Saturday, August 1, 2009

Turing over the soil - an introduction

It's almost ironic that I've chosen a gardening theme for this, my IVF blog. I love flowers, but I hate the act of gardening. Just doesn't do it for me. Guess my uterus happens to feel the same way.

Since this is my first post for this blog, I thought it might be a good idea to give a little bit of background on who I am, what we're dealing with, and what we've already been through to get to this point. I've you're a reader of mine other blog or know me from elsewhere, please bear with me...this is likely quite familiar stuff to you.

In a nutshell, here's the detes. I'm 35 years old, and will turn 36 on my second day of stims for this next cycle. I'm married to a wonderful man that makes me happy in every way I never thought possible. On June 10th, we celebrated our third wedding anniversary. On June 11, we mourned on what would have been the due date for the little one we miscarried after our second IVF. That made for an interesting few days.

Hubsie and I have been together for almost five years, and there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to have a child (I've stopped saying children - one single child would be more than enough) with him. He's already a father and a wonderful one at that. His daughter turned 12 last weekend, and watching him with her has done nothing to quell my visceral need to procreate with this man.

I've always had out of whack cycles, and since I was about 14, were you to ask me what my greatest fear was, I'd have replied that I was scared I'd never be able to have children.

How prophetic.

Knowing my issues and knowing that Hubs and I were going to be in it for the long haul, we pulled the proverbial goalie a very short time after we started dating. As a result, we've been trying to conceive for almost five years.

I have PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, and I don't ovulate. Period. Plain and simple. Hard to conceive when you don't pump out any eggs.

We started off at Mt Sinai hospital's fertility clinic 'cause it was super close to work and they were supposed to be great. Well, after many cancelled cycles due to cysts, three failed IUI's (including one that I would never have gone ahead with had I been told what my estrogen levels were) and too many soul crushing encounters with staff, I decided a change had to be made. I got a copy of my chart and hightailed it over to Hannam Fertility Clinic, where I've been blissfully happy ever since.

Once at Hannam, everything changed. They listened. Worked with us. I could actually reach a nurse if I had questions. And for the first time in a long time, we were hopeful that we might actually have success.

We'd planned one more IUI but after a long conversation decided to move towards IVF. All of the sudden we were moving money around like we had it, going to education sessions, learning about new injections, and I spent an inordinate amount of time with my feet in stirrups.

That was last July.

We started off with the long protocol, and Lupron was not my friend. I was oversuppressed, and my estrogen never made it over 2000, even after 9 days of stims (I was the one who pushed to keep going). That, as they say, was the end of that.

August saw me start the birth control pill so we could try cycling again. No Lupron this time - antagonist cycle for us all the way. Stims started around August 30, retrieval was September 18 and transfer was September 23. We ended up with 15 eggs retrieved, 14 were mature, 10 fertilized with ICSI and by day 5 seven remained. We transferred two, froze the other five, and crossed everything crossable.

Seven days after transfer I couldn't take it anymore. I did a home pregnancy test and sure enough, that elusive, though faint, second line showed up. I was over the moon.

The next morning I started spotting. Just a bit of brown, but it was there. At a friend's urging, I contacted the clinic. They had me come over for bloodwork right away, and sure enough, my progesterone was only eight. It should have been well over 50, but nope. Not me. Not only was I not absorbing the synthetic progesterone they gave me, but I wasn't producing any of my own either. I was in trouble.

They did a beta at the same time and it was 7. Sigh. Just 7. Pregnant, but not. We switched to progesterone in oil injections - fun! - and things looked like they were improving. My progesterone shot up to 74 the next day, and my beta started doubling, slowly but surely.

The first ultrasound rolled around and not good, not good at all. Bean measuring behind, and although there was a heartbeat, it wasn't strong enough. Come back in a week.

Week later, no growth at all, but the heartbeat increased. At this point there was no doubt it was going to end, but it was all a matter of when. And waiting. Because as long as there's a heartbeat of any kind, no one will do a D&C. If we wanted this to be over with, I'd have to go to an abortion clinic.

Needless to say, I chose to wait. I'm vehemently pro choice, but I could not have walked in there and surrounded myself with women who were terminating pregnancies by choice when I was desperate to hold on to mine.

Another week went by, and just before I was to head in for my weekly ultrasound, my body took care of things on its own. I ended up in hospital, but tried to find some small comfort in the fact that my body could figure out what needed to be done.

I went home, rested, cried, and two days later had to go back to work.

That was November of last year, and we decided to take the rest of the winter off to recuperate, chill, and mourn.

Enter 2009. With five kidsicles on ice, a FET (frozen embryo transfer) was the next logical step for us. After much discussion, we elected to go with three embryos to increase our already reduced chances. I was so hopeful, so optimistic, which is somewhat unusual for me. I'm really a hope for the best, prepare for the worst kinda gal, but as far as the FET was concerned I was sure it was going to work. Three embies, PIO (progesterone in oil) shots right from the beginning - the stage was surely set for us this time.

But alas, 'twas once again not to be.

The FET failed, and I had a very difficult time wrapping my brain around yet another failure, despite the fact that failure was pretty much all I'd ever known. You'd think we'd be used to it by now...but nope.


Not so much.

What we wanted more than anything was the ability to do another fresh cycle but had a hard time figuring out how it could possibly be in the cards. While we tried to figure it out, we tried one cycle on our own with femara, then did two more IUI's, both with femara, 'cause hey - you never know, right?

Well yeah, we knew. And they didn't work either.

So here we are. Almost five years, five failed IUI's, once cancelled IVF, one successful IVF that ended in miscarriage, and one failed FET. Thousands of dollars in drugs, procedures and pregnancy tests, and gallons of tears all shed as we've pursued our dream.

The dream which has yet to come true.

This blog is to help me as we head into and through IVF number three. I'm both super hopeful and mega paranoid. I think that this time, it has to work. All of the big questions seem to have been answers, so this should be it. Should.

'Cause if it's not, it might be the end of the road for us. There's only so much money - and we're already well past what was 'reasonable'. And there's only so much I can mentally take before I have to tell myself enough is enough.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I'm hoping that day never comes.

Please, please, please let this work.

Thanks for joining us on our journey. May this finally be the time that all of our efforts finally bear fruit.


Anonymous said...

I read through this first introduction, and felt inclined to post. My thoughts and prayers will be with you as you head into IVF #3. You sound like an amazing person, and any child would be lucky to have you and your hubby as parents.

Good Luck!! stick baby stick!

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