9 Things I Wish I Had Known About Infertility

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Reflecting back on our two+ year journey through infertility, I can think of a lot of things I wish I would have known and been prepared for when we got started. This is a journey that never ends, even after you’re pregnant. For my friends who are still working at achieving their dreams or have experienced the trials of infertility treatments, I hope you can relate to my list of nine things I wish I would have known before we started this process.

1. You go in naive and hopeful…

E.R., George Clooney, 1994-, © NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

I’m talking full-blown, wide-eyed, rainbows and sunshine naive. “This will only take one or two tries, three max!” naive. “We can afford $4000, worst case scenario!” naive.  We picked the perfect donor, informed our families, planned our finances around two or three cycles and went for it! After all, we weren’t really infertile… just missing a penis. In fact, our medical records at our RE’s office list “azoospermia” as our infertility diagnosis. Even though we went in thinking positive thoughts, it only took a couple of cycles to realize we were going to have a problem.

2. …but quickly realize it’s not going to be easy.

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On my first Clomid cycle, I had one follicle that only made it to 16mm. Through my other 4 cycles, my uterine lining and follicle sizes were absolutely all over the map, and I never responded well to increased dosages (up to 150mg at one point). When we switched to Ashley, her cysts turned out to be such a huge problem that she had to undergo a cystectomy to save her ovary from a hemorrhagic cyst. (Our RE was actually so excited about the success of the surgery that he gave Ashley a massive high-five after seeing that her ovary was still producing eggs at her next ultrasound.) Wading out into the uncertain waters of infertility treatments is scary, because you never know what sort of problems you will find and/or create while you’re in there. Clomid can lead to early miscarriage because of it’s effect on the quality of eggs and the uterine lining. It can also lead to a high risk of cancer, which is why our RE and many others impose a cap on how many cycles you can use it (6 for us, I’ve had 5 and Ashley has had 4.) It’s a rough balancing act, because as lesbians we don’t need the type of care that an RE usually provides. We refused all fertility testing because we didn’t want to pay for or undergo expensive and invasive procedures when we didn’t even know that we would have trouble conceiving. We decided to use Clomid because we wanted higher chances, even though there were extra risks. You really are going in blind, weighing your options and picking what is the cheapest/fastest/highest success rate/lowest risk… and no one treatment fits into all those categories.

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3. You start to experience loss.

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I’m not just talking about miscarriage and stillbirth here, that would be obvious. I lost my pregnancy at 5 weeks after my second IUI, and until we lost Rohen it was the saddest thing that ever happened to me. Losing Rohen was like having our hearts ripped out of our chests. I’ve written until my fingers were cramping about both of those, but the sadness I’m talking about now lies in something smaller and less conspicuous than that. It’s in every single negative pregnancy test. It’s on your first cycle when that blissful hope dies out for the first time, and it’s on the ninth cycle after you told yourself last time you weren’t going to be able to recover from another failed cycle. It’s when trying becomes almost a habit, ultrasounds and Clomid and inseminations over and over again, and still no results. Ashley barely made it through our last three inseminations, she was so sure that there was no way this would ever work. I think the saddest thing about this is that no one wants to hear about it. Depression is incredibly lonely, and it’s even lonelier when you’re grieving for something that no one else can see was even lost in the first place. During the two week wait after inseminations, you fantasize about the baby implanting and growing, dream of your due date, expect and wish for this one to be it. When that test comes back negative, it’s like it’s own little miscarriage. It really is the miscarriage of a dream. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that family and friends will recognize the magnitude of this loss, and so that pain gets internalized. The depression during and after infertility is a special kind of emptiness. An empty womb is so heavy to bear.

4. You become addicted to POAS (peeing on a stick)

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And I mean addicted. I’m talking about clearing the entire shelf of 88 cent Walmart tests (First Signal, it’s like the meth of POAS addition). At one point, Ashley and I left Walmart with two entire grocery bags full of tests, probably about 10 brands. Oh sure, you’ll tell yourself you’re just going to “test out the trigger”, but it soon turns into daily testing. “IS THAT A LINE?” “LOOK AT IT THIS WAY AND SQUINT YOUR EYES IT KIND OF LOOKS LIKE A LINE!” “WAIT, LET’S LOOK AT IT IN NATURAL SUNLIGHT, THEN WE WILL BE ABLE TO TELL!” “TAKE A PICTURE OF IT, IF WE CAN SEE THE LINE IN THE PICTURE THEN WE WILL KNOW IT’S REALLY A LINE!” “IT’S 9DPIUI DO YOU THINK THERE’S STILL TIME FOR A BFP?”

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You’d think that all this madness would end when you FINALLY get that BFP… nope, not at all. In fact, Ashley took pregnancy tests every single day until our first ultrasound. (Not so) funny story: On the morning of our first ultrasound, Ashley peed on a stick (her usual routine) the test came up BARELY positive, even though we had been having very distinct positives for weeks. She woke me up telling me that she was losing the baby. I called our doctor, Shane, at 7am and told him our concerns. He met us at the office early and fit us in several hours before our scheduled appointment, which was awesome because then we found out we were having the twins. Sheer terror became sheer bliss instantly! (But it’s pretty much still sheer terror because, you know… twins.)

5. Everyone starts getting pregnant and you become uncontrollably bitter towards them (no matter how hard you try not to.)

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And you will feel like a horrible human being for it. Crack whore friend from high school? BABY! Perpetually drunk friend? BABY! (Still no word on that baby daddy though.) Everyone and their mother will be getting knocked up like it’s going out of style while you cry over your period. At one point during our attempts to get pregnant, our nephew’s 14 year-old ex girlfriend got pregnant. It’s not always just pregnancy, sometimes it’s just shitty parenting. It’s seeing people smoke through their pregnancies, hearing them swear at their kids or call them names… The day after my miscarriage a pregnant friend called us in tears because she was having a boy instead of a girl. Smile big, ladies… and never let them know that you’re walking the fine, blurry line between saying, “I’m so happy for you!” and hearing,”We, the jury, find the defendant…”

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6. The cost becomes astronomical.

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There really isn’t much to say about this, except that sperm is damn expensive. I can’t believe that people even jerk off without selling it, what a waste. We spend about $300 per vial of sperm, and each vial is good for one try. (And those are bargain prices, dude. That is like the Costco price.) Each IUI cycle costs about $1000 in fees from our RE’s office. Throw in a labor and delivery, a cystectomy and a few other complications, and these twins cost us about $25,000.

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7. You start getting really awful advice from your fertile friends.

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I wrote a post called 6 Questions Every Infertile Woman Answers a while back, and I think I touched on this topic pretty thoroughly. The big questions/comments: Why don’t you just adopt? If you stop trying, it will happen. Maybe God doesn’t want you to get pregnant. You should stand on your head. You want kids? Psh, take mine! You should sacrifice a goat to the waning gibbous moon on the 4th of September while dancing naked in the woods. (I may or may not have made that last one up.) The bottom line is that your well-meaning friends will be coming from all directions with advice that is pretty much irrelevant to your situation. The best advice I can give to a woman who is getting a lot of unnesscarry advice is to remember that your friends are trying to help, and sometimes sharing what worked for them is the only way they can contribute. So smile, nod, and say thanks. I’ve had the “maybe you’re not meant to get pregnant” thing tossed in my face a handful of times… in fact my sister in law told us today that losing Rohen was Mother Nature’s way of telling us that we aren’t meant to be mothers. Situations such as this may require punching on or around the face area, use your best judgement.

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8 You start getting really good advice from others who have struggled to get pregnant, and you find comfort in the community.

My first line of defense was a handful of supportive friends. Then came the amazing family that we found in the staff at ACFS, our RE’s office. Our nurse, Lisa, was with us almost every step of the way. She moved to California right before the insemination that resulted in the twins, but we are still making Harper’s middle name Andersen, which is her last name. Our doctor, Shane, put up with our constant worries went out of his way to keep us positive. The office staff laughed with us, gushed over our ultrasounds with us, and comforted us when we came back into the office defeated, ready to start another cycle that we knew would probably be unsuccessful. We found forums… a place to vent our fears and ask questions that we felt too stupid or embarrassed to ask people in real life. We learned a new language from them… the language of infertility. (DP got a BFN on a FRER HPT 10DPIUI, any chance we could still get a BFP?) Finally, we found blogland. This blog started as a way to keep our friends in the loop, and as we explored the stories of others we learned that we are not alone. No matter how scared and lonely this got, other women were feeling the same emptiness, the same terror, the same joys and the same hopes. Now, I only wish that we would have connected with you all earlier… It would have brought us enormous comfort before and after losing Rohen.

9. It will all be worth it in the end.

It really, really will be. Even if we weren’t pregnant with the twins now, it would still have been worth it. We loved our children before we even started working for them. We loved the one that I lost, and we loved Rohen, and we love these twins. The love a mother can have for a child is indescribable… it’s an all-consuming love that makes you glow from the inside out. It warms you up when you start to feel the iciness of grief. Just to have loved them, even if I was never able to hold them alive, was worth everything. Infertility has an end for every woman, but the ends are so vastly different. Some of us will continue to lose, and will never carry a child. Some of us will succeed and go on to pinpoint their fertility problems and carry multiple times. Some of us will turn to surrogacy, fostering or adoption. The most important thing is that every infertile woman gains a mother’s heart as the prize for her sorrow. Loving children before they are with us grants us a graceful and tender heart. I was told when we lost Rohen that one day I would understand the purpose for him dying so soon. I am non-religious, I do not believe that his death was a part of a plan. I do, however, believe that as his mother it is up to me to give his life purpose. The purpose I have found is this: like a garden, soil must be tilled if flowers are to take root and thrive. Rohen made my spirit his garden, preparing it for a love so grand it can’t be explained with words. Had he not been there, left his mark, I don’t think I would be half the mother I know I will grow to be. However we become mothers, whether our arms remain empty or get so full that they are overflowing, our heartache will be worth it in some way or another. I can promise you that.

TTC mamas, I say this all the time… but you are in my heart, all the time. I promise you that one day this sorrow will magnify your joy. No rain, no rainbow.

❤ Devan

Ode to Lisa

Good things come and go, and unfortunately this includes people. Devan and I were saddened to find out that our Nurse, Lisa, left ACFS so that she can move to California and be with her husband. Everyone at ACFS is incredible and every person in that office has impacted our life during this process, but Lisa, by far, was the one who was there the most. We saw her for most of our appointments and she was there for me many times when I broke down crying in the office for one reason or another. There were many times that Devan was unable to be at an appointment because of work and Lisa stepped up to be there for me in place of Devan.

The insemination after Rohen was particularly rough and Devan was unable to be there, Lisa was there for me even though she had other obligations. She is dedicated, hardworking and caring. While Arizona is losing an incredible nurse and person, California is gaining one.

Thank you, Lisa for all you have done. Words cannot express our gratitude for you and how lucky we feel to have been able to go through most of this journey with you. We do not take naming our child after someone lightly, and we are honored our child will carry your name for this rest of his/her life.

Devan and I love you so much and wish you the best of luck in California!!

 

The Walk of Hope

I’m going to be 26 years old in July and up until recently I haven’t really had a passion as far as what I want to be when I “grow up”. During the past two years, and really mostly since Rohen passed away, I have found what I believe to be my “calling”. Going through fertility treatments has really opened my eyes to what infertility is and what it means for a couple. Infertility is rough, most people want kids and when you find out having kids isn’t as easy as just having sex, your entire life will change. Suddenly, you find yourself at the doctor going through MANY invasive medical procedures, most of which can be VERY uncomfortable for both the man and the woman. You find yourself tracking your ovulation, periods and googling everything you can to find out a way to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Devan and my situation is obviously much different from your typical infertility issue, but we have learned so much about our bodies throughout this journey. It turns out that Devan has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and although what happened with Rohen was a freak thing and likely will not happen again it shook our world and showed us just how miraculous it is for a healthy baby to be born. I’m participating with The Walk of Hope and wanted to share why this particular issue has become such a huge passion for me.

First and foremost, couples who seek out professional help to get pregnant are men and women who truly want a child more than anything in the world. These are people who didn’t just have sex and have a surprise baby (not to say these babies aren’t wonderful gifts to couples, I know many couples who had babies this way and they’re GREAT parents!!) These are women who have tried for years to conceive a child and couldn’t. Their bodies have failed them. Having a child is the most “womanly” thing you can do, in my opinion. I feel that having a child changes a person forever; I know Rohen did for me. Finding out that you can’t do this easily and that trying to do it through a doctor will be very expensive is heartbreaking. Most insurance companies do not have plans that cover infertility so 9/10 times a person going through these treatments is paying out of pocket.  Couples literally bankrupt themselves just to have ONE child. One IVF treatment alone can cost upwards to $20,000, not including medication (which is another 2-3 thousand dollars A CYCLE!) There are treatments that cost MORE than IVF and some that cost less. Devan and I have been doing IUI and although it is not too bad per cycle we have spent close to $20,000.00 trying to conceive a child, more if you include all of the medical bills associated with Rohen’s death.  When money starts interfering with your dreams it can be VERY frustrating. I know it has been for Devan & me.  I would give up every materialistic thing in my life to have a child. RESOLVE is the foundation that puts on the Walk of Hope and they have SO MANY great things available to couples, scholarships, grants etc. to help them get pregnant. A scholarship or grant towards getting pregnant would be life changing for Devan and me, even if it was for $1000.00 every penny counts.

Now that we’ve gotten past the money aspect we go into the invasive procedure aspect. Getting pregnant is VERY invasive. You are poked and proded, you get your blood drawn SEVERAL times, you take more medications than you can keep track of and any privacy you once had regarding your lady parts has gone right out the window. Women who don’t suffer from infertility know first hand that just having a baby rids you of privacy, you are constantly being checked, with your legs spread wide open for the world to see. It is NOT FUN. There are medical procedures that come from infertility, two of which I have personally gone through. When I first tried to get pregnant we found out that I had a cyst that needed to be surgically removed because the other options weren’t getting rid of it. I went under general anesthesia and lied naked on a surgical table while my doctor was working on my ovaries. This wasn’t really that bad considering I was asleep for it and tons of people have surgery every day that requires this from them; but I still wouldn’t consider it fun!! The other procedure I had to do was the sonohysterogram. This sucked. Google the procedure, it was pretty dang awful. Its uncomfortable, you cramp and your legs are wide open for a bunch of people to check out. These are just procedures the doctors do if you have additional issues, we haven’t even covered what it takes to actually get pregnant. Devan and I do IUI, it’s very similar to a well woman exam at your OBGYN but then they put a catheter through your cervix to get the sperm in your uterus and that is VERY uncomfortable. It’s really not that bad compared to what other women have to go through.  I don’t know enough about IVF, or the other procedures offered but I know it is more invasive as they have to remove your eggs as well as put them back in once fertilized. I am pretty confident it’s very uncomfortable. While the Walk of Hope doesn’t change any of this, it shows people that we are aware of what they have to go through to have a child and that we support them!

Now we get to the hardest part, the emotional aspect. This journey has taught me more about myself then anything in my life. I have learned that I will do anything to have a baby, and that the money, the invasive procedures – none of it really matters because I know one day I will be holding my son or daughter and all of those things will be the past and my child will be my future. BUT, until you get to that point you are truly tested, you will feel so many emotions and a lot of times it is very hard to work through. Every single time you go through a procedure to “get pregnant” it is emotionally exhausting. A lot of infertility communities refer to it as “The two week wait” and man, it’s the longest two weeks you will get through. The entire two weeks you are so in tune with your body that you think every single twinge is the baby implanting (9/10 times is probably just gas lol) but during those two weeks you are so desperate for this cycle to be THE cycle that you are hoping its implantation. You will drive yourself crazy entering your symptoms into google (again, they’re probably just normal things you feel all the time but you are so in tune with your body that you make mountains out of mole hills and everything means you’re pregnant). At the end of the two weeks you take a test, and until it is finally positive it will be a negative test. Getting that negative test will shake your world. It its heart wrenching and literally feels as though you’ve lost a pregnancy even though there never was one, you literally feel like your body is failing you. You question yourself because you were SO sure you were nauseous yesterday and it had to mean you were pregnant.  It means you have to start all over again; you have to pay more money, go through more invasive procedures and live through the dreaded two week wait all over again. I have sobbed over a negative pregnancy test, as well as through an IUI because I was dreading the feeling of another negative pregnancy test. It truly is an emotional roller coaster – as much as I hate that figure of speech I’m not really sure how else to describe it.

I’ve lived it, and will keep living it until Devan and I are done having kids. Many women live this life; their lives literally revolve around their ovulation schedule and doctors’ appointments. Vacations are cancelled because you could use that “extra” money to pay for medical bills. It is not an easy path to walk on, but in the end I know that every single woman will without a doubt say it was SO worth it.

I could go on and on about this but I think you guys all get the point. There are so many great causes out there for people who suffer from cancer, aids, etc, but I am asking you today to think about those who suffer from infertility. I’m asking that you donate to THIS cause today. Please use the link below to make a donation. 

http://familybuilding.resolve.org/site/TR/WalkofHope2014/WalkofHope?px=2063135&pg=personal&fr_id=1171

 

Thankful

During the month of November, I think we hear the word “thankful” more than we hear it all year around. Because of this, I almost NEVER say anything about what I am thankful for because I believe you should be grateful all year around instead of having a holiday remind you and say something about it daily.

Today, this will change; not because of Thanksgiving, but because I have been feeling overwhelmingly grateful for a few months and I just need to let it out.

For starters, I am beyond grateful for the miracle growing inside of me. We’ve been through blood, sweat and tears to be here and we are finally here. It can be so surreal at times, I’ll be thinking and all of a sudden realize, oh my god, I’m gonna have a life to care for in six months. I never thought I would be here, towards the end of fertility treatments I was really pessimistic and was very close to giving up. Without the strength from my amazing wife and the staff at ACFS I would have given up. This brings me to the next thing I am thankful for…Devan. I swear since she’s found out about this pregnancy she has gone in mom mode. Our house is almost always clean, she is making sure I am not overloading myself with unhealthy food, she is constantly there to meet every single one of my needs and I couldn’t love her more for it. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude that WE get to raise this child together. I couldn’t picture myself with ANYONE else doing this. She is going to be an outstanding mother to this child and I can’t wait to see our family prosper. Lastly I’m grateful for my family. Normally I would say friends and family, but those of you who I’m referring to that are “just friends” you’re my family too. We have so many wonderful people surrounding us that are supportive and want to know every detail about our baby. Not one person in our family has shown negative attitudes, everyone is SO excited to be an auntie/uncle or grandma/grandpa (or mommy mom in my moms case). We’ve gotten nothing but support and it feels great. It feels great that my son or daughter is going to be surrounded by such fine people and that I get to be surrounded by them as well. I see a lot of happy memories in my future.

So I will end this with a thank you. Thank you ACFS & science for blessing me with the miracle of a life growing inside of me. Thank you Devan, for being the best wife I could hope for. Thank you to my wonderful friends and family (If you think you “might be one of those friends” you probably are, so accept the gratitude) for being so kind and supportive. I can’t wait to share this love with you.

 

-Ashley

Ode to Dr. Nemiro

We ran into Dr. Nemiro at the office after our ultrasound today (update regarding that to come) and we had a discussion about a previous post here on our blog in which I mentioned that we don’t get to see him around too often. Ash and I are pretty low maintenance (in a medical sense only) and a lot of times when we come in he is very busy in surgery or with a new patient. We were fortunate enough to get the chance to gather in the hallway and just generally block traffic while we had the chance to catch up, and I made the promise that I would make it publicly known that we DID see him today and he even hung out with us for a while (it’s like mingling with a celebrity, LOL) He told us that some clips from the blog have made it to the Inspirational Stories page of the ACFS website. Also, I made a very loud promise to write him a haiku about our time together. Who doesn’t love a good haiku?

Our consultation was with Dr. Nemiro in June of 2012. We knew nothing about fertility treatments, we obviously had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, and we were very nervous. We talked a little bit about our plans and our options, and then we saw those socks. Oh, those socks… I don’t remember what pattern they were that day, but there was something about this doctor in his black scrubs with very loud and colorful socks that just cracked us up, and we were sold. Our consultation was about two hours long but we only talked about fertility treatments for about 30 minutes.

He performed the insemination that got me pregnant, and he performed the cystectomy that saved Ashley’s ovary, which (in his own words) any other doctor would have removed on sight. We have had some rough times over our span of time with him, and he has always been there with a smile on his face and ready to give us back as much crap as we give him. He’s been supportive while we grieved, honest when we needed answers, and a friend to share our excitement with when our new has been good. Dr. Nemiro, Jay,  I know you are reading this, so let me just say… You have been so wonderful to us, and we are so thankful for you. Your kindness is genuine and so vital to a scared couple just trying to start a family. We can’t wait to bring our beautiful baby by the office for you to meet! Always remember that while we may be able to diagnose and treat ourselves at home these days thanks to the power of Google, we will always need you because Google can’t get you pregnant.

And now, a few selected haikus, just for you.

Rhinestones on your car

We really thought you were gay

But it was your wife’s

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Fertility doc

Those are some sweet-ass socks, man

Rock that argyle

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Pregnancy is great

It’s really all thanks to you

Keep up the good work

With so, so much love and respect,

Devan and Ashley

Feeling Blessed

I know our last post was all about depressing updates, so I wanted to share a GOOD story with you today.

I know that we’ve been going at this for over a year & I can’t even begin to tell you how exhausting it can be at times…I think the biggest thing is you never know what is going to happen — do you have a cyst? Is your uterine lining thick enough? Did you make too many/too little eggs? Are you eggs good? The questions never stop. The only consistency we’ve had throughout this process is the medical staff at ACFS. Words cannot express my gratitude for these people, they are truly passionate about what they do and will go above and beyond to make your dreams come true.

I’ve been reading through other blogs where lesbians are trying to get pregnant, and the staffs at their clinics seem so disconnected. So, despite the tears, the anger and the yearning for an itty bitty baby, I’m grateful I get to see these wonderful faces every month. Devan and I are blessed to be making this journey with such fine people.

Lisa, is who we see on a consistent basis. She is hard working and passionate about knockin’ people up. She will laugh with you and she will cry with you. Most importantly, she is as committed to getting her patients pregnant as they are. It shows in everything she does. I feel like through this process she has been more than “just a nurse”, and I feel so blessed to have been able to meet her.

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Dr. Nemiro, what a hard working dude. Although, I barely see him, anytime I do he greets me with a big smile and always asks how we are doing. Dr. Nemiro holds a special place in my heart because he went the extra mile to save my ovary.  The few times I’ve gotten to spend with him tells me he is passionate about what he does and a gigantic hippie — my kind of guy 🙂

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Gina was our nurse before Lisa, and Devan and I LOVE her so much! This woman has the kindest eyes and such a soft spoken voice (this helps when you are crying like a little girl in their office) — she was always willing to chat with us for an extra 20 minutes to answer ALL our questions.

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Janet — the jack of all trades at ACFS, she is there to answer any billing questions or to make sure you are on time for your appointment, but like everyone there she takes her job to a different level. While Devan and I had Nicolas, Janet went out of her way to talk with him & joke with him. I was so appreciated!

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Michelle is the office manager, and she rocks. Not only does she always greet you with a smile, but she also shows a genuine care for everyone and will work with you with payment. She and Janet entertain me while I’m waiting to be seen 😀

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(There are a few people not pictured here, but that does not mean they aren’t AWESOME) I think you can see by this post that Devan and I HIGHLY recommend going to ACFS if you have any infertility issues. If you would like more information let me know 🙂

Hopefully our next post is to inform you all that were gonna be mommies!

Our First Appointment!

Today we met with Dr. Nemiro at Arizona Center for Fertility Studies. We are SO excited to announce that we are  completely thrilled with Dr. Nemiro and his practice, and we are officially on the road to having our baby. Our IUI attempts will begin on the first day of my next period!

Here’s the whole day in review:

I planned for today to be a short work day so I would be sure that I could make it to Scottsdale in time for our 3pm appointment. Luckily for me, my last two patients of the day ended up refusing care and I was home by 1! That means I got to chill out and eat some Lean Cuisine spring rolls and watch a couple of episodes of A Baby Story in preparation (still my favorite show ever, since I was 10!)

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Then I finally got off of my ass and headed down to the office and met Ashley there. She was already busy taking pictures of everything in the waiting area. Here’s what the office looks like!

“Once you chose hope, anything is possible”

The receptionists get executive chairs!!

Ashley: “Nominated? Who the hell won??”

We sat down with Dr. Nemiro, and first of all, he has awesome socks. He is an order dude, very casual and very funny. My kind of guy! He told us that he likes to wear crazy socks because he usually only gets to wear black scrubs, so a watch and socks are all he has! His birthday is at the end of August, so we told him that if we’re pregnant by then he will get some new socks for his birthday. He liked the sound of that! He was very open about the costs and necessity of every procedure, and together we came up with an awesome plan. Here’s what he looks like so you can form a nice mental image 😉

Nice looking guy, right?

We are going to be buying our sperm from a cryobank called NW Fertility. It’s cost effective for us to purchase a bunch and save money in the long run on shipping (it’s pricey to have liquid nitrogen and sperm shipped!) So we are looking at purchasing about 4 vials right now. (One vial per try) His office is really great, and will store all of our sperm free of charge as long as we are active with them and trying to get pregnant. Once I am pregnant, they will store it for us for a small fee each year until we are ready to try again.

There are three ways that IUI is done: Natural, Oral Meds or Injections. We were concerned with the idea of doing fertility drugs at all because of the risk of multiples, and so that was one of the first things we asked about. Our current plan is to use the oral medication (called Clomid) to increase the amount of eggs that I will produce. Because I have irregular periods, this is our best option. The medication will trick my body into thinking it does not have enough estrogen, and my ovaries will begin to mature eggs in an effort to raise my estrogen levels. This usually will result in 2 to 3 eggs being released when I ovulate. He said that in the event of me producing more eggs than that, he will cancel the cycle and we will not attempt to fertilize any eggs due to the high chance of multiples. With 2 to 3 eggs being released, we are looking at an 8% chance of multiples. Of that 8%, 99% are twins, and the rest are triplets. Pretty good odds.The overall success rate for the procedure is 20% on the first try, 25% on the 2nd and 40% on the third. He said that because we know our sperm will be healthy and (as far as we know) I am fertile, it’s not crazy to think that this could be a one time shot kind of deal! Whoo!

So here is where we go from here.

1. We pick our donor and order our sperm. The cryobank that we are using has personal essays from each donor, plus all of their basic information including college education level and area of study. Once we order it, it will be shipped to our doctor and they will store it. While we’re doing this, we both have to undergo some tests. We will be doing these with our primary care docs. Ashley has to be tested for HIV, and I need a whole battery of tests for all sorts of STDs. He said that even if we were nuns fresh from the convent, this would all be neccessary due to FDA regulations. We will be getting those done ASAP. I’m not too thrilled to have cervical samples taken for Ghonorrhea when I know I don’t have it, but hell, I figure I am going to have my vagina prodded and messed with a lot in the coming months. Better get over it! lol

It’s like I’m a back alley hooker!

2. When I start my next period, I will call Dr. Nemiro and go in for an ultrasound. He will check to make sure that I do not have any cysts. If I do not, I will be given a prescription for the Clomid and will begin to take it a few days into my period. About 13 to 14 days later, I will go back in so they can see how many eggs are ready to be released. If it is a good number, he will give me a shot to force ovulation!

3. When they are released, we will wait for about 42 hours before insemination. This will be done in the office by Dr. Nemiro. Here is a video of the procedure!

4. He will put me on some hormones to reduce the risk of miscarriage, and I will remain on those until about 10 to 12 weeks into my pregnancy (if I am pregnant, of course). These drugs may make my period stop, so around the time that I should be getting my next period, I can take a pregnancy test. He said that they will administer one in the office, but I feel like I might cheat and do one at home… 😀

5. If I’m pregnant, yay! He will take care of me for 12 weeks into my pregnancy, and then shopping for an OB begins!

6. If I’m not, we get back on the horse! He will take me off of the hormones, I will get my period again, and the entire process will start all over!

So right now, our main goal is to pick our donor and get our sperm shipped to us. I can’t wait to really crack down and check these dudes out! We are looking for a man who is tall, athletic, has a great education and writes an eloquent essay (great penmanship is a PLUS!)

I can’t wait to really get moving on this! My period just ended on Saturday, so we have a while to get this done. My cycle lasted for 43 days last time, so it could be up to a month and a half until we are ready to move. I can’t wait!

Everything else is going well right now, we are very happy that Ashley’s family has been supportive. It means so much to us to have people that we love behind us, backing us up and encouraging us. I know that to most people, this doesn’t seem like a good time to have a baby. For us, we have decided that there is never the perfect time. No matter how settled or stable or successful you are,  For us, this is our heart’s desire. It is the fruit of our love for each other, and the most important thing we will do in our lives. This is the start of our lives, and everything else that we have left to accomplish will be accomplished with our lovely little darling by our sides.

Speaking of lovely little darlings, the name game has begun. Girls and boys! We love Kennedy Lorraine for a girl ,Elliott Neil for a boy. We also love Brooklynne Kristine. We would call her Brooke, but she would have both of our middle names! We have time to decide these things, but it’s fun to think ahead 😀

We love you all! Can’t wait to tell you all about our donor once we choose him!

Peace, love, Potter!

D

Oh yeah!

I got off work early today, so I’ve been chilling here at the house eating Lean Cuisine egg rolls and watching A Baby Story… now it’s time to go to Scottsdale to start OUR Baby Story!! 😀 Our appointment today is just a consultation to discuss pricing, the procedure, our options as far as hormones, etc. I’m still on pins and needles though!

I will write up a nice long update as soon we we get home… omg! 😀

Today is the day!

Today at 3pm we will be meeting with the fertility doctor for the first time! Last night I dreamed about my baby and my family all night long, and I cannot wait until it is a reality. Today is the real first step taken towards this dream.

 

Updates to come 🙂

Our Very First Step

Every journey begins with that first step, and this is ours.

After over 6 years spent together, things have changed for us. I guess this happens to all 20 something women, all people, at some point. One day you’re doing your thing, working your ass of during the week, partying it up on Saturday nights and in the spare moments in between talking about the future. Talking about the next step. The next step for us should be marriage, but unfortunately that is just out of the question. We have vowed our lives to each other anyway, and we don’t need more than that. Our next step is one we have been dancing around for the last two years or so. It’s having our family.

One great thing about Ashley and I is that we see eye to eye on pretty much everything in life. It’s what has kept us so strong and steady. We may piss each other off quite a lot, but who doesn’t? We  get each other on a deeper level than day to day jealousies, annoyances and other bullshit. The most important thing that we share is our love of children and our burning desires to be mothers. Our desire goes beyond our own emotions, and extends into our partnership as a whole. She is ready to see me love and care for our baby, just as I am ready to see her do the same. We desperately want to witness the beauty of seeing each other grow into incredible moms. Years ago, in the first years of our relationship, we discussed how important our family would be to us, and how our love would be the foundation that our family would be built on. We have built our love and trust for 6 long, hard years and here lies the most gorgeous and sturdy foundation for us to build on. Our foundation is true love for one another, compassion, humor, trust and faith that as long as we remain true to each other and true to our kids, everything will be beautiful.

I’ve been scared to do this. I’ve have a lot of doubt. The only thing is, this doubt never came from me. I have known two things since I was a child, and they were that I was going to be a nurse and I was going to be a mom. And guess what? I’m not letting the doubt of others be my doubt any longer. I looked that doubt in the face last night when Ashley and I stayed up talking about how seriously ready we are for this. We both have great jobs and are making very good money. Even if we were to never finish school (and I say that as a hypothetical, I refuse to settle for anything less than our dream degrees) we would be more than comfortable. Our schooling and work schedules will be so easy to manage, especially if we time this all right. This is it. There is nothing to hold us back. I am looking forward.

Our first appointment is on June 12, a week from tomorrow, at 3pm. We will be discussing our options with the doctors at the Arizona Center for Fertility Studies. I picked them specifically for their open mindedness when it comes to gay and lesbian couples. Ashley spoke with the doctor today, and they said that for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), we would have a very good chance at getting pregnant quickly. The procedure consists of donor semen being washed to remove everything but the sperm. The sperm are then injected directly into the uterus via a catheter to give the sperm an awesome chance at fertilizing the egg. Of course, this would all be timed to make sure that I was ovulating. The doctor said that even though we are fertile (as far as we know) he would recommend the hormone therapy and other fertility drugs just to make our chances much better. The downside is that there would be a higher chance of multiples. Ashley says she wants to give it a shot without the hormone therapy first, and I think I’m with her. We haven’t sat down with the doctor yet to really talk about it, so these are all details that will be hammered out as we go along.

We decided last night, before we even made any calls or did any research, that we were only going to tell a select few of our closest friends and family that we are trying. Everyone else will get the news once we are actually pregnant 😀 If you are reading this now, congrats! You made the cut. That means we REALLY love you! I do ask that you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE try to keep this news to yourself. Ash and I have already been dip asses and posted things on Facebook that have gotten a lot of people suspicious and nosy! Whoops! So if you are asked, YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING! And please don’t post suspicious wall posts on FB, even though I am guilty too!

I have to thank you all so much for your overwhelming joy and positivity through this first day. Lili, I was so afraid that you were going to be sad to see me take this step, and your joy and encouragement helped me to realize that the people that I love will truly raise me up when something as important and beautiful as this happens to me. You reminded me what it is to be a friend, and to have a friend, and I thank you so much for doing that for me. I cried in my living room for an hour after we talked, and I watched about 6 episodes of A Baby Story to top it off.

If you’re reading this, you are one of the loves of my life. You are all so gracious and kind, and it makes me so happy to know what your niece or nephew will be surrounded by this powerful love.

May Jo be with you 😉

D