Luckily my doctor was very proactive and ordered tests for us. Our results came back as "normal" except my hormone levels showed evidence of a low ovarian reserve. We continued to try for the rest of the year and were eventually diagnosed as unexplained infertility when we graduated to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Per our doctor's recommendations, we tried 3 cycles of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) which only yielded us a 10% chance each round- statistically, if IUI does not work in 3 cycles, it will most likely not work at all. Even knowing we only had a 10% chance each time, it was hard not to get our hopes up each time. After the last round in October 2017, we met with our doctor again who recommended moving to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
In December, we agreed to pursue IVF. The financial burden of IVF was very daunting at first, but our desire to have a family has only gotten stronger, as our relationship has through these times. Infertility is one of the hardest things we have ever been through, and as much as we love being aunt and uncle, we dream of being mom and dad.
Then the unexpected happened. I want to stress that through all of this time we have been trying to conceive, we have never stopped actively trying (tracking cycles, tracking ovulation, timing sex). On January 13th, 2018- the day after I started writing this very GoFundMe- I took a home pregnancy test out of habit expecting to see the usual negative. For the first time ever on our 20th try, I saw two lines and the word "PREGNANT" on a digital test.
I started shaking and immediately video called Chris who was out of town. We cried, and I felt on top of the world. In the following four weeks, I started a pregnancy journal, I read pregnancy books, and started dreaming of a new future. I would open my pregnancy app daily and read about the baby's development. Chris was so excited that he began telling friends and even ordered a pair of tiny baby shoes.
On February 12th, we had our first prenatal appointment. We were immediately taken back for our ultrasound. The ultrasound tech could only find an empty sac in my uterus. I knew at that moment that something was terribly wrong. She searched around and found the fetal pole measuring right on track at 8 weeks with a strong heartbeat of 172 BPM. The only problem was he/she had implanted in my right fallopian tube. It all happened so fast. I was rushed to surgery immediately where both the baby and my right tube were removed. In the span of one month, we had experienced the best day of our lives and the worst. Ectopic pregnancies occur in 2% of pregnancies. Somehow we are always on the bad side of statistics (1 in 8 couples experience infertility).
Grieving this type of loss is complex. I know it is easy to wave the loss away and minimize it since we were only 8 weeks along, but it was not just a tiny embryo to us. That was our baby who we will never get to meet or hold or know if it was a boy or girl. In the short time we were pregnant, we already had grown attached and fiercely loved it. It is not only the loss of our pregnancy/baby, but the loss of a future that we already started making plans for. It is a loss of faith after thinking, "we won!" only to be gut-punched and brought back to the starting line. In the few days after the surgery, we collected the pregnancy journal and baby shoes to box away. I have confidence that the grief will get easier with time, but I also know that I will think of this baby everyday.
Now down one working tube, our chances of conceiving again spontaneously are even lower than before while our chances of having another ectopic are higher than before. We are back to our original plan to pursue IVF. IVF bypasses the fallopian tubes altogether by transferring an embryo directly into the uterus.
Only 15 states out of 50 have infertility insurance laws. In Texas the law only requires group insurers to offer coverage of IVF. Employers may choose whether or not to include infertility coverage as part of their employee health benefit package. What does this mean? Neither Chris nor I have any infertility coverage because our employers have chosen not to include it.
Finances are the #1 barrier to treating infertility. 1 round of IVF is nearly $20,000 out of pocket after factoring in anesthesia costs and prescription drugs. We hope that you, our friends and family, will help us. Any and all donations are much appreciated. We hope to start our first round of IVF in May of 2018.