I have had bad days in my life...but yesterday was probably one of the worst one's yet. I found out I wasn't pregnant.
Now you may all say...well there's always next month... Not the case with Curtis and I. :( We have struggled with infertility issues for over 2 years. At first we weren't really "trying", we just weren't preventing. After 6 months or so we started "trying" and monitoring ovulation. Then I had a weird month were my period lasted like 27 days (probably too much info)...which took me into the OB. They thought maybe my uterine lining was just too think or something so they ordered an ultrasound. They saw that my uterine lining was normal but my ovaries were COVERED with cysts. The cysts were preventing ovulation - which meant no baby. So they put me on this drug called Clomid. Probably the worst medication EVER!! It makes you moody and my face took a toll - ACNE everywhere. I've never had skin problems, but this drug made me look like a 14 year old boy going through puberty. HORRIBLE!! Clomid is supposed to help with ovulation, but it had the worst effect on me (which I guess happens with a small percentage of women) so I switched to a similar drug called Femara. My face still looked like a war zone, but it seemed to help a little with ovulation - but still no baby.
My skin before Clomid.
(sorry, kind of a random picture to put in this blog post)
My skin after Clomid. DISGUSTING!!!!
(It's getting better now that I've been off the med for a while)
I thought to myself - maybe we should get Curtis checked out so that if there's a problem with him I'm not going through with all this crap for nothing. We went to a fertility Dr. in Sandy and got the little spermies checked out. Well, they weren't the best. His little guys are shaped weird. Only 1% of his sperm are normal shape and swim well enough to fertilize an egg. I guess sperm can come in all different shapes and sizes. Some may have two heads, or two tails, or short tails, or long of tails, etc...so only 1% of his are "normal". The diagnosis was infertility. My polycystic ovaries dropped our chances of having kids on our own to 33%, and with Curtis' poor sperm shape we dropped down to below 1%. The only possible way we could ever get pregnant was through In Vitro Ferilization (IVF) with ICSI (which is where they get all the good sperm and inject it directly into my egg). So, at least there was a chance to still have our own kids...right??
We jumped right into a fresh IVF cycle. They started me on birth control to get my cycle regular. On June 14th I began Lupron injections (10 units) every night. Curtis was scared of the idea of sticking a needle in me so I had to do all the injections myself (thank goodness for my nursing degree haha...). On June 26th I went in for a blood draw and an ultrasound - definitely not the most comfortable experience. That night you continue the Lupron injections - decrease the dose to 5 units - and add 20 units of low dose HCG and 1 vial of Bravelle (which stimulates my eggs to grow). I went in for another blood draw and ultrasound on June 29th, July 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th. They have to monitor you closely to make sure your eggs are growing slow and steady. They had to increase my dose to 1.5 vials of Bravelle to get my eggs to grow a little faster. My ovaries went from the size of walnuts to the size of grapefruits!! They were called "kissing ovaries" because they grew big enough to actually touch each other in my abdomen. Can you say...UNCOMFORTABLE! Ugh. You are so bloated and huge. It hurt to even take Tyson out on a walk to the mailbox. No working out, no playing volleyball or anything for that matter...which is extremely difficult for me to just sit around all day. I'm at a high risk for hyperstimulation, which is when your ovaries get too big that they start leaking fluid into your abdomen. For some women this can be a life-threatening situation where it makes it really hard for them to breath and they have to get the fluid pumped out of them. So they want to monitor me really close so nothing like that happens.
On July 8th they said my eggs were ready so I stopped the other injections and gave myself the "trigger" shot injection. 36 hours later I went in and got all my eggs retrieved. They put you under for this procedure. I guess it takes about 45 minutes. Afterwards you wake up SO groggy. I felt pretty nauseous after, so they gave me some anti-nausea medications. I slept from 2pm-9pm and felt a lot better. They ended up getting 25 eggs out of my HUGE ovaries. 19 of them were mature, so they injected all 19 with Curtis' spermies. 14 of the 19 fertilized and 4 were really good quality embryos. You start progesterone injections or vaginal suppositories 2 days after the egg retrieval. They let the embryos grow until day 5 and then put 2 of them back into me and froze 2. You are awake for this procedure. It's uncomfortable and your uterus gets really crampy, but it's not too bad. Then they say to take it easy for the next 48 hours. The night of my embryo transfer I woke up at 4am in the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced. I woke Curtis up and he said he had some pain medications, but I was SO scared to take anything when I just had these embryos put back in me. So Curtis called the on-call Dr. and he said it was okay to take something and to come in the next morning. They think I had a cyst burst because there was some free fluid in my abdomen, but they don't know for sure. Then came the waiting game for 14 days. I ended up starting my period about 10 days later so I knew it didn't work. I went in anyway for the blood draw and it came back negative. Ugh!
TONS of injections for one fresh invitro transfer!!
Curtis, all dolled up for the Operating Room prior to embryo transfer.
Here I am after getting 25 eggs pulled out of my ovaries. Completely out of it. Lovely.
Getting ready for our fresh embryo transfer 5 days later...
Looks enjoyable right?
#1 - July 14, 2010 - 2 Fresh Embryo Transfer
We went back to our Dr. and asked him what we should do and he said we can go right into a frozen cycle. I got back on birth control and got ready for a frozen embryo transfer. The frozen cycle is a lot easier since you already have the embryos. You have to do Lupron injections every night to prevent ovulation and take estrogen pills to build up your uterine lining. Then you start on the progesterone to help build your lining as well. You have to go in for a few blood draws, but definitely not as many as with the fresh cycle. Once your lining is thick enough you come in for the frozen transfer. They thawed our 2 embryos out and they both looked good. Usually 50% of frozen embryos do not survive the freezing process, but ours were good. They implanted them back into me and 14 days later I came back in for a blood draw pregnancy test. I hadn't started my period yet, so my hopes were high, but it came back negative. I was DEVASTATED. My best friend in CA just found out she was pregnant, so I was SO excited to be prego together. Not so much... Curtis took the second one a lot harder than the first one too.
#2 - September 16, 2010 - 2 Frozen Embryo Transfer
So back to the fertility Dr. it was. We opted to try a fresh IVF cycle again. I think I forgot how terrible the first cycle was, and went right into it. It wouldn't be so terrible if you were guaranteed a baby in the end. But when you go through injection after injection, tons of blood draws and vaginal ultrasounds, gain 10 lbs and feel so bloated, huge, and uncomfortable, can't do anything, the emotional roller coaster, the money spent on everything...and still no baby...it sucks! But we definitely wanted to try again, so I got back on birth control and went through the same process all over again. The blood draws, the ultrasounds, the injections - all the same as the 1st time. We actually had our egg retrieval on Thanksgiving morning! How fun huh?! We had planned to go to Curtis family's house, but had to stay in Utah. We ended up going to our friends Zac and Julie's for a late Thanksgiving dinner. I laid on the couch for a couple hours and nibbled on some of Curtis' plate. This time around they got 14 eggs and 7 were mature. They injected all 7 with Curtis' sperm and all 7 fertilized. 4 were good quality and 3 were fair. Three days later we went back in for monitoring. Our Dr. recommended we do a day 3 transfer, so we did. We implanted 2 and froze 2 again. 10 days later I started my period. Wonderful?! Ugh. I had a feeling I wasn't pregnant, but I was still hoping. I told Curtis I started bleeding and we immediately started crying. We thought 3rd time was a charm right? Not so much. I went in for the pregnancy blood draw and it obviously came back negative.
#3 - November 28, 2010 - 2 Fresh Embryo Transfer
So on to attempt number 4. We had heard that there was this AMAZING Dr. in California named Dr. Marrs. He was the first Dr. to ever successfully complete a frozen invitro transfer. We still had 2 frozen embryos, so we thought he was the best option for us. He flies out to Utah every few months and partners up with a fertility Dr. out here (Dr. Richards). So I got back on this special type of birth control (which made me have this outrageous appetite). I am ALWAYS hungry and gained like 8 lbs in 4 weeks. Dr. Marrs also recommended that I get on this drug called Metformin. It's usually used for diabetics, but I guess it helps women with Polycystic Ovaries as well. I had to be on it for at least 8 weeks prior to the frozen transfer, so we couldn't just jump into a cycle. We had to wait for 3 months. Then came the blood draws, vaginal ultrasounds, more medications, etc. We had two frozen embryos, but only one survived the freeze. So 2 weeks ago we transferred the 1 embryo. I took the pregnancy blood draw today and it came back negative! :(
We had to transport our two frozen embryos to our new Dr.'s office in this freezing cold tank. We locked it up tight in the back seat so it wouldn't tip over. :)
#4 - April 28, 2011 - 1 Frozen Embryo Transfer
So now what??? Do we try one last time? Do we look into adoption? Surrogate? What now?? I have absolutely no idea what we are supposed to learn from all this. It makes NO sense that two people who would make great parents and love their baby unconditionally, can't have kids, but some 16 year old can pop one out like nothin'. This is what lead to this LONG blog post about my worst day - or actually worst year ever!