Monday, July 21, 2008

I can't have babies

After Kirk and I had been married for 5 years, we got the idea that babies were not going to happen for us as easily as they did for some other couples. We needed a little extra help.

At first, we did simple things. I did a lot of reading and tried things like taking my temperature every morning and making charts. I also started taking baby aspirin every day.  For a while, I tried some herbs that were possible natural remedies.

Then we did the weirdest thing ever. A local retired pastor had gotten into iridology and was taking people for a small fee. (Iridology studies the markings in the eye around the iris and connects each fiber to a part of the body.) This man lived in a remote area in Pennsylvania. I remember driving up the dirt road to his property and parking by a huge barn. When we arrived, we were taken to a seating area with big, old leather chairs. The walls were covered in antique wallpaper and taxidermy animals. When the retired pastor came out to greet us, he told us that God had told him not to do iridology but that he was going to give us each a foot message.  He rubbed some oils on our feet and messaged them. When he was done, he told us that we had a parasite and it was gone now. Fortunately, he was also led to do the session for free.

At some point, maybe around the 6-year mark, we made the decision to talk to my gynecologist about our problem.  He checked Kirk first. Testing a male is quick and easy so they like to target them first. Kirk came through, so it was my turn.

What followed was a series of tests and procedures, some of which were very painful.  When none of those were conclusive, I had exploratory laparoscopy. The doctors found a moderate amount of endometriosis and scraped it out. They felt that maybe now, I would be able to have children. Still nothing.

I was then referred to a fertility specialist. I remember feeling excited, like we were finally getting down to the real stuff.  At first I started taking basic fertility drugs to help increase egg production. Eventually I started taking shots. This was hard for me. I had to mix the medicine and give the shots to myself in the thigh. I cried the first time, and didn’t think I would be able to do it. The medicine made big welts on my leg and burned as it went in. At just the right time, as determined by the doctor, I went into the office where they performed an Intra Uterine Insemination.

This was an emotional time. I think the drugs played with my hormones and made me more emotional than usual. It was hard to wait for results. It was crushing to see that first negative result. The doctor thought we should try at least one more time. We did, still nothing. The doctor said that we were in a ½% of cases. Not sure if that made us feel better or not.  Although the doctor wanted us to keep trying, we were tired and felt done. I wasn’t feeling well either, and felt like my body needed a rest from all the chemicals I had been putting in my body.

After 10 years, I was diagnosed with Graves disease and after 2 years of failed treatment, I had my thyroid gland removed with radiology. After recovering from that, I felt better than I had felt in my whole life.  My thyroid doctor thought that this could have also been a contributing factor to the infertility, because it was estimated that I could have had a diseased thyroid gland for several years.

Because of that diagnosis, after we moved to Phoenix, we pursued a fertility doctor one more time. I had taken the basic fertility drugs and started discussing with the doctor about which form of artificial insemination to pursue.

After one of the visits I looked at Kirk and told him I didn’t feel like doing this anymore. I didn’t feel any sense of desire or need to do this. I was satisfied that we had tried. He felt the same way. I called my doctor and told her we had decided to discontinue our treatments. We both felt a sense of relief.

I am really glad that we decided to see our doctor and the specialists. To this day, I feel like we did what we could. We knew that ultimately it was in God’s hands.