My story – Four years into IF, it’s a long one!

Well…my first post was a short one – this one makes up for it. You’ve been warned!

My husband K and I have been together a VERY long time. We met and started dating about 17 years ago – holy crap, I feel old! We dated on and off for many, many years and then after several on years decided to tie the knot – at that time I was 32. 

We waited about six months or so and then in the summer of 2006, decided we were ready to start trying to make a baby. In the meantime, I had started having some back trouble, which further down the road, would prove to cause some significant road blocks for us.

After several months of trying and no luck, our GP decided to check out K’s goods and also refer me to an OBGYN for further investigation. K’s results came back with some mild issues but nothing too severe, and my HSG (xray that determines whether your tubes are open) showed a blockage in my left tube – great.

Our OBGYN said that it wasn’t a big deal though, and that it would likely just take us a bit longer to get pregnant. Because I was already concerned about being in my mid-thirties though (I believe I was 34 by this time), she referred us to a specialist at a clinic about 2.5 hours away and said that it would be a bit of a wait and to just keep trying in the meantime, so we did.

In the midst of all of this my back trouble got worse. I was having episodes where I would be flat on my back for a week or more at a time. Needless to say, there wasn’t a lot of baby making happening during these periods. Around the same time my Dad became quite ill. 

Fast forward to 2008 –  a very bad year. In January my Dad passed away very suddenly at 67 years old. It was the worst time of my life. Three years later I’m still struggling to deal with his passing – I miss him ever single day.

That spring my back became unbearable. I was in so much pain that I literally couldn’t move and spent months flat on my back, high as a kite on pain killers. An MRI revealed that I had a herniated disc in my lower back. My neurosurgeon advised me to try physiotherapy and pain management before we resorted to surgery. So I spent months rehabilitating – physio, massage, chiropractor, acupuncture. I started seeing a naturopath and overhauled my entire lifestyle and I finally got to the point where I was fairly functional again. I still had pain but I could actually live my life. Things were looking up. 

That fall we had our first visit with the ART clinic. K had another test for his swimmers and they said they looked pretty good – well within the normal range. I had a sonoHSG (another test to check out my tubes and uterus) and this time everything seemed good – no blockages. So our RE (reproductive endocrinologist) suggested we try a few rounds of Clomid and IUI (intrauterine insemination). 

We were on board except for one thing, my back was on the decline again. We decided to wait until after I saw my neurosurgeon early in the new year (2009) before going any further. Well…I had another MRI which revealed my disc had herniated even further. I tried a few rounds of steroid injections in my back to see if that would help – no luck. Finally in February 2009 I had surgery to repair the disc. It was a long road to recovery and I’m still not 100% but compared to where I was, I’m a new person.

Now as you can imagine, there wasn’t a whole lot of lovin’ happening in the time from my surgery in February until late spring when I started to feel a bit better but somehow I got knocked up! Yes, you read that right. No one was more surprised than K and I but somehow it had happened. We were beyond excited. 

Unfortunately, our excitement was short-lived and we lost our little bean, who we lovingly referred to as Sesame (as in seed, not Street!), June 9th. I was eight weeks along. We were gutted but picked ourselves back up again and thought – hey, we GOT pregnant – that’s a great sign, right?

All of the tests after our miscarriage came back normal (chromosomal testing as well as a bunch of tests to make sure there wasn’t something happening with me that would cause me to miscarry). After a couple of months of letting my body recover, we decided to make the 2.5 hour trek to see our RE again. She did another sonoHSG, which this time revealed my left tube was blocked again? Closed, open, closed – WTH? And although she agreed it was a good sign that we had gotten pregnant, we decided that we didn’t want to waste a lot of time as I was now 35 and so decided to go on the IVF wait list. While we waited for IVF we decided to try a few medicated cycles of IUI. 

We did our first IUI in December 2009. I had one follicle mature on each ovary but no luck (found out Christmas Day – yay!). We did our next IUI at the end of January 2010. Again, one dominant follicle on each ovary – failed again.

Next we moved on to IVF in April 2010. It was a text book cycle. I responded great to the stims and produced 18 eggs! Of the 18 retrieved, there were 14 mature eggs that fertilized. Four of the 14 that fertilized were abnormal (which is not unusual) but we got 10 nice looking, fertilized embryos. All 10 made it to transfer day and we transferred back 2 3-day embryos. A little less than two weeks later AF arrived and I knew it was over. The cycle was a bust and we were devastated. 

In the follow up meeting with our RE, she said everything had gone great and that we had every reason to remain optimistic – sometimes it just takes a few tries. We had three frozen embryos that had progressed to the blastocyst stage and we could try again with those in a couple of months.

Along comes October and we decide to try our luck again with two of our frozen blasts. They both unthawed well, we did the transfer but another BFN two weeks later. 

We were now getting panicky and wondering what the heck was going on. We decided, rather than trying again with our last frozen blast (frozen transfers are about 50% as successful as fresh at our clinic), to do another full IVF cycle to try and collect another crop of fresh eggs – after all I wasn’t getting any younger!

Next, comes December 2010 and IVF #2. Again, much as in IVF#1, everything went great. I responded well to the stims and this time they collected 12 eggs – less than the first cycle but still well above the clinic’s average of eight. After the retrieval the embryologist informed us that 11 of the 12 appeared to be mature. We were happy…for a moment.

The next day the embryologist called to tell us that of the 12 collected five were immature and the remaining seven fertilized…but they ALL fertilized abnormally – what? We had a meeting the following day with our RE to discuss what happened and why all seven of these embies fertilized abnormally. The long and short of it was they don’t know. It could be a sperm issue, an egg issue, a protocol issue…there was a long list of possibilities. All we knew for sure is that all seven of the embryos had anywhere from three to five pronuclei when they should have had two each – they were what they call multinucleated (too much DNA).

Since we had no fresh embryos to transfer and my body was prepped for a transfer, we decided to unthaw the last remaining blast from IVF#1 and transfer it. Our hopes weren’t very high but we did it anyways – BFN December 24th. Merry Christmas to us – again!

And so there you have it folks – that is our story so far. What’s next? Well seeing as this post is already a freakin’ novel, I’ll save that for next time.


5 thoughts on “My story – Four years into IF, it’s a long one!

    • You are very welcome. Infertility is a VERY lonely experience and if my story helps another person, that would make me very happy! It took a lot of determination, a lot of work and a lot of time, but six years later…we have a beautiful baby boy! Good luck to you!

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