I'm not one to lay my open book on the table. Truth is, I'm a private kinda person, who likes to keep personal decisions away from public comment, judgement, or interpretation. I'm not really sure why, but that's the way it is.
So why am I plastering this info on the Internet? For starters, I'm going to reach a point where I'm tired of talking about it and this way you can fill yourself in. I've also found that going through this process surrounded by people who don't understand, don't know, (and possibly don't care) is painful and frustrating. Desperate for information and down-home truths, I turned to the Internet and the blogs of others for support. I'm hopeful someone else in need of this support will read mine too. I'm starting this mid-process, so I've got some catching up to do but will try to keep it short.
I'm 38, nearing my 17th year of marriage to a wonderful guy with his share of faults, least of which is the fact that his "boys" don't swim. We have been TTC for 6 years. At first, it seemed like no big deal. But one morning nearly 2 years or so into the process it dawned on us, that something was strange. (Really, a brick should have hit us in the head). But life just kept happening and we couldn't get a grip on how this would all fit in. After some personal mis-steps and a thorough review of our priorities, we decided to get some answers.
Mr. Wonderful (now 41) who has had Type I diabetes for over 20 years, acknowledged that he thought he had a varicocele but hadn't done anything about it. (Look this one up on the Internet boys and girls, I'm not going to explain it.) A consult with a urologist confirmed this and a surgery was scheduled to attempt correction, after which we were advised to look for an improvement in the "boys" within 6 months. To no avail, low and slow was still the norm.
After further research we opted to consult with a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). This is a doctor who has (usually) completed residencies in both OB/GYN and Endocrinology, as well as a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology. Further tests confirmed that Mr. Wonderful's boys were having a hard time playing the game, though there appeared to be no obvious issues with me, other than my age (36 at the time). The RE suggested a few rounds of IUI.
I thought cutting back on work would be a good idea to minimize stress and improve our chances of conception during IUI, so I took it easy for awhile. I scaled down my work, we quit travelling, and instead spent every waking minute dwelling on what was going on inside my body. IUI amounted to a round of Clomiphene Citrate to stimulate the ovaries and a turkey baster to inject the boys into the uterus where they'd have a better chance of hooking up with an egg. (OK, it wasn't a turkey baster, it was a small flexible catheter inserted through the cervix.)
Four rounds (months) of IUI later, I was exhausted by the side effects of the Clomiphene and the stress of it not working so we stopped. The RE had advised us that additional attempts would be a waste of money at that point and IVF was our only option.