Thank god today is a Squawk Box day. I don’t really have it in me to say much. I’m deep in trenches and feeling pretty sorry for myself. Hopefully, next week will look better. In the meantime if you’ve any stories you feel like sharing with the rest of the infertility community you know what to do…
Send them here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s contribution comes from a reader named Kristi. I actually know of her through real life friends but we haven’t met “in the flesh” yet. She was fantastic in getting her story out to me within the first few weeks of Squawk Box’s launch. It has taken a while to get to her story because I’m only running it once a month but I’m grateful for her contribution none-the-less. Her story is a work in progress, I ask that you send support her way. Especially as she goes in for another transfer today! Send her all the warm thoughts for sticky babies, please! Without further ado– here you have it!
The picture today is of a winding road, one where you cannot see the ending but hope it may be around the next bend. I thought it was fitting.
The Never Ending Journey
Written By: Kristi No-last-name 🙂
Published with the author’s permission.
My husband and I started thinking about having a family within a few months of us getting married. We aren’t “spring chickens” and didn’t want our window of opportunity to close. Everything started out with great enthusiasm and each month ended in yet another single blue line. A year later, we saw our family doctor and we were referred to the Fertility Clinic in Calgary and I was referred to a gynaecologist to investigate potential endometriosis. When I met with the gynaecologist we talked about my symptoms (severe cramping each month, heavy flow and recently, upper right abdominal pain which radiated to my right shoulder), and we discussed the options. The only option that was “family” friendly, was surgery. So it was booked. The doctor was very hopeful that endometriosis was the cause of our infertility and we wouldn’t have any problems getting pregnant afterwards.
The day of the surgery came and the end result was more severe pain which lasted for days and the words: “it is more severe than I had anticipated; you are going to need assistance getting pregnant”. I cried non-stop. I could not control it. Every glimmer of hope was ending in yet another hurdle.
We saw a doctor at the fertility clinic earlier this year and learned that my estrogen and FSH levels were too high = potentially no eggs… The plan was to try drugs and IUI. I was sent for an ultrasound and the result… I do have eggs but also had a cyst on one ovary, which meant we couldn’t start the IUI process. We met with the doctor again and based on my newest data it looked like had “resistant ovaries”. The doctor said that she did not believe that IUI would be beneficial for us and suggested we progress straight to IVF. Luckily, we had been warned this might happen and had already been to the IVF workshop.
Because of my “resistant ovaries” I was put on the most aggressive protocol i.e.: birth control for a month, and then lots of drugs and bruises and bleeding. My first ultrasound was on Day 4 and I went alone. I walked out feeling VERY alone. The doctor and the nurse were disappointed in my lack of follicles (only 5 small) and were talking about cancelling. The nurse was horrible and told me that it was good we were meeting with the psychologist the next day so we could talk about our options. Again, I was a mess… another glimmer of hope, shattered.
I came back for my Day 7 ultrasound, armed with questions and my husband and the results were shocking. I now had 13 follicles and all growing. * I did 2 double treatments of acupuncture in between the ultrasounds and I fully believe that helped. The rest of our ultrasounds were fairly uneventful until the last where they told me that I was potentially “overstimulated” and would now coast until I was triggered.
First under-stimulated and now overstimulated? How can that happen?
We had a successful retrieval, not without pain I might add, and had 12 eggs that began their journey of fertilization under the watchful eye of the clinic. I like to imagine them enjoying the relaxing atmosphere and listening to some Keith Urban music. Each day we were greeted with comments about how great our embryos were doing and how everyone was so impressed with our results. Normally the Flare protocol embryos are transferred on Day 3 but ours made it to Day 5. We try to remember the funny moments like when the embryologist told us that everything looked good and we would go ahead with the traditional method of fertilization…. Traditional?! Nothing about this traditional! We transferred one blastocyst on Day 5 and it was successful. We were going to be the proud parents of “Blasto”!
I had 2.5 weeks of pregnancy bliss.
Week 7 ultrasound. Nothing there. Empty. Vacant. I had a gut feeling but no actual proof until that day. I was broken. The pain was indescribable. I didn’t know how I was going to put the pieces of my and our life back together again. I had lost our baby a week before and had no symptoms. A few days later, I got to meet my baby… that was fun. My period started like normal and then turned into severe, crippling pain. Most people didn’t know that we were expecting and a lot of friends didn’t even know we were trying and because of my pain, we had to tell them. That was not a fun conversation to have.
I am fortunate that I have a wonderful husband, friends and family that have supported us through this journey. We try to focus on that. Some days it is easy and some days it is very, very hard. Especially when everyone I know and everywhere I turn are beautiful, pregnant women. The guilt I feel is overwhelming. My body is faulty and I must be paying for something terrible that I have done in another life. If my husband were with someone else, he would have a cute, cuddly baby by now. Maybe even two. Anyone know of a “witch doctor” to remove this black cloud?
Now we wait.
Luckily, we have 3 frozen embryos that we can try again with. We push forward and hope that this time it works. That this time we are finally one of the lucky ones. That this time we will have a family.