I suppose this post could also be called "The Results - Part 3".
I was very surprised when we came away from our appointment with a 4th possibility. Need to refresh your memories as to what I thought the three possibilities were? No worries, I did too. To review: 1) Doctors who performed HSGs 1 and 4 were incompetent; 2) Doctor who did HSGs 2 and 3 was incompetent; 3) Something about my physiology is changing. Who could believe there'd be a 4th option?
It turns out that my doctor was equally flabbergasted at my inconsistent HSG results, so he called the doctor who performed tests 2 and 3 (the ones that showed my tubes being blocked and partially blocked). Let's call her Dr. Seaver. Dr. Seaver explained that there's a difference in how she performs the test versus other doctors (like the ones who did 1 and 4).
Most doctors perform the HSG by placing a catheter into your uterus, inflating a tiny balloon to prevent the catheter from falling out, and then pushing dye into the uterus and hopefully out the tubes. Dr. Seaver does the test in such a way that she's able to test each fallopian tube individually. She advances the catheter to the opening of each tube, one at a time, and injects the dye directly into the tube. Because she's injecting into the tubes, which are more fragile than the uterus, she isn't able to use much pressure. The uterus is a stronger/thicker organ, and is able to withstand higher pressure of the dye being injected directly. The tests that showed my tubes being open used a higher pressure, which may have caused my tubes to appear open when they normally wouldn't. Or perhaps the test cleared my tubes?
What that meant, in my case, was that the condition of my fallopian tubes was probably somewhere between the two results. My tubes probably weren't completely normal, but they probably also weren't completely closed and partially closed (5% chance of conception we had been quoted).
This certainly muddied things, we thought, in terms of deciding whether to have the fallopian tube resection in order to remove the blockage. Thank goodness we asked the doctor about that during our appointment, because he confirmed with Dr. Seaver that with these latest results, they wouldn't even consider the procedure for me. In order to have a successful procedure, the doctors have to be able to pinpoint the location of the blockage. Since I had a normal test result, there wouldn't be a way to confidently identify the blocked portion of the tube. Thank God we decided to have the fourth HSG instead of just having the fallopian tube resection!
So where did that leave us? Our doctor explained that we were at the point of diminishing returns, in terms of fertility treatments. He felt that the pain and cost of continuing to encourage ovulation probably wasn't worth it, since my fallopian tubes were somewhere between blocked and open. I cried, and we asked the doctor for information on adoption. He gave us a compassionate smile, and the adoption information, and we left his office.
As crushing as it was to hear that we had come to the end of our fertility-treatment journey, I think in some ways I was ready for the news. After the last HSG (the normal one), I just kind of shook my head. In my mind, I kept saying, "This is God's game." Not that the whole thing was just a game, but that we were playing by his rules. Our whole road of fertility treatments had been filled with curves. When we thought we had things figured out, something else would come up - some new complication. First, they thought I was ovulating but my hormones were out of whack. So they regulated my hormones. When we still didn't conceive, they thought my fallopian tubes might be blocked. So we tested my tubes, and they were normal (the first time). When we still weren't getting pregnant, we started daily ultrasounds to confirm ovulation. When I didn't ovulate, they gave me a triggering injection. When, after three months of triggers, I still didn't conceive, we scheduled the laparoscopy to look for endometriosis. The laparoscopy didn't find endometriosis, but found blocked tubes (twice). Then after all of that, a fourth HSG showed normal tubes. I'm exhausted just re-reading that.
So after the fourth HSG, I honestly just had to laugh and shake my head. "This is God's game," I told myself. Obviously, he's the one in control of the whole situation, and we had done everything we could to help things along, and it just wasn't happening. I never ever thought I would get to this point, but I honestly felt peace over the whole thing. I had done a lot of mourning since the laparoscopy and the blocked-tube results. Not mourning that I might never be a mother, but that I might never be pregnant. And somehow, through all of that, I finally, miraculously, came to a place of acceptance. It was the first time since we had started trying to conceive that I really, truly, felt peaceful. It really was amazing. I still felt, in my heart, that I would get pregnant one day. I really had that sense, but I thought it would be years in the future. I thought that we would grow our family through adoption, probably adopt a couple of kids, and that one day, when I least expected it, God would surprise us. And I felt a huge amount of peace in that.
Darren and I have always been open to the idea of adoption. We both felt so strongly called to be parents, that if we couldn't have biological children, we wanted to parent other children who needed a family. However, neither of us was ready to jump into adoption right that second. The last three-and-a-half years had been a huge roller coaster, and as eager as we were to start our family, we weren't ready to jump on another roller coaster so soon.
We had a really busy February, with a quick trip to visit Annie and family and then our trip to the Winter Olympics. I honestly gave zero thought to fertility, aside from noticing that I had really great mucus the whole time we were in Vancouver. Once we got back home, we decided that we probably ought to take advantage of the symptoms. Looking back at that chart, I like to joke that we didn't make an "Olympic" effort. Heh.
And so we went about our lives. I went to jury duty, and then my mom and dad came into town for a two-week stay to celebrate their 40th anniversary. We had some celebratory things planned, but we had no idea that there was a surprise in store that none of us expected!
To be continued . . .