5

Josh’s Urology Appointment

It has been so long….

Nothing has been going on. We were told by my doctor that due to Josh’s numbers being low that we were to wait and see what happen with his thyroid medicine to see if that made a difference in his numbers. The only problem with that is that his doctor requires him to be on each dose for 3 months before checking his thyroid numbers to see if they have improved at all. Josh has been able to get the doctor to move the dosage sooner because he noticed no difference and his thyroid numbers weren’t moving very much so the doctor has made some exceptions. This also mean there has been no baby appointments since July…..which was kind of nice to be honest. I only stressed a few times about it but it was nice to not be worrying everyday, expecting my period, not being depressed when it came. It was a little relief to get a break again. Obviously it was frustrating to have everything on hold again but I accepted it.

During this little break I found out a friend of Josh’s was pregnant with twins from IVF and she works at the same company as me. I decided to pry a little to get some information. She had told me that they were trying for 2 1/2 years and once they went to a doctor they found out her husbands count was low, 3 Million. They did six rounds of clomid, three rounds of femara, one laprascopic surgery, four failed IUI’s, and one round of IVF. I don’t remember what the laprascopic was for, I believe her tubes where clogged, but I can’t remember. She told me that her husband was put on vitamins from his doctor to improve his count. Just vitamins you can buy at a local grocery store. This concoction improved his count from 3 Million to 80 Million in just three months. HOLY COW. I bought those the next week. It cost 35 dollars. Two of the bottles lasted a month and the other 2 have about a month left. I also asked her about the cost of the IVF. I already knew how much IUI would cost and even though we are going though different facilities I was just curious since we work for the same company and use the same insurance. She said that it was the 9,800 down before the procedure could be done. From there the meds cost anywhere from 2,800 to 5,000 dollars. She stated that her cost 2,800(If I have to I hope it’s the same). Then there is the doctors appointments, blood work and ultra sound that are covered under insurance but you have to pay the difference for. It’s just nice to have a price point in mind if it ever gets to that. I also didn’t know that you could claim that on your taxes which I though was awesome. I obviously don’t know the details but its nice to know that going through all this that we can at least get something back for it, financially. I hope it doesn’t get to that point and that we can do this ourselves or with IUI.

Josh had his appointment this past Monday with a urologist. It was just like any other first appointment where not much happened. They did an exam on him, ask us numerous questions, and Josh gave a sample for a semen analysis since the last one was from May. Josh has been taking those vitamins for the last month so I am hoping it made some what of a difference. His doctor said they will do the semen analysis, they will do a DNA test to verify his supply is good, and they want to do blood work. Josh still needs to do the scan and the blood work but we are just waiting on results right now. The DNA test takes about 3 weeks to get the results. Hopefully, everything is good and we can do IUI the end of November. My cycle decided to go haywire this month and come 9 days early. It is kind of good though because that moved my ovulation to occur after we get his results. Though that was very annoying it is kind of a blessing in disguise.

My periods have been awful lately. They are so painful. The day before I am in pain and the day of I am dying. I noticed that I have pains on the right side every month. It never alternated which I found odd. The pain in my lower back is constant, it is a really intense pressure and sometimes shooting pain that happens every month. It doesn’t matter what I take or drink or do that never goes away. The second day it isn’t too bad. I really don’t want them to test for Endo until after at least one round of IUI(if it gets to that) but I think that it might be necessary. Prepare for TMI: I have pain during sex and its worse after, awful (lower back and lower abdomen) pain during and before periods,(painful) diarrhea during and before periods, and Bloating during and after periods. More recently inconsistent periods and bleeding in-between periods. The pain I have during my periods knocks me out. The lower back and lower abdomen pain makes me not want to get out of bed at all. But I have to. I can’t call off work every month. I don’t know what to do. I am going to try to just grin and bear it until after we get Josh’s test results back. Until then. We wait.

2

Trying this Patience Thing

The plan has changed again but don’t worry, it is still full of waiting.

Last month Josh was taking his thyroid medicine but he said that he was not feeling any different from it. He said he was still tired, extremely tired and his appetite had not changed much either. I was bugging him a lot about getting tested early to see if this dosage of meds was making a difference. Josh was reluctant. He kept telling me that the doctor wanted him to wait the full 90 days so that is what he is going to do. I tried to be supportive but in my mind we were wasting time when Josh knew it wasn’t making a difference at all. I finally told Josh that I am not trying to nag him or pressure him to go against the doctors wishes. BUT at the same time, the sooner he gets his dosage correct, the sooner we can do the IUI. I said, “what is the harm in calling to ask….the worst that will happen is they tell you to wait the full 90 days.” He understood where I was coming from and made the call. The doctor agreed to a blood test to see where he was at to then determine if he should up the dosage. GREAT…we are moving this along. Josh does the blood test and he says that they didn’t give him a number but that they were upping the dosage again. The beginning of August he started taking the new dosage.

A friend of mine started Clomid last month and just did her second round. Another friend of mine unfortunately just had her second failed IVF cycle and is in the process of figuring out what they will do next. On top of all the babies showing up on my news feed as well as pregnancy chatter, not a lot of pregnancy announcements (for now). There is so much going on with everyone else but we are just sitting here, waiting. I have been avoiding coming on her because I didn’t want to see other people making progress and me…waiting. Selfish, I know. Honestly, I didn’t even want to type today but I needed to get this off my chest. I talked to Josh tonight. He informed me that with this dosage he has to do the full 90 day cycle. I believe that he told me that before but I think that I was being stubborn and selfish trying to get the dosage upped anytime he wasn’t feeling different from the meds. With that, if everything fell in our best interest, in November we could do IUI…MAYBE October but doubtful. I was enraged hearing this. I was asking him what his thoughts were on the situation. We talked about doing another analysis but that is only going to be covered so many times through the VA. Josh informed me that the VA is not like a Hospital, its more like Health Assistance. They aren’t going to do these analysis over and over again(like an infertility clinic would) for infertility unless it is for some sort of preventative care. Which means no more Semen Analysis until we are sure that we will do the IUI because the meds are making a real difference with Josh’s thyroid. Josh said that he has been doing research(I love him) about improving Motility and Sperm Count. He was talking about how there are different foods he can eat, vitamins, and about 10-15 other things that we can do to improve his boys. It was nice for him to show the initiative. I told him that it is so unnerving because neither of us can do a lot to get this going again. I feel like the last year of testing was a waste because we are going back to using Pre-Seed, using OPK’s, planning sex, using the app to track ovulation more and when my period should start, and all the other weird things we did to try to get us pregnant. Doing all of these things with the uncertainty of if it is even worth it. What if we are doing all of that just to find out that Josh’s count barely improved and he needs to up his thyroid medicine again. Which means we wasted all that time, money, and energy just to do it all over again for another 90 days, another three months. I’m not saying sex with my husband is a waste of time but when it is planned sex, it is difficult to keep that fun, that is the energy that I am talking about being wasted. With that being said Josh was excited for this. He was happy that for the next few month it will be all us and no doctors help. He isn’t enthusiastic about us potentially needing doctors to have a baby so anytime we don’t have to use doctor’s he is happy. I wanted to cry. I am over waiting. We started see all the doctors to have a baby and now we are waiting with no doctors until the end of October. I think that I am overly upset about this because we will be passing the three-year mark in September. Three years of TTC with no baby. I am going to allow myself to be sad for a bit. I need to just process this and move past it.

The updated plan is that Josh will hopefully get a CPAP Machine soon, yes, he has that going for him as well. I am hoping that makes a difference on top of the meds. I don’t know if it will but anything to improve his overall health I am down with. I am thinking that in October he can schedule a Semen Analysis depending on how he is feeling. If he still doesn’t feel any better with this med cycle then we will not schedule one. We will schedule his blood test to see if the thyroid medicine needs to be tweaked again. Next paycheck Josh will buy whatever he thinks can improve his motility and count. Next Ovulation(end of August, beginning of September) we will go back to tracking and planning to see what happens. Trying to be optimistic but its tiresome when you feel like you are taking two steps forward only to find out you are actually taking three steps back.

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3

The Results Are In

This entry is about 2 weeks overdue. I was never able to find the words to type this. I finally decided to do it tonight but due to me waiting so long to type it I don’t remember everything that was said between Josh and myself during our discussions. I apologize but I will do my best.

We got the results of Josh’s Semen Analysis. First, Josh got the results from the guys at the VA. Josh got the call while he was at work. They told him the number, 6.8 Million, and Josh’s response was, ” What does that mean?”  Josh was told by the Nurse on the phone that his number is low and the motility was low as well. The guy said that the paper says that “the average is 40 million and your number is 6.8 which means that it is low.” I was in the car driving home when Josh told me. He didn’t give me any hint as to how he was feeling. Josh had to get off the phone because he was at work which meant I had my hour car ride home to think this over. I was in shock. This wasn’t the plan. It’s supposed to be me. I am supposed to have to suffer through the doctors appointments and test, not him. I got home and went right to the computer to look up what might happen next.

I go to the Mayo Clinic Site because I noticed it is the most user-friendly. First thing I see are potential causes: Infections, Veins that are swelled, Antibodies that attack Sperm, Tumors, Unbalanced Hormones, certain medications, Chromosome defects, etc. Josh was on some narcotics after his car accident when he was in the Navy. He was on these for about 5 years because he has 7 herniated discs in his back, this could be one reason. We recently found out about Josh’s thyroid issues, this could be a reason. Who knows….all of this is running through my brain. Then I go to the treatment: Ultrasounds (Scrotal and/or Transrectal), Hormone or Genetic Testing, Testicular Biopsy, etc. OH MY GOODNESS! He didn’t sign up for this. Is he going to still want to do this? I stopped looking because I didn’t want Josh seeing me doing this research and I needed a break.

Josh came home and I was trying to talk to him about the information we received. He was making jokes. It was very frustrating because I wanted to know how he felt. I didn’t want to force the feelings out but I wanted to know how he was taking all this. I would think about this all the time, waiting for results and expecting the worst, wondering what Josh would think if we couldn’t have children because of me. Now, I am not saying we can’t have kids but now it is on him, not me, and I don’t know what is going on in his head. I went into the bedroom to lay down. I couldn’t figure out how I was feeling. Very random but I was just full of emotions and no understanding of them. Josh came in the bedroom and asked what was wrong? I told him that I was frustrated he wouldn’t tell me how he was feeling and I was worried what was going on with him. He said that he was fine. That he was happy that we finally had a direction of what we needed to do next. I respond with “….that’s it?” he was always confused with this(every time I asked, which was multiple time) because he is Spock, a robot, an emotionless bag of bones. It was driving me crazy that all he was saying was that he was happy that we were on track and then he asked how I was feeling. That’s when it hit the fan. I DON’T KNOW. I’m agitated, elated, heartbroken, relieved, I don’t know. Yes, we have a path. Instead of receiving bad news we would just get news: Clomid didn’t work, HSG was negative, blood work was fine. This was bad news that wasn’t mine. It was Josh’s bad news. I was mad that we didn’t get him tested sooner. I was irritated that we put it off so many times because we thought it was him, that it could never be him. I had a small sense of ease that I could get a break from all the appointments and test. I was devastated that this turned into Josh’s doctor appointments and test. That he was going to have to be poked and prodded. I was prepared to do that and that he wouldn’t have to, he shouldn’t have to. I am devastated with that. He said that everything is ok. That he was doing research too and he was ok with all of it. Josh said that he wants a baby and he will do what he has to so we can have our baby. What a relief. We talked for a bit about it and I felt a lot better. Once the tension subsided I was able to joke with him, “You are a ROBOT, that’s why the sperm is low, you aren’t supposed to have any…AHHH!!!” It lightened the moment and ended that conversation on a positive note. A few days later we continued this conversation and also talked about Adoption. It is nice that he is open to that and I am too. It is our last resort because we want to exhaust out options to have a biological child but just knowing we are on the same page is great to hear.

The next step was to fax the results to my Doctor. After phone tag for a few days I was finally able to talk to her. My Doctor said that Josh’s number was almost 7 Million and she wants to see at least 15 Million. Also, that his Motility was at 27% and she wants to see at least 40%. With these results she wants to re-test him to verify these results are correct. I then informed her about his thyroid and she let out an “Ooohhhhh!” that was such a relief to me. This was not a weary oh. It was a hearty, enlighten oh. She seemed very optimistic with hearing about this new development she wasn’t aware of. The Doctor asked when Josh was going to be tested again and I told her it was August. The Doctor said to contact her in August with his result and we will figure out our next step in August or September.

Wait…..wait……waiting. I know it is a little unrealistic but after the first appointment with the Doctor I was thinking I would be starting with the IUI process in August. Not waiting for results and then starting a plan. I know it is still a possibility but if his numbers don’t improve I don’t know what the next step is and that is nerve-wrecking. I really hope that his numbers improve and we move forward with IUI soon. IUI was our next step but it is also the next step for us with Josh’s diagnosis. IUI is the best bet when dealing with male infertility.

September will mark 3 years of our TTC adventure. I am trying to stay positive because IUI is still a possibility to be done that month. Two years sounded reasonable to me but THREE sounds like a long time. I have been feeling very indifferent now. Some days I feel down on myself with little to no motivation to do anything. Other days I am my normal happy go lucky self. I don’t know if the lack of knowing is causing this or if it is stress from work, life, or whatever else. With that being said I have been listening to a lot of Christian music. I consider myself a religious person but not an organized religion kind of person(if that makes sense). I don’t go to church or read the Bible often. I used to do both of those regularly(church camps, youth nights, every sunday, the whole nine yards) but as an adult there are many things that I don’t agree with or don’t understand; for that reason I struggle with finding a church to go to because I want to believe in everything they teach. Not just bits an pieces. Regardless, I believe in God and I have Faith. I have faith in our situation and that things will work out for us. Whatever that means, we will find out soon enough, but I have faith none the less. I have not been doubting my Faith but I have been needing a reminder of it. I found a song that I feel we can all relate to with the constant battle of doubt. Doubting if we should keep going when TTC.

I know that the song is about God but for me that is not the only thing it is about. It is about our baby and the idea of our baby. Sometimes when struggling with TTC all you can do is hold on to the idea of the family you will get in the end. But there are times when you think that it might not happen. “When its hard to believe in you”. Then there is a reminder, “If only i could fight just a little longer I know it’s gonna make me stronger. I just keep holding on to what I believe. oh, I believe in you” This song has been my little reminder when The Waiting gets to me. When I forget about that Dream that I had. I have been listening to it everyday, multiple times a day. Don’t forget why we do this people. There is hope! Keep the Faith. Even if you aren’t religious have Faith that you will get the family you desire and dream for.

I will be back in August with an update from Josh’s Thyroid appointment and if any of you have advice on this side of Infertility we would appreciate it. This is a new battle that we weren’t expecting but Josh and I are ready for anything.