Thursday, February 20, 2014

Infertility Update

If you’re new to our Infertility story you can start here.  It started in 2009 when we tried for our 1st child and then started up again in 2012 trying for our 2nd child.

This post is super long.  Sorry.

I haven't talked about this in a while.  Last April to be exact, back when we were getting ready for our 4th and final round of IVF.  As I'm sure you can tell by the fact I haven't mentioned anything, it didn't work.  I honestly just haven't wanted to talk about it.  I talked about it in real life so much when it was going on that I just didn't have the energy or want to put the words down here on the blog. 

Here's what happened.  If you remember, we only had two embryos left that were frozen and had a history of embryos not surviving the thaw.  We knew we wouldn't find out until the MORNING OF the transfer if they survived or not.  Not stressful at all or anything....  So, as we were driving to the fertility clinic I got a call from Dr H saying that BOTH embryos survived!!  Not only had they survived but they both looked perfect for the transfer.  I screamed in his ear, I was SOOOO excited!  It felt like I had just gotten the positive results phone call.  We went into the transfer excited and positive about the outcome.  Dr H, Austin and I were all happy when it was over.  We just KNEW this was it.  KNEW it.  I went home and did my usual bed rest.  It was boring and I didn't care one bit.  Hannah was going to get her little brother or sister.  So, we went on about our days and waited for the ninth day when I was going to get the blood test.  I went at 11am this time because I didn't want to get the call early while I was at work again.  That was bad last time.  So, I left work at 4, picked up Hannah and drove straight home.  I waited and waited.  This was weird because usually I hear from Dr H so much earlier.  I was super nervous but right before 5pm I finally called his office.  It was a Friday and I was afraid he would leave.  Sometimes they don't get results until later so I wanted to make sure he at least didn't forget about me and would call me once the lab called him.  He got on the phone a few minutes later and told me the news I was dreading and wasn't expecting to hear.  I wasn't pregnant.  Now, if you know me in real life, you probably know how much I HATE crying in front of people.  But I couldn't hold it back.  I was hysterical trying to listen to him.  He didn't have any answers really because there's no way to know what happened.  Everything looked great at the transfer, it just didn't happen.  I just didn't understand why I couldn't get pregnant.  I got pregnant with Hannah, why after THREE rounds (not even counting the one in Dec ‘12 that was canceled the day before) of IVF could I not get pregnant again?  This was two days before Mother's Day.  Great timing....

That sweet girl of ours is our biggest miracle and when I was upset and crying on the floor she walked out of her playroom and just stared at me and came and gave me a hug.  She knew her Mommy needed one.  I love her so much.

A few weeks later we went back to Dr H's to get the report and talk with him one last time.  It was so sad.  It was like saying goodbye to everyone because we knew we wouldn't be back.  He mentioned some options for us but none of them mattered because we don't have insurance to cover it and without it we could't afford to try anything.  I was heartbroken.

I continued with my acupuncture because I figured it was my only chance and why not.  My acupuncturist mentioned that I try going gluten free and dairy free and we'll see what happens.  Best decision ever.  I can honestly say I will never go back to eating gluten again.  I feel like a completely different person and if it wasn’t for him I never would have realized I have a gluten allergy. 

In the meantime I booked two appointments with other REs to get a second (and third) opinion on what happened to me.  They gave me the same opinion but both of them had questions about why I wasn’t pregnant.  I was given the reason by Dr H that it was “poor embryo quality”.  I’m not buying it and neither were they.  I think this reason was given because they didn’t know why I wasn’t pregnant.  I’ve had TONS of great quality embryos.  I’ve also had some not so great embryos that weren’t used but they weren’t all like that.  When you go into your embryo transfer and everyone says “this looks perfect!!” and you still don’t get pregnant, it’s kind of hard to accept poor embryo quality as the excuse as to why.

So, a few weeks later Austin mentioned something to me that he heard on the radio, ironically on the same day I got the news I wasn't pregnant.  He heard about a doctor in the area who specializes in hypothyroidism (which I have) and there were women giving testimonials about how much he helped them.  He's completely all natural.  One of the women said that she suffered from infertility, went to several drs, couldn't get pregnant, etc and then after six months of being treated by this dr she got pregnant successfully and without infertility treatments.  So, I looked him up and called the next day for a consult.  It's a process to be a patient at this doctor’s office.  You are interviewed, first of all which was just weird to me but they say that if they don't think they can help you then they aren't going to put you through all the testing they conduct for no reason (By the way, NONE of this is covered by insurance.  Of course.  But it was worth a shot to us.).  So, anyways, I went through all that and had my appointment set for July 1st.  I spent 1/2 a day there being tested, meeting with doctors, nurses, nutritionists and pharmacists about everything I would be doing.  I was willing to give ANYTHING a try at this point!  I then started all of the herbal supplements (at one point I was taking 21 pills a day) and eliminated ALL yeast from my diet for 30 days.  I cannot even begin to explain how difficult that was.  Just in case you aren’t up to date on yeast, I’ll fill you in what it’s in.  Oh, everything.  Literally everything that is not meat or vegetables.  So, for a month I ate like a caveman to eliminate all yeast from my body.  No oils, no sugars, no starches, no salad dressings, nothing.  I ate dry salads and meat with baked vegetables.  The only oil I could eat was cold pressed olive oil.  I lost 10 lbs in about a month so that was awesome and I’ll admit, I felt better than ever and had tons of energy.  I was trying a different kind of treatment for my thyroid instead of the synthetic hormone I’ve been taking all along but it just didn’t feel right.  I went to this doctor to have him help my thyroid and prayed that in turn, I would be able to balance my body out and get pregnant.  The thyroid medicine just didn’t do what I’d hoped but everything else they did for me was great. 

The first time I really lost all hope that I could ever get pregnant on my own was in August, a month after I first went to see this new doctor.  I was having serious pain around my ovaries.  I could feel that I had cysts just by sitting down.  I could feel the pressure and pain when I would hit a bump in the road while in my car so I knew I had to go back to Dr H.  I walked into the room and he was surprised to see me because we had already said goodbye a few months back.  I said I have cysts on both ovaries and he did a scan and sure enough, I had two HUGE cysts.  The one on the right was the size of an orange and the one on the left was the size of a lemon.  I felt that nothing would work for me now.  My body just doesn’t work the way a normal person my age does.  I continued with all the supplements and thyroid pills but pretty much knew I wasn’t going to be one of the success stories that Austin heard on the radio that day or that the nurses told me about at my appointments.  And once again, all that money we spent felt like it was for basically nothing.  Not entirely nothing because now I know what to do to feel good in general, but nothing in the journey to have a baby. 

Dr H put me on birth control for two months to shrink the cysts.  The smaller one shrunk and the larger one shrunk but didn't go away.  I wasn’t in pain though so I was ok.  Then in December I started feeling pain again so back to the doctor I went to see the size of my cysts.  This time I didn't have large cysts, he told me something I’ve always wondered about because of family history.  He thinks I have endometriosis.  Fan freaking tastic.  I was crushed but not surprised.  I looked up symptoms and wondered why we haven’t thought this in the past but I think it was always hidden behind my PCOS symptoms.  So, as of right now I’ve been told I have a hypothyroid, PCOS, hyperplasia and endometriosis.  I’m just an infertility nightmare basically.

I’ve had people ask me in the past if we’ve thought about adoption before and I was almost insulted that someone would ask me that like we should give up.  But I will always remember, on September 6th I was walking to go talk to one of my bosses and I had to take the long way between our buildings because of a fire drill (random) and I just suddenly had the thought “I think we need to look into adoption”.  It was literally like a light went off and I just knew it was what we needed to do.  When I got home that day I told Austin that and he agreed, he said he’d been thinking the same thing.  I did some research and quickly found out how expensive adopting a baby is but we kept looking around and getting information.  Adopting a baby is very expensive but if all goes well, you come home with a baby who needs a home.  What we’ve been doing this whole time has proven to not be a guarantee to bring a baby home so this sounded like something we need to seriously think about. 

A few weeks passed and we kind of calmed down on the adoption idea I think because it seemed like we were giving up.  About that same time Austin got great news that he was given a wonderful opportunity at his job.  That opened the doors for us a little more than before and we both decided, we needed to give IVF one more try.  One.  The only way we could do this again this last time was to find a new doctor.  It was so sad for me to leave Dr H after everything he has done for us but it wasn’t working anymore.  I have complete faith in him but there were a few other things that made me question if this was the right path to take anymore.  After my acupuncturist suggested a new RE and I did some research and heard from other women who just loved Dr G as much as I loved Dr H we decided to switch to him.  I made my appointment to go see him in January (this was the 2nd time we met as he was one of the 2nd opinions I got earlier in 2013) and we discussed my options for my 5th and final embryo transfer.  He is full of hope and confident that this will work for us this time.  He said something I’ve always thought, we’ve had 38 healthy embryos and one child.  How is that possible??  I mean, I know the odds aren’t the best but 38 embryos and one successful pregnancy?  This will work.  It’s a new Dr, it’s a new embryologist and lab and it’s a fresh start that will give us Hannah’s sibling.  I had a hysteroscopy this week and he also flushed my fallopian tubes and said everything looked great.

In the next few months we’re going to start it all over again and pray to get the results we’ve been hoping for since 2011.  It’s crazy to me to think that we started trying for baby #2 right after Hannah turned one and she will almost be three by the time this transfer happens.  I honestly thought right now I'd be planning for a first birthday party not still trying to just get pregnant.  I can only pray this works.  We desperately want Hannah to have a sibling and I think she really wants one.  I also feel that if this doesn’t work this last time I will have so much more peace with it than I would have a year ago.  We’ve literally done everything we can to have another baby and if it doesn’t work then it truly wasn’t meant to happen this way.  If we have our own child or adopt I know Hannah will have her sibling one day and be just as happy no matter how it came to be. 

If I’m being honest here then I have to say the biggest difference between “Hannah’s round” as I say and this round is by the end of it for Hannah I was so grateful for everything that happened.  I can’t say that this time around.  It’s just different; there have been so many heartaches and challenges that’s it not always easy to see the bright side.  I know that’s not the best way to think about it but it is what it is.  Maybe once I have a healthy baby in my arms I will say that again, who knows. 

I’ll do better keeping you guys updated on what’s going on.  Hopefully my next infertility update will be a happy one!  

As always, please contact me with any questions


Stephanie said...

Oh kelly im so excited to hear this news!! Everything sounds so positive and i cant wait to get more updates along the way! You are such a strong woman, you have handled all the bumps in the road so well and you totally deserve this opportunity. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post Kelly. I pray God will bless you,Austin and Hannah with a beautiful baby whether naturally or through adoption. You are my precious and brave Kelly. Love from Mom.

Life Happens said...

Our baby #1 took a few rounds of IUI and three rounds of IVF. We went thru second infertility for a few years and had to take out a loan to do IVF again. Now I am 13 wks along with baby #2.

Wishing you the best of luck. Have faith and keep believing. :)

Caroline said...

Thanks for sharing your story!!!!

Day By Day said...

Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I just started TTC and I have PCOS. I'm thankful for women like you who aren't afraid to share their journey.

Ms. J said...

Thanks for sharing your story!! We struggled with #1 and we are currently struggling for #2. I always wanted to have our kids close to together too and the months keep passing by :( My Daughter will be 3 in November and at this point, if I get pregnant this month, that will be the due date.

I've started a secret group on Facebook with some other bloggers who are struggling with infertility. It's been great place to vent, be encouraged and ask for prayers from others who "get it". Let me know if you'd like to join! Praying for you!! He is faithful!!

etphonehome21 said...

Oh Kelly!!! Y'all been through so much and I soooo badly want you to get your happy ending. I will be praying.

Chani said...

How am I just now seeing this? Love you, Kelly. Praying for you and will be here if you need to talk or vent or laugh or cry! You're an incredible Mommy, and you're right, Hannah will have a sibling one day! :) Hugs, sweet friend!