Going into yesterday, we didn’t quite know what to expect. Had we made the wrong decision to see the Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE)? Was it too soon? Should we have waited to get a referral from our OB/GYN? As of yet, she was unwilling to give us one. She wanted to do a few more months of IUIs prior to giving us our golden ticket to see a specialist. Also, our ultrasound tech on Monday had seen the same RE when she went through a season of infertility and she told us quite frankly that, “She was not impressed.” Though we have many other friends who have seen him and “LOVED” him, her experience really toyed with our emotions. Would WE like him? Would we gain any new insight in to our dilemma? Would we walk out feeling more hopeless and confused? One thing was certain, the appointment was going to be expensive – were we up for it? We decided to press on and go to our appointment. It had taken so long to get an appointment with him anyway, so why not? Maybe we’ll receive a little peace of mind. We can check it off our list. We are, after all, the checklist types.
But that wasn’t until the afternoon….first, we had to do our 3rd IUI. That proved to be an adventure, a rather traumatic and painful one at that.
For those of you who have read about our previous IUI experience, you know that we are a bit apprehensive about it. We’re really not sure how we feel about the whole thing. Sometimes it’s just easier to view them as a series of hoops to jump through on your way to the RE or IVF or simply because they just don’t know what else to do with you. Well, I will get straight to the point. The nurse could not get the catheter into my uterus. I laid there for 10 minutes…feet held high in stirrups…as she adjusted and readjusted the speculum, changed out the speculum, went through 3 different catheters, poked, prodded, sharp pains feeling like something must have been perforated surged through my lower abdomen. She aggressively sought what we had came for that day…Intra UTERINE Insemination. She was not going to give up…no matter how much pain ensued. I was just praying that God would get me through it. The disappointment would have been hard to face had I stopped because it was painful…so much effort this month: pills, shots, ultrasounds…this. But, we endured. I felt my mind drift into song “Jesus you bore all my pain. Savior you bore all my shame. All because of your love. All because of your love. Because of your cross my debt is paid….” and so it went. Why that song, I’m not sure…but it came to mind and it was appropriate. I felt my body melt into the procedure table in relaxation…within 30 seconds…it was done.
Good times. How I love IUI. During those wondrous 10 minutes of sheer torture…she looked up at me and said, “You will have some spotting tonight.” Thank you. Thank you for letting me know, I hadn’t guessed. : )
We drove straight to our favorite bakery and I indulged myself. I deserved it. A gooey, delicious, buttercream frosting ladened cinnamon roll. It went down easy.
Soon, it was off to the RE…
Let’s just get to the bottom line. He gave us a possible reason we could be infertile. First though, I must tell you our numbers are perfect, our labs are great, our ultrasounds have been promising. He couldn’t believe were not pregnant yet. He said that we have as good of chance as the most fertile couple to get pregnant. But…there was just this one thing. Maybe, just maybe it could be a factor.
My sweet husband was diagnosed with essential hypertension as a young boy. It has hounded his life for the last 15 years. If you met my husband you would be shocked. He is so healthy and strong. He has worked out at least 4-5 days/week CONSISTENTLY for the past decade of his life. (If only I had some of that motivation). Appointments with cardiologist, nephrologists, internists and many others have been a constant in his life. He has endured countless procedures and tests to identify the causative pathology. Yet, no one has been able to figure out why a boy so young would have such high blood pressure. It has taken just as much time to get it under control. His numbers are very good now, but he worries about it alot…worries about the effects his blood pressure had on his kidneys during those years when they were trying to stabilize it. It is always on our prayer list.
He is on four different blood pressure medications to keep it under control. One is classified as a calcium channel blocker. Herein lies our revelation. In fertility journals, literature is coming out that calcium channel blockers act as a male contraceptive.
Did I really just hear that? YES, A MALE CONTRACEPTIVE.
You have got to be kidding me. It is not well documented and hasn’t been formally studied. My husband is a pharmacist…he knows these drugs more intimately than most. He was blindsided. In vitro studies are demonstrating that sperm of men who take these medications are unable to bind with receptor sites on a woman’s egg because they are missing a very important molecule, essential to that process. WHAT?
Here is a link to an article that explains it in pretty easy terms to follow:
Basically, there is not a ton of research about it because:
- Nifedipine is generic so there is really no money in it for the drug companies.
- The drug companies are so afraid that research will affirm these findings. As a result, they could be sued by all the men who were unable to have children as a result of this unknown problem.
- The majority of patients on these drugs are not in their prime child bearing years. It is very uncommon for someone to be on this drug in their 20s.
The good news. It’s REVERSIBLE. The sperm are otherwise completely healthy and able to fertilize the egg. They just can’t bind to the egg.
So there it is. Basically we must wait. It takes 3 months for new sperm to develop…so, we will wait. Wait, wait, wait. Remember, that is the game we play. We are hoping to meet with our OB/GYN soon and develop a plan for the next 3 months. We are thinking about skipping a month of meds and IUIs…give our bodies a break and give this possibility time to pan out. In our minds, what’s the point…if the sperm can’t do their job right now…then let’s wait and see what they can do given a new chance.
My husband calls it a lead…I’m calling it a breakthrough. I’m really hoping this is it.