IVF #2: Full Circle…

Does anyone else ever question how they ended up on this journey? It’s a complicated, layered and loaded question I have asked myself many times. I have spent countless moments wondering “what” has brought me down this path.

Because I live in the “unexplained” infertility world…I don’t have a clue as to what is at the root of our struggle. The funny thing this morning though, as I took my first spritz of Suprefact (nasal spray) to suppress my reproductive system to prepare for IVF#2…I wondered if I had come full circle to the root of the problem. nasal_spray_bottle

I have a few key suspicions of what brought this journey into my life, they are:

  • The steroid nasal spray I took for my allergies until my late 20s.
  • The allergy pills I popped during my teens.
  • The months on Accutane (acne medication) I took in my first year of university
  • My thyroid struggles the last three years since stopping birth control pills.
  • Genetics…as my mother struggled with secondary fertility.

I think I could drive myself mildly crazy writing down all the things it could be – drugs, food, genetics and environment. Despite all the suspicions there are three actions that I feel are more responsible than others.

1# – The Nasal Spray

Allergy pills worked okay, but one drug that worked the best in my life was a nasal spray that was a steroid. I maybe took it for 10 years…maybe even 15. I stopped when I was 27 and my roommate (a biology grad) questioned whether I had ever considered the consequences of using this drug. I had/have very little sense of smell and she questioned if I had paralyzed that sense with every snort of the drug – so what if I zapped my reproductive abilities too? The doctor prescribed this drug, and my personality then was that if I had allergy symptoms I would do anything to make myself feel normal. I have learned now that I can survive without allergy medication. It sucks, but it’s manageable.

#2 – Accutane

Having a bad case of acne at 20 is deflating to a young ego. When the doctor put me on Accutane it also meant being put on birth control because you can’t risk getting pregnant when taking this drug because it is so strong that it causes birth defects. So, today I ask…what did it do to my eggs?

Now, I can’t beat myself up over this decision because I know if I was 20 again and knew that infertility could be my fate…I likely would still stay yes to Accutane as looking good in those key years, when you feel invincible, outweighs any possible future struggle/side effects.

#3 – My Thyroid

So, the Accutane led me to the birth control pills, which I took for 14 years with a few small breaks in-between serious relationships (I have since read that breaks are bad). I hated taking a pill every day, so when I got married and threw them away forever…life was good. Little did I know that shortly after that act of freedom my thyroid would peter out. I didn’t discover this truth until a year of trying…but looking back…I feel like the symptoms emerged shortly after the regulated cycles stopped.

A year into trying a blood test sealed my fate of hypothyroidism and being on medication for the rest of my life. No pun intended…but that news was a tough pill to swallow. Here I thought I was done with a daily pill and was healthy to start a family, but nope…not the case. For the next two years my numbers slightly improved every six to eight weeks…so I was hopeful when I did my first IVF in February; my thyroid number was good enough for the clinic…but still not ideal. By the time I got my negative result, I also got the extra blow of learning that my thyroid was out of control again…which makes you wonder if IVF#1 was all for not. *sigh*

No matter what the root cause of this journey is. I can’t change things and I need to be grateful for the teachings and people I have in my life today due to this experience. I whole heartedly believe my life is richer for this journey. Don’t get me wrong, it F*#&ing sucks…but I am grateful for what I know about myself that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

I know I can’t change the past, nor would I if given a second chance, the silver lining in this is I accept the decisions I made in my life and I am starting round two with a thyroid number I am proud of and I hope that helps make all the difference in the world.

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17 thoughts on “IVF #2: Full Circle…

  1. HI UO. I think it’s interesting that you focus on what you could have done to affect your fertility, but have you focussed on the fact that it might not be you?

    As women I think we often take fertility personally, but please remember that it takes two – and please don’t assume any “blame”, if that’s the right word (it’s not!) is yours.

    Not that it matters, because it’s both of you who are going through this, it’s both of you who are struggling, therefore you need to try not to think too hard about what “you’ve” done in the past.

    I have my fingers crossed for you for no2. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Of course definitely could be him too. He checks out okay…but you just never know the root cause with “unexplained”. I know not to blame myself, can’t help it when my mind wanders too. Thanks for the well wishes!

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  2. This was interesting. I also have wondered if it was something I did. I’ve even wondered if I got some kind of STD that caused infertility, or something like that. I think it’s natural for us to wonder, but then I think I didn’t do anything particularly out of the ordinary. I also took meds for acne – mainly the pill that was later phased out, and a brief spell of antidepressants of a type that was later banned for causing suicidal thoughts (!). Also I was seriously ill as a baby so who knows what that caused? I think the point is we can’t know and we also can’t take it back. I don’t think we did anything knowingly to cause infertility. And it could just be accidental. It could be environmental. There are all sorts of chemicals around nowadays (eg in plastics… I drink a lot of bottled water – who knows what that might do, or in tap water, or just in the air we breathe or the food we eat). If I worried too much about them I would drive myself crazy. And plenty of my friends got pregnant without worrying about those things. I think it is hard to pinpoint the “blame”… Some people just have difficulty getting pregnant. I’m wishing you all the luck for your next cycle!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally! I have had much the same thoughts and agree (I know again!!) that it is impossible to figure the blame. Bottled water, processed food, toxins from transit, my shampoo!! The list is endless and like you said many get pregnant with all that stuff…so beat not to stress about it. I appreciate your well wishes!

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  3. Hi! Long time to type 🙂 I was surprised (and interested) to read these ideas of what might have contributed to your infertility. I have to say that every close friend I have (none of whom had any difficulty conceiving) was on birth control/took breaks for up to ten years longer than me, for real, and I’m sure half the women I know took Accutane or allergy medicine over many years too. (Again I know of many.) It has appeared to affect nary a one of them. My proof is that they have multiple children and I’m talking about women I’m very close to, so I know when they started trying ie. not getting drunk at the bar with me anymore, and soon they all had happy announcements. I think infertility for the most part is just a random and shitty card to be dealt.
    As a fellow unexplained-er I’ve been told by two clinics the most common culprit is usually egg/embryo quality. Diminished ovarian reserve is the most common reason for unexplained and in addition to that makes the stats for age not necessarily apply to people like me. It’s the search for a better cycle and golden eggs. But with infertility we never really know for sure do we? We just press forward as best we can and with what we’re comfortable with.
    And, at shameful risk of my comment becoming the length of a blog (sorry!!!!) I wanted to share a conversation I had a couple weeks ago with my doctor. I was talking about going back to work too soon after a transfer and some things I may have done to derail implantation. He talked to me about the self-blame or internalization basically all infertile women take on. He gets it after everything we invest and knowing how it affects our lives, but really impressed to me not to take on feelings of responsibility for my infertility or a failed cycle. He reminded me that the average heavy smoker, drinker, person living in a bio-hazard area, and so on, still conceives. It’s just they’re not the 1 in 8. I didn’t sabotage myself by walking up lots of stairs and I seriously doubt you did based on the common medications you took. We are the 1 in 8 and it just wasn’t our cycle. And yet we wrack our brains trying to think of what we could have done differently in our own life while likely we all have made pretty great decisions, and struggling with unexplained infertility was our shitty luck of the draw.
    Sorry to ramble!! Fingers and toes crossed for this next cycle! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • So good to hear from you! Your words ring true. We all look for blame, in every little step or lead up to this experience. DOR has been mentioned to me too as a potential… Which I guess if we sum it up… We just got dealt a shitty deck of cards. 1in 8. Thank you for your thoughts and kind words!

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  4. This is really interesting, because I also did Accutane, and had hyperthyroid issues. In our case, doctors have pointed to Chris as the source of our infertility, but I guess we always wonder if there’s anything that we could’ve done differently that would’ve helped. Either way, I hope the second round does wonders for us both. Sending you big hugs and warm thoughts! xx

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  5. So, I took accutane as a teenager. I also have thyroid issues. Oh, and the steroid nasal spray, count me in on that one too. But, no birth control pills (due to my migraine issues I cannot go on anything estrogen based). So, I do wonder. We know an unhealthy thyroid is linked to miscarriage, but they say once it’s leveled out with drugs then it’s not a cause. As for the nasal spray, I hadn’t thought of that before. And accutane, heck, my Dad’s very first comment when we told him about everything was about the accutane.
    But again, like you, dwelling on this will not change the fact that my body cannot successfully carry a child. It’s unfortunate, but also irreversible now. But, what I can tell you is that this will make my experience as a parent a lot different – I will be much more aware of the potential long term consequences of any medication we put our child on.
    Wishing you the best on your upcoming cycle!

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  6. Congrats on the thyroid number for this upcoming cycle. That’s great! I have done something similar like this-made a list of why I could possibly keep miscarrying (other than genetics). And like you, even though we will never know for sure “why”, I believe you are correct when you say our lives are richer because of this. I have learned so much. Hugs XX

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