not improve our chances. With his count, without a miracle bounce in the numbers, or surgery plus 84 days for new swimmers, it is simply not going to happen. Not without help.
Hub in boots was worse than I was Tuesday night. More overwhelmed, more put off by the hassle and the expense. By Wednesday night, his fog, too, had lifted, and he not only decided we should go ahead he laid out for me a full reasoning why, and a thought about things he wants for his daughter. It was lovely. It reminded me what makes him such a special man.
Friday, my 40th, I met again with Doc and he was better. Less rushed, clearer in recommendations. We needed to do this if we wanted kids. Full stop. But it had to be our decision. He was more of a person at this visit, emphasised his support, how he makes himself available if there’s a “fouled cycle”, and tries to focus on next steps and what we’ve learned. I felt better about him, and truth be known my big list of questions was easier one on one, not worrying about hub-in-boots. The good news was we only needed to attend a nursing briefing the next week but then could just make the call on my cycle day 1 any month we wanted to start in the near future, without pre commitment. I was more confident in him as a practitioner. I also met him at the Greenwich offices, where the people were rather more normal and no one feel over or wore led zeppelin shirts. There was definitely a better vibe, and whilst the tele was still on, it was avoidable and quieter.
Monday I LOST IT. I lost my shit. Seriously. The nursing briefing, and I lost it. I drove, Hub-in-boots came along, and I was sitting in the car, sobbing and sobbing, incoherent, unable to go in. The time of our appointment was looming larger and larger, and I could not take my hands off the wheel, let alone go in. I could not pinpoint a reason for it, and I could not get past it. I told hub-in-boots my inner five year old was having a tantrum. I do NOT WANT TO BE HERE. I DO NOT WANT TO DO IT THIS WAY. I DO NOT WANT OUR FUTURE FAMILY TO BECOME A MEDICAL “problem”. I DO NOT WANT THIS.
Somehow I got in there, and the nurse was brusque, I think she saw it as efficient in the face of my clear upset. She was not clear in her instructions on the injections, and she was not at all understanding. I kept asking and reasking questions and she kept on giving unclear answers. It was very frustrating. Poor Hub in boots was really supportive and nice and focused. I was snappy and short and easily reduced to tears. Then we met with the admin person to do the money side of things. She was a bit better.
Tuesday I was fine. Easygoing, not freaking out about treatment, not worried. Like night and day it was, compared to Monday. So ridiculous. Tuesday evening on the nurse’s slightly friendlier Monday phone call, we went to a workshop on dealing with anxiety in a cycle. The most refreshing thing was seeing a room full of nice couples ( mostly a bit younger) who were normal and close and friendly and on IVF. Sadly most of them had done multiple cycles, but they were really nice and supportive and said it is all not as bad as you think. The techniques the trainers went through were useful too, I have to say. I have taken bits of them and brought them with me this week. They have stopped a few potential freak outs.
So I’d organised a family gathering for my belated 40th on Sunday, period due late Monday, probably start injections Wednesday. Treat the party as my last supper. One catch. The bastard thing comes Saturday night. So I am a) suffering really crappy levels of period pain b) unable to take naprogesic due to ivf rules and implantation effects c) catering for 20 people and d) trying to decide, by midday sunday with guests arriving at 12, do we go ahead or not go ahead with an October cycle. We rang at 10:30, they rang back at 11, and booked in for 7:20 Monday.
By the time they all left, I was unable to hold up my happy party face any longer and I lost it. like really really lost it. Worse than the nursing briefing? Not sure. But pretty bad. Bad enough to find the after hours number and think about ringing it to ask about cancellation consequences. Freaked out. I slept for a few hours on the couch, then woke up, then freaked a bit more. Sobbing, crying, sobbing. Poor poor hub in boots. How the hell he deals with me I’ll never know. He short circuited me by asking “so which bit exactly is worrying you about the treatment?”. and the truth was, it was not the treatment. It was my ability to cope with the emotional impact and a failed cycle that worried me.
ANYWAY, I got up, did the post party clean up, and eventually went to bed. This morning I got up, I was fine, completely calm, not sad, hub-in-boots drove us to the clinic and I was fine. The different nurse was nice (at last!) clear (hooray!), re-explained the injections, took my bloods, issued the boxes of drugs and the sharps container.
And here I sit. First injection done. I got home from work at 9:30 this evening, and hub-in-boots had ditched work for the day, came to the clinic this morning, we had a good coffee shop sit, and then he relaxed. He had watched the dvd on how to use the injection thing, he was all ready, and though I had a minor wobble and had to move to better light and a stiffer chair I injected myself no problems at all. It did not hurt anywhere near as much as I thought it might, and my great coach was keeping me calm and providing advice and jumped in and took over the sharps disposal after I was done. It was pretty easy.
So 9:40pm, for the next 14 evenings or so, me, the couch and the sharps disposal container have a date. Nothing like a bit of romance to get those juices flowing . Or a dirty great big needle, and a fridge full of drugs. Not sure why they can’t just bake it into a space cake and get you to eat the hormones. It’d be easier. But I’ll live.
I’m surprised we’re in it this fast, I’m surprised that on August 31st we got our bad answer about hub in boots, and on October 17th we’ve started an ICSI cycle of IVF. But there you go. Hopefully I will not be such a hormonal beastie that I am unable to post.
I’m not sure how it got it’s title, or if Audrey or Evan will ever hear about this, but they are both very very wanted and would be cherished and loved. Project Supergrover has begun.