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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rough Day

Well, the first of 2 "natural" tries before IVF did not work. At first, I didn't put much faith in this cycle anyway knowing that the chances of us conceiving naturally are quite low. However, I was a couple days late and even though I told myself not to, I became very excited thinking this could possibly be our miracle. I'm really bad about getting my hopes up. Anyway, according to our "plan" we have 1 more natural try before beginning the long process of IVF. I say, "plan" because I've recently decided I hate that word and am petitioning for it to be banned completely from the English language. My whole like I've been a "planner." I always have my assignments completed the next day, I am early for everything, I have lists upon lists upon lists all over my house and office. I had a "plan" for my life....or so I thought. I'm starting to think children should not be taught to "plan" their lives. I was and look where it got me. I mean, having goals are one thing, but why plan anything because it seems, nothing happens as planned. There is my vent for the day. I can only hope that my dreams fall into God's master plan and that one day, in His time, it will happen....One day, baby!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Surgery and More

So, after 2 failed IUI's Dr. D suggested that I have an laparoscopy to determine if there were any other undetected problems which could be preventing pregnancy. He did not expect to find anything. On October 7th, 2009, I had my lap. I had never had surgery other than the removal of an ingrown toenail, which in no way could be compared to this. I was most nervous about the anesthesia and how I would react to it. After the surgery, I had to be kept in recovery for an extra 2 hours because I could not stop vomiting. When I was finally aware enough to have an idea of what was going on around me, I was informed that they found stage 2-3 Endometriosis on the uterus, both ovaries, and the cervical wall. The good news was, they were able to remove it all and only need to make 2 small incisions; one in the navel and one about 6 inches below. We were once again hopeful. This was the reason why it hadn't happened yet, right?

After recovering from the surgery, we tried another IUI. Another failure. We decided to try for the 4th and final time. I had developed an ovarian cyst, a common side-effect of ovarian stimulation drugs, so we sat that cycle out. The following month we tried our last IUI. I thought for sure this was you can guess...another flop.

We knew the next step would be Invitro-Fertilization (IVF.) We had, and still have, so many questions and concerns about IVF. Can we afford it? How many eggs will we get? How many will we choose to fertilize? How many will be transferred back? What happens to the unfertilized eggs? What happens to the un-transferred embryos? It's all so exhausting!

We decided to have our IVF consult with Dr. D. He calmed a lot of our fears. Our biggest concern was what would be done with resulting embryos that are not transferred back. To our relief, the law in our state mandates that any embryos resulting from IVF must be frozen and cannot be discarded. We felt comfortable with this as discarding already formed embryos is completely against our Christian beliefs.

So, the current plan is this; my husband, J, is in Graduate School and will be taking his very stressful comprehensive exams next month, in April. In May, when that is over, we plan to move forward with IVF, if we are not pregnant before then. That gives us 2 months to try naturally and boy, are we praying for a miracle!

It is very expensive and we're still not yet sure how we are going to manage it, but we are going to try. I tell all my family and friends that we are accepting donations. Of course, I'm not serious...that is unless someone actually wants to donate! :)

Catching Up: The Past Few Years

I had been on serious medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis which I was diagnosed with at the age of 16. The medications; Plaquenil, Enbrel, Prednisone, and most of all, Methotrexate are extremely harmful to a fetus and therefore it is absolutely prohibited that one tries to conceive while taking them. Thankfully, and completely by God's mercy, my RA went into remission a couple months before we were married. Soon after that, I was diagnosed with Hypo-thyroid Disease which can cause ovulatory problems. I began medication and after a few months, my levels were normalized and I felt great. We had been married 6 months when we were able to get off of Birth Control Pills and stop "preventing," knowing that all the RA medications would be out of my system. I began charting my basal body temperature and other fertility signs. The book, "Taking Charge of your Fertility," by Toni Weschler taught me so much about my body and my cycle that I never learned in sex ed. I soon discovered that I was not ovulating at all. At first, the doctors assumed it was due to the Hypo-thyroid Disease, it was also thought that it could just be taking the BCP's a while to get out of my system. After a few 75 day long cycles in which I still did not ovulate, I insisted that I be tested for other conditions. Finally, it was concluded that I had Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I remember how horrific that diagnosis seemed. I cried hysterically. Little did I know, it would get so much worse.

I was prescribed Metformin and was told by a nurse practitioner, "I guarantee you'll be pregnant within 3 months." (2 years later, I wish I had gotten that guarantee in writing.) After 3 months on Metformin and still no ovulation in sight, I switched to a new OB-GYN. She put me on Clomid, 50mg. We did 3 months of that and still no ovulation. On our 4th cycle with Clomid, the dosage was increased to 100mg. Finally, I ovulated! Ahh, the relief, some hope. That cycle however, did not result in pregnancy. Nor did the 2 following Clomid cycles. I was referred to have a HysteroSalpingogram (HSG)to make sure that my fallopian tubes were not blocked. Thankfully, we learned my tubes were all clear and looked good. It cost about $650.00 to learn that. We finally decided to suck-it-up and agreed to try to get in to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist, despite the $215.00 consultation fee which we really couldn't afford. We made the appointment for the following month.

By this point it had been about 12 months since we first began trying. Our amazing RE Dr. D suggested that we try the more serious fertility meds, injectible Gonadotropins paired with an Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI). We began injections of the ovarian stimulator, Follistim, the GnRH antagonist, Ganirelix and the HCG, "trigger shot." We were so hopeful and excited. The medications cost roughly $1,000.00 for 1 cycle. Thankfully, some family were able to help us out with the cost. When I discovered that 1st IUI had failed, I was absolutely devastated! My heart had never hurt so badly. Floods of different emotions rushed through me; anger, sadness, grief, frustration, hopelessness and so much more. Why is it so easy for some women to conceive and yet for others, those who may very well want it more, it is so difficult? It just wasn't fair! We tried again with the meds and a 2nd IUI, only to disappointed all over again.

An Introduction

Well, here I am attempting to document the past 2 years of me and my husband's journey toward parenthood. To give the complete picture however, I must go back many years earlier. Warning...this could take a while. I met J almost 10 years ago. He was a freshman in college and I was a junior in high-school. We were set up on a blind date by some mutual friends and it was pretty much love at first sight. We dated for 5 years before he finally proposed and 2 years later we were married. It was truly the happiest day of my life. J and I always wanted to have children. I remember way back in Kindergarten, my teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. My answer was simply, "a mommy..." and that was the truth. As far back as I can remember, being a mother was my ultimate goal and it remains so.