November 21, 2015 was one of the happiest days of my life and I couldn't wait to start a family with my new husband, Patrick. We waited about a month after we were married before we talked about how we wanted to start trying for a baby. We knew going in that, since I had so many problems, it could take a little while for a positive result, and now 31 months later and after dozens of negative pregnancy tests... here we are.
After about a year of trying with no luck, we started to discuss maybe going to a doctor to see what the problem could be. I have known that I had endometriosis since high school, and when we went to see the first doctor (I won’t disclose her name), she actually didn't believe that I had endometriosis and she looked down on me when I first told her that I wanted to try for a baby and was having problems. We started trying when I was 21 and if you don't really know me, you wouldn’t know that I have a baby face and that I am very tiny, so I look very young. People look at me as if I shouldn't even be talking about wanting a baby already, much less seeking out medical help for it. As soon as I saw the look on the doctor’s face... I just shrank into my body. I had never felt so judged, and that is not the way you should feel when you are reaching out for help. We left that appointment and started looking for a new doctor immediately. We heard about this great new doctor to the area, Dr. Uzma Porche, and set an appointment. When we went to our first appointment and I explained everything to her, she didn't judge me at all, she listened and asked questions and really wanted to help. That was the most refreshing thing for me, and I instantly felt comfortable with her. She then proposed that we should try a diagnostic laparotomy to prove that I have endometriosis and to remove any probable scarring.
We scheduled the surgery and waited as the day approached. I had never had surgery before, had never been put under, so I was extremely nervous. It was August 22, 2016, and I was ready to get it over with. They took me back for pre-op, and one of the nurses saw how nervous I was and, having seen Patrick’s Star Wars shirt, he struck up conversation to calm me down about the movies. We were still talking about Star Wars when I went under (what a great way to go!). The procedure is pretty similar across all doctors, but the surgery incision sites vary from person to person. For me, my four incisions were: one on each side of my stomach near my pelvic bone, one near my rib, and one in my belly button. It’s about a 20-30 min surgery, but can be longer dependent on what they find once they get in there. In my case, my surgery lasted for about an hour due to the location of my scarring. Once they were inside and able to see, they noticed that I had scarring on one of my ovaries and that I also had scarring on a nerve bundle. The scarring on the nerve bundle was what was causing most of my pain. They were able to remove all of the scarring that was found, and it was off to recovery for me. It’s not a bad recovery, but it did hurt a bit at times. The gas that they push into the abdomen does cause a bit pain when it is trying to exit your body, because it can work its way up to your neck and arms internally. You can't do any strenuous activities for a week, and no heavy lifting for two weeks. I went back to work after the first week, and I was careful and did have to take it a little easy while I was there. Studies show that patients have the best chances of getting pregnant within 3 to 6 months after the surgery, so now it was on to start trying again.
(All smiles after my surgery)
(Ignore my bloated stomach, the gas causes your stomach to swell)
So now months were going by, then a year, more, and still no positive pregnancy tests… I started feeling worse and worse and I felt myself slipping into a depression. At this time, I had five others in my family that were all pregnant, and it felt like everyone else could do it seemingly so easily and as soon as they wanted to have a baby. It just… hurt. I can't explain the feeling you get when the one thing you want just doesn't seem to want to happen for you, no matter how much you do to make it so. We kept trying though, now well outside of the ideal post-surgery window. After a bit more than a year, with no help from the surgery, we finally decided we were done blindly trying and wanted to see a specialist.
My aunt, who has PCOS and infertility problems, recommended a doctor in Lake Charles to us, Dr. Stanley Kordish. We scheduled an appointment with him and were eager to begin on our journey to having a baby. When we finally got to meet Dr. Kordish, he seemed like the type of person that definitely knew what to do for us. We talked about all the details of my surgery, endometriosis, and more. He decided he wanted to put us on a medication plan and to see how it worked out, and we were sure that this was our first step to get pregnant. Our plan included three months of clomid, which resulted in three more negative pregnancy tests. When we went back after our three months, Dr. Kordish decided to put me on two more rounds of clomid, and then when we would come back on the third month we would try to schedule an IUI (insemination). After two months of more negative tests, we went in for our third month appointment full of apprehension and excitement, because we were actually going to be moving forward and scheduling an IUI. But when we got there, Dr. Kordish changed his mind again and told us the dreaded phrase "I don't think there is anything more I can do here." Dr. Kordish referred us to an out of town fertility specialist, Dr. John Storment, and then essentially told us good luck before telling us goodbye. Being told that there was nothing more he could do for us felt like someone ripped a hole straight through my heart... as soon as we walked out of the doctor’s office I broke down in Patrick’s arms. I just could not stop crying. Everything over the past 5 months had led us into believing it would work out, and again all of the medicines and plans failed us again. Patrick held me until it had passed, reassured me that the next step was the right step, and we went on hopeful and nervous about this next specialist.
Our first visit with Dr. Storment was a meet and greet where he would “break it all down for us,” and it was going just as we expected. He explained the things that he learned from our past trials, and from studying our charts. He went on to tell us that we were part of the 10% group of infertilities that are classified as unexplained infertility. Then he finally told us the plan he had for us: he wanted to go ahead and start with an IUI. We got excited, sitting in his office having finally been told what we were hopeful for. Dr. Storment then noticed that I was lined up perfectly in my cycle for when a patient is supposed to start all the medicine necessary for an IUI, and said we could start immediately!! We were so excited and our heads were spinning, and we were ushered from room to room, first giving blood, then to having an ultrasound, talked billing and schedules, and even being shown how to properly ready an injection and how to give one! It was so much information in such a short amount of time. Once we were done with everything and we learned the days that I would start medicine, we left to head home. As soon as we got in the vehicle we could not stop smiling!! We FINALLY heard the news we wanted to hear; we were moving forward and so hopeful.
The events leading up to the IUI are very, VERY, schedule oriented. To begin the round of the IUI, I had to take clomid for 5 days and then go in for an ultrasound on day 6 to make sure that the clomid worked properly and that I had a follicle (egg) ready to inseminate. The goal is to only have one properly sized follicle, because if you have multiple follicles ready that could result in multiple babies. Once they checked everything out they saw that I had one that was ready to go, and that meant that we could begin everything! The next night, Patrick had to prepare a trigger shot to get things ready for the IUI the following morning. The shot was to be placed in my stomach at 9 pm on the dot, exactly 12 hours before the scheduled IUI, and that shot was one of the most painful shots I have ever had because it felt like my stomach was burning and on fire. Then the next morning, we were ready to head back to Lafayette, LA, to do to the IUI. We both had so many emotions; we were scared, excited, nervous, anxious, and so many more! We arrived early, because Patrick had to go in an hour before our appointment to supply his sample for the IUI. He came back to sit with me afterward, and we waited and passed the time nervously excited until it was time for us both to go back. We went into the exam room and I was so nervous. The nurse confirmed everything with us, and I got ready for the IUI. Dr. Storment came in then, and he really knows how to make you comfortable and at ease and he kept a conversation going the entire time he was in the room with us. Then it was 9 am and time for the insemination. While it was happening, all I really felt was slight pressure which wasn’t terrible at all. In less than a minute, it was done! Dr. Storment told me that all we had to do was wait with my legs bent towards me for 10 minutes (he even had a timer), and then after that we were free to go and carry out our day as we normally would. In those 10 minutes it was just perfect; it was just me and Patrick sitting there talking and goofing off. It almost felt like there was nobody else on this planet, just the two of us in it together, and it was amazing. I know he felt the same because he later told me his own thoughts on it, and they lined up with mine perfectly. Once we left, we began the two week wait. Two weeks to the day, it was time to test, and the test came back negative. It was pretty disappointing because I kind of got my hopes up, because I really thought this would be it, I thought that the first time would work for us. I knew better than to think that, deep down, but you can't help but to think that this time will be it... that you will finally be a mom. But it wasn’t. It was just a big fat negative again.
We were told to call the office to set up an appointment the day I started my period again if that happened, and it did. The time came for us to head back to the doctor’s office and figure out the next step. Once we got there, I had to go in for more blood work and another ultrasound to make sure the medicine did not cause a cyst. Once the results came back it showed that there was no cyst, and then we were ready to begin round two. They sat us down and explained everything to us again and let us know this time that after the trigger shot we would wait 36 hours to do the IUI instead of 12 hours like last time. So, we did everything all over again, got our schedule figured out again, and headed home to start it all again. I took the meds when it was time, I felt all the terrible symptoms from the meds all over again, and Patrick gave me the shot 36 hours before the planned IUI date.
Two weeks came and went... and it was negative again. This time was different than the first. This negative hurt much more deeply. We are so close to a positive result that I can feel it, but it's just not our time yet. What sucks is that the more we try these new medicines and different tactics to have a baby, the more I ache to be a mom. All my friends around me are having babies, and don't get me wrong it’s amazing to see how awesome they are at being moms, but you can't help but think... when will it be me? When is it my turn? I know everything happens on God’s time and I am trying to get myself to get back closer to him because I know he has a plan for us, whether it’s to be a mom by blood or by adoption. I know he will point us in the right direction.
I don't know what I would do without my amazing husband…he has been my rock though everything. He reminds me every day that we are in this together and he is always there for me. We have each other to lean on and that is so important to me, and this has made us stronger than I ever thought we could be. If there’s nothing else to be happy about, it is that. I am so blessed to have him in my life. I know our story is not over and I cannot wait to update this with a pregnancy announcement one day. Until then, onto round three we go.