HCG 3 and Asherman’s Syndrome

We continued meds for another couple days and had one final blood draw this morning. It revealed the HCG at 3. We drank a beer and I ate some chocolate. I’ve two beautiful men right here in my arms. I spent Monday mourning the loss and have done my best to celebrate and spoil my two right here.

This journey through IVF with multiple diagnoses and Asherman’s to top it all off, has been an impressive one. We have come so far, especially considering that Asherman’s diagnosis was less than a year ago and had completely incapacitated my uterus with scar tissue. We made it all the way to transfer and even had a positive pregnancy test. I am grateful to have found all the professionals and prayers that brought us this far.

We are not done yet.

I received a message loud and clear Tuesday morning when baby J threw a complete tantrum with flailing arms, crying, screaming, wailing, and kicking. He had a bowl of blueberries right in front of him, but he desperately wanted the bowl of blueberries in the fridge. He wouldn’t look at those in front of him, wouldn’t enjoy them, wouldn’t even acknowledge them because he was fixated on the ones he didn’t have in his bowl.

Loud and clear, I was reminded to take time to love appreciate who I have right here, rather than fixating on who I don’t have right here, right now. I do believe I will meet all my babies one day when there is no more illness, death, sorrow, or pain. When we are all young and healthy for eternity.

 

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Try, try again. :)

Good news today. Probably the best news we could get. Lining was almost 6 and triple layer and our doc said he would transfer with a lining like this. !!!! That means, my uterus which was completely obliterated 7 months ago, is now functioning, maybe not optimally, but functioning.

We are going to initiate a period with medicine, then repeat the meds used last cycle with a few tweaks to the plan. If things look good along the way, on day 20, my doc checks the lining again and we potentially transfer an embryo.

If anything weird presents itself along the way or the lining is not satisfactory on day 20, we go into surgery where he will remove more of the scar tissue from the initial damage. This will hopefully provide more “real estate” (as he says) and give us a better chance to grow a healthy lining and baby.

Doing a mind overhaul over here. I’ve got so much to love in my life. There’s no point fixating on the past and things I cannot change. I must focus on keeping this me (scars and all) as happy and healthy as I can, which mandates lots of fun, laughter, and a full belly – at least that’s what I think. :)

I am a science experiment.

If I didn’t feel like an experiment before, I certainly do now. We tackled the “unknown” causing us to not conceive when we enlisted the help of IVF and were gifted with baby J. Now, adding to that “unknown” my battered and scarred uterus, and we are all left scratching our heads.

This month was prepared to be a mock cycle, trying new meds to build up the uterine lining sufficiently. We are up against quite a challenge due to the severity of the scar tissue deep in the uterus. So, of course, my body would decide to rebel against all reason and, even while on estrogen, it would decide to begin sloughing off the functional layer of uterine lining that we are so desperately trying to build…. 7 days early.

It’s day 14, but my body is acting like we are on day 21 or further. I’ve had medicated cycles before where the sloughing didn’t begin until well past day 28. What is going on?

The orders are to stay on meds unless the bleeding continues, then we go back to birth control pills, but either way, we keep our final appointment next week. I can’t imagine what my doc is going to say. I hope he will have experience with sassy uterus’ like mine and have a plan all ready to go, with extra support during the last two weeks so we keep things from falling apart too soon like they did this time.

I do feel that things are progressing in the right direction. I feel more bloated in my lower abdomen – not pleasant, but when the goal is to build and promote blood flow, I think this is a positive. The acupuncture seems to have eliminated any cramping associated with all of this, so that’s great, and it’s also helped immensely with my anxiety and general feeling of being overwhelmed by the unexpected/disappointment/”sky is falling” moments. I don’t know what did the trick to get rid of the fluid (acupuncture, viagra, pentoxy, or cutting out dairy/sugar), but it was gone yesterday. Hopefully, we can keep it away. I kind of expected some strange effects from the viagra, but there is nothing to report. Ever since I started taking the pentoxy with food, the nausea/headache hasn’t returned.

So, I now see a chiropractor, acupuncturist, and fertility specialist on the regular – they are all amazing and wonderful, I might add. I have eliminated gluten from my diet and nearly eliminated dairy and sugar. I take supplements three times a day, a various concoction of prescription meds which change each month and go in both ends, and at least a couple times a week, I give myself an injection (sometimes subQ, sometimes IM).

This has become my normal.

Daily, I remind myself how lucky I am to have this life with my husband, toddler, cat, dog, house of my own, parents, brother, in-laws, and friends who are always willing to listen and help any way they can. My new normal is wild, but it won’t last long in the grand scheme, just as time with my loved ones will pass all too quickly.

Soaking in the moments that bring me joy and doing my best to smile through the rest.

Asherman’s Syndrome

Another diagnosis to add to my infertility lineup. Premature ovarian failure, diminished ovarian reserve, low AMH, MTHFR C677T/C677T, and Asherman’s syndrome. I am so glad my doc required a meeting yesterday. He explained to us with the visual aid of the internal ultrasound in live time that my entire uterus is collapsed upon itself and stuck tight with scar tissue. Luckily, the cervix is open, so he doesn’t have to create a new one (sounds like fun, right).

He explained that he must stay in the right position during surgery so he can open up my uterus and “create some real estate.” He feels it would be beneficial to grow the endometrium as much as possible because that can provide a guideline for his incisions. I’ll be on estrogen for 21 days followed by prometrium for 5, then surgery, followed by another round of the same meds and a possible second surgery. Surgery will be laparoscopic, through my belly button and another port below my bikini line so he can get a good hold on everything. This also means my belly will be filled with gas to increase the area in sight. Yup, I’m nervous about it. Read more on Asherman’s and treatment here: http://www.ashermans.org/information/stages-of-ashermans/

How did it happen? It often occurs after trauma to the uterus from surgery (such as the two D&C’s I had to remove my placenta after baby J’s delivery). The question mark is why did my placenta stick in the first place? Maybe I am predisposed to scarring and there was nothing that could’ve been done to prevent it. I know the diagnosis could’ve been much worse.

My hubby has been a rock. He has faith that we will get through this. His love makes me stronger.

None shall pass.

None shall pass.

Today, the trial embryo transfer was a no go. The catheter went only so far and the internal ultrasound revealed some tissue in the way, but everything beyond that looked great! The first time I had the Doppler test to check blood flow, my numbers were over 5 and they wanted them closer to 3. That time, I did get my numbers down close to 3 with acupuncture and diet changes, but this time, my numbers were a little over and a little under 2 – even without acupuncture (though I do miss it)! Woohoo!

Then came the hysteroscopy which we knew was only going so far and, sure enough, we got a great picture of what looked like a shallow belly button (not really a belly button, but that’s what it looked like). Evidently, after my second surgery to remove my placenta 6 weeks after delivery, the two walls of my uterus (just past the cervix) healed together when they should’ve stayed separated. I meet with my doc tomorrow to establish a game plan and set our date for surgery.

Strangely, I’m comforted in knowing there is a diagnosis (Asherman’s syndrome), treatment (surgery), and a confident team of doctors on my side!

What to do…

I’ve been thinking about everything we tried before we finally resorted to IVF. I’ve been thinking about

the pregnancy tests, ovulation tests, fertility monitoring,

the diet changes (no sugar, no dairy, no gluten, no caffeine/coffee/chocolate),

the supplements (DHEA, primrose oil, etc.),

de-stressing (quit a job, stopped exercising, said “no” to more opportunities),

the acupuncture,

meeting with a naturopath,

the Mayan abdominal massage,

the testing, IUIs, hysteroscopies, that painful HSG,

reading, reading, reading, and

the wishing, hoping, and praying.

Now, we are here, on the other side, with a teething toddler and toys everywhere. Is it possible to still be in awe of it all? Am I still in denial that we are actually here? Is it possible we could be so lucky again? Do I go back and try all those things again or do I just ignore the fact that we ever needed treatment? It all feels like a long, long time ago… yet only three years have passed since our miscarriage, two years have passed since our FET.

Tomorrow, I go in for more tests: bloodwork, trial embryo transfer, doppler of blood flow, and another hysteroscopy. I hope all tests will yield positive results and we can move forward in hopes of adding to our family again.

Big Day

Today was a big day. We met with the financial consultant (signed papers). We also met with our IVF nurse (medication and injection info AND signed more papers) and I began to chug 32 oz. of water. We were also informed that due to my egg health (low AMH), we would be doing a dual trigger. The additional medicine would be put into our pharmacy to arrive with the other medications. Then, we were off to the trial embryo transfer (TET) with a very full bladder.

Nurse checked it first, then Doc showed up and applauded my “good job” (haha) of filling my bladder sufficiently. I wanted to ask how many ladies pee on him in the process, but I refrained (yes, I was afraid I was going to do this, so I had a change of clothes in the car). The transfer was complicated by an obstruction of sorts and Doc said he would explore further with the following hysteroscopy. He was still able to pretty easily get the catheter right where it needed to be. Doc left and the nurse did our doppler ultrasound. My blood flow didn’t seem to be as free as they would like, so I will continue to avoid caffeine and inform my acupuncturist, increasing appointments to twice a week.

The hysteroscopy revealed the tissue complicating the TET and Doc was able to make necessary changes that will hopefully make our real FET (frozen embryo transfer) a breeze.

A big day. A good day.

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