Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I guess this is where it all starts....

Hello and welcome to our Blog-

We are Jim and Jenn Barnhouse. Just your average 30-something couple living in a small town.
For those of you who know us, this will be a great way to keep up to date of our lives and journey.
For those who are just passing by for a visit or are directed here via a google search, We hope something you read will touch your heart or make your day!

Since this is my first attempt at blogging you will have to experience all the growing pains in my learning curve right along with me. I send apologies in advance!
Just a bit of background as to why we started this blog-

Jim and I met just as many others in the computer age have met- via a website online.
We dated for a few years and finally married Sept. 1, 2007.
We are what you would call, "late bloomers" in the marriage arena - as we were both in our 30's when we married. Currently I am 37 yrs old and Jim is 33.

We both knew immediately that we wanted children so we decided to immediately start trying to conceive. We both had concerns because of our ages and how that affect our chances.
After a good solid 6 months of charting, temping, timed "baby-dancing" and emotional ups and downs we had no success. I made an appt. with a high risk OB/GYN to see about some fertility testing. We did find out that there were some very mild male factor issues but that everything else was seemingly okay at that time. We attempted the next step in fertility treatment which was some fertility medication added to our cycles with timed "baby-dancing". After 3 unsuccessful cycles of that, we were getting more worried. We then decided to see a reproductive endocrinologist for further evaluation.

After several more tests, the RE sat Jim and I down to say that he felt our best chances of conceiving would be with InVitro Fertilization with ICSI. He did say that we could try less aggressive treatments such as IntraUterine Insemination with or without fertility meds as well.

Jim and I decided to try IUI's first. We did one medicated IUI cycle using Clomid and were unsuccessful. Because we had already done 3 prior cycles using Clomid, we decided to move on to something a bit more aggressive and use injectable medication with the IUI's.
Although the price tag for the inectables was about $1000.00 out of pocket in addition to the IUI costs, we felt we should give it a fair try. We did our first injectable/IUI cycle in Aug 2008. Everything went beautifully for that cycle -with good counts and several good egg follicles developing. Unfortunately we were not successful in the end and were both pretty heartbroken.

Jim and I sat down at that point and decided that it would be a good idea to seek a second opinion about our situation. We ended up going to The Cleveland Clinic Fertility Center for our second opinion. We met with a great doc - Dr. Cynthia Austin who is currently treating us.
Dr. Austin reviewed all of our records and recommended immediately repeating several tests that in her opinion should have been done already (live and learn). So in Sept 08 we started testing again. It turns out that Jim looked much better this time around however I ended up with some disappointing results. I had some hormonal testing done, a test called a "Clomid Challenge" and a hysterosalpingogram or HSG (that's a mouthful) The results of the hormonal testing and Clomid Challenge were to show how my ovarian reserve looked. In other words, did I still have eggies and if so were they "using walkers yet" - LOL! The results came backed as a mixed bag - I passed the Clomid challenge but my estrogen was high too early in my cycle. I later found out that this can cause your Clomid challenge results to appear normal when they really aren't. All in all this meant that my ovarian reserve was dwindling. The results of my HSG test were equally a mixed bag. It showed my tubes were definitely open however I did have some adhesions from prior surgery. It also showed an abnormal uterine shape. Dr. Austin was unsure of the extent of this problem and wanted to see if an MRI would give a clearer picture. She then scheduled a pelvic MRI for me.

So this is where we are folks......I am waiting on my MRI scheduled for Nov. 4th (don't forget to vote folks - Go OBAMA!) Also Dr. Austin did say in our last conversationg that she highly recommended Jim and I discuss going through IVF w/ICSI - and in her words - "soon".

We are going to wait to see what the results of the MRI bring and then are going to see if doing anymore medicated IUI's would be worth our time. We mostly have had to make this decision based on $$$$. For those of you who do not know - one cycle of IVF w/ICSI costs approximately $10,000-$12,000 with about a 40-50% success rate. Medicated IUI cycles cost approximately $1000-$1200 per cycle and have a 12-15% success rate. (Just an FYI - an average traditional baby dance cycle has a 8-10% success rate at our age)
It is unfortunate and honestly just a crappy thing that we have to choose a treatment protocol based on finances. It makes us bitter and angry some days.

Chances are we will end up pursuing IVF w/ICSI and so in that vain, we have started to save $$$$. I put jar aside and am putting all my extra dollars in it. We have looked at selling all non-essentials as well. We do not want to finance this expense and put ourselves in a hole especially with the knowledge that there is only a 50/50 chance with IVF at my age. But that is the unfortunate truth of the situation. Good or bad - it is what it is.

I will be back to add to this blog but for this morning - I have to be off - must get my Dunkin donuts AM coffee! Hugs to you all!

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