Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Infertility and the Dentist

I actually typed this post right before we found out about Baby C.  It was going to auto post on the 10th, the day of my appointment, but with all the crappy adoption stuff going on I took it off.  Since today I have an update to the appointment I thought I'd post it.  I'll update at the end....

Over the last 67 months of our journey through infertility I've discovered a reminder that is almost as bad as my yearly check-ups with the GYN…..a trip to the dentist. I sometimes wondered if I was alone in my hatred of visiting the dentist because it is a little weird. How can someone looking in your mouth prompt those feelings of infertility? After all it is in totally different areas and why would someone poking at my gums bother me? Then I read on two separate infertility blogs about how much they hate going to the dentist so I felt better. It made me feel not as crazy knowing that I'm not alone.

So today I am visiting the dentist. I guess that would make like my 11th trip to the dentist since we started all of this stuff (give or take an appointment). So you are probably wondering what the big deal is with going to the dentist…Let me try to explain in a few words…X-rays and medication list….

At the beginning it never failed that my dentist appointments would coincide with exactly one week in to the two week wait. Was I pregnant? At that point it is too early to test, but an x-ray could still do a lot of damage to a developing embryo. What to do??? The first year I opted out of the x-ray. The dentist got his pants in a wad and wouldn't let it drop when I refused the x-ray. I finally had to announce that I could be pregnant. That got him to leave me alone. When I left the hygienist told me "good luck". It was tons of fun going back in 6 months later with my belly as flat as it was at the last visit.

Six months after that I had to reschedule my appointment. When you reschedule they stick you with a different hygienist. At least I didn't have to face the same one that a year ago I had announced to that I may be pregnant. I could escape that horror – except I was currently on clomid. I had to confess to a new person all the medication I was taking. Yes, I was so tempted to not mention it, but then that worried me. What if mixing fluoride and clomid created some toxic environment in my body and I died in the dental exam chair? I thought the chances of that not happening were about 99.9% in my favor, but did I really want to mess with that .01%? I mentioned it and then that started the whole infertility discussion. Fun thing to talk about with hands stuck in your mouth. Then six months later I got to go back to the same person. She looked at my chart and said she was sorry the clomid didn't work, but she had some uncle's brother who sisters sister-in-law's great great niece had the same thing happen to them and they finally got pregnant. I was thinking - Uhm, thanks for that awesomely encouraging story I'm sure the exact same thing will happen to me. But instead of saying that I spouted out my normal response to those stories (with a smile on my face) Yes, you just never know what will happen. We will just keep waiting.

After that trip I was finally past the 18 month mark of waiting. That seemed to be a turning point in the wait. I finally came to the realization that more than likely I was not pregnant each month. I was able to have several stress free appointments in a row. I let them x-ray and poke and prod all they wanted. It was win-win for everyone.

Then I went in November 2009. My gum on my two bottom front teeth is receding. They wanted me to call some oral surgeon to see about clipping the piece of skin that attaches my bottom lip to my gum. They thought that might help with the problem and buy me some time before I would need a tissue transplant. I could loose my bottom teeth if I don't do all of this. I left the dentist that day and never called about visiting the surgeon. I meant to, but then things happened and I didn't get it done. When I went in last May they asked me about it again. I pretended like I was going to do it. I asked for another card of the surgeon so they would leave me alone, but I knew I wasn't going to call. We had just gotten back from our first trip to Tennessee. I had no intentions of getting involved in anything else medically until we resolved this embryo thing. Clearly I hoped that at my November appointment I would be pregnant and they would leave me alone about my gums.

So that brings me to my November appointment. It was scheduled for the 22nd. That was two days before the blood draw. I went back and forth on what to do with the appointment for several weeks. Finally I decided it would be best to reschedule it. I would have to tell them about the embryos and all the medication I was on. It was too emotionally draining explaining all of that to people who really didn't understand and it would be another bad reminder if 6 months later I went back looking the same as I did at the last appointment. So my rescheduled appointment is for today. I know I am not pregnant so I can have the x-rays. I guess maybe I will get another card for the surgeon and think about calling him….but I probably won't. There are some other things going on in our lives right now and I'm just not interested in dealing with this. Hopefully this weird feeling in my bottom right tooth is mental and not because the gum seems to be getting lower….

So there is a little more insight into the life and times of a person dealing with infertility. Since I rescheduled my appointment I will probably be with someone I've never seen before. I hope enough time has passed and all of that other history is covered up so maybe they won't know everything we have been through. But then again I don't know if that's good….because they always ask how many kids do I have….then I get the comment "well, it's time for another one". Maybe I can pretend I don't hear them over the noise of the spit sucker????

***update - The tingling feeling in my bottom tooth is not my imagination.  The gum has receded more and my tooth is loose.  I finally broke down today and called the specialist.  I'm going next Wednesday for a consult.  I'm afraid I'm past just needing the skin clipped and will probably need a graft.  Yipee!  Also, the hygienist that day was one I'd never seen before.  So she had no idea about my history.  And in keeping with my luck she was very excited because on Friday (the same day we were in St. Louis with Baby C) she had an ultrasound and found out she was having a girl.  She was not even showing so I would've escaped without ever knowing that fact if she hadn't volunteered it.  I just smiled and said congratulations.  One of these days it will turn around...

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