Hysterosonogram Tug-of-War

September 3, 2009

This whole field is so muddy and murky that it’s hard to trust yourself to make decisions. When I started this process about five years ago, I turned myself over to the infertility specialists. It’s made me realize that they will throw every test, every procedure, every drug at you to see if something sticks. By last year, I was starting to feel like a lab rat. And nothing was working.

When I met with the first fertility specialist, she quite forcefully stated that we’d better get on the IVF wagon, and quickly. We were alarmed. Surely if I didn’t feel old or look old at 35 then my eggs couldn’t be old or stale! But perhaps I should have jumped on that wagon and done 3-4 IVF cycles in one year, my feelings about it be damned. At the time, however, I still could not grasp what she was saying. It was inconceivable. I still believed it would work through IUI. Fast forward five or six years and two clinics and we are now onto a third clinic and a donor egg. Wow!

So, onto the title of my post. Donor clinic wants me to have a hysterosonogram or hysterosalpingogram. I really don’t. I am taking my fertility journey into my own hands and am relentlessly questioning the necessity of all and any tests and drugs. I’m looking into what would I do given various results. The low-down is that I had a normal HSG when I first waded into this morass. I had several IVFs where they scan the uterus. I’ve had numerous pelvic scans. One of my friends, an OBGYN, told me that the type of fibroid and size of polyp that would harm implantation would definitely be picked up by a proper pelvic ultrasound. Maybe you’d need an HSG for a more detailed look. He also said that there is quite a bit of debate in the field about whether removing polyps or fibroids assists in implantation. Apparently there are studies that are on the fence about this. And yet, we’re told to not question our doctors and just do it! It makes me very angry. The truth is, women with fibroids get pregnant all the time.  Actually, two good friends of mine did so at 40. Not that anecdotes tell us all that much. And yet.

I’ve just fired back a response to donor clinic. We’ll see what they say.

I’m far from being pregnant. We have not even chosen a donor. And yet, I find myself doing inexplicable things that can only be chalked up to ‘responsible motherhood syndrome’, presumably in anticipation of said state.

Last night, I offered to put the money we’d spend on anniversary gifts for each other (and it’s a BIG anniversary, so BIG gifts) into our mortgage. I could literally hear my husband’s thoughts come to a screeching halt. “Whaaaaat? You’re turning into your financially responsible sister now?” he asked.  Actually, I didn’t know what possessed me. Somebody straighten me out here. I have been lusting for my gift for years and years. But it sort of paled in comparison to the prize of a new house sooner. One that’s more suited to a baby. We have concrete floors in our home, for heaven’s sake! All I could think about was a baby’s head cracking. (I hate carpets. Allergies.)

The mystery is that I have never thought this way before and I have a husband, a retinue of relations, and all my friends that can heartily attest to this statement. So my theory is that it’s hormonal. It certainly can’t be genetic – I haven’t a maternal bone in my body. I never wanted to have kids. I never, ever imagined as a little girl that I would get married or have a family. It was not in my lexicon, it was not in my plans, it was not even considered.

Can it be learned? Hmm. Well, I did help take care of my much younger (now financially responsible) sister when I was a teen. I always thought that this experience beat the yearning – if I’d ever had any – for motherhood right out of me. In fact, I never babysat anyone other child but her. So I think I learned how to handle a baby and a toddler but I’m not sure I ever had any responsibility in terms of making her surroundings safe. I’m pretty sure my parents took care of all that.

So hormonal it must be. How strange. What a strange morning, too, as I’m still considering doing the unthinkable and sacrificing my anniversary gift.

I realize that this last statement, particularly the word ‘sacrifice’ sounds terribly self-indulgent. Yes, I suppose I am. However, I believe that a milestone anniversary deserves some memento. We have been through a lot in our  marriage and infertility is a terrible journey that can split couples apart pretty ferociously. On the other hand, I also realize that there are couples out there that never could afford to try IVF and can never dream of buying a donor egg, and who would willingly give up any gift, award, bonus, etc., to achieve a family. ..oh God, I am starting to tear up for them! I’m really hormonal today! This journey is pulling into sharp focus the bounty in my own life and I’m so grateful for it. But I am human. And I am who I am, with the experiences and dreams that have shaped me and I’m not going to apologize for wanting an anniversary gift. But to understand all that I’d have to take you back to the beginning.