My History

I Wasn’t Prepared

Days have passed and still it doesn’t seem real.

A little over 2 weeks ago I was so excited to see two faint pink lines that I thought for certain my life was finally turning directions.  A few days later the positive line wasn’t getting any darker and my gut told me something was wrong.  Nearly a week after the first positive the news of our inevitable early pregnancy loss was given while I was driving home.   This pregnancy was not viable.  Likely due to an abnormality that stopped its development days after implanting.  And no matter how much my gut told me something was wrong, I wasn’t ready to hear it.  I am still not ready to hear it.

I dream that the tests were wrong and that in a little less than 8 months this bad dream will end.  But, today I began to spot.  My period will arrive within the next day or two and with it that life that once grew inside, even for such a short period of time, will be lost…gone forever.

My heart is heavy and my desire to do anything is gone.  It’s hard to get out of bed in the morning, to go to work, to eat, to pretend my dream hasn’t been stolen.  There are a million “What-Ifs” running through my head.  And I often find myself on the verge of tears…and most of the time I’m unable to stop them.

Mornings are particularly difficult for me.  I have a constant reminder of our loss when I wake to the lack of progesterone injections.  And it’s hard for me to think of anything other than what could have been.

This lot in life I’ve been handed is wildly unfair.  Loss is difficult for all women, whether they deal with infertility or not.  But for women who do not have the issues my husband and I do, trying again can happen whenever you are ready.  That is not the case for us.  In order for us to try we will have to come up with another $6,000 and go through 6-8 weeks of preparations and procedures for one shot at a frozen embryo transfer (thank God I had plenty of embryos we could freeze for later use).  And as with this last cycle, no guarantee.

I’m in a weird place, and not sure how long it will take to grieve.  I’m not ready for phone calls.  It’s too hard to talk.

I realize there is potential for life in my frozen embryos.  And I’m thankful for that.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t need time to work through the one situation I wasn’t prepared for…pregnancy with no baby in the end.

-R

Categories: Early Pregnancy Loss, Emotions, Infertility, IVF, My History | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

On The Eve of Transfer

The past few days have moved quickly.

Progress on my fertilized eggs has not been reported.  I could have called but decided there was nothing I could do with the information today and the possibilities of it being different by tomorrow allowed me reason to just let it go.  There is nothing I can do at this point to help those embryos develop in the lab, that’s what I’ve paid the embryologist to do.  It’s funny how something so complex as building a life in a test-tube has little impact on what worries me.  I’m not at all concerned with the embryologist and her ability to do what they can to ensure healthy embryos.  And honestly, they only have limited control.

What finds place in my heart for worry is the possibility of OHSS and cancellation of our transfer.  I understand the reasoning behind cancellations.  It doesn’t make it an easy pill to swallow.  So, tomorrow we drive down to the clinic for a 10:00 urine sample and ultrasound to check on my hyper-stimulation.  Those two tests will determine the next step.  If all looks good then we move forward with the transfer.  If not, cancellation will be ordered.  This decision would bring with it uncertain emotions, additional weeks of waiting, re-prepping of my body, and an additional 5K bill.

So on the eve of our pending transfer I pray that the gallons of gatorade, piles of pills, dozen’s of needles, and rest will lead to our planned transfer and a positive pregnancy.

-R

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

Pardon My Tears

Disorienting is a good word to describe the past few weeks.  One look under a microscope and a few vials of blood have changed my life forever.  My feelings regarding this change are complex and layered.  In one hand I am grateful to have answers to questions that have plagued me for years.  On the other, I am full of apprehension that the answer will not lead to the outcome I desire.

The past few weeks I find myself on the verge of tears more times than I care to admit, and embarrassingly, in situations where tears seem ridiculous.  Last night my husband and I went to a concert – Roger Waters’ The Wall Live – and as I was sitting in my seat waiting for the show to start I could feel the lump in my throat emerge and my eyes sting as I held back tears.  In that moment, and for reasons unknown, I was flooded with a host of conflicting emotions.  And as quickly as those emotions flooded my heart, they vanished.  Leaving me unsure of what just happened.

Scenarios like this occur at least 3 times a day…and sometimes my ability to choke back the tears fails and I find myself sobbing because Drew Barrymore found the perfect shade of long-lasting Cover Girl lipstick.

Ridiculous!

I don’t pretend to understand fully why I’m flooded with a sea of emotions, I have an inclination that it has something to do with the fact that the road I now travel is one where statistics and luck (and the knowledge and skill of a highly specialized team of medical professionals) hold the answers to my prayers.

So, as I walk down this path, please pardon my tears.

R-

Categories: Emotions, Infertility, IVF, My History | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Hydro What?

When I sat down with the first RE I worked with after my HSG I already knew something was wrong.  Not only did I see it on the x-ray monitor, I FELT it.  Even know I cringe when I think of the pain and shock that single day brought.

As I was saying, when I sat down with my RE I knew there was an issue and I had a general idea that it was treatable.  Terrifying, but treatable.  The consult consisted of lots of medical terms, statistics, and the like.  Most of which I never actually “heard” or have long forgotten.  But the meat of the diagnostic rang loud and clear – My tube was blocked.

Possibly filled with fluid.

Possibly worth saving, or maybe not.

But the only way to find out was through laparoscopic surgery.

We scheduled the outpatient surgery for the beginning of June.  And the numerically short period of time between schedule and surgery lasted an eternity.

My husband and mother accompanied me to the hospital.  We waited in a small room for pre-op logistics.  And it was here that I reluctantly told the RE that she could remove my tube if she was unable to repair it.  I looked to my husband, but what could he have said.  In the weeks leading up to the surgery there was plenty of time for me to realize that the tube was a lifeline for the precious little eggs released from my ovary.  How could I justify slicing it from my body?  One tube would mean another shove pushing my fertility down the stairs.

I remember lying on a table in the operating room, very brightly lit, and the anesthesiologist telling me he was going to inject the sleeping medication into my IV.  And then it went dark, immediately.  The next thing I remember was hearing nurses or doctors talking to me.  Like what was being said would be remembered…it wasn’t.  I vaguely remember conversations, but not of details.

Before leaving the hospital I was informed (probably for a second or third time) that the RE was unable to save my right tube.  It was hydrosalpinx, split in two, and the RE performed a salpingectomy.

Nice.

Score – One for Infertility, Zero for Me.

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I discovered that despite the fact that I would now only have one tube to work with, it was best my tube was removed. Hydrosalpinx means fluid filled tube; filled with a fluid that is hostile to potential embryos.  Even those undergoing IVF who have hydrosalpinx should have the tube removed or repaired in order to increase the odds of successful implantation.  Many times individuals with hydrosalpinx can have the tube repaired.  In cases like mine, a salpingectomy was the only option.  My right fallopian tube was twisted.  The half attached to my uterus was so filled with fluid that it was swollen and irreparable, the other half had broken way from the other and was floating around shriveled and dead.

I would allow myself the month to heal and begin ovulation induction and IUIs.  I finally had my answer, or so I thought.

-R

Categories: hydrosalpinx, Infertility, My History, Procedures, salpingectomy | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

I Am A Woman

The definition of a woman is simply an adult, female human.  If this was the case, then why are so many qualifications placed on defining adult, human females as women?

Society, and in a larger capacity, womankind place strict rules on defining what criteria each girl should meet before being called a woman.  Every woman can spew a handful of these criteria without pause…and the top on my list was the ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term.  And I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of women feel this way.

Over the course of 5 years my ability to see myself as a woman has been taken away from me.  Infertility can make you feel a thousand things, feeling like a woman is not one of them.  And sadly, it wasn’t until last August when I sat side by side with my husband andIman of Iman Woods Creative that I realized that I AM a woman and my infertility does not define me.

In hoping to find the perfect gift for my husband, I found the perfect gift for myself.  I was so caught up in the fact that I wasn’t a mother that I forgot all the other wonderful things being a woman brings.  A strong, sexy, beautiful being capable of defeating negativity and embracing love and hope.  All of this because I stood behind a camera and posed for pictures modeled from days of old.

Iman allowed me to really see how beautiful I am, and that my diagnosis of infertility does not take away my ability to be a real woman.  For that I am forever grateful.

Iman is an amazing woman who believes that EVERY woman should feel strong and beautiful.  She’s started an amazing on-line magazine and this month’s issue can be seen at  Stark Beauty Magazine

-R

Categories: Emotions, Infertility, My History | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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.

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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.

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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

What Little Girls Dream Of

As a little girl I spent hours planning my future family.  I had it all figured out…3 girls, and 2 boys…all 18 to 24 months apart, born in alternating fashion starting with a girl…by the time I was 30.  Hour upon hour was spent finding names and writing them out in different combinations to see which looked and sounded perfect.

Noteworthy is the amount of time my childhood friends and I spent playing the “String and Needle” game, trying to pin-point the exact number of children we would have, and the order in which they would be born.  There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I would get married, quickly become pregnant, and raise a large and beautiful family.  Isn’t that what all little girls dream of?  Perfectly normal, expected, and achievable parenthood was waiting on the other side of high school.  All I had to do was wait and it would be handed to me, without question or hesitation.

Time and circumstance changed many things.  One of which was that Perfectly normal, expected achievability of parenthood.  At 30 I was stopped in my tracks with the OUTRAGEOUS idea that getting pregnant was NOT EASY!  And with that realization came fear, anger, guilt, shame, and a lot of resentment.

For me, and thousands of couples struggling with infertility, the dreams I had as a child have been transformed into actions that prove futile every 28 days and are replaced with mourning.

-R

Categories: Emotions, My History | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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

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