I'd like to start by promising that I will do my very best to make all my posts much shorter than the last (after this one... you may want to grab a coffee and a comfy spot on the couch for this one too). I should be able to end this post with where we are in our journey as of today, or at least I'll come very close. Every entry after will be as things transpire. So, unless there is a whole lot going on in any given day, which I can't imagine there will be, I should be able to keep it short and sweet. Thanks for going back in time with me, we're almost there... or here... or right now... or... whatever, you get what I mean. :)
As I had mentioned in the last post we had been left feeling pretty hopeful post D&C; that we would be able to get pregnant again fairly quickly. I had read several things online about girls getting pregnant even before they got their next period. Yes, I do realize I need to stop consulting the internet for these type of things however, our midwife had told us the same thing, as well as hearing stories from friends and family. On a side note; it is truly amazing how many people tell you they have been through the same situation when you go through something like this. (Almost 20% of KNOWN pregnancies end in miscarriage) Makes me wonder if it would be easier to deal with or if I/we could have been better prepared, had more people shared their stories before? No, I don't believe you could ever completely prepare yourself for something like a miscarriage. I just wonder why it's so taboo when it happens to so many people? But I digress, we decided to wait until I got my period before starting to try again. Something just made me feel better about waiting, even if it was only a couple of weeks. Like clockwork, (I have always been extremely regular. Except for the 5 years I didn't have a period at all) 28 days post D&C, I got my period. GAME ON!!
We continued to try for months and months with negative pregnancy test, after negative pregnancy test. It was time to start researching... Why hello there, Dr. Internet!!! I'm back and I want to know everything you can possibly tell me about the best things to do to get pregnant. I'm not messing around here! You want me to stand on my head? Done! You want me to eat powdered herbs, that taste disgusting? Done! You want me to sleep with a bowl of full moon drenched water under my side of the bed? (Love you Ash) Done! You want me to get Cozart to wear big baggy smiley face satin boxers and sweatpants so as nothing is "hugging too tightly"? This is probably where he'll be drawing the line. You want me to wear a statue of kokopelli around my neck and do a tribal dance while chanting in a loin cloth, under the full moon, in my front yard? Annnddd... that's where I draw the line! I did, however, find a website to chart my morning temperature to pin point ovulation. I also charted every twinge, ache, pain, emotion and possible symptom of pregnancy. I charted when I exercised, got less than 8 hours of sleep, when I had a glass of wine, and so on. I read books about what to eat, drink and exercises to do that promote fertility. We practiced the "Sperm Meets Egg Plan". And I did a whole lot of praying!!! I did all of this for a year. I lived my life (and still do) in 2 week intervals. 2 weeks until ovulation, 2 weeks until Aunt Flo's arrival, with high hopes that she would stay away for 9 months. But she didn't. She and a flood of emotions came every 25-28 days without fail for another 12 months before I went back to my OB-GYN for my annual exam and to ask what to do next.
I went in for my exam and, just like many OB/GYN's do, because they are not trained or certified to do anything else, he ordered a progesterone test 7 days past ovulation and followed up by putting me on clomid for 6 months. Clomid is a drug that helps those who do not ovulate, ovulate. I do ovulate so putting me on such a drug isn't really doing anything for me, except for possibly increasing my chance of having multiples. I still took the little pill on days 3-7 of my cycle for 6 months with no luck. So it was back to the doctor I went and this time, I wasn't leaving there without a referral for a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE for future reference). I had done some research (I know, weird, right?) before going to see Dr. S (my OB/GYN). I had found an RE right near our house to ask him about. Dr. S was in complete agreement that I should move on to a specialist. I asked him about the RE I had found and he told me, although he had no problem with the doctors, he had had other patients state they were not happy with the staff. He suggested we try a different RE, we'll call him Dr. T, although I have a few other choice names for him but Dr. T will be sufficient and much more pleasant. I scheduled our visit as soon as I consulted with Cozart.
As we made our way to our appointment I was drowning in emotion. I was nervous, excited, scared, nauseous, kind of sad it had to come to this, but mostly I was hopeful. More hopeful than I had been in quite some time. I was also very prepared with all of my charted information printed out for him to analyze. I was very proud of my charting and thought he would be very impressed with the amount of information I was able to provide. We checked in and had a seat. We waited, for what seemed like forever, not surprising for a doctor's visit. The nurse called us back and sat us in 2 big comfy chairs in a very dark office. We waited some more. And waited. And waited. Finally Dr. T came in, introductions were made and he had a seat in his big comfy chair at his desk to review our file. Clearly, this was the first time he had seen the information I had sent in a week prior to our appointment. He quickly paged through the questionnaire, asked us a few questions and stated we would start blood work and be doing an ultrasound today, followed by an HSG test in the coming weeks and Cozart would have to have a semen analysis test done as well. He said something about IVF being one of our options but we will discuss that further when the test results come back. He completely dismissed my charts and told me I was just driving myself crazy tracking all this stuff. :( He also dismissed any concerns we had of my eating disorder having any lasting effects on my body. Possible damage caused by the D&C was dismissed. Anything else we brought up, also dismissed. And by dismissed I mean, he didn't even allow us to finish the question or statement before he completely shrugged it off, scrunched up his face in a funny way and said "No, No, not a concern to me.". We were lead from his office into what appeared to be a closet. Where his not-so-pleasant nurse drew blood and I was escorted into yet another room for the ultrasound. I was told everything looked great and I had a beautiful uterus. Wow! Thanks Doc, that's one I've never heard before! After the ultrasound the doc lead us back out to another nurse who answered any questions we had and she lead us to the financial counselor. She gave us cost estimates on every procedure, put everything in a generic green folder and we left.
On the way home, we discussed the appointment. I was trying very hard to feel more hopeful than I did when we arrived there that morning but something didn't seem right. I thought I would leave feeling like there was no doubt in my mind we would have a baby, I didn't. I had talked to people who had been to RE's who had said things like "You WILL be having a baby before you are done with us." or "We will do whatever it takes to get you pregnant.". We didn't hear anything like that. In fact, I had even started thinking, maybe I was a lot tougher case than he's seen before. I mean, I'm 34, never given birth before. I don't have a specific diagnosis like endometriosis or PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) nor do I have the symptoms so they don't have something specific to treat. Maybe I'll be one of those who are labeled UNEXPLAINED and just can never have kids. I know now that these are all very irrational thoughts but I wasn't really given much else to work with. So I prayed that God would tell me if we were in the right place and in the meantime, I would just try to be positive about the experience.
The nurse called and left a message with my blood test results and said they were NORMAL. Mind you, I don't even know what specifically they were testing for, other than progesterone. So what the numbers were and for what tests? I hadn't a clue. I figured I'd start my list of questions and ask when I went in for my HSG test in the next week or so. In the next week I spoke to many of you and probably sounded much more optimistic than I am sounding right now. That was me doing my best to stay positive. I didn't pay for all those acting classes in college for nothing.
On the first day of my cycle, I called Dr. T's office to schedule my HSG test as instructed. The Hysterosalpingogram or HSG test is done by injecting dye into my uterus which travels up into my fallopian tubes. They take a series of x-rays while the dye is traveling through my uterus and tubes. The pictures can then be used to identify any blockages, damage or problems that could prevent the egg from traveling down the tube(s) to meet the sperm. The test is done on day 5-10 of your cycle. Mine was scheduled on day 7. Cozart would be giving his "sample" on this day as well. The day of this appointment was much like the first appointment. We came, we waited and we waited. I was called back but Cozart had to wait for them to call him so he couldn't be with me. The nurse who called me back told me I had to give a urine sample and disappeared, leaving me in the middle of the hallway with several other patients moving from room to room. I didn't know where the bathroom was, where the cups were in which I was to pee in nor did I know where to put said sample when I was finished. A fellow patient must have noticed the look of utter confusion on my face. She said, "The bathrooms over there, the cups are in the bottom drawer and you have to bring the sample to the nurse.". I said thank you and she turned and said, "Get used to this.". Yikes!! At that moment my Hope-o-meter went from a 1 to about a -2 when it came to ever seeing a little Genny or Cozart. And unfortunately, the appointment didn't get much better for either myself or Cozart. After peeing in the cup I was left to walk around with it until I found a nurse to give it to. (Cozart had the same experience with his sample. Like it's not bad enough he had to do THAT in a restroom with tons of people walking around right on the other side of the door.) Luckily she was also the nurse who would be assisting with the HSG so she kindly escorted me to the other closet where the procedure would be performed. She was by far the most pleasant person I had seen or spoken to in both visits combined. She did however, give me the I feel so bad for you, type of nice and proceeded to complain about her kids. I would imagine rule #1 in dealing with those having difficulty having children of their own would be, don't discuss and definitely don't complain about your own kids. As we wrapped up the small talk about her "crazy kids" Dr. T came in and flipped through my chart. I am convinced he was trying to figure out who in the heck I was and what he was supposed to be doing with me. He came across a piece of paper from a urologist. I had complete forgotten that Cozart had some blood work done to test his testosterone and had the results sent over to Dr. T. His levels were on the very low end of normal which I had read (Dr. Internet) could have some effect on male fertility. I explained this to Dr. T to which he responded: "It's on the low end? So what, that's like saying you're kind of pregnant' You either are or you're not.". And tossed the results at me for my own records. Even with very VERY little knowledge I have compared to this man, I still know that what he just said makes no sense what so ever. So we proceed with the test. He injects the dye and proceeds to steer with my legs to get different angles. Can you say AKWARD?! He had some difficulty with the right side and I felt a pinching/pressure at the same time. In a matter of minutes we were done. He shook my hand and I asked him another question. I honestly, can't remember what it was now but I know it was in regard to the test. He told me to hold all other questions for my next consultation. Seriously? You can't take 5 seconds and answer it now? On the way home Cozart and I discussed our unfortunate experiences. Although it wasn't said out loud, I think we were both thinking, and God was telling us, this was not the right place for us right now.
The nurse called a few days later to tell me Cozart had "Super Sperm". A few days following that we had what would be our next and last visit with Dr. T. The last visit was a consultation; where I was allowed to ask all my questions. He reviewed the findings of the HSG which were that I have a possible blocked right tube. He suggested we proceed with laproscopic surgery to unblock the tube followed by IVF. He also brought IVF up at our first appointment. Weird seeing as he hadn't run any tests yet. We still weren't clear on the different blood tests that were done, just that they were normal. Cozart questioned other options such as IUI. He said it would be a waste of time but if we couldn't afford IVF, he would do it for us. Gee thanks! Side note: Fertility treatments are not covered in the state of Florida. The laproscopic procedure would be but not for me (insurance change) until April and it would still cost around $400. IVF with the meds is upwards of $18,000. We left Dr. T's office and again, sat with the financial counselor and went over the cost for the lap surgery. She told me I would have to call and find out what the hospital charges would be. I wanted to say: "Isn't that your job?". But I didn't. I felt completely defeated. I know he didn't tell us we couldn't have a baby at all but he couldn't find anything, aside from a "possible" blocked tube, wrong with us. I was just hoping they'd find something. That probably seems like a crazy concept to some I know. I guess I was just hoping they would find something, we could treat it and even if we had to do some crazy expensive treatment, at least I would know. If we wanted to have a 2nd child (God willing), it's all this all over again and still no answers as to what is preventing us from getting pregnant.
Over the next couple months, I turned to eastern medicine. Acupuncture and chinese herbs. At my first visit Dr. L told me I would be a difficult case as there is no diagnosis but he would treat for inflammation of the right fallopian tube. I can't say whether or not it actually did anything for blockage but it gave me 30 minutes to do nothing but relax and boy did I need it. Dr. L had just branched off a much larger practice and had started one of his one. Over the course of 3 months every time I went in the herbs, would be $2 more than the last bottle or he wanted to try another treatment along with the acupuncture. I began to feel as if he was trying to make up for lack of patients by adding unnecessary treatments and hiking up the price of the herbs for his current patients. So I stopped going. Again, I wasn't feeling very confident and the little hope I had left got washed down the drain with the disgusting herbs he had me taking (36 pills and 4 tablespoons a day to be exact). It had been 2 years, one miscarriage, 2 doctors (not including my OB/GYN) and enough OPKs and negative HPTs (home pregnancy test for the baby making novice out there) to pay for a round of IVF. It was time for a break...
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
(almost finished with the time warp, I promise!!)