INFERTILITY / IVF TALK

My Infertility Journal, Part 2: A New Plan & IUI #4

Megan Tansom | April 30, 2019

Journal Entry from July/August 2015:

We were referred to Midwest Center for Reproductive Health by a contact of Ryan’s. Yes, he was open about our struggles too and it lead to so much GREAT information and recommendations. The couple that referred us had their children through IVF and loved Dr. Corfman (Dr. C as we called him). They assured us he would give us the most comprehensive assessment we have received so far and that is exactly what he did. Dr. C and his team were a breath of fresh air. After probably five minutes of meeting him, he had a potential diagnosis for me. We did an ultrasound after he asked me a few general questions and he pointed out a little “string of pearls” around my ovaries indicating I may have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). I didn’t have the typical signs of PCOS so maybe my previous doctors didn’t even think to look… but this still got me thinking “HOW COULDN’T THEY HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE!?” One of the big “complications” of PCOS is infertility. This began a long saga of me researching PCOS, my diet, my hormones, my lifestyle… etc. More on that later.

With this new diagnosis and doctor, we started a new plan. We would do an IUI with him (he didn’t even want to count our three previous rounds since they weren’t supposed to hurt so in his mind, they were not performed correctly.) That is all well and good but I was for sure COUNTING them in MONEY and TIME lost. Anyway, we decided to start with an IUI and go from there. Ryan’s numbers were improving with his surgery and I didn’t seem to have any terrible problems besides the PCOS, so it should work, right? Before we left that initial appointment, Dr. C said, “Megan, we are going to have a very short relationship.” Sounds good to me Dr. C, sounds really good.

Journal Entry from September 2015:

There were little signs and conversations that assured me that Dr. Corfman knew what he was doing. He seemed like a very visual person – writing and drawing graphs and diagrams to explain every situation which Ryan really appreciated. He told us little things or tricks of the trade where we felt like this guy really knows his stuff. As in, for vaginal ultrasounds (sounds fun, right) and for some of the procedures we have been doing, I should always have a full bladder as the bladder acts as almost a hydraulic pump pushing on your uterus making the pathway straighter and easier for the catheter to pass through. During our experiences at the OB office, I would go to the bathroom right BEFORE the procedure. Sometimes it was even encouraged. I scratched and shook my head at the thought. How could they not know these little tricks? Why did my first three hurt? So basically, the procedure should hurt less or really not at all and a full bladder could only help. Dr. C also did a quick catheter fitting which I didn’t even know was a thing to make sure my upcoming IUI procedure was not like the last three. So again, leaving that day I had all the confidence in the world that we were in the right place and this next time (IUI #4) was going to be it! New doc, new plan, renewed confidence in the process…. Yet, another failure.

PCOS: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs. (Mayo Clinic). Learn more about the signs, symptoms, causes, and complications of PCOS here.

 

IUI: Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization. (American Pregnancy Association). Learn more about the technical aspects of an IUI here.

 

Vaginal Ultrasound: A transvaginal ultrasound, also called an endovaginal ultrasound, is a type of pelvic ultrasound used by doctors to examine female reproductive organs. This includes the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, and vagina.“Transvaginal” means “through the vagina.” This is an internal examination. Learn more from the Healthline website here.

The procedure, as Dr. C promised, was not painful at all. I didn’t feel a thing so that was a relief! I left there giddy and excited which was a good feeling as I had lost that during our first three procedures. This HAD to be it. The two-week wait was long and terrible as always. For those not in this situation, you have to wait 10-14 days from the procedure to actually know if you are pregnant. I was just waiting and misinterpreting every feeling and “sign” and spending WAY too much time on Google. I went in for my blood test, got some “good lucks” from the wonderful nurses and received the “You are not pregnant” phone call once again.

I thought this relationship was going to be a short one? What happened? Why didn’t it work again? We have the good doc, great numbers now for Ryan (YEY) and what seemed like an ideal situation. We were left with “it just happens” which is the most frustrating yet true statement. It sometimes just doesn’t work and there is not one specific reason or explanation. Well, that just blows. Is it the PCOS? Is it me? Was my trigger shot timing wrong? Did the eggs just not get fertilized or implant? Who knows. All I knew was that I was not pregnant, again.

Trigger shot:The placenta produces human chorionic gonadoptropin, or hCG, during pregnancy to increase the lining of your uterus so your baby can implant there. It is also responsible for producing progesterone, which will eventually take over the job of maintaining your corpeus luteum, the lining of your uterus. HCG also has properties that trigger your ovaries to release eggs, thus the name “trigger shot” for an injection of the synthetic form of this hormone that will prompt ovulation. (Livestrong). Learn more here.

 

Implantation: Once the embryo reaches the blastocyst stage, approximately five to six days after fertilization, it hatches and begins the process of implantation in the uterus. The receptivity of the uterus and the health of the embryo are important for the implantation process. (UCFS Health)

 

REFLECTION TODAY:  I was so confident FINALLY in our plan. I am a planner and our whole infertility process seemed out of my control which I couldn’t handle. Once we found a doctor and clinic that we felt so good about, I felt a weight lifted. I felt like he knew what he was doing, he had our best interests at heart, and we were where we needed to be – finally. My hopes were crushed again when our first IUI at this clinic didn’t work as we hoped. It is hard to keep going through the same motions month by month and getting the same result. We made a change, we had a plan, and we had to just keep going (again).

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever could.” – Suzy Kassem

Looking back now, I am not sure how I kept going. We weren’t going to give up on this so what other choice did we have? Maybe we should have taken a break or waited a couple of months to try again but to be honest, I would have never done that. I was going to be in it until that positive test result. A lot of weakness, anger, self-doubt, and jealousy bubbled up in me during these months and years that I wasn’t extremely proud of but also so much strength, courage, tenacity, hope, gratefulness, and love showed up as well that I wasn’t expecting. We were going to have a family, one way or another. I didn’t doubt that. That is what made me push forward. It was going to happen and we just had to keep going…

Thanks for listening. More soon.

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