Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Today I picked up the Xrays of the truly uncomfortable scan I had last week. They were meant to go in a pile by the front door until December the 13th when we return to the posh clinic but instead I opened them and diagnosed myself with a hydrosalpinx. It seems I was right in thinking the asymmetrical view I saw on the screen during the procedure was not good. However, the peculiar, white shape veering off to the left was not in fact the patent tube I had hoped but a dilated fluid filled sack, swinging between my uterus and my right ovary.

I was puzzled initially as to why I needed the scan pre IVF when it seemed I would not be using the tubes I was born with. They could be tied in knots and it wouldn't matter. But it seems that hydrosalpinges like to empty their contents into the uterus post embyro implantation flushing out the contents or at times the fluid just lingers and gently lets out drops of toxic liquid to ensure IVF is unsuccessful.

The solution. To cut or clamp the tube.

Well whatever the Dr decides next month will be my next step. I'm not at all happy about permanently occluding the watery view of my right ovary and shutting it away in the darkness. I feel a little short of breath just picturing it. All this just adds to an already complex situation and I did cry into my tea this morning and N just agreed with how crap all this is which cheered me up. There's nothing like someone throwing a positive slant on something to help me find the darkest attitude ever. I like to work it out for myself. So....on a positive note, I am grateful that these fertility experts know this related risk as it has only come to light quite recently. So I suppose it's not completely hopeless.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Enemols and 'isterosalpingogramas

I've always wanted to have private health insurance but view it as a luxury. During my nursing days I realised the limitations of fancy health plans. All the doilies and drapes, the private rooms with TV and wifi are no use when the s**t hits the fan. Then it's off to an acute bed, same surgeon, same treatment as the NHS patient lying next to you. I worked briefly in a private wing of my local DGH and learned that private patients have their chocolate mousse piped with a decorative strawberry on top, rather than dolloped onto a chipped plastic plate to resemble the contents of a bedpan.

Well, in this city, private health plans are essential but sadly don't compare well to the ones in the UK. So ours has no fertility cover but does include cosmetic surgery after 12 months, a basic requirement here it seems from the matching masks of the over 50's women in the fancy neighbourhoods. Our Doctor very kindly ordered my hysterosalpingogram on our health plan rather than the fancy fertility clinic which has really helped in saving a few pesos. So far so good, admin crap of course but I'm used to that in the NHS. However, today I found myself lying on a slightly rusty steel bed with a very rude male radiographer shoving pipes and metal clamps into me like a Christmas turkey having it's stubborn giblets removed by a novice butcher. And all the while trying to control my bowels after 2 enemas with the added sense of drama cast upon my no longer private parts by the nurse with a large torch that looks like she popped it in her handbag from the boot of her car. Just in case she ended up working in examen cubiculo 2. Never again, I hope.

The Nurse was very kind but too intimidated by the fat butcher to continue with her words of encouragement and reassurance during the procedure. He seemed determined to make one of us cry. So anyway, results from this procedure and various others due in December. I am grateful for the fact I was able to book this scan just days ago, I know there are women currently waiting 3-6 months for this in the UK. Also, at the end of all this I can have my stress lines ironed out and hitched up round my ears...for free!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Each to their own

I do try not to be judgemental and I'm definitely more grey than black and white these days. Especially now that the prospect of IVF is challenging so many things I have said 'Never!' to. BUT today I met a very strange lady indeed that made me want to run for the hills and shout "What the f**k".

I was delighted to find an English speaking lady living in the same South American city as me on an ex pat forum. She mentioned she was planning IVF here and I sent her a message to see if she would mind answering a few of my many questions. It's a lonely business after all. She replied straight away, suggested a coffee and excitedly told me she was 12 weeks pregnant. I was delighted and couldn't wait to meet.

When I arrived at our agreed meeting spot, I walked several times around the cafe, peeping at women's stomachs who were sitting alone and finally found 'Lunita'. She greeted me with a huge smile and launched straight into her reproductive history of uterine deformities and 4 previous failed IVF attempts dating back to the 1980's. Unfortunately, she wanted the same level of information from me which I was not willing to give her. I came across to her as cold and English, she almost said as much but my intuition was telling me to ask for the bill.

I was really happy for this woman, past her mid 40s, experiencing her first, long awaited pregnancy after more hurdles than I could ever imagine. However, somewhere between the 'it's up to mother nature if we are meant to have a baby she will bless us' and the extreme measures she has sought in cutting edge reproductive medicine, I squirmed in my chair and found little comfort in her success.

I politely declined her offer to accompany me to a future appointment and to meet next week (I'm busy) to listen to more of her repressed memories that emerged during a pre IVF counselling session. Her tattered boundaries set my alarm bells ringing which is encouraging as my boundaries are somewhat fragile and there would have been a time, many years ago, when such a person would have infiltrated my life quickly and easily. With the best of intentions of course but ultimately using controlling behaviour until I feel an obligation. And as for the 'rescuer' buttons it pushed in me, hearing her difficult past, I managed to resist for enough time to safely get myself on the bus home.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lucky us

Well, after all this time, this blog has turned into precisely what I hoped it wouldn't and the main focus really is all about fertility or rather infertility.

The last 6 months has seen many, many tests and both N and I have deposited various types of bodily fluid over this South American city. On the upside I have expanded my weak Spanish script from restaurant Spanish to clinic Spanish. Countless google searches, scans and trying to conceive website habit.

For a couple of months I took some medication to lower a slightly raised prolactin level which turned out to be a red herring but I clung to it tightly, as popping those pills allowed me to feel I was taking back just a little control in our quest to start a family. Plus, the potential that a benign growth on my pituitary gland (prolactinoma) was to blame somehow restored a little dignity and femininity to my feelings about my body (as if I haven't already worked hard enough to mend the shattered connection between my mind and body).

Now I just need to get my tubes dyed and dusted whilst checking out a cheeky little polyp that has moved in, you can hardly blame it for setting up camp in such a vacant space. N and I have to have all our tests redone and then we make the decision on IUI (which looks unlikely) or straight to ICSI. Roll on mid-december. Muchos pesos but trying not to think too much about it.

So much uncertainty but somehow I feel slightly more in control dealing with infertility than dealing with the unknown and I know we wouldn't be where we are were it not for some white (grey) lies and and a lot of pushing the Doctors here in this strange foreign land!