Oh goodness, this has been a rough time.
In late January, I went back to my endometriosis surgeon for a check-up. I’ve been returning for check-ups since my laproscopic surgery in 2012. At the time of my appointment, he didn’t believe I had a recurrence, but sent me for an ultrasound anyway which diagnosed endometriomas on both ovaries. This was obviously a major disappointment and I described it in these previous posts – https://snowdroplets.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/ultrasound-ultrablues/ and https://snowdroplets.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/bad-news-recurrence/.
Along with discovering this recurrence, the doctor also stirred up my hopes about having a child. I had given up hope based on all of the health and other factors that come into play for me. I was coming to terms with this, even attending grief classes and preparing for another plan (which we will still pursue). Yet I also became severely depressed as a result and, apparently, found it impossible to completely give up hope in my heart. The doctor, hearing about my depression, encouraged me to visit a fertility specialist and check out every option.
So we went to our first appointment with a fertility specialist – a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) to be exact. The way I looked at it, I wanted to be sure that I had tried everything and I figured that we should have more information for the decisions ahead of us.
First visit with the fertility specialist:
I liked our RE doctor very much. He took a long time during our first visit to explain fertility, infertility treatments, advanced reproductive technologies, success rates, etc. We came up with a plan to move forward. For financial reasons, we decided to do the basic female and male fertility screening tests. Then, if those tests were promising enough, we would proceed with an ultrasound and physical exam.
Initial tests – The first tests for me were the “Day 3s” blood tests. These are screening tests of ovarian reserve, an idea of how many eggs are left and their quality. They’re referred to as Day 3s because their tested on the third day of a woman’s cycle. I’m not an expert so this is just my understanding. The tests for me included Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), estradiol, and anti-muellerian hormone (AMH). My results were all good for my age.
My husband had the semen analysis which looks at count, motility, and morphology. Out of respect for his wishes, I won’t share any details about that. They said the results would not rule out success with IVF.
As an aside, the results took a very long time to come back and the office’s communication was incredibly frustrating. They initially said it would be about a week to get results and then it was around 3 weeks of waiting. I was so stressed during that wait and frustrated with their communication that I also doubted moving forward with them. If they had just said it would take 3 weeks to get results, it would have been better.
Having our results, we proceeded with a second appointment with the fertility doc:
Since the screening tests did not rule us out as prospective parents through IVF, we proceeded with a physical exam. First the doctor took a lot of time to again describe the success rates and options ahead of us and to answer all of our questions. Then we went ahead with the exam, primarily a transvaginal ultrasound. It was the first that my husband joined me for and I think it was a real eye-opener for him.
Anyway, the doctor wanted to see the status of my ovarian cysts and whether he could work around them for egg retrieval. I think there would also be a uterine exam and follicle count. The long and short of it is that I have too many cysts and they are too large. I am not a candidate for egg retrieval at this point.
After I’d gotten my hopes raised.
Given all of the various factors, he suggested I be prepared to discuss the removal of my ovaries with my surgeon at the appointment I’d scheduled with the surgeon for the next day. I actually appreciated how frank he was with us and it helped me prepare for the next day if anyone can be prepared for news like this.
There’s much more to say about that, but that will be in my next post…
I feel like my writing probably comes across much more matter-of-fact than I actually feel. Given everything that’s going on, I’m an emotional wreck. So I’m blogging. I hope this will help me process the emotions, find support from people who really understand, and potentially help others who are going through similar struggles and heartbreak. I will get through just one step at a time.
Text Copyright Snowdroplets 2016
Image: A Japanese Lantern by Oda Krogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons