Infertility Testing

Post Operative Update

Its been 2 weeks since my hysteroscopy with D&C and after rescheduling my post-op due to work conflicts, I finally was able to discuss the results of my procedure with our RE.   After my procedure I spent days on the internet trying to determine what a “normal” uterine lining looked like but only found myself more confused than when my husband handed my surgical photos two weeks ago.  So, finally being able to hear the RE’s explanation was a relief.

In short, I have an irregular uterine lining.  Some pockets looked good and healthy, while others lacked.  I also had one, small, finger-like growth (which I forgot to ask what it was called, but looks like polyps that I found pictures of on the internet) within the uterus.  So my RE “scrapped” my lining and removed the irregular growths.  At the appointment I was given an ultrasound to check the growth of my lining and the RE said that everything looks great and that I’m on track to move forward with an FET as soon as my Estrogen/progesterone therapy is complete (2 more weeks).

I thank God every day that I was able to f ind a team that is honest and is trying to do everything to ensure my hubby and I are able to have the family we dream of.  The hysteroscopy with D&C was a suggestion that our RE made based on the fact that I spot before my period starts, a “pocket” seen during my hysteroscopy in May,  and the fact that my hcg levels (at time of IVF) lead him to believe that there was an implantation issue (possible implantation in an area of the uterus that was irregular).   Our RE did not tell us it was mandatory before he would do an FET, but it was recommended.  I’m glad we did it.  As each day passes I find myself more optimistic about the outcome of our upcoming FET.

At the end of my appointment our RE shared with me that we have 11 embryos waiting in the wings and he is confident we will not need them all to build the family we dream of.  He talked to me about the fact that they have an embryo donation program that allows individuals who are unable to make it to this point (eggs and sperm joining to build an embryo) build their family using embryos donated by individuals like my husband and I.  This is something we had already discussed, that if there was an option available to donate our embryos, we would be more than happy to help a couple build a family.  Every day I wonder if good can come from this pain.  But having renewed hope and the knowledge that we can help others going through this hurt allows me to find peace.

Praying things work out, not only for us, but all those who struggle.

-R

Categories: Hysteroscopy with D&C, Infertility, Infertility Testing | 2 Comments

Regrouping

The past two weeks have felt like four.  It’s hard to move forward when you don’t have any answers, and the one thing that I prayed would happen eluded me again.

Today was our meeting with the RE regarding our failed IVF and next steps, and hopefully some answers to a few questions.  I had no idea what to expect.

Our RE came in and reviewed our files with us and explained his thoughts on our cycle, concerns, and what is necessary for our next step.  Overall, the RE felt optimistic about our odds feels confident that our biological family is waiting in the cryo tanks.  But in order to get our baby, there are a few more hurdles to overcome.

1.  Improve Quality of Uterus Lining – Although my lining measured at 15.6 at the time of transfer previous tests could possibly point to cause for concern.  So today we started towards our first hurdle by having an ultrasound and reviewing photos taken in May of my uterus.  There was a note of a ridge or pocket in my uterus in May but the RE who did the procedure did not seem concerned.  Today the RE suggested we perform a curettage.  This is a scrapping of the lining in hopes of removing the ridge/pocket and allowing a new stronger, lining to build.  The curettage is scheduled for 10/10/12.  I will then be on estrogen for 21 days to help rebuild a strong, healthy lining.

2. Lupus Anticoagulant Returns – Although the hematologist felt that the Lupus Anticoagulant was not a concern, our RE feels that it very well could still be an issue.  As I posted before, lupus anticoagulant can be difficult to diagnose as its markers in your blood can come and go.  So, we will move forward as if I have lupus anticoagulant and go on Lovenox the day after transfer through 2nd rise in HCG.

3.  Prednisone – This is a corticosteroid and is used in IVF or FETs to help my body accept the embryos.

4. FET – After the curettage and building of my lining we will move forward with a frozen embryo transfer.  My body will be in a better place with no OHSS or the stress from the IVF, my lining will be strong and healthy, and the new protocol of medications will help increase our chances.  We will be able to transfer two embryos close to Christmas.

So, although today (not to mention the past month) was emotional we have regrouped and now have a few potential answers and a plan to help increase our chances.

-R

Categories: Frozen Embryo Transfer, Infertility, Infertility Testing, IVF, Lupus Anti Coagulant, Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) | 2 Comments

Yet Another Shove

Today brought a variety of emotion.  Relief to begin acupuncture, and with that some much-needed relaxation after a day of not so happy news.  Yet another shove to my dreams.  My lab work from the 11th came back and I had two abnormalities:

Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) – A mutation in the methylenatetrahydofolate gene that prohibits my body from absorbing folic acid (among other things) and can lead to complications during pregnancy (placenta disease, preeclampsia, recurrent miscarriage, and chromosomal abnormalities) .

Lupus Anti Coagulant – Basically a blood disorder that causes blood in your veins to clot and lead to things like pulmonary embolism, stroke, heart attacks, and blood clots in arms/legs.  It also causes recurrent miscarriage and problems with implantation.

That’s it…two more hurdles to overcome.  I have to make an appointment with the hematologist this week so that I can put a game plan together, not only for the IVF cycle, but for my general health.  The only silver lining that I can see is that I am finally at a clinic that is thorough and honest.  This may have never been found at my previous clinic.  For that I am grateful.

-R

Categories: Infertility, Infertility Testing, Lupus Anti Coagulant, Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Doppler Ultrasound…My Nemesis

In Greek mythology Nemesis is the goddess who delivers vengeance and retribution to those deserving punishment.  For me, Nemesis has a different name – Infertility, and I’ve yet to understand why I have been handed this punishment.

Yesterday’s appointment was supposed to be one of hope.  At approximately a quarter past 4 the nurse came out and told us that there is yet ANOTHER hurdle we have to overcome. The Doppler ultrasound results came back abnormal.  My uterus is not getting sufficient blood flow.  Without adequate blood, problems with implantation or sustaining a pregnancy can occur.

In that instant, my hope turned to grief.

In an attempt to remedy this newest diagnosis I will have to make a few changes and come up with another $2000 (or more).

Change #1 – ZERO caffeine.  None, nada, zip!  No more coffee, no more black or green tea.

Change #2 – Baby Aspirin.  Every day.  I have an allergy to ibuprofen so need to get this cleared.  I pray we can take it as aspirin can thin the blood slightly and allow for easier blood flow.

Change #3 – Acupuncture.  With a specialist.  Twice a week until the transfer (possibly longer).

We will recheck blood flow at the end of June to see if things have improved.  If they have we will move forward with the IVF cycle.  I’m freaking out because there is no guarantee these things will help and my expenses are increasing while my funds are not.

-R

Categories: Doppler Utrasound, Infertility, Infertility Testing, IVF | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Hysterosalpingogram – HSG for Short

At my initial consultation it was recommended that I go in for a hysterosalpingogram (I still can’t say the word correctly, so for all of our sakes, we’re gonna just say HSG) because I had an appendectomy as a teenager.  The RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) said that abdominal surgery can build up scar tissue that can impact fallopian tube function and she just wanted to ensure that my tubes were clear.

Easy enough.

It is a simple procedure.  The RE injects a contrast dye through a small tube into your cervix and up to your uterus and watches the dye move through the uterus and fallopian tubes via an x-ray.  I was told to take a pain reliever before the procedure because cramping is normal, and to bring a panty liner as spotting is typical.  No anesthesia…I could drive myself home.

I showed up at the hospital for my procedure, put on the fashionable paper smock, climbed up on a table and waited for the RE to show up.  I sat in the room with the x-ray tech for about 10 minutes before the doctor arrived.  Once she came in she explained that she would be pushing the contrast dye through my cervix and into my uterus and then my fallopian tubes and that we would be able to see the dye moving through on the x-ray screen.

I was more than a little anxious.  Within a minute of starting the HSG I began to experience a LOT of pain.  I don’t even know how to explain it, but I imagine it being similar to passing a kidney stone or gallstones.  It was all I could do to keep myself from pulling away from the doctor and keep tears from escaping my eyes.  I couldn’t even focus on the x-ray monitor, but I KNEW something was wrong.  Everything I had read said that the HSG was almost painless…this was not.

The doctor asked me to roll from side to side while pushing more and more dye into my uterus.  The RE didn’t say much…just that there was a blockage and sometimes moving around can push the blockage out.  We tried, I quietly moved from side to side in pain, and finally the RE gave up.  There was no pushing out the blockage…I was damaged.

I quietly walked back to my car and sobbed.  I called my husband, tried put on a brave front, but ended up crying on my cell phone in the middle of a parking garage.  My fears had been realized.  I was broken.

______________________________________________________________

Reasons for an HSG:

  •  Determine if there is a blockage in the fallopian tubes.
  •  If blockages are found, the dye may help push the blockage out.
  •  Find problems in the uterus: fibroids, polyps, adhesions, abnormal shape/size or structure.
  • Often for women having difficulties getting pregnant.

What I learned:

  • Take somebody with you! – Even if you don’t expect anything to be wrong, you just never know.  Prepare yourself for the worst.
  • Take the day. – The morning I had my procedure I found myself wishing I had taken the day off work.  How on earth was I supposed to go back and focus on all the little three and four-year-old kiddos running around the classroom?  If it is possible, take the day.  Even if nothing is found, you have the rest of your day to do things for you…something necessary to keep you sane during this whole process.
  • You can still get pregnant naturally with one fallopian tube. – Yes in deed, it only takes one tube and one ovary to achieve a natural pregnancy.  And contrary to what I thought, you don’t always “alternate” ovulation between ovaries.  The eggs decide when they are ready and you could go months and ovulate on the same side each month.  Having said that, it will likely make getting pregnant more difficult, if not more time-consuming (you have a 50/50 chance of ovulating from the side your tube is on).  There has even been documented case of women achieving pregnancy with one tube and one ovary on opposite sides of each other.  Fallopian tubes are not confined to the side of the body they are located and are ACTIVE seekers of eggs!  Promising news!

-R

Categories: Infertility, Infertility Testing, My History, Procedures | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

If I Don’t Call, Then Nothing Is Wrong

When my husband and I decided to start trying for a baby I was thrilled…soon enough I would be holding my precious little miracle in my arms.  After 6 months or so I was starting to freak out about why it wasn’t happening for us.  I had several friends that were experiencing issues with their own fertility and refused to accept that my road would be the same.

One day at lunch some coworkers asked when we were having kids (FYI – Probably one of the worst things you can ask somebody…you never know if people are having issues with fertility and every time somebody asks this simple little question a piece of you dies) and I told them we were trying without luck.  One of the ladies told me about an AMAZING book, “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler (order it here).  I rushed out, purchased the book, and started charting my cycles.  I prayed that maybe we were just “missing” my fertile period and that taking my temperature every morning, noting the position of my cervix, and my cervical fluid would be the ANSWER to my prayers.

Despite many months of faithful charting, nothing happened…no double pink lines or blue smiley faces.  I was obsessed with peeing on sticks…and I did it in secret so that I could hide my growing fears from my husband.  Purchased and discarded in secrecy…every month I tossed 1 or 2 plastic sticks into the trash with my hopes and dreams.  Mocked by the single pink line or pretty blue circle without the happy little smile.

After a year and a half I finally decided to tell my husband that I thought something might be wrong and suggested I call a specialist.

He supported my decision.

I made the appointment.

I cancelled the appointment.

If I don’t call or don’t see a doctor…then NOTHING is wrong.  This “problem” would just go away and soon enough I’d be having contractions, yelling profanities at my husband for putting me in so much pain, and then holding my special little blessing.

No such luck.

We changed insurance and I made another call, set and appointment, and actually went.

Leaving the office I still thought to myself, “Do I really want to do this?  Do I really want to know?  There is no turning back, no dismissing what is found.  It will be my REALITY.”

I reluctantly answered those questions as we moved forward with diagnostics.

_______________________________________________________________

What I learned:

1. Don’t Wait To Make The Call – Trust your gut, if you feel something is wrong, MAKE THE CALL!  Additionally, if you are younger then 35 and have been trying for 12 months or over 35 and been trying for more then 6 months to get pregnant and have had NO luck or repeated miscarriages then MAKE THE CALL!  The longer you wait, the harder things will be.

2. Don’t Hide – Hiding your fears from your partner is NOT healthy.  It can be damaging to not only you, but your partner as well.  Even if your reasons are well intended.

3. Research, Research, Research – You will likely hear a lot of things that are confusing or make no sense.  Look them up, ask LOTS of questions, talk to others who have gone through the same thing, find online support groups (more about this later), and TALK to your partner.

-R

Categories: Emotions, Infertility Testing, My History | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Helping My Dreams Come True

Here goes nothing…

This past month my husband and I were told that our only means for achieving a viable pregnancy would be through IVF – In Vitro Fertilization. I was shocked to hear the news, especially since my previous Reproductive Endocrinologist NEVER mentioned the issues the new doc mentioned. After my new doc reviewed my files, he showed me my blood work, as well as my husband’s semen analysis and explained the probabilities of pregnancy with our numbers…basically ZERO without IVF. I left the consult confused, scared, frustrated, and with a heavy heart. How on earth will Joe and I afford IVF ($12-15,000 for one cycle)? Do I really need it? Are our numbers really that bad?

After lots of research on line I discovered that my new doc was right…our numbers do not lend themselves to natural pregnancies (even after we rechecked all the numbers). IVF is a MUST if we want a baby of our own.

Now, to scrape up the money necessary to help our dreams come true…as a teacher, that kind of money just doesn’t accumulate in my savings and our insurance will only minimally cover the cost of medications. So, we’ve started selling of books, movies, jewelery, and am hoping somebody will want to by my wedding dress. Still that leaves us close to $8,000 away from our goal of $12,000.

This is where you come in…I realize this is only my second post and many of you may not know me, but if you can find it in your hearts to donate $5 or $10 (or whatever you feel you can/want) we would be eternally grateful. And sharing our story, and this site to those who may be able to support us, or need support of their own (understanding that you are not alone may help with some of the pain associated with infertility) would be an amazing help.

Joe and I hope to raise enough money (through this site, yard sales, amazon sales, etc) that we will be able to try IVF in 3-4 months…before my 35th birthday.

Thanks for your support!
-R

Categories: Donations, Emotions, Infertility Testing, My History, Procedures | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.