Friday, April 8, 2011

Our story

**Wow.  I have never written out our experience before.  It is really long!  I don't consider myself a good writer at all but it feels good to get it all down.  This is quite a journey we've been on..... **

Our story starts back in 2003 when we had Taylor.  Brandon deployed when she was 4 months old and came back when she was 17 months old.  We started trying for #2 right away since we knew he would be deployed again.  We tried from February 2005-February 2006 with no luck.  I went to my doctor and had the usual infertility work up.  Clomid challenge test, HSG, vaginal u/s and Brandon had a SA.  All came back normal.  The only clue we had that something wasn't right was after Taylor stopped nursing at 10 months old.  My cycles went crazy.  They ranged anywhere from 40 days to 65 days long with ovulation only occurring sometimes.  Before I had Taylor they were pretty regular, about 32 days long.  In October 2006 everything was put on hold because Brandon deployed again.

He came back in December of 2007 and we tried on our own (OPK's, TI) until we moved to Georgia in June of 2008.  Once we got settled and I found a doctor, I went to get a referral to a specialist.  Unfortunately, there is no Reproductive Endocrinologist in-network in the Atlanta area so I was referred to an OB/GYN who does IUIs "on the side".  We did some tests and bloodwork with him and decided to do a clomid + IUI with him.  The actual procedure was so painful I couldn't get off the table much less walk after it.  Although I had never had an IUI before I didn't think this was normal.  I did some research and I'm pretty sure I know what happened.  When they "processed" Brandon's contribution, they didn't completely separate the sperm and seminal fluid which can cause major uterine cramping.  The IUI didn't work and we never went back to that doctor again.

In January of 2009 I went for a consultation with an RE in Atlanta.  Based on many factors (long cycles, acne, weight gain, bloodwork), she diagnosed me with PCOS and started me on metformin.  That drug is the devil.  I think I spent the first 6 months of treatment in the bathroom.  It helped with the acne and weight gain but did nothing for my long, erratic cycles.  After giving it several months to work we decided to proceed with another IUI.  We ended up doing 3 femara + IUI cycles with this doctor -  August, November and December of 2009.  As a side note, I never felt the slightest bit of discomfort or pain during any of those three IUIs - pretty much proving that other doc should not be doing anything "on the side".  Every month my lining was perfect, my follicles were excellent and every month was a BFN.  We paid out of pocket for every visit and procedure with this doctor which was really tough to swallow since it only ended in disappointment.  We were moving again in the summer so we decided to take a break and continue when we got to NY.

Once we got settled at West Point I went through the referral process and was referred to an RE in Fishkill, NY.  This doctor is in-network so all of my diagnostic tests and visits have been 100% covered.  That has been a huge blessing.  At my first visit I brought my huge file and laid it on the table.  The doctor was very patient and went through each page of my entire infertility journey, thus far.  He had two suggestions: go straight to IVF or do an exploratory laparoscopy to see if there was something going on that we didn't know about.  We decided on the latter.  In August of 2010 I had the surgery.  As I was coming out of anesthesia, he told me he had found quite a bit of endometriosis which he cleaned up.  Most of it was on my right ovary.  He was very surprised that I had never had any symptoms.  But it was great news and one more piece to this whole puzzle.  We decided to go ahead and do another IUI but with injectables this time.  It's usually optimal to conceive fairly quickly after the laparoscopy since endometriosis can grow back.  We did our first injectables + IUI cycle in October.  

This was my first experience with the injectable ovulation drugs versus the oral pills I was used to taking (clomid & femara).  I responded really well and had several good quality follicles to work with.  A couple of days after the IUI I was still feeling very bloated and swollen from the drugs.  I usually weigh myself every morning and I noticed I was gaining weight pretty rapidly - 2 lbs a day.  About a week after the IUI I couldn't walk around very well, was short of breath all of the time and I looked about 7 months pregnant.  I had developed OHSS.  My ovaries became overly swollen with fluid and this fluid was now leaking into my body.  It continued to get worse so they suggested I come in to have the fluid drained.

Brandon and I arrived at the office not really knowing what to expect.  Since the fluid was in my abdomen I assumed they would go in through the abdomen.  Boy was I wrong.  When we got into the room they left us so I could undress from the waist down. That was my first clue that I was in trouble.  Then I looked over next to the sink and saw the speculum.  I told Brandon I was ready to put my clothes back on and leave.  As much pain as I was in, I wasn't sure it was worth what I was about to go through.  The doctor came in and I didn't have any more time to think or stare at the instruments.  He explained what was going to happen.  He would insert the speculum and inject lidocaine into my vaginal wall.  Once I was good and numb he would insert the vaginal u/s wand (which I have affectionately named the dildo cam - we know each other well) and find a pocket of fluid.  He then would insert the biggest needle I have ever seen into a track on the u/s wand.  This needle was connected to a machine that would aspirate the fluid out.  Once everything was lined up, he would dart the needle through my vaginal wall and into the pocket of fluid and the machine would start the process.  I had to think really hard before signing the consent forms.  They drained a half a gallon of fluid out of me that afternoon.  I still looked very pregnant but I could breathe again.  After all of that, I found out a few days later that the IUI did not work.

We were going to take a break but decided against it.  I went in on day 3 of my cycle for an u/s to see if we could go straight into another inectable IUI cycle.  We learned that my ovaries were still very large from the hyperstimulation - about 5 times their normal size.  It was obviously not safe to start stimulating again so we were out for a month.

In December 2010 we did our second IUI with this doctor, our sixth one total.  My dosage was decreased and that did help.  I had some hyperstimulation but nothing like the last time.  Although everything looked "perfect" again, it did not work.

After a total of 62 months trying to have another baby, we are taking our journey to the next step.  The purpose of this blog is to record our experiences, thoughts, feelings, etc as we go through our first IVF.


  1. Thanks for sharing your story. As always, we are sending plenty of prayers and hugs to two of the most wonderful parents we know.

  2. Lots of prayers coming from this way, as well. I am laughing out loud, literally, with your descriptions, April! I'll save those comments for O's&O's! I'm honored to be included in such a sacred part of your life. Thank you for choosing me! Hang in there! We love you!!

  3. Oh, April. I remember much of this as it was happening but reading it all put together really brings home what a long journey this has been for you guys. So much love to you from here. Fingers crossed...... Melanie

  4. Thanks for sharing so candidly, April!