Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Infertility Update: October 2016

Hi friends! I didn't have much info to share between June and September, but now that we've gotten things rolling with the IVF process, I have lots to share with you. If you want to read my last update, you can take a look here.

In late August, Lee and I met with our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) aka our fertility doctor, and let him know we were interested in moving forward with fertility treatments again. He thought IVF would be our next step, but wanted to do some testing to make sure nothing had changed since we last saw him in June 2015. He wanted to start by testing some hormones and my Vitamin D level. I also wanted to do some testing for a gluten intolerance (Celiac Disease), and he obliged. In addition to the blood work, he did an ultrasound and a biopsy.

The blood work showed that I have low Vitamin D. Most people have low Vitamin D, so this is a common thing. Mine wasn't dangerously low or anything, so he just suggested that I start that Vitamin D supplement again since I have been slacking on taking it over the summer. The blood work also showed that I do not appear to be allergic to gluten, and the hormone he tested measured normal.

The ultrasound that I had was different than any of the ultrasounds I've had before. It was an SIS, which is short for Saline Infusion Sonography. Basically they put saline in the uterus and do an ultrasound to take a look at the uterus and ovaries. This ultrasound caused a lot of cramping because of the saline, but other than that, not too horrible. The doctor was able to tell me during ultrasound that everything looked normal, so we knew already knew the ultrasound was fine going into the appointment.

The biopsy, on the other hand, was not as much of a breeze. The only good thing I can say about it was that it was quick. I had a lot of cramping during the biopsy, and once we were done, the doctor said that he wasn't able to get enough tissue, so he wouldn't be able to send it off to have lab work done. He said sometimes doing the SIS first can make getting tissue right afterwards difficult. There are two reasons we did the biopsy: 1. so we can test for endometritus in my uterus, (which is apparently different from endometriosis), and can be treated with antiobiotics. 2. After tissue is cut out for a biopsy, the uterus has to heal itself, and implantation of the embryo into the uterus can sometimes be higher in months after this healing happens.... so although he wouldn't be able to send the tissue off to the lab, the healing process would still happen, and our doctor was happy with that. He said it was totally up to me if he took another biopsy to send in. Although the 1st biopsy was painful, I decided that I was already there and already cramping and what not, so let's just do it and get it over with. That way we are going into our IVF cycle knowing that we've covered all of the bases that we can, and we don't know of anything that could interfere. So I actually had 2 biopsies taken that day, and I cried like a baby! So to all you women who have experienced pregnancy and child birth... I don't know how you do it!! The biopsy alone was enough to make me lay around and be whiny for the rest of the day. The good news is that the biopsy came back benign, so all is well there.

So other than Vitamin D, everything came back normal. Now I am diligently taking a daily Vitamin D supplement as well as the Vitamin B6 that my NFP doctor recommended, and a daily prenatal vitamin.

Our plan is that with my next menstrual cycle, I will start the injections on day 2, and on day 5 of my cycle I will go to the doctor's office for an ultrasound (a regular ultrasound this time, no saline), and blood work. I will do this for several days, add or decrease medication as needed, depending how my body responds. Once my body appears to have several mature follicles, we will do the trigger shot, which is an injection to trigger my ovaries to release eggs from these follicles, and then the doctor will retrieve all of these eggs. The eggs will then be matched up with Lee's sperm, grow for a few days to become embryos, and the embryos will then be transferred back to my uterus. We hope that they will then implant and I will be pregnant!

So that's a summary of our testing results and what will happen going forward. I will probably update you guys on each next step of the process as I can. If you are going to pray for us, please pray that my body respond well to the medication, and that other side effects (such as hot flashes, emotional ups and downs, etc.) are minimal. Thank you for all of your love, prayers, and support, especially from those of you who have been there for us over the last almost 3 years. I was, and sometimes still am, nervous about sharing all of this and being vulnerable, especially online, about such a sensitive topic. I am so appreciative of those of you who have encouraged Lee and I, and I'm grateful for everyone who keeps reading. Some of you have been reading for almost 2 years now, and I can't tell you enough how much it means to me that you've not given up on us! Your hope reminds me to be hopeful on days when I feel like this is a lost cause. I can't wait for the day when I can post a photo or an update about our family of 3 (or more)! I told Lee the other night in the midst of a crying moment that I love our family of 2. I am so thankful for all of the great things we have going on in our lives and for all of the wonderful people we've been surrounded by. Despite all of that, I am so ready for our family to grow, and over the past 3 years, that yearning hasn't faded at all. In fact, it's gotten stronger. That can make this process a sad, frustrating, and draining one. I just can't thank you all enough for your support during those sad, frustrating, and draining times. I'm so glad to have you all, and most importantly I'm so thankful to know a God who loves, heals, forgives, and restores. He has really given us all of the resources we need to show infertility who is boss!