We are entering this New Year with new hopes for fertility and will do anything to make it happen.
I have found a new OB/GYN closer to my home that was willing to work with me and my IVF pursuits in Czech. I must say that I am thrilled with my new doctor. I have told him my history and our struggles and he was very supportive of my decision and encouraging of getting my treatment abroad.
He went over my records, called my infertility doctor I used to see here in Atlanta and discussed with her some ideas about what further tests he could possibly order to find a problem.
The following tests were done:
- Biopsy of my endometrium sent to pathology and microbiology for testing for TB and chronic
- Mycobacteria infections
- Antithrombin III Activity
- Protein C
- Protein S
- Lupus Anticoagulant
- PTT-LA screen
- DRVVT screen
- Faktor V (Leiden)
- Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR)
- Anti-TSH autoantibodies; TSH Autoantibodies
- Rheumatoid factor
- SCL-70 Antibodies
- Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide CCP AB IGG
- Cardiolipin IGG AB
- Cardiolipin IGM AB
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
- Homocysteine Cardiovascular
- Prothrombin gen analysis – G20210A (Prothrombin/faktor II)
I was hoping that this test was going to show us where the problem is, we’ll fix it and we can finally be on our way to a family.
When the results came back, the doctor was just shaking his head. He said that ALL of my test came back PERFECTLY normal.
So again he confirmed, that there is medically nothing wrong with me, at least that today medicine, he has access to, could detect so I should be able to get pregnant on my own without any problems, but hasn’t happened even after multiple IVF attempts.
I have been told again that I just have to keep trying and it will happen eventually.
Well, this time I was determined to do everything possible to prepare my body and mind the best I possibly could for my next attempt.
All of my failures and attempts that were just keeping me with empty hands, broken heart and this huge guilt towards my husband for constantly letting him down.
I have decided to seek the help of a psychiatrist as I new at that point that I will need some medication to help me get my strength and life back.
In addition to anti-depressants my doctor highly recommended a help of a therapist to help me work out through some of the issues as medication will not solve a problem it just helps me to face it and deal with it.
I have been seeing a therapist, who herself had fertility issues and struggled to have a baby and eventually had to go down the route of egg donation. She could relate to what I was describing and she understood as it took her multiple attempts to get pregnant herself.
I have also started my acupuncture regimen and Chinese herbs and I added yoga to my workout.
I must say that combination of all of these treatments have made a huge difference not only in how I feel but how I see life, my fertility struggle and instead of breaking down and giving in I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I have the strength to face my problem and fight it!
The biggest compliment came from my husband as he has been affected by my moods and ups and downs of my failures the most, which bothers me.
But he was the one who has told me that I am a new person – I am more positive, relaxed, optimistic and he loves being around me again and he enjoys every minute of it.
A few of our patients have introduced me to a book called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I have purchased the book, the CD and the DVD. I must say that I like the CD the most as I can listen to it as I drive, exercise or fall asleep. I also like the additional power it has from all the people featured on the CD and their attitude in their voices. I have been listening to this CD everyday and I have totally fallen for it.
I have discovered a new way of life and I may have discovered why my fertility is unexplained (in the eyes of the doctors).
I have been working on my body to give myself the best chances at our next IVF. My OB/GYN suggested a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy with D&C, since I have had multiple cysts, adhesions, endometriosis and polyps in my uterus. He wanted to check on it again and maybe correct some of these issues to give me the best chances.
I was stunned when I woke up from the anesthesia and the doctor told me that my procedure was very quick as he didn’t have to do anything. He has showed me pictures of my insides and was telling me that he didn’t find any cysts nor adhesions. My tubes were nice and pink – healthy looking. My ovaries were healthy as well. He has just found one little spot with endometriosis but he said that it was so minor that it has no effect on my reproductive system at all. There were no polyps or myomas in my uterus and the product of D&C was sent to pathology (the results came back later normal as well).
I kept thinking about it over and over and believe it or not, I was upset that they couldn’t find anything! It wasn’t until I talk to a dear friend of mine who finally opened my eyes. She told me: “Mag, you are looking at your entire experience the wrong way. The fact that your surgery revealed no problems, even the issues that were there two years ago and are gone, is a sign that your body is healing!”
I guess after all the years of trying to get pregnant and not being able to I was expecting a problem to be revealed and I totally forgot to focus on all the good signs that I have been ignoring. My body is getting better and hopefully finally ready for a healthy and successful pregnancy.
As I started to plan our next IVF, I have had another person in my life refer me to this website: http://www.rialab.com/miscarriages_prevented.php
The more I was researching this website, the more it made sense to me. There can be issues related to miscarriages that need specific testing to detect them and fix them.
I have immediately contacted Dr. Matzner and we have scheduled a phone consultation.
I have provided him with all of my history regarding IVF treatments, medical history and all of my recent test results.
He has also asked me some other questions regarding my as well as my husband’s health. He said that I have had some of the testing for recurrent miscarriages done by my OB/GYN but not to the fullest extend his lab is capable of. He then went into details of autoimmune issues related to recurrent pregnancy loss. Dr. Matzner has also given us great hope as he said that once the problem is detected they have ways of correcting the issue that can be as simple as Aspirin, Prednisone, Heparin or more complex as series of IVIg and other medications. He has given us hope and without hesitation my husband and I have made an appointment with our primary care physician to have our blood drawn according to Dr. Matzner’s lab instructions.
We have FedExed our blood sample from Atlanta to California using the overnight service and we are now waiting for the results and recommendations.
The best thing is that Dr. Matzner is willing to work with patients from all over the world and he is also able to work with any fertility clinic around the world. I have already spoken to doctors at Reprofit and they are awaiting dr. Matzner’s instructions.
We have received results of our immunology testing. At first we were scared that there were so many things wrong with us but at the same time we were excited that FINALLY we have found the problem, we can focus on it, fix it and finally get pregnant and carry to term.
In a nut shell and very plain English: my killer cells (cells in our bodies that detect foreign objects in our bodies and attack them before we would get sick) are over active- seeing and attacking our embryo(s) as foreign objects and destroying them.
Also, women’s uterus is the only place in our bodies that allows “foreign” objects as embryos are (as they are half of the woman and a half of a man). Female uterus also releases so called protective blocking antibodies that “coat” the embryos and prevent them from being attacked by the killer cells. Well, my uterus was producing close to none of those. And to top it all off, Jeremy and I share a gene, making it even harder for my body to detect the embryos wanting to implant and doesn’t protect them from my killer cells.
Would you believe that I am too healthy for my own good!!
When we have had our consultation with Dr. Matzner over the results, he has recommended the following regimen:
- Fragmin 5,000IU daily
- Prednisone up to 30mg daily
- Baby aspirin 81mg daily
- Prenatal vitamins
- IVIg for 3 consecutive days (intravenous Immunoglobulin)
Dr. Matzner has given us hope that once his patients are diagnosed and proceed with their treatment, they are successful in 80% of them. We were excited and determined to proceed with the treatment immediately.
I started doing more research on the IVIg treatment and calling our insurance company for coverage.
To our amazement, in the search for Rx coverage, we have learned that we also have fertility coverage – IVF was covered at 100%, including all the stimulating medications. We took this as a miracle and a sign that this is probably it.
We have long debated if we should travel back to Czech to undergo our next IVF – back to the clinic we knew and were very comfortable with or if we should change clinics in hopes of a change that could mean a difference.
Although, all of our patients come to Czech for vacation and treatment, every time I came to Czech, I was so busy assisting and entertaining others that treatment in Czech was lots of stress and running around for me. Also, I felt bad for lowering Reprofit’s success rate with my constant failures.
So with Reprofit’s doctors’ support, we have decided to undergo our next IVF in the US.
On July 8th was our first consultation at Georgia Reproductive Specialists in Atlanta, with Dr. Kaplan. I have brought all of my past IVF treatment results and insisted on a very mild stimulation due to my past easy hyperstimulations. Dr. Kaplan told me that normally they stimulate patients at least at double the dosage I was requesting but she still agreed.
I have had lots of testing including cystic fibrosis, insulin challenge test, FSH, LH and STDs. Jeremy had to have his STDs tested as well together with a sperm analysis.
All tests came back normal so we could proceed with long stimulation protocol that started with Provera and Lupron shots.
And the cost? That was another thing that got me totally upset.
As we were going through the financing agreement and insurance coverage, I couldn’t believe the cost.
The clinic stated that the IVF at their clinic, for self paying patients, starts at $17,500 plus around $4,000 for testing and $3,000-$5,000 for meds. That is a total of up to $26,500 for one IVF attempt that still doesn’t include the anesthesia and embryo freezing.
I couldn’t believe when we found out what the negotiated cost between the clinic and our insurance company was – less than $6,000. What does that tell you? That for less than $6,000 the clinic can not only carry out this entire treatment but also make a profit, otherwise they wouldn’t accept insurance, right!? It just turns my stomach to know how much it costs them to do IVF and how much they charge those who don’t have insurance with IVF benefits.
Followed by baseline ultrasound, Doxycycline pills for myself and Jeremy and 150IU of Gonal F.
Here is what the delivery of my medications looked like – even our cats couldn’t believe it!