Thursday, August 30, 2007

Missing Jacob

It was one year ago today, at least as far as I know, that you left us. At least this is the day that you stopped growing inside of me. I carried you inside of me for another two weeks, unaware that something so horrific had happened.
I am sorry that we never got to know who you were. We miss you every single day and will for as long as we're alive. We may have never known you, but we loved you and always will. You will always be our first baby - we'll never forget that.
Please keep watch over your Mommy and Daddy from Heaven and know that we think of you always.

IVF Cycle #1

We met with Dr. RE and discussed doing an IVF cycles. Although my insurance company would cover up to 12 IUI’s, she thought that since there was some financial aid funding available at the time, and since it would up our chances at success, now would be the time to try. So, we decided to go for it.
IVF seemed scary but J and I were determined to have a family. We attended the IVF class with about 30 other couples. This is the type of class where everyone looks directly at the “teacher” and there is no eye contact made with anyone else in the room. They explain the whole process: down reg., stims, ER, ET, medication, etc.
After the class we have to give the nurse our name to be put on the financial aid list and then we go home and wait to be called.
It took 8 months to get the call that our financial aid request had been approved and we could start a cycle. We tried DIY during that time but no luck.
We had to have a consult with Dr. RE before starting and to sign the paperwork required for the IVF cycle. They have you sign things that you have never thought of. What if one of us dies? What will happen to any remaining embryos? What about divorce? What if we decide we don’t need our extra embryos because we’ve completed our family? Do we want to destroy them or donate them? We’re actually excited because this all implies that we’ll be successful and even have extra embryos! Who would imagine?!
We make our decisions and Dr. RE says that since it’s been so long since our last cycle she’d like to do some additional testing before we start. More blood work, another SA for J, and another saline sono-HSG. Are you effing kidding me??
Now I’ve done my research and it has taught me that polyps don’t come back except for a small percentage of time. I’ve already had them come back once. They could not possibly come back again, could they?
Of course they do, because J and I are ALWAYS a part of the lesser statistic!
So another surgery before we can do the IVF cycle. And once again increase the thyroid medicine and get that back under control.
At least this time I can get started even though I have to wait a bit for the surgery. Dr. RE has me start the BCP’s anyway. This one threw me for a big loop. Why in the world would someone trying so hard to get pregnant start taking birth control again? But that’s the down-reg part of the cycle. Try explaining that to family or friends who know how hard you’ve been trying. The looks I got were of pure bewilderment.
Surgery goes fine and again it comes back benign.
We embark on our first IVF cycle in June 2005.
The cycle went fairly well. I responded well to the meds. The shots were going ok, even the IM ones that we had to do now with the PIO. ER was a little rough as one of my ovaries decided to drop down behind my uterus so they couldn’t reach it, and the sedation wasn’t working, but we ended up with 5 retrieved (from one ovary). It was a little discouraging but we tried hard to stay optimistic. All 5 our of eggs fertilized and on day 3 we had three grade-A embies to transfer. The other two had arrested.
We spent the 2ww sure that we would have success, joking about our triplets.
At the end of the 2ww, we got the BFN.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Injectibles 101

I got the second polyp surgery done and again it came back benign. I just wish these things would stop growing back. Thyroid under control so we decide to start IUI cycles again, using injectibles now.

J and I have to go to a class to learn how to do the injections. They make you learn on a sponge ball. Like that's anything like my body! It takes a little practice but we master the sub-q injections and we're off to start our first cycle. I can't possibly do these shots myself so every night I make J (Mr. squeamish) give me the injection.

I just KNOW that the injectible/IUI's will work and we'll soon have our baby so this is all worth it!!

I responded well, with 3-4 follies each time. But no BFP's for us. We did 2 injectible cycles before Dr. RE has a consult with us and suggests we may want to try IVF.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dr. Jeckell and Mrs. Hyde

We started IUI's with clomid in February 2004. If you have taken clomid before then you understand the title of this post very well. They say that side effects are mild but everyone I know who has taken it has had them. The hot flashes are unreal. Now I know what to expect with menopause. And let me tell you they get worse the longer you are on it - at least for me they did.

J's numbers were always on the low side. Usually they were anywhere from 1million to about 8million post-wash. Not terrible but not great either. I always hated it when nurses would say the old, "well it only takes one." Drives me nuts! Yeah, if it really only took one then why do they consider normal SA's to have more than 20million??

We did three clomid cycles before Dr. RE thought that there was something showing on one of my u/s scan pics. Possibly another polyp. I thought that these things didn't really come back?!? Now I'm worried about why they are growing back but Dr. RE assures me that sometimes they do and it's probably nothing to worry about.

Sure enough the saline sono-hsg showed another polyp so we have to postpone additional cycles and schedule another surgery. And again, the thyroid is out of whack so another dose increase.

With all of the doctor appointments, and now surgeries I'm having, I have to quickly learn how to make up stories about what kind of procedures I'm having to tell my boss and co-workers. But I do feel relieved - maybe the whole reason I'm having difficulty getting pregnant is because of these polyps? Being sure that they're gone will surely ensure that I'll get a positive. Just a few months sidetracked and I'm sure that BFP is in sight.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Testing begins

Cycle day 3 bloodwork done - check

Saline sono-hsg on cycle day 7. Pop my three Advil and off to the RE's office. Not too worried since I've had a normal dye-HSG before and it didn't really hurt too much. Just a little uncomfortable.

Exam room 3 (I will come to know this particular room so well). Nurse says the familiar, "undress from the waist down, please." Those damn paper covers never seem to cover what they are supposed to. I think they were made for someone who is a size 2; not your average size woman. Doc comes in and because my RE works with a medical school I get to have a resident do my test. Now I really feel like a guinea pig. If you think that a medical test can be nerve wracking add a not-so-skilled resident to the mix and see where that takes your anxiety level.

Insert catheter, expand balloon, looking at uterus. Oh, what's that we see? Seems to be a polyp. That must come out before we can start fertility treatments.

Surgery? I've never had surgery. This is pretty frightening. But it turns out OK, just outpatient surgery and Dr. RE removes the polyp. It's sent out for testing and comes back benign. Whew! Now, just a slight dose increase in the thyroid medicine because that seems to have gone haywire, and we can finally get started with the IUI's.

This whole ordeal has just added 4 more months to this saga.

Back to the story

So, we didn't end up magically pregnant on our own while waiting the three months for the RE appointment. Did you really thing I was one of those lucky people you hear about all the time? Let me tell you from experience...those things don't happen as often as the world would like you to think. So, if you are expecting that please take my advice and get those thoughts out of your mind right now. It only hurts worse when AF arrives if you are expecting to magically fall pregnant and you have a medical condition that is preventing that from happening.
The first visit with Ms. RE was not really what I expected. I guess I expected her to be really optimistic and enthusiastic about getting me pregnant. She was more matter of fact about the whole issue and then told me I'd have to have additional testing done. No matter that Dr. GYN had already done the HSG and the endo biopsy. Now there were going to be more tests. Hooray.
I have to have what is called a saline sono-HSG. There's the real name for it but it has about 5 gazillion letters in it. I can't spell it or even pronounce it. This is where they put a small balloon catheter into your uterus so they can inject saline solution into it and see if there is any uterine scarring, fibroids, polyps, or anything else inside your uterus that may prevent an embryo from implanting. It is not supposed to hurt - just take a few Advil prior to the test. And, it has to be done before your ovulation time so they are sure that you are not pregnant.
There's also the list of blood work which has to be done, and all on a specific day of your cycle.
Of course, J and I are super excited to be getting started so I immediately schedule the blood work and saline sono-HSG as soon as possible. I've got to get this all done so we can start working on getting pregnant.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A slight digression

It's IUI day today. The fourth one since we started ttc again after our loss. But more about that story later.
Doing these again is so hard. It's hard to believe that these work for anyone. I know people who have had success but sometimes I think it can't be real. Plus they never worked for us before. The tweek in the protocol though hopefully will make the difference.
So, IUI was today. It's hard to not get hopeful again. Every month it's the same story. Riding the wave of hope and disappointment. Today, I am hopeful. Everything looked good and not having to do the hcg shot, having O'd on my own, maybe will be a good thing. Now the crazy obsession begins. I said to J that I was going to try to just forget about it for the next 2 weeks but who am I trying to kid? How can I possibly forget? God, the torture of the 2ww! I can't say how much I hate this! Every twinge, cramp, bloated feeling, everything leads back to am I or am I not pregnant this time??? It is enough to make anyone lose their mind.
I will try to keep the hope alive for the whole two weeks, even though I know that it's impossible. The negative thoughts always creep in sometime.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Reproductive Endo what?

Dr. GYN sends in the referral request for us to go to the RE. I wait anxiously until my insurance company approves it a few days after. I'm so excited! I can't wait to get pregnant and I just know that this is our answer. Gosh, it been over a year of ttc naturally, then adding just some progesterone to the mix thinking that would cure my LPD, and then waiting for poor J to go through additional testing and the varicolcele surgery. But now we're ready. Varicocele operated on (The surgery probably helped Dr. U to take a nice little vacation to the caribbean but it did nothing to improve the SA), and the RE surely has medication for my minor issues. Let's go!

I get the referral number, call to make the appointment, and am told that the first available appointment with a female doctor is in three months. Wow, I had no idea these docs were this busy. It must mean they are good at what they do. Allright, I'll wait the three months. We'll probably get pregnant on our own before then anyway.

BTW...I should have taken any appointment male or female becuase I would come to find out that I would hardly ever see my own RE, it would just be whomever was on duty that day.

OMG I'm a blogger

Are you ready for my infertility journey?
OK, so this is my first blog and if you know anything about me I am so not the person to do this. Heck, I am probably the most technologically challenged person I know. But anyway...I really needed this venting place and thought my journey might help someone else so...

I should probably start out with a little background.

My dh J and I have been ttc#1 for 5 years and 7 months. Pretty unbelievable, eh? It may not be as long as some but it has been a long time. We started ttc shortly after we married in 2001. J thought there might be a problem with us ttc because he had never gotten a past girlfriend pregnant. I stupidly buried my head in the sand and thought that he was just lucky. Meanwhile I had spent fortunes on bcp's trying NOT to get pregnant. So, off the bcp's I go. My OB encouraged us to try naturally for a few months. After 6 months of that she ordered an SA for J, which came back looking pretty horrid. Low count, motility, and morph too. I also has some tests done with Dr. GYN and found that I had a luteal phase defect. Plus I had a thyroid problem. Things weren't looking good for J and I ttc naturally so off to the RE we go.