Monday, November 19, 2012

A Long Overdue Update...One Year & Three Days Later.

Well, here I am. One year & three days after our world came crashing down. It's been one year & three days since we first found out that DH had no sperm. I can still remember that day as if it were only yesterday. The pain, the hurt, the's all still so real. A year has come & gone and we're still no closer to parenthood than we were to begin with....all we have to show for our struggles is a mountain of medical bills & a painful cyst on my right ovary that refuses to go away. It's been a long time since I updated this page, I actually had 3 IUI's done in total, all of which failed. With my first IUI, in February, we went with a, higher than normal, dose of Femara (5mg, normal is 2.5 mg) and a ovulation trigger shot a day before my IUI. On my second IUI, in March, Dr. Bates decided to keep me on the same dosage since I responded so well to the first dose. On March 27, I woke up with severe abdominal pains & was told by my nurse to go straight to the ER....after several ultrasounds & tests, it was discovered that an ovarian cyst had burst.
In April, I asked that an HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) test be done.....that was terribly painful!  An HSG test is an X-ray test that looks at the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes and the area around them. During a hysterosalpingogram, a dye (contrast material) is put through a thin tube that is put through the vagina and into the uterus. Because the uterus and the fallopian tubes are hooked together, the dye will flow into the fallopian tubes. Pictures are taken using a steady beam of X-ray (fluoroscopy) as the dye passes through the uterus and fallopian tubes. The pictures can show problems such as an injury or abnormal structure of the uterus or fallopian tubes, or a blockage that would prevent an egg moving through a fallopian tube to the uterus. A blockage also could prevent sperm from moving into a fallopian tube and joining (fertilizing) an egg. A HSG test also may find problems on the inside of the uterus that prevent a fertilized egg from attaching (implanting) to the uterine wall. Because of the HSG test, we took that month off from an IUI.
 In May, we went full force, I was put on a very high dose of Femara (10, normal is 2.5mg) as well as, high doses of Follistim injectables (100IU, my injectables were FSH hormone shots that I gave myself daily) & a 10,000IU Novarel trigger shot that I had to give myself on May22. 
On May 24, 2012, we had our last donor sperm IUI. We were out of money (each vial of donor sperm costs $700, we had bought 3 & insurance does not cover anything for infertility, each of our three procedures cost roughly $1,800 each), out of patience, & just emotionally could not handle any more of it. We decided if this last IUI didn't work, it would be our final chance. On June 7, my menstural cycle arrived & we were done, it was over.         Since I ended treatment, I've suffered terrible pains from a cyst on my right ovary caused from the high doses of hormones. The cyst has begun to affect my menstrual cycles so instead of coming every 28 days, they can sometimes not come for as many as 46 days. Anthony & I have adjusted somewhat to the idea of not being parents, we still catch ourselves saying things about "when we have kids". Maybe someday we'll try again, or possibly look into adoption but for now we're just enjoying our time together with our two dogs, Mojo & Squeaky....they're our babies for now & we definitely treat them as such:)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 10, Grow Follies Grow!

I had my CD10 ultrasound today, this one was painful! The nurse got really excited when she first looked at my right ovary because she thought the cyst that I have there was a follicle ready to go LOL! Turns out none of them are ready to go yet, I didn't expect them to be though since I always ovulate on CD19 naturally. It took her forever to find my left ovary, I was beginning to wonder if I even had one:/ lol, it turns out I just had very active bowels today that kept moving in front of my left ovary! After performing a few acrobatic tricks on the table for her she was able to see my left ovary & determine that I have 8 follicles on that side but only 1 dominate one. She didn't tell me the sizes or anything though:(    Dr. B was with another patient so she's going to call me this evening to tell me my next step.....she did say that most likely he'll have me do my trigger shot on Thursday and come in for my IUI on Saturday! However, it's also possible that he'll want me to come in for another ultrasound on Thursday to check my follicle sizes & uterine lining again. I hate to make another 4 hour roundtrip drive but it would definately make me feel better to have one more ultrasound before triggering just to be sure they're ready;) I can't believe my IUI is so close!

I just got a call from the nurse telling me that Dr. B does want me to come in for another ultrasound one Thursday, I'm praying so hard that my follicles have grown and that everything goes well! I feel like we're so close now but I'm terrified to get my hopes up because I know that there's still a chance that something could go wrong & put us out this month:(  I hate to be negative but in the almost 3 years we've been TTC, I've learned to always expect the unexpected!
All that I can do now is wait until Thursday morning to find out:)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is it hot in here???

I have to admit, most of the side effects I've experienced with Femara are nothing compared to those of Clomid. However, the (almost constant) hot flashes I'm experiencing are definitely less than enjoyable. I wake up several times a night dripping in sweat and have to strip my clothes and blanket off, it's even quite noticable on my BBT chart. I've also noticed some headaches and several mood swings....sorry honey! :) I'm trying to quit drinking caffeine all together though so I'm thinking that might also be a contributing factor.

I also received my 'Pregnyl' trigger shot in the mail today, that was exciting! I'm still scared of giving myself an injection but we've come too far to let one little needle slow me down:)

 I'm just so thankful for all of the support DH & I have received from family...I can't imagine not having that support during this time in our lives!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cycle day 3, transvaginal ultrasound time!

As the title says, I'm currently on cycle day 3 and sitting here waiting to be called back for my transvaginal ultrasound, oh boy! I have no shame anymore, that all went out the window after my first few appointments where we had to share every teensy, tiny detail of our lives, infertility has no room for shyness or modesty I've quickly learned!
I woke up and called around 7am this morning, by 8am I was 20 minutes into my 2 hour drive to Birmingham....wet hair and all:)

Ok, well the ultrasound didn't go as well as I'd hoped, Dr. McKnight found a 2.4 cm cyst on my right ovary:/ I was crushed when she told me she wasn't sure if we'd be able to proceed with treatment on this cycle since it would increase my risk of having that ovary twist, which would require immediate surgery to fix. She spoke with Dr. Bates and they decided to check my estrogen level....if it's low enough we'll continue, if not I'm out this month:(
They told me they'd call with the results sometime after lunch and if everything was ok I could go pick up my prescription for Femara....*fingers crossed!*

Woohoo!!!! I.AM.SO.RELIEVED! I couldn't wait any longer so I finally called them around 4 this afternoon, I had convinced myself that they had forgotten about me LOL! The nurse said everything was good to go & that we could proceed with this cycle!!! Ahhh, I'm sooo excited!!!!! DH was outside talking to our pool repair man when I told him, "we're good to go!!" He got so excited he couldn't even finish his sentence, it was actually really sweet, he got so tongue tied and couldn't stop smiling!
I also found out that I will be giving myself a trigger shot before the IUI along with the Femara. We scheduled another ultrasound appointment for this coming Monday morning (cd10) at 8:45 & I guess they'll tell me then when I need to do my trigger shot, then 24-36 hours later they'll do the IUI!
I'm off to pick up my prescription, hopefully the side effects won't be nearly as bad as with Clomid!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

So it begins!

We're officially on cycle day 1!!!
As expected my period began this morning, I've never been so happy to see her! Now I just have to wait until Monday morning, that will be cd3 and I'll go in for an ultasound to check for possible cysts or any other potential problems...*fingers crossed that we're in the clear*.
Also, if all goes well Monday morning, I will get a prescription for either Clomid or Femara to begin taking until cycle day 7:)
I'm so excited & ready to get this whole thing going!!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Decisions, Decisions!

We're having to decide on a sperm donor now and we've decided to go with Fairfax Cryobank, mainly because they offer 'face matching'. That was really the most important thing to DH and I. The donor we ultimately chose happens to have alot in common with DH, not only physically but also personality wise, they're both engineers too! After I narrowed it down to about 4 donors we chose one together then had my mom look at the choices and give us her opinion, she chose the same donor as us so we kinda figure it was meant to be.
I called this morning and ordered one vial....which cost $445 plus $175 shipping, maybe we won't need more than one:)  They said that it would ship on Monday morning and arrive at UAB on Wednesday....I'm so relieved to finally have that part decided and finished!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's a go....almost:)

Well, I'll start off by saying I'm doing much better than I was the last time I posted! I've pretty much accepted that our path to parenthood is going to be much different than we had once planned. I had my appointment with Dr. Bates today and much to my surprise we were told that we could begin IUI with donor sperm this month if we wanted....I was shocked, to say the least! After two and a half years of TTC, I feel we are closer than we've ever been to becoming parents!
By the way, Dr. Bates and his entire staff are absolutely amazing, I've honestly never felt more at ease than I do with them:)
Anyway, after talking with Dr. Bates, they did blood work to test all of my hormone levels and instructed me to call their office on cycle day 1 (first day of my period) so that I could come in for a baseline ultrasound on cycle day 2 or 3. My cycles are very regular, I almost always start on the 11th day of every month so I'm expecting my period to come on Saturday, which means I can't actually call until Monday morning (cd3) about anxious! 
So now we wait:) 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Strong One

I want to be the strong one, the one that people look up to for their strength during a difficult time. That's just not me tonight though, I can't seem to stop the tears. As I type this tonight, through tear filled eyes, I wonder what the future holds for us. I have so many "what-ifs" going through my head, I try so hard not to let that happen but, at times, it seems to consume me like a deep rolling fog. I never see it coming, it just hits me and I can't seem to stop it. The pain that infertility brings is all but unbearable at times....I feel as though I'm grieving the loss of someone I've never even met but that I love more than I do myself. How do I get over the loss of someone who never even existed outside of my heart & mind? I spent years, before we received the azoospermia diagnosis, imaging what our children would look like....I imagined them as the perfect mixture of myself & the man that I love so much. I'm just struggling tonight with the reality that, now, we will never know. If we are able to conceive with DS/IUI, I have no doubts that we will love them more than life itself & that there will be no difference to us at that point but, this is all very new to us so the pain is still here right now. 

As I lay here tonight, with a heavy heart and an empty womb, I try to picture the day we finally meet you, the first time we hear the rhythmic thumping of your tiny little heart and your first kicks & wiggles. I'm trying so hard to think only of the good, however, I know that there is a chance that you might not ever come to be. I won't accept that though, I promise to fight with everything I have for you....I promise to keep going until there is no where left to go. I pray daily for you and the love that I already have for you is truly immeasurable. I keep thinking I can just wish you into existence but that's simply not possible, if it were you would've been here long ago! The decisions your daddy and I have faced so far have been harder than we ever dreamed possible, I pray that you will never be faced with these types of decisions yourself but that you will understand and not resent us for the decisions that we have had & will have to make. You only exist in our hearts & minds right now but we already love you so much. Hopefully, someday you will be here and know the love that we have for you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Our new reality

Well, we had our appointment with Dr. Kolletis on 12/14/11, he performed a physical exam on DH & sent us for blood work. A semen analysis, testosterone test, FSH test, and Karyotype (genetic) test were all ordered & we were told that the results would be back in a month. That was one of the hardest months of waiting so far, I feel like we've swapped waiting on my ovulation day & period for waiting on doctors appointments & test's all a never ending waiting game but it will hopefully be worth it someday soon:)

We received all but the Karyotype test results back on 1/17/12. They were as follows:
Sperm count, 0 (Azoospermia)
Testosterone 358, within normal range of 180-827
FSH 27.1, very high above normal range of 0.7-11.1

After receiving those results we were advised that the only possible way of ever conceiving a biological child together would be through IVF/ICSI using either TESA or MESA. Obviously, this is devastating news for us but, at this point, we expected it. The IVF/ICSI procedure would cost upwards of 12-15k and it is in no way guaranteed or, in our particular case, likely to work. So, after much prayer, endless discussions and many sleepless, tear-filled nights, we have ultimately decided to forgo the IVF/ICSI process and instead opt for IUI with donor sperm.
I won't lie, this was by far the hardest decision we've ever had to make as a couple and we are still struggling with it. I worry about the challenges to come and know that whatever decision we make will affect our entire future. It tears me apart knowing that DH & I will never have a biological child together but I know that any child we do have will be loved immensely & never be any one's but ours. I know that if we use a donor, that's all they'll ever be to us but it's still scary. I have so many 'what ifs' in my head right now, as usual.

I have been referred to Dr. Bates, a reproductive endocrinologist at The Kirklin Clinic- UAB, my appointment is 2/8/12 @ 1pm. I have a mix of emotions right now, I can go from extremely excited to a sobbing mess within a matter of minutes! I'm so ready to start this part of our (very long) journey but, at the same time, it's sad to know that we have to begin it at all. Hopefully, by March we will begin IUI & all will go well. I guess we'll have to wait & see!