Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Baby Making Update

I ended up going in for the D&C last week. 

I did a lot of serious thinking about my Reproductive Endocrinologist (the fertility doctor) after receiving some comments here on the blog, talking with some friends, and especially after listening to Leonard Peikoff's podcast #111.  Peikoff mentions in passing (in a question about consulting experts) that he knows at least one cancer patient who tried many different doctors before finding one that he trusted and who cured him, while he would have been dead if he had stuck with the earlier ones. 

This all made me re-evaluate my attitude towards finding doctors.  I had assumed that I was doing something wrong, since I've seen so many doctors and had almost nothing good come of it.  I've seen about 7 different practitioners for pregnancy, 2 dermatologists (and I need to find a new one), and at at least 7 or 8 doctors for my undiagnosed pain.  Partially because we've moved around, I've had at least 9 "primary care" doctors in the past 10 years.  Since people don't tend to talk about health issues much, I had no idea that this was anything other than insane.  I thought most people saw one doctor, and maybe a specialist if something came up. 

If I look at it another way - that there is just as much incompetence in medicine as there is in any other field, and maybe more because of government intervention in health care - then it actually makes perfect sense.  I interviewed about 7 companies to install my windows, so why wouldn't I do the same with doctors?  This also means that it is possible to find a doctor who can actually help me improve my health if I keep looking and judging with my own mind.  Maybe they're not all hopeless, after all! 

So, I fired my R.E.  I took a recommendation from a friend for a new infertility clinic and we have an appointment next week.  The amount of work in making the switch is daunting, but I've come to terms with the idea that this is just what you have to do.  And I might have to do it again.

In the meantime, I have no ob-gyn.  I hated the practice I used in September, so when I got pregnant in January, I decided to investigate home birth.  I did a mammoth amount of research and work on that, interviewing 3 midwives and finally settling on a birth center, and then I had the second miscarriage, which is probably going to preclude midwives and home birth.  So then I went to the R.E., who was going to refer me to a high-risk OB when the time came, but with the third miscarriage, that never happened.  The new fertility clinic would not take over my care from this miscarriage, but said I should just find an OB.  So, I had to find yet another doctor.

So far, I like this guy.  I chose to have the D&C after talking to him for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I could not stand the waiting anymore. 

The wonderful part is that I had the procedure on Thursday, and on Saturday, my energy came back.  Until then, my body still thought it was pregnant, so I had to take a nap almost every day and I was hyper-emotional and grieving all at the same time.  I couldn't tell what were my real emotions and what was the pregnancy.  It was pretty awful.  Now I feel like myself again, my head is clear, and I have enough energy to handle my day-to-day activities.

The other big thing is that, unlike my previous R.E., my new OB agrees with me that there is a 98% chance that our pregnancy troubles are caused by my age, and nothing more.  He agrees that more testing is probably a waste of time.  I'm going to get the new R.E.'s take on this too, but it was nice to hear something other than, "the next step is genetic counseling," which made no sense to me at all. 

This is not the best diagnosis.  There is only one treatment, which is the one that we said we'd never do: IVF.  The alternative is exactly what we identified on our own: play the numbers game and live with the miscarriages.  My previous R.E. did not talk to me at all about IVF so I was very ignorant.  After I realized that she was useless, I did my own research and found that there is a much higher chance of success than I thought, especially when the IVF is done along with PGD, or preimplantation genetic diagnosis.  They fertilize the eggs, wait a few days, then take out one cell from each embryo and check selected chromosomes for anomalies.  If there are any viable embryos, then they can be implanted.  The technology is amazing!  This is the same method used for gender-selection.  Did you know that you can pay about twelve grand to select the gender of your baby as a fairly routine matter?  I had no idea. 

We never could have considered this but for the money Adam inherited from his grandmother.  Our entire baby making journey, which started six years ago, consists of one reversal after another.  First, we'd have no kids, then we'd have one.  I never would have had a baby outside a hospital, but then I had one underwater in a birth center.  Then, well, one kid is great so wouldn't two be even better?  If it doesn't work out, then so be it - we'd never go through the trouble of high-technology pregnancy, and we could never afford it anyway.  Well, now we're here, and we've changed our minds again.  People ask us about whether we'd consider adoption and I say, "No, I really don't think so.  We're happy enough with our one child."  But then Adam reminds me that, when it comes to children, trying to predict the future is futile.


  1. I completely understand the need to have some peace after such a painful ordeal. We said we were done after our third child and took surgical steps to insure that we didn't have to suffer through the process again. But after a while, we changed our minds and decided to adopt.

    (If you change your mind again and decide that you're open to adoption, I've done it twice now and I can't recommend it enough. We had gone down a lot of the same roads you've described and adoption was much, much easier--both emotionally and physically. Fighting bureaucrats and paperwork is less frustrating and more achievable than fighting your body. And if you pay your money and jump through their hoops, you are guaranteed a child.)

  2. I really appreciate your insight on finding doctors. So far I've been lucky to mostly not need them, but I'm not getting any younger and it's silly to expect that to hold out forever! I assume you're still using the concierge practice as "primary care" - have they been able to help with referrals or advice on the reproductive issues? Good luck, wherever this journey leads.

  3. Thanks, Bill. I can definitely see how adoption would be easier in many ways. We're going to hold out for the biological connection as long as we can, but I'm not ruling anything out at this point!

    Stephanie, I've had one appointment with my concierge physician so far. We had to do my annual physical in 2 parts because of how insane my schedule has been with the pregnancies. I'm going back to him for the results, and to discuss what we'll do next for my pain, in about 2 weeks. I plan to ask him about the reproductive issues then too. I'll definitely write up a report.

  4. "Prediction is futile," my mantra of the day, thank your hubby.

    I have many pals who have traveled the bumpy road you are on, just wanted to write and say, "chin up!" You are doing great. Take care of you!

    I am going to have to take your thoughts on switching docs under advisement, I doubt I can match your pace, but maybe I should try for better.

  5. I have to say I am grateful for the info available on the Net and at the library, since I would still be in disabling amts of pain without that - since my docs, too, were rather less than helpful. Thanks, Amy, for writing of your experience switching docs - Dan has been pushing me to see mine again due to the increased neuropathy, but I've been unmotivated to engage in more time-consuming and ultimately useless appointments. Perhaps I would be more willing to go to a new doc...