It's unusual…

..what started out as an IVF journey and ended up being about life

Introduction… August 31, 2008

Filed under: Infertility,IVF — gertyrae @ 11:41 am

It’s unusual, but then so are you…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this in the last four years.

I’m Gerty – a 42 year old married woman with PCOS. I have been trying to get pregnant for four years now. I started at my OB/GYN when I was 38 and newly married. We went the Clomid route and after trying 50mg for a month , upgraded to 100 mg. and I was ovulating! This was it! I was so excited, I was temping and ovulating and we were going to get pregnant! After three months, I took my charts to my Dr. and that was when I heard it first…”It’s unusual, but we’ll send you to an RE and they will find out why you aren’t getting pregnant.”

So, I moved on to his recommended RE, Dr. SanRoman. He told me at the consultation that there is absolutely NO reason why he couldn’t get me pregnant. I was a classic case of PCOS and within a couple of IUI’s, I would be having my child. After a few jokes, some blood work and my first internal sonogram we were on our way. My first unusual experience with the practice was that they couldn’t get the catheter in for the IUI without great difficulty on their part and great pain on my part. I was told it was unusual, but it does happen when a patient has had cervical surgery (which I had) and wouldn’t affect my chances. Well, the first couple of IUI’s didn’t work, so we moved on to injectables and IUI. My first injectable cycle I produced more than 12 follicles – “Wow, that’s unusual” was the comment made by the PA doing the sonogram. By the way, I am now getting used to the internal sonogram. And my cycle was then cancelled – too high of a risk of multiples. We try again, this time I ask to go ahead when there are “only” eight follicles. Can we just take our chances? Okay, the Dr. said – but you will have to have selective reduction if you get pregnant with triplets or more. I’m thinking we’ll cross that bridge. Needless to say, I don’t get pregnant. So we do seven more IUI cycles and I get one chemical pregnancy, but no viable pregnancies. This is getting REALLY unusual and I’ve been doing some research on my own. I start asking questions – Maybe I should have an HSG (fluid is injected into the uterus and tubes while being watched on a radiology monitor to see if everything is as it should be), maybe there is some kind of cervical problem, maybe my eggs aren’t good, what are my FSH, testosterone and homo-cysteine levels? According to the Drs. (by this point SanRoman is a distant memory and I’ve seen everyone else in the practice), these are unnecessary worries and I should stop reading and talking about other options. I’m unusual, but give them time, I will get pregnant. I am now almost 40.

So, I decide it’s time to move on. I start talking to other RE’s and meet Dr. Kenigsberg. Who proceeds to tell me that I am unusual, but not too unusual and we will find out what is going on and see if we can get me pregnant. He does not make false promises and he certainly does not say he’s going to get me pregnant easily. He does an internal sono and the first thing he says is that he sees a ton of follicles which is a good thing. He sets me up for an HSG (wow, you think I need one?) and blood work, gives me script for Provera and sends me on my way.

HSG – my left tube is completely blocked, my right tube is swollen, spastic and mostly blocked. Basically, I could have done a hundred IUI’s and wouldn’t get pregnant. I am now a candidate for IVF.

Bloodwork – My FSH is good, my testosterone is high normal and my homo-cysteine is high normal. We are going straight to IVF and I am officially 40, so egg quality is questionable at this point.

We start IVF in January of 2007. I learn all about injections all over again, only this time it’s the big leagues. As of January 23, I have too many follicles to count and the big ones are at 19mm so it’s time for trigger and retrieval. I have my retrieval on January 25 and they get 49 eggs. We ICSI half (they inject the sperm into the egg so it doesn’t have to break through) and end up with 27 embryos. We transfer 3 on January 28th. And Dr. K has a problem with my cervix (surprise, surprise), but gets through without a whole lot of pain. On January 29th, I can’t even get out of bed. I feel like I’m going to pass out. I call my office and tell them I won’t be in, I call the Drs. office and tell them I’m on my way. I have gained 9 pounds in two days. I am now suffering from OHSS. They put me on complete bed-rest and tell me to drink Gatorade/Water to keep my electrolytes up. They also put me on Heparin injections to prevent my blood from clotting. By the end of the day, I am delirious and constantly vomiting. I am rushed to the ER, where Dr. K meets me and puts me on an IV of fluid. Apparently, my abdomen has swelled to the point where it is compressing my diaphragm and lungs. The next day they drain 2 gallons of fluid from my abdomen and keep me for two more days to monitor me. I start losing some of the weight and am sent home on January 31. I go in for my pregnancy test on February 14th and it’s negative.

Okay, break time – gotta walk the dog. Will continue this later. 🙂