July 11, 2012

Stepping into the unknown

Friday, July 6, 2012, also our tenth wedding anniversary, was our very first Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) appointment.  I had absolutely NO idea what to expect.  I knew that we would go over my history (endometriosis, pcos, infertility/ttc, and family history) but I had NO idea that our doctor, Dr. Browne, would be so attentive and reassuring.  At first, we sat down and she went over my history and asked us a ton of questions.  Then we got a chance to ask questions.  Right before she started her power point presentation (explaining the entire process, including options for my age and history), she asked what our primary goal was —to treat endometriosis or to try to conceive.  That was  a really tough question because I know that there aren't any guarantees with either of those choices.  I explained to her how we hadn't seen a specialist all these years because we assumed, from what we had read and heard from others' stories, that it was too expensive.  So, I told her that I think focusing on endo would be best for now.  I also told her that, as strange as it feels to say this, if there was some kind of treatment we could get that wasn't too overwhelming, financially, that we would jump right in.  And then our main goal would be trying to conceive, not endo.  Then she started going through the slide show, explaining everything in detail...

Here's the overall summary:
  • I will need a fourth surgery.  She will "explore" my other organs and bowel for endometriosis.  She will not remove any endo that is too deep or that is on any organs, other than the reproductive organs.  I will have to be referred to a surgeon, if she finds that the endo is too deep or that it has spread to other organs.  
  • Dr. B agrees with my o.b. —that if we want more children that we shouldn't take any breaks right now. (because of my history of not ovulating for 44 months, even with the 8, or so, rounds of clomid).
  • And because of my history of NOT ovulating , even with hormone assistance, she feels that repeating hormone treatments, alone, won't be beneficial to us at this point. 
  • She explained how the staff is a huge support team for us and that there are two counselors available.  At this point of the presentation, I just couldn't hold back the tears.  All this time I have felt alone in this ttc journey.  I have read others' ttc journeys and in reading and connecting with others, I have stayed encouraged knowing that it's not just me (not that I wish this for anyone, ever!) —but it's a very lonely journey.  It was so reassuring to know that they have, more than likely, seen it all --from out of control crying, from frustration and sadness, to depression, anger, and complete hormonal craziness.
  • We found out that our insurance covers enough 'fertility services' that we won't have to pay out pocket for a while! Praise God!  If I would have known that we have such "great", "amazing", insurance (according to the doctor and some staff), we would have seen a specialist a whole lot sooner.  But at least we know now and it makes this journey a bit less stressful.
  • I will go in on Day 3 to get labs done -testing the eggs remaining in my ovaries.  Here's some info I found on Day 3 blood work: http://www.advancedfertility.com/ovarian-reserve.htm
  • Chris will have his 'little swimmers' tested tomorrow and it will help us, along with my day 3 results, determine a plan for us.
  • Dr. B. recommends we consider IVF so we can have a better chance of conceiving sooner so that we can then focus on managing my endo.  (makes a lot of sense but I just never thought we would go through IVF.  I mean, I don't think there is anything wrong with it, in any way.  It's just that when I always thought of my life, I did NOT, in any way, think that this would be our story.  There's just a lot of thoughts and emotions that I've been working through since Friday.)
  • The ultrasound showed that my uterus and its lining is "beautiful" (according to Dr. B.) and that my left ovary has 6 follicles and my right has 12.  The doc said they want to see at least 10 or more on each ovary.  *so at least there's one good ovary!  Now let's hope it does its job. 
So, today, I am only on Day 12.  I have about 3 more weeks to wait before I can go for my Day 3 blood work.  I'm still really really hoping and praying for a miracle to happen, that we conceive all on our own before then! :D  It's awesome that we have finally taken the first steps to trying to conceive with with the help of a specialist —but it would still feel AMAZING to be able to call the RE and tell her that I'm pregnant...

This whole "IVF" idea makes me feel weird.  It kind of feels like I'm rushing into it or something.  Chris says I shouldn't feel this way since it's been 44 months, going on 45, of trying to conceive and not a single positive pregnancy test.  I know we've been trying for, what seems like, a very long time.  I guess I just really really really wanted it to happen as naturally as possible.  And to me, IVF just makes me feel like we are paying for a baby or something (although, that's what we thought of when we looked into adoption too).  It especially felt that way when we were told about the "IVF packages" that they offer —one including genetic testing, where you can even choose the gender of your baby!!  That's crazy!  I had NO idea!!  —and I feel like I'm the only one that feels this way.  My mom and Chris both think I'm looking at this the wrong way... I feel ready, in the sense that, this has been a long enough journey and now it seems like the right time to move forward (especially since our insurance covers some of the costs).  Chris is super anxious!  He says he wishes we could get started already.  haha.  I keep telling him that he needs to do some research and get a better understanding of what we are going to go through if we go with IVF treatments... he has no idea what kind of "crazy" hormones he will have to deal with and care for.  lol  and I've only read and followed other IVF journeys.  I don't personally know a single person that's gone through it.  So, even I don't really know what to expect —other than I have to be ready and willing to push through the "crazy"...and not give up! 

It's been a lot to think about.  It's been a lot to process.  I'll just have to wait and see what the next three weeks bring.  And if I don't get a BFP (big fat positive), then I'll have to wait for my day 3 test results —that will be the real deal, to determine if we can even go through with IVF.

This will definitely be an interesting journey... and I plan on continuing to blog along the way.
Thanks for reading and thanks for your support!

Chris walked out with a gift bag (his "specimen" test kit).  We joked saying it was the most memorable anniversary gift!! (since it was also our 10th anniversary)

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