Diminished ovarian reserve · donor egg ivf · Fallopian tubes · infertility · ivf · polyp · uterus

OBGYN Appointment

Sorry it has been awhile since I last posted. There hasn’t been much to report, as we are still at a stand still until we get some of these things taken care of. I had my yearly with my OBGYN yesterday though, so now I have something to tell. First of all, this is a new OBGYN as we have moved since my last yearly appointment. I actually would have just driven the 2 hours to the guy who delivered Anadine because I love him that much, but he’s not on our insurance. However, I LOVE this new guy just as much. He sat down with me and had me explain my whole complicated history to him. It’s always funny when doctors see my chart and see that overall I am a pretty healthy person – good weight, no diseases, typical family history, normal cycles, etc. but then I have all of this fertility stuff. Not just one BAM – blocked tubes, but BAM BAM – low ovarian reserve, and then this time is was a BAM BAM BAM – she also has a polyp on her uterus that needs to be removed. They get really confused when they see that I had a tubal ligation (tubes were tied) in March 2011 and a c-section in February 2012. I have to explain that they tied my tubes to give me the best chances of IVF, but that tying my tubes wasn’t really all that necessary because my tubes are deformed and unlike anything any doctor has ever seen or heard of (at least the doctors I’ve ever talked to!)

Anyway, we did my yearly and pap smear so that I’m all up to date on that. As far as he could tell, everything looked good. Then we talked about getting this polyp out. We scheduled it for April 5, which is two weeks away! I am so glad we can go ahead and get it taken care of. It will be an out patient surgery, but they will put me to sleep and I will have a little bit of recovery time afterwards. He said it is technically a D&C, which I wasn’t a big fan of using that terminology, but whatever. I’m just ready for it to be over with! Here is what made me love him – he is filling out the insurance forms and tweaked my charts to make it look like I am having this done because of irregular bleeding so insurance will pay for it. That means we are not paying $1200 out of pocket. We will be paying more like $650, plus we’ll meet our deductible. It’s still a lot of money that I’d rather not pay, and if my organs were normal I wouldn’t have to pay it, but OH WELL here I am whether I like it or not.

In other news, I’ll be seeing my brother and his family this weekend because they’re coming down south for Easter. The exciting part: I get to meet my new niece (born in December). The not so exciting part: I have to have a sit down with my family and explain my decision to them to use donor eggs. My parents both already know, but my brother is the one that I’m nervous about telling. I really think when it comes down to it he will be very supportive and understanding. I just hope I can clearly explain why I want to go this route and why it’s so important for me to have another baby. Wish me luck!

Advertisements
CCRM · Fallopian tubes

Surgery from a Less Groggy Point of View

Thinking back to a week ago, I can’t believe I actually wrote about my surgery a mere 4-5 hours after it happened. I think I was so bored and my mother was driving me so crazy, that it was a good outlet for something to do. However, needless to say I was still pretty out of it and definitely doped up on pain meds. About 24 hours later, however, I was feeling it!

First of all, that night the air conditioning in our hotel room stopped working. It was 82 degrees in our room for about 4 hours – the amount of time it took for someone to come check on it. It was miserable! Finally, we were able to change rooms – my poor mother had to move everything over – I felt so bad for her!

Luckily, I never felt sick and I never really felt pains from the CO2 gas that they pumped in my stomach. I was really worried about those two things, especially on the flight home on Thursday. The last thing I wanted was to be that person throwing up in a bag throughout a 3 hour flight. I was also worried that the CO2 was going to have crazy effects on my body with the altitude change (something the doctor warned me about) but I never really felt that. I did, however, feel tired, sore, and VERY cranky! I had to be wheeled around the airport in a wheelchair, which was fine (embarrassing, but fine) but that meant that 1. my mom was constantly embarrassing me by things she asked or said and 2. if you’ve ever seen those wheelchair guys pushing wheelchairs around the airport you may notice that they tend to drive wheelchairs like New York taxi drivers drive on the streets – which isn’t fun when you have three incisions throbbing at every bump and turn. But all in all the trip home wasn’t too bad. It was all worth getting home sooner and getting into my own bed.

The doctor called me Thursday afternoon to tell me what he found. I pretty much got the gist of it from my mom, but man oh man the doctor told me more! My mom had a few things slightly wrong. Apparently, my right tube just stops in the middle of nowhere – doesn’t connect to my ovaries or anything. But my left tube — and this is the part that was different from what I understood before – it goes up nice and normal and then takes a 90 degree turn up into my abdominal cavity and disappears. The doctor said that he and his team couldn’t find it! And then all of a sudden it shows back up (coming out of the abdominal cavity) and peaks out near the ovary. Crazy! He said he was shocked that I haven’t been in more pain. He said scar tissue was everywhere – and everything in my body was pushed to the front – ovaries, bowels, everything. So he didn’t see any fluid in my tubes, but he tied them just to be on the safe side. He told me “I don’t think I necessarily helped your chances for being successful, but we certainly know more about what’s going on in there – and why you haven’t gotten pregnant.” Well, sir, we certainly do! Ha!

I was talking to my sister in law the other day and she asked me if I’m glad I did the surgery, especially since it turns out with wasn’t necessary. My answer, without a doubt, is yes – I will never regret doing it. Sure it cost $5,000 and now I have 3 scars on my stomach, and I have to go through weeks of recovery, but at least now I know what I’ve been wanting to know for a year. When we found out my tubes were “blocked” (now we know they’re not blocked, just deformed!) my first thought was “Oh God, what did I do to cause this?” Even when the doctors said that it may be something I was just born with, I still wondered…did I contract some kind of STD that I never knew about, did I have an injury that I never let heal properly, etc. It’s amazing what all went through my head. Well, now I know that I WAS just born this way and that I didn’t do anything wrong. I also know I don’t have endometriosis, it’s not hereditary so I don’t have to worry about my future daughter having the same problem, and I can move on with the next steps with a peaceful mind about the state of my uterus!

I’m also glad I waited a year before having the surgery. I don’t think I was ready for it this time last year. When we were debating the surgery last year it was in hopes of removing the blockages. Had I done that and then learned what I learned last week, I think I would have had a major breakdown. I think that extra bit of bad news would have just knocked me down and I’m not sure I would have been able to get back up. But now, a year later, I have been through 3 IVFs, regardless of what the surgery outcome was I knew I was still going to do IVF, so that’s why I consider this surgery a success. Nothing really changed about my prognosis, but that’s okay. It’s a success because it gave me a peaceful heart and mind. Now I can move forward!

We’ll probably be doing our IVF cycle in May. It all depends on when my natural cycles happen in the next couple of months but if all works out the way it should (as in if my body cooperates) we’ll start around May 10 which would put my two weeks in Colorado during the first 2 weeks of June – after school lets out! If my period decides to come just a few days early, then I’ll miss some of the last week of school – which would not be good. So fingers crossed that my body behaves!

Sorry for such a long post – but I wanted to fill everybody in on everything!!

CCRM · Fallopian tubes

Surgery Success

The surgery went pretty well this morning! I’m very sore but I’m not nauseous which I was really worried about since we’re flying back in the morning. So far I’m not feeling much pain from the CO2 – I’m just very blown up!

So here’s the report on what Dr Surrey saw. Basically he said he’s never seen anything like it! Apparently I was just born with really deformed tubes. On one side my tube was completely severed in the middle. He said it looked as if I had had a tubal pregnancy that had been fixed – weird! On he other side I had a normal looking tube and then about halfway up it got really tiny and almost noexistent. He also said that my ovaries are really high which means that during egg retrieval if he sees follies that he can’t get to he may go through my belly button to get to them – which might explain why I’ve had five follicles before but only two eggs retrieved?? He also said that I had lots and lots of scar tissue – so much in fact he was shocked that I hadn’t been in more pain. He said that with all the abnormalties that I was born with my body was just trying to heal them so that’s why the scar tissue. So he did a lot more digging around than he expected because he was so amazed at it all. Haha which means more soreness for me but that’s okay! The good news is my uterus looks great which is most important! So all in all I got lots of answers so I feel great! I’m so glad I had this done! Now it’s just a matter of staying doped up on those pain meds! 😉

CCRM · Fallopian tubes · FSH · ivf · Surgery · Vitamin D

Surgery

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, so there are several things to report. First of all we got some of my blood test results back. Everything was normal as far as my thyroid levels and immunities go. I have a slight vitamin D deficiency, which is easily cured with a supplement. My AMH, which determines egg quality, was 0.9. Normal for my age is 1.0-2.0 so I’m a little bit low there, but it wasn’t so much that they are very concerned about it. We’re still waiting to hear back about the Fragil X test to find out if I’m a carrier of the gene, and I still have to send my Cycle Day 3 blood work (I have to have it done here, freeze it, and ship it) but for that I have to wait for my next cycle to start.

In other news we have decided to proceed with the surgery to remove my tubes. After lots of battling with the clinic, it is now scheduled for March 16. I really wanted to have it done during our Mardi Gras break so that I wouldn’t have to miss more work, but Dr. Surrey is going to be overseas that week. They wanted to wait until my April cycle to do it because the procedure is supposed to happen between cycle days 5-15 so that they can be sure you’re not pregnant. I just didn’t like that idea because that was going to end up pushing everything back. Finally they agreed to let me do it March 16 even though it won’t be during the correct cycle days – they just told me I need to avoid pregnancy. (Um, no problem?!?)

So that’s where we stand. My mom is going out to Denver with me this time. I think she’s pretty excited about seeing the facilities and meeting the doctor. Not to mention she gets to play “mom”! We have our follow up consult with the doctor on March 11. That’s when we’ll review our blood test results and discuss our protocol.

In completely different news, we find out in a week if Ryan got a residency in Jackson! We are so excited about that prospect! Especially since my boss has been pretty mean about this whole ordeal. I’m ready to be out of here!

basil body temperature · CCRM · Diminished ovarian reserve · Fallopian tubes · history · infertility · ivf · Letter to family

A preview

This is actually a letter that I wrote to my support group. Some of my family and friends who have been with me throughout this journey. It was written in December after my most recent IVF cycle. I figured it would be a good introduction for the blog.

Dear Family and Friends,
This is for all of you who have been my support group for the past several months/years. Many of you unknowingly volunteered for this position by giving me unconditional love, prayers, and support. Most of you fell into the position (whether you wanted to or not) by just being around me every day and not being able to escape it; and some of you had no choice because you’re a relative! Regardless of the reason, I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being there for Ryan and me. I wish I had the time (or really the emotional will-power) to write each and every one of you a personal, handwritten note – but I just can’t put myself through that (I am certain you all understand!) You have all, in your own ways, been a true blessing to me. I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to me to have your prayers, your words of encouragement, your shoulders to cry on, your ears to listen to my screaming frustration, and your gentle hearts and faith to help me carry on.

This is a letter I started writing for myself, just to get all of my ideas out of my jumbled mind. But as I was writing it, I felt that I needed to share it with all of you. After all, you have been through this entire journey with me, and I felt as if you deserve to know what I’m thinking – I don’t always express myself too well with spoken words, and sometimes I think I come across as more of a doer than a feeler (if that makes any sense.) Basically, I just wanted you to know, because you deserve to know, how I am feeling. Anyway, here it is…and please excuse the length!

This has been the most difficult 2 ½ years of my life. Ryan and I have been through the heartbreak of trying our hardest to have a baby “the old fashioned way,” only to be disappointed each month for a year and a half. I have charted basil body temperatures, been told by doctors to just be patient -“sometimes it takes people longer”, “your temperature charts are textbook perfect” they said. Then, after referring myself to a Reproductive Endocrinologist 10 months ago, it has just been a whirlwind of emotions. We have found out I can’t have children naturally due to blocked tubes, I’ve been through 2 IVF cycles that got canceled due to poor response to the medications (after doing all of the injections, I might add) and then, after more hormones and blood tests, found out I also have the egg supply of a 40 year old. Through all of this I have watched all of my married friends get pregnant without really trying – “just to add salt to the wound” as they say. (please don’t take offense to that for those of you who are so very blessed with babies!)

The past month has been the most difficult – Ryan and I have been to 2 funerals of close family members, I have stuck myself with a needle twice a day, swallowed a countless supply of hormones in pill form, been through a painful medical procedure, to then start having shots given to me by Ryan or Mom with a 2 inch long needle every day (talk about the feeling of helplessness)- with thick enough medicine to give me welts and bruises on my back. I have gained close to 10 pounds due to the countless number of hormones that I’ve been subjecting my body to, my face looks like a 16 year old’s, and my ovaries still feel like they have golf balls inside them. My entire body aches, the bruise on my left arm from all of the blood work makes me look like a heroine addict, and my eyes are constantly blood shot from all of the crying. I have gone to talk to a nun who supposedly performs miracles, especially dealing with infertility (one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, by the way) and have spent countless hours on the Internet on message boards of people who have done IVF, Googling my diagnosis (yeah I know – terrible idea) and researching clinics across the country who may be able to better help me. I have gotten my hopes up one day: planning a nursery, figuring out important pregnancy dates (even the week that I would get the glucose test done – I know I’m weird), to then bawling my eyes out because I didn’t have any “symptoms.” And don’t even get my started on the money we’ve spent on all of this – the medical bills that I will be paying off of my credit card for the rest of my life (or so it seems!) and the miles that I have put on my poor car driving back and forth to our RE’s office which is 2 1/2 hours away. I spent the majority of my Thanksgiving break on bed rest, spending countless hours looking at the picture of our little 4 cell embryo, and praying for a miracle. Regardless of the praying, regardless of what “Papa” told the nun, regardless of doing everything right, I found out today that I won’t be having a baby in 9 months – my arms will be empty.

Still, after all of this, I’m ready to start again. Whether it’s with my own eggs, through donor eggs, or through adoption – I will be a mother and Ryan will be a dad. We don’t know why God has challenged us with this, and we are both pretty angry with Him right now. However, we also know that He is all we have left. He is the only being that we can truly depend on right now. I’m not sure I have ever needed God more. As angry and confused as I am about why He has chosen me for this challenge, and as much as I feel like He owes us a miracle, I know that it is ultimately up to Him. No matter how much I beg and scream and throw my fist, He will answer my prayers when He is ready. Finding the patience is the most difficult, especially when I know that every month we don’t do IVF, is every month that I’m losing eggs from my diminishing supply – they’re just going to waste.

But I can say – when it does finally happen for us, I won’t ever take it for granted. I will cherish every moment of my pregnancy (oh how I pray for morning sickness and back pain), every moment of delivery (although I will be getting an epidural, I don’t want to remember it that badly!), and every sleepless night with my newborn. I will sing to the heavens when my baby starts teething, crawling, and walking. I will delight in my two year old’s tantrums, potty training, and moodiness. I will be grateful for every lost tooth (and I HATE dealing with teeth!), and every skinned knee (oh yeah, and I don’t do blood very well either!) I will praise God for a 16 year old that hates me, and I will thank Him for the countless debt from his/her college tuition. I will watch my children get married and bless me with grandchildren and I will tell them all how much I love them and am blessed by them every single day. I will cherish the bad moments along with the good. I know there will be moments when I will be tired and feel like complaining, but I won’t for a second miss the days when I wasn’t a mother.

I’m not really sure what our next steps are. We know we will keep trying. We know we will never give up. We will spend every last penny we have, and we will travel whatever distance it takes. Because I know, from the deepest place in my soul, that I am meant to be a mother.

I love you all so very much. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. And please know that I thank God for all of you every night. I have never felt so loved – and that is the blessing that I can take from all of this. It has made me closer to my husband, I have discovered who my true friends are, and I have never appreciated my family more. I will forever be grateful for that.