Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Good plumbing. Why the clogs?

As I wait patiently for my surrogacy agency contracts to arrive in the mail, we had the thought that we could possibly fit one IVF in this summer to freeze our embryos in preparation for the surrogate. We could sign on with this agency now and while we wait for a surrogate match, we could fit in an egg retrieval. This gave me that bizarre satisfaction of not wasting time. This cycle could give us a sense of how this new RE and new protocol work for my egg production. Maybe we could do PGD and see it as a test round? Maybe we can get into their shared risk program? But most of all, maybe this will ensure that once my surrogate is ready we can transfer those embryos immediately. Saving time is my addiction. Gotta have it. Of course there is a small part of me that thinks if we got more than 3 good embryos in this prep round that I would be tempted to just put one in me for the hell of it? If I get a BFP and it fails or BFN then I still have the other embryos on ice for the surrogate? Is this crazy talk?

It all seems comforting to cover all my bases. But it still forces me to think about plumbing. My plumbing. The two clogs I had this year were not to be taken lightly. Since I might be tempted to transfer one in me (if circumstances seem right),  I opted to follow my new REs request to do another HSG exam. I had done one in 2006 with normal results which is why we never imagined ectopics being a problem. But I figured the health of my tubes has probably changed dramatically since the two IVF ectopics and the surgery. 

So naturally when I raced up to the radiology center this morning I was bracing myself for the results of bad rusty pipes - the kind that a plumber would recommend ditching altogether. As I worked out all my insurance and logistical medical mess with the front desk, a woman sitting next to me said, "Did you take any motrin?" This was the secret handshake needed for us to know that we both were infertile. We exchanged horror stories and then she was called in. Then I was called in. As I waited in my blue gown with the bottom half of my birthday suit, the same woman came out shaking. She told me both her tubes were blocked and that she screamed in pain. So then I really got scared - scared of the results and scared of the pain. I had gotten a little cocky since the last HSG was painless and also with all this IVF crap making me feel like you could stick an elephant in there and I will be okay. But suddenly the panic set in. 

Noticing my face falling, she asked again, "Did you take motrin?" 

I told her in a higher pitch than normal, "Yes, but an hour ago so maybe it is wearing off?" 

She quickly grabbed her motrin bottle out of her purse and gave me two tablets. "Take it!" she commanded. 

With no water in sight and my pathetic inability to swallow pills I went into survival mode and just starting chewing up those motrin pills like prey running from its predator. 

As I was called in and briefed by the doctor, he nodded and sighed, presumably concerned over my two ectopics and what pain this exam might cause me. "Not a good sign," I thought. As they lay me on the table and I put my legs on the extremely high stirrups, they strapped my feet in - doubly not a good sign. Clearly people flail around in pain during this. 

But like many suspense dramas, lead up can be way scarier than what we see behind the curtain. The ink went up beautifully into both my tubes with zero pain and the doctor was in and out in less than 5 minutes. They were amazed, as am I, at how good my plumbing is after such trauma. I have scoured the internet to find others like me who have survived two IVF ectopics and still have both tubes. I'm a rare alien breed. It's hard enough to find someone with two IVF ectopics, but even harder to find one whose kept their tubes. Most people I meet online with ectopics I hear that their tube ruptured causing the loss of a tube. Others have elected to take them out because of damage. But me, my blessing was I got away clean. Sure I could do more advanced tests but this is the third time I've been told that my tubes look healthy. So of course this continues the million dollar question of why does my good plumbing get clogs? Will it get more clogs? Will I ultimately have to tear out my good plumbing after continual unexplainable clogs? For god sakes, what makes a perfectly good tube let an embryo get stuck in there? We'll never know clearly, and once again I have that twisted satisfaction/frustration of being "normal" but not really normal. 


Rachel said...

Yay for the good news about your tubes! I always want to talk to people in the waiting room but I'm afraid to start the conversation. The 2 times I have spoken to people it has been really interesting.

luna said...

that is good news about your tubes. but scary all the same. seems like you've got some good options though.

and about this?: "...making me feel like you could stick an elephant in there and I will be okay." that maybe deserves its own art project, don't you think?

Duck said...

It's a mystery, one of those wonders of the world, why our bodies are soo weird.
As for me, my tubes are clear, except when I do an IVF cycle, then they become filled with fluid and act like they are blocked (WTF??).

I hear you on wanting to do something to move forward, it's hard all this waiting for a surrogate, but, if you wait, apparently there are better odds with a fresh transfer into a surrogate (just a thought).

Shinejil said...

Oh tabi! I'm so glad you didn't have any pain during the HSG.

I completely know what you're talking about: the exquisite agony of being "normal" by all counts, but with abnormal results. It just sucks.

Melanie said...

Isn't that usually the way it works, build up, apprehension, fear, panic...then it's ok. It's the zingers from out of the blue that end up causing the most trouble. I'm so pleased it went well and you're on your way!

the Babychaser: said...

I'm still hung up on how you get ectopic with IVF anyway. When it happened to me I was stunned -- wasn't the whole point of IVF to skip the plumbing altogether?

After the one time I figured I was home free. Clearly, this was like getting hit by lightning.

Now, after finding your blog, I'm just insanely paranoid. After my last early m/c last month, you know what I said to myself? "At least it wasn't ectopic."

Glad you came out pain-free and that the plumbing looks good. But no idea how you decide where to go from here.

How do any of us figure out what the best plan is at this point?

Amy said...

I think it's a great idea to transfer at least 1 embryo into you if they pass the PGD. I'm assuming it would be a day 5 transfer? Wouldn't hurt so long as you had left overs for your surrogate.

Ahuva Batya said...

I'm glad to hear this piece of good news, and hoping that maybe your unusual two-tube state speaks to other miracles around the corner.

Ms Heathen said...

I'm glad that the HSG revealed that everything was OK with your tubes, and that you didn't find the procedure itself too painful.

I too struggle with the complicated feelings evoked by being '"normal" but not really normal'. Sometimes I think a definitive diagnosis might be easier to deal with.

JellyBelly said...

i'm amazed that you didn't have any pain from the HSG. when i had the test done i was in incredible pain despite having free and clear tubes.

i know that you probably don't want any more doctors poking at you, but from what i've read from your blog i think that you should try the creighton method. it's really helped me discover what exactly is going wrong with my body and why we haven't been able to conceive. your history of ectopics and IF have been mentioned in the creighton research.

sorry for the assvice -- if you want more info don't hesitate to e-mail me at

alicia said...

wow, so weird your plumbing is! I think you have a good plan though, I would do the same, save some frozen ones for the surragote and be as ready as you can for her, but try one out on yourself one last time! but whatever you decide will be best for you adn that is all that matters! good luck with the upcoming desicions!