Warning: personal medical information below. Read on with caution and be respectful to how personal this is for me.
In the past I have been asked what the cause has been for our infertility, and I can honestly say that I have only really told a handful of people. Not because I wanted to keep it to myself, but it's just so darn complicated and I just figured people would tune me out after the first two sentences anyway, so why bother. But this has been bothering me a little in the back of my mind, that our story isn't truly shared and able to reach those in similar situations if the full scope isn't shared as well. So I am going to attempt the best explanation that I can here.
After two years of trying with no medical assistance and no results, we finally decided to see a specialist in Houston. I was careful to choose the best doc with the best stats and reputation, so we drove into the heart of Houston for every test under the sun. (I am choosing not to refer to my medical records for this post because, well, it just brings back too many sad memories for me. So I am trying to remember the best I can.) Dr. M came back to us after each and every single diagnostic test run (and some were unquestionably embarrassing) with the results: NORMAL. Some results were even better than normal. So our diagnosis was "Unexplained Infertility." Not something you want to hear after 2+ years of no baby. I think that is why my depression over it went so deep for so many years...how do you explain nothing being wrong with still no baby?
I had laparoscopic exploratory surgery as well as a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) Test completed in the summer of 2006. The laparoscopy is where a scope is inserted into the abdominal cavity to check the structure of the reproductive organs. The results of this test were that I had a few tiny spots of endometriosis that had adhered my uterus to my colon. The doctor burned the spots away and separated the two from one another and other than that, we were told that was quite normal and no big deal and shouldn't have any bearing on our fertility before or after. So needless to say, we were pretty hopeful after that. The HSG test is where they shoot dye into your uterus and into your tubes to check if the tubes are blocked. Mine were clear and had perfect structure. I had this test done twice over a span of several years, with same results.
In the summer of 2007 we moved to DFW area from Houston and decided that we just needed a break from all of it. At this point we had been TTC (trying to conceive) for over 3 years. I was so "over it" and just utterly devastated, and this is when I began to sink deeper into depression over it all. I was definitely in the denial phase. I got on the pill for a year or so here. When people asked "WHY??" I always felt like they were implying "It's obvious you don't need birth control..." But what they didn't understand is that to have true closure to a hard chapter in your life, you need that finality. It helped me to never wonder "Could I be???" and get me back into the vicious cycle of hope/let down/hope/letdown that just hurts so badly.
Well, after I turned my back on TTC and pushed onward with the other things in life that I dove into headfirst and with gusto...my husband decided he wanted to try again. He was ready....I was NOT. But after some prayer and discussions, we did decide to get off the pill and just "see what happens." I was like "HA! See what happens. What a crock of you-know-what." But that was when God stepped in and began plowing the hardened droughted soil of my heart and spirit.
That very month that we stopped taking the pill, I got pregnant. We were absolutely shocked!!!!! No medical intervention, no doctor involvement, just "easy" like everyone else out there. Speechless was a good way of describing it. Well, at 6 1/2 weeks I began cramping terribly and had to be taken to the ER. When we got there, the bleeding began, and "inevitable miscarriage" was on our agenda for the day. Talk about a roller coaster. Highest of highs to lowest of lows in a couple week's time span. I won't go into the details of this time period today, and will save that for a future blog post. But just two months later, the SAME THING HAPPENED again. Another easy conception, only to lose this one at 5 1/2 weeks.
So the doctor sent me for labwork. Ten vials of blood drawn, and all results in: only 1 was abnormal. I happen to have elevated Antiphosphatidylserine iGm. The only symptom of this disorder is recurrent pregnancy loss. So I would have never known I had this if I hadn't ever conceived. Basically what this means is that ONLY in my capillaries I have a blood clotting issue. So when the placenta begins to form and attach to the uterine wall, blood flow is blocked and therefore all nutrition to the baby is lost, therefore killing the baby. There is treatment for this, which involves giving yourself blood thinner shots into your pregnant belly daily for your entire pregnancy. But the trick is catching a pregnancy in time to get the positive test from doc, the prescription filled, and begin administering the drugs all before the baby dies. Since the diagnosis I have had 1 other positive preg test at the doc, but lost the baby before I could even make it to CVS.
This was when we decided that we would rather not count on my body for carrying a baby. Someone with this issue I just don't see how it can be wise to try IVF and pay thousands for it to inevitably end in miscarriage and heartache. This is just how WE feel and what is right for us...I am not speaking on behalf of everyone else. The repro doctor we were seeing here in Plano, who repeated all the same tests that our Houston doc did, gave us "Unexplained Infertility" as a diagnosis as well, and KNEW we had the miscarriage diagnosis, yet he still pushed us towards IVF numerous times. This just made me mad...no sense in it other than the doctor trying to make several thousands of dollars off of us.
In the end, I am so grateful for the things that hurt us along the way. Without them, we wouldn't have chosen to adopt. And without the beauty of adoption, I wouldn't have this precious little nugget who rocked our world, and hasn't stopped since! I know God's hand was in this all along, and am so grateful for the journey he had us walk.
Let me know if you have any questions regarding our story, fertility questions, adoption questions, or anything at all. I don't mind helping other couples seek their path.