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Synchronicity / Perseverance / Cleveland Clinic Embryos Lost

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Momma duck with her baby ducklings. Awww.

So I have some good news to share, much happier than my previous post. My migraines have significantly been reduced. Both my regular doctor and reproductive endocrinologist suggested the same blood pressure medicine for me that would be safe for pregnancy and that would probably reduce my migraines. Well, it worked! Up until just recently I would dread sitting up in bed due to the physical pain of my migraine swelling up in my head, almost without fail, every morning of this summer it happened. If I dropped anything on the ground and stood back up my head would spin and I could feel my brain seem to constrict. It’s a funny feeling to brace myself for the usual migraine to come on and now I don’t experience that. Both my doctors seemed to be right, my migraines were related to my blood pressure. Now the house is finally clean, I’m getting out and socializing more, I’m picking up more shifts at work, and it’s one less worry for me.

 

At the same time I was starting my new medicine I had a severe staph infection flare up on my leg. It was absolutely unreal the amount of pain I was in. Right about the time my migraines disappeared, I had to deal with a staph infection. It felt like someone took a handful of hot needles and was pressing it into my leg and twisting it deep down, which wasn’t far from the reality of the situation. I went to the ER at 3am due to the excruciating pain. I remembered one of my clients years ago show me her stomach with what looked like a flesh eating disease, she told me she had MRSA. What I was looking at on my leg looked exactly what she had. The ER took my temperature and I had a high fever. The ten people who were in the waiting room before me had to wait while they rushed me in. They told me they were concerned I was getting a blood infection due to the fever and my wound. Within four days, what looked like a tiny bug bite had now landed me into the ER with stabbing pain and a dark gray dying patch of my skin. I could literally feel the bacteria burrowing into my skin, a painful tingling sensation coming on in waves. The doctor drained my abscess, sounds routine right? No! I screamed and cried and screamed and cried when they shoved a sharp numbing needle into the center of it. She said the abscess was one inch deep. They packed my wound, gave me antibiotics and sent me home. The next day my wound turned black, the pain was throbbing, and I was back in the ER again because they said I shouldn’t be in pain and if I was to come back again. They pulled all my packing out early and gave me a second antibiotic to take in addition to the first one and told me to sit in a bath to soak my wound 3-4 times a day. Needless to say I needed time off work for a bit. I wasn’t able to sit on my wound at all or walk without hobbling around like an awkward penguin. It’s looking better, but still draining and I still have a hole in my leg as I write this.

 

I share that mortifying experience with you for a reason. Mind you this whole time I’m dealing with that my head is spinning because I’m thinking it is a very real possibility that my IVF cycle could be postponed due to this staph infection. My husband’s work locks in their time off and you absolutely cannot change it until the following year. And we need him to take time off to fly out of state with me to provide his semen for this whole IVF process to be possible. My AMH level is low and my time is limited to make this IVF happen. So I was so worried about this staph infection ruining my chances of IVF for the entire year. Thankfully both the IVF clinic and my regular doctor said I should be okay to continue and that since I would be done with the antibiotics before even taking my IVF injections that I don’t need to worry. What a relief. There have been so many obstacles in my way, so many I could never have anticipated. But no matter what, all you can do is the best you can with what you have.

 

I received my IVF medication the other day and procrastinated comparing the inventory to what I received. Good thing I checked when I did because I was missing two needles. The letter that came with the box said that you must call within 24 hours of receiving the box in order to for them to honor any requests for items that may be missing. Luckily when I called them the following morning they honored it no problem. Phew! I Should be getting them in a few days.

 

I’m already in the first phase of IVF, which is the suppression phase. I won’t start injections until August 5th. I fly out of state to the IVF clinic on the 10th, and do my egg retrieval August 16th, the day before my birthday. Hopefully this birthday will be a lucky one. I’ve experienced two miscarriages on my birthday in the past.

 

Some people may wonder why I’m doing IVF if I know I can get pregnant. I have been pregnant four times, the first two we don’t know the cause of the miscarriage, but the last two were not viable due to a chromosomal abnormality (Trisomy 15 & 16). But the main deciding factors that moved us into the direction of IVF were the following:

  • All four miscarriages required a subsequent surgery due to remaining scar tissue from products of conception. This could prevent healthy pregnancies from occurring if that embryo implanted on any scar tissue that could block nutrients from my body to get to the new pregnancy.
  • Scar tissue built up from multiple miscarriages, one on top of another they suspected. This puts me at risk for infection. I have already had two infections previously due to miscarriage complications.
  • My AMH level (ovarian reserve) is low, meaning I don’t have many eggs left to work with and time is critical to conceive.
  • Financially it is better for me to do the IVF route due versus trying to conceive naturally and risking needing surgery on top of surgery to clear my uterus of scar tissue. I had two surgeries for a single miscarriage due to them not clearing everything with the first procedure. Plus there is the extra cost of expensive ultrasounds to check and recheck my uterus was cleared.
  • Each surgery increases my risk of a perforated uterus which could potentially make me permanently infertile.
  • IVF with PGS would allow the doctor to see which embryo is viable and would pose less risk of a miscarriage.
  • The amount of blood loss with my first miscarriage was on par with hemorrhaging but I hadn’t experienced it before and thought it was normal. In hindsight I should have gone to the ER. Hemorrhaging is another risk of proceeding with natural conception (for me at least, given my history).

I could go on and on about the reasons IVF with PGS is the right choice for me. What I am about to say is controversial but also a very personal decision. If I chose to continue the path of natural conception there’s a tiny chance I could have a healthy baby, but a much larger chance I would risk my fertility and my own health, as well as bringing a child into the world who would probably have a severe physical and developmental disability. To put it into perspective, considering my particular circumstances, the whole “just try again” approach is uneducated and downright dangerous for me. I am a statistic, a 0.05% chance (yes less than half a percent) of my life experience with not only the number of miscarriages I’ve had but the type of miscarriages too. I had not one, not two, but three different doctors tell me I should stop trying naturally and to get the help of reproductive technology assistance. I’m glad I didn’t waste too much time contemplating.

 

As far as the title to this blog, I’ve experienced many moments throughout my journey to see only obstacles, but instead I am choosing to see the synchronicity to it all. I received an IVF grant. I’m receiving financial help from Mom as well. I have friends, family, and co-workers who know about my struggle and are cheering me on. All the baths I had to take with my staph infection helped me relax more and practice mindfulness during this stressful time of doing IVF. I have this blog as an outlet and can really speak my mind. I have two IVF cycles I’m about to pay for to receive a discount and even if this first round doesn’t work I still have another one I can do right away and not waste time saving up money. I was able to take a much needed break from work to recharge and refocus on myself and my needs. My new blood pressure medicine not only helps lower my BP but also helped get rid of my migraines, this will help with the whole IVF process. I switched to on-call work, which allows me to do the many doctor appointments without interfering with my job. I have a lot of good things to focus on through all of this. I am trying to focus more on staying positive and not letting all the obstacles get me down.

 

Now it becomes a numbers game. How many eggs will they get, how many are good eggs, how many will fertilize, how many get to blastocyst stage, how many pass the PGS test as viable, and if I have any remaining for FET (frozen embryo transfer), and if that embryo implants, and finally if I see the BFP (big fat positive) on my pregnancy test. This whole experience is so much like a roller coaster ride with the ups and downs. There’s only so much I can control in life, as long as I know I am doing everything I can I feel I will some day be able to hold our precious little cuddly baby in my arms and know this whole struggle was worth it all.

 

One thing I definitely don’t want to breeze over is the recent news I heard about a Cleveland fertility clinic losing over 4,000 eggs and embryos in a recent malfunction of their equipment that stores the embryos. My heart aches for those families who lost their embryos and maybe their last chance for a family. After hearing this news it absolutely makes me want to implant any embryos sooner rather than later. I don’t imagine now that I’ll have my “kidcicles” sit on ice for very long due to not only the potential human error but now the possible equipment malfunction. I had thought about spacing out my kids over a several years, but news like this makes me not want to risk it. How do you feel about this subject? Does this recent news change your plan for your embryos you may have frozen or are about to freeze?

Thank you for reading, and remember you are not alone! 🙂

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Red flower stands taller than the other orange ones. There is beauty in those that are different.

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