Friday, May 29, 2009

Secondary Infertility

Now that I think we’re past it, it’s a good time to talk about it. I hesitated to even consider myself a “secondary infertile” for a couple of reasons:
1) Admitting it might make it “real”
2) Given that I have so many friends struggling with Primary Infertility, I felt guilty even considering this a problem. I had one beautiful child, while so many struggle just for that much, was I just being greedy to want another?

On #2, those same friends were the most supportive and on #1, admitting it allowed me to take action and do something about it. At the very least I could figure out if there was a reason – beyond my advanced maternal age – that I was having a hard time conceiving or keeping a second pregnancy.

Some background – I’ve now been pregnant a total of 5 times. First pregnancy was fairly ease to conceive, but then I miscarried at 12 weeks. However it was clear the fetus never developed beyond 6 weeks and probably never had a heartbeat. Totally random, no genetic basis for it. Second pregnancy I conceived the first time I ovulated after the miscarriage (about 4 months). This was Angelina. Given my age and a desire to have more kids, I didn’t want to wait too long to try again. However breastfeeding produced lactational amenhorrhea (i.e. no ovulating), which is generally a good thing – it means your body is not ready for another yet, until Angelina was 13 months old. Then it took another 4-5 months of trying to conceive, that one was ectopic. Also totally random.

Then another 6 months to conceive. That one also miscarried, this time I was being followed very closely due to the increased ectopic risk, so it was discovered early at 6 weeks. Still potentially totally random, but maybe not. Another 4 months of trying with no luck, I figured it was time to see if there was anything wrong and found a fertility specialist. I was hesitant to ask for recommendations, so I just went with someone who seemed right: an MD with a PhD ;).

It was a wise decision. There was nothing glaringly obvious wrong, but we did a couple of things. First, an Hysterosalpingogram (HSG). This is where they shoot dye up your fallopian tubes to see if they’re clear. This was a particular issue for me, given my prior ectopic. One tube was obviously clear. The other tube, the one which had the egg implanted last year, was not so clear. But it wasn’t obviously blocked either. It looked healthy, which was a good sign.

Next step was a tubal canalization. This procedure is a little more invasive: it involves threading a catheter through your tubes to help flush out any blockages. Due to some insane work issues, I had to postpone this another month. We also kept hoping we’d manage to conceive without the extra effort. The next step would have been fertility drugs, which was acceptable, but I had hoped to not go that route.

So finally went in for the canalization. The procedure involves a local anesthetic, and sometimes, the local “relaxing” opens up the tubes on their own. This is pretty much what happened. The doc started the procedure, then said “That’s it! All Clear! Go home and make a baby!”

After 8 months since the last miscarriage, I’m due on December 25.

But all is not over. Because I’m still considered high risk for an ectopic, and because we don’t know what caused the other miscarriages or what prevented me from conceiving, I went in for daily blood tests at first, then every 2-3 days, then every week. In sum, my hormones are a bit wonky. Not bad, but they need some help. It’s possible this is what caused the miscarriages before. Hence, all the more reason to be glad I went to the specialist who would be monitoring so closely.

At this point, I’m 10.5 weeks pregnant. Still very early, but with the hormone help, seem to be doing ok. I don’t know how long I’ll have to be on the hormones, but it’s all worth it.

All this is a lot more personal information than I usually put on here, but I decided to anyway. I had spent a lot of time on others’ infertility blogs and websites, reading about their experiences. This provided me some guidance and hope, so if anyone out there has been experiencing secondary infertility, I hope our story can provide some hope.

We’re very very excited to be giving Angelina a sibling. She keeps talking about “brother” and “sister” (she wants both). So far I think we only have one in there…..she’s already talking to the baby and kissing my belly. She’s going to be a great, if bossy, big sister.

1 comment:

Monica said...

Thank you for sharing this. What a long journey you have been on!

eXTReMe Tracker