5/12/13

Journey to B.B.

Everyone loves to share the exciting news of being pregnant. Of expecting. But it's the GETTING pregnant part of the story most people don't share. And for some that's understandable. They got pregnant the "old-fashioned" way, no real story to tell.  However, for many of us it's not quite that simple. This is our journey to Baby Block (B.B.).  I wanted to share our journey because I know that through this process I felt very alone until I was referred to a friend of a friend's blog. I want to share so that other women know they're not the only one who struggles. (If you don't want to know all the medical details, this is your warning. Feel free to skip to the section labeled "Surprise")

We started trying to get pregnant in August of 2010, the old-fashioned way. Due to family history, I knew that I may have some struggles.  So I used ovulation predictor kits but we had no success.  The predictors were never very clear (I would later know why but at time it was just annoying).

I went to see my OB/GYN in February 2011 for my annual exam. When I explained that I had only ovulated twice in the past 5 months, she agreed something was off. She put me on Clomid a drug to induce ovulation and we were to have "timed relations" (I always hated that term). This was probably the highest stress time between me and Mike.  It's very easy to blame each other for, well, pretty much anything at this time. This went on for March, April, and May. I was also sent for an internal sonogram to check out my ovaries, where it was determined that I had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). (not a huge surprise due to family history and assumedly the reason I wasn't ovulating regularly and why the ovulation predictor kits were never clear) When we came up still not pregnant in May, she referred me to a fertility doctor. This, scared the crap out of me. I had no idea of what to expect at the fertility doctor and put off making an appointment until August.

In August 2011 we went in to our first fertility doctor appointment. Usual doctor's office stuff, height, weight, medical history, and a consultation with the main doc. Then came the testing. First there was a blood draw. I fasted all night, went in on an empty stomach, they drew 11 viles of blood and I was fine until I got to my car afterwards and I started to lose feeling in my fingers and my legs started to give out.  Luckily they had told me to bring food with me and I sat and ate my granola bar in my car until I felt safe to drive.

Then I did an HSG (hysterosalpingogram), where you get into a hospital gown, walk into a room where everyone else is in head to toe lead, and they shoot dye into your uterus as they take radiographic images to see the shape of your uterus and if your fallopian tubes are open.  It's a fairly quick process but is highly uncomfortable. Not quite like menstrual cramps, but like your insides are quickly expanding and may explode. As I'm still sitting on this table for the HSG the doctor viewing the results quickly tells me that either my uterus is sitting perpendicular instead of parallel to my abdomen wall or I had what they call a unicornuate uterus, which basically means only half a uterus formed when I was in utero and they wanted to do a saline infused sonogram (SIS) to see more. I kind of nodded my head, and stunned was guided out of the room and into a bathroom to change back into my clothes. And then, I cried.  I had no idea what that meant for me and was so scared and nervous.  Since I had hit day 15 in my cycle they weren't going to let me schedule the SIS until the following month for fear of disturbing any possible pregnancy.  If I wasn't so upset I would have laughed in their faces for even considering this a possibility.  After a year of trying and not currently having any medical assistance for ovulation or anything the thought that I could magically get pregnant on my own made me laugh at the ridiculousness of the thought. I know they have to air on the side of caution but it was just ridiculous to me.  After some begging, they agreed that if I refrained from 'relations' I could have the SIS the following Monday and so I did.

During the SIS they shoot warm saline into your uterus and do an internal sonogram.  As they viewed from right to left, you could see uterine wall, ovary, fallopian tube, nothing, nothing, ovary. They confirmed, yes, you have a unicornuate uterus and explained that basically in utero organs form in two halves and then come together.  When my uterus formed, only the right side formed.  So I have half a uterus, one fallopian tube, and two ovaries. It is possible to get pregnant and carry a baby but could cause pre-term labor and doesn't allow for me to carry multiples, which means any fertility treatments we did we would have to very careful to ensure we only had one egg at a time.

We were given all our options and decided to go with Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI).  I began taking metformin for my PCOS and letrozole to induce ovulation. So I'd take those and have a sonogram between day 2 and 5 and then another around day 13 and when the follicles on my ovaries were big enough, I'd inject (yes, stab myself with a needle) a hormone that night and we'd do the insemination two days later. It was quite possibly the least romantic thing ever. You put your junk in a jar, they clean it up, and squirt it in me. .....yeah, seriously unromantic.

We could only do the IUI if I ovulated from the right side because my left doesn't have a fallopian tube. And while it's possible for the egg to make it's way over to the other side, it's not as likely. So it went like this:
October - IUI - unsuccessful
November - IUI - unsuccessful
December - ovulated from the left, no IUI
January - IUI - unsuccessful
February - IUI - unsuccessful

They normally only let people do 2-3 IUI's but agreed to let us do 4 because of my unicornuate uterus. After four unsuccessful IUI's they said we could try in vitro fertilization (IVF) or do a laparoscopy. I felt like there was a missing piece as to why this wasn't working and opted for the laparoscopy/hysteroscopy.  It was also covered by insurance and IVF (like most fertility treatments) was not. So I went under the knife.  They went in through my belly button and took a look around.  Discovered lots of endometrial lesions, enlarged ovaries, endometriosis, and confirmed my unicornuate uterus. So they burned off the lesions, drilled holes into my ovaries, and scraped out all of my endometriosis.  This is now March of 2012.

After healing through the month of March, they agreed to let us try the IUI's again.
April - ovulated from the left, no IUI
May - ovulated from the left, no IUI
June - ovulated from the left, no IUI
July - IUI, unsuccessful
August - ovulated from left, no IUI

At this point, I'm seriously annoyed.  The laparoscopy was supposed to fix me! And instead all I'm doing is ovulating from the wrong side. Our doctor's recommendation was to do IVF and then it didn't matter which side I ovulated from, we could use all the eggs. IVF, like IUI, is not covered under insurance.  IVF, however, is about 15 times as expensive as IUI. The plan that Mike and I looked at would allow us three fresh and three frozen cycles (or until we brought home a baby), costing about $30,000 and would refund us the money at the end of all of the cycles if we didn't bring home a baby. This sounded like the best plan since I wasn't convinced that I could even carry a child but $30,000 isn't pocket change. So with my bad attitude and a lack of 30 grand, we decided to take some time to relax and build savings.

SURPRISE
August 2012
So after two years of trying to get pregnant and fertility treatments, we took some time to research and relax. We attended adoption webinars, read books and searched the internet to find out all we could about IVF and adoption. Adoption has always been on the table as a part of our family plan, I just never thought that it would be our only option for a family. I would always be sad that I missed out on the experience of pregnancy and childbirth (even if I don't love it, I wanted to know what it was like) but whatever children God blessed me with would be mine and I would love them to the ends of the Earth. In October I got a new job and figured even if we were to pursue IVF we wouldn't do it until I had established myself there. Well, God had other plans. Apparently that was waiting too long for Him. So in January, 3 months in to my new job, when my boobs were really sore, I began to question if it was possible. On January 24th I took a test, peed on a stick, and took a pregnancy test. The faintest second line appeared. Hands shaking, I took the test to Mike and showed him. After all the disappointments he was a little skeptical. He asked if I'd ever gotten a second line before and if it was possible to be a false positive. I'd never gotten a second line before but there was always the possibility of it being a false positive (I was still a little skeptical too). So that night we went and bought more tests and the next morning, my 29th birthday, I took two more tests. Both came out positive. Still a little shocked but excited, I called my doctor's office that morning.  Based upon my last cycle they wouldn't see me for a few more weeks. 

For three weeks I kind of floated through trying not to be too excited. When we went to the doctor's office, and they did a sonogram, and we saw that little heartbeat beating away, it was still a little surreal but super exciting. It wasn't just my imagination, or a false positive, there was a little one with a heartbeat growing inside me.

There's so much more to say, but this is where it begins. This is the beginning of our journey to B.B.

1 comment:

Celia Fournier said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story! I've been thinking of you two a lot and wondering how things came together for you. So very happy for you and Mike!!!!! Glad my blog helped to give you some comfort and motivation. Wishing you all the best!!!!!!