In late January we received the packet of information from Conceptions listing what needed to be done prior to meeting with them. Of course, they wanted an ultrasound and HSG which I had already done. I had also had “basic labs” but they sent an extensive list. A twelve vials worth of blood list. As with everything else I had done previously ALL of my tests came back wonderful. I was especially proud of my AMH (antimullerian hormone) level. As the specialist from Conceptions said, “I am really impressed with your AMH; it is that of a young woman”. This gave us such hope as prior to this everything we had heard and were feeling was in relation to my age, like we were quite literally running out of time. The AMH is a measure of a woman’s “ovarian reserve” and good levels means higher odds for more follicles (eggs) and therefore, a live birth.
We got to spend an hour with the specialist and I will admit, his first recommendation was IVF. Conceptions is known for their expertise in the IVF field in addition to doing pre-genetic testing on the embryos before implanting them for IVF. It really is amazing stuff. Basically, they could harvest my eggs and sperm from Adam, make a baby and say, “Congratulations, Mr and Mrs Carter, we are putting in a healthy baby boy today!”. Can you freaking imagine? VERY. TEMPTING. But, just as with anything in life, it wasn’t that simple. It never is. Our concerns were two-fold. First, we believe life begins at conception and because of this we were worried about having multiple embryos (which are babies to us) just hangin’ out somewhere (in a freezer obviously). I have heard of couples with embryos in a freezer trying to decide what to do with them. You can’t just throw them away, you can’t keep having babies forever (unless you are a Duggar), and if you donate them then you will always think of your child being out there somewhere. He was able to comfort our fears regarding that, though because just as they are big on shooting for a healthy “single” baby vs. multiples, they also would only develop one embryo at a time.
Secondly, what if that embryo isn’t healthy? What if it was like Noelle, with trisomy 23 or had trisomy 21 (down’s syndrome)? Again, we believe an embryo is essentially a baby already. We could (almost) justify maybe not implanting a baby with a genetic incompatibility with life (such as with Noelle) but NOT with something like trisomy 21. Can you imagine lying there knowing you were being implanted with a baby that would have down’s syndrome. Now, a healthy baby with down’s syndrome….bring it on! My worry was if it was a baby on the extreme other end of the spectrum….such as with heart defects, etc. Wow, the emotions surrounding that would be so difficult and we could tell that this type of situation may be difficult for the specialist to go forward with as well. IVF just wasn’t for us. One more thing we discussed over and over again also was the cost—$15-25k could make a really nice dent on the cost of adoption!
Once he understood our feelings on this, he was amazing. He respected us completely and gave us other information that he thought we may benefit from. He was happy that my HSG was normal but recommended we consider getting a sonohysterogram. I had actually never heard of it but it essentially is like an HSG only it is only looking at the uterine shape and is done with ultrasound, instead of xray. If this was normal and we decided to go forward with another pregnancy he recommended we consider the Tempfer protocol. Basically, a research study was done trying several things and for some reason, somehow the women were more likely to have a successful pregnancy. Unfortunately, no one has yet to completely determine why….only theorize. But, it was something and we would take it! The protocol included a baby aspirin, both of us taking antibiotics (a zpack) at the onset of my cycle, progesterone three times daily, prednisone twice daily and folgard. The idea is that in case there is some sort of bacterial infectious issue between one of us the antibiotic would help with that. If my uterine lining didn’t thicken enough with the pregnancy, the progesterone would help with that. If there was some sort of inflammatory issue in my body that was not detectable on lab studies, the prednisone would help with this. The folgard is just a super potent folic acid with Vit B 6 and Vit B12.
Finally, he talked with us about ovulation medications (like the Pergonal mentioned previously). He, too did not recommend Pergonal but did recommend Letrozole (as a side note, he was against clomid stating the side-effect profile with clomid is higher than Letrozole and the number of multiples is higher with clomid which I have since confirmed with researching medical literature). He explained to us that the Letrozole would not help to “recruit a better egg” per se, rather would possibly help the overall environment during ovulation to be better.
Part of our discussion:
We left Denver feeling good (the shopping also helped-IKEA is the bomb!).
The ceiling of the hotel where we stayed also was reassuring as it looked all “reproductive-like”!
This feeling was short-lived though as I had the sonohysterogram very soon after returning home and it was abnormal. Our OB/GYN couldn’t tell for sure what was wrong-just that something wasn’t right.
I was sent for an MRI which was also abnormal. Abnormal enough that the Radiologist that read it (who happened to be an MD I referred to in my previous practice so he recognized my name on the report) called my cell phone personally within hours of the MRI being done. He requested that we come to Lincoln for a stronger magnet MRI, done by himself….free of charge. The initial diagnosis: I had a uterus didelphys. Two uteruses (uteri?). This could come with it a whole host of other issues and therefore, he was concerned.
I felt like a freak.
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