Yesterday was my 29th birthday. Normally I get pretty excited about my birthday and I've never understood people like my husband who don't want their loved ones to make a big deal out of it.
I mean- please! By all means: make a big deal. ;-)
But I met yesterday with mixed emotion. I was happy and grateful for my 29th year, excited to see what my 30th year will bring, but also somewhat sad. More and more lately I have been feeling the ache of empty arms. Arie is growing older, kindergarten is approaching, and I am filled with such intense longing for another child. Already suffering from infertility, my biological clock is ticking louder and louder as I age and I fight against the fear that it will never happen.
Even so, I am comforted to know I'm doing everything I can to realize my dream of carrying a baby and I am in the best of medical hands.
After my failed embryo transfer my doctor ordered a long list of blood tests. When I went to get the blood draw the nurse actually stopped in her tracks and said, "Woah. It's going to take me a minute to enter these into the computer." I bet there were close to a dozen vials by the time she was done! I've now had every infertility relevant blood test I could have.
The results came back last week and revealed something new: I have a genetic blood clotting disorder! I got the news via voicemail and I admit I fist pumped when I heard it. I knew there was something we were missing and I am so happy we found it! I'm beyond grateful to my doctor who tested me for this disorder after my first failed FET; I've heard so many stories of women who suffered multiple miscarriages before their doctor ordered this test. While we don't know if this genetic mutation caused my failed FET (he didn't think so, but there is not enough research on the topic to know for sure), we do know that there is a possibility that if I had become pregnant not knowing about this mutation I could have lost the babies, even late into the pregnancy. I am so thankful we found this issue now so that when I become pregnant in the future, we can prevent any issues that would stem from it.
There are two forms of this mutation: heterozygous (one copy of the mutation: less severe) and homozygous (two copies: more severe). I have the less severe one. (Biology class was not my favorite in high school so apologies if I am explaining this poorly.)
I'll start taking a low dose of aspirin right away and when I do become pregnant I will have to take a prescription blood thinner called Lovonox. In the case of our next frozen embryo transfer, I'll actually start the Lovonox a few days before the transfer.
I feel like we finally have the full picture of our infertility woes, at least as much as modern medicine can reveal. There have been a few points along the way on this journey when I have been amazed by and grateful for the medical care I am able to access: this is one of those times. Outwardly my body gave me no signs of trouble. Even with charting my basal body temperature, I had no reason to believe anything was amiss. It was so frustrating to not understand why I wasn't getting pregnant! Three diagnoses later (diminished ovarian reserve, endometriosis, and Factor V Leiden) I can say there is a certain relief that comes just knowing what the problem is. Right now modern medicine can't cure any of my diagnoses, but I am thankful that we do have a way to treat them so that I have hope of carrying a child. I thank God for the continuing work of dedicated doctors and scientists who seek to find more answers and, someday, cures. It truly is amazing!
I know I'll get some questions from women wondering if they should be tested for FVL. Of course this is a question for your doctor but from what I understand if you have had multiple losses, are of European descent, or have a personal or family history of blood clots it would be worth looking into. At fist I thought I only fit into the "European descent" category but have since found out about a family history of clotting I didn't know about!
I'd love to hear from you if you have experience with Factor V Leiden or other clotting disorders. You can leave me a comment below or on facebook so others can gain from your story or if you prefer send me a private message on facebook. Thank you in advance!