Category Archives: ivf

Everything No One Tells You – Trying to Conceive After a Miscarriage Cont’d

To be completely honest, I think the miscarriage took more out of us emotionally then either of us were willing to admit. We still had faith in the process, but had lost hope it would work for us.

We began our 3 insurance covered rounds of gonadotropin injections –

Round 1 – Not pregnant.

Round 2 – Not pregnant.

Negatice PG Test

Round 3 – and the last round our insurance would cover….. and something went wrong….

If you have ever been in a situation which required an IUI, it is a process you do not easily forget. Something which is supposed to be done in the privacy of your own home suddenly becomes a forced, planned and a very calculated event.

Before 9am, my Prince was required to drop off a sample so that it could be tested for agility, speed and form….and No, not the kind displayed by the Broncos at the Super Bowl last night….

Then I headed into the office after 11am for the Intra-uterine insemination (IUI).

I arrive as schedule, they take me back into a room and discuss the results of the semalysis from this morning’s sample and then they make me read all the labels to make sure it is My Husband’s sample they are holding and are going to use for the insemination; Very controlled and very calculated events.

I then am asked to get into a gown and so happily toss my feet into the stirrups at the end of the office bed before draping my lower extremities with a cloth piece of fabric which was obviously supposed to make me feel more comfortable with the whole naked thing. Fail.

The nurse walked in.

Now to her credit, she was an APRN, very sweet and incredibly talented. However, she was unwed, single, no children and very emotionless when tending to my bedside…none of this made the process any easier.

The drape was lifted and she tried for the first time, to insert the catheter.

Now men, feel free to shy away at this point as you might get queasy.

For an IUI, there is a flexible catheter threaded through the iuiwoman’s cervix. This requires that there is room between these pieces of cartilage which means there must be slight force used. For a women trying to conceive, never been pregnant or has never had her cervix altered, this can be painful…as one could imagine.

Her first attempt, she hit a wall. “Oh,” She stated like a Head Cheerleader trying to let you down easy that you did Not get on the squad, “Your cervix is tilted.”

My first though? What the crap does that even mean? But I did not speak aloud.

Attempt #2 = Wall

“Ok, honey.” She placed a hand on one of my knees at this point, speculum-aforcing gravity to take hold of the metal speculum and instantly creating a pain and discomfort to my now full bladder. “I am going to try one more time, but your cervix is J-shaped and tilted so I am having a hard time getting the catheter through.”

After grabbing hold of the speculum again, obviously not thinking of the fact there was a human attached to it, she shoved the catheter in again.

The sensation was no different from the first two failed attempts, but she said she got it through….so in goes the sample.

Now the standard process for an IUI is to lay with your hips elevated for 10 minutes after the process is complete in order to keep the chances higher that something from the Sample will do what it was supposed to.

She removed the catheter and with it, what felt like the entire specimen sample, exited as well.

I immediately knew, she did NOT make it through my deformed and confidence-shaken cervix and we just wasted an ENTIRE CYCLE trying to conceive; but I was too intimidated to say anything.

I lay there, for 10 minutes more, praying that just 1 sperm would stay behind and help us to have a baby. I prayed that the Nurse would come back in and tell me she messed up. I prayed that my tearcervix was a better performer. I prayed for the baby we never got to meet. I prayed for my now bruised bladder to hang in there so this didn’t become one of the most embarrassing events. I prayed this would be the fastest wasted 10 minutes of my life.

Round #3 – Not Pregnant.

Everything No One Tells You – Trying to Conceive after Miscarriage

“You Never completely Heal emotionally from a miscarriage. When you decide to move forward with more treatments, it will sometimes feel as though you are turning your back on the child you lost. You will torture yourself with imagined scenarios of siblings, of your lost child’s reaction to your decisions. You will inaudibly consult your child on decisions that you feel they need to be a part of. A miscarriage creates a scar on your heart- and there is no healing scars. You just learn to live with them. Do not be ashamed of them. Embrace them, and make them part of your life. You will be stronger for it.”

We started our Gonadotropin injections as soon as we were allowed too, having passed the injectable class. It required a daily injection in the abdomen, a trigger shot, an IUI (Intra-uterine insemination) and the usual blood work and ultrasounds. The schedule looked something like this-

myfertilitychoices.com
myfertilitychoices.com

New Cycle:

Day 2- Blood work/Ultrasound

Day 3 through 11 – Injections + 3xs Blood work

Day 12 – Ultrasound, Blood work and an injection

Day 13 – Blood work, Ultrasound, Trigger Shot

Day 14 – A physical break

Day 15 – Specimen Collation, IUI,  Blood work

Day 17 – Progesterone Inserts 1-2xs daily as the doctor checks blood work very 5-7 Days

http://whenrugonnahaveababy.blogspot.com/2012/05/crinone-8_19.html
http://whenrugonnahaveababy.blogspot.com/2012/05/crinone-8_19.html

A side note about progesterone Inserts; They are disgusting. Stop reading  and move to next paragraph if you are easily grossed out. The are a cream filled tampon you must insert to which gravity applies. Think about it. They are gross and required everyday after an IUI during an injectable cycle. Invest in some panty liners!

Now, the Prince and I had been through the general process 3 times before this cycle and used to do every step together. Things changed after the miscarriage. We became very determined and goal orientated. instead of taking it step by step.

I no longer walked to the dungeon of shame with him and instead, I sent him on the 1 hour drive alone to give a sample before 8 am, as required, while I waited back at home for the scheduled IUI the same afternoon. It became routine; no longer enjoyable.

http://newmyanmarpyi.blogspot.com/2014_03_01_archive.html
http://newmyanmarpyi.blogspot.com/2014_03_01_archive.html

To be completely honest, I think the miscarriage took more out of us emotionally then either of us were willing to admit. We still had faith in the process, but had lost hope it would work for us.

Getting a shot in my gut was a tough transition from simply swallowing pill. Even though I took the class, there was still the mental challenge of sticking myself with a needle, on purpose. I envisioned myself trying to fall onto it, or sticking my finger or my husband instead of my love-handle. I knew that the greater purpose for this was a baby and that helped when my husband did the shots, but it was so different when I had to do it myself.

To add a little pressure, all of these medications were scheduled and needed to be given within an hour of the same time which they were given the day previous.

I recall one time in particular; I was on work travel and it was the first time I had to give myself a shot alone. At dinner, I snuck a piece of ice into my cheek thinking I could numb my gut in the bathroom. When I finally arrived to my stall, the ice was gone and I was faced with sucking it up and sticking it to my gut, all alone, or quitting.

I am Not.  A. Quitter.

At the risk of being found, passed out on the floor of a public rest room, with a syringe in hand, I took a deep breath, grabbed as much skin on my abdomen as possible and shoved that need in, like a butter knife into a well-done sirloin. As my hands trembled, I pressed the back of the syringe into the front and injected the meds into wherever the tip of the needle had landed (I could only imagine).

Success.

The only obstacle now was to exit the bathroom stall with an expression that explained the fact that my feet were no where near the usual ‘sitting on the toilet’ position and my skin tone had gone from a nice fuchsia to a translucent cream.Feet bathroom stallI smiled at the first person in the long line that made eye-contact.

I watched the tiles pass my feet on the floor, to pass the rest.

Round 1 – Not pregnant.

Round 2 – Not pregnant.

Round 3 – and the last round our insurance would cover….. and something went wrong….

Everything No One Tells You – Healing from Miscarriage

My first miscarriage was more painful both physically and emotionally then I ever could have imagined it would be.  I realized very quickly that those who knew what had happened didn’t know what to do or to say so, I didn’t talk about it.  Instead, I avoided the topic and secretly cried myself to sleep for many nights.

Every time another friend announced a pregnancy secretly hated them.

women suffering

I build a wall; an emotional barrier that I refused to cross as a means to protect myself and my little angel.

In March, about 8 weeks after the miscarriage, we decided to try a new treatment; Gonadotropin Injections.

A side note: You Never completely Heal emotionally from a miscarriage. When you decide to move forward with more treatments, it will sometimes feel as though you are turning your back on the child you lost. You will torture yourself with imagined scenarios of siblings, of your lost child’s reaction to your decisions. You will inaudibly consult your child on decisions that you feel they need to be a part of. A miscarriage creates a scar on your heart- and there is no healing scars. You just learn to live with them. Do not be ashamed of them. Embrace them, and make them part of your life. You will be stronger for it.

“Gonadotropins are hormones (LH and FSH) that can be given in an injection to stimulate a woman’s ovaries to produce follicles, which contain an oocyte (egg). Women who have not been able to become pregnant with clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene) may be encouraged to try gonadotropins as a next step” (www.uptodate.comcontents/infertility-treatment-with-gonadotropins-beyond-the-basics).GonadInjectables

“Gonadotropins are two hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which are normally produced by the pituitary gland. These hormones stimulate the ovaries to produce a follicle, which contain an egg (oocyte).

Most gonadotropin preparations used for infertility treatment are created in a laboratory (called recombinant preparations) and must be injected under the skin to be effective. For most women, a preparation containing only FSH injections is recommended. Women who do not have regular menstrual periods and who have very low levels of LH and FSH require a preparation containing both LH and FSH” ( www.uptodate.comcontents/infertility-treatment-with-gonadotropins-beyond-the-basics).

In elementary terms, it was Clomid in a liquid form that had to be injected in the abdomen once, daily. It was supposed to increase the cd8-us-left-ovary-folliclesnumber of follicles I developed so that upon HCG injection (trigger shot) I would be able to conceive (35% chance I was told) when combined with yet another IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination).

We had to take a class for this round. From what I was told by my trusty Google searches, I should expect in this class, to use a syringe in a citrus fruit.

Google fail. practicing injections

We showed up at the class to sit for 2 hours and listen to how to inject yourself in the gut and then sent home. No example, no practice, not even a fruit in the room.  Awesome.

For someone who was afraid of needles her whole life, this girl had some major overcoming to get through – but nothing compared to what I had just gone through.fear-of-needles-trypanophobia

We picked up our mound of needles, vials and booklets of instructions and went home to get prepared….

When suffering from infertility and trying to find away to ‘make things work’ there is a lot of stamina required . You cannot turn away from events you once ran from. You truly have to be able to face all these challenges head-on if you want to get through it. So many couples feel unsupported that they surrender and decide it wasn’t meant to be.

If this is you – Don’t Quit.

Take a break, take a vacation or have a cold glass of wine in a warm and bubbly bath; but don’t quit.  If there is a desire, a need, to feel a child grow within your womb, then follow your heart and try anything and everything you can. If that desire is there, it will come. Maybe not in our timing, but it will come.

Try not to despise those around you who seem to get whatever they want. Try not to push them away because they have what You want. Try to understand that they truly are no more deserved then you, it is just in the timing.

You Cannot experience True Joy Unless you have suffered Great loss. 

You. Are. Not. Alone.

hope

Everything No One Tells You

causes-of-infertility
Morefertile.com

Looking back on my previous decades of life, I have decided that personally and as a society, we readily take the ‘steps in life’ for granted. We are born, grow up, go to college, get married and have a family. I know I assumed that when my husband and I wanted to start a family it would come to us quickly and easily. Oh, how I was wrong. A journey that is supposed to be a fun, spontaneous and energetic between two people in love, quickly resulted in the biggest battle we had to face together. Infertility-Sign1We start our journey, in this series “Everything No One Tells You” here, because there are SO many couples out there suffering from what sometimes feels like a shameful disease.  In the United states alone, there are more then 6.7 million couples (about 2 in every 10) who face some kind of fertility issues (CDC.gov). That is not meant to scare those of you who are about to start this amazing journey, but instead to give you comfort that you are not alone.

I sure felt alone in my 7 year journey to parenthood; Partial Complex Epilepsy, clomid, intra-uterine insemination, gonadotropin injections, in-vitro fertilization, multiple miscarriage. I felt alone, embarrassed, frustrated, depressed and useless- among many other hormone induced emotions. My Husband became married to Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde – unpredictability became the norm in our household.

For clarification purposes it is important that you know the generalization for infertility is “not being able to get pregnant after 1 year of trying or 6 months if the woman is 35 or older. Woman who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant” (medicine.net).

So how did it all begin? Well, since I had been diagnosed with Partial Complex Epilepsy (due to doctor error in prescription medication I had been given), I was actually told I should not get pregnant because the stress of pregnancy may induce a seizure. Seed We tried to start a family for 2 years before beginning seizure medications and then after one of the worst seizures I had we decided to call it quits for the baby making stuff and get my health and well being in order first.

Fast Forward 2 years – I had just weaned myself off Kepler and Lamictal, which I had been taking to address the seizures, only to discover that a common side effect with these types of medications was amenorrhea. Right out of the gate, we faced our first challenge in fertility. In short, I stopped all seizure medications, got a ‘normal’ cycle going and still, 2 years later…..nothing. No pregnancy, no inkling of a pregnancy…nothing. My Prince and I decided it was time to get help. Well, lets face it ladies, we decide when it is time to get help because most men have too much pride to ask for help, ever….even if it is 2 am, you are lost with no cell phone signal and you hit a deer so badly your car won’t start….

I digress.

So, at my physical that year I asked for a referral to a fertility specialist. We made our ‘consult’ appointment and began what I felt at the time, was an embarrassing and shameful, journey to parenthood. My Prince and I both met with the fertility doctor, Dr. O, no pun intended. No, I am not kidding. His office was a fancy corner office, with wall to wall windows. His office space that wasn’t transparent was covered in awards, certifications and degrees. He seemed like a wonderful candidate, professionally, to get us pregnant – right? We sat there, red-faced, as he asked us questions we were not prepared for. He probed for information on our ‘romantic life’ to include frequency, positioning, locations etc. No joke…it felt like my father was interviewing me which made it more awkward and uncomfortable. This setting was NOT helping the shame I felt walking into this clinic.

After a lip biting hour he discussed tests we must go through in order to pinpoint what was going wrong. I distinctly remember having an out of body experience during this portion of the consult. Dr. O was rambling on about the different tests we needed and I only heard words here and there; x-ray, water, histogram, dye in the ovaries, catheter, internal ultrasound etc. I had no clue what any of this meant but I kept nodding as if I were in a job interview I knew I wasn’t qualified for. Deaming of baby

I was terrified.

The thought of adoption came to mind.

When my mind and body eventually reunited, Dr. O asked me to give blood work as a baseline for comparison throughout this process.  He also told my husband they would need a sample from him. No, not a blood sample, and yes, a story for another blog post.

Our journey had officially begun with the Fertility Specialists. We made necessary appointments and were silenced by fear the entire 50 minute drive home.

Next Blog Post: Routine Fertility Testing for Men and Woman

What No One Tells You

We are starting a segment on this blog in the coming weeks called ‘Everything no one tells you.’

It will start with a segment on conception; the truth, insane as it may be, on what we do and do not truly know about the conception, growth and birth of a baby. It will then move into Everything No One Tells You about Pregnancy and Birth. We will laugh as fellow mothers, cry as friends in loss and rejoice in holding our children for the very first time.

It will walk you through a 7 year journey to parenthood. A mother’s first pregnancy loss as well as first successful pregnancy and birth. You will endure the physical and emotional struggle with her as she journals the events.

The Blog is going to cover what no one tells you about these events in life, both medical and emotional as well as open your eyes to the honest, and yet sometimes raw, truths about becoming a parent.

Please share with anyone you know who is struggling to get pregnant, or maybe a friend who just suffered a miscarriage because we will work our way through these events in laughter, tears and joy. Healing is on the horizon my friends!