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Brenda's TTC Journal

Entry #2 ~ December 18, 2001
~ Reaching Milestones

Happy Holidays everyone!

We survived Thanksgiving and now it's almost Christmas! I can hardly believe it! We spent our Thanksgiving with Brad's parents and grandparents and had a lovely time enjoying our turkey and playing games. It was nice to have a quiet day with family. I was pleasantly surprised at the absence of the "grandchildren" discussion. Not much mention of it at all. Do you think they have given up on us? I realized as I woke up Thanksgiving morning that it had been three years to the day that Brad told me he wanted to start a family. I never imagined I would still be childless. I can name good things, such as having more time to travel and sleeping late on Saturdays. But it's just getting harder and harder to deal with the "you don't have kids yet?" inquiry. I used to be able to have the excuse that I was still in college. Then once I finished my Master's degree I told people that Brad and I needed time for "us" even though we had begun trying to conceive. Now almost four years later, it seems ridiculous to tell people we were waiting for me to finish school. I realize it's not my responsibility to make excuses. It's not their business. Yet I still feel the need to defend myself. I can still use the "we're still having fun with just the two us." At least that one is still completely true!

Now on to the newest development in the physical realm of our fertility. After the preliminary bloodwork for me and Brad's semen analysis, I was scheduled for a hysterosalpinogram (hsg). This a rather uncomfortable test where they inject dye into your uterus and then do an x-ray to see if there are any blockages in the fallopian tubes. The worst parts about this procedure are all the pieces of equipment you have to have in your vagina plus the dye can cause your uterus to cramp. The best parts are that it is over very quickly (in 5 - 10 minutes) and you get to watch everything on the TV screen with the doctor! I passed with flying colors. My RE said that everything looked clear and normal.

Closer to Thanksgiving, we met with the urologist to review the results of another semen analysis. The results were the same as they were in October. Brad's sperm count is terribly low. We were told that most doctors would not even consider performing an intrauterine insemination (IUI) with this little sperm. Brad was examined and diagnosed with varicocele. This is a condition where he has varicose veins on his left testicle. The extra blood flow from these veins increases the temperature in the scrotum which damages the sperm. Also, the veins take up valuable room that should be used for sperm production.

So the good news is that we are on the brink of having "explained infertility." The really good news is that varicocele can be treated with surgery. The success rates are very promising. The bad news is that our insurance may not cover the procedure and we would wind up paying this incredible expense out of pocket. I understand it is only money. My baby is worth any expense. It may just take some creative planning on our part. We were thinking about buying a house very soon. I am wondering if that will just have to wait another year so we can have the surgery done this spring. I will keep you posted!

I will end this entry with a short rant about insurance and/or billing departments. As most of you know, infertility treatments are not covered because they are considered "elective." When I discussed making payments to the hospital to cover the surgery, I was informed that "elective" surgeries required a large down payment up front.

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I wish someone could explain this word "elective" to me, because my heart just doesn't understand. I held a four-month-old baby tonight. It had been a really long time since I actually held a baby that young. There was nothing about the warm feeling that spread through my body that made this yearning feel "elective." Explain "elective" to the little girl inside me that practiced playing mommy to all her baby dolls and stuffed animals. I didn't elect to go through 36 months of heartache. I didn't elect for my precious husband to have a condition preventing the conception of our little miracle. I didn't elect to join the exclusive club of women sharing the heartache of long-term infertility. Now everything that I need to do to rectify the situation has suddenly become "elective."

I try not to wallow in self-pity. I understand that there are women just like me. I understand that there are women who have waited even longer than me only to find out there isn't any treatment for them. But I feel as though I'm pushing my way to the top of a mountain. The last 50 feet seem to be the hardest, but I can see the pinnacle. And although I can see the top and imagine being on the other side, the cold wind still wraps itself around me making the climb almost unbearable.

So as you can see, we have come to a turning point. We know what we are dealing with. We know that we can pursue treatment with a reasonable hope of success. Yes, there are obstacles still in our way. But I hope those obstacles are ready to fall because this mommy-to-be is not giving up!

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