still here…

I know, it has been over 12 months since my last post.  I’m just not in a writing mood…

I’m not going to write a detailed post about the last 13 months, but will give you a brief summary.

Picking up where I left off last time, my lap ended up falling in the following AF.  For some reason (possibly due to the skin cancer treatment), I O’d CD13 in that July 2012 cycle – early that I’d ever before O’d in my life – so my lap fell on the following CD4.  There was only a small amount of re-growth (mostly on a uterine ligament), so my FS was happy with the state of my pelvis.  The recovery was much quicker, with a couple of days of gas pain being the worst of it.

That was the good news from returning to the FS.  The bad news was my AMH test – just 1.5 pmol/l (0.2 ng/ml).  For those not familiar with AMH (anti-mullerian hormone), low AMH indicates low ovarian reserve and my number was low for a 45yo, let alone a 36yo (as I was at the time).  So we added the diagnosis of diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) to my previous endo diagnosis…

Our FS pushed us to return to IVF and to do another long down-reg protocol.  Everything I have ever read says that the long protocol is not good for DOR, but our FS not only refused to answer my questions and justify his recommendation, but also basically told me I was an emotional and irrational woman who should blindly follow his recommendations…  I was not impressed and, while I will return to him for any future laps (because he’s the best endo surgeon in town), I decided I would get a better treatment for my fertility needs elsewhere…

That was in August last year and I kind of floated in limbo for 6 months…

In February 2013, I finally bit the bullet and called the office of the FS I had chosen to move to… and got a nasty shock!  It was 5 February when I rang and I was told the next available appointment was 8 August!!  Fortunately, I’ve learned to ask about cancellations.  When I asked if there was a waiting list for cancellations, I was put on hold.  When the receptionist returned, I was offered an appointment at 2:30pm that afternoon!  So I could wait 6 months or 4 hours…  I jumped at the earlier appointment!

I’m still amazed that my first appointment was such an overload of information!  I know a lot more than the average fertility patient (although not as much as some) and yet the barrage of information left me somewhat bewildered and the entire appointment was something of a blur…  But, since I happened to be CD2, I was offered the option of starting treatments immediately.  I had my first AFC (4 antral follicles – 2 on each side) and baseline b/w done and started gonal-f injections the next day, in preparation for an IUI.  He also put me on prednisone and clexane as part of my protocol, along with DHEA, melatonin, feldene and a long list of supplements.  In spite of triggering with 4 mature follicles, the cycle was BFN and we have been continuing with IUIs every 2-3 cycles.  Since that first IUI, my AFC has usually been 2 (1 on each side), so it’s a bit of a sad state of affairs…

In addition to my testing, our new FS also ordered advanced testing for DH, including the SCSA (sperm chromatin structure assay, to test DNA fragmentation) and FISH (fluorescent in-situ hybridisation, to test chromosomal information) tests.  Whilst the SCSA returned normal results, the FISH testing showed a high rate of aneuploidy (chromosomally-abnormal) sperm.  Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this problem, aside from donor sperm (which DH is not willing to discuss).

So, at this stage, it looks like we’ve got about a 1-5% chance of giving Amber a sibling, unless we pursue donor embryos (our new FS was also recommending donor eggs in light of my DOR prior to DH’s test results and donor sperm recommendation).  At this point in time, we don’t have the money for donor embryos (or eggs, but could maybe afford donor sperm), so we are continuing with the IUIs for now…  Additionally, there are very long waiting lists for donor eggs and embryos in Australia (there’s a limited supply since our laws don’t allow you to sell eggs, sperm or embryos, only to donate them altruistically), so most couples go to clinics overseas, so we add international travel expenses to an already expensive endeavour…

Anyway, that’s the (infertility part of) the last 13 months.  It all makes Amber seem even more of a miracle than we originally thought…

And speaking of our little miracle, she’s doing well.  We have highs and lows, good days and bad, but overall we treasure having her in our lives (and spoil her rotten).

ps. At my 9 month post-treatment appointment, my dermatologist said there was no sign of the skin cancer, so it appears the treatment worked.  :)


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