Tag Archives: infertility

Just A Little Pinprick

Published / by Kim
Originally posted on April 16, 2002. Oh, what hopeful enthusiasm I had back then for all kinds of treatments to help with my infertility. I think posts like this help show how I turned into the bitter old crone we all know and love today. It’s honestly funny to me today to read this and see how hesitant I was about fertility treatments. And now here I am considering using another woman’s egg for IVF.

Just got back from my acupuncturist!

My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for what seems like forever. It will be two years in August. When we started, I thought I would have a 1-year-old by now.

One of the great ironies of my life is that I spent so much energy worrying about unwanted pregnancies when I was younger, and now that I want a baby the body just isn’t cooperating.

We’ve gone through preliminary testing with established Western medicine: semen analysis, an HSG to rule out blocked tubes or malformed uterus. Three cycles of Clomid – a mild fertility drug – which was ridiculous, but my GYN insisted I try it before being referred to a specialist. Everything checked out, and of course the Clomid didn’t work. Clomid is for women who don’t ovulate on their own. I don’t fit that bill.

So, now that we’re through the Clomid, I’m supposed to go back to my GYN for the referral to a reproductive endocrinologist, but I haven’t. Infertility treatments are seriously invasive, so I wanted to try some alternative therapies before moving on to that. Enter acupuncture.

I’ve been seeing my acupuncturist twice a week for the last 4 weeks. He says my hormones are out of whack, and the work he’s doing is supposed to bring them back into balance. In another week or two, my treatment should be complete.

With something like this, it’s kind of hard to tell if it’s working until I get pregnant. There are some ways to measure, though. My acupuncturist uses a probe thingy to check my ear points every two weeks. The first time, the machine went crazy when he reached the hormone ear points on both ears. My initial readings were 60 in one ear and 58 in the other. They dropped to 37 and 39 the second time, and to 30 and 27 last week. Under 25 is normal.

Oddly, I ovulated on day 14 of my current cycle, which is when “normal” women ovulate. Usually, my body isn’t ready to release that egg until day 16, 17, or 18.

I have no idea if this is working, but, if nothing else, I’m enjoying the sessions. The 20 minutes I spend lying there with the needles in – 1 in each calf, 1 in each wrist, 3 in the abdomen, and 3 in each ear – is the only time I ever have to just “be.” It’s the closest I’ve ever come to being in a meditative state.

Okay, enough rambling for now. Here’s an article about acupuncture, in case you want to read more.

Where Things Stand

Published / by Kim / 2 Comments on Where Things Stand

I’ve been putting off writing about this, because I haven’t really felt like examining my feelings about it. If I’m honest, I still don’t, but I know that I need to take a look at them sometime, and since it’s in my head right now, it may as well be now.

A few weeks ago, I went in to Columbia for a saline hysterosonogram. It’s a really simple procedure, where they use an internal ultrasound wand – often known around here as the “dildocam” – and saline introduced to the uterus to get a good image of the uterus. It hurts when the saline goes in and until it’s out, but it’s fast, so the pain is very bearable. Dr. G found a small polyp in my uterus, which he plans to remove via hysteroscopy and send for a biopsy, but the biopsy is standard procedure and polyps are fairly normal, so there’s nothing really to be concerned about there.

While I was in the office, I got the results of some blood work. Interesting to note is that I don’t have any rubella antibodies, which is strange because I distinctly recall getting the rubella/mumps/measles vaccine as a kid, in 2nd or 3rd grade. It was required for school. I guess it wore off, which I didn’t know could happen.

Also interesting to note is that Scott tested positive for syphilis. That gasp you just made? Yeah, that was my reaction, too. But it turns out it was a false positive. When someone tests positive for syphilis, the lab automatically runs a more sensitive test and that one came up definitely negative. Dr. G thinks Scott has some weird antibody in his blood that reacted weirdly with the less sensitive test. It’s funny, because he had the same thing with a Hep C test once: a false positive followed by another test that came up negative. We think that’s related and that this weird antibody he has can screw up several blood tests. Maybe it’s related to the Factor V Leiden, maybe it’s something else. He needs to follow up with his regular doctor to see what’s up with that, though I think a hematologist wouldn’t be out of line, particularly since he hasn’t seen one since he found out about the FVL.

The final blood test result I got is the one I’ve been avoiding thinking about: the MIS test. The MIS blood test measures anti-mullerian hormone and is used to determine ovarian reserve. My result was .04, which is low. It’s a really bad number. It means that there’s a very good chance that I’ll respond poorly to the hormones used to stimulate egg production for an IVF cycle.

Normally, I’d say screw it. I have IVF coverage, let’s give it a shot anyway. But we have to pay for the drugs out of pocket, and the drugs are around $6,000. I don’t have a spare $6k laying around to just give it a shot and then find out that yes, the test was right and my abused little ovary only managed to cough up 2 or 3 poor quality eggs that aren’t even mature. Not to mention, our insurance coverage isn’t as good as it used to be and now it only covers 90% of the cost of an IVF cycle. So on top of the expense for the drugs, we’d be paying for 10% of the cycle out of pocket.

We just can’t afford that for something with such a low likelihood of working.

Donor eggs are our best shot at getting pregnant now, but that brings with it a whole new breathtaking level of expenses. I have no ethical or emotional concerns with donor eggs. I would use them in a heartbeat, faster than a heartbeat, if I could afford it. But I can’t. It’s not at all covered under insurance so everything is out of pocket.

There is the very slimmest chance that Scott’s mother, who seems to have decided that grandmotherhood is important to her since marrying a man with grandkids and great-grandkids, will decide to help us out with this. This is a very slim chance.

So this is how things stand right now. I see my dreams of pregnancy and a tiny baby slipping out of my grasp, and I’m swinging wildly between resigned acceptance that dreams always fail and wanting to take a scorched earth approach to my life. Self-destruction is something I’ve always been really good at, though I’m out of practice.

Either way, I’m so sick and tired of being sad. I’ve been sad for… what?… 9… 10 years? However long it’s been since I first realized that pregnancy wasn’t going to be a matter of simply having sex at the right time. I’m looking for a grief counselor, because I know I need help getting through this. I just don’t know how to stop being sad, how to stop feeling this loss. And how to stop feeling like such a damn failure.

Update: Well, it turns out I was wrong about the IVF drugs not being covered under our prescription plan. Scott just got off the phone with them and it looks like all the drugs we’d be using are actually covered. This changes everything. There’s still a really small chance of IVF working with my own eggs, but at least now we can try it without having to lay out that $6k for the drugs.

I Must Be Stopped

Published / by Kim

I think I just discovered why the Universe has seen fit to keep me from giving birth to a child. It’s streams of consciousness like this:

“Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play… Prudence, that’s a nice name. Prudence Josephine? Prudence Jo? We could call her  PruJo. Haha. CuJo. It’s perfect.”

The Universe, in its infinite wisdom, must have decided that someone like me cannot be trusted with the task of naming a child.