Infertility: We are 1 in 8
January 2016. My husband, Shawn and I started our TTC (trying to conceive) journey. It has been nothing short of an emotional roller coaster. Most days I feel inadequate, everyday I feel like a failure and jealously is a feeling that I wish didn’t overwhelm me every time I see a mother and her child. Buckets of tears have been shed and sometimes our marriage has suffered. Infertility sucks the life out of you.
April 2017. We reached out for professional help from our reproductive endocrinologist/fertility specialist. It took four long months to get the initial appointment. We finally seen him August 2017. Because of our age and overall good health, he was optimistic for our success - which was refreshing.
First things first - rule out male factor infertility with a semen analysis (TMI?). They check three things: 1) sperm amount, 2) motility and 3) morphology. Shawn received an A+ in the first two categories, however only had <1% normal sperm morphology, which basically measures the quality of the sperm. We thought we had finally found the culprit of our infertility. How easy, right? Our doctor recommended going through with an intrauterine insemination (IUI).
There’s a checklist of things he required prior to just jumping right into an IUI. Semen check ✔️ Pelvic exam ✔️ and a HSG (hysterosalpingography).
The following week we scheduled the HSG. This is typically a small procedure done in radiology/xray. The physician injects contrast dye through the uterus into the Fallopian tubes to rule out any blockages or uterine abnormalities. This was by far The. Worst. Pain. I think I have ever felt. The doctor says, “we might have a little problem, young lady.” Not what you want to hear. He explained that the pain I experienced was from the intense pressure he used attempting to flush the dye through my Fallopian tubes. Along with two blocked tubes, he found that my uterus was shaped like a heart, called an septal uterus. With this uterine anomaly, a pregnancy ending in miscarriage is a greater possibility.
November 2017. After a long battle with my insurance, we were able to schedule the next necessary step in our journey - surgery. Exploratory laparoscopy, hysteroscopy & possible tubal cannulation.
January 2018. We arrived to the hospital at 7am. Consent signed and $3,000 paid. Yes, I said $3,000, out of pocket, in full (thanks to my flexible spending account through work). I changed into a hospital gown and they rolled me into the freezing operating room. I’ve never had surgery before, so I was especially nervous about being put to sleep. The anesthesiologist and nurses reassured me it would go smoothly.
I woke up in PACU. Two nurses standing over me, telling me surgery was over and I did great. My belly was bloated and sore and I was extremely sleepy. They wheeled me into another unit, where I would eventually be discharged from. Shawn was waiting there. The nurse explained once I was able to pee, I would be free to go. Four hours later we finally were pulling out of the parking lot.
Findings: our postop appointment was the following week. He checked out my three small incisions, which were good and discussed his surgical findings. Mild endometriosis, multiple cysts on my right Fallopian tube, both of which he cauterized. He also repaired the abnormal shape of my uterus. Unfortunately, both of my tubes still had a sluggish flow, but he was able to get the contrast through. Because of that, he unfortunately still recommended that we go through with the IUI or IVF.
We have continued to try naturally, hoping what efforts we attempted thus far would land us a two pink lines on a pregnancy test. It’s now been 4 months with no such luck. We’re forced to move on and find another, more expensive solution and that’s why we need your help!
Please, please, please help us grow our family. We pray for a child to fill our empty arms.