Meet The Hopefuls

holding-hands 

Chris + Heather 

 Two thirty year olds 

 Ten years of love together 

 Six years of marriage 

 1+ years of trying for kids 

1 visit to the infertility clinic set our journey in motion 

 When I scheduled our first fertility appointment, I wanted answers. Even if the answer was “you’re fine, there’s nothing wrong with either of you, now just keep trying.”

I had reached a point when the unknown had just become too overwhelming. I was tired of the monthly disappointment. And that’s how I knew it was time to talk to a professional. 

 Our first visit to the fertility clinic was relatively uneventful. I stifled a giggle through our doctor’s use of props as he explained how babies are made. Later Chris and I joked about how funny it would be if we’d just been doing “it” wrong all along.

From the outset, our doctor seemed puzzled by us. There were no outward signs of infertility. I have regular cycles, and we have regular, timed intercourse. Neither of us have health problems. Both of us are fit. Both have siblings who have had successful pregnancies and deliveries. We have no family history of infertility. So why were we there? Our doctor assured us that although there didn’t appear to be an obvious reason, we’d find one. 

We started with an ultrasound. I had a few more follicles in each ovary than the doctor would like to see. We were told that around 12 are normal. One of my ovaries had 17 follicles, and the other side had around 20. He said we might be looking at PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). I didn’t meet the other criteria for diagnosis, so he said we’d wait and do more testing. We were convinced it was me. 

Chris was next up for testing with a semen analysis. He was given a sterile room with a drawer of nudie mags in order to “produce a sample.” His sample was sent off to the lab for testing.

On Chris’s 30th birthday the doctor rang. The second he answered the phone he knew something was wrong. Chris was told his semen sample contained no sperm. Not one. He was also told the volume of his sample was low. Chris hung up the phone, lay down on the floor, and cried. My tougher-than-nails husband said he felt like he aged 10 years that day. 

 A urologist was our next step. Chris had an appointment with a physical where we learned that Chris was missing his vas deferens. He was born without one. We were in shock. Nothing would have ever given us an indication that Chris was missing any part of his reproductive system. Chris had essentially been born with a vasectomy.

I was so grateful that Chris took the news as well as he did. He didn’t feel like less of a man, and I didn’t look at him any differently. 

 This diagnosis, CAVD (Congenital Absence of the Vas Deferens), is a diagnosis only 1% of couples with male-factor infertility ever receive. We are rare. We probably won’t ever meet another couple that is facing our same challenges. So we’ve decided to look at this as an exceptional anomaly. You could even say we think it’s a little cool. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “how is infertility EVER cool?” In some ways, you’re right. It sucks. But we’ve decided to try to keep the hope alive, and look at our situation as remarkably unique. 

To make matters a little more complicated, Chris’s doctor recommended tests to determine if he is a carrier for the disease cystic fibrosis. Oftentimes men with CAVD have a gene mutation that leads to their condition. His tests came back positive confirming Chris is a carrier. At the time of this blog my doctor has ordered blood work to see if I am also a carrier for the disease.

Going forward, we know our only option for a successful pregnancy is IVF (in vitro fertilization). After reading about the process, both of us are a little apprehensive. It is costly, and involves needles (not my favorite). But we know that there’s nothing that can stand in the way of our dream of parenthood.

7 thoughts on “Meet The Hopefuls

  1. Nardia says:

    Wow, what an amazing post. Wishing you the best of luck with your IVF journey. The one thing that is constant amongst the people I know who have been challenged with fertility issues is that it is one of life’s most defining moments. It can break you as a couple or it can make you. Judging by your humour and positivity, it seems as though you’ve made the choice for it to make you and in my experience this will only bring you closer together as a couple. Big hugs xx

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  2. valleyally says:

    Sounds like the start of a journey. As someone in the midst of IVF and afraid of needles…don’t worry about the needles – Mind over matter wins out. Figuring out the money is a whole other ball game. Wishing you lots of luck and answers. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask.

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  3. aroshay says:

    Wow, what a great post. My heart went out to your husband. Most of the time nothing really us wrong and then when it us, its so surprising. What are the next steps? I know IVf but will you use donated sperm or is there a way to fix the absence of sperm. It’s also great that you have so many follies. I only had a total if 8 and it worked. If I had your number I’d be over the moon. Anyway, hope is alive!!

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    • heatherhopeful says:

      Thank you! They will take Chris’s sperm from his upper epididymis via MESA, so we’re happy we get to use his own. You bring up a good point about the follies–hopefully we’ll have a few to choose from. 🙂

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  4. B.s says:

    Hi there! I realize this is an older post, but would you believe this is my husband and i’s exact situation!!! I’m new to the blogging but my husband’s diagnosis is the EXACT same as your husbands!!! So there is one other couple out there going through the exact thing you are!! Also, we did one round of ivf, I’m 6 1/2 months pregnant with a baby girl!!! Wishing you and your husband all the luck in the world!! It’s nice to know there is someone else out there experiencing what we’ve went through, as unfortunate as it is.

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