As I sit her with pain every day carrying twins and wishing every day it was time for our referral for our baby from China, I can't help but think of all the women that still struggle to have a child. Not everyone can adopt nor can they all afford the doctor bills that accumulate with infertility battles. I am thankful every day I kept on and on trying to have the family we wanted and now we're being blessed with more than we ever thought we would have.
I've never shared my complete story of battling infertilty so I decided to share on my blog. I know some women have been through even worse than I have. It takes a toll on a woman's body and her mind. It's heartbreaking and painful but in the end many know they did the right thing and know it was all worth everything they've been through.
Back in 1999 at my regular GYN physical, I discussed with my GYN that I was ready to have a baby. Unfortunately though for me, I didn't have periods. I had two that entire year and both were with the help of provera. We were about to move into our new home so I said I wanted to wait and start whatever he thought we could try after our move and we were settled into our home. By January 2000, I went back to him and discussed clomid. We weren't too keen on the idea of fertilty drugs at that time so what my GYN tried to do was to get me on cycle and see if that could start ovulation. For 6 months I was to try provera on a regular schedule to have normal periods. Well, that's all it did for me, nothing else (except for the side effects that can occur with this drug). So, by July I was on clomid at the lowest dosage possible.
With clomid, I was given a chart to indicate all of my morning temperatures to see if there was ever an increase indicating possible ovulation. I took a thermometer with me everywhere I went, even to the beach when I went off on a girl's weekend once. I also had to go in every month mid-cycle to have a pelvic exam to make sure I was not being overstimulated with clomid. First cycle of clomid didn't even give me a period - no ovulation occurred. Dosage was increased to 100mg 5 days - nothing again. Dosage was increased to 150 mg 5 days - nothing again. By the third try I'm really depressed. My GYN decided to refer me to another doctor.
I thought I was being referred to a reproductive endocrinologist but it turned out he wasn't, but I didn't know this until many months later. He was just an OB/GYN that worked more with women with infertilty problems. He tested me for several things and diagnosed me with PCOS
. This was the first time I had ever heard of this. I never knew all those years that was my problem and why I had no periods and about every thing else that comes with PCOS. He decided to put me on 150 mg of clomid for 7 days instead of 5 and do a vaginal u/s to check follicles. This was around Christmas time in 2000. I had never had one of these scans before so I was a bit nervous about that (to date - I've had millions of these now I think). Good news finally, I had some growing follicles which meant if they could reach a certain size, more and likely they would release an egg. I went back in one week later and I had finally ovulated for the first time on clomid and who knows when the last time that ever had happened. But then there was bad news, I wasn't pregnant again, but I did get a period without any help of provera.
After that cycle, this doctor added Glucophage. It's a diabetic pill to help treat insulin resistance which I had. I wasn't considered diabetic though. I used the same meds the next three cycles with u/s's each month to check follicle size. I also those last three months received an hcg injection. By the 7th try on clomid, on April 1st 2001, I had my first positive pregnancy test. It was April Fool's Day and I took several tests just to make sure and we called all my family immediately. I was so excited.
Before I was 6 weeks pregnant I began to bleed. I had a scan on one day shy of 6 weeks and it revealed a beating heart. Again, we were so excited tears flowed down our cheeks. I was rechecked the following week and found out we had two babies - TWINS! One heartbeat was not like it should have been so for the next week we prayed and prayed for Baby B. They were identical twins - same sac. Baby A was given a 97% chance of survival b/c of his/her strong heartbeat. At 8 weeks, April 26, 2001, after waiting an hour in the waiting room worried what we would find out about Baby B, we discovered there were no heartbeats at all. Our hopes and dreams were destroyed. This doctor was so rude about it too and I still wish to this day Tony had knocked him out. All he could say to me was "What do I saw....DARN, it didn't work" and that was it. The following day I had a d&c performed by my GYN who was so generous enough to fit me in b/c it was the weekend and I just couldn't wait until Monday to get it over with.
After physically healing (mentally I never got over it just learned how to cope), I wanted to try again. I discussed with my GYN other possibilities but was told the other doctors had waiting lists. The doctor that had helped me get pregnant didn't (now I know why) had called an apologized and checked on me after my d&c so I decided to give him another chance. He did all the same meds two more times and I was finally pregnant again. I had to give this doctor credit for this b/c he gave me the best gift of all - Logan.
When Logan was one year old we wanted to try again but I was having trouble with my hands and wrists at that point and so I had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands over the summer. After I finally got to where they felt normal again, then I had trouble with my gallbladder AGAIN. This had been ongoing for years and finally while pregnant with Logan I found a doctor that said it was definiltey my gallbladder not functioning. I went ahead and had surgery again that year b/c I could get it free after meeting all my deductibles on my insurance from the other two surgeries.
By February 2004 I went back to the doctor that helped me get pregnant with Logan. I started back on all the same meds again, no retesting of anything. First try, no ovulation, even at same dosages that helped with Logan. Second try, I did ovulate but no pregnancy occurred. By the third try, no ovulation again and I was overstimulated and he placed me on birth control pills even after telling him I had in the past had problems with those pills. I was so frustrated with him that I called myself to a reproductive endocrinologist I found in the phone book and looked at his website and was able to get in within three weeks. I collected all my records and when I saw this doctor, I knew I had made the right choice.
Dr. P was very educated with PCOS women. One of the first things he said to me was and I'll never forget it "women with PCOS have the hardest time loosing weight. They almost have to starve themselves to lose and I don't ask them to do that." That was the first doctor that ever didn't hound me about my weight. He was so right.
He retested me for everything I had been tested for plus some. He started me out on clomid at a lower dosage b/c he said I shouldn't have been on such a high dosage anyway and readjusted my glucophage dosage. The first cycle did not work - no ovulation. He knew then not to go any further with clomid and we met to discuss more options.
I had two options - injectible meds that cost way over $1000 each month and not a high percentage they would even work and insurance doesn't cover it, or ovarian drilling surgery that had a good chance of working along with clomid again and most insurances paid for this surgery. In August 2004 I had this surgery. My ovaries were twice the size they should be and he drilled 19 holes into each ovary to allow the cysts to drain. Immediately after my surgery within about a week and a few days I had my first period on my own, no meds. I had to wait a month to recover before trying again but again I got my period on my own with no help of meds.
Well, the next few months weren't so great. Even with clomid I couldn't seem to get pregnant. Finally by Dec 2004 the week before Christmas I found out I was pregnant again. FINALLY!!!! What a year that had been. Unfortunately, at 19 weeks pregnant we lost our daughter Reagan to Triploidy. I've never been so hurt in my life as the day we found out she would never live. She was born and died on April 6, this year.
After her loss I never wanted to try again. I wanted to give up and adopt. We had researched domestic and international adoption before conceiving Reagan. I had saved all those papers even after finding out I was pregnant. Two weeks after her death, I pulled those back out again. I knew I still wanted another child. China was our next option to bring a child into our lives.
After loosing her, I discovered the ovarian driling surgery I had was still working. Research shows it tends to only work from 6-12 months and all the cysts will come back. I had regular 26 day cycles for three months after loosing her. This just wasn't normal for me at all. I could only believe that maybe I now had an angel watching over me and telling me this was a sign that maybe I could have another child. I did have Logan so I knew it was possible to give birth to a baby. We had all the paperwork done and waiting on the I-171H for the adoption when I decided to see Dr. P again. He reassured me that I could still have another baby but he only gave the surgery a few more months to actually work. It would have been a year by August this year that I had had the surgery so if I was going to try, I needed to start now. It took lots of convincing Tony that we should try again for another baby. I just felt like I couldn't give up yet. I still wanted to adopt no matter what. I was rescanned and my right ovary was covered in cysts but my left ovary was going to be the winner. We were amazed within four weeks to find out I was pregnant again. Not only that, I was carrying twins AGAIN.
I've made it pass the point I lost my first set of twins. I have passed the point I have lost Reagan and the scans show no signs of birth defects. When people say "Be careful what you wish for" they really mean it. Who knew we would have three new kids in the family in one year? It will definitely be exciting in our house in 2006 and the years to come.
I'm positive this will be it for us, but if not, we'll go back to China again. The paperwork is stressful, the waiting is long, but overall the adoption is easier and she is just as much mine as my other kids are. I can't wait to meet Madelyn as much as I can't wait to meet the twins.