When my husband and I learned we might be having trouble conceiving, our journey towards a family took on an entirely new direction. The end destination is still the same, but we’re still navigating the path to get there. What started off as a daunting enough task (::deep breath:: “Okay, we are ready to have a baby”) now seems like an almost impossible one (::deep sigh:: “Okay, where do we go from here?”). This girl needs a compass for the journey and, unfortunately, none exists. We are left figuring this out as we go along: what appointments to make, which tests need to be endured, and how we’re going to pay for it all. Each baby step we make, I’ve begun secretly celebrating because they mean we are that much closer to our goal. They may be small, but they are adding up.
Our first not-so-baby step was in making the initial appointment with the Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). I called sometime in late May or early June, about 8 months into actively trying and charting, knowing that something was up with my irregular cycles. I was crushed to learn that we weren’t able to get an appointment until mid-August. It seemed like an eternity away. But, it was finally a date on our calendar, something to look forward to. Luckily, I was swamped at work all summer and had little time to dwell on the amount of time between that phone call and our actual appointment.
Once we finally had our RE appointment, I thought we had hit the timing jackpot; typically, any sort of diagnostic testing can’t be done until Day 4 of a woman’s cycle. Our appointment fell on Day 5 of my cycle (I had FINALLY started a new one) and the doctors felt the timing was just right, rather than having to wait until my next cycle. I was able to go for blood testing that day (Baby Step 2!), had my HSG—hysterosalpingogram, an x-ray test where they insert a dye through the cervix to check the shape of the uterus and determine if there is any blockage in the fallopian tubes—three days later (Baby Step 3!), and my husband did his first semen analysis (SA) three days after that (Baby Step 4!). We were really racking ‘em up! I remember saying to my sister-in-law that I was hoping to be pregnant by Christmas. It was only August, after all.
Of course, best-laid plans never end up how you intended. After getting less-than-satisfactory results of that first semen analysis, the doctors ordered a repeat test, along with the news that, since the numbers were so low, in-vitro was probably our only option to have biological children. My plans for a big Christmas “We’re pregnant!” turned into “Well, maybe sometime in 2013…”
Despite having hit the ground running, our progress began to slow. It took a month to do that follow-up SA, and it was determined that the counts had not changed. We began looking into how we were going to finance this journey—What exactly does insurance cover? Whose insurance gets billed for which procedures? What can we afford to do out-of-pocket? I don’t have all the answers to my questions yet but, since all of this took a great deal of time and mental energy, I’m counting this one—Baby Step 5, y’all!
Just last week, we reached another mini-milestone in making an appointment with the urologist, who will hopefully shed some light on to why the results of my husband’s SA were so low. Baby Step 6, even though you’re more than a month away, mark it in the books!
Acknowledging and celebrating each baby step along the way has helped break up this journey into smaller, more manageable segments. In my own way, has made me feel more in control of this whole Unknown. We still have a way to go but, for now, we can focus on the stages in between that will help get us there. Destination Baby, here we come!