Posts Tagged ‘unexplained infertility’

All Roads Lead to. . .IVF?

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I would say that I can’t believe that it’s been over a month since I last posted, but that would be a lie.  I’ve been on the down-low for a long time for various reasons.  It makes me wonder–what happens to all those bloggers that just disappear?  I was perusing my reader the other day and saw quite a few posts from some folks that I thought had long since quit blogging, but have happily resurfaced.  My first thought upon seeing those posts was, “Who is this?”  Then after a reading a while, I said to myself, “Oh, yeah.  I remember her now.”  My point is that I hope I don’t become one of those people who other bloggers no longer recognize because I’ve been so absent from the online world.

A few days ago I had my first appointment with a new RE, one who does more testing and performs IVF.  We talked a while and she confirmed what I knew:  I should have been pregnant long ago.  In a way, the news bothered me because I guess some small part of me was hoping that maybe I just time babymaking at the wrong interval.  After all, it’s much easier to deal with the things you can control, like timing, over things you can’t, like your body.  But no–eventually you do hit the right time–if you don’t have any other problems.  Obviously, I have other problems.

She did offer two possible explanations for why it hasn’t happened.  1)  Implantation failure (meaning antibodies, autoimmune, or Natural Killer cells) or 2) Male Factor (sperm antibodies).

Number 1 basically means that your body rejects the pregnancy you create.  It never even has a chance to implant in the uterine wall.  If it never implants in the uterine wall, your body never gets the chance to produce HCG, so you don’t even see a positive pregnancy test.  In other words, you never knew you were pregnant.  This is actually where most miscarriages occur, though women never know they had them.

Number 2 is a more complete analysis of semen.  A typical semen analysis looks at things like volume, count, motility, mobility, etc, but according to the doctor this is not a complete picture at all.  A more in-depth analysis looks at possible antibodies and other things that I can’t remember.

The RE thinks that if you can offset these possible problems in the beginning, you have a better chance at a successful IVF.  And that’s where I am headed.

Of course I have concerns, but the biggest is money.  How will we pay for this?  We have some insurance coverage, but there is still a large amount of money that needs to be paid, money we do not have.  Money that needs to be paid in advance very soon if I am going to do a late summer cycle.  Then there’s the stress of anticipating the actual event.  You plan months in advance for IVF, and that leaves plenty of time to worry and obsess and Google every concern known to man.

I worry about these implantation failure tests.  They are quite expensive for one thing, but there’s a lot of issue over whether things like antibodies and Natural Killer Cells attack the baby.  From what I understand, these issues could possibly be a cause of infertility, but there is no concrete evidence that supports this.  Then, of course, I wonder if I do have these problems, can they can be resolved.  From what I understand, you have to take steroids or have some type of transfusion to suppress the levels.

Worry, worry, worry.  The other day I said to my husband, “I worry that. . .” but had to stop mid sentence because there were so many things to worry about that I couldn’t remember the correct thing I was supposed to be worried about.

I could sit here and list all my worries, but I guess I’ll save them for another post.

Square One

The last couple of months, I’ve refrained from writing too much.  Not that I wrote all the time, but I certainly did so more than once a month.  For me, it was simply an act of self-preservation.  Everyone does what they have to do to survive and for me that has always been finding the escape route.  Also, I tried not to add negativity to those who already struggle and not remind those of who have escaped the trenches of where they had been.

This is the hard part.  This is the part that kills me.

I knew, for a very short time, what it was like to escape those trenches.  However, I do not know this feeling any longer.

A few short weeks ago, I got my first ever positive pregnancy test.  Out of nowhere.  100% natural conception.  Of course I didn’t believe it, because, hey this is me we are talking about–the poster child for unexplained infertility.

The beta test confirmed the pregnancy test.  The 6 week ultrasound confirmed it.  My body confirmed it.

Sadly, the 8 week ultrasound did not.  My baby measured at 7 weeks, 4 days instead of 8 weeks, 2 days. There was no heartbeat.

There’s not much left for me to do.  My D & C is tomorrow morning, that is if I can manage to have a conversation with the receptionist without falling apart on the phone like I did earlier.   I’m not really sure why I’m having it done. My baby is gone; I know that.  He/she isn’t going to come back.   Mr. RE tried to offer some unfeeling, scientific, medical reason for all of this, but I didn’t hear a word he said.   Something about cell division.  Something about chromosomes.  Who knows? I guess this procedure is supposed to give us answers about what went wrong.  It really doesn’t matter because I have learned there are no answers or at least any that benefit me in any shape or form.

So there we have it.   My life.  The one that I thought couldn’t get worse, the one that I thought was getting better.  Obviously, this was originally supposed to be a post that announced good news, but once again I can only bring the bad.

I always thought that the worst thing that could happen to a woman would be what had happened to me:  waiting two and a half or more years to even create a baby.  Now I know this isn’t true.  The worst thing is waiting two and a half years to create a baby and then having that dream taken away as soon as it comes to be.

I don’t know if I’ll ever conceive again and actually I think I would be afraid to.  I proceeded through this with cautious optimism but now I can only move ahead with fear.  I wanted to be happy for this pregnancy, short-lived as it was, but I always suspected the worst in the back of my mind.  As much as I still want a child, I can’t see myself moving forward in any situation that has the potential to rip my heart into shreds.

So, I don’t know what kind of writer this will make me nor do I know what kind of supporter this will make me.  I am happy for all of your good news, even if I can’t show it and I also grieve with those who grieve.  The rest is—well, I just don’t know. I think I just need to self-preserve.

Where Do Babies Come From?

Seriously, I want to know.

I once heard this ridiculous rumor that a man and woman have intercourse and a child is conceived.

Really?

Dream on!

Despite giving it our best efforts, things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped (I hate that word).  I had my 4th and final IUI about two weeks ago.  The procedure went really well actually.  I was very happy that the IUI was on a Saturday which meant my husband was there.  I was also pleased that the RE, not the weekend nurse, performed the procedure.  My husband’s sperm count was also great.

For some reason, the RE said that I had a good shot this time.  I guess I misunderstood.  He obviously meant I had a good shot at it not working.

I don’t regret doing this IUI.  I don’t regret the money spent or the time invested.  However, I do regret having hope (there’s that word again).  Originally, I planned to go into this with a “This is a last-ditch effort, so don’t you dare get your hopes up or even think about it afterwards” attitude.  Well, I turned my back for one minute and hope took off like an airplane leaving the runway.  I wanted to retain some sort of control but once again I am reminded that I have no control.

Let me tell you, my body should win an Emmy for Lead Role in Showing Absolutely No PMS Symptoms.  Usually, I know when my period is going to arrive: mild cramps, upset stomach, acne from hell, and the appearance of melancholic, yet vitriolic emotions.  I had none of those.  I guess I psychosomatically erased them or something.   To make matters worse, when my period did start (which started off rather black-looking for some reason) I rationalized it away.  How dumb can I be?  A period is a period  no matter what color it looks like or how many cramps you do or do not have.

I wanted this.  Badly.  I let myself hope for it and once again hope has made me a fool.

I should know better.  If 3 IUI’s aren’t going to work, what on Earth made me think, for even one minute, a 4th one would?  Maybe for someone else, but not this girl.  This is me we are talking about.

If I’m being perfectly honest, my dreams haven’t been coming true for a while now.  Time seems to be standing perfectly still and flying at the same time.  My personal life (meaning establishing a family) and my work life (which is another post for another time)–I keep waiting for things to change and they don’t.  I just don’t have much to look forward to anymore.

I’m sorry.  I do not get it.  I have ovaries.  I have tubes.  I have a uterus.  My ovaries have eggs.   My tubes are clear.  My uterus is intact.  I’m not making this stuff up.

I have long since accepted the fact that there are no easy answers, but what do you do when there are no answers at all?  I can’t help it.  I have to have something.  I have to have a reason.  I have to have something instead of an indifferent universe. I can’t just sit in a corner and pretend that everything is just wonderful when it is not.

Sorry this is such a miserable post.  If I can get these words down, they have less power over me.  Then maybe, just maybe, I may gain an ounce of control in this world.

What My RE Doesn’t Know

Tomorrow my husband and I go back to the RE for what I call our WTF appointment.  A WTF appointment is basically a consultation with my doctor regarding why my body won’t allow me to get pregnant, despite three IUI’s, rounds of oral and injected medications, and planned intercourse.  But I am kidding myself.  The RE can’t tell me why.  No one can.  I am in the unexplained infertility category, which means I have one giant hole in my life.

I honestly don’t know why we are even going.  I guess a week or so ago, like always, I felt the need for action–any type of action.  But, honestly, how will our conversation roll?  My guess is something like this:

Mr. RE: (walking through the door, flipping my chart):  Well, uh, I see here we’ve done a couple of IUI’s.  (Pause).  You’re, uh, what 34, 35?”

Me: I’m 36

Mr. REWell, hmmn. 

(Silence)

Husband: (insertion of some well-meaning quip to break the tension):

Me: (Silent, heart pounding, trying to be strong, but seconds away from tears)

Mr. Re: Well, uh we’ve tried a number of things here.  I mean, you know we start with the least expensive route before going to the most expensive.

Me: Oh, I know that.

Mr. Re: Well, I mean, uh, what do you want to do now?.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know my doctor is no fool.  I guess I should be thankful that he isn’t dashing my hopes and dreams, but I feel like he feels like there is no use getting to the root of whatever the problem is.  Yes, I realize that most testing does not affect what treatments are offered, but if I have endo or something, wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier to remove it than to go ahead with more treatments?  Wouldn’t it be wise to find out why I don’t always ovulate on my own?  I know the ovulation problem is corrected with drugs but couldn’t the underlying cause of anovulation contribute to the infertility?  Has Mr. Re even considered this?

I think he thinks it is an egg quality problem; I say this because I read between the lines every time he uses the word “age.”  Of course, the only true test of egg quality is IVF.  The big guns.  The pricy guns.  The guns that offer the highest chance, but still no guarantee.

Then the still-hopeful part of me thinks that there is no way it could be egg quality.  Sometimes, I wonder if these IUI’s are so well-timed after all?  Case in point:  (Past history) I go to the RE on a Saturday morning and am told that my follicles are mature and “ready.”  I go home and take an OPK at 5PM.  If it is positive, I should trigger at that moment and have the IUI the next morning, Sunday.  If negative, trigger at 10PM, and have the IUI Monday morning.  Of course, I’ve always gotten the negative and gone in on the Monday.  To me, it seems like a bad idea to wait 36 hours to have an IUI versus waiting only 24.  Hello?  Don’t you ovulate 24-36 hours after a trigger shot or am I just on crack?  If I trigger at 10PM on a Saturday night and ovulate 24-36 hours later, am I not cutting it very close by having an IUI at 9:30AM on Monday morning?  What does Mr. RE think about this?

These are the things that go through my head.  I hope I’m not so nervous tomorrow that I forget to voice all of this.  I hope Nurse Stilletto doesn’t tap her pointy foot because it’s closing time soon (tried to get the morning appointment, but couldn’t).

At least, I will have my husband there and let me tell you, that makes a huge difference.  Bless his heart; I know he has the natural optimism to believe IUI number 4 will be our ticket, just as he believed for number 3.  I’m weak, but he is strong.  I know IVF is likely our next step and will be recommended to us (if I don’t run out crying first) , but my sweet husband still has the innocence to believe in miracles and that makes all the difference.