Hysteroscopy Eve

Well, H/S # 4 is Monday morning.  After loss #3 back in February, we decided that we would do another H/S before ever transferring again, so it makes sense that we have one right now.

H/S #3 in June, just 3 months ago, came back all clear after my operation, and thus, we didn’t think another H/S would really be needed this quickly.  We originally thought that having H/S #4 would be more for peace of mind and reassurance that all was still looking good before transferring again.  Wrong.  As you know, images from my HSG in late July and my ultrasounds in early August showed “something” irregular lurking around in my uterus.  So, here we are, actually needing the H/S again this soon after the last.

Our October FET is completely riding on the results of this H/S.  If there is “something” small, like a polyp, that can easily be removed while I am in a twilight, she will remove it, and we will move forward with our upcoming transfer.  Or better yet, there will be nothing at all showing and we will go forward.  However, if there is “something” large found again, like the mass back in March, she will not be able to remove it on the spot, and our October transfer will not be taking place.  I have no idea what will end up happening if the latter occurs– I don’t know if I am ready to go through another operation like the last one.  I am trying not to put too much thought into that for now, but realistically I know it could go either way tomorrow…50/50 chance.

We have learned that patience is necessary throughout all of this.  My husband and I have been together over 15 years now, and married for over 8.  We have been trying to have a baby for over 7, and we have been wrapped up in IUI and IVF cycles for 3 years now.  God is good and only He knows when the timing is right.  It might be next month, but it might not be.  All we can do today is pray for His blessings and protection to surround us….we would love if you could do the same for us! Thank you so much.

Enough Said

OK, so I get that while many of the people closest to us choose to read our blog, many people who know us do not choose to. This is absolutely fine with us. In no way do we expect anyone to read it! 

When we created this blog, we did it publicly through our Facebook and other forms of social media. We wanted all of our friends and family members to finally know what we had been secretly battling for many years. This was part of the healing process for us. And thankfully, we received such overwhelming support. Seriously, I cannot say that enough.  You all have been 100% supportive. 

Through our blog, we have touched on how we feel about numerous topics such as male factor, pregnancy loss, adoption, surrogacy, IVF, etc.  Unfortunately, those who do not read our blog are unaware of these details; and if I had to guess, I would say they most likely are only aware that we have done IVF, and maybe that we have miscarried.  However, they have a choice not to read our story and again, we respect that.  

Here’s the dilemma we are having…we want these people to respect the fact that we would rather not discuss our infertility with them if they don’t read it (too bad those who I want to hear this message aren’t reading it anyways). And here’s why we don’t want to… We really do not want to be asked the same question we just poured our heart out about 5 minutes ago.

This is not in any way, shape, or form the same as someone who follows our story asking how we are feeling or similar…we love this kind of thoughtfulness. Instead we are referring to someone who doesn’t follow at all, by choice, who asks the same questions over and over that we have already answered. I like to call this pretending to care.  It took us a very long time to get to the point of opening up and sharing our story publicly. Why should we have to verbally rehash things numerous times?

In addition, we would rather not discuss our story with the person who makes “jokes” about our infertility, thinking it may lighten up the situation.  If they understood what we have been through, and took the time to really get it, they would see there is nothing funny about it. At all. Why am I on this rant? Here are a few (NOT funny) comments made by people who do not fully follow our story, yet choose to bring it up:

  1. “My husband can donate his sperm if yours is shooting blanks,”  (ummmm…really??!! My husbands sperm has got me pregnant numerous times you idiot!)
  2. “I understand how hard it is for you because we tried to conceive for several months before we finally did.”  While I am very sorry you had to go through this, I would be thrilled to conceive on our own in several months. THRILLED.  Please don’t compare.
  3. “I will happily give you my uterus!”  This is not funny. At all. It’s actually disturbing, joking or not. Thanks, but no thanks-I do not want your uterus that you feel can so easily be disposed of.
  4. “I think it is going to happen naturally for you.” Can you do math? It hasn’t magically happened in the past 7 years, or 84 months.
  5. “Do you have a friend that will give you their uterus?” Again, I am not on a uterus scavenger hunt.  I’d really love to use my own uterus to carry a pregnancy, as the female body is designed to do.
  6. “There is a baby out there just waiting for you to adopt them.” Maybe. But maybe there is one waiting for you to adopt them, too! Are adoptions limited to only infertile couples nowadays?!? There are thousands of babies waiting for someone to adopt them. If you are so keen on it, I think you should pursue it yourself.

Rant over.  Enough said!

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Results…Kinda

Well, I survived the hysteroscopy.  It wasn’t that bad at all physically.  For me, the emotional aspect of it was harder than the physical.  Going back into the same room we had all 3 of our transfers done at was tough.  I took 3 Valiums before the procedure, and was still shedding tears when the nurse came into the room to prep my IV.  Thankfully, Shane was there with me.  The doctor came in & they reassured me I wouldn’t feel anything, and I didn’t.  She also told me I wouldn’t remember much of what she would be telling us after the procedure, and she was right on that too.

The good news is that there is no: 1.) scar tissue, 2.) polyps, or 3.) fibroids.

The not so good news, or maybe it is good news, who knows at this point, is that she found a 2 cm mass in the uterus, which she believes to be an adenomyoma.  A what? Yea, exactly.  Here’s what I know so far on adenomyosis:

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Obviously, this mass or adenomyoma, did not show up on my SIS back in November, before our December transfer.  These results leave us with many unanswered questions.  When did it form? What is it caused from? Will it come back (so far my research on adenomysosis shows it will; it’s a chronic disease)? How long until it comes back? What are the risks? Do I have to have it removed? Did it cause the miscarriage(s)? What exactly is this “mass” if it’s not a polyp or a fibroid??? And last but not least, what the f*** is wrong with me???!!

After the procedure yesterday, the doctor informed Shane that once the mass (she referred to it as a “boulder” in my uterus) is removed, there is an 80-85% chance of us having a successful pregnancy, and that it could definitely be causing me to miscarry. I know you think I should be thrilled with these numbers, but I’m not holding my breath.

Here’s why.  She said that this removal procedure (not even sure what it is called yet, there are several ways to try and attack an adenomyoma, & I do not know which approach she will take) involves her ordering a “special tool” since it is not performed very often, and that there is a chance of damaging the uterus when trying to remove the adenomyoma. Sometimes the adenomyoma is not even a true mass, it simply mimics one.  So it may be possible that it can’t even be removed at all.  I know that I need an uterine MRI before, and that I will get more details, and answers to all of our gazillion questions, at the pre-op appointment scheduled later this month.

For now, what it boils down to is that I will be getting the operative hysteroscopy done under general anesthesia at the hospital (aka place of death) on May 1st; exactly 1 year to the day that I started miscarrying our 1st pregnancy, and 5 days prior to the delivery of our second.

In the meantime, we will be awaiting the results of the biopsy taken during the procedure yesterday.  Those should come in sometime next week.  We are praying for only good things.  I keep asking God how much more he is going to give us.  I had to take a drive last night just to clear my mind.  I ended up sitting in the hospital parking lot.  Do not ask me why.  The place that I despise; the same place we rushed to for the 2nd miscarriage.

As I sat and cried, I started looking at all the hospital room windows from my car.  I began thinking about all the patients inside.  I realized it could be a lot worse.  Some of them are dying.  Someone out there is losing their mother or father.  I felt bad that I was worried about my “mass.”  I felt lousy for being such an emotional wreck.  I went back home soon after.

Before the hysteroscopy, our reproductive endocrinologist (who did the procedure), along with my regular OB both stated that it was highly unlikely that the procedure would show anything wrong with my uterus…in fact they told us only 15% of miscarriages are due to uterine abnormalities.  So once again, we defy the odds.  Just like they assumed our last pregnancy loss was due to genetics (because of the “stats”) and it wasn’t.

Maybe this will be an answer to our prayers.  I really do not know right now.  All I know is that I am so very tired.

The Weeks Leading Up to FET #2

My favorite time of the year was here. Winter in Florida had finally arrived. 60’s at night, 70’s during the day, ideal weather for a hoodie and some comfy leggings (maybe even a pair of boots).  Who wouldn’t love this weather?  Just like northerners look forward to the summer every year, likewise, we Floridians, look forward to the winter.

During what felt like the longest November ever, I taught during the days, and at night, I practiced yoga or received acupuncture. In fact, I was going to acupuncture 2 times a week (not cheap!!!), and yoga 3x a week for a solid month.  My goal was not only to reduce my stress levels, but to get the blood flowing to my uterus, which in turn would help thicken my lining.  At home I was also practicing yoga. Every night I had my “legs up the wall.”  All you yogis out there know exactly what I am talking about!  I would sit, butt up against the wall with my legs up for at least 30 minutes, all the while praying my lining was growing.

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After that, I would pour a glass of red wine (something I never did with other cycles–you get risky after you are a pro!), and take a candle light, lavender bubble bath.  I remember feeling incredibly tired day after day, especially come mid-November, when I starting taking all of the hormones again. There were many days when all I wanted to do was just take a hot shower, eat dinner, and curl into bed after work.  But I pushed, and kept going. I kept thinking about December 19th, our “big” day; for this was the day we would start our family.

All of the therapeutic practice paid off. By the first week of my ultrasound monitoring, after only 1 week of estrogen pills and patches, my lining was already at an 8.  Yep, that’s right, an 8! The thickest it had ever been.  And the best part was I still had 2 more weeks for it to continue thickening.  FYI: Lining doesn’t get thinner, or shed, until a menstrual cycle.  This being said, we knew my lining, at minimal, would be an 8 for the transfer.  As it ended up, I never even needed to take the vaginal Viagra, which I couldn’t complain about (even though we already paid for it).

The week following my first ultrasound, on what just so happened to be Black Friday, my lining was up to a 10.  We walked out of that appointment just staring at each other in awe.  We couldn’t believe it!  The doctor and nurses couldn’t either.  They were actually clapping and cheering.  We thanked God over and over again.  When they asked me what I was doing differently this time, I said, “praying harder.”  We tried our best to give God the glory any chance we could.

December was here. At our 3rd ultrasound, my lining measured a whopping 12.  Anyone in the world of assisted reproduction knows how awesome this is! I had finally made a thick, cozy bed for those embryos to burrow into. I was actually proud of my body, which I hadn’t felt in quite some time.  At this point, I stopped taking the Estrace vaginally and switched to a lower dose orally since my lining didn’t need to grow anymore.  I scheduled 1 more ultrasound for the next week, just to make sure everything was perfect before I started taking the progesterone.

The morning of the final ultrasound did not start out well.  First, let me tell you that every one of our ultrasounds were scheduled for Friday mornings at 7:30 a.m. so I could be on time for work. Even though it meant getting up at 5:30 a.m., and leaving the house by 6:30 a.m. to get to the appointment on time, it was better than missing work.  Bright and early that Friday morning, I stopped to get gas before I got on the turnpike and headed to my appointment.  After I pumped the gas, my car wouldn’t start.  I called my hubs since he was still at home.  Of course, I was crying hysterically!  A woman, on tons of hormones, the week before her 3rd IVF transfer, stranded at a gas station, in a skirt, and it’s barely 50 degrees.  Not good.

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He was there within 15 minutes.  He tried to jump the car, no luck.  It was obvious that not only was I going to be late to work, I was going to be late to the ultrasound too.  And the kicker was I couldn’t even call the doctor’s office to tell them I’d be late because they don’t answer the phone until 9 a.m. (don’t ask me why!!).  We had two options: A.) He takes me to the appointment, then takes me to work, and finally, one day, gets to his job (God only knows by that time it would be noon-everything literally takes hours in Florida), or B.) He drops me off on his way to work to get a rental car, I go to the appointment, and then, eventually, to work.  We chose B.

I got the rental car and arrived at my appointment, needless to say, an hour late.  I stormed in completely flustered, waiting for someone to even try to tell me they couldn’t see me because I was late! Thankfully, everyone was understanding and the nurse saw me right away. I figured once she took me back, I would be in & out within 20 minutes. Quickness is the norm with these blood and ultra appointments during a cycle. But today, that was not the case. Today, I had what appeared to be fluid in my uterus. Fluid in my uterus meant our cycle could possibly be cancelled.

I burst into tears in the office. The nurse told me she wanted me to stay until the doctor arrived to get a second opinion. Well, the doctor did a scan & thought it was fluid as well.  She said we would have to cancel the cycle if it was.  She suggested inserting a catheter into my uterus where the fluid appeared to be, in hopes that it suction the fluid right out.  We tried 3 times that day.  We tried with an abdominal ultrasound view once, and then a vaginal view twice.  Yes, I had an ultrasound probe and a catheter in my you know what at the same time.  I could see the catheter right at that fluid sac, but nothing would come out.  We tried again the following day (thank God I rented that car, mine was still out-of-order).  Still couldn’t get it out. More tears.

The doctor came to the conclusion that the fluid had to be right outside my uterine cavity.  She said she would not cancel the cycle at this point.  Can I tell you how mixed my emotions were?  I completely despised the thought of cancelling the cycle because that meant the past 2 months were pointless.  However, what I hated even more was the idea of something being wrong and going through with the transfer.  If there was fluid, and we did the transfer, it could be deadly to the embryos.

Right then, I begged her not to do it if she thought there was any fluid in my uterus. I told her I could handle it being cancelled, when in all reality I didn’t know if I could.  She must have thought I was crazy; I didn’t care.  I didn’t want anyone to feel bad for me, and thus sway their decision.  She assured me that she would not perform the transfer if she thought there was fluid in the uterus, or if the fluid increased in size or changed location at all in the next week. This being said, we set up another ultrasound to check the day before the transfer.  This was now the new “big” day.

For the next 6 days we didn’t know if we were going to be doing the transfer or not.  I started my progesterone as if we were, as I was told, and waited.  I was a nervous wreck.  Unfortunately, there is nothing else you can do to get the fluid out of your uterus, it simply dissipates on its own. Sometimes quickly, sometimes not.

We were so frustrated! In a matter of minutes, we went from being over the top about the lining to not even knowing if we were moving forward.  I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again, with IVF there are no guarantees, and something major can go wrong at any given time.  In all actuality, just when you think you are free & clear, you realize you may not be. And so, our prayers began to change. We prayed for God to close the door if he didn’t want us to move forward.  If this was his way of telling us no, then so be it.  Over and over again, I whispered, “anything God, but PLEASE, PLEASE just don’t let us lose another pregnancy.”

The day before the transfer finally rolled around.  Another week that felt like a year.  My blood pressure was through the roof when I got there, and I was shaking like a leaf.  As soon as the doctor came in, I was crying.  The things hormones will do to you. The things you will do to have a child.  The things you will do for your dream of a family.  She inserted the probe and we stared at the screen. Then we got the news: ALL THE FLUID HAD DISAPPEARED.

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