Sunday, March 15, 2009

Three Big Letters

Hearing the letters IVF was like having the scarlet letter A stamped on my forehead. A branding, a forever labeling of inadequacy. I couldn't believe it was happening and I had no idea what to do next. So I avoided it, and conveniently Mr. Wonderful did too. For almost two more years. There were a million excuses why we "needed" to wait. We were in the middle of 16 projects, we had extensive travel plans, there was a pending court date for another matter, it was sunny, it was raining. Truth is, I was scared and in denial and feeling like I/we were tampering with things not meant to be. I was on the verge of giving up and ignoring it permanently until one day last fall Mr. Wonderful announced he had picked up the phone and made the appointment for an IVF consultation. Timing would never get better, he said. We would always need to change our lifestyle, cancel a vacation, or otherwise, and there was no better time than present. I was stunned, but relieved. And mortified all over again.

At the consult, our RE advised us we'd better get a move on and produced a list of pre-IVF testing requirements. We needed all kinds of blood work, another Clomiphene challenge test (because my previous one was too old), and another semen analysis for Mr. W. I'd also get to have an HSG (hysterosalpingogram) - a really special experience where a radiologist injected dye into my uterus while I rolled around on a table and a special camera took photos of the dye travelling through the fallopian tubes, into the ovaries, and out the abdominal cavity. I also learned that blood flowing through the uterus makes sounds which I got to hear on a Doppler Ultrasound - kind of like watching a weather forecast for storms, but not so much. For his part, Mr. Wonderful got away with a mere genetic karyotype blood test and a coke and a smile.

After six weeks of poking and prodding, my final test was a mock embryo transfer. A special type of catheter is used to transfer the embryos into the uterus and my RE wanted to be sure it would fit effortlessly through my cervix when the time came. Unfortunately I am one of ten percent of women who have a cervix wound tighter than a clock. (Mr. W would say it's just because I'm always uptight.) RE said I would need to come back for a Laminaria before the IVF cycle started.

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