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.

Let the Testing Begin

July of 2011, we met with my OBGYN. I felt anxious, but excited and had faith that she would know exactly what to do. She did not see any red flags in my history and no reason to be concerned. She advised us to consider the Clomid Challenge along with some blood tests to see how my body responds. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that yet, so she recommended ovulation predictor kits, ClearBlue Digital – which worked really well for me and eliminated any confusion with results. The tests were positive on days 11 and 12, then on day 12!

September of 2011, we decided to go forward with the Clomid Challenge and Semen Analysis. The SA was “normal in every way” and they even remarked “we don’t often see people with such high numbers in all areas” Yay! I took 100mg of Clomid on days 5-9 and actually felt quite good, a little loopy, but quite good. Blood tests planned on day 3, day 10, and 10 days past ovulation.

October of 2011, I get a phone call that my blood test for 10 days past ovulation is canceled because of the day 3 test results of my AMH level. My OBGYN had consulted a reproductive endocrinologist about the results and they were referring me to move on to the endocrinologist immediately. My AMH was 1.0 and, at age 28, that was “low.” I was told that we had a 10% chance of conceiving on our own and 30% with IVF.

The earliest date I could get in to see the reproductive endocrinologist was late October which left me a few weeks to worry, stew, and do “research” along with calling my insurance company to find out they cover nothing beyond testing and diagnosis and they only cover up to $2000 total for a lifetime of infertility testing and diagnosis.

During this time, I met with an Abdominal Massage specialist who was also an herbalist. She had an amazing ability to help me understand what was going on with my body, what could be done, and what next steps could be. She also talked to me about what she could do with herbs and massage – the massage was amazing! I went to visit her again in November and she taught me how to do the massage myself to increase blood flow to my reproductive organs.

My appointment with the reproductive endocrinologist involved even worse news – only a 1% chance of conceiving on our own. She recommended the most aggressive approach – IVF with strong meds. She told me that statistics show I would go into menopause by age 32 or 33 and that I have ovaries of a 40-year-old…. Not what a 28-year-old dreaming of a family wants to hear. She ran down a list of indicators for my low AMH – family history, drug use, infections, surgeries, etc. She could find no reason for my low AMH. We were able to do an ultrasound to count my follicles (antral follicle count) and found 8 in my right and 5 in my left ovary – many more than she expected to see with such a low AMH. A “normal” count for age 28 would be around 24 or 25 follicles. The RE recommended Acupuncture, but didn’t know of any other “treatments” to improve my AMH level. We asked to have my day 3 tests repeated since all the other hormone levels were great. We also agreed to have tests done to identify if I carried any genetic mutations or conditions that could prevent pregnancy or explain my infertility. Genetic tests all came back normal.

November 2011, I began Acupuncture. I find it very relaxing, cleansing, and re-energizing. I think I will continue with acupuncture as part of a healthy lifestyle. I also began a diet focused to aid Traditional Chinese Medicine. My acupuncturist adds herbal supplements to my daily intake of prenatal vitamins and calcium supplements. I also began taking my Basal Body Temperature in October even though my OBGYN and RE didn’t see any reason to. My acupuncturist and the abdominal massage therapist both value the information from basal body temperatures. It is also much cheaper than continuing to buy ovulation predictor kits – and I don’t have to pee on anything!

Day 3 tests are repeated and they match the first tests from September. My AMH is 1.1, so I take that as an improvement :) and credit it to my massage, acupuncture, diet and herbs along with doing my best to de-stress.

December 2011, HSG was performed and my fallopian tubes are clear. My uterus has a little indentation, but not a full-blown septum. Nothing the RE was concerned about. I had major cramping during the HSG – the kind of cramps that make you nauseous and send that warm wave across your body. Once the catheter was removed, cramps were minor. I spotted the rest of the day and had achy cramps, but nothing that stopped me from my normal activities.

My husband and I have decided since my schedule is so busy during January, we’ll wait until February to consider IUI with Clomid. I’m not interested in pumping my body full of medication, so I will ask about any other options (Femara, Lupron, Injectables?).