Friday, April 29, 2016

The #teamricci story- Scott's Perspective

So after reading Stace's post, I really wanted to post about my feelings and the things that  I went through.  Stace did a great job about talking through our journey and I promise that although this will be long for me, it will not as long as hers.  I am a get to the point, quick story teller but this isn't about that, this is about sharing our lives and sharing for others and helping others learn from us.  I also am going to do it in the same format as Stace did, so that you can get the point of what I am doing.  And honestly if guys need to ask me questions, you can comment with your email and I will write back. 

Who Are We:
I remember the first time I met Stace.  We were at an 8th grade bridge dance.  I grew up in a town that shared a high school with two other towns and we always had a bridge dance to get us to know the incoming freshman from the other schools.  I was the Vice President of the 7th & 8th grade class and Stace was the Secretary of her class.  Now, sorry to say, I can't say I know exactly what happened that night but I do remember our Secretary introducing us and I said hello.  Fast forward to freshman year, I heard that Stace liked me, but when I asked her about it, she immediately turned me down.  Sophomore year came and we became extremely good friends through AIM (remember that 90's kids?).  Well, during that time, I had a recently broken up with a girlfriend and started dating an online girl.  You know how those went?!?!?!?  Well, the girl was supposed to go to the Winter Formal and bailed at the last moment so I had no one to go with.  Stace knew that all this was going on and on the night of the Winter Formal asked the DJ at 11:11 to play, Tupac- Changes.  We had a thing with 11:11 to make a wish and she thought it would be a good idea to do it at that time.  Well the song came on, she found me and asked to dance and from that day on it was history.  We danced for 1 hour straight that night.  Funny part of that night and I think I literally just realized it now as I write this, but it my dad's best man speech, he references that on a night that he was listening to me talk about the night, he heard me talk about a girl, and it turned out to be Stace.  I'm pretty sure it was that night...

Lets fast forward to us deciding that we wanted to start having a family....

Sperm Tests-lets call it like it is:

The first test was at home.  I was a big and still am Amazon nut (no pun intended).  I remember that Stace was out of the house and I decided to give it a whirl.  Well, I am not a master or anything but I knew that I performed what needed to be done.  I remember reading the test and seriously going no way.  I said to myself over and over, did I wait to long??? Did I read the directions right?  I must have held it at the wrong angle??  I remember Stace coming home and me saying, I think I have a problem but we chalked it up to a faulty test.  

I remember after asking questions, someone said you should go to a urologist and without knowing much about what needs to happen, I did go to a local one.  This guy was younger and nice and I was very reluctant to pull my pants down to him.  I remember saying okay now pull your pants down, I need to check your scrotum.  I did because I had to and he noticed the varicose veins on both of the testicles.  He asked how long I had them and I wasn't sure.  I do remember a doctor when I was younger saying something about them but he said to not worry.  Thanks doc!  We got done with the exam and as I was pulling my pants back up he said, wait, I have one more test and you young guys don't like this.  Yep, he checked my prostate, and he was as gentile as he could be but woah what a weird feeling.  He then referred me to a reproductive urologist because he said I might want to try another step.  

At this same time, Stace's doctors were saying we might want to try to do the tests.  As Stace spells out it was not fun!  First test, have fun in a cup at your house and then race to the hospital to get it there within 45 minutes.  So as soon as I finish, get in the car and drive there calmly.  CALMLY!!!!  Are you kidding me, I was driving like a mad man!  Well we show up to the hospital and Stace knows a nurse there and as I hand her the bag of semen I said well this is awkward giving you this.  She said I have no clue whats in the bag and Stace goes, oh by the way this is my husband and I followed it up with, than this is really awkward!  First test no sperm.  I don't even remember Stace telling me.  I do remember that I couldn't even process it.  I had a big district walk at my job the next day.  I do remember however, I called my friend Manny on the way to work and just broke down.  I got to work and did what I have done for so long in my life.  Put it in the back of my head and worked through the day.  One of the district staff that had known me for a long time, knew something was up and I told him I was infertile.  He responded with I am sure that you will find a way to have a kid.  I worked that day as if nothing happened.  I held my emotions back.  I did not speak about them.  I did not cry.  I did not flip out.  I just made myself numb.  

Second Test:  I was told that I need to go to a lab because I will probably have better results.  So I decided to make a day out of it and had my brother and mother come for moral support but we also went out for lunch after, (I promise I washed my hands and they stayed in the car). So I check in at the desk, which was like a lab or something.  I tell them why I am there and they hand me a cup and said the bathroom is right there.  I said, wait what?  The lobby bathroom??? There was a younger mother in the waiting room with like 5 guy as well???  I go in the bathroom and well try my best to get in the mood.  You know how white tile and a toilet really get a guy going!!!!  I remember trying to watch material on my phone, but kept turning it down because I knew the people could hear the sounds.  Well I did what I had to, ran out of the bathroom with the cup as everyone stared at me, and gave it back and said I'll wait for the results.  2nd test down, 2nd test no sperm.  Strike 2.

Intermission: Lets talk really quickly about having to perform on command.  This is a great experience and you should feel close to your wife but if you miss the ovulation window you miss the whole month.  It became a chore and something that I found out that I was not that good at completing.  It became too stressful to get excited about what we were doing, so it became less easy to find it a sexy and romantic act.  I could never be a porn star or a male hooker because I would fail over and over.  And the scary part is I am young, this should be easy but it is not.  

Third Test:  If the first and second test were as good as the experience for the third test, I can now imagine why people donate.  It was at the fertility doctor's office in Norwalk.  They had "production rooms" that were very private and offered very good materials and privacy.  Ill leave it at because I might have family members read this...  However as comfortable as I was, still the same result, no sperm!  Strike 3 I'm out, or wait was that a foul ball.  

Now on to the big guns....That clearly means surgery if you didn't get it.  I talked about the varicose veins I had in my scrotum.  Well I finally went to a reproductive urologist after all the zero sperm cases and he had me do more sperm tests in his office and not to give too much details but he had me pee and get in the mood and then pee again to see if there was any stuck in the urine.  No dice.  Lets remove your varicose veins!!!  Well that was a surgery that I had to be under IV sedation.  I remember that I had to be in a wheel chair and that I convinced the doctors and nurses that I needed to walk out because it hurt to get up from the chair.  Recovery was great too, when my scrotum was the size of a grapefruit so that made it hard to go the bathroom of any kind.  But after having those removed, guess what, still no sperm!

Now on to the most craziest test ever: Sperm mapping...  Yea, don't google it because you will feel bad for me.  And you will feel bad if any guy ever talks about it.  Lets just say I was wide awake, they numbed me, but I could feel the pressure.  And how it works is the same way any biopsy happens.  Lots of needles and 5 minutes of compression at the end to make sure that you don't bleed out.  This is the shortest paragraph for a reason.    End result though, still no sperm.  

I remember back to that first test, and I said, I'd rather go donor than anything before adopting.  I want to experience the feelings and the joy of pregnancy.  I remember thinking how do I pick the best donor.  I wanted someone with blonde hair and blue eyes and around the same build.  I really wanted someone that was Irish, German and Italian, but settled with Irish and German.  I saw that he had a Bachelors in Sociology and I just finished up my Bachelors of Behavioral Science at the time so it felt right.  I chose him and Stace agreed.  We had found a match!  And for those that do not know, donor sperm is not cheap!  Its not nearly as much as donor eggs but holy moly.  I remember in the movies that college kids would do it for beer money.  Well I was spending top shelf P Diddy money to get a vial so they had to get more than beer money.   Funny thing is, with all items you can buy, they run specials on the vials at times.  Buy 2 get 10% off, buy 3 get 20%????  I was amazed being in sales forever but I was like lets buy them so that we save on shipping as well.   Real sales breaks!

I honestly can't say that I remember each specific cycle.  I can tell you that I never felt we were pregnant.  I did get super excited when we had a positive test came back and wanted it so bad to happen.  I still remember telling our parents and how excited we were.  I remember that the joy that it can happen that it was the best feeling.  I remember that being in WDW and having to push my wife around in a wheelchair because it felt like we were overdoing.  I remember Stace telling me that something is wrong and not wanting to believe.  There was too much blood every day.  There were too many cramps.  It just was not our time.  It sucked.  We had family around for it though and I think that brought us closer that day as a family instead of people going through it.  I do remember stopping because it got too much.  Our days together were just going through the motions.  Everything was based off of her cycle and it started to eat at us as a couple.  It was hard but it brought us together more.  

We are moving on and everything will work.  We decided to go to another clinic for two reasons.  1. Money.  We heard about a grant and I love getting money back for things I don't think I should pay for.  2.  Family friend recommendation about a place that is in NY.  Well we went and immediately fell in love with the doctors.  Not that we did not like our old fertility clinic, because we loved the nurses, however it seems as if the doctors did not know what we were doing and that they were pushing us to IVF.  Our new clinic worked with us.  The doctors knew exactly what we were going through.  The nurses were caring.  Everyone was there to get us to have a baby.  The egg retrieval was a process that I could not be 100% part of because Stace was under sedation and the room had to 100% sterile.  I do remember taking care of her and that it was a long process but it was something that in the end turned out great.  Our first transfer was a little bit hectic.  I am a guy and guys like jets and airplanes.  Well turns out that on the day of our transfer, for the first time ever, there was an airshow that we had VIP tickets for and we were going to be late.  No biggie right.  Well we got out of the transfer on time.  Doctors said no major activity, but walking is fine.  That day turned out to be horrible and lets just say that Stace probably walked over 2-3 miles and that it an extremely stressful day.  Even though we transferred an "AA" embryo on the grading scale, that baby needed some booze to get him/her through that day and unfortunately for us the fresh cycle did not work.  

2nd Try Frozen:
No this is not the Disney movie but it does seem like a fairytale.  We did our second transfer and decided that we wanted to transfer 2 embryos.  We said twins, why not? So we transferred two and two stuck and immediately we were on cloud 9.  I still remember Stace calling me on my cell.  She was so excited she could not contain it and had to tell me.  She told me the number and I said, thats good right?  She said its great Scott we are pregnant.  From what we learned from the other cycles, we were so cautious and then came the day that we had an ultrasound and knew something wasn't right.  We got brought into another room with better ultrasounds.  In that other room, we knew on the screen that we only saw one heartbeat.   I remember our doctor being so upset.  I stopped him, I said doc is there one heartbeat?  He said yes.  I said doc, thats all I care about.  I want a healthy baby rather than 2 struggling babies.  Not that I wouldn't care for our babies if they struggled but I was pumped that we still had a baby in there.  We were pregnant.  

Pregnancy after Infertility: 
Life does not get easier.  Every scan.  Every blood work.  Every test.  Every day.  Every pain Stace has.  It does not end.  We are currently 27 weeks and 2 days in and every day has been a roller coaster. As much as  I can't wait for baby bee to get here, I also want to live out these last couple of months with the excitement that we gain daily.  Every kick that I get to feel.  Every time Stace sends me a video of the remote on her belly and it bouncing all over.  Every time I just get to see her growing belly.  Every new outfit she wears.  Every time we hear congratulations from someone new.  It never gets old.  Mother's day and Father's day is coming up and we can finally experience it.  We can finally get in the spirit of baby's first _____.  I cannot wait to be a father!  I cannot wait to hold my baby for the first time.  I cannot wait to see my wife holding our baby.  Here's hoping that you will continue to follow along with our journey.  

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