Since I had a miscarriage in February, we learned that God placed a strong desire in our hearts to become parents. We imagined waiting longer, but this desire was stronger than ever. Per doctor’s orders, we waited a couple months before trying again. So let’s just say I become sort of obsessive about monitoring my body and learning all about stuff related to conception and pregnancy, etc… (basal body temperature charting- checked it daily, OPK – Ovulation Prediction Kits – went through a ton of these and never once got a positive, removed stuff from my diet, etc…)
So, after a summer of no success and actively trying, we were stumped and a little concerned. We had also gotten hit by an 18-wheeler on Memorial Day, so that just added to the mix. I was probably not the most fun person to be around, because I was so concentrated on achieving pregnancy. I’m a pretty determined when I want something, so this was difficult for me. I would have days where I was totally at peace with God’s timing, then others I would panic. We were doing everything “right” and again this caused me to ask more questions and doubt God. Most of our family knew what we had been through and what we were going through, which was nice to have the support. However, many people who know you’re trying to conceive will freely give out their advice and opinions, which isn’t always wanted. In September of 2011, I made the dreaded infertility consultation appointment with my OBGYN. No joke, I walked in there with a printed out sheet of probably 20 questions to ask him. I think it caught him a bit off guard. Brian even asked a few questions, which impressed me. I’m so grateful for my doctor (Dr. Joseph at Baylor in Dallas). He’s a sweet grandfatherly man with a strong moustache, very empathetic and kind, but also very straightforward and honest. He doesn’t sugar coat things, but has the best bedside manner.
After our consultation with Dr. Joseph, he wanted to have Brian checked out before they proceeded with testing me, since as my doctor he was already pretty familiar with my history/health, etc… So, we went on a little adventure to have a semen analysis at a referred reproductive specialist’s office. Let me just say, what a hilarious experience that was! I’m not sure how many giggly, red-faced couples they have go through their office, but we were definitely one of them. It was probably one of the funniest things we had done together up until that point in our marriage.
The fun part (sarcasm) about this whole journey is the juggling of doctors, specialists, transferring of health records and releasing of health records between doctors, etc… Oh, and insurance doesn’t cover any of it. So, now that we’ve gotten that aside. It took several days for us to track down Brian’s results from the reproductive specialist since they couldn’t release them directly to me, but had to go through Dr. Joseph or some red tape mess. Low and behold, the results come back with bad news. Apparently, they measure for 3 different things in a semen analysis and 2 of the 3 things in Brian’s sample were extremely low. Because of this, Brian went to a urologist (doctor #3) to get a physical exam, and then we were referred to an infertility specialist by Dr. Joseph here in Dallas to proceed with options/treatments. Great… doctor #4.
At this point, it’s around October or November, 2011. Brian wanted us to wait another month or two before visiting with the infertility specialist, in hopes that maybe we could get pregnant in the mean time on our own. So, we waited until January, 2012 before our consult with the infertility specialist. Also, I was knee deep is worries about our future of potentially not being able to conceive. How do you go on acting “normal” when something that big that you desire so much is weighing on your shoulders? With that said, I began to let things slip at work and I wasn’t as detailed oriented as I should have been. We still weren’t pregnant, so we proceeded with the consult.
It was a very tense consultation. Brian was sorta skeptical going into the appointment, which I can completely understand. What guy is comfortable in those kinds of doctor offices? We are Christians and weren’t 100% sure where we stood with assisted pregnancy, but I wanted to at least meet with the doctor to look at our health records and give us some advice/options or suggest some other paths we could take. I was just looking for someone to help us. To give us an answer. This doctor was a nice guy and incredible intelligent in his field, but didn’t have as great of bedside manners as Dr. Joseph. He was extremely straight forward and he was from another country, so his accent made it difficult to understand some things he was explaining to us (in addition to us trying to understand medical jargon and comprehending costs simultaneously.) I joked about wanting to record the consultation on my iPhone, but I wish I would have so I could better understand what we discussed.
After our consult, the doctor requested Brian get a second semen analysis before proceeding with anything else. So… back to doctor #2 (Reproductive Specialist) we went. That visit wasn’t quite as funny as the first, but still not a “normal” experience. The Reproductive Specialist was able to immediately review the sample with us under an incredibly magnified microscope. He wasn’t able to diagnose anything officially, but just to give us a general education at first glance before the lab could process it, which would take another day or two. Right off the bat he told us 1 of the 3 things had improved, but the 2 most important factors still looked incredibly low. He flat out told us that we would need medical assistance if we ever wanted to conceive. *Deep breathe* Ok, so that was a big blow to the heart (and pocket book).
This was about the time that our roles/perspectives kinda flipped. Brian entered a season of darkness, doubt, and depression, while I was trying to claw my way out of the same thing. I had no choice but to see the light in our dark circumstances so that we both didn’t go under. Of course, I had my bad days, but for the most part I spent my time trying to communicate and talk it out with Brian. I wanted to know what he was thinking. How he was feeling. What he wanted to do about it. However, Brian’s not much of a “talker”, so this was terribly difficult to accomplish. I felt like I was being pushed away and had no choice but to further press into God for comfort. This was hard, because I wanted us to comfort each other (and there were some day where this was evident), but just felt like we were treading in the same dark waters. Thankfully, we were surrounded by people in our church home group who loved us and prayed with us and constantly asked us how things were progressing. I’m not sure what it would have been like to go through this journey without them. We are so blessed. I’m so grateful that God used this as a time to draw us nearer. Had we not chosen to pressed into Him, we would have had so many outlets for the devil to get a foothold on our lives, our marriage, etc…
In the meant time, this specialists’ office tried to tell me that my insurance covered everything (consults, doctors visits, exams, a few procedures, etc..) until I was technically “diagnosed” and proceeded with treatment (IVF, IUI, Clomid, etc..). At this point, I had just been examined several times, had a big blood work up, and had been to several doctors visits at their facility and had only been paying a co-pay, even though I told them this wasn’t right. Their insurance department had contacted my insurance company 3 different times and even spoken with a higher-up and gotten it in writing that certain treatments were covered. (Wrong). So, I proceeded to call my insurance company (probably the 4th time this year) to confirm. I spoke with the sweetest guy and he felt so badly (after making me wait on hold for over 30 minutes) to confirm that I was definitely not covered for anything relating to assisted pregnancy (which I already knew). I did the ever dreaded slow cry, which I’m pretty sure made him feel even more awkward. He even mailed me my entire (big) benefit explanation book to confirm in black in white. This means the awesome infertility specialist’s office would probably be back-billing us (even though they promised they wouldn’t and would work out a payment plan with us if anything like that happened.)
I remember calling Brian crying outside of my office after getting off the phone with the insurance guy. I felt like we’d hit a dead end. How could we afford a $12k procedure to TRY to get pregnant. We weren’t even guaranteed it would be successful. When would be the right time? How would we know when the “right” time was to go through with this? I felt like we were manipulating it too much. I was also scared of going through all the medical stuff (hormone shots, exams, egg retrieval, etc…) and it especially not working. I knew a few women that this happened to and I so feared it would also be my story. I didn’t know if I wanted to go through with it and take on all that pressure, but at the same time if it was our only shot at a pregnancy I was willing to do it. At this point, we hadn’t even been diagnosed with IVF as our treatment option, but it was definitely leaning towards that direction.
Stay tuned for PART 3.