Tag Archives: endometriosis

Infertility: Round 2

Last time we were dealing with infertility there were a lot of unknowns and a lot of tests to get to the bottom of them.  This time around we have a pretty clear picture of what’s going on, but it doesn’t make the situation any less bleak or frustrating. 

In case you are just tuning in, here’s the Cliffs Notes version of what I’m workin with;

1. Stage 3 of 4 Endometriosis (which I just learned may be less after having River, hooray for small victories!)

2.  A heart-shaped uterus (I’ve had the septum resected twice as these suckers (with a capital F) grow back!)

3.  An “advanced age” for pregnancy, I was 34 the first time around, now I’m 37

4.  I have only 1 Fallopian tube due to a ruptured ectopic pregnancy last year

5.  A traveling husband who is gone about 60-70% of the time

6.  A hormonal imbalance causing hot flashes and night sweats that my doctor is trying to figure out

Here’s what I have actually GOING for me;

1.  My ovaries are in good condition and I have a pretty good reserve for my “advanced age”

2.  A super patient and wonderful husband who’s on board with whatever it takes 

Since a year of “trying” has passed, to no avail, I’m back with a fertility specialist.  This time a new one since we moved out of state.  So far I really like her.  

My first appointment was Monday where we did blood work and an ultrasound.  She said my ovaries looked great, this month I had at least 7 eggs on the right and 6 on the left “wake up” which is right where it should be I guess.  She saw what could be a polyp or blood clot in my uterus and possibly some fluid in my remaining tube.  I still don’t have the results of the blood work.  

This morning I’m going in for another HSG test.  I’d have to say these are one of the most unpleasant things I’ve been through.  Last time I had to go through it several times because I had a couple doctors retire in the middle of my treatment and the new docs always wanted fresh info, that meant putting me through things time and again.  

On the plus side, HSGs could possibly boost your fertility for a few months.  Unfortunately my husband is also touring heavily at this time, damn it. 

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the upside to infertility 


River is now 22 months, which means 2 is just around the corner.  Problably one of the most reverberated phrases in parenthood is “it goes by so fast!”  I’m guilty of it, at least agreeing with it, but I don’t actually feel that way.  When someone says to me “I can’t believe he’s already (insert age here)!” I say, “I know” because I feel like my true answer of “I can!” sounds like I’m complaining.  

The truth is that I’m not shocked at his age or pace of the advancements he’s making because I’m so present.  I’ve never been more present for anything in my life.  I don’t mean because I’m a SAHM and am physically with him every minute.  I mean because I sop up every moment I have with him like a biscuit in a bowl of soup. (Sorry, I’m hungry)  And I attribute every bit of this to my years battling with infertility and having to accept that I may never be a mother. 

I’m certainly not saying that someone can’t relish every minute with their child without going through infertility, but I know in my case it was a necessary ingredient.  I’m a planner and a worrier, my mind is typically on the future at all times rather than the present.  Living in the moment does not come naturally to me and I constantly have had to work on that in my life.  But as a mother now it’s coming so naturally to me.  I feel like a sponge just soaking it all in and it’s wonderful.  This is how life should be lived. 

I’ve had a total love/hate relationship with the saying “everything happens for a reason.”  As a Buddhist this is the crux of my beliefs, but it if you said it to me while I was going through fertility issues I may have stabbed you with a pencil.  There were times I felt very bitter about what I was going through, and resentful of the fact that there could be no silver lining.  Even on the better days when I held on to hope I would someday get pregnant, my focus was on how every day that passed without getting pregnant was one less day I would get to spend with my child.  What a bummer way to feel.  

If I could rewrite my own story now and get pregnant right when we started trying, I don’t think I would.  In fact, I know I wouldn’t!  Everything I went through in order to have him has made me the mom I am, and I’m really proud of that person.  She’s so different from all the other people I’ve been in my life, and far cooler.  I’m so much more laid back (for me) and find humor in the really crumby parts, like at 2 am when he projectile vomits in a 4 ft radius around himself, the bed, me, the dog, as his head spun around a la The Exorcist.  Or when he threw my entire makeup bag in the toilet.  ūüė¨ MOMMY LOVES YOU. ūüė¨  Even these moments feel like a gift, and I find myself almost giddy about them rather than upset. 

I do feel like the people that have to wait and work hard to finally get their child are just different as parents.  I’m not going to say “better” because that’s RUDE. ūüėČ  But I think we have an easier time finding joy in even the shitty parts.  Some may call us insufferable as we post every burp and toot on instagram, but that’s ok because those people just don’t get it.  It’s ALL exciting when you’ve stared down the barrel of a life without children. 

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Is IVF more boy-friendly?

We did genetic testing along with our IVF treatment, so we were able to see the sex of all of our embryos. ¬†We didn’t WANT to know before transferring because we wanted it to be a surprise and we made that clear to our doctor. ¬†He forgot.

We had 11 eggs that fertilized, but only 5 made it the 5 days after insemination to the testing day. ¬†We found this out the morning of our embryo transfer, 6 days¬†after egg retrieval/insemination, but it came with some bittersweet news. ¬†First of all, our dumb dumb Dodo doctor came in that morning and exclaimed that he had some “great news.” ¬†Out of 11 eggs, we were left with 2 healthy embryos. ¬†Both male. ¬†2. ¬†We were super excited because we both wanted a boy, but there was also that twinge of sadness from finding out much earlier than (and not how) we wanted what the sex of our baby would be, and also knowing that we didn’t even have the option of having a girl from this round of IVF.

Even more concerning was that 3 of the 5 embryos were abnormal, and ALL FIVE were male.  We had no female embryos that made it to testing.  Which of course raises the complex question; What the fuck?

I actually don’t think we got much information at all about the genetic testing. ¬†I’m not even sure if we got a physical report about their findings, we were just told that day that 3 of the 5 were “abnormal.” ¬†I don’t know if they even know more than that or not. ¬†I’d be interested in hearing from any of you fellow IVFers who also did testing if you ever got any more information than just normal/abnormal. ¬†It seems sort of vague to me. ¬†Could “abnormal” be anything¬†ranging from minor to severe? ¬†Who knows? ¬†But it does make the prospect of trying on our own that much more daunting.

It would seem something is going on with our female embryos.  So while I was thrilled with the outcome of the IVF and ACTUALLY BEING PREGNANT!!  I was also quietly mourning the possibility that we had just been handed yet another obstacle and told yet another thing my body cannot do; make a female baby.

I’ve since read that IVF can be tough on female embryos, which are more fragile. ¬†Especially with genetic testing, having to last outside the womb for 5 days is not an easy task (I can relate). ¬†But this seems to only account for a very small margin, about 1-2% in favor of male embryos.

BUT, there’s another factor that I think is terribly overlooked when it comes to male favorability in IVF. ¬†There are are many different protocols and techniques to¬†IVF. ¬†Over the several years of researching it and actually going through it myself I’ve spoken with¬†many¬†other women who have also gone through it. ¬†None of us had the same exact experience. ¬†One technique which can differ is the use of ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) vs the dish method.

In the dish method an egg is introduced to a petri dish of sperm, the same way it would be inside the womb, so nature can take it’s course. ¬†In ICSI, under direct microscopic vision, an¬†embryologist chooses a single sperm and injects it into the egg. ¬†ICSI is typically used for male infertility, when there are few sperm or the quality of them is low. ¬†Our IVF clinic uses ICSI across the board, we did not get a choice in whether or not to use it. ¬†I believe this is because of the genetic testing.

Fertilization in a petri dish, just like in natural insemination, requires interaction between the sperm and cumulus cells that surround the egg.  There is a need to remove these cumulus cells in order to perform preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), and therefor it is left far less capable of being fertilized spontaneously.  Hence the need for further intervention (ICSI).

ICSI does have a higher pregnancy success rate, but you are also eliminating natural selection to some degree.  Eggs have ways of determining the best sperm and keeping those that have defects from passing through.  In ICSI, you have an embryologist basically eyeballing sperm and hand selecting one, and forcing it into the egg.  I believe they look for things like size and swimming strength, which could be why there is a higher occurrence of males?  Just a thought.

I’m totally fascinated by the science that brought us our baby, and I’m so grateful for it’s existence! ¬†I could happily read about IVF all day, if I wasn’t busy chasing around the product of it in the form of my 10 month old who is faster on all 4s than I am on my 2s. ¬†I would like to know the reason we had all male embryos, but it’s more due to my curiosity and thirst for knowledge when it comes to this stuff than anything else. ¬†It would also be nice to know that the cause is not an indication of something unhealthy that I may be passing down to my son. ¬†I would LOVE to have a daughter some day, but am perfectly happy being a #boymom forever.

 

 

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Squinty Eyes, Another U/S and More Blood Work

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My father-in-law put together this picture of my husband and me when we were both little. ¬†At least there’s no question what our child will look like, it just would have been nice if someone had mentioned previous to our wedding that we were siblings. As far as having eyes goes, this kid doesn’t stand a chance. ¬†My money is on it looking a lot like Bunsen from the Muppets minus the glasses.

I had my 5 day u/s and blood work today. ¬†It’s so hard to know what I was looking at, and the nurse didn’t say much. ¬†I seemed to have about 4 follicles total that were 14 or 15, and about 4 more that were 10-12, at least of what they measured. I have no idea if this is on track or not. ¬†I had to reorder 2 more days worth of Menopur, and it looks as though my retrieval date may be this Friday. ¬†Of course the husband is leaving to play a couple festivals in the UK on Wednesday and will be gone for about 5 days. ¬†But luckily it looks like he will most likely be here for the transfer date which is more important anyway. ¬†He can make it up to me by waiting on me hand and foot and being my own personal In N Out delivery boy.

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Menopur Madness

Yesterday I had my first U/S and blood work since starting the stims and it was pretty lack luster. My doctor didn’t really mention anything about my follicles or how they were looking. From some of your posts I was seeing a little feedback you ladies got from your Dr on this appointment about all that stuff. That, coupled with my dr looking like he was in a hurry to get out of there after he examined me of COURSE made me feel like something was wrong.

Anyway, the nurse called me last night to tell me he wanted me to start on 75iu of Menopur last night.

Holy shit, first off let me say that is a LOT of crap to be injecting at once. It felt like dinner. My nurse had shown me how to mix everything in that teaching appointment I had before I started, but of course I had forgotten every bit. I had to read through the instructions to figure it out. Of course it was not clear at all how much water I should use. I kept seeing examples that were for 150iu using 1cc of water, so that’s what I used for my 75iu. I had no idea if that was right or not.

But the really crazy thing to me was that out of the literally 5 bags of different syringes, none of them were labeled for use with which medicine, nor were the needles. I had no idea which I was supposed to use. They really should have a little note on them that says “For Use with Menopur” or whatever. So far the shots have been self explanatory. The Lupron came with it’s syringes and the Gonal F is a pre-filled syringe, easy peasy.

Also, I was only sent enough Menopur for 5 days, I’m hoping this is right! I’m not excited about having to order more medicine. I emailed my nurse about this, but I’m just wondering how many days you ladies who have done or are doing a Menopur protocol were on it for?

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Cross My Heart, Stick a Needle in My Everything

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If you know me, you know that I am an avid researcher. ¬†I love looking up statistics and case studies and personal accounts of all things. ¬†And seriously I’ll try all kinds of shit if I hear it’s cool. ¬†Not that acupuncture is totally out there, honestly I’ve been poked so much what’s another 90 needles in my body? ¬†But I’ve heard such great things about it, especially pertaining to ttc. ¬†I’m curious how many of you have tried it for a previous cycle, or are doing it now?

This is my first cycle, so I have no outcome yet. ¬†But I’ve been getting acupuncture for almost a year now and I can tell you, baby making aside, it’s had some awesome effects on my body. ¬†It can be used for all kinds of things, I was using it mainly to just get my uterus healthy and relax my periods since cramping with endo is about as fun sticking a Lego in your pee-hole. ¬†But yesterday I got to see just how powerful it is!

I got up in the morning before my appointment and went for a run, as I do just about every morning. ¬†I am a runner, I love it and I need it in so many ways. ¬†Plus I’ve been on a mission lately knowing that my FET is right around the corner and my running days are numbered. ¬†But yesterday, right at the end of my run, I pinched a nerve in my upper spine and felt like somebody took an ax to my back. ¬†I’m pretty prone to pinched nerves, I don’t know why. ¬†I’ve gotten them in my neck a bunch from the time I was a teenager, and my mom and sister get them every once in a while as well. ¬†I don’t know why this is or what makes us prone, but if you’ve ever had one, you know they suck.

I actually collapsed and worried about how the hell I was going to get home.  I called my husband, but he was still sleeping, and there was no one else around because it was so early.  I called my acupuncturist to cancel while I had my phone in my hand, there was no way I could make it down there to her, but she really urged me to come in because she said she could help me with it.  So my husband had to bathe me, dress me, and drive me.  Seriously.  Gearing him up for dad life.

It was hard for me to even lay on her table, but she started with my back, putting needles all up and down my spine where the nerve was. ¬†It felt a little better right away, but was still sore when I left there. ¬†This morning, I’m almost all the way better! ¬†Typically these things leave me out of commission for at least a few days, hopped up on Vicodin and still unable to get comfortable in any position. ¬†But I woke up this morning and got out of bed no problem and THEN remembered about my back. ¬†I had to do a couple twerking moves to test it out in disbelief.

If this works as well for my uterus, it will be as lush and sticky as a sea anemone.  I would love to hear any of your thoughts, feelings, experiences with acupuncture!

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Real Day 1

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I’m sitting here in font of my first shot of Lupron and totally psyching myself out. ¬†I don’t know what’s wrong with me. ¬†Seriously, I’m a pretty brave person, I’ve done some crazy things in life. ¬†But this is really getting me and I don’t know why. ¬†I feel all panicky.

Any tips??

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What’s in the Box???!

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It’s HERE!!! ¬†A little unnerving that the box could double as a quaint condominium for my 2 dumb dogs. ¬†Unpacking it now. ¬†My home is becoming Needle Nation, I’ll need to hang a new flag.

Also, I decided to make an Instagram account for all the IVF stuff. ¬†Follow it, I’ll be happy to share every detail that could possibly help or support anyone out there! ¬†@bb.bux

Also please feel free to follow my regular account too (@KateOrDie) for regular updates on both my one-eyed, and toothless dogs, pictured above!  What more could you want?

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Time Out

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I can’t even go into all the set backs we had due to the changes in healthcare in the past couple years because I’m one step closer to the edge, and I’m about to break. ¬†But just to sum it up for you, between my diagnosis of the uterine septum and possible endometriosis (which turned out to be stage 3) and my actual treatment, it took a YEAR. ¬†A whole mother-loving year. ¬†And in that year, I had 5, count them, F.I.V.E.!. doctors retire on me. ¬†(Not that I blame them, I would have retired as well) ¬†So we were just lost in the shuffle every step of the way. ¬†There were tests I had to take multiple times because my results were lost, or by the time they got them back to us, they were old news and they wanted current info on what was going on with me. ¬†I had to have an HSG TWICE because of this same reason, and those are miserable.

So, needless to say, I’m getting rather effing antsy! ¬†Also with 35 just around the corner for me, time is of the essence. ¬†So I pretty much had a melt down the other day when the nurse informed me that the Dr. was insisting I get my Rubella vaccination and that you can’t start treatment for 3 whole months after!

We had been over this in his office in our last meeting. ¬†He told me that my blood work showed that my Rubella levels were “a little low” and that we should “think” about getting a booster. ¬†He also told me the risks on BOTH SIDES of the issue. ¬†It sounded to me like it was my prerogative. ¬†I am a believer in vaccinations, but I knew that I did still have some of the vaccine in me, and it seemed like something I could do after the baby was born. ¬†Also, the fact that there were a couple risks on the side of getting the booster as well, pushed me in the direction of waiting. ¬†I’m never around children and would make sure I wasn’t in this time, limit my traveling, and be super careful. ¬†The fact is, the vaccine is in my body still, and had I not started this process of ttc I never would have known it was a little low. ¬†I felt like it could wait 11 more months.

But now, the WEEK we were supposed to start the IVF process, I find out that it is mandated by the Dr. and he won’t let me start unless I get the vaccine, well, 3 months after actually. ¬†I don’t mind him being cautious, he is a doctor and that is his job. ¬†I’m also not going to argue with him when he tells me what is best for me and my baby. ¬†He is the EXPERT. ¬†I am not, I don’t care how much I sit in front of Google. ¬†I was still having a very massive woe is me moment after receiving that news.

 

Anyway, so after all this, I got some pretty good news today. ¬†My doctor said¬†that it’s actually only a 30 day period from the time of vaccination and actually getting pregnant that is unsafe. ¬†But I can start the treatment within those 30 days, so I’m good to go! ¬†I have an appointment this afternoon for my MMR and then I don’t have to worry about it anymore! ¬†It’s kind of the best outcome because I would have been a little worried about it even if the doctor had allowed me to sign a waver or something and start treatment without it. ¬†And now we can proceed on schedule! ¬†For now. ¬†We’ll see what this TTC wants to throw at me next. ¬†Sometimes I feel like this infertility odyssey is a huge game of dodgeball. ¬†*WHAM* You’re out. ¬†Go sit in the corner until your next period.

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