Wednesday, January 13, 2010

IVF Hijinx

Today's a slow day - work has decided to give me the flick since Christmas, a state of affairs which might last two weeks, or two months, or - at worse - indefinitely. Time to start looking for a new job, methinks.

But in the meantime, as I have time to spare, I'll splurge again on the blawg.

To begin with: amniocentesis results? Due two days ago. I got a call from the doctor - apparently both samples of fluid were contaminated with my blood (they had no choice but to drill through the placenta, as the jelly bean had placed its head in the only placenta-free zone). This meant that they couldn't do the 'fast' analysis and get back to me with the Down's Syndrome results. I'm told the full results should be in by the 19th. It's starting to get a little tight, as the cut-off date for termination is 20 weeks, and I reach that on the 29th. But then, I don't have the anatomy scan till the 22nd, so let's see.

But I digress from my main topic of the day .. which was going to revisit the not-quite-IVF experience I had leading up to this moment.

We'd been trying for almost four years - and finally the local doctor eyeballed my birthdate and muttered, "Best we just refer you to IVF, really..". So, off we went.

We met with a slightly-too-intense doc at the IVF clinic, who shuddered visibly when I came up with the word "barren" - what, was I not being PC enough?? Anyway, she put me and hubby down for umpteen tests. Blood tests to check chromosomal compatibility, hormone levels, and gawd knows what else. Sperm tests for the man, and a good all-over invasive physical for me (interior and exterior ultrasound).

I think the sperm testing and physicals were the worst of it. Fortunately these days, they will permit semen collection at home - you get a little 'party-pack' to take home - but frankly, unless you're a darts champion, I think you'd be lucky to catch the required ... uh .. volume .. in the little specimen jar they provide. Hilarity ensues as you desperately flag down a taxi, trying to keep the little wrigglers warm in a pocket. You make it to the clinic to turn in your jar, and are rewarded with a raised eyebrow, and a comment along the lines of: "Is this complete??".

The physical wasn't much fun either. For the external ultrasound a full bladder was required, but that was the worst of it. Nothing particularly abnormal was discovered. For the internal, they shove a big ultrasound dildo up your hoo-haw, and have another good look. That was a lot LESS funny. They discovered a couple of uterine polyps (nothing serious, but they may have been affecting implantation), and they also tested that my fallopian tubes were unobstructed, by forcing - and I MEAN forcing - some kind of liquid through them. As I discovered later, sometimes patients are sedated when this procedure is done. While I think this is probably overkill, the tube on the left hurt like buggery as they were trying to open it up. Yowsers! I didn't bellow though, and held relatively still, so they gave me a lollipop afterwards, for being such a brave girl.

The results of all our tests showed that besides the polyps, hubby and me were absolutely normal. There was no real reason why we weren't conceiving. Intense-Doc thought the polyps were very small, and shouldn't have caused much of a problem, but she recommended a D&C anyway, so away I went. As far as day surgeries go, it was one of the nicest experiences I'd had. Friendly, efficient hospital staff, the most awesome general anaesthetic ever (I still fondly recall that moment of transition between shivering with cold/nerves on the operating table and the soothing warmth that relaxed every fibre in my body), and a gentle wake-up with tea and toast in a comfy chair. These people were Professionals! The only small criticism I had was that they neglected to remind me that after a D&C there may be some small amount of blood. I'd just changed back into my (light khaki) trousers when I felt a rapid trickle, and looked down to see my trousers soaked with blood, with a nice long streak running from crotch to knee. Yargh! Needless to say, the entire way home, I tried to back along walls etc in a subtle attempt to conceal the worst of it.

All this happened around May 2008. And maybe the D&C was all that was needed... 4 months later, *something* went right, after all!

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