For me the prospect of needing a surgery (even though it wasn’t a ‘major surgery’) was overwhelming and I decided I needed a second opinion before I’d agree to it. So, there I went looking for a new fertility doctor. I got a lot of recommendations, but I ended up with someone who had good reviews, no mal-practice lawsuits (thanks for checking that, Mom), and was located close to my work. Oh, and by the way, I found him online, all by myself! At the end of the day, it really came down to the fact that both Nick and I ‘vibed’ with him.
At first the doctor said, “don’t worry, we’ll get you pregnant, you don’t need surgery.” This was music to my ears. However, after his own examination and testing (hello, I’d had like 150 vaginal ultrasounds at this point), he concluded actually, you should get this tube removed before we do anymore treatments. It helped to have another doctor tell me this was our best option. So, reluctantly I agreed. I swear I even pushed the surgery back a time or two. But in June of 2017, I went to Boston Medical for laparoscopic surgery to finally remove my “bad tube.”
I was pretty nervous the day of. I was going to be put under general anesthesia. Being an anxious bird, I thought about “what if I don’t wake up?” – “what if something goes terribly wrong?” – “what if I get an infection?” a lot of things went through my mind leading up but on the day of the surgery I was pretty calm. I channeled my yoga breathing and was able to just let the worries go. It helped that the surgeon/doctor/nurse team at BMC was incredible.
I remember being in the surgery room before I officially “went out.” I think I started jabbering about transporting myself to some tropical place. I tuned out to the sound of the nurses laughing. When I woke up – I had some pain, but the nurses quickly helped me get it under control. Nick was right there and had picked me up some treats from Eataly. While I was in surgery for a few hours, the nurses encouraged him to “go get me a treat.” He definitely delivered. I ate the yummy Italian chocolate and gummies on the ride home…clearly, hadn’t lost my appetite.
Following the surgery, I knew I had at least a month or more to heal. That was ok. I had some stuff planned over the summer including an incredible trip to Chile. Looking back, I’ve really tried to see the light in this whole journey. During those ~3ish limbo years, I’d been able to do some things that I probably wouldn’t have been able to do if we got pregnant sooner. Like pursue my yoga teacher certification, change jobs, go to San Diego (and get a tattoo!), Dubai, London, go to Chile and stay in an adobe home, take a couple trips to the magical Kripalu (check this place out), and just overall, find more gratitude in my life “as it is.”
The other part of this experience that I want to mention is the financial part. Kinda throwing it in here now.
Nick and I are lucky because we live in a state where many companies provide some infertility coverage. But it’s still not that great. In other states, couples get NO insurance/financial support and spend thousands, tens of thousands, on treatment.
Not only is IVF emotionally and physically draining but it’s financially challenging as well! I’ve heard about many couples who forego buying a home, deplete savings, to afford a round of IVF. It makes me angry because there is no guarantee it’ll work. It’s so much overwhelm and unknown when you’re going through it. I think companies should do more to support their employees who go through this process.
Roughly 10-12% of couples will have trouble conceiving. It doesn’t seem like a lot. But look around your group of friends…for me, it’s at least 1 in 10. I know multiple women who’ve dealt with varying degrees of fertility challenges. One thing I want to help with is advocating for couples, especially those who might not have ready access to insurance coverage or “extra income” to cover the cost of treatments and medication. I haven’t figured out the exact way yet, but I’m open to ideas. In the meantime, I’ll continue to share our story in the hopes of connecting with others who’ve walked a similar path and bringing awareness to this topic.
This concludes Chapter Three. My next chapter will be the part of the journey where I actually got pregnant. I still can’t believe it.