Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Endless Journey

Here is my background and my journey.

My husband, Todd, and I were married on September 8, 2007.  If you had asked me a year before if I saw myself married I would have told you no way.  And if you asked if I was going to be married to Todd whom I have known since 1997 I would have said HELL NO!  But we fell in love and we got married. 

After that we made out first big step.  We bought a condo together.  Everything was going wonderfully.  I vowed to quit smoking so that when we were ready to have a baby it would be done.  So I went to hypnosis and after 19 years, I put down the cigarettes and haven't touched them since!  That was in July of 2008.  I figured we would start actively trying to conceive (TTC) shortly after that...Todd wasn't ready...he didn't feel financially we could do it.  So we waited...

And waited...

Until finally in February of 2009 I stopped taking my birth control.  Todd was convinced it was going to happen right away.  Boy, were we wrong...

It was almost two months later that I called my GYN because I hadn't gotten a period.  I had taken a few home pregnancy tests (HPTs) and they were negative.  My GYN put my on Provera to make me get my period (aka Aunt Flo = AF).  So AF came and went and it was another two months.  At this time I was taking my temps to try and see if I was ovulating.  My temps were all over the place and it was another almost 60 day cycle.  Another round of Provera and this time my GYN threw in some low dose Clomid...still nothing...Provera again...a higher dose...still nothing. 

At this point, my GYN said well why don't we run some bloodwork and so an HSG test.  Basically this test injects dye into your uterus and under and x-ray machine will tell you if your tubes are open.  I had heard this test only presented some minor cramping and bleeding afterwards but wasn't horrible.  The bloodwork showed I more than likely had PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).  My GYN prescribed metformin to help me with that in the hopes it would help me ovulate.

So the day came for the HSG and I went to the hospital and down to radiology. 

I saw stars that day...

It was the most painful thing EVER!  And it did not bring about good results.  The dye never went to my tubes.  They thought I had a misshapen uterus and they recommended an MRI to get some more accurate results.

After the MRI it was determined that I had a uterine septum.  This is basically a wall of tissue that was separating my uterus into two.  Not the ideal place for a baby to implant.  At this point my GYN sent me to a specialist at the University of Connecticut.  I met with this doctor and he determined I would need surgery to remove as much tissue as he could.  I had my surgery on October 1, 2009.  A couple weeks later it was determined by my doctor that he felt the surgery was successful and we could move on.

So move on we did.  In November, we started with the medication Femara instead of Clomid...I did not respond to this medication either.  I also stopped taking the metformin - it messes with your tummy something awful and I couldn't take it anymore.  So we started with injections in December.  I used a medication called Follistim, and low and behold it worked.  I produced one follicle and did intrauterine insemination (IUI) to try and achieve pregnancy finally...but alas the test two weeks later came back negative.

The next cycle we did the Follistim again.  I did 30 days of injections with no response.  That was January 2010.  We cancelled that cycle after we shelled out almost $3,000 for the Follistim.

At the end of January 2010, Todd was presented with an offer to move to Colorado for his job.  We decided that we were going to do it.  it would be a big move but the pros outweighed the cons.  So we decided to try for one more cycle before putting TTC on hold until I could get a new doctor in Colorado.  This time we combined Clomid with Follistim and again produced one beautiful follicle.  Unfortunately that ended in a BFN (Big Fat Negative).

So we stop doing what we are doing.  I go from May to September with no period.  On September 3, 2010 we fly ourselves and our cats out to Colorado, while our cars and are belonging hit the open road.  We leave everything behind.  Before I left I asked my specialist (RE) what he would have done next.  He said he would have repeated the HSG and continued with the Clomid/Follistim combo.  I value his opinion and plan on letting my new RE in Colorado know (when I find them) this is what I want.

So we move forward to October 2010...I meet with an RE out here in Colorado Springs.  The RE tells me that he will not even consider treating me until I have lost at least 50 pounds...  This is heartbreaking.  I am upset about it but I know it's for the best.  Then I think to myself...NO!  I want a doctor that is willing to do something - testing, anything instead of letting me go home to eat salad and do crunches.  I'm a big, beautiful woman and I deserve a baby regardless. 

I decide to try another RE.  And so I find Dr. M.  I want to keep her anonymous.  Dr. M. met with me and ordered bloodwork to start.  A full workup of everything from cholesterol to glucose to thyroid.  At least I felt she was doing SOMETHING!  Unfortunately, after having been off the wagon for a good 9 months I became afraid to jump back on the wagon...  I waited until January 2011 to do my bloodwork.

My results weren't horrible.  They confirmed I am insulin resistant.  I was put back on metformin, this time an extended release which has proven to much easier on the tummy.  :)  The doctor also wanted to do and endometrial biopsy and HSG test.  NOT ANOTHER ONE!!  I had to wait for AF to show and then I could schedule the HSG. 

Unfortunately it was at this time that I developed a problem with irregular bleeding.  I started off by having AF that lasted 10 days...I had to cancel the HSG because it needs to be done between days 6 and 12 of your cycle.  I couldn't stop spotting and bleeding.  The next cycle it was 2 1/2 weeks...the following cycle 3 1/2 weeks of bleeding.  when it stopped I went 9 days without any bleeding before it came back again.  I called Dr. M. and left messages with the nurses and they told me not to worry.  Finally I talked to Dr. M. and she had me come in.  At that point I had been bleeding for 40 days. 

My joke was that my uterus gave up being normal for Lent since it was right around that time.

Dr. M. gave me Provera and told me that it should stop the bleeding and restart it so I could get AF and do the biopsy and HSG.  I ended up having to take an additional medication to stop the bleeding AGAIN so I could get the tests done.

The endometrial biopsy was going to pull out a but of lining from my uterus and they were going to test it for cancer.  Sometimes when you don't have a regular period the lining can build up and cancerous cells can form.

The biopsy was very painful.  Afterwards I began to clot and bleed, but thankfully it stopped quickly and then I felt normal again after that.

The very next day with the dreaded repeat HSG...I go to the hospital and get checked in and get called back.  Two very nice girls walked me over to x-ray.  I told them of my horrendous experience the last time and told them to make sure the radiologist was out of reach of my fists.  :)  Surprisingly enough it was a piece of cake...it was over before I knew it and I now know that the septum caused a lot of pain the last time.  So I thought this was a good sign.

We were able to determine that my right tube is open (that's a relief).  There still appears to be quite a bit of scar tissue and possible septum left and it appears that tissue is blocking my left tube, so as of right now that one is no good and cannot be used. 

The biopsy results did come back clear which was a relief, but now it looks like I am looking at a second surgery to try and correct my uterus.  Right now I stand very little chance of implantation so pregnancy is not an option right now.  I will know more in the upcoming few days as to what my next steps are.