Monday, April 30, 2012

...male factor infertility : it exists...

how i love my amanda girl. one of my favorite things is to call her up and chat, listening to her southern accent. sure, that sounds weird, but if you were to hear it, you'd feel the same way. she also taught me the proper use of the word, 'nap' (naps, nappy, etc), which has been huge for my vocabulary. but really, amanda is an amazing woman. her story has brought me to tears and made me take a hard look at what studly had to go through when i went through my brain cancer bought. she is brave, as is her husband, brian. they are wonderful people. the kind that i want to live next door to me forever. it's too true that male factory infertility isn't talked about enough, and i appreciate amanda being willing to talk about her husband's (and her) journey. 

beautiful kenna girl has asked me to share my story during national infertility week. my story is a little different from others. even though i do suffer with infertility, i don't personally. my husband has male infertility. this is not just a one person's thing. we are in this together.  we have infertility.

i remember finding out and just searching the internet for women who's situation was: male infertility. so i just knew how they felt from that perspective. i hope i can help anyone who is going through male infertility as well.

a few weeks before our one year anniversary, my husband, brian, found a lump on one of his testicles. when i felt it i KNEW it was cancer. it was a tiny, round lump. almost like a little rock and i just knew it was cancer. but he thought it may not be and didn't see any concern of going to get it checked out. i on the other hand was terrified and told only my dad that we had found this lump.

the next day my dad was watching "good morning america" where this guy had found a lump on his testicle. ignored it. thirty days after finding this lump he died from not getting it checked out. my dad called me up yelling "get him in the doctor! he needs to go to the doctor!" brian heard my dad through the phone, that it scared him enough to go.

so it being three days after finding the lump, he went to the doctor to get it checked out. the doctor felt around and said "oh, it's nothing. i am 90% sure that you are fine. it's just a vein. but if you'd like i can set you up for an ultra sound." brian thought that was a good idea. he didn't feel like that doctor was really feeling what he felt. he goes to a different place to get the ultra sound. the nurse comes out to him and ask "has anyone talked to you yet?" he said "no." she said "it's cancer. you have testicular cancer."

cancer. wow. hearing that word. that my husband has cancer. CANCER? really? i was just in shock. and in such a numb state. i cried for him. the doctor's examined it more and saw that he caught it super early. so early, that he needed to just do radiation treatment. they said his lump was the size of a bee bee. usually men ignore it, that by the time they go in, the tumor has grown bigger than their testicle or they are coughing up blood. we were so thankful to have found it early.

at the time we were so poor {still kind of are being in med school} that we couldn't even afford to put some of his sperm aside for "safe keeping". but we had a feeling he may have struggled with infertility before he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. we had a good feeling about it and just let radiation treatment begin.

a year after treatment brian's sperm was tested. the results being we had a 1 to 2% chance of conceiving naturally. we were so upset. but, we were great candidates for IVF. we went in for a consultation. it sounded hopeful that we could do this. until they told us payments. now, this particular center told us this CRAZY amount of it costing way more than usual that it scared us to go through with it. {we should have gotten a second opinion as we did on his first doctor's visit with his lump. that is a long story}

after receiving a great blessing from our Bishop, we had hope and faith that all would be well. years of trying to get into school came upon us and brian was retested. his sperm count was even lower than before. after getting into medical school, we had friends who adopted through LDSFS. we thought "hey! if they can adopt while being in medical school, we can too!" we found out that by going through our church at LDSFS it was much cheaper than other agencies {a whole lot cheaper!} and much cheaper than IVF. something we still couldn't do at the moment.

adoption was opened to our hearts. we were both so ready and excited. and then i had a set back. i grieved the "loss" of the child i dreamt about. the child i imagined looking like us. a little girl with brown hair, brown or hazel eyes. i may never have that. that positive pregnancy test i really, truly wanted so bad to have, may never come. and i cried as if someone so close to me had died. i wasn't ready for adoption. even though i knew i could love a child who didn't physically come from me, that image of the child i had all growing up and throughout my marriage may never come to my home.

then one day after so many signs to me pointed to adoption, i cried knowing adoption was in fact the answer. what was my purpose as a mother? to raise my children in the gospel of Jesus Christ. to have them be respected, looked up to and admired. i didn't need a child to come from me to achieve that. i may always still have that desire to see a positive pregnancy test, but it's not holding me back from progressing in life and enjoying it.

we have been approved to adopt and wait our baby's arrival {semi} patiently. even though we may never have a little girl {or boy} with brown hair and brown or hazel eyes, that is fine. we will be parents. we know this. my entire life i have had the dream of being a mother. in fact, that was my goal. when asked what i wanted to do by a guy i was on a date with, i answered "a mother" and he mocked me. that fool was dropped the next day. i see no silliness in wanting to be a mother. i find it to be the ultimate role and can't wait to achieve it.

my dream is the same. it's just tweaked a bit. and that is fine. i know the Lord loves us and wants what's best for us. he wants us to be happy and enjoy life and each other. we have found trusting in the Lord and progressing is what will get us there. 

brian and amanda.

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Aden & Jamie Hirtle said...

This is our cause of infertility as well.... except for the cancer part. We're not sure why my husband's sperm is so bad but we've got no chance of conceiving on our own. It makes me sad that this couple couldn't do IVF sooner and that it is so expensive. So frustrating. IVF was our only option for conceiving, and we had to do an additional procedure called ICSI but our chances were high for conceiving with these procedures. It can be very heartbreaking to find out you will never have children naturally but we will forever be grateful for modern technology. It is still hard to hear people say, "Oh I know a couple who did IVF and then got pregnant on their own. Sometimes getting pregnant helps a woman's body to conceive naturally." I just want to have some snarky response ready like, "Oh does getting pregnant also fix my husband's sperm?" And to agree with another post of yours, I hate it when people ask who is to blame for the infertility. As if my husband isn't feeling bad enough about it already. WE are infertile as a couple... not him and not me. One more comment that totally took me by surprise was after I had my babies 12 weeks early a doctor and a nurse at different times encouraged us to talk about family planning and to make sure to use some form of birth control. I wanted to scream. I kindly said, "Well we can't get pregnant on our own." The doctor said, "Yes, you have about as much of a chance of getting pregnant as someone using birth control but you never know..." I felt like some naughty girl who had gotten pregnant and purposely had them early. And would getting pregnant by surprise be such a bad thing? Not for us! Anyway, thank you for your guest posts. I have enjoyed them. Even though we were blessed with 2 girls I still get wildly jealous when my friends tell me they are pregnant and I know how easy it was for them. It is nice to hear of other people's experiences and be reminded that not everyone can just snap their fingers and get pregnant. Again, thank you.

Tamara ViAnn said...

This is our issue as well- though we have 1 child through adoption and 1 bio child after trying for 7 years. It really stinks because we'd love to have a third child but IVF is SO crazy expensive. Ironically we have excellent health coverage aside from the fact that infertility is not covered. It would be one thing if we knew IVF w/ ICSI would work the first time, but often it takes more than that. It's frustrating knowing what to do.

Clair said...

I know and love Amanda so! She is so wonderful in every way!

This is such a beautiful story. You and Brian are so strong! I love your stong faith. What an example you are! Thanks for sharing!

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