First, I would like to send out a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the bloggers, friends, and family who have supported me through this latest crisis with hugs, prayers, and messages of support. Baby loss is isolating. Infertility is isolating. Thank you so much for showing me I do not have to face this alone.
Our appointment with the Fertility Specialists (or FS) was at nine this morning, and we met with two separate docs who reviewed our case and performed some tests. It was really comforting that they both told me they had read my case, and offered their condolences on Peyton. That might seem like such a small thing to some, but it is a level of compassion not lost on us in the babylost world.
I had a pelvic exam, some cultures done, and an ultrasound of my reproductive system, after which, we were invited to sit down and talk in detail with both doctors about what they had found, and what they felt was the best way to proceed. The FS told us that we had two options, some of the details of which were expected, others which were not.
Option A involves a laproscopic surgery performed through incisions in my belly button and abdomen to explore the damage from the scarring, try to remove it (this is possible in a small percentage of cases), and assess my tubes for future functionality. If Option A worked, I would, in theory, be where I was before this nightmare began, and have working tubes.
Option A, the surgery, also has some major downsides. First is effectiveness, the FS indicated that in all likelihood, the surgery would reveal that the damage is too extensive to be corrected, and I would still need to pursue IVF to get pregnant. He discussed with me the theory behind muscle spasms, and I am going to share that here for anyone else who might go through this. He said that in some cases, the uterus will go into spasm, closing off the entrance to the tubes during the HSG, making it impossible for any dye to get through, and giving a result that appears as if the tubes are blocked. The reason this is not believed to be the case for me is pain. During the HSG, I felt discomfort when the catheter was put in, as well as when it was tugged on. This discomfort was always in the area of my cervix. When the Docs were trying to blow through the tubes with the dye, I felt nothing. This is supposed to be the most uncomfortable portion of the test. This is why they ruled out muscle spasm for me, because if the uterus was in spasm, I would have felt extreme cramping discomfort at this point in the muscles that were spasming. Also, because scar tissue does not sense pain.
Another major downside of this surgery is cost. Our insurance offers a lifetime max of $15,000 for fertility treatments, and a large portion of this would be spent on this surgery. If the surgery was not effective, and we had to pursue IVF, we would be left with a much smaller reserve of funds from our insurance company to cover the cost.
Third is the risk of complications from the surgery. There are risks, namely that your bowel, uterus, or tubes can, in a small number of cases, be damaged during this surgery. As of right now, my uterus looks good enough to hold a baby, so I am not sure that is a risk I am willing to take. Additionally, this surgery requires full sedation, so there is the possibility of complications from anesthesia, as well as the possibility of getting another infection, like the one from my c-section that put me in this position.
Then there is the fourth downfall. Due to surgical scheduling, as well as recovery time, if this surgery failed and we had to turn to IVF anyway, this surgery would put that process off by several months. Going several more months without any forward movement is a bit overwhelming.
So that leaves option B) Never find out the extent of damage and instead go straight for IVF. The main issue with this option is cost. It will cost approximately $17,500 for the first round of IVF, $2500 over our maximum amount covered by insurance, which is pennies in our minds if it works, but very expensive if it doesn't. We do feel a sense of hope in that the FS thought that with my age and health history, the success rate for me on IVF would fall somewhere around 50%, as opposed to the usual 20%. I am trying to view this as a glass half full scenario.
At my age they are willing to transfer up to two eggs. There is an increased likelihood of multiples. A 25% chance of twins, and a 5% chance of triplets, are what we are looking at, should the IVF cycle be successful. I have seen a lot of heartache on these blogs for mothers who have lost multiples, and know that there are added risks with multiple pregnancies, so that is something to consider as well.
So there you have it. I would be lying if I didn't say that this appointment has renewed a sense of hope for me. I am being "cautiously optimistic" which is a huge step up from my "life is a shitstorm" attitude of late.
When I had my HSG, and the Docs indicated that IVF may not even be an option available to me because of the damage caused by the infection, it came as an extreme shock. I saw the door of motherhood slamming shut before my eyes. It was devastating.
Seeing that there is this other avenue, this little window letting some light in on the situation, gives us something to hope and wish on. Of course I would rather conceive other children the way I had with Peyton, as opposed to through surgical means or in a petri dish, but I can't. That door is closed, and there is very little that I can do about that, so instead I am looking towards that window, and praying that in it's light lies a second chance for us. A chance to have another child of our own. A chance at our own, healthy, rainbow baby(s).
We are still thinking over and researching both option A and option B, but I think we are leaning more towards B. Please keep us in your prayers to make the right decision.