Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Infertility Awareness - Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Reading everyone's stories lately has really forced me to reflect on where I am and how I got here.

I'm 35 years old, quickly coming up on 36. I started trying to conceive 2 days after my 34th birthday. July 10, 2011 was the first day of my period and we threw all forms of birth control right out of the window. We had only been married a month, but we had spent 10 amazing years together. So why wait. We had already waited. We had already traveled and lived our life "pre-children". We were ready. There was no point in waiting any longer. After getting pregnant on the Mirena IUD just a few months prior (ectopic) we thought, oh, this will be easy. I mean if we can beat those odds...

Unfortunately, my cycles were irregular. They were lasting close to 40+ days. I didn't wait long. By October I was in my regular gynecologist office asking for help. He recommended I use Femara with my next period. That period never came. I was pregnant. I was thrilled. Over the moon. Except something wasn't quite right. I didn't feel pregnant. Then the spotting started, but my betas were amazing, so I was told not to worry. Due to the earlier ectopic I was given early ultrasounds to confirm a uterine pregnancy. So at 5 weeks, there it was, perfect looking sac in my uterus. Come back in a little over a week so we can see more...maybe even a heart beat.

I continued to spot, I continued to feel, nothing. My next ultrasound was scheduled on the 3rd anniversary of my mother's death. I kept telling myself, that the universe was not that cruel, everything would be fine. The morning before the appointment, I finally got morning sickness. You have no idea how happy this made me. The next day, the same thing. Finally, this is okay. It's happening for us.

We went together for the ultrasound. It was a Friday afternoon. November 18, 2011. A day of sadness for me, but this time, my mother would be looking down on me, so I held on to that. Until the ultrasound tech as if she was telling me the weather, said it was a blighted ovum and left the room. The sac looked exactly the same as it had a week and a half prior. The rest is a blur. There was a consult room and a doctor (mine was on vacation) telling me I needed a D&C. They scheduled it for Monday, because after all, Thanksgiving was the next week. My world fell apart that day. I was shattered.

I could go on about the d&c (and then subsequent emergency d&c that was done 6 days later while visiting family for the holiday), but what else is there to say about that. At that point, you're just going through the movements...you're not really present.

In late January, 10 weeks later, we were finally able to start trying again. At this point, we've gotten pregnant twice in less than a year. I'm grieving, but I still have hope. We tried month after month. Every month I ovulated. Proof from the temping, the monitors, the OPK's, the progesterone levels, all proved it. Every month, nothing happened. I would count out my due date each new cycle. The next cycle, I'd start over. The hope remained. Even though every day, ever month, it got harder and harder. Friends that were trying were getting pregnant around me. Left and right. Then they were having their babies. I was still on the outside looking in.

My RE appointment finally came and went. We all know how that went for me. Dr. Asshat, as I like to call him. Refused cycle day 3 blood work for the first 4 months. After 2 failed IUI's, I demanded it.

And finally, there it was. Diminished ovarian reserve. And not just low AMH and high FSH. But REALLY low AMH <.16 which is undetectable. The FSH was similar, at 18.5 it was very high and increasing. I was dropped by my RE, with a snap of his fingers, well unless I wanted to use donor eggs right away.

Every RE in my city is basically the same. No one wants to bother with a woman with DOR. Their odds just aren't good enough. My only option was to travel. So off I went to Chicago, then the call with CCRM. My odds still, were so low. I was given between 10-20% odds of success with IVF. Even with some doctors telling me it was pointless, I went forward with my laporoscopy and hysteroscopy only to find out I had stage III endometriosis that my left ovary twisted and adhered to the side wall to the point it wasn't functioning.

That leaves me with where I am today. After a chemical pregnancy following my surgery and more waiting, and under suppressing on birth control I am still waiting just to move on to IVF.

My hope...has wavered. My belief is not as strong. I no longer see a child in my future with certainty. I don't feel as strong as I once was. I often wonder what I did to deserve this. If something from my past is coming back to say, "ain't karma a bitch?". I'd like to think not, but the loss of my fertility could be one hell of a blow.

Being infertility awareness week, I have recently wondered if I should take my struggles more public. To make people more aware, rather than to hide behind this disease. At the end of the day, I take so much pride in this world that I have to myself, outside of people judging me for the anger and sadness that comes with this journey, that I can't share this blog with just anyone. I feel supported here. I cannot lose that, at least not right now. One day, I hope that changes, and I can share my journey and my struggles with everyone so that their can be more understanding and so that women can be their own advocate when it comes to their reproductive system. I hope to get there...

I don't know what lies ahead. I don't know if I'll become a parent. I don't know if we'll do donor eggs or adoption or if we'll choose to live a child free life. That option breaks my heart, but what I've learned in this, is there are no guarantees in this life.

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your story. You have been through so much and you sound like a very strong woman. I hope you never lose that hope and I look forward to following your journey as it unfolds.

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  2. You are a very strong woman and your journey has been filled with a lot of discouraging things. I like how you still have hope and you are pressing forward. I hope and pray that you are blessed with the child you want and so deserve.

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  3. Oh Suzanne, I was not aware of your full story - of all of the pregnancies lost way, way too soon. I was not aware of the complexity of your situation either. I'm so sorry for this burden you're carrying and for the fact that so much uncertainty lies ahead. I am really, REALLY rooting for you. I hope and pray that IVF is successful for you, that you will have your miracle baby in your arms very soon. And if not, I will continue to pray for a miracle baby for you, however he or she gets into your arms. And if that doesn't happen, I pray for complete happiness and fulfillment for you.

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  4. You are so brave for sharing your story on this blog. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to share with others if you aren't ready. You are already doing so much by supporting all of us, your friends. I will be here to support you and pray for a resolution that brings you happiness and peace.

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  5. Suzanne I am so rooting for you. I love that you are your own advocate. I love that you stand up for what you want and what you know is true. I admire that and try to emulate it in my own journey. You are in my daily thoughts and know that you will be an amazing mother!

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  6. You say that after all you've been through, you're not as strong. But, I think differently. I think you are stronger for all that you HAVE been through. I know it's hard to think about it that way, though. Just know that I see strength when I think of you! xoxo

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    1. I couldn't agree more! Very well said Aubrey :)

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  7. Thanks for sharing your full story. I'm with Jessica, don't judge yourself if you are not ready to share your struggles with all your friend in real life. I think the best gift we can give to us, is really listen to our hearts and take care of ourselves just the way it feels right - for us. No matter what everyone else is doing.
    xoxo

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  8. Thank you for sharing your story. It's hard to believe that we are in this path. Wondering what we did to deserve it. I have to disagree when you say your not strong anymore...with everything you've been through I think you have done a pretty darn good job at keeping it together and moving forward. It's a hard decision to be open a out your infertility. Don't be so hard on yourself... Not everyone is ready to share such a tremendous part of their life with others. I, myself was sort of forced into being opened about it. But only with my side of my family. Just recently I decided to be opened with Js family because it was getting to be to much everytime they asked if we were pregnant yet. I will be keeping you in my prayers that this IVF cycle has a good outcome.

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  9. Opening up takes baby steps, that's for sure. Heck, we didn't even open up that we were ATTC with our DD at all. And this time, it took 9 months to tell our parents we were TTC. I've just begun becoming an open book persay as far as secondary infertility goes in the last few months. Just blogging about it is a very open thing to do, even if it's unknown our people "IRL".

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  10. oh, what a heartbreaking tale yours is. thank you for sharing it with us.
    how could anyone still have great hope after going through all that you have been through. it's ok not to feel any hope at this point. hope is not a prerequisite for success. Stubborn determination is, and you clearly have some to spare. i remember Alice Domar (conquering infertility) stating that the vast majority of couples resolve their infertility one way or another. i believe you will too. but where you are right now must be a place of great pain. be kind to yourself: you are stronger than you feel you are.
    warm hugs to you, dear woman.

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  11. Wow Suzanne. I am so sorry for how this journey's been for you and I know with the way things are right now with your body and being unable to get started with your first IVF cycle it is so depressing and frustrating. I really do think your very own precious baby is in your future. I just hope it's soon. *hugs*

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  12. I just found your blog. Thanks for sharing. When I was going through a similar situation, it really helped me emotionally to be able to read other people's stories and know that I wasn't alone. Hang in there girl. Time heals most everything, and try to think positively! (BELIEVE me, I've been there and I know it's hard but really. Who knows what would've happened if those pregnancies had continued, maybe you would have lost your own life!)
    -your new follower-
    Char
    http://char-and-jared.blogspot.com/

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  13. I had no idea about all that you've been through. I am so sorry. But I have to say that I am very hopeful for you. You've had two recent pregnancies in spite of the not so great numbers, that I think says a lot. In all the years I have been in the IF world, I have seen many cases like yours make it to the other side. I know this is so cliche but you only need one. Hang in there. xo

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  14. I am so sorry to read this and is saddens me, you are so strong and been through so much. Whatever happens do not regret your choices, look after yourself xx

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