Byline: Jessica Blanco-Busam
Jessica wrote this story on April 23, 2012. The next morning, she had two embryos transferred. One didn’t make it through the thawing, and she is waiting for results on the second. Please send Jessica good thoughts while she waits for news.
This is my first time sharing my story in a public forum. It’s funny, because tomorrow will be my final attempt at getting pregnant for the second time.
After many years of painful periods and hearing from my doctor that I had a low pain threshold, I convinced her to do an exploratory laparoscopy. She tried to assure me that everything would be okay. Unfortunately, I knew better. It turned out I had stage IV endometriosis: scarring all the way up to my diaphragm and down to my intestines, bladder, rectum, you name it. I was 26 years old and luckily, happily married. My husband and I knew our plan to wait until 30 wouldn’t do anymore. We had to try immediately and we were told IVF was the way to go.
I switched doctors, got on lupron to improve my chances, had another surgery where my appendix and one fallopian tube were removed, and then went through my first cycle. I almost quit right in the middle of the transfer because the doctor could not get the catheter into my uterus and was causing me such indescribable pain (talk about messed up anatomy and too much scarring).
It failed, but I was blessed enough to get pregnant on my second try. Complications lead to a c-section during which my doctor said the endometriosis was even more extensive than before. How that happened after being period-free for 10 months is beyond me. I guess I’m just lucky that way.
In 2011 we knew it was time to try again. Our son deserved to have a brother or sister. My doctor said I would need a laparotomy instead of a laparoscopy to give me a fighting chance at getting pregnant again. That February, I had the surgery. He had to get an oncologist in on the surgery because the damage was more severe than he could handle. He did the best he could but said a hysterectomy was my best shot at ever helping the endometriosis. Basically, good luck getting pregnant again.
We failed 3 times: we had an FET, then an IVF cycle, then another IVF cycle. Each time my body did worse and worse with the meds: OHSS, painful and difficult transfers, you name it. I looked like and felt like the walking dead.
I was a miserable human being, truly a shadow of my former self. It was beginning to wear on me – and on my marriage.
My husband and I had the talk. We decided this FET would be our last attempt. My son needs me, my husband needs me, my students need me. My life will not revolve around failed attempts to get pregnant and 14 day periods during which I’m on codeine for the first 3 days just to be able to walk and hopefully make it to work. I pray that tomorrow 1 or more of my 3 embryos will thaw and that I will get pregnant. Of course it’s a stretch – a huge one given my history with this horrible disease.
As sad as it is, I know it probably won’t result in a pregnancy. But the finality of it all, the fact that a hysterectomy is in my future at the age of 30, gives me hope. I can move on. I can get that “quality of life” I’ve longed for, for so many years. And I have my miracle baby and he is amazing. That’s my story. I’m not sure if it’ll help anyone at all, but maybe it will.
Jessica- you are incredibly brave to share this story with others. Please leave Jessica good thoughts in the comment form. You do not need to be a blogger to leave a comment, you just need a name and an email address. And be sure to join us over in the Forum, where we are already sharing stories and providing support.