Archives For infertility

Nine women receive womb transplants http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25716446

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Life keeps getting in the way of blogging!  But I decided to start making some time.  Like a pre-new years resolution.  So to start off I’m getting back to my timeline.  I have many many months to get through.

In November of last year, after seeing the fertility doc and completing the obligatory visits to the lab vampires I was scheduled for the dreaded hysterosalpingogram a.k.a the HSG.  Recently a friend of mine had to go through one as well – she asked me how bad it was and I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was a painful and humiliating procedure and she should consider running the other direction… so instead I told her: “it’s not so bad!”.  She wasn’t shy about calling me out on my lie after her procedure.

Way back then, last Novembr when the good doctor told me what was involved I immediately started plotting a panic attack in my head.  I would have to go to the hospital where they would stick a long skinny catheter up my cervix and into my uterus.  After this they would inject a bunch of dye and take pictures of my innards to make sure everything was open and normal in appearance.  This sounded God awful.

Despite the fact that I am a doctor, I will admit I am every gynecologist’s worst nightmare.  I believe speculums were made as instruments of torture by a sadistic male gynecologist who truly hated women.  I believe he twisted his mustache and cackled as he created this torture device.  Yes, I am aware speculum exams and pap smears have reduced the incidence of cervical cancer in the modern world but can’t we find a better way to do that with all this technology we have now?  The HSG was like someone telling me I was going to have the supersized version of a PAP smear. Panic, panic, panic.

Lucky for me, God and a good pharmacist created something that would help me survive the HSG and many other uncomfortable things in life – Valium.  Good old reliable valium – my trusty friend, the crutch I could lean on, my happy happy pill.

We arrived at the hospital the day of the procedure and took the elevator all the way down to the lower basement – same direction as hell.  How appropriate. I put on my pretty blue hospital gown and did the death march towards a makeshift waiting room where my husband was waiting for me.  It was there I gulped down the valium and waiting with anticipation.

About 30 minutes of waiting later (the doc was running late) – I didn’t have a care in the world.  And suddenly…timber!  My head crashed onto my husband’s shoulder.  That valium – it’s like magic.  I tried to convince him with slurred speech that I was still extremely anxious and that I needed more valium.  Good thing he had his wits about him, another dose of valium and I would have been snoring on the floor.

My name was finally called and there started the death march anthem in my head again.  Dead girl walking (a kind of crooked walk thanks to my buddy Valium), down the dark hall towards for my not-so lethal injection of dye into my uterus.  Once in the room my feelings about the procedure were not made any more comforting.  There was a metal slab of a table I was told to lie on.  This really was like death!!  I kept thinking – more valium. Need more valium.

The procedure itself was fast but hateful and I was a hot squirmy mess.  Bright side:  it was normal.  So my husband dragged my sleepy ass home and I slept the afternoon away.

Surely the next procedure would be less painful… right?   I should know I am always wrong about these things.

Mythology

October 19, 2013 — 1 Comment

I heard an interesting story the other day.  A friend of mine found out she was pregnant, without much trying even though she is in her mid 30s.  Of course she is relieved and ecstatic that it happened this way – she has numerous friends who have not had it as easy.  Although 99% of people she told were thrilled for her, others decided to give their unsolicited “advice” instead of their congratulations.  One person told her that she should be careful, now she was going to lose a lot of friends because they would be mad and jealous that she got pregnant easily.  Apparently that person had lost some friends that way so assumed my friend would suffer the same fate.  When she announced she was having a boy, another person told her to be careful because people want boys and would be jealous of her fortune.

Here’s what I say:  these people offering her these myths should be careful because they’ve got crappy friends.  As a person who has suffered through the fun of infertility can I say I’m allowed to be jealous?  Absolutely.  Should I say that I have every right to be envious?  Hell yes.  How about that I wish it would have happened that way for me?  Of course!  But she is my friend and has been my friend for years.  So you know what? I am thrilled for her because I don’t wish the journey of infertility treatments on anyone!  I am happy that she was spared and has gotten her miracle.  Of course I joke about my wrath and green eyed thoughts but at the end of the day – that IVF shit sucks, but I can take it so better you not deal with it too if you don’t have to.

Jealousy, envy – they are allowed.  However throwing voodoo thoughts someone’s ways are not going to help me in any way.

That’s my blog post – first one in a million weeks.

Love Author M  

It was early winter 2012 when I walked into this sterile looking clinic and boy was I feeling like a reject.  I had a dysfunctional reproductive cycle.  How embarrassing.  None of my family members had this problem – they wished a baby and got a baby.  Or at least that’s the way it went for them in my head.  At least for this first appointment my husband was able to come with me for some moral support.

The moment we got in I was handed some papers, normal operating procedure for a new patient of course.  I kept flipping the pages over and over again.  Following my “new patient” forms was a TEN PAGE questionnaire delving into the deep recesses of my medical and sexual history that would assist my doctor to finding the reason for my inability to get knocked up.  It was called the “American Society for Reproductive Medicine – Infertility History Form”.  Appropriately long name for a long form.

For those of you who have been to a similar office of shame you may know this form and all it’s glory.

They start you off easy –  “What’s your name? What’s your date of birth? When was your last period?”.  I could handle that.

Page two began with a genius question:  “What are your expectations for this visit?”  I was tempted to answer this question with one word:  Seriously?!!!  What the hell do you think my expectations are?  To come here for shits and giggles?  For God’s sakes it doesn’t take a genius to know my expectations are for you people to get me a baby in my belly stat stat.

Soon came the next section that had me squirming around in my seat.  Several questions about our sex life came up and stared up at me waiting to be answered.

How many times a week do you have sex?  Do you use lubricant?  Does it hurt you to have sex?

Wasn’t this kind of personal?  I’m a pseudo-prude and questions on my sexual escapades made the sweat glands in my armpits flare up.

After several more questions regarding my health and the health of every family member who shares genes with me, came my consolation prize.   Two pages of the “male medical history”.  These questions were fun and it was my hubby’s turn to squirm.

Do you have retrograde ejaculation of sperm into the bladder?  I don’t know how the hell that would happen but apparently it’s a thing.  And it’s a thing that sounds incredibly gross.

Did you have mumps after puberty?  Mumps?  Who the hell gets mumps these days? That’s not in fashion anymore.

Are you exposed to prolonged heat in the workplace?  Do you use hot tubs regularly?  Who knew the hot tub myth was true!!!  No more hot tubs for the hubby.  And I decided we were going to turn on the air conditioner all year long.

After 30 minutes of filling out forms we still weren’t done. So the first thing my doctor could see from our form filling out all those forms – was that we were not good at filling out forms quickly.  Good thing that’s not an absolute requirement for being pregnant or raising a kid.

That’s it for now!  To the next update….

Love Author M

Outside of having the “proper equipment” for babymaking, the other key ingredient to trying to conceive is the obvious…S.E.X. and it’s many synonyms:  Intercourse. Doing the deed. Bumping uglies. Putting some beef in the taco.

Whatever you choose to call it, unless you end up going down the medically-assisted route, this is your only other option to getting knocked up.

So, after months and months of trying to conceive, sometimes it takes a little motivation and inspiration to keep the love alive. No longer does playing footsy during a football game turn into a romp on the couch. Gone are the days when grinding on the dance floor of a club causes you both to rush home to get it on. Well…there might still be a little grinding on the dance floor. But spontaneous sex? Well in the days of babymaking – “spontaneous” requires work and preparation – Setting the mood. Cajoling with dinner. Enticing with some cute undies.

Why all this effort? Because the thing that we are all really trying to achieve is that elusive, plus sign on the pee stick.

Over the many months of trying, Authors S&M and their respective spouses have come up with interesting ways to “keep the love alive”.

1. Author M: Lingerie vs Jerseys (aka, How to convince your husband you’re sexier in sweats)

Because my bedroom attire is flannel pajamas, we negotiated that I buy a pair of sweatpants of my husband’s favorite football team with matching t-shirt.  They ran out of my size so yes – they were both TWO sizes TOO big for me. Whether or not he liked it, this is was the best he was gonna get.  The lingerie to this day continues to collect dust.

2. Author S: “Dance” lessons

Nope, not talking about the Waltz or Bhangra. Not even Salsa or the very sexy Bachata. Somehow I got roped into joining a group of my girlfriends for a striptease class at the local “gym”. It all seemed like good old fashioned clean fun with my friends until the statuesque and very stripper-looking instructor walked in. At one point, I was practically making out with the chair I was using as a prop. How did it go when I pulled out those moves for hubby one night? Picture me accidentally kicking him in the face as I tried to swing my legs around in a “sexy” move.
Clearly, I should leave dancing to the pros.

3. Author M: Booze.

A booze induced altered state of mind is the best aphrodiasic!  CAUTION:  This is a fine science and may backfire especially when you’re the only one drinking (excessively) and your husband comes home to a stinky uncoordinated mess.  Moderation alone and excessiveness together is the key.

4. Author S: Speeches

My husband has a special way of sending off his swimmers into the dark recesses of my uterus. He offers them a speech:

“Men! You will be launching the largest aerial battle in this history of mankind. Mankind — that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. And we will not go quietly into the night!”

Sound vaguely familiar? Think Will Smith and Bill Pullman movie from 1990s. Or, if you know this speech all too well because you ALSO have to hear it around the same time every month, my heart goes out to you.

5. Author M: The Forbidden Fruit

Pretend you’re sleeping, it works every time. 

6. Author S: Game of Thrones

Have you noticed how some of these HBO and Showtime shows are practically like watching porn?! Gone are the days when I have to agree to watch sports so we can cuddle up on the couch. Nothing like watching rampaging half naked men in loin cloths wreak havoc amongst poor village folk to get us in the mood!

So there you have it!!!  If you haven’t found something that works for you now you have some additional ideas to work on 🙂

Till next time!

Love Authors S&M

Yes I know… it’s been a while.  But we are finally back after a crazy few weeks.  Thought I’d kick it off by getting back to my timeline….

The only reality show I will indulge in is the Kardashians – this is my dirty little secret.   The show is like a train wreck you can’t look away from.  Last fall, I found myself catching up on an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians where I learned with America that Khloe Kardashian’s hormone levels were off and consequently she didn’t ovulate every month.  For a moment, I felt bad for Khloe.  Poor Khloe – she had to get poked and prodded and got stuck with needles.  But then during a commercial break I changed my mind.  Ok you don’t ovulate you rich bitch – so pay a doctor to fix you because if anyone in America can afford it you can.  In fact, Khloe could probably afford to buy a brand new uterus and ovaries if the stuff she’s got didn’t function the way she pleased.   I stopped feeling bad for her at that moment.

About a month after I watched that riveting episode, I got a call from the nurse at my OB’s office to “discuss my results”.  We had been trying for almost 6 months, my had drawn some blood work to check my hormone levels.  Apparently my progesterone levels were “on the low side”.  What that meant I didn’t know.  As an ER doctor I stopped caring about hormones the minute I finished medical school.  She proceeded to explain that generally during ovulation my progesterone levels should rise.  At the level they measured it was not at all clear whether I was ovulating every month.

She then proceeded to refer me to her partner who specialized in “reproductive medicine”.  You mean a lady doctor who helps the childless to become un-barren?  This I hadn’t expected.   When I had initially decided to get a check up, part of me had convinced myself everything would be normal and we would sit around and all throw our heads back and laugh that I had been dramatic as usual and had overreacted.  And then I would get pregnant shortly thereafter and feel silly that I had gotten the blood work done in the first place.

The episode came on as a rerun.  Suddenly I started feeling bad for Khloe again.  She and I were bound by a common thread – our dysfunctional ability to ovulate.  We were kindred spirits.  Watching this the second time, I cried as she got her ultrasounds, as she bared her soul for the camera talking about the tragedy of her broken ovaries.  The heartbreak when she told Lamar about her fucked up hormones.  I thought – I am with you Khloe.  I get you.  We should be friends and talk about this as we sip champagne and you buy me new Gucci shoes.  Me and Khloe – BFFs.

I had a Kardashian connection.

Love Author M

Author M: There go my chances for breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed

This weekend I had a baby tantrum about starting another summer not pregnant (that I know of anyway).  I tortured my husband with the swinging of my emotions and in response he told me that I “need to stop being crazy sometimes”.  When I shot daggers at him and asked him EXACTLY what he was trying to say (because you should never use the word “crazy” around a woman on hormones even if she is being crazy), he clarified and said “I just think you need to stop thinking negatively, we have to take this day by day and be more positive and hope for the best”.

There he was, trying to get me to start my own Silver Linings Playbook.  Sigh, I do hate when he’s right.  A little positivity wouldn’t hurt our process.  So I decided to try put aside my negativity about the fact that I’m starting another summer without a baby on board.

Here’s a list of silver linings on starting another summer without a baby on board:   

1.  I don’t have “Cankles” and thereby can wear my very cute loafers and ballet flats instead of being restricted to stretchy flip flops for 3 months

2.  I don’t have to parade through Chicago’s summer social scene with a killer muffie top (well more than my usual spillage that is). 

3.  I can sit alfresco with a cold beer followed by a margarita followed by a mojito followed by a glass of white wine followed by… well you get the point

4.  I can go to the beach without feeling like I could be used as a flotation device

5.  I can ride my bike or take a jog along the lakefront without worrying about a baby falling out of my vagina

6.  I can continue to pull off wearing those tight ass ankle pants I bought a month ago – another pound or two and those pants would be obsolete, I hear cameltoe is still not in fashion this year.

7.  I can eat CHEESE, any kind of cheese, as horribly unpasteurized as possible and as much of it as I want

8.  Because I’m not pregnant I won’t be forced into being everyone’s designated driver at all the weddings we have to go to this summer.

9.  I won’t have to worry about sweat collecting under my belly and breasts in the heat of the summer and the associated risk of skin fungal infections that can come with such moisture traps.

Sorry – that’s all I’ve got so far.  Couldn’t make it to 10 reasons, because honestly I’d trade in all of the above to be a sweaty, huge, cankle-y, waddling designated driver drinking virgin mojitos inside my air conditioned condo.   But I still hope my hubby is proud of me for all the silver linings I thought of.

And now that I’m done “being positive” I’m off to count the days since my last period.  Toodles!

Love Author M

Last summer, the two of us ladies sat around bitching at our favorite tavern about the enigma and ridiculousness of the dreaded… ovulation strip.  There have been so many days that the both of us spent either:

A.  Climbing on top of the bathroom counter trying to hold up sticks under a light source, imagining there is a second line

B.  Getting the strip so close to your face your nose is almost touching your own urine, squinting and trying to hallucinate a faint second line


IMG_1255

C. If you’re using the ClearBlue Easy then you’re peeing on an expensive stick day after day waiting for that sadistic smiley face to tell you it’s game time. (Much thanks to our follower sloughing uterus for the below picture and a nauseating reminder of how much we hate that F*@king smiley face)

smiley

We thought to ourselves – there has got to be a better way.  Something more… obvious.  Something that our brains could understand better.  Something more… entertaining…. so we thought of a new era of ovulation strips.  If we’re gonna spend minutes of our lives peeing on a stick and waiting for a sign, why not make it entertaining.

And we’re finally ready to share our genius – tomorrow not today 🙂

Stay tuned peeps!

Love Authors S & M

A Nice “Light” Read on Your Baby Future