This update is kind of all over the place, so I apologize. It’s nearly impossible for me to organize all these thoughts, but I do want to kind of update everyone who’s been sending us prayers and positive vibes.
Before our trip, we had our first consultation with a reproductive specialist. We chose a practice with excellent reviews, to which we’d been referred to multiple times. We set up a plan: we’d do three rounds of IUI, and if it didn’t work, then come back to discuss further options, like IVF. Our consultation went pretty well over all, and I left the office that day with a little more optimism.
However, it didn’t take long for my optimism to turn to skepticism.
You know how when you’re sitting in a doctors’ office, you just nod, everything sounds great, and you have no questions, because this guy seems to know what he’s doing? But then, once you get home and have a few days to think about everything said, you start to have doubts and lots of questions. Or at least, this is a pretty common occurrence for me.
I mentioned before my regular doctor decided I “most likely have PCOS,” right? This new doctor, we’ll just call him Dr. A, said during the consultation, “I’m not really convinced you have PCOS.” He was leaning toward the “unexplained infertility” diagnosis. But he also brought up something else: Dr. A was concerned I may have adhesions, or scar tissue, from my ruptured appendix in 2011, hanging out in my fallopian tubes.
A test I’d done earlier, an HSG, showed I had open tubes — that’s good! But there was some “pooling” of the dye they use… There might be some gunk in there, basically.
Unfortunately, the only way to really know if I have a good amount of scar tissue is to do surgery: a laparoscopy. Dr. A didn’t think this was a good option for me, because there’s no way of knowing how much there is until they get in there, or if they can even completely fix it. This was a relief for me to hear; I truly don’t need any more surgery in my life.
If I do have blockages in my fallopian tubes, and this is possibly what has prevented us from getting pregnant, IUI would only increase our chances if an egg did manage to get through my tubes. But I’m not a doctor, and I decided Dr. A knew better than I did. Besides, IUI is way cheaper.
The Real Start
So we started the IUI process. I began taking letrozole, since clomid caused such terrible side effects. I came into the office several times to complete the process, including a trigger shot, because I wasn’t ovulating as soon as “they” wanted me to.
The first cycle (obviously) didn’t work, even though everything looked good. After I ovulated, a cyst on my left ovary appeared, but my estrogen levels were good. So we began the second cycle.
I should mention, I had two ultrasounds per cycle, and came in many times for blood work. I never saw the same person twice, other than one of the people who did blood work. My questions weren’t fully answered, I was rushed out of the exam room, and there were obviously too many patients for the space. Every time I left, I felt confused and upset, and I hadn’t seen or heard from Dr. A once since our consultation.
The second ultrasound in the second cycle, I was eager to find out how many follicles my ovaries were producing, but I was given bad news: the cyst on my left ovary was still present, and I now had a larger fluid-filled cyst on my right ovary. I asked several questions during this appointment, and Tim and I both of us felt rushed and as though nothing was fully explained. Later, via a phone call, I was told that I’d already ovulated. “So that’s a bummer,” said the random person who was tasked with giving me the bad news.
Between the lack of communication and the passiveness of the staff, Tim and I decided we’d look elsewhere, for someone who took a more personal approach to our case. After all, we live in a fairly large city. We have choices!
We Start Over
We came across Dr. B, who had excellent reviews, and seemed to be in a somewhat smaller practice. We set up a consultation ASAP.
After reviewing my file and asking a few questions, Dr. B said he didn’t believe I have PCOS, but he was convinced I may have endometriosis.
So first, I had PCOS.
Then, I had adhesions and possibly PCOS
Then, I had adhesions, endometriosis, and probably not PCOS.
At this point, I once again felt like I didn’t really have answers. But I can live without answers if we find a solution.
Dr. B started talking about a laparoscopy. He recommended I have one, because with it we’d be more likely to be able to conceive naturally.
I started crying. And I couldn’t stop. And I couldn’t help it. I was so embarrassed, even though I’m pretty sure every reproductive specialist sees tears every single day. But like I said before, I really didn’t want surgery, and I was not convinced it was my solution. I said so once I thought I could speak without sobbing.
So we moved on to Dr. B’s next recommendation: IVF. With IVF, it doesn’t matter what my fallopian tubes look like. I don’t even need to have them. It’s far more expensive, but the chances of conceiving with IVF are so much higher.
We went on to have an ultrasound during the consultation. I was already comforted with the fact Dr. B was the one doing the ultrasound and drawing conclusions from it — not a random technician I’d never see again. After looking to the left, Dr. B was even more convinced I don’t have polycystic ovaries. Lefty was doing well producing follicles on her own, without any medication. To the right, the same big fluid-filled cyst was still there. I say big, because it was big: 6 cm. This wasn’t awesome news, but it wasn’t devastating either, because we have an easy solution. I was given two months of birth control and told if the cyst didn’t disappear after I finished it, we’d drain it.
And then we begin IVF. We have a plan.
So this summer, I’m taking birth control. Ironic, isn’t it? Pass the wine.