PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's the Great Infertile Charlie Brown!

Last night I dreamed that literally everyone I know had a brand new baby. All my time was spent sending cards, receiving baby announcements and buying baby gifts for other people. I woke up knowing that although it was an exaggeration, it wasn't that far from the reality. It's exactly like all the kids on "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" They all got candy. Charlie Brown got a rock. Me - I'm always getting the rock.

It's Halloween and I have PMS. The more time goes on, the more I realize that I don't actually have 'two week waits'. I have a one week wait, and then a week of all the PMS symptoms that a girl can handle; cramps, back ache, breakouts, nightmares, moody, weepy, migraines and retaining water. Yes, I've heard it a hundred times that PMS symptoms are similar to pregnancy symptoms but after going through this for almost two years, THIS is what happens every time, and every time, I get my period.

I wish all of us infertiles could wear the truly scary costumes today. We could go as a Clomid Pill, or a misshapen sperm or perhaps an ovarian cyst. I'm so annoyed at Aunt Flo for making her way back into my life that wearing these costumes would be a statement to the fertile community at large: I'm pissed. I'm infertile and I will not be ignored.

Despite my rant, I've genuinely been trying to be more positive and more proactive. I can't control whether I get pregnant or not, but I can control how I deal with it and how I deal with life. And for the last week, that's been good.

After months of soul searching, therapy, talking to my husband as well as trusted friends, I decided to write a letter to our first reproductive endocrinologist. I had been working with him for years as my gynecologist. He also is a Reproductive Endocrinologist so when we decided to get pregnant, I thought it was a perfect progression as he was already well acquainted with my privates. They don’t like meeting new people. They are shy.

To review, we worked with this doctor from January 2009 through till May 2010. During this time, as you may or may not know from reading my blog, we tried rounds of clomid and having timed sex, three inseminations and one invitro. When all of these failed, I decided to get a second opinion. It was then we discovered that I had a sizable uterine polyp (a.k.a. "Jackson Polyp"). The polyp was practically giving everyone the finger and waving. My new RE and the technicians in the room were downright shocked that it was missed.

To be clear, no one can prove that the polyp was the hold up. It couldn’t have helped and even though I was only a Theatre Major, my guess is if you have a huge bitch ass polyp, you probably shouldn’t do things like IUIs and IVFs. Again, I’m not a doctor but it does seem like if some foreign intruder is loitering in your uterus, it might be best to remove it before having invited embryos implant.

The polyp has been gone since July and as it's becoming clear to me, I’m still not pregnant. The questions have been A) Can I sue the first doctor? B) Do I ask the first doctor for free fertility treatment since he missed ‘Jackson Polyp’? C) Do I even have a case if I still haven’t gotten pregnant yet (there may be other issues for all I know) and D) Did he actually do anything wrong or was it an honest oversight?

Again, after talking to lawyers and my circle, we decided the best action was to move on and accept that we’ll never know what could have been. We only know what is now. However, it was important to me that he at least knew what had happened if for no other reason than it may inform his handling of patients that still go to him for fertility treatment.

So I wrote him a letter. I resisted the urge to simply write, "F*ck you, f*ck you, f*ck you!" and I composed the following:

Dr. Idiot (Real name isn't used):

As you know, several months ago I requested copies of my records in order to get a second opinion on why I haven’t gotten pregnant yet. Upon doing a sonogram, the doctor immediately noticed that I had a sizable uterine polyp. I returned the next day to do a hysterogram which confirmed that I had what Dr. Superior described as “a larger than average sized polyp”. He believes that considering the size of the polyp, it has probably been there for over a year. If this is correct, it would mean that I had the polyp the entire time we were going through the three IUIs and throughout the entire InVitro procedure. In July, I had surgery to remove it.

I asked Dr. Superior's office to send the enclosed copies of their records, which I thought would be of interest to you.

Dr. Superior told me that we can’t know for sure but it’s very possible that having a uterine polyp of this size could have prevented implantation, rendering futile all our fertility attempts this past year. If this is in fact correct, that would be heart-breaking both because of the physical and emotional strain my husband and I experienced and the sad fact that we used up all our insurances fertility coverage on procedures that appear to have had little chance of being successful as long as the polyp was there.

I wanted to make you aware of this in the hopes that it will be helpful in treating your existing patients. I’m sure this was an honest oversight but unfortunately, it was a very costly one for me. Sam and I are now trying to figure out our options.

And that was it. I stated the facts, let him know how I felt without being overemotional and I sent it off. I don't know if he'll write back. I don't know if he'll even give a sh*t but it felt good to write it. I guess we all have a letter in us to someone that needs to get out. That was mine.

Despite this act and despite my best efforts, I can't help but be bitter and frustrated today. Dare I say it on Halloween but I'm haunted by the last year and a half. I rethink things I should have done, I blame myself, I wonder for hours at a time why I can't get pregnant, I worry there's another problem they don't know about and I'm just so, so, so down that I once again have PMS. I guess it's good that there is plenty of chocolate around today. I'm going to need it.

Also, and I realize I'm totally venting now, but every time I think about Mariah Carey saying that doing acunpuncutre an hour a day helped her get pregnant, I want to stick her with a needle myself. I'm all for stress management and I certainly need it but I don't have the money or the luxury to have a personal acupuncturist who travels with me every where I go to help mellow me out.

I, of course, applaud any celebrity that comes forward with fertility issues (I'm glaring in your direction Miss "Oh, I just prayed a lot" Jennifer Lopez), but for them to give advice sometimes is just patronizing. They have incomes I will never come close to. They have a staff to help them do everything whether it's a fertility cleanse, or a special diet, or jetting off to the best IVF doctor in Berlin. I've got me, my husband, our limited finances, and HCG shot in my fridge and at the moment, a cheerleader costume that has the letters "IVF" across the chest.

This is a low day - I admit it. I'll get better though. I'll snap out of it. I always do but for now, I'm going to use this Halloween to be an evil, venting, frustrated Cheerleader who is about to get her period. And if I get a rock instead of candy, I just may use it to throw at either my first RE or Mariah Carey. I haven't decided yet.


Shorty said...

What an eloquently written letter.
I hope you have a better day/week and that your dreams come true soon

Kakunaa said...

I think the letter is VERY well written and VERY deserved. That is a major thing to miss, and it caused you a lot of pain, in many areas. So vent away, and go get your angry cheer on.

Eny said...

hey, you may have tried it, but you never mentioned the injectibles. Have you heard about tghem, or tried they? it's basically gonadotropin and IUI but it has a MUCH better chance at concieving than clomid and a LOT LESS expensive than IVF. It might be worth a shot... but maybe you've already tried it

Shannon said...

Your letter was perfect - it conveyed all the heartbreak and frustration associated with him missing the polyp, as well as the huge financial burden his oversight has caused you. I hope you get some sort of response from him - an offer of a free cycle or three would be nice!

Kathleen said...

I look forward to every single post you write. You are an incredible writer and story teller. I think that your letter to Dr. Idiot was well thought out and I hope it helped you to find a (tiny) outlet for your very justifiable anger and frustration. Good luck...I'm always rooting for you!!!

Baby bump bound said...

Ugh... what a lame situation. I know which Dr you went to - I think you emailed me once. I have heard "things" about him and hope someone either blows the whistle on him or he exits stage left.

What's the deal with Mariah? I heard she "came out" about being pregnant, but did she too have a hard go at it? Shit if I had her money and posse, I'd hardly whine about how long it'd take to conceive, knowing money, time, people or resources are no object.

You hang in there and maybe that rock you get is actually a precious stone, so think twice about throwing it away... hey, we never know.

Anonymous said...

*hugs* I can't stand J-lo and her not being able to admit her IF issues. I think that your letter to your old RE is totally great and well written. I hope the pms leaves you alone soon and you start to feel better.

Tara dS said...

So sorry you are going through a low time. Halloween was always a miserable time for me before I adopted my two kids. One thing I did want to comment on though is the acupuncture. I tried this (and it didn't help me get pregnant) but I was able to find a very affordable doctor (only $45 for an hour session and I did it twice per month- once before ovulation and once after. I found it to be surprisingly relaxing and stress-relieving. A one hour session would leave me feeling renewed and peaceful, like I'd had a good night's sleep. Even though I never got pregnant, I don't regret the acupuncture at all (not like the thousands I wasted on two IVF treatments)

Take care

Anonymous said...

I think that you did a BRILLIANT job on that letter - it was calm, to the point... I would be really interested to see if has the nerve to contact you or write back to you? What an AWFUL situation for you to be in - but if he apologises - is that not admitting guilt and giving you a LEGAL standpoint?

You sound about as down as I do at the moment! Halloween - followed by Christmas, then New Year, then Valentines day --- UGH... this time of year is an absolute.. ABSOLUTE killer.

Chin up!

L x

Heidi said...

Great letter! Full of tact but got the message out very clearly. Well done! I'll be curious if he responds... I hope it brings you a little bit of peace getting that out there and to him!

Please don't blame YOURSELF for any of this--none of this is your fault! I know this will someday (hopefully soon) lead to your happy ending, and you'll have to blog about spit-up and diaper blowouts. Until then, you are such a blessing to the IF community--we can all relate, unfortunately.

The Infertility Doula said...

I am so proud of you for writing Dr. Idiot. I think he should be glad you only left it at "I'm sure this was an honest oversight." I probably would have been a little more harsh.

This time of year sucks. I'll be writing about that for sure.

In the meantime, make the most of the cheerleader outfit and whatever else you got going in your closet ;)

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

What a great letter. I am glad you took the time to send it.

I am still giggling at the thought of a misshaped sperm costume. Great idea for next year!

My So-Called (TTC) Life said...

You have every right to be pissed! And your letter was spot on. I think it gets across how upsetting this whole situation has been for you while also making Dr. Idiot feel like shit. Perfect combo :). I do hope he at least acknowledges your letter somehow--I mean, the man should at the very least call or write you about how awful he feels that he missed something as HUGE as a uterine polyp. (On a side note, knowing your situation I asked my RE about the possibility of a uterine polyp and she said since 6 REs have seen my lady parts for a year at this point they would've seen something like that. I seriously hope they're right!)

Still keeping a huge amount of hope in your corner in spite of your PMS symptoms. xo

CW said...

I know what you mean about Mariah when I read she had acupuncture every day I wanted to make a voodoo doll of her and needle it every day cause thats as close as I could get to affording such a daily treatment. But at least she was honest about her issues. I know that it is an intensly private battle so I would prefer nothing at all rather than I am just super fertile or something along those lines.

And good on you for writing to your FS. He should respond, if anything out of general courtsey.

Finally, keep cheering. At some point it will work for all of US!

Dandle Dreams said...

Great letter. I hope it makes him change his treatment practices.

Maybe next Halloween I will go as Aunt Flo - all dressed in red with my suitcase in hand, ready to come and stay without an invitation.

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