This is not the focus of my blog, but because I do post about it, I wanted to take a minute to share my journey through infertility with you. I’m hoping that maybe some of my experiences can help guide someone else out there, struggling the same. It’s hard for women AND men. It’s not always someone’s fault, but we both place blame on ourselves.
I’ve certainly not ‘done it all’ and there are a lot of things I’m sure I have yet to face, but as for right now, this is where I am. I obviously don’t spend all my time talking about this, because it is painful to share. But I don’t want people constantly thinking that infertility is something to be ashamed of. As I begin to research IVF, or even adoption, I plan on talking about as much as I’m comfortable with, and when I’m ready. I realize not everyone IS ready or comfortable talking about it. But for me, it helps me cope with everything.
If you’re familiar with the backstory, you can scroll to the bottom to see what’s going on now..
In 2008, I had my Mirena removed. The doctor told me that I could get pregnant at any time after that point, there wasn’t a ‘waiting period’. I was super excited. Husband and I were ready to start trying, after years of being dead set against children. This was a really exciting and scary point for us.
In August, 2009, I found out I was pregnant. It was still settling in with me, when I started, what I assumed was a miscarriage. I was only about 5wks along when I called the doctors office with bleeding, and they assumed I m/cd. I went to the doctor, and my hcg bloodwork was all over the place. The first few times it was in the 40-70s, not doubling like it should but not dropping like expected either. I went in for ultrasounds, they saw nothing. No fetal pole, no sac, nothing. They sent me home, told me to wait it out. I just had to go and get blood work once a week to make sure it was dropping down. In the end of September, beginning of Oct, there was STILL traces of hcg in my system, and my bloodwork was coming back positive. This went on through mid October, when I finally got a negative test back. The doctor’s had mixed comments as to what happened. One said it was a chemical pregnancy, because they never saw anything, but the other said it was a blighted ovum, due to the hcg staying in my system for so long. Either way, it was not my take home baby.
It was 2010 before we really started ‘trying’ actively again. In August of 2010, I found out I was pregnant again. I was so excited, my due date was May 8, 2011. I waited this time until about 8 weeks before I told my parents. We had saw the heartbeat and the nurse told me the chances of loss after that point were so small, that I felt confident in telling them. Of course telling them meant telling my family pretty much. I told them, my parents shared with family, and so everyone knew. I loved talking about little bean, I nicknamed him Lima.
I had my next ultrasound on Oct 22, and was planning on transition from first tri to second, but felt ‘off’. On Oct 19th I went to the ER where my doctor works, and had him check me out. Found out the heart had stopped beating shortly after my ultrasound at 8 weeks. Lima only measured 8w6days by then.
I’m pretty sure I laid there and cried for 40 minutes before I could even talk. I was immediately scheduled for a d&c because they weren’t sure I’d pass all of the baby. And I didn’t want to sit and wait around for it to happen, especially after my first awful experience.
In the very beginning of December, we found out I had cervical dysplasia, and had surgery to remove it. We waited the suggested time frame, and actually ended up getting pregnant again, right around new years, and found out in January 2011.
This pregnancy was different. I didn’t feel ANY of the symptoms I felt last time around. I kept hearing how common that was, totally normal, stop worrying. So I tried. I went for bloodwork and an ultrasound. The U/S showed an empty sac. It was still early, so they did the blood work to check. It came back positive, I went back in a week for another U/S. Nothing. No growth. Blood work, still positive, but not progressing like it should. Went back for one more U/S, just to give it one last shot, in hopes that everything worked itself out, and no. It was confirmed that I had another blighted ovum, and the doctor did another D&C .
It was after this pregnancy, and third loss, that I finally dealt with all of the losses. It was like all the emotions I had ignored for so long suddenly came flooding in. My doctor then referred me to a specialist.
Enter Dr. Nash, over at Reproductive Gynecology.
I started with tons of blood work (all of which came back normal), and we set up a plan. The first thing he did was a saline ultrasound to check everything out, and when he did, he found some polyps and something else, though he couldn’t tell what. So he scheduled me for laproscopic surgery, that I had in June. When he did the surgery, he found some mild endo, the polyps he knew about, and then some left over placenta. I don’t know how common that is, but he seemed to give me the impression that it happens. So after that, we were safe to try again in July.
We were going to try a few months on our own, since it seemed like getting pregnant hadn’t been the problem. And then, whenever I was either tired of it, or ready, we could move on to something else. July, Aug, September – all negative. So then our plan was to try clomid (even though I had a clear ovulation monthly) and depending on our post-coital results, do an IUI. We had originally talked about trying this for a ‘few months’, so through February basically.
Infertility is expensive, so we’re limited on what we can do at this point. In Ohio, law requires that if you have HMO insurance, some of this is covered. However, I do not.
Each visit to the office for an ultrasound (of any sort for fertility treatment) is $175. The clomid is $9 for 50mg Rx, $18 for 100mg. The hcg trigger that I take, to force ovulation once the follies are large enough, is $60. The progesterone that I take after ovulation, and will continue through the first trimester if I get a positive pregnancy test, is another $30 per month.
The IUIs (which I talk about here) are $300, or if I do two, back to back, it’s discounted to $500. Yes, discounted at $500…
In the summer of 2012 Dr. Nash wanted to rerun my bloodwork and do a fresh ultrasound since it had been a year. All of my bloodwork came back totally normal, except for one. Dr. Nash had some disheartening news for me. My AMH (Anti-Mullerian hormone) was low. Really low. Like pathetically low. It was a .3.
So that news finally took us from the hope of it happening naturally to the realization that I might not ever give birth, but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever be a mother.
General tips to deal with a friend dealing with infertility:
- Offer support, but provide space. Sometimes we just need to process another failed cycle or our frustration alone.
- Share your joyful pregnancy announcement privately. We are thrilled for you, but it’s hard to not want to shed a few tears. Don’t take it personally.
- Please keep a majority of your complaints to yourself. Everyone needs to vent, but maybe some other friend will be more supportive. We’d welcome morning sickness and sleepless nights. I realize no one likes to be uncomfortable, vomiting or exhausted, but maybe share those dets with moms who can relate.
Disclosure: I am in no way a doctor, or attempting to offer you any medical advice. I’m simply sharing my experiences and journey. If I share any information outside my own experiences, I will provide you a source for you to determine on your own how reliable it is.