This post begins a series of several posts describing things I've learned along the road of infertility. This is a little shout out to all the "so-called" INfertile Myrtle's out there. Hopefully, others will get something from it too; as I think any of us walking along a road of suffering can glean wisdom and hope from each other!
And before I start with the #1 thing I have learned on this journey, I think I'll start with my story. It seems important to give the whole picture and let you know where I'm coming from.
Don't worry, I won't start with my birth or anything. But I will say that I was a child who dreamed often of becoming a mother. And not just being a mom; but I had a fascination with pregnancy. In all seriousness, my mom lost me several times in stores because I would wander away and follow a pregnant woman. I thought it was simply amazing. And I deeply longed for the day it would happen to me. One of my goals as an adult was to be bare-foot, pregnant and in my kitchen!
In 2005, as a 27 year-old single woman, I began experiencing more difficult than normal cycles and constant pain. Three doctors later (the first 2 told me I was stressed and needed to get on the pill) an ultrasound was done and they found my first ovarian cyst. In November of 2005, I had my first surgery to remove it and endometriosis (endo) was discovered. It was "pretty nasty" in there and at that time, I was told I had about a 40% chance of ever conceiving.
In January 2006, I began taking Depo Lupron and was put into temporary menopause for 6 months. I met and began dating my husband (obviously a very compassionate man) during this time. Within 2 months of being off Lupron, pain had returned.
I had my second surgery exactly one month before my wedding day in March. This time it was an emergency situation as they thought one of my ovaries had begun to twist cutting off circulation. Things looked much worse inside at this time and something didn't go quite well in surgery. I was hospitalized for 5 days. For a little extra explanation: the average C-section takes about 30 minutes, the average endo laproscopy takes about an hour, but for someone with my level (stage 4) of endo, surgery takes about 3 hours. It's a lot of cutting. I don't like surgery. Felipe and I began trying to conceive on our honeymoon. Prior to our wedding, we took a class on Natural Family Planning (NFP) and learned to chart and take temps. I've taken 2 classes now and have my own personal consultant! I have books of charts (12 months of charts for 2007). By December, multiple cysts had returned.
I was diagnosed (incorrectly) with polycystic ovarian syndrome and took needless medication for it for months. We began doing injections of HCG and progesterone. Went through multiple hormone tests (blood draws). I was then told by my doctor that I was above his pay grade and needed to go to a specialist. In December, we met Dr. Silverberg at the Texas Fertility Clinic. And in case I forget to put this as one of the things I learned: I learned that specialists are way better and much more skilled and efficient at this!! I hope I never have to let a non-specialist do surgery on me again.
For 2008, there were 12 months of charts.
In February, Silverberg did my third surgery. A much better experience, though it was still really bad in there. He also found that my thyroid was enlarged. Enter a new doctor in my life (my endocrinologist), who diagnosed me with hypo-thyroid. Been on Synthroid ever since and see this guy every 6 months. In April, we attempted our first IUI with injectables. That's where you take injections of "wheaties" to help your eggs grow big and strong. Then another injection to release the eggs. And it gets a little too detailed from there. Anyways, it didn't work.
We began preparing for our In-Vitro (IVF) cycle, which was done in August. You can read details about all this here on the blog from that year. Our first cycle, we had 2 embryos put inside me. We lost both babies. We had one frozen embryo remaining and we began preparing for our frozen embryo transfer (FET). That was done in November and we lost that child too. We grieved. And we rested. We were a bit relieved it was all over and we wanted to move on.
I only have 4 months of charts from this year. They hijack your system and charting is irrelevant during these treatments.
In January, we decided to adopt. In April, I had an ultrasound (haven't had one since) and there was at least one cyst. It looked like an ovary was stuck somewhere it shouldn't be. In June, our son was born! Best day of my life... along with my wedding day! (Again see details of our adoption on the blog). In July, I visited a new ob-gyn for my annual. He said, "See you in a year!" I laughed. My last ob-gyn was invited to my wedding! That's how well and how often I was seeing these people! So, the "see ya in year comment" struck me as funny. I induced lactation so that I could breast-feed Lucas. It was for him and for me. The best treatment for endo is pregnancy. The second best treatment for endo is breast feeding. I breast fed my adopted son for 7 months! A wonderful gift. And I've had little to no pain with endo for over a year. In October, we got new insurance and my endo or anything related... not covered. We prayed. No charts for 2010! Lucas was hope-fulfilled and he has healed my heart in more ways than I know.
I spent my time NOT going to doctors (avoiding them actually)! On August 1, we got new insurance... and I'm covered! I know it's a good idea to go get a check up soon and I probably will. It doesn't mean I want to ;) I have two charts from this year. I thought I might pick it back up because it tells me a lot about what's going on in my body. But I just haven't had the discipline for it. And there's a twinge of disappointment with each month that passes. I just counted it up and we've been married for 54 months. That's 54 months that have passed and no plus sign on that stick. And no, I don't pee on 'em anymore! We are talking about adopting again. Very excited about that.
So, that's that. I'll begin writing the series soon.