(this is long...sorry...I thought about breaking it up, but just decided to put it all out there)
I promised to write about 2 big changes in our life this year, so here is the first post. I think I've avoided writing it b/c I don't like this one & yet, I know that I need to write it.
Let's start by backing up a bit. A couple of years ago, I started hearing a radio ad about a free fertility seminar w/ the SHER clinic in town. I couldn't go, but our friends went. Our friends that have twins from IVF with Dr. Putman, my current fertility Dr. The Dr that MANY of my friends have gone to and who ALL have babies now. So, they went to the seminar and came back telling me about the Drs & their different thoughts on some of the treatments that Dr P uses. Their recommendation was that we should go & see them for a second opinion. We didn't. I couldn't imagine going to a new Dr. Dr. P had a plan, and we were going to go with it.
Fast forward to this fall...I started hearing the ads again. BUT, I hesitated & missed the free seminar and free consult that you get for going. I missed it by only 3 days. Dang procrastination. Well, I started following Dr Sher (who works out of the Vegas office) on twitter, following the clinic on FB and researching like a crazy person. I never mentioned ANYTHING to Ben about it.. Just quietly and slowly gathered my info. I kept hearing the clinic's name come up among bloggy friends across the US and just started praying for doors to open. The Sher clinics are across the US, so I started talking to Dr Sher through tweets and he always responded & was big on getting second (and third) opinions.
I decided that I might need a 2nd opinion & wanted to see Dr Selah here at the Dallas Sher clinic.
At the beginning of November, I finally decided to bring it up to Ben. He isn't big on change and was reluctant, but agreed that we could call for a consult. I called. With it being November, I was expecting to have to wait until after the holidays to get in as a new client. WRONG. They had appointments available the NEXT week. WHOA! I made the appointment and sent Ben an electronic calendar appt which he declined. He couldn't make that time, so I called the clinic right back and moved it to the day after, when Ben was available. The date? 11-11-11. The time of the appt? 11:00 AM. So, we had our records sent over & began praying.
We went to the appt with Dr. Selah and were impressed. He had my 6 in tall file and KNEW my history w/out having to look back over it. He had taken the time to research it and get to "know" me, via medical records. He took time to go over things about my fertility that have never been explained. He also explained why so much of what we had done were useless and a waste of our time and money.
It was encouraging and sickening all at the same time.
The best part? The timeline. From the consult until possible pregnancy or at least frozen embryos...2 months. TWO MONTHS? We were in shock. This was 2 months as long as my uterus looks good.
Oy, my uterus. It never looks good. So, we started mentally planning for another surgery...dang uterus.
He immediately wanted to do blood work & I, knowing this was possible, had fasted that morning. So, we headed over to the lab and had my blood drawn. Pretty much ALL of my blood!! Because they were checking SO many things, including clotting tendencies b/c of the 2007 DVT, they had to draw 21 vials of blood. TWENTY ONE!!!
I am not one to get queasy, but this one almost did me in. As she started pulling out vials, I think my jaw hit the floor. As she was drawing it, every 3 vials she would ask "you OK?" I think this took about an hour! At least it felt like it. I walked out to Ben and handed him the keys and told him that I needed lunch & I needed some red meat! So, HE drove next door and we had some fajitas.
They emailed several times over the next week that the blood work was coming back great...my egg reserve was great & there was no clotting disorder! ALSO, there was no way that I have PCOS, which I have been on horrid meds for off and on. My Drs (Dr P and Dr T, my regular OBGYN) always waivered on if I had it or not, but always decided "yes." My blood work showed otherwise, so his first plan was to have me STOP the metformin. Puh-raise!!
Next step...in-office (awake) hysteroscpoy. This is the same procedure that I have had 3 times to remove fibroids. 3 times asleep. I was TERRIFIED to be awake, but we scheduled this for the Wed before Thanksgiving...right before we would head out for a 5+ hr drive to AR for ThanksMas.
SO...we go in for the hysteroscopy and it was not bad AT all. I was more intimidated LOOKING at the instrument above and the headlamp that the Dr wore than the actual procedure. Dr. Selah was impressed w/ my past surgeries/scar tissue and said that I had great surgeons. Then, I sit up and he says "it looks great!"
WHAT? I was in shock...EXCUSE ME? I have a good uterus? He could see scar tissue but no fibroids & wasn't concerned w/ what he saw. He did say that my uterus was large (from previous fibroids) and that caused some of the discomfort, but that it looked great. So, I get dressed and we go into his office.
He then proceeds to tell us that we are great candidates for IVF and he'd like us to jump into the Jan cycle. JANUARY...as in 5 weeks away. JANUARY. We were dumbfounded. We got our prescription for birth control pills (to suppress the ovaries and regulate the cycle) and an appointment for our first sonogram where we would get our calendar, protocol, and meds prescriptions.
We had a GREAT ThanksMas, despite the slight discomfort from the 6 hr drive (but hey, I got out of driving, right?!). Not only did we have a great ThanksMas, but a great Christmas and a WONDERFUL New Year as we dreamed of what 2012 would bring us. We just KNEW this was the answer...God was opening SO many doors and we were getting SO many YES's where we had only seen NO. THIS WAS IT!!
We started lupron shots at the end of December and were so excited to get started. I was on Brevelle for my stimulating drug and had to get it in my hip/buttocks. YUCK.
On the 7th day of the stims (4 days of 4 vials of Brevelle and 3 days of 3 vials), on a Monday, I went in to see how many little follicles were growing (follicles have the eggs inside). There was really only 1 and several smaller ones. So, he told me to go back up to 4 vials and come back on Thursday. So, every morning I got a lupron shot in my belly and at night, I got Bravelle in my booty. So, we continued on.
Went back on Thursday...one on the right and one on the left...still some small ones. Said to stay at 4 vials and come back on Monday. So we continued. And had to order about $1500 of more medicine.
Went back on Monday...same story. Not much going on. So, he upped it to 6 vials of meds and we went back on Thursday. With LOTS of prayers, we went in on Thursday expecting to see at least 4 or more little follies in there. Wrong.
Still the same 2...and my estrogen levels had DROPPED. They hovered around 350 and then went down. For IVF, they want them to be WAY over the 3000 mark. I never got close. So, he told me to get dressed and meet him in his office. I couldn't hold it together.
We go meet him in his office and our IVF dream was over. Our cycle was canceled. He didn't see the point in retrieving the 2 follies there, which were prob "overbaked" by this point. He said that we could do an IUI if we wanted, but he felt like that would be a waste of our $$. He was very honest and kind. He had the nurse show us how to give the trigger shot to release those 2 follies and sent us home to "try on our own" for the next 2 nights.
We had driven separately, so we get into our cars and I lose it and just sat for a while. I sent an email to our loved ones who were praying and texted work that I was going home. So, I went home and crawled into bed and snuggled w/ Rustee. I had so many loving texts and emails and even had some chocolate and fruit delivered to the door!! We are loved SO well!!
I immediately started researching and driving myself crazy on the Internet. After a few hours, I was actually feeling better. I discovered that 1st IVF's are canceled a lot and fail b/c it's a trial and error with the meds. Ben had to go to work and then class and texted that he was having a hard time focusing. This made me all weepy again.
I had to take the trigger shot at 2 in the afternoon, so I headed down to Leah's house and she gave me the shot in my booty (she was my go-to if Ben wasn't home to do the booty shot). That's a good friend, there, folks.
So, I sat at her house for a while...if anyone gets it, she does. So, we talked about it, cried about it, and ignored it. Again, great friend!!
Y'all, that trigger shot hurt like NONE OTHER. I have had countless trigger shots w/ all of our IUI's, but I could HARDLY move for a week after this one. I felt like my hip was sticking out 5 feet...but there was barely a bruise. Not only did my hip hurt, but my ovaries were on FIRE from ovulating those 2 follies. On top of that, I was bloated from the meds. I was MISERABLE. From Th-Sunday I didn't do much (I did go to work on Fri) but lay on my left side w/ ice or heat on my left hip. I was seriously limping b/c it hurt so bad to walk!!
Oh...and on top of this...we were supposed to "try." Y'all, it was LAUGHABLE. We were in SUCH a raw state and my whole body was aching. We were ANYTHING but "in the mood." We LITERALLY laughed our way through it. LITERALLY laughed b/c it was just the most pitiful thing. There was nothing left to do but laugh. We didn't get pregnant on our own. We didn't have much hope that it would work, but obviously prayed that it would.
We went back in Feb for our appt w/ Dr Selah to discuss what to do now. It's referred to in the infertility world as the WTF appointment. Y'all, am SO not a cusser, and REALLY dont ever use the F word. But, there really is no better way to explain this appointment. WTF works perfectly.
So, we had our WTF appt and it didn't go quite as positively as we had hoped. He was supposed to have answers...and a plan. What he opened with was that he was "baffled." Excuse me? Apparently, with the 6 vials of Brevelle, and the shots in my booty (IM) there was really nothing that should have prevented the ovaries from being stimulated. He just really didn't know. So, his recommendations? We could jump in the next cycle and do 10 vials of Brevelle each day for stims. Not only is this VERY dangerous for the normal person, it's also very $500 a day. YIKES. Or, I could go on the pill for 3 or 4 months straight through and have NO cycles and really give my ovaries a rest. So, we decided on the latter.
So, here we are again...waiting. We don't know when we will be able to jump back in and don't know what our treatment will look like...but we are hoping to go for another consult this Summer and possibly jump in for August? No clue...but we really covet your prayers during this time.
We never imagined that it wouldn't work and that we wouldn't have frozen embryos. IF it wasn't going to work, we assumed that there would be frozen embies to use in the coming months. NEVER did we think it would be canceled. BUT, what a blessing it was. We ended up getting MOST of our $$ back (THAT was a nice check). We are still out $6,000, but half of that was the medicine costs. It disgusts me, but AT LEAST we didn't go through the whole thing, have it fail, have no embryos, and be out the WHOLE shebang. So many friends have been through THIS and we were spared this heartache. For this, I am thankful. See, choosing joy in the little blessings. Because it ended where it did, we can try again. And we will.
We know now that there seems to be an egg quality problem & for some reason my ovaries are not receiving the medication. In the past, it's always seemed like a UTERUS problem. Now, there are more answers and we can keep putting new pieces into the puzzle. Not easy answers, but answers none the less.
The thing that got me through all of this? The fact that I have been SO SO SO busy with change # 2.
More on that in the next post.
Thank you all for loving us so well...please continue to pray!