Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A definition of minor surgery

My husband told me that minor surgery is surgery that's happening to anyone but you. So I'm undergoing minor surgery to everyone else (a big freakin' deal to me) in two weeks. Dr. Mitchell-Leef believes I have endometriosis, and the only way to confirm this diagnosis is through a laparoscopy. If the good doctor finds something, she will laser it out.
My sister had similar surgery about a year ago. Her doctor said it was the worst case of endometriosis she'd ever seen. And this was after giving birth to two babies (my sister, not the doctor.) OK, maybe I should back up a bit.
About one-third of female infertility is caused by endometriosis. According to the handy-dandy pamphlet my doctor gave me during my visit:
"In endometriosis, tissue similar to the endometrium is found in other areas of the body and acts like tissue in the uterus. It most often appears in places within the pelvis, including the
-fallopian tubes
Endometrial tissue outside the uterus responds to monthly changes in hormones the same way it does inside the uterus. It also breaks down and bleeds. This bleeding can cause pain, especially during your period. The breakdown and bleeding of this tissue each month can cause scar tissue, called adhesions. Sometimes adhesions can bind organs together."
I had a vaginal ultrasound at during my doctor's visit (it's as fun as it sounds) and the pictures didn't show anything thing too scary. After the ultrasound, I was handed the pictures to bring back to my doctor in the next room. I have seen ultrasound pictures before, and they've always had a little fetus in them. You see the spine, the nose, and whether the baby's a boy or a girl. My ultrasound picture just looked so EMPTY.
But enough with the self-pity. I am relieved that my doctor diagnosed me with something, so that we at least now have a starting point to fixing this problem.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

From Zero to Sixty

About two years ago, a former colleague of mine called me from his new home in New Orleans to say hi. He also wanted to share some good news. His wife was pregnant. They had been trying for almost a year, and because she was nearly forty, they decided to see an infertility specialist. I felt the satisfaction of superiority warm my heart, because I knew I would never have trouble getting pregnant. And also some pity. How desperate do you have to be to see an infertility doctor?

It turned out his wife was ovulating very late in her cycle. Once they figured this out, she almost immediately got pregnant.

This was about six months before I went off the pill. I was quite certain, from the stories my mother told me about how easy it was for her to get pregnant, to watching my sisters have two babies apiece, that I would have no trouble having the baby I wanted, when I wanted.

Another facet of the judgement stemmed from my ignorance of infertility doctors. I assumed, as I've learned many people do, that a visit to an infertility specialist means you are doing IVF. Zero to sixty in five seconds flat. In fact, there are so many options before that major, expensive step.

I hope to discover what a lot of them are tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fertility Massage

There is a place in Atlanta called the Pregnancy Massage Center. I found it while Googling different natural therapies for infertility. I was thrilled to see massage as a possible aid. I always feel so guilty when I get a massage, like it's a waste of money, even though I know it's not. I feel so much better afterward, and I usually get relief from my weekly headaches for a few days.

But an article I've just read has given me pause:

Not because it sounds like it doesn't work. But because it involves "internal massage." That just doesn't pass the heebie-geebie factor for me. That might make me immature, but unless it has a 90% percent success rate (it doesn't,) I don't want someone reaching inside my lady business unless it's a doctor.

There are other massage avenues. I was once told by a massage therapist that I desperately need cranial-sacral treatment. I never followed up. Apparently I have blocked passageways (?) in my head and neck. Maybe it's something I should look into.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Close your eyes and think of England

I seem to ovulate at the most inappropriate times. Last month, it was during the visit of my husband's best friend. During the nights Best Friend was there, we'd all be sitting on the couch, watching some awful action movie in HD, and I'd feign sleepiness and say, "I'm off to bed." About twenty minutes later my husband would follow. We'd turn on the air purifier to its loudest setting, and do the deed, trying to forget we were very much not alone in the house.

Well, it was even worse this time around. My mother-in-law was in town for Passover. My bodily fluids led me to believe I was about to ovulate, as did one of those horrible ovulation predictor kits. We had no choice. Once MIL decided it was time to hit the hay, we followed suit. Again, we turned the trusty air purifier to its loudest setting. I gave my husband the same sage advice Victorian women would give their daughters before their wedding nights: "Close your eyes and think of England."

The next morning, I saw that my temperature had risen. I don't know if that means I ovulated, or if there's another reason my body temp is up. I do know that my husband may have to fly to Norfolk, Virginia this weekend for work, and it's a $700 round trip so I can't accompany him. Looks like we may have another month of non-success. I can't look at it as failure, because of the adoption option. I want to be a mother, whether or not that includes a pregnancy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Time is not on my side

I'm covering all my bases, so I've made an appointment next week with a very well-regarded infertility doctor. This is her bio:

Dr. Dorothy Mitchell-Leef is a partner of Reproductive Biology Associates, which specializes in the area of in vitro fertilization. She is a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine and is an associate clinical professor at Emory University School of Medicine and specializes in the diagnosis and care of infertility, egg cryopresation and donation, and endometriosis.

This is an article she wrote last month:


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Open adoption

My husband and I are signed up for a seminar on open adoption next month. It's something I never would have considered a few months ago, but a little research (and desperation) can go a long way towards changing one's mind. There is a non-profit adoption agency in Georgia called the Independent Adoption Center. The agency's literature makes open adoption sound very appealing.

Of course, the initial impulse towards open adoption is fear. Fear that the birth mother, once seeing how adorable and snugly her baby is, will want the child back. Fear that having a regular relationship with his or her birth mother will make our adopted child want to leave our home and live with her. Fear that somehow, our adopted child won't consider us Mom and Dad the way he or she would if the child never met the birth mother.

But if I'm honest with myself, I realize these are all selfish fears. I've got to ask myself, what's in the best interest of our future adopted child? What would I want if I were adopted. I think I'd want to know who my birth mother was as soon as I was told I was adopted. It's just such a huge unknown for a child to handle, and if there were pictures and notes from the woman who gave birth to him or her, perhaps it would be easier to accept in the long run. And there wouldn't be the fantasy of a perfect birth mother out there, waiting to rescue him or her from the daily struggle and troubles of a real, loving, noisy, messy family.

I hope the seminar is as enlightening as I need it to be.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Either Way

Whenever I am trying to figure out which direction to go in life, I always look for signs. And they always appear, and send me in the right direction.

I spent most of yesterday doing online research on adoption. As I was immersed in my cyberspace studies yesterday morning, I had my I-pod playing some tunes to keep me company. There is one song on my list that I have not been able to listen to since I moved from San Diego to Atlanta one year ago. It's called "Either Way" by Wilco. Before I left, it was my four-year-old niece's favorite song. Every time we drove somewhere together, she'd implore "Play Either Way! Play it loud!" And so I would, over and over again. I would look in the rearview mirror, and see her singing along to the words she knew by heart, as if she were performing for an audience. After I left San Diego, it was simply too painful to listen to the song and not have her there to sing along with it.

But yesterday, when the first few guitar licks of the song played, I didn't fast forward it. I just sat there, to see how long I could take it. I made it through the whole song. I think the belief that I might soon have a little person of my own to sing songs with helped ease the pain I have about living so far away from my niece.

Then, about a half-hour later, my cell phone rang. My sister's name appeared, so I eagerly answered. The voice on the other end was my niece's. I think she has called me three times since I moved, because she doesn't like talking on the phone. But she chatted away, as if I were just across town. "I want you to take me to school one day. I wish you lived closer. I love you. Do you have volcanoes where you live?"

Here are some of the lyrics to "Either Way":

Maybe the sun will shine today
The clouds will roll away
Maybe I won’t be so afraid
I will understand everything has its plan
Either way