My husband and I had been married for about 6 months when we decided to start trying for a baby. I was 34 at the time. I got off the pill and thought it would just magically happen. Well, 3 months later it hadn’t. At my yearly check-up, I asked my nurse practitioner if she would draw baseline labs due to my age and the fact that I was diagnosed with PCOS in my early 20’s. She told me there was no reason to draw them until we had been trying for a year and sent me on my way. This did not sit well with me.
I had a good friend whose mom is a women’s health NP. I made an appointment to see her and she agreed to do the labs. A few days later, I got the call that changed everything. My FSH was >14 and I was in premature ovarian failure. I was shocked and devastated. She suggested we start investigating immediately, with the next step being to analyze my husband’s sperm. A few days later we got more bad news. His sperm morphology was abnormal and there was limited motility. At this point, my new OB recommended we be very aggressive. They scheduled us for an IUI with that menstrual cycle. The plan was to let us do 2-3 cycles of IUI and then send us to a fertility center. We tried one IUI with no meds and two with Clomid but were unsuccessful.
At our initial consultation at the fertility center, our RE agreed that an aggressive approach was definitely the way to go. She suggested trying IUI a few more times with different medications. We did a cycle with high dose Clomid…holy crap, that stuff is the devil!! When that did not work, she gave us the option to do one more IUI with injectible hormones and were told we really needed to consider IVF if it failed. At one of my ultrasounds, they found that I had several mature follicles. We were told that the chances of conceiving multiples were very high. They debated even letting us do the IUI or just having us do timed intercourse because of the risk. I was convinced this would work, and then completely devastated when we were unsuccessful again.
We started our first IVF cycle in August 2012. I seriously thought that you pay your money, give yourself shots, and 9 month later you have a baby. I was so excited. I shared the “good news” with everyone. Call it denial, but it seriously did not cross my mind that it would not work. September 10th, I got the call that I was not pregnant. There are no words to describe the sadness and disappointment I felt.
I went into a major depression. I literally cried every day for weeks. I hated everyone who had children. I am still not sure how I survived that time with my marriage and friendships intact. To make matters worse, I felt completely alone. At the time, I did not personally know anyone who had been through IVF. My friends and family tried to support me but always managed to say the worst things possible. Those of you who have been through this journey know exactly what I am talking about. Thankfully a few months later I met someone who gave me courage and hope, Kara. We didn’t know each other well at all but she took the time to talk with me. That simple act made me promise myself that I would be completely open about my struggle in the future do anything I could to support anyone else in this position.
In February 2013, we started our second IVF cycle. I was absolutely terrified this time! My egg quality had been very bad with my first cycle so we had been told our chances of conceiving were less. My husband and I began taking more vitamins and supplements than should be humanly possibly to consume in a day! They also adjusted my medications in the hopes of improving my egg quality. We got the call on March 29th that I had prayed so hard for…I was pregnant!! I was told to be cautiously optimistic, but I knew in my heart that everything would be okay. Our perfect little miracle, Lucas was born on November 17, 2013.
Fast forward to today, we just completed our third and possibly final round of IVF in the hopes of adding to our little family. At our consultation for this cycle, they repeated my labs and were surprised how much worse they were after such a short period of time. This cycle definitely had its share of disappointments. We had to stop in the middle of the cycle due to a cyst on one ovary but were able to resume a month later. Then my ovaries essentially stopped responding and we were given the option to terminate the cycle prior to egg retrieval. We decide to forge ahead. On day 3, we had one near perfect (8B) embryo and one embryo that had developed a day later and was much farther behind transferred.
Sadly, we got the news yesterday that our cycle was not successful. I am beyond devastated. I honestly felt this would work. Like so many others, we have had absolutely no insurance coverage for any of our fertility treatments. We now have to make the decision to give up the hopes of having a sibling for our amazing little boy or save up the money to try one more time. We have been gently reminded numerous times that the chances of achieving a pregnancy are low due to my egg quality and response to treatment. If we had insurance coverage, the decision would be a no-brainer. We are so fortunate that we have been able to afford treatments to this point and it breaks my heart to think of the people who can’t. I have no idea what our decision will be…I am simply trying to wrap my ahead around everything. At the end of the day, I have a beautiful, loving, funny little boy and for that I am incredibly blessed!!