Dear RE: You’re Fired!

64-year-old Diana Nyad recently completed a swim from Cuba to Florida Labor Day weekend and the first message she sent to the world when she climbed out of the water: “Never Ever Give Up”.

While my first round of IVF is being canceled “Never Ever Give Up”  is my mantra  and always will be when it comes to motherhood. This very reason is why my doctor in Orlando will be getting fired tomorrow. I will be reclaiming the money I have put in to IVF and I will be going back to my RE in Los Angeles.

I am shocked and I am sad.  I started with 12 antral follicles and after a great response to Follistim during my iui with my doctor in LA (5 mature follicles were triggered) I thought IVF would be no issue.

Wrong!

My protocol from my Florida RE:

– 3 weeks birth control pills

– 2 day break between bcp and stimulation

– Micro Lupron/ Follistim protocol

– Stimulation days 2- 5 10 units Micro-Lupron 225 units Follistim morning and evening

– Stimulation day 5 bloodwork reveals E2 level of 35…..30 freaking 5.

Florida RE calls says take 375 units of Follistim that evening and begin 300 units next morning

– Stimulations day 6- 8: 10 units Micro-Lupron 300 units Follistim morning and evening

Go in for more bloodwork and scan on day 8 – E2 is 97 and scan reveals nothing is happening in left ovary and I have two dominant follicles on right ovary and that is it.

AND THIS IS WHY MY FLORIDA RE WILL BE FIRED

I receive a call from the doctor who has been completely absent through the entire process to tell me things do not look good. So I say to him “ok, let’s go ahead and cancel this round and start again on a different protocol.” ( I know there are many protocols because I Google). He says to me “This is the gold standard and if you are a poor responder to this, then nothing will work.” Oh really???? So I play to his ego and kindly say: “while I understand that IUI and IVF are different I am having a hard time understanding why my LA doctor (because he’s much better) said my ovaries responded beautifully and I had a textbook IUI just five months ago. I stimmed for 10 days on 125 units of Follistim and he had to back me off on day 8 down to 75 units because I had 8 follicles maturing rapidly. I produced 5 mature follicles on a fraction of medication?” He then tells me “well we knew you’d be a poor responder because you have diminished ovarian reserve. Your AMH is .60”  WHAT!!!!!!!

Um never once was it mentioned to me that I could be a poor responder to IVF until that moment.

I am no doctor, but here is what my bachelor’s in Googling tells me: If I have a low AMH and may be a poor responder I should not have been put on birth control which suppressed ovarian function for three weeks without a break.

He goes on to mention donor eggs and at that moment I tune out.

Side note: Shouldn’t this be a discussion that happens in person, not over the phone?

The second I got off the phone I called my RE in Los Angeles and promptly spoke to the nurses. Explained my protocol and the first thing she said was: “why are you on birth control? do you have cysts?” Exactly! I don’t have cysts.

Here are my dirty infertility details to date. I’d love to hear what everyone thinks. Am I really a candidate for donor eggs already? My gut tells me HELL NO.

January 2011 – pregnant naturally. Not trying

April 28th 2011 – early 20 week checkup reveals no heartbeat

May 2nd 2011 – Induced and deliver my son, Blake after 18 hours of labor. Labs on both me and my baby reveal nothing.

June 2011-May 2012 Take a TTC break for 1 year. Go on birth control to focus on healing the big gaping hole in my heart.

May 2012 – Begin trying

July 2012 – we are pregnant (naturally)

September 2012 – November 2012 – Blighted ovum at 9 weeks have a D&C. More bloodwork. Reveals I have a TSH level of 3.0. Dr says it’s normal but wants it at a 2.0. Puts me on Synthroid. We start interviewing fertility doctors. Find a fabulous doctor that we love in Santa Monica. Find out husband has abnormal morphology. Dr. recommends IUI.

November 2012- March 2013 – try naturally (no luck)

April 2013 – Begin IUI process Follistim protocol (5 matured follicles at trigger)

May 2013 – We are pregnant! (Ectopic) get the shots that cause the miscarriage

June-August 2013 – Move to Florida get a new (and shitty) RE based on recommendation

September 2013 – IVF #1 – Canceled due to poor response. Dr says I have low AMH .60 maybe I should move on to donor eggs. He will be fired tomorrow.

Given my history that 2 out of my 3 pregnancies have been natural. I am 32-years-old. My AMH is low from my age, but not dire I am sticking my my mantra “NEVER EVER GIVE UP”!

 

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IVF Theme Songs And High-Fives

The past four days like clockwork, every morning at 8:30 am and every evening at 7 pm my husband has stabbed me with the baby-making juice.  With the exception of one shot they’ve all ended with a high-five and a kiss for the painless procedure. I’m really proud of him. He’s got a gentle touch and I barely feel a thing. My belly is beginning to show signs of tenderness and I have a headache that won’t quit on my 10 ml Micro Lupron / 225 ui Follistim protocol but this little party in my ovaries is in full swing.

In my efforts to stay on the sunny side of this less than stellar situation I have decided to do two things:

1. Have a theme song

Yes! I have a theme song for making this IVF cycle my bitch and it’s Katy Perry’s Roar. If you need to pump yourself up before your shots I highly recommend.  Thankfully it’s overplayed and on the radio every 15 minutes right now. I picture my follicles roaring like lions. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but nobody ever said IVF has to be serious.

2. A  list of things that hurt more than my injections

The injections really haven’t been that bad, but in case I forget I’ve been developing a list of things that hurt WAY more than one of my shots. A few that have made my list include:

– paper cuts

– Eyebrow threading (this is really painful)

– Bikini wax

-canker sores

– stubbing my toe

– rolling my ankle in a pair of heels

– Cat scratches

– Feel free to let me know what other things I should add to my tally. 🙂

IVF = I’m Very Fortunate

I must be out of my mind to think that starting IVF tomorrow makes me fortunate, right? That’s honestly how I feel.

I’m on my way to my fourth attempt at pregnancy. I’ve held my stillborn son in my arms. I’ve had three D&C’s and I feel blessed??? It’s a conflicting feeling for me to have but it’s where I am at. Why do I feel this way? Because myself and everyone else who has gone through or been through IVF has had the means to do so. Somehow and someway we can afford to inject ourselves with thousands of dollars of medication. If the affordability hasn’t been there for all, there have been other forms of financial support ( A friend, family member, good credit and a credit card) there to help foot the bill in all of us becoming parents.

Throughout my journeys to the coveted positive pregnancy test I’ve spent a few minutes on Google. (I lie. I’ve spent days upon days on Google). And what I have found is that for many an infertility diagnosis means having little hope and almost no chance of having a family. The chance is lost on the lack of the almighty dollar.

So tonight while I take inventory of the ridiculous amount of needles that arrived today, I will take inventory of my blessings and count my intimate relationship with my IVF meds as one. 🙂

(Below) Assuming  the position. A photo my husband snapped of me during our second baseline scan. 12 little antral follicles ready for plumping.

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Make Your Mess Your Message

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“Make your mess your message”. – Robin Roberts

So It’s been months since my last post because I’ve been living my life between positive pregnancy tests. Since May, my husband and I have moved from Los Angeles to Florida, bought a home and have began our bicostal lifestyle of three weeks in Florida and one in California. I am back and plan on regularly chronicling my journey towards a healthy and successful pregnancy.

In July, I watched breast cancer survivor and news anchor Robin Roberts give a moving speech during the 2013 ESPYS that resonated with me.  A quote of her’s that has stuck with me since is “make your mess, your message”. It brought tears to my eyes as I realized that I have been fearful to do exactly that. Three pregnancy losses and inching closer to beginning my first round of  IVF I rarely, if ever, share my personal journey of infertility. At 32 I have not wanted to make loss my story. I have not wanted to have unexplained infertility define me. In fear of doing either I have decidedly remained mum to most about my experiences.

I have come to realize that my fearful silence is not helping, but only hurting, the wonderful community of women who have been dealt the same cards I have. In my vocal paralysis I am a contributor to the overall lack of awareness and knowledge the general public has about pregnancy loss and infertility. As most women and couples in my situation I have had some downright ignorant things said to me by those who know nothing or very little of my circumstances. I’ve been called selfish for not having children and I’ve been told to not waste my perfect genes and have children already. For those in the know the tried and true “relax”, “take a vacation” and “stop trying so hard” have all been unsolicited pieces of advice ignorantly offered up.

So while you won’t find me shouting from the rooftops that I’ve been unsuccessful in carrying a pregnancy to term, I do plan on being more open about it. Today’s post is my first step. 🙂