Tishi at how to swim in a sea of baby bumps put a survey on her blog to get to know the IF community better. As I was answering the questions, I realized that it would be really interesting to keep these answers, as I’m sure these answers change as we move forward in our TTC journey. So I decided to post it on my blog. Also, I wanted to share my current thoughts. If you would like to help out Tishi and her friend, please go to her blog and get more info about how to respond to the survey, or just email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, I think it’s good to think about these questions every once in awhile… So here is the survey and my answers.
What is your biggest frustration right now related to getting pregnant?
The lack of information about what is wrong with me is my biggest frustration. I currently have “unexplained infertility” and I think that this means that they haven’t figured it out yet. I want to be tested for everything. If they find something wrong, at least they can treat for it. If they find something that can’t be treated, fine. Let me move on. But this “unexplained” thing is pure madness.
What worries you? What keeps you up at night?
Getting pregnant. Before I miscarried, even after I had the ectopic pregnancy, I was afraid of not ever getting pregnant. But when I found out I was pregnant in May, and then later found out it wasn’t ectopic, I had no doubt that I would have a baby. When I miscarried in June, it changed everything. I now worry about getting pregnant as I have no idea how I will make it through without worrying constantly. My husband says that we have to assume that it will work, that getting pregnant equals having a baby, but I don’t know that I have such a positive attitude. I used to, but not anymore.
What changes have you already made to get pregnant?
I’ve cut out caffeine, increased exercise, tried to eat healthier. For awhile I was going to acupuncture, but I haven’t gone since the miscarriage. While trying naturally, I temp, I use OPK's, observe cervical fluid, and everything. I have tried evening primrose oil while naturally trying to increase cervical fluid, which worked well, but I haven't done this since starting treatments.
Where do you get your information about fertility treatments and improving
your chances of getting pregnant?
I get some of my information from my doctor, but not really. Primarily I get my information from my own internet, article and book-reading research. And now that I’m involved in blogs, I get a lot of information from other infertile women.
What help are you seeking to help you get pregnant? how do you decide who's
help you will seek?
I’m researching doctors currently. I don’t mind my current doctor, but my husband and I call him the “Wal-mart doctor.” He’s the “big box” kind of doctor that gives everyone that walks in the door the same protocol: Do an HSG, do bloodwork testing for 1 month, do a semen analysis. If you can’t find anything wrong, do IUI’s with either Clomid or injectible drugs, depending on how much you want to spend and success rates. Do that for 3 cycles. Then move on to IVF.
I’ve now had success with 2 IUI’s with injections, but one has ended in a miscarriage and one in an ectopic. He’s finally willing to test for other things, but only because I’ve pushed it. And some of the tests I’ve specifically asked for are based on my own research with other infertiles and researching on the internet.
I’m researching other doctors such as Dr. Beer’s clinic, SIRM, Dr. Kwak-Kim. These doctors are what I consider the premier docs, based on the research I’ve done. But I haven’t yet convinced the husband that we need a long-distance doctor. It depends on what the current doctor comes up with when we get the results back.
How much time are you already investing into getting pregnant?
Time is no object. I have to work, so I’m limited by my vacation, but other than that, I’m willing to invest any amount of time.
How much money are you willing or able to Invest?
This is tough. My husband and I are very fortunate to have good jobs, and we haven’t had to use debt yet to fund this, but we’re willing. Insurance does not pay for any treatment, but it does pay for most testing. So far, since December 2009 with 2 IUI’s with injections and a couple months of acupuncture, we’ve spent about $9,500. And we’re nowhere near being done… I think my husband’s threshold for how much we’re willing to spend on this is higher than mine. But that’s generally true with us – he’s willing to spend more than me in a lot of ways. We’ve talked about how will we know when we’re done, and all we know is we’re not done yet.
What would you like to learn more about in relation to your fertility?
I’m currently studying the immunology impact on fertility. I have a strange feeling that somewhere in this part of science, I will find the answer I’m looking for.
Who do you consider an expert or Authority in fertility?
Based on my research, there are a limited number of experts. There are a lot of doctors that treat fertility, but I don’t know that I consider them experts – most of them are like my doctor, a Wal-mart type doctor. I consider Dr. Geoffrey Sher of SIRM an expert on infertility. See his blog – www.ivfauthority.com – for some really good information. I know there are a couple other great clinics, but I’m not sure what they are. We’ve considered moving back to Denver, and one of the top clinics in the country, Conceptions Reproductive Associates, is there, and I plan on going there if I move to Denver. I’m not sure what other IVF clinics are out there that are the best, as I haven’t researched IVF much.
As far as reproductive immunologists, Dr. Alan Beer was the top authority, and he literally wrote the book on reproductive immunology (Is Your Body Baby-Friendly?) but he died a few years ago. He has a clinic in California that treats for this. Dr. Kwak-Kim studies with Dr. Beer and has a clinic in Chicago that is supposed to be really good for treating immunology issues. Both these clinics take long-distance patients, but Dr. Kwak-Kim requires at least one in-person visit – I’m not sure about Dr. Beer’s clinic. Other reproductive immunologists are Dr. Carolyn Coulam and Dr. William Matzner, but I don’t know much about them.