Since I began with the middle, this is the post, reader, in which I bring you up to speed on my long struggle.
Preface (a little bit of rant on my soapbox… because I can):
I do not support the Suffering Olympics (aka. competing to see whose infertility story involves the most suffering). Everyone’s journey is their own. Every infertility sucks. Period. I simply share mine here for context and so that readers with questions can reach out.
- Context: I’ve been on birth control since puberty for irregular periods and pain. I take medication to manage severe anxiety and occasional bouts of depression. I’ve had all sorts of chronic pain most of my life. I’ve never been pregnant. Partner and I are both 31.
- I taper off my anxiety medication and have my IUD removed (Yay! We’re going to have a baby!)
- We try for six months using ovulation test kits right out of the gate. (I’m really impatient so we were going to get this thing done as efficiently as possible.)
- Nothing happens, so my gyno throws my first infertility drug into the mix. Clomid + timed intercourse (Yes, this is the point when sex becomes “intercourse,” ugh.)
- We see an Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) for the first time.
- Lots of testing: (Blood tests timed to cycle, Ultrasounds timed to cycle, HSG, Saline Sono, Genetic panels for myself & partner, Sperm analysis for partner)
- No cause for infertility found (Maybe a partially blocked tube?) “I’m almost certain you’ll have a baby within three months,” says the RE
- Three IUIs (Clomid + trigger) = Nothing
- IVF #1: Fresh cycle = 4 embryos, 2 transferred = Nothing
- IVF # 2: Fresh cycle = 4 embryos, 2 transferred = Nothing
- Now we’re broke, so lots of waiting (grrrr) while we pay off our IVF debt.
- More tests: Abdominal ultrasound, Karyotype testing for partner and me
- So much waiting
- FET #1: 2 transferred. FIRST POSITIVE EVER!!! The nurse warns me that it my beta is very low and unlikely to be viable.
- FET ends in a chemical pregnancy a week later.
- I go back on my anxiety medication, but plan to go off of it again for the next transfer.
- IVF # 3: Fresh Cycle only = 1 embryo
- PGS (pre-implantation genetic screening) of the 1 fresh + 2 banked embryos reveals that all three are genetically normal.
- Back to the drawing board: we switch to a new clinic
- My new RE thinks I have endometriosis and that it is the cause of our infertility. (Someone took my pain seriously, and we might have answers? What!!)
- Lots of tests: More comprehensive genetic panel for partner and self, genetic counseling, uterine biopsies, hysteroscopy, abdominal MRI “with gel” (NOT recommended)
- IVF # 4: Fresh Cycle only = 7 embryos, PGS shows 6 are genetically normal
- Start birth control pill to prep for surgery
- Depressive episode, add a new medication to my current anxiety med, diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoria Disorder (PMDD) (Just add it to the list).
- Laproscopic Surgery: confirmed and removed endometriosis, found and removed small uterine septum, third procedure to relieve painful bladder syndrome.
- 4 weeks of estrogen and 1 week of progesterone to support recovery from surgery
Current & Upcoming (It’s still 2017? Whew!)
- daily luprolide acetate injections to suppress endometriosis growth (it also puts me into a menopausal state)
- Taking two daily medications, plus one as needed (to help with anxiety and depression while they’re messing about with my hormones)
- Switch to monthly lupron injection
- Just one more test….: 3D ultrasound
- FET #2 is coming (November?)