Friday, August 14, 2009

Trying to conceive made me infertile.

So what went wrong? How did we get to come back empty handed (or empty wombed) from the Mecca of Infertility? 

At first we were in the dreaded “undiagnosed” category. All my tests always came back normal, as did DH’s. The only thing the RE’s ever had as an excuse was my irregular cycles. In my opinion irregular cycles are the easiest treated diagnosis of IF. I know girls who go months without AF, but when they started TTC, one or two rounds of clomid was all that was needed.

After years of being undiagnosed, and uncategorized, we discovered DH’s Balanced Translocation. I don’t know if we were more alarmed at the discovery, or more relieved that we had finally found something! I kept asking the doctors to give me a reason why my treatment didn’t ever work. I have a scientific, logical mind. I can only buy the “bad luck” answer for that much. Not longer than that. Give me a reason, and maybe I can put closure to the questions in my head.

With PGD tested embryos, we figured there was nothing that could stop us from bringing baby home. How wrong we were.

In 2007, when I first got pregnant after IVF#2, I was on baby aspirin for the first few weeks. At about 8 weeks I had an episode of bleeding – major bleeding. Convinced that we had lost the baby, we rushed sobbing to the RE’s office. He checked, and showed us that the baby was doing fine. He showed us the spot in my uterus from where the blood was coming, and he said “Maybe you can stop the baby aspirin now – your blood may be getting too thin”

I stopped the baby aspirin that day, and that was the day the baby’s heartbeat stopped (approximately, because when the missed m/c was discovered 10 days later, the baby had not grown much in size from that emergency u/s day) 

I had a D&C, and the RE ordered a repeat loss panel for me (though it was my first loss – he wanted to make sure we didn’t miss anything)

Then we discovered MTHFR (I call it the mother fucker gene). I should never have stopped that aspirin. And I will never understand why doctors don’t check all this before an IVF procedure! Why can’t these tests be done as part of our pre IVF work up??

The next IVF resulted in a biochemical pg, and the one following that resulted in an ectopic that they could never find. I had another D&C then. And methotrexate to kill the poor embryo that was growing somewhere where it shouldn’t have. We still don’t know where it was. 

Then we went to CCRM for our last and final cycle. During the one day work up, Dr Schoolie said he thought my uterine cavity was tiny, and could be the reason why I was not being able to stay pregnant. He did a surgery on me to fix the shape and grow the size of the cavity. So, in the course of 12 months, I had had 2 D&Cs and one uterus surgery.

The result? Poor uterine lining. Dr Schoolie thinks it’s the D&C’s that “damaged” my lining. I don’t know how he can be sure the surgery did not contribute to the damage. It’s the same process right? Scraping the insides of the uterus?

Last week, after my BFN, right after the nurse from CCRM called with the news, Dr. Schoolie called to say he was “shocked the cycle didn’t work”. Yes, we were shocked too – I was getting BFPs locally, and I got nothing at CCRM!! He also said that given the fact that I have never carried a pregnancy to term before, and the fact that my lining does seem badly “damaged by the D&C’s”, it may make sense to look at surrogacy for the remaining 2 blastocysts we have. He did mention that if I wanted, we could try to prep my lining again. I told him I did not trust my uterus. He then said, “In which case, honestly, you should consider using a gestational carrier”

So from being “undiagnosed” to becoming someone that probably can never carry a pregnancy to term, what a downhill slide huh?

Bottom line – our struggles with TTC and with IF ended up making me even more infertile. Now I am definitely barren. Before this, I could dream and carry a hope in my heart that it will work - someday, somehow. Now I know it won’t.

Trying to conceive made me infertile. Perhaps I just should not have tried so hard?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My body killed my blastocysts

That’s right, folks. BFN. Big fucking negative. 2 great quality 4AA grade blastocysts killed mercilessly by my barren empty womb. I’m that woman that contributes to the BFN parts of clinics’ statistics, so that the stats average out.

What the hell am I talking about? It’s about time I came out and told you what I’ve been up to in the last couple of months.

I’m sure some of you may have wondered why my blog was so disjointed recently. When Nikki has 4 blasts on ice, why is she going all over the place, exploring adoption, and then seemingly not even exploring adoption any more, writing infrequently, and writing irrelevantly?

Very simple explanation. No, I wasn’t nuts. I knew we had those 4 blasts, and after we called off our FET in March, DH and I had decided to take a little break, and then prep my stubborn lining again. I just didn’t want to write about it on my blog, because I was feeling a lot of “performance anxiety”. I told some of you individually, but didn’t want to blog about it till it was done. It was, after all, our last hurrah.

With Aunt F in May, we decided it was time. We got all set up, and I got on BCPs. Started Lupron on June 3, and went for my first lining check on 7/1. FET was scheduled for 7/7. Of course my lining was too thin. FET got pushed out to 7/16. Lining check got repeated on 7/10. Still too thin. FET got pushed out to 7/24, and then I realized Dr. Schoolie would not be there for my FET on 7/24. I requested for a date when he would be there, because after all this, I wanted him to do the honors. Specially since he had done surgery on my uterus, and “knew” my uterus well. So we got rescheduled yet again to 7/27. Lining check was on 7/21, and my measly pathetic lining measured at 7 mm “from the most flattering angle” – according to the local RE here.

We flew out to Denver, and brought home 2 of the best quality blasts we could. They thawed 2 blasts, and both thawed beautifully. 100% cells survived, one was hatching, and the other almost hatching. Beautiful. According to the embryologist “you couldn’t even tell the blastocysts had ever been frozen”

Of course I needed additional help – hormonal help. My protocol had been very aggressive from the beginning, but by the end of it, I was on this:

2 Estrace suppositories daily

2 Delestrogen injections weekly

2 Estrogen patches every other day

3 Endometrin suppositories daily

1 PIO shot daily

1 Prenatal daily

2 Folgard tablets daily

1 Baby Aspirin daily

1 Blood Pressure medication daily

Fast forward to 8 days later – yesterday. I POASed. BIG FUCKING NEGATIVE!

9 DPFET – Today – Beta test – BIG FUCKING NEGATIVE! 

Why? What have I done to deserve this? Why can my fate not turn around, for once? How much more do we have to go through? I have quietly ploughed on for more than 8 years. My TTC resume now reads:

8 + years TTC #1

6 clomid cycles – BFN

5 IUIs – BFN

5 IVFs –  1st BFN, 2nd  missed miscarriage, 3rd chemical pregnancy, 4th ectopic pregnancy, 5th (Freeze all FET) BFN.

The last year has included 1 long drawn out IVF cycle – 6 trips to Denver, and $$ that we could not afford to spend, but did, in the hope that it will all be worth it. 

So after countless shots, suppositories, surgeries, treatment cyles, losses, heartache, pain – here I am, as empty wombed as I was when we embarked on this journey.

The prospect of growing old childless is looming large upon us. It's a scary thought. Some of you know how dark and scary that place is. And though I know I will never regret my TTC journey and all the treatment we went through, I know I will always regret not being able to have DH’s and my child. 

You will probably still wonder – what about the 2 remaining blastocysts? I am NOT trusting them to my killer uterus. I will keep them frozen, or if I find the strength in my heart to go through surrogacy, I will. But I am not putting another embryo into my body. I’m done. I’m so done.

Sometimes you can’t fight fate. Fate is sometimes stronger than we are – we believe that if we try hard enough, we can achieve anything in life. Maybe not.  

Saturday, August 1, 2009

In dance steps....

DH and I like watching these dance shows. Yeah, we're "those" people!

So anyway - the other day, this piece came on. It was a tribute to breast cancer, and was beautifully executed. When the piece got over, I quietly reached out for a tissue to wipe my tears. I had such a huge lump in my throat that I couldn't speak. I turned to look at DH, and I saw him reaching out for a tissue as well. He too had tears in his eyes.

When we finally spoke, we realized that we had both seen the piece as being very fitting for a couple fighting IF too. The struggles, the despair, the anger - it all comes out so beautifully! The girl seems to be helpless, turning to the man for support, trusting him, wanting him to make her pain go away. The man tries to lift the girl up out of her (their) sorrows as much as he can. When he is alone, he struggles too, but becomes strong for the girl when he is with her. 

There is so much sadness, anger, helplessness in this piece. But at the same time, so much dependency on each other in the piece as well. 

To me - this is a very true reflection of our life.