Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Infertility Blessings and Ponderings - REs, Injections, and Aidan

When Steve and I got married, we knew that we immediately wanted to start a family and figured it would be realitively quick. I mean, I got pregnant very easily the first time so this time would be a cinch, right? Surely God would bless our union quickly. As we discovered, that was not the case at all.

At first, it was baff
ling and I didn't understand it. I was having other problems, so was already seeing our family doctor who referred me to an OB/GYN. It was then that I was diagnosed with PCOS - Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I won't go into the details of PCOS (it's very complicated) but it was the reason I was struggling to get pregnant, along with a lot of other problems. Then I recalled a conversation a doctor had had with me when Austin was about six months old. I was having some issues and he had off-handedly made a comment about maybe finding it difficult to get pregnant the next time I tried and so not to wait too long to seek help if I didn't get pregnant easily. I believe he knew at that time that I had PCOS, but for whatever reasons, he didn't tell me. It was devastating to hear that I had PCOS, but on the other hand, I was blessed enough to know what was causing our infertility. Many people never know. And, we also were blessed that it wasn't both of us causing it, so we only had one obsticle to overcome.

The road to getting p
regnant with Aidan was very difficult and heartbreaking. I had one miscarriage that I am positive about during that time - prior to starting any treatment. I now know that I probably lost that baby because of low progesterone and had I known I had PCOS it might have been preventable. The months upon months of negative pregnancy tests was almost unbearable. Add to that, medications that make you literally about go insane with the mood swings they cause and it was not a pleasant time in our lives at all. The OB/GYN that I had at the time also was fairly new to the practice and didn't have a lot of experience. Since I had no idea what to expect, it wasn't a great situation. I was on Clomid for 7 cycles - which is unheard of. We had IUIs without any ultrasounds, only bloodwork follow up to find out that, once again, I had not even ovulated so the IUIs were worthless. For a few of the IUIs, they let us sit in the waiting room for over an hour - an hour after we left home, so two hours after the sample was attained. When I complained about this after the third time that it happened, I was told that "it was a busy practice." After several months, I grew frustrated with the lack of care, and moved on to an RE (Reproductive Endocronologist - infertility doctor).

We began that w
ith a HSG - hysterosalpingogram - which is a fancy way to say torture. They wanted to be sure that both my tubes were open prior to even attempting an IUI which may be useless if a) they were both blocked or b) the side was blocked that I was ovulating on. They determined the right tube looked a little blocked, but the left was open.
At our first appoin
tment with the RE, they did counseling on "selective reduction" and when we refused to even consider the option, they said they would limit how many follicles they would trigger with. Due to my height and previous pregnancy history, they would not trigger if there were more than three follicles because they believed to carry more than triplets would be extremely difficult on my body. They also made it very clear that any more than one baby, in their eyes, was not a success. After all that, they began a regimen of a cancer drug, injectables, an hCG trigger shot, IUIs, and progesterone supplements. After four months of negatives, we finally got a positive! With the help of the progesterone supplements for the first three months, I was also able to maintain that pregnancy. We were able to go in to see if the pregnancy was viable at seven weeks, when we saw one little baby and a very healthy heartbeat. At that time, I was released to the care of my OB.

I knew I was not goi
ng back to the practice we had used prior to the RE, so we began searching for a new OB as soon as I discovered I was pregnant. We were so blessed to discover one of the very best OB/GYNs definitely in our area, and I believe in the state of Iowa and beyond. He was in a practice alone - which was our original primary reason we picked him. The second was that he had a lot of experience in high risk pregnancies, which we knew could be an issue if my pregnancy with Austin was any indication.I had a fairly uneventful and healthy pregnancy. I did develop pre-eclampsia again, but we were able to keep it under control until he was delivered. Aidan Charles was born on June 6, 2003 at 8 pounds, 11 ounces and was very healthy. I was so excited and so thrilled to have him join our family!

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