So, when last we left our struggles, Phil and I were exploring our four potential options: surgery, IVF, adoption and childlessness. We cried and talked and worked at figuring out where we were. We had many gracious people share their own stories of infertility with us, for which we are eternally grateful. We attended a free seminar at a fertility center recommended by my OBGYN. We both felt instantly welcomed there and knew that, should we decide to pursue IVF, that would be the place we would go. Most startling, however, was that we essentially received an answer to our big question—why?—within the first 10 minutes or so, quite by accident.
The center is a fertility center, not only an IVF center, and they hold the seminars in part so that people are aware that infertility problems do not automatically equal IVF. We listened hopefully as they explained the percentages and possibilities. Then the doctor gave a few example case studies. In one, the woman was 25 and had been having infertility issues for 5 years. In doing her health history, the doctor discovered that she had not simply had an appendectomy at 16, but her appendix had ruptured and infection had set into her abdomen, which had scarred and blocked her tubes. Her only option was IVF. Phil and I sat in the back row of the seminar looking more than a little stunned. As some of you know, in 1996, my appendix ruptured rather spectacularly and it was over 24 hours before I ever got to the hospital. Needless to say, the infection was extremely severe, and that is likely what caused my infertility problems. This was a mixed blessing. We were glad to know what had caused the problem, but now knew that our surgical option was off the table. It was IVF, adoption, or childlessness.
After another period of soul-searching, we agreed that we both still very much wanted to be parents. I told Phil that, from my perspective, I would rather try one cycle of IVF first and, if that failed, move on, but that if I didn’t try, I would likely always wonder “what if.” So, we scheduled a consult with the fertility doctor. We had a wonderful meeting, but we discovered that before we could do IVF, I would have to undergo further surgery. It turns out that I had a certain type of blocked tube (a hydrosalpinx) that retains fluid which discourages pregnancy and, without surgery to close it off or remove it, our chances at IVF would drop by half to, at best, 26%. So, I had surgery today on my right tube to cut, drain and burn it closed. We decided to leave the left intact because it will not interfere in the process and I am not yet willing to give up on the idea of spontaneous healing and the possibility of natural pregnancy.
So, I am currently in recovery and, if all goes well, we will start IVF in March. Here’s to a new year and our new dream.