Monday, August 9, 2010

Duco Ova: 234 down the tubes, only 260 left! [pun intended]

The average age of onset of menstruation is 12-13 (and the first bit is all irregular usually,) so I went with 13 for my math. The average age of menopause is 51. 38 years of potential fertility. Contrary to popular belief, if you have a 28-day cycle, you have 13 cycles per year, not 12 (like the months.) A mistake many doctors make when prescribing birth control (okaying only 12 fills, then wondering why the patient runs out a month before their annual!)
So when I got married at age 30 (a month after my birthday, but we started 'trying' a little early. Teehee) I had 'wasted' 234 opportunities with stuff like growing up, high school, college, etc. (I don't view maturing with my honey as a waste, since without that personal and relationship growth, we probably wouldn't have lasted, and would be more selfish parents.) That leaves an average of 260 more fertile cycles. Sounds like a lot. Feels like so very few... Duco Ova means 'To Count Eggs' in Latin

Since I had suspected that there would be issues, I was proactive about seeing my OB-Gyn before the wedding for advice and a plan. I saw a nurse practitioner (either an ARNP or a PA-C.) She had me take my temperature daily and chart it. She had also suggested progesterone supplements, but I have a history of depression, and it's been triggered by hormones, like birth control, so I was leery about starting up hormones again, after finally being able to stop taking my anti-depressants after 8 years! 
After 6 months of getting mixed results with my basal temp (I was terrible at remembering to take it first thing in the morning, often falling back asleep and forgetting the results, or waking at different times based on my work schedule that day) I went back in for the drugs. Just to find out that it was no longer in fashion, so she didn't want to try it anymore. And that I should move up to a doctor. Argh. 
Only those faced with infertility can understand the preciousness of time, and the devastation and feeling of failure every time your period starts. What used to be an annoying nuisance is now the soul-crushing death of hope.

So I started seeing the doctor. I can't remember what we did, or why it took a few months, but he finally ordered a hysterosalpingogram to check to see if my fallopian tubes were blocked, like my maternal grandmother's had been. A seemingly simple test. Insert dye, X-ray, voila! Well, let me tell you. I swear a lot in person, but not so much in print, so keep that in mind when I tell you that it hurt like a motherfucker. It hurt so bad, I could hardly remember to breathe. On a scale of 1 to 10, it pushed all previous levels of pain down to a 4. Apparently I handled it well, since they kept making sure I was okay and hadn't passed out. I guess they're used to louder reactions. I tend to go inside myself and internalize extreme pain, rather than vocalize.

The doctor said "Good news! It's all clear!" thinking that it would make me happy. I was crushed. Blocked tubes could be fixed. We would be able to put a name on whatever was preventing me from making masses of babies, and start working on a solution. But he did give me a ray of 'hope' - he found something in the uterus, that he called polyps, and told me to follow up with my OB.

A Little History (Getting to Know Yoooooooou....)

I had a feeling. I warned him. I told him if he wanted kids, maybe he should decide soon, since we might have problems and it could take a while. Sometimes, being right sucks.

I love my man. When I first met him and fell in love against my better judgement (I had just ended a relationship and wanted some time on my own. Damn him!) I wanted a marriage and kids, in any order I could get them. I wanted kids so badly, I remember being 18, planning on single motherhood. The one catch, the one thing that thwarted my goal, was that I didn't want to trick or trap anyone into fatherhood. Even though I was prepared to walk away with a kid, with no other obligation from the man, I wanted him to at least be a willing participant (or at least partially 'at fault.') Even if it was just a "Oh, I don't have a condom" kind of participation! Sadly, I was too shy to be very promiscuous, which would possibly have increased my chances. But after a 7-month relationship with someone, and I don't remember using birth control (he later had 3 or more kids with his wife, so I know HE'S not shooting blanks!) and a 3-year relationship with someone else (I remember actively trying, he starts panicking and sweating and being thankful that he dodged that bullet!) I began to suspect I might not attain my goal easily.

Then I met "The One." I didn't know he was The One. I hadn't realized he was asking me out, I thought he was asking if I'd like to see a movie in general sometime, since my schedule was so busy, and only realized he was asking if I'd like to see a movie with him after I'd said yes. We had a lot in common, and had a good time. We went to the mall, dinner in the food court, and a movie. At the music store, all the CDs he bought I already owned, and vice versa. At the book store, we both headed to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction section, and he told me I could go look at whatever I wanted, that I didn't have to follow him. At that time, Sci-Fi/Fantasy was all I read! So when he asked me out again, I agreed. After the second date and our clumsy first kiss, and knowing he was going out of town for a week, I lay there listening to my new ABBA CD (new to me. Not a new release!) and every song was about him! Darnit! I was starting to fall in love. Bleah.

Fast forward to some time later, after I had foisted a cat on him, and all but moved in. It turns out that he didn't want to get married or have kids, since he never wanted to leave the mother of his children, like his dad did. It took some soul searching, but I realized I'd rather live in sin and grow old with him alone than get married and have kids with someone else. So I had to let that part of my dream go. Don't go thinking that I suppressed myself for my man, or that I thought he'd change his mind someday, or that I could change him. I made a decision, knowing what I was giving up, and knowing was I was getting in exchange. Trust me. I got a good deal!

But then all his friends started getting married. Some started reproducing. We got older. There were 3 years (!!) where we lived in different states, snatching a few days together every 4-6 weeks. As a caveat to accepting the 'no marriage' clause of our relationship, I told him I was expecting a ring and a nice set of dishes. After dissecting what was important to me about getting married (a wedding! A day all about me. Plus a nice ring, and a fancy set of china!) and what he wanted to avoid (the paper commitment) we agreed to 'someday' have a "Promise Ceremony" where I could have my pretty dress and party, and he wouldn't be tied to anything legally. I also told him, so he wouldn't have to worry about any misunderstandings, that when he gave me my ring, I would NOT assume it was an engagement ring (and thus be disappointed.)

So on our 5th anniversary, 2 months after he had moved to another state for his new job (I stayed up here, since we didn't want to sell th house just to find out his new job wasn't gonna pan out. Plus I had a retail store, and I didn't want to just close it on a whim after working so hard to build it up) he gave me a honkin' diamond ring! When I put it on the wrong finger, he shyly said that, while he wasn't ready to pick a date anytime soon, we could be engaged. There were many happy tears, and eating of candy necklaces (he not only loves me, but he knows me so well!) 2 years after that, he was ready to pick a date. Then he got laid off, and our wedding got postponed. Finally, 4 years after he proposed, on our 9th anniversary, we finally got married! And now he was ready to start makin' babies! (Well, we fudged it a bit, and started a month early. Oops!)