I was thinking about a few subjects to meander through this time…
Should I talk about the New Zealand Geographic Board recommending the city of Wanganui be spelt the same way as the river running through it: with a small ‘h’ following the capital W. That is, the area called Whanganui by the people who’ve lived there for the last few centuries could be spelt as such in the future. An important side note to this is that the city’s residents have voted against that move in a referendum AND that all (not just some, but all) of the people I’ve seen on the news objecting to this, including the his esteemed worshit the mayor Michael Laws, have been white. The objectioning has been so ardent also. Why object to spelling something in the traditional way? Unless of course you need an excuse to be racist…
That dabbling of the toe of opinion into the icy lagoon of racism brings me to the current “campaign” against Obama’s health plan. A lot of the placards seem to be saying President Obama’s plans to let every US citizen (except the illegals – anywhere up to 20 million inhabitants) have access to some kind of healthcare is communist or fascist. Communism is where the state controls everything on behalf of the people. Sounds like a good idea but generally it gets hijacked by the likes of Stalin or Mao who end up killing loads of people who disagree with their version of it. Of course, this is completely different to a capitalist democracy seen in the US where people are elected to the Senate or the House of Representatives so that they can make change completely independently of any company willing to “donate” thousands of dollars to trusts run by their families.
This is, as usual, a generalisation. I’m sure there are loads of capitalists in Washington D.C. who don’t take any money from people working on behalf of companies. Also, since when was capitalism a better model than socialism, communism or fascism? At least with socialism the government is trying to look after the people rather than letting the markets decide (remember when Lehmann Bros “decided” to pay Richard Fuld $300 million in the years leading up to the collapse for his strong leadership and excellent decision making). Comparing Obama to Hitler is not going to make your point very well. It’s like trying to get Christians to convert to Islam by telling them Jesus was a lesbian. Pretending to believe in the 2nd amendment by walking around these protests with an Ak-47 strapped to your dick isn’t going to win you any friends either you idiot.
Anyway, those two small issues aside…
This week the process has begun. We are now officially going through IVF. When I say ‘officially’ I mean the procedures have started and when I say ‘we’ I mean Mrs. Boon. As I’ve said previously during my other two blogs on the subject, my part in this process is important but is about as invasive as scratching the tip of your nose gently when it’s slightly itchy. I’ve also talked about the guilt factor that can develop from this and the fact I wish I could be doing more – and by doing more I mean having things done to me. But in IVF it seems not to be the way for the man to endure these moments associated with artificial insemination. Helping and supporting is our job.
The very first procedure Mrs. Boon went through in our – hopefully not too long – IVF journey involved her joining a research project looking into the effects of a uterus wash of lipiodol on increasing the chances of pregnancy. For those unversed… Lipiodol is a poppyseed oil that is used as a contrast medium. A contrast medium is one that, when pumped into veins or tubes shows up on x-rays allowing physicians to see blockages and the like. In women it is used to see if there is anything holding things up in the fallopian tubes. As with previous accidental breakthroughs like penicillin or coca-cola, it’s been discovered this flushing may actually enhance the prospectss of a successful pregnancy. So Mrs. Boon offered to go into a New Zealand study investigating this phenomenon.
When she said yes to taking part she had a 50/50 chance of either being in the control group, who would not have had the flushing, or being in the group who did. When the researcher opened the envelope last week she was pleased (although this may be a bit of an understatement) to hear she was not in the control group and was going to receive the lipiodol. Once again, as if I needed any more proof of how amazing my wife is, she selflessly puts her body forward so researchers can develop better and more successful methods of IVF for other couples.
I must also mention at this point that yesterday, the day of the lipiodol wash, was our 5th wedding anniversary.
So next week we head into the hospital to learn how to inject her with hormones that bring on a menopausal state. I am fast running out of superlatives to describe the overwhelming sense of awe I have for my wife and her willingness to undertake such a vast range of actions to bring our baby into the world. I only hope that one day I can return the love.
See yous later.
By way of an update…
The process has begun. Yes, this is true. We are officially part of the Fertility Plus baby making machine. Small portions of me now lie frozen somewhere in the vacinity of -200°c. How my swimmers might be able to survive a slow freezing to that temperature and then get re-thawed back to +37°c both amazes and astounds me.
Let me put in the beep beep beep of a reversing truckular unit here and background a wee bit further the events of last Wednesday…
You may have read in my first IVF blog about my feelings of guilt towards our IVF experience as a whole. Due to my wife’s endometriosis a vast majority of the medical events will be happening to her. The guilt I feel relates to the fact that she is going through all the pain, prodding and procedures while I isn’t. To prevent these guilty feelings taking over I’ve been focusing on giving her my complete and total support when called upon.
Another thing I’ve been doing to allay the guilty feelings is to talk to people about our procedure. This has been quite cathartic also – mainly because everyone seems to be excited about the whole process starting and this excitement is rubbing off on me. I too am now excited about beginning IVF. At some point over the next couple of years (maybe sooner) we might have a little Boon running, crawling, dribbling and/or pooing around the house. That, my friends, is awesome.
The people I’ve been talking to are the ones who have to know – boss and team leader – but there have been others. Fertility Plus gave us a book with a time-line showing what happens and when during IVF. Day 1, as it’s called, will be happening sometime near the start of September. This is the first day of Zoe’s period when she rings up and books in an appointment to learn how to give the injections that will turn her body into an egg producing machine. This time-line is great because it’s all on one page and you show it to people and say ‘this happens there’ and ‘about this time we’ll be doing that’ and so on. The penultimate entry on the time-line is eggs fertilised with the final one being, obviously, embryos implanted.
At the very moment I point to that section of the time-line, or I tell someone about that part of the process, I wait. I wait to see which euphemism the person uses to describe my delivery of sperm to Fertility Plus. I’ve had “your contribution” and “doing your bit”. There’s no getting around it though and when you’re talking with someone about it you can see it in their eyes. You know. They know. You know that they know. They know that you know that they know. Everyone knows. My part involves going into a little room with a plastic jar with a pink lid and getting somewhat jiggy with myself. It’s just me, the room and my imagination. On Wednesday it was my turn to produce a back-up sample so that if I couldn’t on the day there would be one there we could use.
While I was walking down the corridor to the lab I noticed four large picture boards on the walls. Every single one was filled, packed, with pictures of babies and children. All of the children Fertility Plus had helped parents to create. It was a totally awe inspiring sight. Hundreds of pictures, from family pics of the kids lined up on the couch, down to a couple of babies being held up by the doctor/midwife moments after being born. I thought as I wandered down to the lab to pick up my pink-lidded jar that one day our baby could be on the corridor wall. A most heart warming and positive moment. It was the first time in a long, long time that I felt we would have children after IVF, or at all.
After ‘contributing’ to the pink-lidded jar I had to fill in a consent form, which Zoe had to sign. I almost ran down the corridor to the waiting room where she was and told her she had forms to sign. While we walked I showed her the photos. On one of the photo boards there was a small gap between pictures. I saw this and pointed and said, “Look. There’s the gap for our baby.”
What I thought was going to be a daunting and highly clinical procedure has now turned into one of the most exciting experiences I’ve ever had. That’s in stark contrast to how I was feeling even three weeks ago. It’s amazing what a couple of hundred incredibly cute baby photos does to the IVF psyche!
Until next time, happy contributing.
PS: Here’s the link to IVF 3
Hello once again.
We’ve talked about the foreign world for long enough and those of you unfamiliar with my fatness to fitness page may want to find out more about Boon. It’s also been a long time since I updated my about me page so apologies for that also.
As the title of this post suggests the focus for myself and Mrs. Boon is turning towards IVF with a ‘day one’ appointment coming up very shortly. Day one does sound a little like ground zero but it is, less ominously, the day in which everything IVF begins in earnest.
Before we start let’s delve into a little background…
We have been trying for children for a few years now. Due to various health experiences she had had in the past the wife had always suspected there might be an issue with our ability to conceive children the natural way. After attending a fertility seminar last year we decided to pay for a consultation with a private fertility guru – Dr Mary Birdsall from Fertility Associates Auckland. As a result, we were put on the fertility waiting list and now we find ourselves just a couple of months out from our first appointment. An extension of the story here can be found by clicking here.
There was an operation earlier this year and since we were already on the waiting list for IVF we bumped ourselves to September so that conception might happen as the higher powers intented. Alas this is not the case and we find September just over a month away now and resignation has begun to set in. Children may not happen for us without scientific intervention.
With this resignation comes other thoughts… Will we ever have children? What will our lives be like without kids? Because we have been trying for so long it seems that having a baby is our life at the moment. And sometimes you do think terrible things like, “when this is over and we don’t end up with any kids we might be able to go to Vegas for a cool holiday” This is one of the many, many times when guilt sets in.
This whole process makes you feel guilty in the first place because things aren’t happening correctly. You feel guilty in the second place because you’ve just thought out beyond your current predicament – a time when IVF may fail and you may not ever have kids of your own. I keep telling myself it is a coping mechanism but it doesn’t really help. Guilt is always there bubbling away and will lift its head up and roar its guilty roar at any moment.
For example, I saw a pregnant lady on the street the other day and I thought to myself, “cow, how come she’s pregnant and we’re not?” The roar of the guilt monster invades my brainspace.
The trouble with fertility is many-fold but key to it, as I’ve mentioned previously, is the fact that it takes a long, long time. You only get 12 chances a year – fewer if your parents are staying. It’s all mathematics, peeing on sticks and timing. Very mechanical.
Everyone tries to make you feel better as well. I must be careful here because our friends and family have been remarkable and supportive through this but there are only a few people we know who have had fertility issues and really know what we’re going through. Everyone knows we’ve been trying – we could’ve kept it secret but other friends were trying at the same time and let us know so we let them know. They got pregnant and had kids as well and we’re still trying. You sometimes feel a bit left behind.
While waiting for an appointment with our fertility counsellor the other week we stumbled upon an article in a magazine. It talked about all the things people say when they are wanting to be supportive to their friends in times of unsuccessful fertility. The beautiful thing about the list of ‘sayings’ was that they had replaced fertility with the ability to walk in all of the things people said and posed the question, would people say these things to someone who couldn’t walk?
- If you just forget about walking, it’ll happen.
- Why don’t you just stand up and start walking?
- I had a friend and they were trying to walk for ages and ages and they ended up walking and it was great. You’ll walk just like them I bet.
The article had a very long list of similar phrases many of which we familiar to us.
Well… I have so much more to say on this issue but that’s enough for now. I will, of course, keep you posted as things happen. There will be times of sadness and anger and if you wish to communicate your experiences through the comments option on this page then do feel free.
Until next time, may all your swimmers be successful.
PS: Here’s the link to IVF 2
I write this having just dropped my wife off at the hospital for an operation. The operation is an exploratory laproscopic procedure she needs to confirm a diagnosis of severe endometriosis. I’m expecting several of the regular readers of this column may be asking what endometriosis is, and quite rightly too. Before I explain what this is, and how it works, let me tell you our story…
Back in 2004 we were married in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not long after marriage is when many couples think about adding to their little grouping – for no other reason as to keep their mothers happy. After an extended honeymoon in New Zealand our decision was to return at some point to raise our planned family. So 2006 was when we began trying, and it is now 2009.
Endometriosis is when fragments of endometrial like tissue grow in places outside the uterus. These growths or implants or lesions, known as endometriosis, are usually found in the pelvic region on places such as the pelvic lining (peritoneum), ovaries, bowel and pouch of Douglas (cul de sac).
As we speak Mrs. Boon is preparing for surgery first to confirm that she has this disease and secondly to remove any of these growths, lesions and a cyst that has been identified on her ovary. Although this sounds intensely serious, as any surgery is I suppose, she’s only going to be in hospital for a couple of days and the scarring on her body is minimal.
The reason many of you may not have heard about this disease/condition before is that for many, many years endometriosis fell under the broad and hugely sexist label of ‘women’s problems’. Possibly due to the fact that in previous years doctors were of the male persuasion and the main symptoms of endo flared during menstruation. Any reports of pain related to a period were put down to the normal monthly cycle of the female – ie nothing is/was wrong.
Obviously, this is back in the old days. How have we moved on? Well, not very far is the answer to that question. According to a survey of 4000 members of the Endometriosis Association 61% were told nothing was wrong with them the first time they consulted a physician about their symptoms. The survey found the average length of time for a diagnosis was 9.28 years – made up in part by delays in women seeking treatment (thinking their pain was a normal part of the menstrual cycle), misdiagnosis and an actual diagnosis. 9.28 years is a massive average! Your heart goes out to those women who take longer than this, 10, 15, 20 years to realise something is wrong, or waiting for someone to hear their assertions.
My wife goes into surgery today having been previously diagnosed with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and Chlamydia among other things. The first time she received a diagnosis of ‘suspected severe endometriosis’ was when we sought a fertility consult with private/public company Fertility Associates here in Auckland. And a massive thank you goes out to Dr. Mary Birdsall for her compassion and understanding in this diagnosis. As well as this, she apologised on behalf of her profession for the 10 or so years Zoe had waited to be told that, indeed, things were amiss.
I’m going to leave it there for now. I am publishing this blog at 8.15am on Wednesday 18th February. I will either add to it or write another as more information comes to hand. If you have stumbled across this page and want to find out more information, here are some links.
Endometriosis Association (Milwalkee, US)
Of course, there are many hundreds, perhaps thousands of websites out there. These are just three that may surpass me in their ability to inform you about endo.
PS: apparently endometriosis isn’t real because it’s not in the spellcheck I just used (mind you, neither is Milwalkee, and I’m sure that exists).