1 06 2012

(this post has been written and edited several times over the last few years, over different blogs and even private journals. however, it still fits and here is the latest incarnation of it. please note that these are my experiences, and not necessarily facts in every case. your case should be discussed with your doctor.)

I am so angry at our situation that I cannot even begin to express my feelings properly. I’m angry that we can’t just TTC like normal people thanks to the fact that my husband had a vasectomy years ago, and the reversal was not very successful.

Long story short- X and his girlfriend found out his senior year of high school that she was pregnant.  They got married, and moved into his parents basement after he graduated. Shortly after, their first child was born. 5 months later, X joined the military, wanting what was best for his family. Right after he finished basic training and technical schooling, his wife found out she was pregnant again. Their second was born just shy of two years after their first. X was 20, his wife 19. She was done, and when the baby was 5 months old, told X that he needed to get a vasectomy or their marriage was over because she didn’t want any more children. What makes me angriest in this story is what comes next- A worried X, trying to save his marriage, went and saw his doctor. Two days later, he had a vasectomy done at TWENTY years old. With no counseling. No warnings about the odds of reversals being successful. NADA.

There’s a lot more that happens in there, but a year later, after coming home from deployment, his marriage was completely over. Even more happened after that, but the kicker is this. You see, stupid ex has now had another child. She was able to go on and have more kids at 23, because she hadn’t gotten fixed.

X eventually met me, and since we wanted to have kids together, had his vasectomy reversed. Our surgeon let us know that due to the time that had passed since his initial surgery and the type that had been done(not just clips, but cut, burn, and clips), our odds of the surgery being successful were slim. Even if it did succeed, we’d be looking at 18 months or so before things scarred back over. We went ahead with the surgery knowing the odds, but hoping for once we’d be lucky.

Obviously, we’ve not been so lucky. We had a few good months of great counts post surgery, and then dismal ever since. Things have not scarred completely back over, but they are bad enough that every RE has told us they’d do TESE if we do IVF to get sperm. Other than that, our only option would be to try a second reversal, going straight to the testes and bypassing the originally cut completely, but the odds are not likely for it to work very well.We haven’t talked closely to a urologist about this in a while since we decided to go the donor sperm route.

This isn’t the only story I’ve heard in our years in the military about doctors who hand out vasectomys like bandaids. I’ve heard of so many that allow patients to have them done with no counseling, at a young age and without good reason. Our local military facility has recently adopted the rule of 30 years of age or 3+ children, along with two counseling sessions required for the procedure to take place. I’m glad that these guidelines are finally being put in place so that someone else might be spared going through what we have had to deal with.

Some words of advice for those who are considering a vasectomy with the thought of a possible reversal someday:

Vasectomy is a very easy surgery. You’ll be tender for a few days, and have a few followups to ensure your count is clear, but that’s it. A reversal is MUCH more intense. 4 weeks of no sex, usually 1-2 weeks out of work, several followups to ensure your count is back, and a potential time factor. The closer to the initial procedure the reversal is done, the better the odds of success. After 5 years, your odds start to go down drastically. Post reversal, there can be scarring that forms that is painful and requires further surgeries as well. Antibodies can form, causing further complications, and the quality can have gone down due to lack of functionality over the years.

If you think you are done, but are not 1000% sure, get an IUD, use condoms, use BCP, anything other than having surgery performed with the option of reversing it years later. Most insurance companies will NOT cover the reversal, so that is an additional expense to consider, and they can get quite pricy. I really strongly recommend doing something temporary for at least one year, if not two to five years to be SURE you are done before you take that final step, because it seems like more and more people are regretting this decision each year.


IUI #3, done..and now we wait

25 05 2012

IUI #3 was scheduled for the 24th, and at the worst possible time of day(30 minutes earlier or 30 minutes later the drive is 25 minutes, at that time it’s over an hour). I went a bit earlier so that I had time to find parking(not my favorite spot, but only another lot away from the door, which is better than I normally get). I got in there, did the usual routine, and waited for Doc Euro to come in. He showed up with one of my favorite nurses(I have two, the one who did my trigger and the most experienced, who is their IVF nurse and ‘special case’ nurse).

That’s when things got horrible. I have a history of painful and difficult IUI’s due to my endo twisting my uterus and pulling on the cervix. In september, they ended up using ultrasound to guide the catheter to get it through. Dr. Europe remembered this and was prepared, and that was why he had picked the IVF nurse to assist him today. Long story short, 4 speculum, 3 ultrasounds, several attempts to bend the catheter, and one ten.aculum on my cervix later, the IUI finally got done. My 20 minute appointment turned into a visit of over an hour. I don’t have the exact count numbers from the IUI since the paperwork wasn’t in my chart yet from and.rology, but I know m RE was very pleased and said they were excellent.

Beta is scheduled for 6/11, and will be that day whether AF has started or not. Office policy now requires a beta after every medicated cycle before you can start meds for a new attempt. I’m fine with that after what we dealt with last year. Now it’s just a wait and see to figure out if I’m going to manage and wait that long to test. Anyone want to place bets on how long I will make it? For comparison’s sake, last year on IUI #1 I started testing at 11DPO, had heavy bleeding at 12DPO-14DPO, and finally got a BFP at 17DPO. On IUI #2 I tested out the trigger and got a negative at 9DPO/11DPT, and a BFP the next day at 10DPO.

Donor Sperm Dilemma

23 04 2012

Note: there is a lot of discussion about God in this post. I’m not here to debate whether there is a higher power or not, these are my feelings on the topic. Please try to keep things civil and relevant.

When moving on to donor sperm, the ‘telling’ became such a big concern of mine. Donor Sperm, IVF, IUI, and even just Infertility in general are such taboo topics of conversation in today’s society. In the religion where I was raised, a woman’s worth is defined by her ability to procreate and be a mother. Obviously, I’ve failed at that aspect. Medical intervention is highly frowned upon, but not forbidden, and as such almost everyone tells us that we need to “let go and let God” decide about our family, that we’ve not been faithful enough churchgoers and we need to confess our sins to God so he will allow us to have a child, that it will all happen in God’s timing.

You know what I have to say about that? Fuck them. I’m a believer in God, and I find this parable to be particularly fitting for this situation:

Parable of the Drowning Man

There’s a man, let’s say his name is Dave. Dave owns a beautiful house on the bank of a river. Over the last few weeks, the town Dave lives in has been hit with one storm after another, and with each storm the river rises. This morning the Weatherman on the local news forecasted the storm of the century. The river that Dave lives on is expected to crest at 30 feet above its normal level; Dave’s house and life are in danger. The News is encouraging people who live on this river to voluntarily evacuate. Dave ignored the evacuation suggestion and shouted at the TV, “God will take care of me!” The river water continued to rise. Local neighbors with boats rode around and offered Dave a ride to safety. Dave said no thank you to the ride and told his neighbors, “God will take care of me!” Dave was now sitting on his rooftop because the water was up to the second floor of his home and was still rising. The Coast Guard sent a helicopter to Dave’s house to rescue him. Dave refused to leave and told the Coast Guard, “God will take care of me!” The water continued to rise and Dave drowned. As he approached the gates of Heaven he asked St. Peter why. He asked how could God let him die when he had such faith? He said he always believed God would take care of him. How could God forsake him now when he needed him the most? St. Peter said to Dave with a sigh, “Dave, God tried to take care of you but you refused his help. He sent you a warning and suggestion to evacuate in the newscast, he sent you a rescue boat and then he sent you the Coast Guard in a helicopter. But, you refused all the help that God was sending you because you were failing to see that God can only help you, if you let him. Everything was right before your eyes and you refused to pay attention and accept it.”

Just like ‘Dave’ had the means of rescue provided to him by God, we’ve got the means to build our family provided as well: Medical Assistance. We have the ability to use the miracles of modern technology to figure out our issues and correct them. If God didn’t want these things to exist, I believe they wouldn’t.

With all that said, we’re not ashamed of the fact that we are using medical intervention and donor sperm to build our family. However, we are private people and don’t feel like it’s everyone’s business as to how we are building our family, and are concerned about how to share our story without oversharing. We love our families, but donor sperm is not something they’d embrace- they are some of the worst for telling us we need to let God decide. My family is a bit better than Mr. X’s, but neither family has ever truly struggled with infertility and RPL so they have no idea what things are like on this side of the story. How do we decide who to tell? Obviously, we need to figure this out because we’re going to have to address this topic to doctors constantly, and we don’t want to keep this from any children we may have.

I think we’ve decided that once we are pregnant and staying pregnant, we’ll sit down with our immediate families and explain the basics to them, and address that this is our choice and that they get no say in the matter. Anyone who cannot accept our decision then or in the future is not welcome to spend time with our children, because our children deserve to be surrounded by loving, supportive family no matter what, not conditionally on genetics. We may change our minds by the time this becomes an issue, but at least for now this is our plan. I know my immediate family(parents and siblings) will have no issues with this policy, its mostly the extended family I worry about. Considering my own grandfather doesn’t even count my stepchildren as his grandkids, I don’t think he will ever meet any children we have at this rate. X’s family will be another story- I hope they can support us, but considering we rarely hear from them right now, who knows how they will deal with all this.

For those of you who have had to address this topic, from any side, do you have any advice or words of wisdom for us or anyone else that may wonder?