Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Where do babies come from?

a.k.a. Why I'm surrounded by girls
a.k.a. Lemonade

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Even if those lemons are in your grapes.

This is the one lemon we got from our Meyer Lemon tree this year. We grow it in a container, and last night we cut it up into lemonade. It was made with water, sunshine, and love.

I have no real fitness news to report today, and being the day before thanksgiving I would rather report on what I am thankful for most. My girls. They both have summertime birthdays, Ella (Bigun) is 3 now, and Lena (Evil Genius) is 1. This. is. their. story.

It took over 5 years for us to have Bigun. We tried for about a year and a half the old fashioned way, that's knows as "the fun part". Then we got things checked out by the doctor's. One of wifey's cousins was also trying to get pregnant then, her kid is 8 now. They were also worried about infertility because it was taking so long.

Turns out Wifey was fine, but I was exhibiting male pattern infertility a.k.a. shooting blanks. My first thought was "I wish I had known that in college?" but now it was just time to deal with it. And the dang health insurance company said we had to wait a year before they would let us do anything about it. So we waited. by their measure, a normal sperm count is 80 million. I was only putting out about 520,000. not good. The doc said I needed to stop smoking and get more exercise. I did, and that's when I went all weightlifting crazy and put on tons of lean muscle mass. And it did get my count up to 5 million.

The urologist said I needed a double vericocele removal, which is a cluster of vericose veins that sits above the testicle. They heat up the swimmers, essentially boiling them alive before they ever leave the holding tank. Looks like a probable cause, right? To me, nothing says "summertime" like having your ballsack sliced open. So he did the surgery, and the count then rose to 10 million. A nice change, but still not enough to get pregnant naturally. But it did get us up to trying some infertility treatments.

The cheap one is artificial insemination, the turkey baster method. It didn't work, and they said after another semen analysis that it would never work. So we had to step up to In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), or making test tube babies. Yowza. It's expensive, dangerous, and has a very low sucess rate. But it was the only choice we had left.

Now it takes a long time for the brain to produce sperm (and yes, it's actually a brain process). So everything takes a year. We started 1.5 years behind. The waiting year for the insurance was when I stopped smoking and started weightlifting. That got us to 2.5. Then we did the surgery, and the doc said we had to wait another year to see the results. So we're up to 3.5. By the time we got to IVF, it was over 4 years.

Then it didn't work. They got 3 fertilized embryos, implanted all 3 and none of them attached properly to start growing. In the follow up appointment, we just about lost it. The place closes down every summer to clean the equipment. Our first attempt was in the spring. So he told us to come back in the fall when they reopened and we could try again. He also told us we were too fat to have kids. So we needed to lose 30 lbs over the summer too. He called it the "Fit and Fertility" study. Needless to say, we were a little offended. They made us feel like cattle, just herding us through the process. It threw me off mentally so bad that I started smoking again. And stopped weightlifting. The count went back to 5 million.

But we did it. We went on South Beach and lost 35 lbs over the summer. Came back in september/october and tried IVF again. This time, we got 2 embryos, and they BOTH attached. Here's the little suckers now:

Now of course we don't know which one of these guys turned into Bigun. All we knew at this point was that two embryos had attached, so we were having twins! but one of the twins was growing about a week behind the other one. About 10 weeks into the pregnancy, we lost the twin. It's apparently a fairly common thing called a disappearing twin. But it was still really dissapointing.

The pregnancy was fairly uneventful. IVF is never easy, and Wifey has a blood thing that makes her stay on blood thinners while she is pregnant. So it was a minimum of 2 shots a day from 8 weeks before the pregnancy to 6 weeks after giving birth. I had to give her the shots. She felt like a pincushion, I felt like a drug dealer. But Bigun was born healthy, and that's all that really mattered.

Then I met my chiropractor. I've mentioned him before, and how much I love him and still owe him money. He works with a lot of athletes for a lot of problems. But my guy is a Master Upper Cervical Chiropractor, which is waaaay different than a regular back cracker. It's the difference between a family physician and a brain surgeon. He's cured 4 different types of cancer (inoperable, just enjoy your last few months types of cancer). He's cured MS, autism, regrown internal organs that were surgically removed, even cured diabetes and made people not have to wear glasses anymore. All by decompressing the brain stem by properly aligning the top 2 bones of the neck. And I had him talked into running a triathlon this fall, but he backed out at the last minute. So I got to make fun of him some.

Now at this point, Bigun is about 4 months old, I was still self employed, and his office was a client. The IVF doctors said "come on back when you want another try". It has taken over 5 years, over $40,000, and countless tears and prayers just to get here. FOUR MD's told me I would never be able to father children without medical assistance. And Steve casually says "Sure, I can fix that".

yea right.

I didn't believe him for a second. I went under care to fix a chronic sinus problem, migraine headaches, and gerd/heartburn. But infertility? sure, he can fix that. HA Sure, it would be nice, but I had no expectations. He said he's fixed female based infertility in as little as one adjustment. But with guys, it takes 6 - 12 months for the brain to tell nuts to make the batter and get it ready for babymaking. He came up with a one year treatment plan, and I signed up.

11 months into the plan Wifey was pregnant again. With no doctor assistance. It was a complete surprise. We got us a freebie. I wanted to go on Maury and get a DNA test. Bigun was only 15 months old, and she had just stopped nursing 3 months prior. And here comes our Evil Genius.

So I've done some public speaking about this, and I like to start the speech by saying that Dr C got my wife pregnant. It gets a big laugh. But no shit, he did something that western medicine could not do: fix the problem. MD's rarely fix the problem. Pills or shots never fix the problem. They only treat the symptoms. Those IVF docs wanted me to come back and spend another $16,000 to try in-vitro again. and again. and again. and again. $2000 of chiro treatments later and I will NEVER have to see those people again.

So I put Wifey under care. Her pregnancy was pain free. no more sciatica pain, or swollen feet, or morning sickness. She actually felt comfortable throughout the entire pregnancy. amazing.

Also amazing is that she was pregnant or nursing for all but 3 months of a 4 year period from oct 2004 - june 2008. and she didn't kill anyone. and we're still married. Wifey likes the wine. and she didn't really get to take advantage of the 3 months she had because we thought we would wait another year before trying IVF again. ha!

So when they come up to me and ask "Daddy, where do babies come from?" I'm going to tell them that first you have to go to a special doctor and pay him about $16,000. then make something else up from there.

So that's my amazin baby story. if i never have to jack it into a plastic cup again that will be just fine. And after EG was born, I sold the business to a partner and took the job I have now with this company in Atlanta. Just so I could stay home and be near the kids. Wifey's a sahm, so we all four just hang out at home all day every day. And then we started running.

Have a great Thanksgiving! We'll be in town some and out of town some. I really like to reply to the comments, so if you don't mind me responding be sure to put your email address in the comment if it isn't exposed by blogger. My email reply signature has the phone number, and since we never leave the house I love getting phone calls from anybody (except the office or clients, they want me to work). I'm also on skype if you have a webcam. So enjoy the holiday and I'll talk to you soon!


Wes said...

You are too funny, John! But what a great story!! I think a 90% discount means some nice gifts for the chiro!! LOL... Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

P.O.M. said...

Wow, that's an incredible story! Thanks for sharing.

Enjoy your fam and the Thanksgiving holiday.

Jess said...

Wow that's some story! Hope you have an excellent holiday!

B. Kramer said...

Way to make me laugh and cringe in one post. Enjoy your Thanksgiving with well-earned family. Cheers!

Unknown said...

Wow, that is amazing.

So, here you go, trying to blame the woman for infertility when you needa look in the mirror, eh? I'm just kidding!

I'm glad that you guys were able to get your little girls!

imperfect girl said...

I love that story! And you are HILARIOUS! If the programming stuff doesn't work out, try comedy! :)

Anonymous said...

Cool story John. I will give it my by buddy. He is chiro. He does kinda similar things with people. Making them functional again. Not just cracking backs. He will be inspired. Keep posting.

Sarah said...

That's a great story! I love my chiro but had no idea that they could do things like that! Wow, congrats on the family!

Marcy said...

OMG! That was an awesome (and funny!) story! Wow!!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Frayed Laces said...

That is an AWESOME story! Totally cracked me up!

Tina Mickelson said...

That is amazing! I'd like that docs name please. Sounds like a journey that earned you two beautiful babies and a healthy loving realationship with your wife in spite of the western medical movement that could destroy many a mans mojo. (that didn't sound too bad did it?)

You guys are amazing and I love reading your blog.

Unknown said...

What an amazing story! We are just starting on the "fun part" of the Where do babies come from process, and I can't imagine all the highs and lows you guys went thru.
We have a specific chiropractor here in Chs that we love. I'm a huge believer, so I'm not suprised he was able to help you. Amazing!

Unknown said...

That is absolutely fascinating! I am a big believer in "alternative" treatments. It's sad that it's so hard for people to wrap their heads around anything that doesn't involve surgery or pills.

Amber said...

I never knew this about you guys. I'm so glad you commented on my blog and told me to go back and read this story!! We are getting ready to move forward with IVF now actually... my condition is that I have very few eggs left, my body is basically in menopause (at 28, what a joke). I have tried a few natural things like acupuncture and chinese herbs and I take a ridiculous amount of supplements every day. I am going to look into a chiropractor though -- that is so so interesting. I have totally heard about people having their sickness healed from chiropractors before though. It's kind of amazing what they can do!