Monday, September 16, 2013

A New Beginning - IVF

The last three years have been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. One year into our journey, we moved across continents to Mumbai, India and started the second phase of our attempt with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

Months came and went, most ending without any progress, but we always started every cycle with renewed hope and that feeling that - that this was going to be "the cycle". We consulted numerous doctors (at least four), each giving us a new list of investigations to be done and proposing sometimes similar but sometimes different prognosis. To summarize, between all these experts no exact reason was found for our infertility.

I finally found some success with two different natural Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) cycles which resulted in pregnancies but ended faster than I could say "I am pregnant!". While the loss of both were equally devastating, the first one was more difficult to digest. I got a positive home pregnancy test on Day 14 post IUI followed by 79 on my beta HCG.

I finally convinced myself that the first incident was just an isolated incidence and that this was really happening. However, given my history, the doctor asked us to repeat the test in 72 hours, and guess what the HCG count increased but did not double, as you would want it to in a healthy pregnancy. I researched all possible sites on the internet and found some peace in the fact that there were cases when an initial non-doubling HCG count had resulted in healthy pregnancies. So another 48 hours passed, before we tested again to only find out that the count had started to decline. The doctor told us that my body was taking care of the un-healthy pregnancy on its own which is a good thing.  At such a moment it is hard to see how anything can be a good thing, right?

To cut a long story short, I miscarried naturally. We got pregnant with our second IUI attempt in March 2013 where history repeated but this time it was diagnosed as an ectopic. By then we knew to take any news of pregnancy with a pinch of salt, so I feel like I grieved less. I was given Methotrexate injections to end the pregnancy which was the hardest thing I have ever had to do - I felt like I was electing to end the life of my baby to protect myself, a baby who has taken so long to come into our lives.

After it was all over, we took a break from all this IUI nonsense for a few months but continued to try naturally. After what seemed like eternity we approached our doctor again and even before we could ask for it, he suggested we do a diagnostic laparoscopy and a hysteroscopy to see if all of us can find something to blame for our misfortune.

Due to complications during the procedure, the doctor was not able to do a laparoscopy but at least the hysteroscopy did not reveal any abnormality. Like in a hysterosalpingogram, they injected a dye into my uterus, and while they could see it spill without the laparoscope, they could tell that that dye was slow to spill. This could only mean that my tubes could be the culprit.  Finally at least there was a possible explanation for what might have been happening all the times we got pregnant. For my doctor that was enough evidence to suggest we try Invitro fertilization (IVF) as the next course of action. This brings me to this post - a new beginning.

Last month, after a series of very expensive injections, my clinic was able to cryro-preserve six beautiful embroyos. Not all of them are perfect, but still each of them have a fighting chance of becoming our babies. We will do a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) next month and I cannot help but get excited once again about the start of something new, the third and hopefully final phase of our journey. Please pray that my little frosties stick and we become proud parents soon.

Thank you for reading again. If any of you are also undergoing FET or IVF in September-October please do get in touch - would love to have a IVF buddy to write to.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Dream...

My journey began around three years ago, and while the end seems nowhere on the horizon, I know I will reach my destination someday. I am writing to spread hope to all of you who are also struggling with your fertility and your dream of having a baby and also to make some friends along the way. My journey is not that unique but I will try my best to share whatever I have learnt along the way in the hope that someone will find it useful.

Growing up, I was one of those kids who always wanted to play mommy with her dolls. I was so obsessed with being a mother that I often told my mother that I will get married soon, have a baby and come back to her. Influenced by the TV series Mahabharata, I even tried medidating once to call upon Surya Dev to grant me a child like Kunti did. But scared of the consequences, I abandoned that attempt mid-way. For those of you who are not familiar with Hindu mythology, you can read more about Kunti, Madri and their marriage to Pandu on wikipedia.

I got married to my sweetheart at the age of 26 and two years later we were ready to begin making some babies. Like any first time mother-to-be, I wanted everything to be perfect. In October 2009, I got all my immunizations checked, started on my folic acid, DHA, and my multi-vitamins. Heck, I even gave up alcohol completely - not that I used to drink a lot but even the occasional glass of wine was off limits.  We tried unprotected sex for the first time in February 2010 and then over the two week wait, I read and obsessed over every small symptom to the point that my husband was worried I may be psuedo-pregnant. For the first time ever, my periods were late! Given that they generally came like clockwork, I knew in my heart that I was pregnant, but every home pregnancy test kept coming back negative.

Finally one fine morning, one of those first response tests came back with a faint positive - but that was enough to get me excited. I called by OB/GYN and she asked me to come in for a beta HCG blood test. For me all of this was just a formality at that point - in my heart and mind I was already on my way to becoming a mother. All this medical jargon was over my head - I did not even know what the beta HCG test was supposed to do. I picked up one of those pregnancy journals I had always eyed at my OB/GYN's clinic, put my name down on it and entered the first date of the faint positive and the beta HCG. However all of this was shortlived. The clinic called saying that my HCG was low (18) and that if I start bleeding I should rush to the ER.

It felt like someone had just taken their pointiest heel and danced all over my dream; shattering it into a million pieces. I tried getting in touch with another OB/GYN, who asked me to come see her first thing next morning. However, my body rejected the pregnancy and I started bleeding just a little later that evening even before I had a chance to see the other doctor.

This was the end of my first attempt at motherhood. I was devastated, did not feel like getting up, talking, eating. Even though all doctors told me it was a bio-checmical pregnancy, for me the loss was very real.

This was my first, but not the last, stop in Destination Prolificity. My husband and I have come a long way since then and I know we will definitely reach our destination someday. Thank you all for reading! If you have a first time story like mine, please do share.