Friday, December 24, 2010

My question: To do or not to do?

The new doctor rang yesterday to report the results of my blood tests. For the first time I didn't look at the blood request form to see what tests he requested, but it didn't matter because he reported that in his opinion my homocysteine levels are normal (at 9.6) and he thought my kidneys are also normal.

On hearing this, DH's whole demeanor changed before my eyes. He is convinced that the time of looking for answers for the reason for our infertility is over. He believes we just need to try IVF again (and again) and see whether it works.

In some ways I agree with him. I'm ready to just try again and see what happens. Our RE did tell us that by doing limited fertilisation it will take more cycles to conceive. The answers don't seem to be coming for us, and if they do they are controversial and the controversy between doctors is doing my head in.

However, it's difficult to change mindsets about my infertility. For years I've felt like something is wrong, but it hasn't been obvious to me or the medical community what it is. Even my diagnosis of endometriosis seems so cloudy, unclear and lacking definition. No one can tell me HOW it effects me and my ability to conceive and stay pregnant. And I want to KNOW. Why? So I can overcome infertility and be a mother. Many of the blogs I read have women (and men) who have found out what medical conditions they have and seemingly BAM...they are pregnant and problem solved. I know this is a simplistic synopsis that doesn't account for the pain in the journey, but it's this pattern, TTC-no baby-tests-diagnosis-treatment-baby, that stands out for me at the moment.

So now I'm trying to not seek answers, and it's HARD! My first instinct is to run to Dr Google. Then I want to book in with my naturopath again. Then I want to go to the only doctor who tests for NK cells in my town (the only thing I think I haven't been tested for yet!) I want to read even more on MTHFR, I want to see if I can import Ne.evo into Australia (I don't think I can). It's so hard to not DO anything.

Is it the right thing to not DO anything? To stop looking for reasons for my infertility? To stop asking why?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Yesterdays doctor's appointment did not go as expected. Essentially he scoffed at the MTHFR and homocysteine diagnosis, saying that it makes no difference to a woman's ability to conceive or give birth to healthy children, and suggested that the doctor who made the diagnosis gets excited by blood test results that she shouldn't be excited by.

When he said this, so bluntly, I felt the world collapse from under me and I couldn't stop crying. I realised how much hope I was putting in this diagnosis being the answer to all our problems. As you can tell from my last post, I was expecting that we would have a clear direction after yesterdays appointment; a decision of whether we would stop or continue IVF.

So the appointment didn't turn out like either DH or I expected. It did not give us the direction we are so obviously craving. The doctor did send me for blood tests to recheck my homocysteine level (I have no idea why) and suggested that is might be a marker for something else wrong in my body. He seems to be thinking there might be something wrong with my kidneys. At this point I was feeling a little incredulous. I mean, who cares about my kidneys when my entire reproductive system isn't working!!? DH explained to me (putting his medical hat on for a moment) that the kidney's regulate hormones and have a great deal to do with fertility.

So. I'll get blood results back on Thursday or Friday and I have a couple of tests/ultrasounds I'll need to get to in between Christmas, New Year and holidays.

We're not completely decided as to whether we will continue IVF in 2011. I feel so very fragile emotionally and I feel I won't be able to bear another loss. Also, I can't help wondering if the feeling I had back in my early 20s that I'll never be a mother should be heeded. I know feelings can be just feelings, but I want to hear God's call on my life and I plan to spend the holiday break praying and listening to God.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The end feels nigh

Well it has been a terrible few months, but now my computer is (finally) up and running again I can begin to process in blogging form what has happened. After our miscarriage in July (wow, time flies!) I developed a thyroiditis, which first made me hyperthyroid. This went undiagnosed for months and I thought I was going crazy or was clinically depressed as I was not sleeping, not eating, agitated, hot all the time, highly stressed and anxious etc etc. Thankfully it was picked up when we went to a doctor who specialises in recurrent pregnancy loss who ran a whole battery of tests. Interestingly, as we were monitoring my thyroid over a couple of weeks, it went normal one week and then hypothyroid the next, where it has stayed. We met with an endocrinologist who put me on thyroid replacement hormone and I have started to feel "normal" in the past few weeks, which is a welcome change! Evidently my thyroid issues won't effect us doing IVF in the new year, we will just need to monitor my levels and adjust medication if it's required.

However, DH and I do find ourselves at the "pointy end" of our TTC journey. The recurrent miscarriage doctor diagnosed me as compound heterozygous for the MTHFR gene, with elevated homocysteine levels. She put me on high dosages of folate and B vitamins, but we recently discovered that this treatment did not lower my homocysteine levels as would be expected. She said she had another patient in this situation who had to import ?Be.taine from the US, which dropped her levels and she is now pregnant and will give birth in the new year. However our doctor does not feel comfortable (for a reason I do not know) to recommend Be.taine for us so she has referred us to (yet) another doctor who we will see next week. Evidently he is quite the specialist in the area so I look forward to meeting with him.

In all the reading I have done high homocysteine levels are associated with implantation failure, recurrent pregnancy loss, pre-eclampsia, early delivery, and issues in children such as neural tube defects, down syndrome, and even autism spectrum disorders. Until such time as we can (hopefully) lower my homocysteine levels I feel unwilling to undertake IVF again because I don't want to put myself or my child at any increased risk. So that's why we're at the make or break stage now. Hopefully this new doctor will be able to reduce my homocysteine levels and we can restart IVF in 2011. If not, we will start to prepare ourselves for the end of TTC and working out what will be next for our lives.

Sometimes I feel hopeful that this will all work out the way I have wanted it to for the past 3 1/2 years - with me birthing and parenting a healthy child. Other days I feel so close to never being a mother that it takes the breath out of me and I feel like I can't move. Sometimes I enjoy not having kids and the quality time I get to spend with my wonderful DH. Other days my heart, and even (it seems) the walls of my home, cry out for the company of children and I miss my children in heaven so much.

God is showing me through all of this that everything I have, even myself, is His. My life, my husband, my home, the lives of our children, our material blessings, all of it belongs to Him. He gives and He takes away. And He does all things for His glory. I am trying to use those things He has given me to bring Him the glory He deserves. Praise be to God!