Thursday, 22 November 2012

Mixed messages

Sometimes I feel like we have taken the most backwards, mixed up path to try to resolve our IF.  One of the first questions Dr. Schoolie asked was to tell us a coles-notes version of our fertility history.  I took a deep breath and summarized the best I could.  Even Dr. Schoolie agreed that we been through things a little backwards.  Although, he politely referred to it as us responding to the “mixed messages” received from our doctors.

Some of the messages we have been given were:

 1.  Dr. Whisper, OBGYN.  A small, kind man who is notoriously soft spoken.  I've heard from a nurse that works with him that when he is delivering a baby that they have to ask him to speak louder so they can hear him. 
Message:    After some very basic testing, he whispers to me that my FSH is within the acceptable range.  He scribbles some calculations on the SA report,  along with the word "sterile".  He might have been talking to me, I don't know.  His voice was low and I think I was in shock.   I go to the parking lot, and bawl my eyes out, wondering how the hell I am going to tell D this news? 

2.  Dr. Ballhacker, Urologist. 
Message:  I like to touch testicles without gloves on, and you will never really know if I wash my hands between patients.  D, you need a biopsy of both testicles.  You won't find out until later, by another more competent urologist that it is a completely unnecessary procedure and will not alter your treatment plan regardless of the outcome.  This is because either way, you will need to use IVF with ICSI to even have a remote chance of conceiving.  Post-operative, you will need to learn to live with stabbing pains in your nuts for the next year or so, especially after intercourse.  

3.  Dr. Nada. Endocrinologist.
Message:  D,  I've got nothing to tell you. Everything looks normal.  Let me send you to a friend from my residency days, Dr. Dandruffbeard. 
      4. Dr. Dandruffbeard, RE.  
Message: You are here to see me because you think your hubby’s swimmers are the reason you haven’t gotten pregnant.  Really, I would like to drop the bomb on you that your eggs are actually the deal-breaker here.  Your other FSH test was done on the wrong day, so it really gave you a false sense of security.  It’s 30 minutes after we close, and my wife is waiting for me for dinner.  Please consider donor eggs as your only option.  Oh, and by the way, right now you would need to find your own donor because of the regulation changes in our province.   If you would like to try your own IVF cycle, it would require approval of our ethics board.  Despite your age of 28, your chances of IVF are very slim, less than 5%.  Your eggs and ovaries are yucky, little hideous things and look more like someone who is 45 years old.

5.  Dr. Snowflake, RE.
Message:  I'm sorry.  Yes, your eggs really do suck.  And your sperm aren’t great either.  We would try one IVF cycle with your gametes, but really we would just be taking your money.  For closure, we will however allow you to do this.   Really though, you should look into donor embryos.  (They did not mention of donor eggs.) 
Side note: My sister had a massive stroke on the eve of what we thought would be our egg retrieval.  Our focus turned towards helping her rehabilitate for a year.  When the fog lifts, we decide that we would like to try with donor embryos through the Snowflake program.  We thought that even if we had a one baby through IVF, we likely wouldn’t have two.   We wanted to end our fertility-misery and just become parents.  Numerous mix-ups happen including one particularly upsetting one which resulted in a cancelled cycle.  All because they didn’t notice our donor embryos were day 3 embryos and they let me go to far in my cycle to transfer them.    

6.   Dr. M. Frankenstein, RE.  I call him this because he has a very large, rectangular head, and keeps his black hair short with spikey little bangs.  And, because the first day we met him he had a problem where one of his eyes was completely bloodshot.   
Message: Why didn’t you use donor eggs instead of embryo adoption?  When asked if we could try our own IVF his answer was “we don’t stick needles into people who don’t have eggs”.  He “allowed” us to proceed with the second set of donor embryos.  After the donor embryos were used, suggested we try our own IVF after supplementing with DHEA for a few months.   Bingo-bango, I miraculously made 11 eggs!!!!!  Those 11 eggs turned into 6 viable embryos.   6 months later, all 6 embryos were gone.  For the last two cycles, the doctor suggested Lovenox, Prenisone and Asprin, and some other antibiotic protocols.  Dr. Schoolie later calls this protocol for my situation as “voodoo”.   As a last ditch effort, he tells me to laproscopy and HSG to investigate my uterus, and that they might need to tie your tubes if there is disease in them. 
Side note: Two pregnancies, one from donor embryos and one from our fresh IVF cycle leave us wondering what the real problem is? Embryo quality? My uterus? Something else?

7.  Dr. Schoolie, RE.  
       Message:  You do not need laproscopy or a surrogate.  You may need your tubes tied if there is disease in them. Your embryos are probably mostly abnormal, which is why they aren't surviving very long.  You likely only create one normal embryo from a batch of six.  Unless you do CCS, you will not have any more information about why your cycles keep failing.   Your FSH 3 years ago is what jumps off the page as the biggest deal-breaker.  However, you had a decent result with your last IVF.   Consider OE IVF if you can emotionally and financially afford it, at the end of it you will have a baby or an answer.  Consider DE IVF as well.

 I've said to D before, that if we only knew how many cycles we needed to complete to end our IF journey this would be so much easier.  If only we knew that a positive ending awaited us at the end of this long, winding road, we could withstand it.  But, I guess life just doesn't work that way.   So here we stand, staring at Dr. Schoolie hoping that he know's what he's doing.   Will he "school" the other doctors?

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