I mean really… *so many tests* and more to come. If you’re just starting out, dipping your toe into the wide world of reproductive medicine, expect to be poked, prodded, and drained while you get your feet wet and try to catch the stork.
Our fact gathering mission, I mean “appointment,” has come and gone today. It’s 11 PM and I can’t sleep. So I’m going to share the List of Tests and results here.
Test One: “I vant to sook yore bloud”… didn’t catch that, eh? That was my poor attempt at a stereotyped vampire accent, in writing. No laughing? Tough crowd.
TEST ONE (!): Blood Draw. They were checking for “ovarian reserve” by looking for the antimüllerian hormone (AMH). I came in at the low end of normal for my age bracket. The doctor was happy.
Test Two: The Dildo Cam. Was that indelicate and rude? Fine. The transvaginal ultrasound was scheduled and concluded. Yep, I have a uterus and two ovaries. The ovaries were making happy little follicles (immatured/unreleased eggs) and one was a real bruiser, ready to be my go-to gal for the month. The blood test results came back AFTER the TVU, but it was nice to have corroboration that the hormones are very likely doing their damn job. The doctor was happy.
Test Three: May I see the wine list? No? Fine, fill this cup with your semen then and let us look at it. Yeah, test three is for the dude in your life- the one you expect will be providing his genetics to this biological rodeo. The (cough) Sperm Analysis or SA as they like to call it. Our, ahem, “sample” was a big failure. It had problems on two fronts: volume and content. The volume was low and the content… the swimmers, were zero. ZERO. Zilch. NADA. Nyet. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. The doctor was… suspicious. She said that azoospermia (the sciencey term for no joy in Mudville) was of course possible but she wanted to rule out technical difficulties. Partner will be trying again in about 10 days.
Test Four: Seriously- Fill The Cup. See explanation above in Test Three.
Test Five: (see, more tests than the SAT!) Clear The Pipes. Who’s pipes? Mine. Get ready for this word… I have to undergo a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG). I like my euphemism better, but I suppose HSG will do. The HSG is a kind of live action x-ray study as I understand it. They will use a catheter to push iodine into my uterus and into the Fallopian tubes. As they push the contrast in, the x-ray tracks the progress and gives the doctor a court-side view of the anatomy, looking for obstructions like cysts or fibroid matter, making sure there’s no abnormalities in the construction of the little buggers. That my darling little eggies can get from the cozy ovary into the place conception actually happens. The bonus of this test is that it clears out accumulation of stuff that can happen over time in the body and there’s often a bump in the woman’s fertility odds for a window of 1-3 months (as was said to me today by my doctor- I’m no expert). But I’m always leery of a test that asks you to, specifically, take a big ol’ dose of ibuprofen ahead of time cuz “cramping is likely”. Ohhh GOODY.
Tests In Waiting: Yeah, there’s more. They have a list of suggested tests to do, not all of them strictly necessary. The HSG is among them, but they usually ask for it to rule out the physical stuff even more (like blockages)… the others offered are MORE blood though: one checks for a range of things in the woman, not the least of which is the possible need for a booster shot of the MMR vaccine and chicken pox vaccine. I MIGHT have that one done. The other is to check both partners for carriage of genetic disorders which could present in a child. It’s expensive and we’re going to save our pennies for other things at just this moment.
So… what now. Some more waiting. Probably a lot of blog ranting. I can’t have my HSG until about two weeks from now (ish) and Partner will be trying a few tricks to see if he can get a better result on his next SA. We met with the Financial Planner at the clinic too, signing away that we understand what our insurance plan does and does not cover of this adventure. Who knew a Financial Planner would be part of the conversation to conceive my “maybe baby”. She gave a lot of hints about the costs of things that we may be faced with considering. It’s staggering.
It’s nearly midnight now, I think I’m finally tired. The day was not wonderful, I really didn’t expect it would be but I’d hoped for even marginally better news on the SA (Test Three). I didn’t dissolve into a puddle of tears at all, for which I’m proud- though I did shed a few in the afternoon when things got quiet. I’m hanging on to hope and the understanding that my heart needs to see this process through to whatever Partner and I decide is its logical conclusion.
In the mean time, I’m mindful of the conventional wisdom that it only takes ONE sperm and ONE egg to make a stick turn pink. Maybe God/Universe have a surprise in store for us. Maybe.