Its been a while since I’ve posted an update to our story.
Honestly, there just hasn’t been that much to tell, I feel like. We’ve waited a lot. Got some “eh” news, made some decisions. Waited some more, crunched some numbers. Twiddled our thumbs. Now we’re waiting on *one* more puzzle piece, and we’ll have a solid timeline.
Edge of your seat stuff, let me tell you.
So, here’s an update:
Surgery + Endometriosis
Its been almost 6 months since my excision surgery. I can say with confidence now that this surgery in ATL has been the best medical decision I have made in my adult life thus far. I am a new woman. I have almost* no pain. I cannot tell you what cycle day I am on based on where the pain is focused. I actually have to check my app on my phone. This is my new normal, and its pretty amazing. I will stand on any platform given and sing the praises of my surgeon and his team at the Center for Endometriosis Care. Be educated. Be informed. Do not settle. Praise be to God, I am still in remission.
*Last weekend, I had a cyst start acting wrong and rupture. I hurt the most I’ve hurt since surgery, and even then it was only registering as “moderate” on my personal pain scale. Enough to annoy me, and occasionally channel my focus and attention, but not enough for me to miss work. After running a fever around day 3 of “moderate”, I decided to check in with my doc here in Hattiesburg. My clinic is set up with MyChart, so I shot a quick email to my nurse. I had an ultrasound booked the next day, just in case. I’ve also had a terrible case of the Fall Snots, so it was tough to know if this fever was coming from the Snots or an infection south of the belly button.
Everything is fine, I resolved it on my own, fever is gone, and hopefully I will trade in this gravely baritone for my original alto voice sooner rather than later. Based on my other cyst experiences, this was a walk in the park.
Fertility + Endometriosis
We decided August was our last “one more month” of trying to conceive without medical intervention. I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that we put our fertility worries on a shelf, put a date on it, and we weren’t pulling it off the shelf until that date. August was that date. I had some Day 21 blood work done during that cycle, and it came back worse than abysmal. I’m pretty sure Mister has more progesterone pumping through his system than I do. This computer probably generates more progesterone than I do. Biochemically, I’m messed up. Endometriosis and the abnormal growths really get your hormones all wonky. There’s a super scientific way to explain it, but that’s the gist. After 15 years of my body knowing nothing other than wonky, it seems as though that’s how I’m programmed now. You wouldn’t put unleaded fuel in a diesel engine and expect it to run right, and we’re finding the same is true with me. On my own, my body won’t do right, reproductively. I’m a diesel, and diesel is expensive.
My doc told me some tough truths.
You’ll likely never conceive on your own. However, you are an excellent candidate for IVF. Your hormones are off and don’t look like they’ll ever be right without intervention, but we know you respond incredible well to IVF medications. IVF was invented to help families like yours.
This was echoed by our FE. This was a major bummer and comforting all at the same time. Feelings are hard sometimes.
I had my sad day and a lovely glass of wine. The next day, I called my FE and made plans to move on.
Its been almost a year since we last saw our FE. Almost a year since the Very Worst October Ever. I took a little trip to Jackson to see my FE earlier this month. Since its been a while since he’s been around my block, I took ALL the data with me. Blood work charts from the last two years, daily monitoring data for 2015 so far, surgery report, path report, pictures, diagrams, all the things. I wanted to make sure he was good and familiar with the neighborhood, since my surgeon has done a few renovations since my last visit.
I conference-called Mister in to the meeting (we’re millennials, we do that now), and we talked about our options. We could do IUI again, but our odds of that working are about like they were this time last year: slim. Real slim. Slimmer than Mister (he’s a bean pole). We’ve ridden the IUI train, punched our ticket. Its time to move on.
After adjusting my protocol based on the fact that I am still in remission (woohoo!) and my AMH came back pretty super (woohoo! squared), we are looking at starting IVF this winter.
Originally, we wanted this fall. A multitude of reasons pushed this back a bit. I never thought I’d say this, but we are planning our IVF cycle around football. This likely seems absolutely insane to most people, but right now, our lives revolve around NCAA and MHSAA football. I would throw NFL in that mix, but have you seen the Saints this year?? The nation has enough Sad Saints pictures for the rest of the century, no one is buying those now. A December – January cycle is looking like our best bet. We are trying to find a few loopholes in our good ole MS insurance plans (political plug: make sure your representatives know that women’s health is kind of a big deal and MS should be better at it and stuff), and if loopholes big enough can be triggered, we’ll be waiting until January when our new calendar year starts. If those loopholes are going to be as helpful as another negative pregnancy test, we’ll go ahead and start our cycle in December.
Once we have dates set, I’ll have another post. I will likely ask for incredibly specific prayers at specific times, and post my protocol to see if any of you gals that have been around this block have any tricks to help get through a stim cycle with your sanity intact. We’ve settled on a host of IVF-ethics issues that we hoped we’d never have to face in real life, but now we’re staring down the barrel of that gun. We are following the convictions that God has laid on our heart. They likely aren’t the most popular in the IVF world, nor the most popular in your typical “Conservative” world, but God bless America, they are our choices for our family and we have the freedom to make them ourselves. More on our specific convictions and IVF FAQs in a separate post.
We have been very open about our struggle and our choices over the last year. That has opened us up to both encouragement like we never could have imagined, and at the same time, criticism and thoughtless comments. Mostly encouragement. We choose to focus on the encouragement, and chalk the thoughtlessness up to a lack of education. Folks can’t help if they’re ignorant, right? Bless their hearts. Through this sharing and openness, it has come to light that other friends of ours are struggling with infertility. Maybe not like us, everyone’s journey is different. It continues to reinforce the truth that this is not a rare issue. So many women are fighting this battle. So many families are struggling with feeling broken and frustrated. When I connect with someone over infertility, I immediately feel excited and bummed out. Again, feelings are hard sometimes. I’m excited that I have another soul to share this with that gets it. Someone who can relate. At the same time, I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone. Its unpleasant and hard and I hate it and if I had the choice I wouldn’t be on this road. No one signs up for this willingly.
We are well aware that God does not “need” IVF to help Him start our family. God also does not “need” chemotherapy, defibrillators, pharmaceuticals, or any form of medical practice to accomplish healing and His Will. Sometimes, that is just the path He has for us to further His Glory. Praise Him for the sense He gave humans to practice all kinds medicine.
We know that we are surrounded by a great host of witnesses. So many of you have let me know that you are praying fervently for us, and we appreciate that more than we will ever be able to convey. We ask you to continue these prayers. The turn of the year is about to get wild. Feelings are hard sometimes. May God be glorified in the journey.