Well, it's National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) again. #NIAW2020
This year's theme is #MyInfertilityStory
Buckle up folks, it may be a bumpy ride.
I had some tequila (and tacos, always tacos) and I'm a little tipsy and feeling all the feels.
I've shared my story with you all over the last few years.
In case you need a refresher
It hasn't been easy, but neither has the journey. It hasn't been fast either. It's been a lot of hurry up and wait. Wait for a period. Wait for a procedure. Wait until you lose NINE pounds. Yep, nine. Not 10, not 15, not 50. NINE. All that changed in February when we met with a new clinic...and now it's postponed. That's right, P is for postponed.
Today, it could also stand for pity. The party kind. I'm having a pity party.
There's been a bit of radio silence since the ERA last May. No news is good news, right? Wrong. No news is no progress in this case. In all honesty, it's been kind of a nice break. It's also sucked. A lot. A fucking lot.
Do you remember that feeling when you were a kid, and your friend got a super new toy, but your parents told you no you couldn't have one? Well, now you're an adult. You can have ice cream for breakfast, buy all the sugary cereal and video games you want, and stay up way past your bedtime. While you're watching a TV, you see a commercial for a sweet new car....but you can't have it. You did ALL the right things. Got good grades, went to college, got a good job...but no new car for you. It's just not in the cards. Why? Because your boss says you can't have a raise. Your student loans are overdue. You racked up some credit card debt buying those video games, and now your credit is shot. So you have to work at it, pay off some bills, stock some cash away, and can get the newer model of that awesome car in a year or two, when you're in a better place.
Infertility is kind of the same. Maybe it took a little while to meet Mr or Mrs right. Maybe you waited until you were "old enough". Maybe you waited to get established in your career. To make sure you are financially and emotionally ready to become a parent. Diapers aren't cheap. Sleep isn't really over rated. Whatever the reason, you waited. You're ready. It's time to have a baby, to start a family. But you can't have one. Science says you can't. Genetics say you can't. The ticking of the biological clock says you can't. So what do you do? Give up? No, that's not an option. Turn to science? That's expensive....but that's where we're at.
So we wait. Wait for an appointment. Wait for lab results. Wait for the awkwardly invasive procedure. Wait for thousands of dollars of meds to arrive. Wait for the next cycle to start. Wait for hormone levels to be "just right". Wait for your chance. When it finally comes, hold your breath, make a wish, and wait for hopefully positive results. If they aren't positive? You wait. Again.
After we got our ERA results, we thought we were on easy street. My endometrial lining came back post-receptive, meaning the optimal time for an embryo to implant is one day sooner than we had transferred the first two embryos. Third time's the charm, right? So we wait. Wait for cycles. Wait for a consultation. June of 2019, we're told I need to lose 12 pounds in order to do another egg retrieval. Seems easy enough, right?
Back on Keto I went. Goodbye sour patch kids. Goodbye Beer. Hello workouts. The scale went down 3 pounds. There it stayed. NINE pounds away from my goal. Goodbye alcohol (gasp!) I joined a gym. The scale wouldn't budge. I tried more carbs. I tried less carbs. Goodbye Dairy. I tried an egg fast. I tried a fast fast. The scale wouldn't budge. I went to the gym twice as much. I cut out half of my fruit. The scale wouldn't budge. We contacted ORM and asked if there was ANY wiggle room, they said no. They suggested I contact Legacy Weight Loss Center. I contacted them, they suggested gastric bypass. NO THANKS, Fuck that.
Around the middle of January 2020, we finally decided to just transfer the 3rd and last embryo and hope. We made an appointment for February 6th. I had a meltdown. This is not how I wanted this to go. We wanted two kids, and neither of us is getting any younger.
We had been told to get a second opinion. By Chad's family. By my family. By the person footing the bill for this second round. I called the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Center for Women's Health and made an appointment for February 24th with Dr. Wu.
The day finally came.
Of course, ORM had not sent over my medical records, despite it being over two and a half weeks since I had requested them. I'm sure they weren't very excited that their cash cow was jumping ship. My ob/gyn and my primary care must not have felt threatened, because they sent them over almost immediately.
So Dr. Wu asked questions, and we answered them. After we finished summing up our journey to this point, she gave us her thoughts and the next steps:
- I most likely have a mild case of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Something I have been asking about FOR YEARS and have repeatedly been told no, not possible because my cycles are regular.
- Insulin resistance is common with PCOS, and she suggested that could be the reason the scale plateaued even after cutting out alcohol and working out regularly.
- I should take Myo Inositol and D-chiro Inositol (supplements) to help with the insulin resistance. If that doesn't help, metformin is an option, but the weight loss side effect usually happens because of the diarrhea side effect.
- A combination of Low Carb (NOT KETO) and intermittent fasting should help as well.
- Start taking 5000 IU Vitamin D daily. Low vitamin D is common in those with PCOS.
- Have a Brain MRI to check my pituitary gland for tumors as I have high prolactin levels. If that comes back clear, stop taking the medication to lower prolactin levels (cabergoline) that ORM put me on and then never checked again.
- My weight (and these uber important NINE POUNDS) is not an issue when it comes to the procedure, although obviously less is more in this case.
- She would like me to meet with a high risk OB to talk about my medications I am taking (one for arrhythmia, one for prolactin, and my inhaler) and any issue with taking them while pregnant.
- Once ORM sends my records over, we can get a calendar together, but most likely start birth control early April for a retrieval late April or early May. FINALLY
So, it's the end of April, what's going on? Abso-fucking-lutely nothing.
Fertility treatment is "non-essential".
I knew NIAW was coming. I've had the images ready to share on facebook. I've been working on this new website here for months. The colors. The formatting. All that was left to do was add the products. All in time for a big launch in April, along with news of our IVF cycle. But that didn't happen. Once I knew our cycle was cancelled, excuse me "postponed", I kind of lost the motivation. I had a pity party. Not a fun party either.
The only "game" at this party is pin the elastic on the face mask. Lame.
Yep, things were finally FINALLY looking up. We had a plan. We felt some hope. And then some dumbass in China ate a bat.