Today was a day I never thought would come. A day where our hope was restored. A day where we got answers. Answers that will hopefully bring our journey to three to fruition.
I was consumed by all emotions today prior to our follow-up appointment. Hopeful. Anxious. Nervous. Scared. You name it, I felt it.
Last week Wednesday, I had an endo biopsy done at my fertility clinic to test for chronic endometritis. Chronic endometritis is an infection in the uterine lining that can cause inflammation. In recent studies, it’s been shown that women with repeated pregnancy loss and repeated implantation failure have chronic endometritis. My doctor at AFCC (Advanced Fertility Centers of Chicago) had suggested this test as a means to hopefully find why I’m not maintaining pregnancies. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to this test as well because I knew it was going to be painful. Matt got to come with me to the appointment and I was thankful I had his hand to squeeze through the pain. I had minor spotting and cramps for the past week and thankfully that has ended. The results were supposed to take about a week. Well, today we got a call from my nurse at AFCC — all results were NORMAL. Sigh of relief? Yes. Disappointed? Maybe. I was just hoping they’d find something. But, I am happy that it is normal. If that makes sense. It makes sense, right? LOL.
Next, was our follow-up appointment with Dr. Coulam at Reproduction Medicine Institute (RMI) at 3pm. I WAS NERVOUS. Matt met me at my office and we drove together to the appointment. I’m so unbelievably happy he was able to be there with me. I just kept thinking, what if everything is normal? What if they’ve found nothing? What do we do next if nothing is found? I prayed and prayed (like we have been this entire journey) that something was found.
First up — we had an ultrasound to check out my uterine artery flow. Time to take off my clothes from the waist down and lay on the table. Just like clockwork to me; sadly. I didn’t get to watch the screen but Matt said it looked just like an EKG. I could hear the blood flow and it kinda creeped me out, LOL. The results: NORMAL. When Dr. Coulam told me that I let out a big sigh. The nurse said, “You seem disappointed?” I was. We didn’t know the other results yet, so I was just hoping they’d found something.
Here I am waiting for the ultrasound:
I got dressed and we walked into Dr. Coulam’s office to finish our consult and go over results from the blood tests from a couple weeks ago. All of my test results showed in the normal range, except one — Natural Killer cells (NK cells). I WAS THRILLED – they had found something! And something that could be fixed. It’s something I’ve researched before as I’ve seen others struggling with infertility discuss NK cells & I’ve read studies on them.
All of us have NK cells within us, naturally. They fend off illnesses, diseases, infections, etc. However, mine were extremely elevated. The normal range is 0-12% and mine are 20%. Basically, my elevated NK cells are attacking my embryo/fetus while it’s developing in the womb. It recognizes the embryo/fetus as foreign and kills it off.
The treatment? Intralipid infusions. These infusions are administered through an IV for about an hour at each treatment. Essentially, the infusions will suppress my NK cell activity and help me maintain a pregnancy. We were given a plan. We were relieved. Hope was restored in our journey.
So, when we decide to do another frozen embryo transfer the plan is to go for an intralipid infusion 5-7 days before transfer, another one at the time of the first positive pregnancy test, and then once a week throughout the first trimester. Each infusion will last about an hour and cost us $60 for the medicine and $200 for the clinics fee to administer the infusion. The infusions will stop after the first trimester and then they continue to do a blood draw monthly through 32-34 weeks of pregnancy to keep check on the NK cell activity.
It’s going to be expensive. It’s going to be exhausting driving to the appointments. It’s going to be crazy going between two fertility clinics and acupuncture. But you know what? It’s worth it and I know that. Everything we have been through has brought us to this point. The three miscarriages. Ten total embryos — LOST. The emotional pain. The stress. The implantation failures. The countless injections. SIX IVF CYCLES. And now, finally, we have a plan and WE ARE READY.
I can’t tell you when our next transfer will be because we have a mini-vacation planned to Denver (much needed) in April and then the 2/4 Marines reunion Memorial Day in Missouri. We will do it when the time is right. Heck, we have waited long enough so what’s more waiting?
We want to thank each and everyone of you that has continued to stay by our side through this journey and thank you for the prayers. Please, please continue to pray for us that our next IVF cycle will gave us our baby.
We love you all, xoxo.