Tuesday, 15 November 2011

My Living Nightmare

So I will continue with my story of what happened to my pregnancy this summer.  After the heartcrushing NT scan results, I was scheduled to go to the "High Risk Team" at the hospital I was supposed to be delivering at, if I made it that far.  I went to the appointment with the genetic counsellor hopeful that he would clear up all this terrifying nonsense, but I was also afraid that he would clarify just how bad it was.  He redid the NT scan and took a lot of measurements on the ultrasound.  I could see the baby on the screen kicking its legs and moving around a lot.  It looked very cute and normal to me.  I loved seeing it on the screen.  Since I couldn't feel any kicks yet, it was interesting to see how "kicky" it was.  After a very long time he told us his conclusions.  He said the NT was significantly enlarged and now measured 5mm (up from 4.7mm a few days before).  Anything over 3.5 is considered high risk for chromosomal abnormalities.  He said I had 1:2 chance for a problem.  I could have a CVS or an amnio to determine for sure what the nature of the problems may be, and there was a chance that the baby would be ok.  Although he did say that with such an enlarged nuchal translucency I had a moderate risk of chromosomal problems.  The fluid was not only behind the baby's head, but also down the back.  This was very bad.  I said I wanted to have a CVS, since it could be done sooner, and the results are quicker.  I booked it for Monday, the soonest time available.  I don't know how I made it through the next few days.  I was so sick with worry, but still hanging on to hope that by some miracle it would all be ok. 

I went to 2 different counsellors while I was waiting.  One was from my fertility clinic and the other available through my work.  The fertility counsellor listened as I freaked out and told her the whole tale of the NT scans and my upcoming test.  She said I was engaging in catastrophic thinking and I didn't know for sure yet that anything was wrong, so just to wait for the test results before thinking about what to do next.  I couldn't do it, I had to go there in my mind and think what was I going to DO???  What kind of life was my baby and my family going to have?  I was completely freaked out and terrified.  I felt like my baby had already died.  The other counsellor seemed to be a bit in shock to get such a crisis case on her hands.  I guess normally she gets clients who are vaguely dissatisfied with their career or relationship and need to solve small manageable problems, not someone sobbing uncontrollably in the throes of a grief so intense that there is nothing that one could possibly say or do to make it better. 

I went for the CVS the following Monday, Aug 21st.  Guided by ultrasound, the GC used a long instrument with a "pinchy" end to go in and grab a small piece of the placenta for a biopsy.  The procedure went fine.  Although there is a 1:100 chance in miscarrying from this procedure, I felt like there would be no problem since the doctor was very competent and also I had a much higher chance of a major problem (1:2) that I wanted to know about.  In fact, even with these chances, I just felt that I had a 100% chance that there was something wrong and 0% chance of miscarrying.  I was getting sick of all these ratios.  I think that they are just a way of doctors covering their asses when something totally unexpected happens ("Well, there WAS a 1:10,000 chance that this would happen, I guess you're just the one-- it's not that I screwed up or anything!). 

Then began the waiting for the results.  That was hell.  The first day I felt fine, because I knew there was no way they would get the results back that soon.  By the next day I was getting nervous.  It was supposed to take 2 days.  By the 3rd day I was a nervous wreck.  Every time the phone rang my heart started pounding.  My hope and fear was exhausting me.  The fourth day I was on super nervewracking standby.  I held my phone in my hand all day waiting for the call, terrified of missing it.  I just wanted to get news that I could stop worrying and celebrate that the baby would be ok.  My husband and I had discussed what we would do if the baby had Down Syndrome.  We considered keeping it and wondered how that would work.  We wondered who would look after it after we died.  What kind of life would our child have, never being independent.  Would we be able to go on to have other children after having such a high needs child, at our age?  It was a heartwrenching decision, but we agreed to terminate if that was the diagnosis.  It terrified me as well that we may have to actually do this, and be judged by others who either have or have not been down this terrible road.  Either outcome just seemed like a disaster to me, I was very depressed about losing my healthy baby.  My only hope was an all clear from the CVS, and that call was just not coming. 

I finally got a call on the Thursday, but not the call I expected.  Someone called and said they had my blood test results.  What blood test results?  I didn't even remember about that except I did have a blood draw on the same day as the NT test.  That was 10 days ago.  They said unfortunately the test results were not good, that I had 1:8 chance for Down Syndrome and 1:2 chance for Trisomy 13 or 18.  They recommended that I have a CVS or an amnio based on those results.  I told here that I already had the CVS and was waiting for the results, I thought that was why she was calling!  I called the GC clinic finally to ask if they had my results.  The nurse said they hadn't come in yet but they should be in soon.  I then had time to look up what the hell Trisomy 13 and 18 were.  That was terrifying.  Internal organs on the outside of the body, parts of the brain missing, incompatible with life... WTF?  I couldn't finish reading, it was all too much. 

I felt sick, I felt like I was holding my breath for 4 days waiting for those results.  I called the GC a second time to find out if the results had come in yet.  They were already a day late, and they had said they may be early since my test was done early in the morning.  The nurse said "Oh, yes, they just came in a half an hour ago.  I can't tell you the results.  The doctor will call you when he's done with his appointments for the day."  All my hope was dashed.  I felt like if the results were ok, she would have said something more reassuring.  I knew from her tone that she was relieved that she was not the one with the responsibility for delivering bad news.

Waiting for that call was further hell.  I was super pissed off that he had to finish with his "other patients" before calling me.  What was I, chopped liver?  I'm his patient too!  I was jealous that he was probably tending to women with better prospects for carrying their baby to term than me. 

Finally the call came.  I was convinced that the baby would have Trisomy 13 or 18 and that terrified me.  Why was this happening?  He said "unfortunately, the results are not good.  As we suspected, the baby tested positive for Down Syndrome".  Shock.  I was in a daze.  I asked "What about Trisomy 13 or 18?"  He said "no, the baby is clear from those disorders".  I couldn't believe it.  How could my baby have 1:8 chance for Downs (12.5%) and have it and not have T13/18 with 1:2 chance (50%).  It made no sense.  Those odds are such crap.  The doctor also said he knew the sex of the baby.  Did I want to know what it was?  I wondered what kind of absurd person would go through that much testing and not want to find out the gender.  I said yes, tell me.  He said it was a girl.  Next, there was nothing else to discuss except about what to do to terminate.  He said I was too late to do it at the hospital since they only do it up to 13 weeks and I was now 13 weeks 1 day.  If I had gotten my test results on time, maybe that would have been possible.  He asked if I wanted to make my own arrangements or he could arrange it for me.  I asked if he could do it.  What do I know about making those kind of arrangements???  He asked if I wanted it done at a hospital or a clinic.  There was another hospital that would do it up to 15 weeks.  I said I wanted the hospital.  He said OK, he'll send a request and they will contact me.  But I could also look into a clinic if I liked and he gave me a few numbers.  This was so ridiculous.  I had an IVF to conceive this baby.  I went through hell and back with years of infertility, invasive treatments, and months of painful PIO injections to achieve this precious pregnancy.  I was also running out of time with my advanced maternal age.  This was my miracle baby, my saviour from childlessness, my rainbow.  I wasn't supposed to be planning how to get rid of it like some unplanned mistake!

I hung up the phone and just cried and cried and cried.  I was so devastated to not get a break and now I was not going to have a healthy baby after all.  For a whole week I cried most of each day and night, I just can't believe how many tears kept coming out. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Heartbreaking Diagnosis

I have not written for quite a while.  To give the fast-forward version of the story, I was thrilled to be pregnant all summer.  I had waited so long for this pregnancy, it seemed like something out of a dream.  Something too good to be true.  That kind of made me afraid.  It ends up, for good reason. 

I had several normal ultrasound scans.  Seeing the baby's little beating heart was the most amazing thing I've ever seen in my life.  I will never forget it.  I was in love with this little life inside me.  I took little videos of the ultrasounds on my camera and even started a weekly video blog of my pregnancy.  (Which is why I neglected this blog).  I shared my news only with a few people who were close to me:  my mother, my brother and his two kids who came to stay with us in July, one aunt, and my closest childhood friend. 

I started to feel sicker.  I knew that it was a pregnancy symptom so I didn't mind.  My clothes started feeling tighter.  I bought a larger bra.  Things were progressing "normally".

At 11 weeks 6 days I went in for my "graduation" ultrasound from the Fertility clinic.  They measured the Nuchal Translucency of the baby.  The ultrasound technician didn't say much.  On the screen I could see that the dark part at the back of the baby's head looked too big.  I had seen pictures in the baby books I had bought, and my scan looked like the "abnormal" NT screening.  I was hoping I was wrong and that this was how it was supposed to look.  I knew something was wrong because of the technician's nervous, unfriendly attitude.  Normally she says something reassuring or congratulatory, but this time she just said "you need to see the doctor", and rushed out.

We waited in the waiting room for two hours.  My husband and I couldn't even look at each other, we were so terrified.  The doctor scurried by and said "they have to record the measurements and do the calculations, then we'll get back to you".  She went off to do some IUIs and IVFs.  Eventually, no one else was left in the clinic waiting room but us.  Normally there are 30 - 50 people sitting around.  I felt like we were such a sad and rejected couple, sitting there waiting and no one wanted to talk to us.  My stomach was in a knot.  Finally, she came back and sat us down in her office.  I hoped for some good news.    "Unfortuantely, the scan was abnormal today.  I'm so sorry.  I know this isn't the news you want to hear", she said.  We were stunned.  What did this mean?  She said we had 1:2 chance of chromosomal abnormalities with the NT reading that we got, combined with my age.  A normal NT thickness is under 3mm and our baby's was 4.7mm.  She said the chances are very high for Trisomy 21, 13, or 18, or Turner's Syndrome, but they can't tell until they do further testing.  Then she asked what we would do if it was positive, would we terminate the pregnancy?  I looked at my husband.  All the blood had drained from his face.  I said I didn't know what we would do, did he know?  He said he didn't know.  I didn't understand what she was saying.  Did we need to make a decision right then to determine the course of action?  I wanted further testing so we were told we were to go to the hospital to the High Risk Team to redo the NT scan and discuss with a genetic counsellor what to do next.  There was a possibility that the baby would be fine.  But I was very pessimistic since the NT scan was so bad, it was not a borderline case, it was definitely enlarged and that meant trouble.  Only the exact nature of the trouble was yet to be determined.  We were given our "graduation papers", which were the reports from my previous ultrasounds at the fertility clinic, that I was supposed to take to my OB/GYN for the rest of my pregnancy.  Instead I was taking them to the high risk team.  I broke down crying as they gave me the envelope and crossed out the OB/GYN's name and wrote the genetic counsellor's name.  It occured to me that this pregnancy was doomed and I would not be taking home a live, healthy baby.

The next two days were a blur of pain and grief.  I was absolutely terrified, and confused.  I felt a crushing weight on my chest and I could barely breathe.  My stomach tightened further and I could not eat a thing.  At night I couldn't sleep.  I cried and cried.  It's a good thing I didn't have to go to work since it was summer holidays (I'm a teacher) because there is no way I would be able to go in. 

I researched about the Nuchal Translucency scan, what the results could mean, and about the conditions that the doctor had mentioned.  That terrified me even further.  I could feel my blood running cold in my veins.  I felt like my life had turned into a movie.  I had never even heard of these things before.  And they are terrible!  I couldn't even finish reading it all, it was too much.  How could this be happening to me?

I sent a message to my friend that there was a problem with the baby.  She called back later that day and I could barely get one word out before I started crying hysterically.  She said she was at work but there wasn't much going on so she could leave and come to my house.  I told her it wasn't necessary, there was nothing that she could do about this, but she said it's ok, she's going to come over anyway.  I was glad that she did.  I cried and cried and cried, and told her all about the NT scan.  She said that I should wait until the further testing came back, maybe it would end up ok!    She also brought me some soup and a sandwich.  I hadn't realised that I hadn't eaten and trying to get down even a mouthfull of soup was difficult.  I tried to force down some bites of the sandwich.  Her kindness in knowing that I would need this brought me to tears as well.  I felt so alone in what I was going through.  I didn't know of anyone talking about an abnormal Nuchal Translucency scan or 1:2 risks of chromosomal disorders.  Most people have a 1:800 risk or something way more reassuring. 

Part 2 of my pregnancy disaster to follow...

Thursday, 7 July 2011

4th beta

My fourth beta was yesterday and it was 14,800.  That's more than double, so great news.  I'm just hoping it's not too high because I read that very high beta could indicate Down's Syndrome, a molar pregnancy, twins, or a regular pregnancy.  So after finding that out twins doesn't sound so bad.  I hope it's not one of the first 2 on the list!  I will know more after my first ultrasound next week (July 14th).  I hope that goes well and they can see something!  Something good!  I have another beta in 2 days.  It should be over 37,500, approx.  I've started to feel more nauseous I think.  I could barely eat my salad today and I didn't feel like my salad at lunch.  I had yogourt and most of the salad, with chicken.  I feel like I have to pee more often than usual.  I practised giving myself the PIO shot myself since I will have to do it next week when I'm away for 3 days.  It went ok!

Monday, 4 July 2011

3rd beta

This is 4 days past my second beta, so 19 days past 5 dt.  The level was 4834, so very good!  It has doubled every 2 days, which is a good sign.  My 5th week symptoms have been more tingling in breasts, some cramping & sick feeling, and tiredness.  Mostly I feel normal.  I was worried about the beta numbers, they are nice and high but maybe this could mean twins.  I'm just worried of premature labour and losing the pregnancy if it's twins... (because of my age) but I guess I'll find out at the ultrasound on July 14th and ask the doctor what she thinks.  I still haven't seen the doctor yet!  I just get calls from the nurse, and they tell me to come back for another blood test. 

I went to my GP today and told her about the pregnancy and my concerns.  She was very happy for me, since she knows what an ordeal this has all been.  I also asked her to fill in the medical forms for the adoption home study, though I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that now.  But I had the appointment so I figured I may as well get the report.  It was $35.  She was a bit annoyed that I didn't tell her in advance about the forms, but she did it anyway.  Obviously it took more time than the original appointment, which was to just go over some test results from my physical.  All was fine except she said my iron stores was low, so I could take a supplement called Palafer (?). 

My next Beta is on Wednesday (in 2 days).  I hope it continues to go well.  I need a number of 19,336 or higher.  Yikes!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

2nd Beta

Today I got my second beta results:  1156.  That's more than double my first beta, so good news!  My 6 week ultrasound has been scheduled for July 14th, which is the same day my brother and his 2 teenage kids come to visit for a summer vacation (they live on the other side of the country).  It was a good day at work, but I'm tired (nothing new).  This is so exciting!  I'm going to research a bit more about what foods I should be eating.  I only have one more day of school, so then I'll be able to rest more.  Can't wait to be further along! 

Monday, 27 June 2011

1DP My BFP

This was a great day.  I must admit I'm a bit worried about the off and on cramping, but I tested again today with 2 different HPTs and they were still good and positive.  Tomorrow I go for my second Beta.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Lucky Day!

I am in shock!  This morning I did an HPT and it came out positive!  Then I went in to the clinic for the blood test and they confirmed the positive, with a Beta of 488.  This is so great!  I know it may still end badly but it's amazing to get this far for the first time ever!  My only other positive Beta was 9 and then it went down.  Yeah!!!  This blog must be lucky!  I didn't even want to start it until this cycle was over, but then I figured, what difference does it make.  I really thought it would be negative because of the cramps, it felt just like AF was coming. 

I called my mother and told her.  She was happy but said: "Well, the first 3 months is the hardest to hold onto the pregnancy.  Make sure you don't do anything out of the ordinary".  (She's a retired nurse, and also she has had a miscarriage, so she has experience in this department).  She wasn't overly excited, I guess she wants to be cautious.  She was happy for me, but kind of like I just told her I got my hair cut and I like how it turned out.  "That's great, dear!"

Backtracking a bit... When I woke up I was seriously miserable.  I was turning over in my head the possibilities of what to do for the next cycle and when I would be able to go in.  It was going to be hard to go in on Day 2 because this is the last week of school and there are special events every day that I don't want to be absent for.  I did the HPT because I thought if I knew for sure it was negative then I could stay and talk to the doctor today, since it's the weekend, and avoid going in mid-week on Day 2 during the last week madness.  I could pick up any meds that I needed today, too, and then just start them when they called and told me.  I did the test in a little dish.  (I don't like the mid-flow tests, I end up with pee all over the place).  The control line came out nice and dark  (as usual) and the rest was all pink... What usually happens then is the pink fades out to a bright, stark white, announcing the crappy BFN. But this time, out of the pink haze emerged a line, a nice pale pink line that I had only seen before when I tested after my HCG shot.  I called to D right away.  He was standing out on our porch looking at the street, perhaps to check the weather.  I hollered: "Hey, come and see this!!"  So he came upstairs and I showed it to him.  He just looked at it.  "It's positive!"  I said.  "That second pink line, if there is any trace of a line at all means it's positive!"  Then he was happy and excited.  "Yeah!  It worked!  This is amazing!!!"  I had never thought out some special plan of how I was going to tell him, like giving him a present with some little booties and and "I love Daddy" shirt, or something like that, to surprise him.  I just yelled to him about three seconds after I saw the line, and that was that!

When we did the transfer we asked if we could get a picture of the embryos this time.  Dr. Indifferent said "We don't take pictures, but you can take a picture off the screen if you like, on your camera phone."  So we got a picture of our 2 embryos, which look like two little bubbles of water.  We thought they looked like poppy seeds (since we wanted both of them in the picture they zoomed out and that's how small they were).  So D and I named them "Poppy" and "Seedy".  Today we were rejoicing the Poppy and/or Seedy were still with us!

We worked some more in the garden today.  We put in a bunch of annuals, so it looks more colourful.  It really looks great!  So that's it for gardening for a while.  We are both tired of it, and we think it looks good enough!  We have fulfilled our quota of 2 days of gardening per year. 

I have to go for my next Beta on Tuesday.  I hope it goes up to the appropriate level, which I guess is close to 1000 by then. 

I'm praying for Poppy and Seedy.  Good luck, guys! 

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Sidestepping

Well, it's Saturday and so far I slept in so I wasn't able to go in for the test and get my BFN to ruin my day.  Btw I am now CD29, 12dp5dt  (actually, it was a 6 day transfer).  I will go tomorrow and stay in my bubble of hopefulness/ dread one more day.  I didn't do the HPT either because I figure, why bother?  I'll find out tomorrow and enjoy another day of wondering in the meantime.  Then D said he sent an email to his friend saying we might not make it to the barbecue.  I thought he was looking forward to it (it's all his friends from university) and I was going to be a good sport and go along, though as I said it was going to be a baby-fest.  But I guess he also thinks it will suck to be at a party where every single person has a baby except you.  If there was at least one other childless person, let alone couple, then it could be ok.  He said to me, let's just get a pizza and a movie instead!  We'll see how we feel later today.

We worked in the garden all day.  It was a lot of work because we are not garden people and it had grown totally out of control.  We only usually "garden" for about 2 days a year, inspired by the total disgrace that it has turned into, and the clear fact that it needs attention urgently.  We have lots of great perrenial plants from the previous owner of the house, but they have grown in so thick that it looks crazy by this point in the season.  We literally just ripped out 5 big bags of foliage (ferns, tiger lilies, weeds, small trees that were sprouting) and what remained looked like a fully mature, amazing garden.  Not the neatest, most perfect garden, mind you.  But very good for us, and the fact that we had only worked on it one day.  There was a hosta buried under the ferns that we couldn't even see before, and now it looks good with space around it.  We'll get a few annuals to add colour along the path and voila!  Beautiful!  So now we are happily too late to go to the barbecue and we're going to go get our movie. 

Ha ha!  I have sidestepped my predicted meltdown today, and I feel great!  Maybe it will be tomorrow instead, after my test, but at least I don't have to go and face a bunch of old university acquaintances and "catch up" with them on my crappy test day!

I will try to post a picture of my garden some time, if I can get my camera working.  I put a new memory card in it and now it's gone all weird. 

Bye for now! 

Friday, 24 June 2011

My Infertile Life So Far - Part 2

Alright, so as I was saying... After my surgery I did IUI #4 (this one was on Valentine's Day) with Femara and Repronex - BFN.

So then I started IVF #1 - 2 weeks of downcycling with BCP.  I also started acupuncture 2x a week.  That was ok (I had never tried it before, but it's supposed to help with bloodflow).  I started taking Lupron, then stimming with Gonal F and Repronex.  I had 30+ mature follicles and they told me to take in lots of salt to avoid hyperstimulation/ electrolyte imbalance.  Retrieval day came and they got 13 mature eggs, 12 fertilized with ICSI.  On Day 3 they had 10 developing well so they said to wait until Day 5 to see what they did.  On Day 5 I had 1 early blast and the rest were cavitating morulas (almost blast) and 2 arrested.  So they transferred 2 (the blast and one morula) and kept the rest to observe 1 more day.  They froze 4 that looked good on Day 6 (2 excellent blasts, 1 early blast, 1 cavitating morula).  I started my 2 week wait, and that didn't go too well.  I was super bloated, like extreme!!  I could barely move and my stomach was puffed out and hard as a rock as if I were 3 or 4 months pregnant (annoying irony).  I was eating tons of salty stuff which was just making me sick.  The progesterone in oil shots I was taking were more painful than the other previous injections, since the oil was thick and hurt going in and created hard bubbles of oil embedded in the muscles that felt like knots under my skin.  The area was really tender and felt bruised.  I felt weird and also I was extremely constipated.  I had stabbing pains when I tried to go number 1 or number 2.  I didn't know if the pain was from my bladder or my uterus or vagina wall (from the needle used from the retrieval).  I thought maybe they stabbed my bladder when they were in there, or some other organ.  I felt like I had to pee all the time, but often when I went to the washroom nothing would come out.  Then one time going from the washroom back to the bedroom I started blacking out and had ringing in my ears.  I made it to my bed and layed still until I felt well enough to go downstairs, then I had some soya sauce and felt better.  (It was the lack of salt -- all the 30+ follicles that were releasing fluid after the retrieval were messing up my system)  I went in to the doctor's the next day, still having sharp pains in the lower pelvis area.  I was so stressed from all of this that I had a meltdown when I saw the doctor (it was a different doctor since my regular RE, Dr. PouffyHair, let's call her, was off that day.  Her alternate was Dr. Caring).  He was so nice and he told me to go ahead and take Extra Strength Tylenol so I could be more comfortable, and he had me do a urine sample.  As I was crying uncontrollably in his office, really for no reason since I had a treatment plan and he said I was going to be fine- he also kindly said that if he had been taking as many hormones as me he'd be crying too!  I was embarrassed as well because he had some sort of student doctor with his observing my meltdown.  So I went home, took the Tylenol, rested some more, and eventually went back to work.  Dr. Pouffy phoned a few days later and said that I had a bladder infection, according to my test results, and to go get some antibiotics right away and take them for 7 days.  So I did that.  My test day came and the results were... a low positive, Beta 9.  The nurse said hopefully it's a late implantation and to check again in 2 days, though it is not very likely.  She said not to get my hopes up because it's probably a non-viable pregnancy, but we will see.  So 2 days later I went for my test. 

As I waited for the results it happened to be the day we were to find out our job assignments for next year.  (This happens just once a year)  So I had a fun day wondering if I would get 2 "no's", a "No" and a "Yes", or 2 "Yes's".  I decided that the chances of getting 2 "Yes's" was very very unlikely.... but possible.  (i.e., Beta had gone up= pregnant!, Job assignment=my #1 choice!)  Getting 2 no's would really really suck! (i.e., Beta down= it's over... all that pain and $11,000 for nothing, Job assignment=crappy job that no one wants but I have experience in so they will give it to me & I'll be miserable for a year).  I decided one yes and one no would be tolerable.  If I were pregnant and got the crap job I wouldn't care because I would be gone on Mat leave for half of it anyway... and if I weren't pregnant and got the job I wanted, I could at least enjoy focusing on my job while the TTC stuff continues to suck.  I don't know why I got into all that, but as you can see I had one stressful day contemplating all this, and just powerless over the outcome.  So the results were:  Beta stayed the same (9) and I got the job assignment I wanted.  I had to go back 3 days later to do the Beta again.  The nurse said it was probably a non-viable pregnancy but since it hadn't gone down they didn't know what it meant yet.  So I went back and this time the Beta was 2.  They told me to stop my meds (progesterone in oil & estrace).  And it was over.

After that I had a very heavy AF.  My ovaries were still coming down from the IVF cycle, so Dr. Pouffy- maybe I'll just change her name to Dr. Indifferent - said I should not do anything for a cycle or two and just take some "time off".  I said I didn't really want to take time off since I was turning 39 in a few weeks, and according to the charts that are all over their waiting room in pamphlets and magazines that I have had ample time to read while waiting around, age makes a huge difference in the success of TTC of any kind, and the massive nosedive of my fertility was well underway -- each month my chances were going deeper down the tubes... Within a few short years (24-36 months) I will be at 0% no matter what ART intervention is used, and I really don't like those odds.  Especially since I have already been trying for over 6 years (about 80 months).  So she said I could do an unmedicated IUI while my ovaries came down.  (Normal ovaries are the size of almonds, and mine were the size of peaches after my IVF, and still had many unresolved cysts).

So I did IUI #5 natural cycle - BFN.

Mid-cycle IUI#5 I had a meltdown on Mother's Day.  I was kind of dreading going out with my MIL and SIL, but I thought I would be ok and do it for D, and not make a big deal of it.  MIL and SIL are nice, but I was feeling crappy about my failed 6 1/2 years of attempting motherhood.  I put on a brave face, did my hair nice, put on a nice dress & started with a cheery attitude.  That went ok until SIL's jerk 10 yr old son announced to me suddenly:  "You don't count, you know".  I said "What?"  He ran to his mother (my SIL)and said "You're not a mother, you don't count".  I was shocked at his nerve to say such a thing, and also the lack of response from SIL and MIL.  I was pretty hormonal anyway, so I felt upset, and this quickly turned into full blown crying.  FIL reminded me "come one, he's just a little kid".  But it was over, I could not go to the restaurant and act normal with that little rude brat and his enabling overprotective mother and grandmother backing him up.  I was pissed that SIL with such "laissez-faire" crappy parenting skills was able to be a mother of 2 and me with years of teaching experience had none.  I had to leave.  I went home with D who was so kind and supportive.  I know it was not fair of me to ruin his day with his mother, but he was mad at them and said I had every right to cry.  Later MIL called him and surprisingly she was offended that we thought Nephew should apologize for speaking rudely, she thought it was the other way around.  Nephew was simply doing a tally of the mothers present for Mother's Day (there were 2).  He was very "upset" by what happened.  I should apologize to him, she says.  She asked if I had had a miscarriage (like that would be the only possible excuse for freaking out like that).  He said no.  (I thought he should have said yes, since I had basically had an early miscarriage with that low positive from the IVF, and it was very upsetting)  She knows we are doing fertility treatments, and we've been trying for years, you would think she'd have a bit more compassion for fragile feelings on Mother's Day.  She's upset with D and me for not making a connection with SpoiledNephew and SpoiledNiece.  It's hard though, they throw out our gifts and are not polite, it's irksome.  My other niece and nephew (my brother's kids) were nothing like that, so every time I see these two I'm just shocked.  MIL apparently said some other stuff about me, including "Some people aren't meant to be mothers".  D was sorry that he told me this as I was very upset to know that's what she thinks of me.  Who knows what else she said that he more successfully screened from me.  Eventually I had to just apologize to her because I couldn't stand the stress of the freeze out that was lasting several weeks.  I want everyone to like me, so it was driving me nuts.  I tried to do it through D, but that totally didn't work, so I had to talk to her myself.  We both cried on the phone.  I said I was sorry for ruining her day and everyone's day.  Etc., etc., she said she knows it's hard for me and she just wants to put this behind us.  Then she went on to say: "You know, you really need to relax.  You and D should go on a vacation!"  I was grateful that she was trying to wish us well and give advice, but are you kidding me?  "Just relax?????"  Thank you!  I never thought of that before.  That's great original advice!  Still no word from SIL.  Not sure if she's indifferent or furious.  She's going through a divorce, so preoccupied. 

I went in to see what to do for the next cycle.  I got Dr. Caring again, since Dr. Indifferent was away.  I'm wondering how to switch to him as my main doctor, but I don't think it can be done.  I wonder if it's been done before...  I told Dr Caring about how I'm worried about my age and I wanted to try another IVF as soon as I can, since the age of the eggs is very important.  I have 4 frozen embryos, though.  I was wondering about scenarios in which I did the FET and it worked... then I would not be able to do another retrieval for over a year... by then I'll be over 40 and the egg quality will be much worse.  If it was a live birth pregnancy that would be ok, but what if I had some crazy molar pregnancy or a miscarriage that simply wasted my time- then when I went back to do my IVF... I'm over 40 with the old, bad eggs.  So I was saying that although I had 4 embryos, I wanted to go ahead with a fresh cycle a.s.a.p. to retrieve my current eggs for future use.  Dr. Caring said he saw my point and that it made sense, but to talk to Dr. Indifferent about it first.  So I went the next day when she came back and told her my plan and my reasons why.  She looked at me like I had 2 heads and said "that's not what we normally do here-- you have 4 frozen embryos.  Unless you want to have 70 kids or something like that we don't do a fresh cycle when you have embryos waiting.  And you might end up with twins, and you'll still have 2 embryos left for later."  I said I'm sorry but I'm just not too optomistic since we've been trying so many years, and I also don't think the embryos were that good, since it took them 6 days to develop into 5 day blasts.  She said "Well, let's try one FET and then we'll talk about a fresh transfer after that.  We'll put in the 2 best ones.  After that you will just have 2 ok ones left, so it would make more sense to do a fresh transfer at that point.  And the FET involves less hormones and is much easier on your body than a fresh cycle.  It will give your body one more month to recover from the last IVF."  So we went ahead with the FET #1 plan.  We saw Dr. Caring in the foyer and he asked what we ended up doing.  I told him the other doctor convinced us to do the FET.  He said: "Well it's 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other.  Either way could work well.  Good luck!"

I started taking Estrace and Baby Aspirin for this cycle.  Also, Dr. Indifferent suddenly thought of doing testing of Autoimmune disorders, since I'd had a failed implantation on my IVF #1 cycle.  She said I would need to take different medication if the test came back positive.  They took 14 vials of blood for the test, and it ended up taking 3/4 of the cycle before the results came in, so I'm not sure how useful that is.  I still don't have part of the results, since it was sent to a different hospital.  It was $400 for those tests, not covered by insurance.  Right now my pregnancy test day for this cycle is tomorrow and I still don't have the results.  So I guess it will only be useful for future cycles, though the tests that were completed were negative, which I guess is good.  On June 8th I did the FET #1 with acupuncture, once again.  Afterwards I had those nasty PIO shots, but this time they didn't seem so bad, maybe since I hadn't been doing other injections for the last while, the area wasn't so tender.  I still have the bumps that are slightly painful.  I wonder if I should go to a massage therapist to try break them down a bit more. 

Meanwhile, we had our first meeting with the social worker for the adoption home study.  It was a long meeting with lots of discussion and questions.   The social worker is really nice.  I just don't know if we are good candidates for adopting.  We are not perfect, and after all this struggle with infertility we definitely want to be parents... but I fear rejection from birth moms and adoption agencies that will be all the harder after the massive fertility failures we have already experienced, it may be too much.  I think I need a bit of toughening up before I could really face the adoption obstacles without getting hurt.  For example, in the big pile of forms she left with us to complete before next time, there are lots of personal questions in a checklist format.  It just seems so overwhelming and I'm afraid of how I'll feel if we aren't successful after putting ourselves out there.
Now I'm almost done my 2ww from FET #1.  I go to test tomorrow.  I'm not hopeful and here's why:  I have had period type cramps almost every day since about 3 days after transfer.  Boo!  I have a ton of HPT that I bought cheaply on the internet (early-pregnancy-tests.com), but I am a rare TTCer that prefers not knowing rather than having my dreams crushed early.  Even though it seems hopeless with these relentless cramps, I just don't want to know until it's over.  Because then my mourning is shortened since the new cycle will be starting a few days later, instead of a torturous week.  That's my rationale, I know it is not shared by many who just have to know as soon as possible.  I find negative HPTs a real killjoy. 

So that brings me up to the present moment!!  If you have gotten through this, good for you!  I told you it was long!

Tomorrow I have to go to a barbecue and I have a real fear that I will have an uncontrolled meltdown like I did on Mother's Day.  Why?  Because everyone at the barbecue has babies, they are super proud of their babies, and they will be talking about nothing but their babies.  This equals awkward congratulations, admiration, and perhaps uncomfortable scutiny of our childless life- do we want children, are we trying, what's the deal- haven't we been married longer than everyone else there?  I will try to hold it together, but that would be easier if it wasn't on the test result day!!!!  Imagine this, I get the call - it's negative, and then I go to the barbecue and hour later with all the babies.  Or even worse, we get the call while we are at the barbecue.  Or we don't get the call at all and wonder, WTF?  So I will probably break my no testing habit and do an HPT in the morning, so I just know and have a few hours to get over it before going to the BBQ.

That's all for now!  I'm pretty sure my other posts will be shorter.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

My Infertile Life So Far - Part 1

I thought I would start this blog, although I've been TTC for a while, mainly as an outlet of the stressful experience that anyone who has dealt with infertility is well aware of.  I find it interesting to follow others' blogs, so I thought I would give it a try.  One problem is that I've never done a blog of any kind before, so I really don't know what I'm doing.  Blogging isn't something I normally do, so we'll see how this experiment goes!  I'm sorry if it's boring!

One major obstacle to getting started with my "blogging" is the daunting task of reviewing my TTC history, which stretches back 7 years.  I'm not sure that I remember it all, nor do I want to.  I am now 39 years old (my birthday was last month, boo!).  I got married in 2004 and have been TTC #1 since then.

The first year I stopped taking the pill, and, like every fertile idiot, I thought that would be enough for it to "happen".  Well, that works for some people, but not me, since I'm not fertile.  I still didn't know that back then, though, so I researched a bit and found out about charting temperatures, checking for EWCM & using OPKs.  I got a little beepy thermometer to take my BBT.  (I hate that thing!)  I also used "Fetilityfriend.com" to chart and analysed other people's charts.  I found it interesting that some people had reallllllly long cycles.  That would drive me nuts!  I read up on a ton of fertility issues.  After I made a great pile of charts, still nothing, though I did find that I seemed to be ovulating regularly and my cycles were quite regular.  So I went to my GP and she referred me to an RE.  It took about 4 months to actually see the RE, so by that time 2 years had passed since I had started trying.

The RE didn't even look at my charts, but did a whole battery of tests.  Blood tests, HSG, SA, etc.  The results were not very conclusive, which actually gave me hope.  I thought I must be fine, and just not lucky.  She thought maybe I had endometriosis since there was nothing else really going on, and she suggested surgery.  At that point I thought that sounded pretty crazy, since there was no real evidence of endometriosis.  She said there is no way of knowing until "getting in there" and then she could vaporise it if she found any.  I thought "no thanks, not right now!"  The sperm analysis showed that my husband D's sperm was ok but low motility.  She said we could try a "sperm wash" (we didn't really understand that either, for all my reading up it seemed very weird) after the surgery.  She seemed very stuck on doing the surgery, which I didn't want to do, and basically she wouldn't do anything else except to monitor "natural cycles" until after the surgery.  The fertility clinic was really big and busy, and they were always running late.  They opened at 7a.m. and basically if you aren't there before it opens, like 6:30, you are screwed.  The doctor doesn't even come in until 8:30, so there is a guaranteed wait time of 2 hours every visit.  (...and that's if you are #1 on the list!  If you end up number #23 or something like that, forget it, you're waiting there for the whole morning.)  I thought this was very abnormal back then, to wait around for 2 hours for the doctor to just say: "Looks great! See you tomorrow!".  I look around the waiting room and wonder how everyone else can stand it?  I did about 3 monitored cycles (no meds or IUI's- I didn't know any better to insist on more action for all the time I was spending).  I got very stressed out about being late for work, and having to take unexplained days off to see the doctor.  There were many pointless visits, when the doctor didn't have anything to tell me at all, except to come back again.  I didn't understand why I was even there and it was messing up my job with the chronic lateness.  That and the surgery plan just basically freaked me right out, so we dropped out and went on our own for what turned out to be a few more years.  (Initially planning to take a few months off)  The honest truth was that I didn't like the doctor or the clinic.  We wanted help, but it felt like a huge relief to not go there anymore! 

I eventually went back to my GP and asked for a different referral.  She referred me back to the exact same doctor, for some reason.  So I went back (after another 4 month wait, even though I tried to tell the secretary that I was a previous patient) and we redid all the tests.  They turned out pretty much the same.  Tubes are clear, Ok ovarian reserve, suspected Endo, low sperm motility.  We did an IUI right away (Thank God, after all that wasted time!) which resulted in a BFN.

We did nome more IUI's with meds:  IUI #2 was with Clomid - BFN. 

IUI #3 was with Femara and Puregon - BFN.

Then I went for the dreaded surgery.  I survived!  It was a laporoscopy for my Endometriosis that I may or may not have.  She found 4 spots of "Stage I" Endo and removed it.  It took a few weeks to recover from that.  I only had to take 3 days off work, though, since there was a long weekend attached, and I was OK after that.  My scars are small and not yet faded (I have bad Irish skin that gets irritated by everything) and look like 2 small red marks on my bikini line and in my belly button.  The worst part of the surgery was the anaesthetic and I was also worried about the breathing tube (it was OK).   Afterwards I was nauseous and crampy.  I took a lot of pain meds and stayed on the couch for several days.  Also, I was in pain from the remaining gas that did not escape after the surgery (they puff you up with CO2 gas so they can see what they are doing with their instruments when they are in there zapping things, then remove most of it at the end).  The gas goes up and then can't get out so I creates stabbing pains in your shoulders.  It felt better to lay down and then the gas was more spread out and not concentrating into these painful shoulder stabs.  It took a few days for the gas to dissipate, then I felt a lot better. 

Well, that brings me up to February 2011.  Stay tuned for part 2!