X made me promise not to talk about this, but unfortunately, I’ve reached the end of the line and I need to get it out.
Those of you who can get pregnant the normal way should thank your lucky stars. X had a vasectomy when he was married to the beast and two years ago we decided we might like to have a baby. My ob/gyn said that all they would do is have a urologist extract sperm from X and put it into a turkey baster into me, and voila. Since the only thing standing in our way was the snip, we researched the best urologists for this, found one was in DC and met with him. We also discussed reversing the vasectomy. He said, “No problem, but just go to Shady Grove and get the tests to make sure Velvet doesn’t have any issues on her side. You don’t want to reverse a vasectomy only to find out she has a blockage or something.” Fair enough.
Here’s my Review of Shady Grove Fertility:
April, 2009. We met with some doc there and began the battery of tests. Everything came back better than normal, and we went back to Shady Grove and said, “Okay, when can we do the artificial insemination?” They said, “you won’t get enough sperm so you have to do full IVF.” I’m really cutting to the chase on this, but this was over about a month of time because these tests are all on certain days of your cycle. I felt cheated, like, why did I bother going through these tests if they were just going to send me to the last stop of IVF anyway? I felt like they were just giving us the hard-sell into their most profitable procedure and we never went back.
My ob/gyn recommended we go to Washington Fertility. I love my ob/gyn and I thought that her recommendation would be the right one.
Here’s my Review of Washington Fertility:
June, 2009: X and I instantly liked the one doctor at Washington Fertility. He seemed like a nice guy and very interested in helping us. He said, “If you only want one child, why reverse a vasectomy? Just do IVF. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around this, but finally in the Fall of 2009 we agreed we would go this route. It seemed so unbelievable that something as simple as a vasectomy was causing all this trouble. When we agreed to start the process in January, 2010, the trouble started. Despite the nurse’s orders that I needed to absolutely call on Day 1 of my period, the witches at the front desk treated me like crap and said to “call back next week,” making me miss an entire month. When they started charging X’s credit card, they double charged a bunch of things and we couldn’t even decipher what they had done. When we questioned what they charged, they got nasty and belligerent and for the rest of the weeks we went there, they wouldn’t even look at us or speak to us. We addressed this with the doctor and he assured us he would review our charges.
During the process, I got very sick. It’s not easy to take 3 hormone shots a night in the stomach and get progressively sicker each day. I gained 20 lbs and was completely miserable. Just the idea of clothes touching my body was painful. I was sick to my stomach, couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink and couldn’t go to the bathroom. Despite the fact that I developed 18 follicles – totally unheard of for a 36 year old – they kept wanting to do “one more day” of meds. I had to put my foot down and say that I couldn’t take anymore. X tried to call their emergency line and paged the doctor several times. He never called back. When they looked at X’s sperm, they said it was all dead, and we would need to arrange for another extraction. X called his doc who was totally shocked and said, “I just left there and there were 3 vials of live sperm.” For 2 hours we were on the phone between docs and labs trying to figure out the truth and whose sperm they were speaking about. We still don’t know.
They retrieved 15 eggs from me (not all follicles have an egg inside) and 13 fertilized. Again, these are insane numbers for a 36, almost 37 year old. That weekend we had a big old snowstorm and the entire metro area lost power. They claim to have generators but I’m not sure. All the eggs died except 4 very weak ones. They recommended we get all 4 implanted. Needless to say, I didn’t get pregnant. During the transfer of the 4 embryos Dr. Asmar literally kept asking the lab assistant, “Here? How about here?” If you believe the gods of google, the transfer is the most important part of the process, for one wrong move and the embryos won’t stick. And Dr. Asmar had no clue where to put them. The lab tech had to tell him.
The way Dr. Asmar and his staff treated us was a disaster, but it got worse. I put reviews online attesting to my experience and the staff put reviews right behind me saying “We know who you are and we’re going to tell your office how crazy you are so you lose all your clients.” I screen capped it all. One may wonder how I know it was them. Because the time stamp was pretty close to the time stamp on my site stats and on our company site stats and on this blog, with a big old “WASHINGTON FERTILITY” in the referrer line. When you’re a stupid receptionist at an incompetent doctor’s office, I wouldn’t expect you to understand how stats work, but you get a big FAIL for that you dumb bitch.
We were told to go to Dominion Fertility and so we requested our records from Washington Fertility. It took 4 very painful attempts to get ALL the records. They kept playing games and we ended up filing complaints on Washington Fertility for HIPAA violations and with the medical board for the doctor’s lack of care.
Then the reality sunk in. It’s not the money. It’s not the incompetence. It’s not the lack of a baby. It’s that nagging feeling about the “lost” sperm, the 15 eggs and the question of their status, and the fear that my egg or X’s sperm went into someone else’s body. When you conceive a child through sex, these are things that never cross your mind.
A year later, we continue to get bills from the for “sperm storage” despite the fact that they have said several times there was none left. We continue to send letters asking Dr. Asmar why he still charges us for sperm and he refuses to answer. This, along with withholding records, is also a HIPAA violation. We filed another complaint this week.
We decided to go to Dominion Fertility and do the Natural Cycle IVF. (No meds, they just wait on your one egg to pop, then grab it.) I’m not sure I can do a review of this facility at this point as I just had my one lone egg retrieved this morning. However, I can tell you this much. I will never do IVF again.
While retrieving the egg, they poked a hole through my bladder and blood came out where pee should be, and they had to give me a catheter for 2 hours while the urine cleared. If it didn’t clear, I would have had to wear a pee bag for 2 days. They agreed to remove the bag and I have never felt such pain in my life. The nurse ran out of the room and came back in with another nurse who said, “Didn’t you deflate the balloon in her bladder first?” It was like trying to get a golf ball out my pee hole. At this point I was in tears, and completely hysterical. I’m squeamish with medical procedures but nothing grosses me out more than the urinary tract. I had kidney stones once and it was a pretty miserable experience getting a catheter but this was 100 times worse.
I practically ran out of there in tears and it’s hard to believe that anyone in this fertility game really knows what they are doing. There’s just a fucking vasectomy standing in our way (that has since been reversed and it didn’t work) and no one can help us without putting me through physical and emotional pain I just never thought I would know in my life.
So for all of you women who can have a baby the normal way, please, thank God, Gucci, or whoever you thank, and be so happy you don’t have to endure this.
And there you have it. The reason that for the last year I’ve been basically MIA. This has occupied a lot of my time and I’ve been pretty depressed from it.
Oh honey. I’m so sorry. This sounds honest-to-god awful. I hope that you get what you want without any more pain and discomfort and interaction with fucking idiots. [Hug]
Wow. Velvet, I hope all of this works out and is made worth-while by a happy ending. xx
I want to give you a hug and a casserole right now. Collect at your convenience.
OMG. I’m so sorry to hear of this ordeal. That’s horrendous. What is the likelihood that all three facilities would fuck it up? Although, technically, Shady Grove didn’t… yet… they just milked you for money for the extra tests. (And anyone wonders why health care costs keep rising….)
I keep saying that guys who are serious about not having any more kids should zip things up. But you really need to be sure that you’re sure! It’s a painful object lesson that reversal isn’t always possible, and that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Sadly, I admit that I formerly took reversal for granted. After reading this, not anymore. The vasectomy may have been a simple thing, but it was very effective.
At this point your options get even more difficult, and even unpalatable:
2. Surrogate mother
I am of the mind that, if I’m too old to have a kid and decided I wanted one, I would just adopt. It’s not cheap or easy, but none of these options are.
Here is something I don’t get and maybe it is due to ignorance on my part. At what point was it determined that you, V, are actually infertile and unable to conceive without this load of stuff? At Shady Grove? Because if all your stuff was better than normal, why do you have to undergo all this crap?
Yeah, you were 36, but fucking Kelly Preston popped out a child at 48. It’s not unheard of.
My feeling is… don’t stress yourself out about it any longer. Yes, the vasectomy reversal was ineffective, but I look at it this way: my brother was able to conceive a child with his wife, after doctors told him he wouldn’t have any children due to the amount of radiation that he received for his cancer treatments. Lance Armstrong, who had testicular cancer, fathered another child that he didn’t expect, with his girlfriend. The vasectomy reversal may not have been terribly effective, but you never know when nature will step in and right the ship for you. The body heals in amazing ways, and it’s always possible.
It’s so easily said, I know. I don’t mean to impart false hope. What I want is to give you love and support, and to help relieve the stress of this situation. Just keep loving your husband, and maybe God will let a baby happen for you. If you are otherwise prepared to take other steps to have a child, God bless you. I don’t have it in me to go through that kind of process.
Oh, sweetie. That is just miserable! My friend used IVF (her husband had had a VS years before), and I have heard how hard that is on both parties. She does now have a very lively 28 month old girl.
These businesses sound like they are itching for a lawsuit.
I wish you were in NC so I could hook you up with the company that Robin used.
Hey chick! So sorry you are having such bad experiences. I wish you had given Shady Grove a chance. They really are excellent. I used them as well as a few friends with no.issues. I am just an email away if you need to chat. Much love and hugs….
I’m so very sorry you’ve had to go through all of this. I can’t even imagine what your year has been like, and I’m so angry for you. I don’t know how you manage to attract so many assholes and incompetent people to your life. It’s really amazing! I really hope this most recent retrieval results in a baby for you. I know how much it hurts to want something so much, and not be able to get it. Hugs.
I am so sorry to hear about all that you’ve gone through. I only had experience with SG and have to say that about 85% of their staff are pretty good. Granted, I didn’t have to deal with their billing office (you know why) but I did go through a mock cycle and two IVF cycles there before my friends ended up with their twins. All of what you have gone through is why I decided to try to help them have a baby in the first place… It had been hard enough for us to conceive — though we did end up getting lucky — I never forgot how that struggle felt.
A good friend had success with twin girls at Dominion, but she ended up going with their donor egg program.
I hope you are feeling better (physically) soon and that you can start the emotional healing, too.
i’d be freaking pissed about losing an entire year dealing with the incompetence of WF. I really wish you were closer so that I could give you huge hugs and take you out for some drinks. Nothing puts a smile on your face like grand theft auto and 7/11 snacks.
wow..so sorry kiddo…
i say sue em…
but im a bitch like that…
I just checked your blog after ages and what a coincidence that you posted something today (I feel a silly connection here). I’m terribly sorry to hear about your experience. Of course all your friends and well wishers support you but really there’s nothing anyone can say or do to undo what you’ve gone through.
I will say this though: don’t give up…you’d make a kick ass mom and you know it too. When does anything worthwhile come easy? Take your marriage…how many years after you first met your now husband did you marry him?? So chin up and keep at it.
(ps. Always here to talk with my infinite wisdom (!) but I hardly think you are in need of another friend).
I left a comment before, but hmmm…I’ll try again later.
I wish things were easier – mentally and physically. I love you in a lot of different ways — some because of this.
Siryn, I was never determined to be infertile. I am 100% fertile. But at 38 now, how much time do I have? No one knows. We cannot get X’s sperm to my egg. That’s all. And in the process of going the lab route, they seem to fuck that up as well. I can’t subject my body to any further drama, and there isn’t a need for a surrogate as I have eggs that can be fertilized and sperm that is viable. There is still the slim chance that what Dominion has in the petrie dish will divide and fertilize, but we won’t know until Monday. And then, every day is a new day. At any point it’s very tenuous to carry a child that was conceived outside your body and hope “it sticks.”
I don’t want to adopt. I’m on a different path and that path isn’t working. It’s not “any kid” – it’s a kid with X. And while that seems so selfish, that’s the place where I am in my life.
I’m so sorry, V. I also hope that nature will figure it out and make it happen without the petri dishes, and you all will be pleasantly surprised. Big hugs.
Carrie – That is a scientific impossibility. The only way for me to get pregnant is through IVF.
Best wishes with the IVF. I hope you get some good news on Monday.
I know nothing about vasectomy reversals, but is there another doctor who can take a look and maybe fix things? I always hear about a Dr. in Texas (Dr. Roeder) being the best in the country. Might be worth a call?
I am so sorry for all of your troubles and disappointments and physical pain. This is so effed up on every level.
I thank you though, for sharing your tale. I am 40, pondering if its too late, and if I really even want to try. I have thought of storing some eggs, but really, why? If not now, when? So, I appreciate you sharing your experiences, as it is definitely a cautionary tale for me. Like figure it out now, or I may wind up screwed.
It hardly seems fair that you and your Prince Charming finally got together after all of these years, and now this mess. You two seem like you would make excellent parents, and I totally understand the “selfishness” of wanting your own genetic progeny.
Oh, and by the way, 38 is not too late to start trying for another. I’m 38 now, and pregnant. I have friends in their 40’s who conceived naturally. I’m not going to pretend that it’s as easy as when you’re in your 20’s, but it’s not like it’s a medical miracle for women our age to reproduce.
Luna – I don’t know but I’m done with doctors. I think, maybe understandably so, everyone is focused on the baby thing in the comments. Right now I’m freaked out about my bladder and what sort of repercussions I’m going to have from what happened yesterday. If I have to choose between being a mother and not peeing in a bag through a catheter for the rest of my life, well, normal peeing wins. Frankly, that’s a fucked up decision to have to make, and one no one should have to make, but I’m having other problems right now and to be honest I really don’t care what happens with egg anymore.
We cannot physically conceive naturally as the vas-reversal didn’t even come close to working. So it is not possible. IVF or no baby and I refuse to do IVF again after the 2 experiences I had.
I am so sorry this is happening to you. This sucks.
I understand the impulse to tell you it’s all going to be better and a baby will happen, but maybe it won’t. So all I can do is say I’m sorry, and lunch is on me if you’re interested.
Oh Velvet, I am so sorry to hear that you are going through all of this!!! I wish you the best with your recovery from the latest issues. Take care, you are in my thoughts.
I’m so very sorry to hear that you’ve gone through this. Best wishes to you.
You have my sympathy. Modern medicine can be a bitch when it’s not saving you from immediate death. I’m 40, recently married, and we’re trying for a couple of kids. However, due to stories like yours and others we’ve decided they’d come naturally or through adoption. Seems a body would have a better chance in Vegas for the money and the pain. Miracles can happen, yeah they are scientifically improbable (thus being a miracle), and I hope you experience one.
Yes, peeing normally, is a good thing.
My God…… you are so in line for something to go right for you! Don’t give up, try to find some positive energy which I imagine would be difficult after all you’ve been through, because the worst thing that could happen would be for all of these horrific experiences to be in vain.
You’re on my prayer list. And babies do happen sometimes when you least expect it. My cousin got pregnant with her first and only at 42 – she went to the Dr. for the flu and it turned out her flu was a baby.
I know it will be hard to trust someone after all of this – but there are great places out there, there are lots of success stories – keep on trying, keep it up. You are depressed about it because you care about it – keep on caring about it, keep on making it a priority – YOU are doing everything right.
Only the best to you.
I knew something was up but I didn’t think it could be this… It’s horrible that incompetent and greedy people could prey on the desperate. Get a lawyer and sue the bastards! Also, much love to you and X.
I appreciate everyone’s good thoughts.
I had a couple really bad days of bladder pain. I don’t know if that was due to Nurse Ratched yanking a golf ball out of my urethra or if it was from when they punctured my bladder but pee-pain is the worst.
I have to go back to Dominion on Monday and I have to be honest…I haven’t slept soundly since the meds wore off. I spent 2 full days in tears, partially over the physical pain but mostly over the emotional pain of being forced to have a catheter without my permission. Despite the fact that X was 10 feet away in the waiting room, they didn’t ask him either.
That is a very big problem. And it’s getting bigger. And so it’s going to become someone else’s problem.
I don’t care if someone is my worst worst enemy. If I can stop them from going to a place like Washington Fertility or getting a forced catheter, then by all means, this post was worth it.
Geez, what a nightmare. I would sue, this is malpractice, no?
Oh jeebuz. I can’t believe what you’ve been through. That just sucks. The incompetentcy is just amazing. I freaking hate that they can just say – “oh yeah, your eggs didn’t fertilize properly, so there are just 4 left. Sooorrrry! It’s probably age related. Or, you know, a bad month. TOTALLY not our fault.”
Sounds exactly like what happened to us at our last place.
We are moving on and trying one more time at a new place, but it kills me to think I spend one of my LAST fertile years and SO much money at a place that is just a freakin sham.
As for bladder puncturing etc, holy hell. I’ve been on infertility boards etc for the last 5 plus years and I’ve never heard of that. I hope you are starting to feeling better. And yes – it’s malpractice I’m sure.
2nd time I have ever commented – last time was when you got married!
A quick recap – I have read your blog for YEARS and YEARS (except the time period you blocked it or took it down or password protected it – I can’t quite remember).
Anyway, from reading your blog for years and years I can see quite a change in who you were then and who you are now, but the one thing that always sticks out to me as never changing is that you are one strong woman. Seriously. It sucks that you are going through this – there is no other terms for it – purely sucks. I wish that anyone who genuinely wants children should be able to have them on their terms. WTF is up with these clinics you are going to? I cannot believe that they exist! What are we, some third world country? My goodness.
I wish you the best of luck and I will hope and pray that you and Mr. X get your child ON YOUR TERMS.
Back to reading/lurking…I will be commenting again once I see your post on your positive pregnancy test.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, I would love to hear more about your struggle to have a baby.
I would not recommend Shady Grove under any circumstances. They just play the numbers game: more in = more out pregnant without any individual plan. We were given another patient’s records so don’t expect confidentiality either. Keep away. Go somewhere professional.
I WOULD TRY NEW HOPE IN NEW YORK…YOU WOULDN’T BE SORRY.