This is the final part of our journey towards having a child. This will get us to where we are today, but I will keep you updated over the next few weeks. You can read Our Fertility Journey Part I, Part II and Part III here.
The holidays were by far the most difficult for us since being married. We found out we weren’t pregnant after our 2nd round of IVF and it was our first Christmas without Rudy’s dad. For the first time in his life, Rudy wasn’t home with his family for Christmas and that was hard for him. It broke my heart to even think about how he was feeling then to add the disappointment of no pregnancy, I knew he was having a hard time dealing with everything. Although there was a lot of heartache, we made the best of Christmas and were ready to start a new year.
It was time for us to go in and talk to the doctors about what went wrong. I dreaded this conversation. I just knew they were going to tell me that they didn’t know what else to do for us. That they had tried everything they knew to try. That I needed to accept that having a baby is not going to happen for us.
So on January 6th, we walked into the clinic once again. We reviewed the cycle details and once again, everything was great until the poor egg quality and embryo development. Rather than saying, we don’t know what else to do, they had another answer. They wanted to do exploratory surgery for endometriosis. Now remember that spot the doctor saw in my last ultrasound before my last retrieval…they never said this, but to this day, I think that is what trigged them to want to do this surgery. They explained that endometriosis can sometimes be associated with an inflammatory state and may hinder reproductive outcomes, even in IVF. If they found endometriosis, then they would remove it entirely and suppress it with BC until we were ready to repeat IVF. Once we were ready for IVF, they would repeat the protocol from my 1st IVF cycle. If no endometriosis was found, then we would need to consider other options such as donor eggs, adoption, etc.
This was a lot to take in. I went into the appointment hopeless, knowing that we had tried everything. We even said that the last round of IVF was our final try, but now the doctors are talking about a potential underlying cause and I all of the sudden had hope again. But why are we just doing this surgery? Why are we just now discussion endometriosis? Isn’t this something we should have considered earlier? I’ve been at this clinic 2 years now and this is the first time I’ve heard endometriosis come up. Yes, I was angry that they are just now considering this as an issue, but I was hopeful again. I may have a chance here. Maybe I just need to be “cleaned out” and then all will be great.
Without hesitation, Rudy and I decide to sign the consent forms for the surgery that day. The doctor was going to look at the surgery schedule and email me with possible dates as soon as possible. Within 24 hours, she emailed me 3 possible dates, one of which was January 21st. They had a cancellation for that day, but I had to decide that day (January 7th) if I wanted that date. Within an hour, I was booked for exploratory surgery!
Before I knew it, it was the 21st and I had to be at the hospital very early that morning. My dad and stepmom insisted on coming, so they were driving 3 hours that morning to see me before I went back. We arrive at the hospital and I had to go through the typical preparation. Once I was all settled and hooked up to IV, they allowed Rudy, my dad and stepmom to come back and visit. I had a lot of emotions that day. I was nervous. Nervous they would find something unfixable or find nothing at all. Finally, it was time to go back. I said bye to my family and I was off to the OR.
The next few hours are a bit blurry due to the anesthesia, but I do remember the doctor telling me that she found and removed severe endometriosis and she did see the cyst from the ultrasound, which she also removed. Since they did so much cleaning up, she instructed me to take it easy and rest over the next few days, as I would be sore. After a week, I was able to remove the bandages and I was back to normal…physically at least.
I don’t know what happened, but after surgery I went into a deep depression. You would think that I would be happy and excited. Hopeful that I have a fresh start, but I wasn’t. I was really sad. I would cry myself to sleep at night. Cry getting ready in the morning. Cry on the way to work. At work. On the way home from work. No one had to say anything to me, I just had to let it out. I had no desire to do anything or be around anyone. I didn’t return phone calls, text and I know I pushed Rudy away…I just wanted to be left alone. I remember thinking that I needed to see my niece and nephew. They always made things better…they would definitely make me smile. So we went to visit my family and it was so hard. Being there just made it worse. It was a reminder of what I didn’t have. I got in the car that Sunday morning and cried all the way home. I couldn’t snap out of it. The emotions of everything finally caught up with me and I was in mourning. Mourning of what could have been.
I finally realized that there was only one way I was going to get through the depression…God. He was the only one that knew what I was going through. The only one that understood the emotions. The only one that could save me. So, I downloaded a daily devotion called ‘Jesus is Calling.’ It was mid-February, but I decided to go back and read the devotions starting January 1st because I needed it that bad. Within a week of reading my devotion, I started feeling better. God saved me. He continues to save me every day. I am still reading my devotion and I am reminded daily that He will guide me through this. I have to let go of everything and put it all in His hands. He has a plan for us. That is my saving grace.
After going through everything at my clinic, I was ready to get a second opinion. My best friend wanted me to come talk to her doctor and I thought it was finally time to take her advice. On February 29th, I went to the fertility clinic in Charlotte. Rudy was actually out in California spending time with his mom since it was the year anniversary of his dad’s passing, so I asked my bestie to go with me. Thank goodness she agreed, because I was a mess. As soon as the doctor said, “You have been through a lot” I lost it. Tears rolled down my face. While I was feeling better, I still wasn’t 100% and now I had to talk about everything. So I did.
We talked in depth of my journey up to that point. He never said that my clinic was wrong, but he said that he would have done things differently. He mentioned supplements that I could try to possibly improve my egg quality. He explained that he would have never transferred embryos in while my estrogen was so high. Just so many things that he said, made so much sense. It made me question everything up to that point, but also gave me hope. I immediately called Rudy to explain what the doctor said…luckily, my bestie took good notes. I was excited! The only negative and its not negative, it just creates a little challenge is that the clinic is in Charlotte. But, if this was the direction we wanted to go, we would figure that out.
Rudy got back on March 2nd and we went to talk to our doctor at our current clinic on March 3rd. We just wanted to hear what she had to say. What her plans were for next steps. We wanted to make sure we had all the information to make an informed decision. During the appointment, she expressed that she would repeat the protocol from our 1st IVF cycle. No mention of supplements. No mention of freezing embryos. No changes. We left that appointment frustrated, but we decided to take our time to make our decision.
We had a trip planned for our anniversary on March 16th, so we talked about it in depth during that time. We talked to our family about their thoughts. Then we made our decision…we were going with the clinic in Charlotte. We knew that if didn’t, we would question “what if.”
Just like that we were on our way to start our final (and this is really the last one) round of IVF. I went in on April 10th to give blood work. Rudy was sent for a semen analysis. I started taking a supplement cocktail to hopefully help improve the quality of my eggs and before we knew it we were signing our life away…well, that’s what it feels like. So much paperwork. So many decisions. But we were excited!
We felt so good about decision and we keep getting small signs that we made the right one. One May 13th, the doctor called with the SA results. They said that the specific level they were looking at was elevated and that means that IUI would have NEVER worked for us and that we needed to do ICSI. It didn’t change our plans, but it blew our mind that after attempting IUI 6 times with the other clinic this is the first time we have heard it would not work for us. So frustrating!!
So where are we today? Well, I started Lupron injections last night. We are officially in stimulation month. I’ll start other injections next weekend, so I will post in few weeks and give you an update on how it is going.
Rudy is actually going to post next week to give a male perspective of the process. This was his idea and I love that he wants to share too. I have a great man on my hands!
Keeping the faith,
We love being silly together, so it was no exception when I asked Lindsey to take a few shots of us the other weekend. #goofy