Friday, June 10, 2016

Our War Against Infertility- It Waged, We Won...Finally!

When Tanner and I found our way back to each other, we thought our family was complete. We had 3 healthy happy children. Tanner had an excellent job working at Honeywell and I was on the fast track to become a Social Worker. I was accepted into an accelerated program to get my Bachelor's degree sooner with duel credit courses.  I worked at Jos.A.Bank, not really a job I enjoyed but it helped pay the bills until I could do what I loved. Our lives were happy, content.

Everything changed in an instant. It's crazy how a single event can change your life course. In March of 2013 I had been feeling weird and decided to get a pregnancy test while doing my Easter shopping. Two blaring pink lines stared back at me. I ran out of the bathroom and told Tanner. We both stared down at the white plastic stick, surprised but excited. A few weeks later we attended a charity dinner with the whole family. Although no one knew our news yet, his Nana said I was glowing and that she could tell we were different, happier because the way Tanner looked at me that night.

But our happiness was cut short and the nightmare began. Soon I was crippled by terrible pain. I called Tanner at work and we rushed to the doctor. I had 3 large cysts on my ovary which was causing it to twist they called it an ovarian torsion. I stayed in bed and dreamed of the baby that would eventually make all of the suffering worth while. A baby that I soon found out I would never meet. The sadness and loss that i felt is something that i can't describe adequately. It's like your body feels heavier than you can bare. I cried in bed for hours a day in a pitch black room.  The kids would ask me what was wrong but I couldn't burden them with my grief. A few weeks later, my grandma got sick which cut my grief short and then when she passed it started an all-new grieving process.

After the clouds cleared as much as they could, I realized that the hole in my heart was still there. I went to the dr and was lectured that conceiving takes time. I waited the 6 months they recommended and every month was a disappointment. I got 2nd and 3rd opinions, every one said to be patient. I had 3 children that had come to be each unexpectedly. Relax they said when you stop stressing that's when you will get pregnant.

I am very in tune with my body and knew something was very wrong with me. My cycles were all over the place, ranging from 23-53 days long. I went to a different clinic, had an ultrasound and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) was immediately mentioned. He said i didn't fit the typical patient with PCOS which is why he was hesitant to diagnose me, but other tests confirmed it. I didn't ovulate which made it impossible to get pregnant.

I was prescribed the fertility drug Clomid but if you know me well, you know I hate big Pharma. Instead I searched Pinterest and did weird diets. I tried "Seeding" which is eating flax seeds during the first part of my cycle and sunflower seeds during the second. I put Cayenne pepper on everything because it helps with progesterone. I spent hundreds of dollars on essential oils and massages. I started an exercise routine and ate completely organic.

Finally, i saw the 2 pink lines I had been waiting for, albeit faint but they were there. Then Tanner had his seizure on our anniversary. When i drove him to the dr and sat in the waiting room, i went to the bathroom and blood. I felt like the universe was kicking me while I was down. I went to the doctor to confirm and it was such an early loss it was considered a chemical pregnancy. That visit I demanded Clomid and began as soon as I could.

I was immediately overcome with side effects. I was dizzy, faint and extremely tired but it would be worth it, right? Everyone questioned my timing because all of this was in the midst of his epilepsy diagnosis. I had never felt closer to my husband. Both of us were weakened, and leaned on each other just to exist. We both dug deep to find raw strength to just keep our household running. Although not the ideal time, if we conceived it would have been in pure love, but it wasn't our time yet.

The months following I went for ultrasounds day 12, 14 and sometimes 16 of my cycle. We tried Clomid 3 cycles, each time a higher dose. I found out I am a rare case that is clomid-resistant. It had no effect on me. The doctor suggested we try another drug called Femara. It wasn't approved for fertility, usually used as a breast cancer drug but had shown great results. Some doctors even believed it was a safer more effective drug than Clomid. We agreed to give it a try. We went in for our ultrasound and we had a follicle...finally a chance. I was sure it would happen now!

Except it didn't. Finally my dr. suggest we try IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) along with drug therapy.  Tanner was hesitant to use such heavy intervention but he could see how heavily this weighed on me. Don't get me wrong, i love my 3 beautiful children more than life itself but I felt like something (someone) was missing. Also we were different. We had a new marriage, a new life this time around...

We agreed and I went forward with the IUI procedure. It would work this time, it had to. But that month my period was early. We tried 6 more times... I was at the doctor almost every day and each cycle cost hundreds of dollars but still no baby.

We took a long break because it was taking a physical and emotional toll on us both. I could breathe easier without counting the days until my next period or (to be frank) having sex on demand because I was ovulating. I had my first margarita in almost 3 years. I could drink my Pepsi without feeling guilty and could sit in my recliner all day and write without having to worry about going on a jog or bike ride. I threw myself into my work and busied myself with writing my book and blog. I enjoyed time with my children and husband. Life was good although the ache was still there, I just learned to bury it.

When I was hit with the reality my baby was going to Kindergarten my heartache resurfaced. We went back to my doctor and told him this was the LAST try. He had to pull out the big guns and try everything he possibly could. He suggested an extra ultrasound, IUI, and an HCG trigger shot. This would give us the best chance. Alright! Last time...even though halfway through I tried to convince Tanner just one more time after.

This was the first month we had 2 possibly 3 sizable follicles. The next day i went for my shot. I pulled my pants down and bent over the table while i simultaneously lost my dignity. The nurse jammed the needle into my muscle and my bum hurt so much i couldn't sit straight for 3 days. The only side effect I had, which i thought was unusually cruel was that it caused false positive pregnancy tests. I read blogs and forums where women tested out of the drug. They used pregnancy tests and watched the line fade as the drug left their system. I was obsessed!!! Finally, I was at the point I could test safely but the line was so faint. I went to the doctor for a blood test even though i knew the answer because I had started spotting that same morning. It was over, my last chance was gone.

A few days later I got a call from the doctor that my results were in and I was HCG was 123 then 2 days later 338. I was cautiously excited. Emma and I went to the party supply store and ordered tons of pink and blue balloons to surprise Tanner. We went out of town that weekend and the spotting started again. I wasn't sure if I could endure the pain again, the loss, so I distanced myself.

Then the morning sickness started and it plagued my existence. The four walls of my bedroom became too familiar except for the occasional change of scenery which was a dr office or hospital room. For the last 6 weeks I've sat in my recliner watched the whole series of Saved by the Bell, all 5 Good Witch movies and 3 seasons of Teen Wolf. Morning sickness is a sign of a healthy pregnancy but I still felt so distant from the little life growing inside me. I was afraid to get my heart broken yet again.

But today that all changed when i saw my baby, my blessing, the missing part of our family that I've been waiting 3 years for. I looked at the ultrasound as he/she leapt inside me and watched in awe as it's tiny little heart flickered away. I looked over at my husband, who is normally stoic. His whole face lit up with love and admiration for the little person we created together. The distance I felt before suddenly disappeared. We finally did it! Every poke, prod, tear, every dollar, all of the days I spent in bed sick from side effects, every single bad thing I have endured over these last 3 years, was all worth it. I am 10 weeks 5 days today and the doctor said everything looks great!

Infertility sucks no matter how many kids you have or don't have. It made me feel like less of a woman because I couldn't do the most natural thing a woman can do. Fertility treatments are expensive and insurance doesn't cover it. I am pretty sure Tanner and I could have bought a decent car with as much as we spent. I was physically and emotionally exhausted by the non-stop roller coaster.  It caused many fights because my hormones were all over the place. A simple "Good Morning Sweetheart" could have set me off. But there are happy endings and now my whole family couldn't be happier as we prepare to welcome our little miracle.
First Ultrasound 4w6d
Emma hugged the picture and said she loved her little "Dot"
10w5d Kids are excited we aren't having a dinosaur