You heard that correctly.
I am back and have my fightin’ gloves on.
Suddenly, I feel this surge of hope again. I’m NOT giving up. WE are not giving up. I keep hearing my sister’s voice in my head saying, “Kara, NO ONE has told you this can’t happen.”
She is right.
If anything, I have been told it can happen. I just need to still believe it WILL happen.
Greg and I had our meeting with the doctor yesterday. Greg had to park the car while I went inside to wait. Taking the first steps into the office, I had a strong visceral reaction and texted Greg immediately, “Let me know when you have parked. I don’t like being here without you.” I felt this need to have him there to guard me.
When we were directed back into a conference room (ugh, so formal), I wanted to run. Fast. But before I could bolt, the doctor made a timely entrance and we sat down. All I could think was, “Where is this going to take us?" And he began to talk. He was disappointed for us, maybe even for himself. There still was not a logical answer as to why a healthy, (fairly) young couple would have trouble. I produced lots of eggs, 15 of the 22 were mature. All of Greg’s numbers were where they should be. To put it simply, the embryos just did not grow.
So the questions started flying:
I was concerned that my eggs were no longer viable. Quality vs. quantity. The doctor assured me that he did not think this was an issue.
Should we do genetic testing (on the embryos)? He did not think this was necessary and that this usually occurs in women over forty.
Thinking we should take another less expensive route, I asked if ORM does insemination differently than OHSU (where we had the procedures). He said that they are very similar. He could put me on a different drug to help grow more follicles but that is both expensive and a step back.
I asked, "Should the endometriosis be removed?” He told us that it would increase our chances for both insemination and natural conception, but not for IVF. For IVF, the removal could affect the blood flow and lower the number of eggs that I have.
There were so many questions and so many answers.
In a last ditch effort to get some answers, Greg threw out some questions based on his recent online medical research. He had recently read that some infertility issues come from Sperm DNA fragmentation. It is essentially poor quality sperm DNA. As the doctor explained, there is a blood vessel near the testicles that can become inflamed and can effect the sperm. The doctor said he does not normally suggest this test but has done it in the past. Every time, it has come back normal.
This seemed like the most appropriate time to tell our doctor that Greg rides his bike AND wears spandex.
Our doctor was interested and asked how much.
Um, 40 miles a day.
Suddenly, our doctor was even MORE interested.
Back when we were seeing a doctor at OHSU, he informed us that riding a bike could affect fertility, but generally shows up as low sperm count. Greg did not have that problem and this has never come up with our recent doctor. However, with sperm DNA fragmentation, everything can look good on paper, but the sperm DNA can be off. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a long shot, but we think it may be worth looking into. If the test did not come back normal, I think it would require a bit of surgery, but nothing drastic. Studies have shown that it can work.
So, Greg and I have a lot to talk about. There may be another IVF in our future. The terribly ironic thing about all of this is the financing. Because Greg and I had insurance ($10,000 for a lifetime of fertility), we did not qualify for ORM’s Our Promise, which allows patients to pay a certain amount for 3 IVF cycles. If you are unsuccessful in all three, you get some of your money back. Now that our insurance has run out, we do not qualify for Our Promise because we have had a failed IVF treatment. Go figure! Kara will have an etsy account up and running soon. Please tell your friends :)
IVF is a gamble, especially now that we have become one of the couples it did not work for and it is not like money grows on trees. If it did, I am sure we would become pregnant at some point. But the truth is, there is a finite amount of money that we are willing to spend. We are not like celebrity couples who can take the risk over and over again (though I know they feel the same pain and disappointment). But it is so frustrating and easy to think, “Oh, maybe the next time.” I have caught myself skimming infertility blogs and websites and I have to turn away. It is too difficult to watch people talk about going through multiple IVF cycles. I cannot even imagine and yet, I can. It has been strange enough to think that my friends and family can now say, “Yes, I had a friend go through IVF and it did not work.” We have become one of THOSE stories.
I know this is a lot of information and I am sure I am missing something. We walked away with a lot of information and feeling happy. Our doctor was positive and did not want us to give up. I think that says a lot. My eggs are good and THAT makes me happy. I was so fearful he was going to tell me that getting pregnant was not going to be possible. See, no one is telling me this cannot happen.
The most important thing is that we left the appointment feeling hopeful again. It feels nice, but just a little scary. It is hard to fully embrace that feeling without hesitation. I WAS hopeful last time. I thought FOR SURE I would be pregnant at this moment, on this day, at this time. I thought that was enough.
I keep telling myself that something great is around the corner. In the strangest way, I can feel it. I can! And in an even stranger way, despite all this disappointment, I am excited.
ps- Note the nice healthy eggs in the picture ;)