Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pray, Love: We're still working on #2, but hopefully not #2, #3, #4, #5, get the point.

It has been about 7 months since I blogged about infertility or urine in my fridge or pituitary tumors, but here we are, ready to start working on making baby #2 happen.  Back in August I had finally received some real answers about the amenorrhea I have experienced for 15 years and a reason for the difficulty we have had in trying to conceive a second child. Then things got busy. We decided to take a little break from all the appointments and decisions and let the craziness of the fall and winter holidays and birthdays take us over. Even with the break from the decisions and the appointments, we did not get to take a break from the reality of secondary infertility. You never forget that, more than almost anything in the world at this moment, you want another child. People won’t let you forget, either.

“So do you not want more children?”

“You better hurry up and have another baby or your little girl is going to be a brat!” (That ship has sailed, my friend)

“So good to see you! So you still haven’t had another baby? You better hurry up before you have too much space between your kids.”

Lily and the naked, filthy, brilliant Baby Rowie
Whew! No pressure or anything. I think Lily just got tired of waiting. She has invented a huge family of brothers and sisters and likes them come along with us. Her favorite imaginary older brother is named Belie or B’lai or Buh-lie. She has never actually spelled it for me. He goes lots of places; he went to Chuck E. Cheese with Lily and her grandparents and they actually had to use tokens for him to ride the rides. Alone. While they stood and watched an empty ride move for 90 seconds. Sometimes she prefers a smaller family, but no matter what she has her Baby Rowie. She tells people all about her baby brother named Rowie and right now she is working on teaching him how to say talk and walk. His first words were a full sentence. He said, according to Lily, “I just said my first words.” He’s a remarkable child. Very dirty and usually naked, but remarkable.

We had decided to take a break from infertility treatment options until my second pituitary gland MRI drew closer. We didn’t want to be in the middle of fertility treatments if the MRI happened to show growth, which is, by the way, extremely unlikely. The MRI is coming up in the next couple of weeks, so last week I went to see my reproductive endocrinologist (RE). He is the one who diagnosed my pituitary adenoma just from studying my labs.  Last week we sat down to discuss our course of action.

I went in with some knowledge of what he felt would work from out discussions in August. Basically, my reproductive system seems to be perfectly healthy and ready to go. My follicle count is higher than normal for a “woman my age”, as hitting 35 puts you in the “a woman your age” bracket. Everything is ready to go, but my pituitary gland sends absolutely no signal to my reproductive organs. Since we are only missing the signal, my RE initially suggested we do injectable gonadotropins. Basically we would be injecting the hormone that would normally be sent by my pituitary gland. His only concern for me was over-stimulation of the ovaries, leading to an over-production of eggs. That was 7 months ago.

Even though we were taking a break from decisions, treatments and appointments, my mind never did take a break. Instead, I found myself obsessively googling fertility treatment in the wee hours of the morning when I should have been sleeping. I didn’t do it every night over 7 months, but I lost plenty of sleep. As my RE appointment drew nearer, I lost sleep every night for a couple of weeks. My heart and mind were in a tailspin because, although I know without a doubt that we want a baby more than almost anything, we were entering a realm where our beliefs about life would be challenged. 

There is a word in the infertility world that is used often by many of the experts. The word is “reduction”, as in selective reduction of embryos. I went in to my appointment late this past week with a list of questions, all relating back to our firm stance that reduction is not an option for us. I presented that to our RE in our meeting and tried to do so without seeming preachy or judgmental. He had already casually mentioned reduction as a way to ensure we didn’t carry too many babies. Basically, without leaving reduction on the table, he would not do the injectables with us. Instead, he would want us to make the leap to in vitro fertilization (IVF). He feels the IVF process would give him a little more control over the number of embryos, but that prompted more discussion about our stance on extra embryos and frozen embryos and what would be done with them. He presented a plan that would allow us to pursue IVF while only creating embryos that would be transferred. No life would be left behind, but he made a huge leap (and cost increase) to IVF in a matter of seconds.

For now, we have decided to seek a second opinion. I will be meeting with a physician from a different fertility center here in town to discuss the injectables and some methods for controlling the number of mature follicles. I have done a lot of research on methods such as follicle reduction, and that was not something the RE I have been seeing was willing to discuss.

We are prayerful about the next step in our journey. We don’t want six babies and a reality show, but we do want to have another child and we want Lily to have a brother or sister.  We know we want to take advantage of medical advances that our Creator has given us the opportunity to explore, but we want to do so with respect for life and His creation. We don’t know if our next child will grow in my body or in the body of a woman we may never know, but we know we want to shower another child with love and attention. We want to bring up a second child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Oh, and we think some soul deserves to have Lily as their big sister, because she will totally rock it!

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”
Jeremiah 1:5