Why did I start a blog?

by anne1dove

Hi there…my name is Anne and I’m an infertile.  I decided to start my own blog after *stalking* a gazillion other infertility blogs over the past couple of years.  They have often been my lifeline; proving to me that there are really other women out there that get it, that feel the way I do and above that, have had success despite massive amounts of disappointment.

A word on the title of this blog. I must have tried 20 names on wordpress before I could find one that was free.  I suppose it’s an okay title but deep down what I really wanted to call it was “infertility is the devil” haha.  But in an effort to be more *positive* I thought I’d try to keep the title a little more emotionally neutral.

I didn’t even do the tutorial on how to write this blog so we’ll see how it goes. I am a learn as I go along type of person. Bear with me.

Here is my journey so far:

2001-doctors found a massive endometrioma on my left ovary and removed it, dx me with stage 4 endometriosis. I was 21 and totally naive about what this meant, just grateful it wasn’t ovarian cancer at the time. Began Lupron for 6 months, then had another laparascopy after that. Had about 1 year pain relief

2002-started seeking out natural ways to heal my body…yoga, meditation, acupuncture etc.  This helped my mental state but sadly the pain came back full force.

2003-found endometriosis pioneer and expert Dr. Harry Reich and had him operate on my endo. He found stage 4 (it all came back!) and excised it all, or so I thought. He told me his cure rate was about 95%.

2004-met my loverbear and love of my life. Endo is quiet.

2006-got married! No rush to have kids as we didn’t feel mature enough to be someone’s parents. 

2007-2010-started grad school to pursue my dream career. Started TTC December of 2009, blissfully unaware and naive to what lie ahead of me. I like to think of this as a time of innocence. A time before shattered hope, before being a pin cushion, when simple things made me genuinely happy.  I will note that endo symptoms seemed to really be returning during this period of extreme grad school stress.  I pretty much just put my head in the sand and plowed forward…this was not a time to take care of myself, it was a time to get my degree damnit.

2010-After diligently trying for a year with the clear blue easy monitor with no success I was a mess. I was dumbfounded.  I ovulated every month, was so regular, and I was only 30.  With hat in hand we went to see an RE.  RE says endometriosis is reason for infertility.  But I say Dr. Reich cured me! Ha! RE says IVF is likely my only chance of conceiving.  Shock and devastation set in.

2011-Spent the next year dealing with a variety of other stresses in our lives, not to mention anxiety and depression started to really set in following the visit from the RE.  I had never thought I’d do IVF, that it was too much. Too much invasiveness, too much money, too much science. And that it was for 40 year olds. Not nubile 31 year olds. ;) There was a lot of sense of isolation during this time as a great deal of my friends were conceiving their 1st and 2nd children like rabbits around me…incredibly easy too.  I felt like a failure. I felt like I was being punished. I felt like it was my fault.  I cried all the time.  It was a dark time.  I did find an amazing acupuncturist during this time that specialized in endo and infertility and began seeing her weekly and taking all the chinese herbs my mouth could swallow.  It started to help my mood and sleep and pain levels.

2012-Once the dust settled in other aspects of our lives, including buying our first home and adopting our first doggie (yay!) I was finally ready to confront IVF.  We had still been trying *the old fashioned way* aka the *cheap, easy and fun* way this whole time.

March 2012- IVF #1. Antagonist protocol.  Meds aggravated my endo horribly and the whole cycle was super painful.  Nonetheless doc was pleased that I produced 12 eggs, 8 of which were mature…since I have elevated FSH and some signs of DOR as well (yippee ki yay!).  I think 4 fertilized naturally and 2 day 3 embryos were put back into my uterus after the most torturous embryo transfer.  Look up tenaculum on google images.  Yup. Doc found out I have a stenotic cervix. Soooo…wasn’t feeling too positive that the cycle worked after all that trauma to my uterus during transfer.  Still, the BFN that came 2 weeks later was devastating.

April 2012-WTF appointment (love that term), doc says I need cervix surgery before next transfer. Yes please. I say, there is no way I can do another cycle with that amount of endo pain.  Doc says he can operate on my endo too.  I say I want a 2nd opinion–as there was another RE in town who specializes in endo surgery.  When you’ve had 3 surgeries for endo you get pretty careful about who you let in there with sharp objects.  Doc seemed totally irritated that I wanted a 2nd opinion even though he doesn’t do excision for endo (the only proven way to treat endo effectively at this point).  Dumped first RE.

May 2012-Met with other RE in town that specializes in endo.  Not the greatest bed side manner like Doc #1 but who cares at this point. I want results! Set up surgery for June with another IVF to follow.

June 2012-4 hour laparascopy to treat stage 3 endo and repair massive inguinal hernia. Oh that’s what was causing that monthly sciatic nerve pain!  Recovery was a lot longer than expected but the months to follow show me great relief and peace from years of chronic pain.

November 2012-Finally courageous enough to attempt IVF #2.  This time with 2nd Doc. Antagonist protocol again, got 12 eggs, 10 of which were mature, 6 of which fertilized naturally. Thankfully my husband has super sperm.  Transfered 2 day 3 embryos under anesthesia.  Despite anesthesia transfer was still extremely difficult and I was put on terbutilane and valium for 4 days to try to control any uterine cramping that would prevent implantation.  Not surprisingly, another BFN.

December 2012-Buried my grief in christmas decorations and preparations for hosting my family. WTF appointment on NYE…doc says reason for failure is primarily an egg quality issue, not an implantation issue. Ask for endometrial scratch anyhow.  Doc wants to operate on my cervix again right before the next transfer so that it can go more smoothly. If that doesn’t work, he wants to try a TET (tubal embryo transfer). We have 2 embryos on ice from the 2nd cycle and 1 from the first cycle. Decide to proceed with an FET in January.

January 2013-Kicked off the FET process with a hysteroscopy to dilate my cranky cervix and get a partial D&C to help increase implantation likeliehood.  FET process…bcp, lupron, estrace, PIO, medrol, doxy, metformin, baby aspirin here we go.  Side effects quite brutal.  Stimming was easier.  Feel like I am on meds FOREVER. Still attending weekly acupuncture which at this point has been a true lifesaver mentally speaking.  I have reached a much higher level of coping with the pain and disappointment of IF and even have happy days/periods.

February 2013- Transferred 2 dethawed blasts. This is the 6th time I’ve been under anesthesia in 12 months. Oy. No wonder I feel like a zombie a lot. :) Saw two pink lines for about 8 days…then chemical pregnancy (nice term for an early miscarriage).  Cue emotional hurricane of grief.

Break March-July 2013. Took DHEA 75mg during this time. 

August 2013 Fourth and final transfer following 3rd fresh IVF cycle. Antagonist plus estrogen priming plus DHEA plus human growth hormone (whee this made me feel amazing!).  Transfer went perfectly. BFN.  Done with my eggs. 

October 2013. In a quite hellish limbo of deciding whether to embrace a childfree life and all the great things we already have or move forward with donor egg IVF next summer after a much needed break.  This blog will for the time being be focused on that decision making process, everything I have learned from infertility and my life thus far.