Earlier this month, my wife and I announced that we’d both begin trying to get pregnant. Not everyone understands it, and that’s okay. We don’t need them to. For us, this is the right decision.
But how we get pregnant means two different things to us.
Sara will continue to try at-home insemination with our known donor. She was able to get pregnant the first time, though it ended at 11 weeks after no heartbeat was ever detected. We are reasonably confident that she won’t have any issues in the future, but this journey is not new to us — we are well aware of the many potential roadblocks that may or may not present themselves.
I have a much longer history with infertility. IVF cycles, IUIs (medical insemination at a fertility center), FETs (frozen embryo transfers at a fertility center), and a handful of at-home inseminations. For me, to begin trying to get pregnant again means I will return to IVF.
I had my first appointment that included baseline blood work, general ultrasound, and saline ultrasound at Boston IVF last week. Because I am now in a new state, I’m not able to return to the fertility center I so loved in upstate New York.
I was slightly nervous going into this appointment. CNY Fertility Center (my previous center) was a place of comfort for me. Their approach to fertility treatments was a holistic one, with medical care that focused on my mental health as much as anything. Boston IVF is different (I daresay all other centers pale in comparison to CNY), so I was eager and anxious to learn what it would be like there.
Their waiting room is very much like any standard doctor’s office. Arranged seating, magazines, flat-screen TV playing daytime game shows and news, a self-service coffee/tea station. One of the women at the front desk was less than interested that I was there. No warmth at all.
But that all changed when I met my new reproductive endocrinologist. Whatever the center lacked up until this point, my new doctor made up for tenfold. She was vibrant, enthusiastic, genuinely interested, and knowledgeable. She listened and cared. My anxieties melted, and I was glad to be there.
During my saline ultrasound, she found the same fibroid that my previous two REs had also found. I refrained from telling her anything they had told me, as I wanted to hear what she had to say about it. She said the same thing the other two had also said: The fibroid’s size is the same as three years ago. It’s positioned in a part of the uterus that wouldn’t affect pregnancy. Nothing to worry about.
Then she moved on to my ovaries. I was nervous that now, at nearly 37 years old, there would be some not-so-great news. I was delighted (and annoyed, but more about that later) that she found my ovaries and their follicles to be impressive for a woman of any age, let alone one of advanced maternal age. “Ovaries of a youngin’,” I was told, which means my chances of healthy eggs is great.
So nothing is wrong, as far as she can immediately see. And no red flags from my blood work. All is great.
Except it isn’t. There’s clearly a reason I’ve had such troubles getting and staying pregnant. But still the third RE I’ve been to says the same as the others before her: Everything is good and working; sometimes these things just happen.
Not having answers is perhaps as tough as all the rest of this journey. Not that I wish to make light of the diagnoses of others, but it’d be refreshing to be able to say, “PCOS! Endometriosis! Poor egg quality!” Anything, really. Though, of course, I don’t actually want any of those either. Maybe an unknown cause is better than a known one. I don’t know.
So I begin my IVF journey again, with still-healthy lady parts and a new doctor. At my next appointment, we’ll discuss my medications and course of treatment.
I go into this next chapter with a clean slate and a very open heart, not allowing the past to color too much of the now and staying hopeful that this is our time.
Photo courtesy of Aela Mass