Monday, March 24, 2014

Our (In)Fertility Journey - Part Two

To read "Part One" please click here.

After getting settled into our new rental house, setting up my classroom, and starting a brand new job teaching Kindergarten, you'd think the last thing on my mind would be getting pregnant - of course not! It's something I've always wanted and I knew it wasn't going to happen without help. I learned that one of my teacher partners was currently going through fertility treatments and decided to confide in her everything that we had gone through and asked where she was getting her fertility help from. She referred us to a wonderful clinic about 45 minutes from our new town. In late October 2012, I had my first consultation with the head nurse at the clinic.

The consultation went very well, in my opinion. I explained everything that we had been through with the genetic counselor, and the Clomid and she wanted to take a step back, dig deeper, and figure out why I wasn't getting pregnant before just putting me on some hormones. Good idea! I already liked this clinic better! And, when I asked if they had experience with CF and pregnancy, she told me she had a woman with CF in the previous day who was working towards her second pregnancy - awesome! :-) So over the next couple months I had several tests done including lots of blood work and a procedure called an HSG, and Tim had to get a semen analysis done - just to make sure he wasn't the problem. During my HSG, they inserted dye into my uterus and through my Fallopian tubes to make sure that they weren't blocked or obstructed in any way. They took x-rays the whole time to watch the dye to make sure it flowed through my tubes properly. The procedure itself wasn't too terrible, just some mild cramping during. After the procedure (which was done by an extremely pregnant doctor...of course), the doctor told me that she noticed some slight dilating in my tubes, but otherwise everything looked fine. She didn't go into detail about what that meant, so I was under the impression that this "dilating" wasn't going to be a problem...

At the end of December, a couple days before Christmas, we finally met with the fertility doctor who went over the results of all of the testing we had done over the past couple months. Tim's semen sample was pretty good, some of his sperm were not fully mature, but he said he had a big enough sample of ones that were, that he wasn't too concerned. He referred Tim to a male reproductive specialist who didn't give him too much information. Tim ended up researching online how to make his sample better, and started taking some vitamins. When he had a repeat test done a couple months later, his sample was completely normal. :) If only my issues were solved with a few extra vitamins...

The fertility doctor then explained that my hormone levels looked normal, but my tubes did not. He said that they were filled with an "embryo-toxic fluid" called hydrosalpinx which is harmful to my follicles and any embryo that tried to implant in my uterus. He said it would be best if we just "took them out". And I think that I was in such shock from trying to absorb all of this that I misunderstood what he said and thought he meant we had to take out my whole female reproductive system! I started crying while he was talking because I though "this is it, I'm never going to be able to have kids. They just have to rip everything out of me." That was not the case. He re-explained it to me, assuring me that we could still get pregnant even if I didn't have Fallopian tubes, we just couldn't do it naturally - it'd have to be through IVF.

The job of the Fallopian tubes is to bring the mature follicle to the uterus to wait for sperm to fertilize it. Without Fallopian tubes, there's no way the mature follicle could get to the uterus which meant there would be no way to naturally get pregnant. The IVF would help me produce mature follicles, then they would have to surgically be removed from my ovaries, Tim would give a semen sample, and our egg & sperm would be fertilized in a lab, and once it was mature enough, it would be inserted (through a catheter) back into my uterus to hopefully implant itself.

The plan was to have a laparoscopic surgery, which would be minimally invasive with two or three tiny incisions, to remove my Fallopian tubes. Once we decided to do the surgery though, there was obviously no going back - we would have to get pregnant through IVF. We left the appointment with a lot of information to digest and a surgery scheduled for the end of February to remove my tubes.

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