Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Finally, some updates

I obviously have not been posting lately. It is most definitely not because I don't have anything to talk about. And it isn't that I don't have the time. 

But, I don't know what to do with these words.  I've said before that this blog can be an outlet for me, but it can also be a heavy iron chain tied around my ankle, not letting me escape my grief at times.

But enough has happened that it warrants at least an update here.

In July I began a new fertility-friendly diet, omitting gluten, cow's dairy, refined sugar, alcohol, coffee, most caffeine, frozen and cold foods and beverages, raw vegetables, and sugary drinks, including fruit juices.  I've lost 23 pounds and am thrilled.

In August I began acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicinal herbs.  We also began visiting a support group once a month.

In October, I went to a new clinic for a second opinion since my old doctor, Dr. Robbie, went back to Canada (good riddance).  This is when I learned that my AMH hormones are low, which means I have the egg reserves of a woman in her late thirties, not like the young 32 year-old that I really am.  Clock is ticking faster than we thought. Great.

In November, based on information I'd learned from other women at our support group, I decided I must be a candidate for endometriosis, got a referral to a new doctor, underwent laproscopic surgery, and was treated for mild to moderate endometriosis. After which, I adapted my diet to be more friendly to endometriosis symptoms, which meant omitting soy and eggs from my diet as well due to their high estrogen levels.

During the surgery, my doctor also examined my uterus to make sure there were no fibroids or anything else abnormal in there.  Fortunately I checked out just fine in that department, so that's a relief.  He also did another dye test on my fallopian tubes while I was under so I could avoid doing a third dreaded HSG test.  We wanted to see if my left fallopian tube was still open, since it had been blocked the first two times, but they'd broken through with a catheter during the second HSG.  Oddly, the left was open but the right was blocked now.  I later asked my new RE what she made of that, and she had no idea, other than that clearly I have some issue with my tubes, so there's another possible explanation for our years of infertility.  Tube issues were one of the original problems that IVF was invented for in the first place, so at least there is a treatment I guess, but it's still kind of shocking to get this news.

At the same time, B got another semen analysis and the results showed that he only has 1% morphology.  This is the hardest thing to treat with acupuncture, and western medicine can only treat it with IVF and ICSI.  I was so mad that our previous clinic had not been testing this, even after his varicocele repair surgery!  I felt like all my acupuncture and surgery were for nothing after learning about this.

In December, I completed a clomid challenge to check the quality of my eggs, especially since I now know I have a low egg count.  I went off herbs this month so they didn't interfere with the clomid.  In early January I learned that my quality is fine. What a relief.  So I have good eggs, just not very many of them.

In January, I stopped acupuncture because of the high cost, and since we now know that IVF is our only hope of conceiving for several reasons, we need to save every penny for that if we want children.

So that's where we are.  I'll continue the diet because it reduces the symptoms of endometriosis, and because I would like to continue losing more weight, but I have little hope that it's helping me to conceive now.  When we do IVF, I hope to pick up acupuncture again then, but we'll have to see what the finances are at that time.

I feel like I'm coming close or the end of the road on this journey soon. We've gone from years of unexplained infertility, to completely over-explained and too many answers within a couple short months.  It's overwhelming, and I'm becoming glad it will probably soon all be over, one way or another.  

I don't wish any of this on my worst enemy.  It's the hardest thing that B and I have ever faced together, and that's saying a lot, actually.  It's pretty much defined our marriage, though fortunately not our relationship, thank goodness.  

I'm getting tired, and starting to be ready to look forward to other things in life.  I've been thinking about trying to meet new people, make new child-free friends, and become more actively engaged with life... without thinking about pregnancy, children, families, and finances.  We'll see, it's not over until it's over, but it's slightly relieving to fantasize about what it might feel like when it's all finally over.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Queens of Shibas,

    New author and fellow sojourner along the path to fertility, Stuart Burkhalter, writes about the madness and confusion of fertility treatments in his compelling, poignant book Catawampus, The Fertility Process, From A Man’s Perspective coming in April. I think your blog is the perfect forum for comment about his book and perspective. Would you be interested in reviewing his book and/or letting Stuart submit a guest column during his 14-day virtual book tour April 13 – 26 that also coincides with National Infertility Awareness Week April 20 – 26?

    Stuart and wife Julie’s journey echoes many others. The couple was planning to have a baby. She went on vitamins and they went on one last vacation because they thought that Julie would soon be pregnant. Little did they know that they were embarking on a harrowing, almost two-year journey through an emotional and physical minefield that tested their relationship and resolve to become parents. Catawampus is the very personal tale of the madness and confusion of fertility treatments and all that those treatments entail but, this time, it’s from the male perspective.

    Through Stuart’s eyes, we have a front row seat into the relationship between husband and wife, between parent and child, and between longtime friends. Ultimately, the couple is able to conceive and they are now the proud parents of a beautiful, one-year-old daughter.

    Thanks so much for your interest. Please let me know if I may send you his book or a chapter or two.