Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It has been a while...

I know, I know. It has been a while since I've posted. The reason is because I have become a little bogged down with self pity and I don't want to share that with all of you. As you have all figured out by now, last month on the injections and IUI did not work. It actually had the opposite effect, if that is even possible, because I ended up with 2 large cysts in my left ovary which means that no injections or IUI for this cycle. So we are skipping this cycle and then next cycle it will be back to the injections and IUI for a second time. After that it will probably be one or two more cycles and if we are still unsuccessful we will be moving on to IVF.

I have a feeling that IVF is going to be in our future, as the statistics just aren't in our favor. After the 4th round of IUI the possibilities of conception are pretty slim and for a woman who is under 35 with no major ovulation problems and unexplained infertility, IUI statistically doesn't work very well at all. So here I am, a woman for whom IUI statistically shouldn't work very well and I'll be on my 5th round of IUI next cycle...I'd say my chances are pretty slim. But I'm okay with that and I'm letting IVF become a very real possibility in my mind.

So, as I take this month off from the blood work and ultrasounds and injections and IUI, I am also going to take this month off from the blogging world. I'm going to enjoy this time in my life right now, and I'm not going to think about what is past or what might be in the future. I'm just going to recharge my batteries and come back stronger than ever and I would suggest that you all do the same! The holiday season is upon us and everyone in our infertility boat should mentally take this time off! Focus on what makes you happy, even if it is just until the holidays are over and we'll all come back rested and ready to conquer infertility once and for all!


Friday, November 5, 2010

A change in the game...

Ok everybody! We have moved on to injections instead of the clomid! We are going to start using the follistim pen this evening, it seems pretty easy to use and I think that lots of people use this system when moving on to injections. Our goal on the injections is the same as our goal on the clomid, we want to get 2-3 mature follicles and then we'll do the trigger shot and then IUI. Why move to the injections when I was (sometimes) getting those results with the clomid? Well, because I'm not pregnant! :) For starters the clomid didn't always work as we wanted it to and the injections are much more potent so I should for sure get 2-3 follicles each cycle, and also because as the lovely KB explained to me, with the injections the doctor has much more control over the actual ovulation.

The clomid tells your body to produce more FSH, with the injection we are cutting out the middle man and just injecting in straight FSH. Instead of butchering what KB told me, I'm just going to cut and paste so you can all read her exact words when explaining why we use the injections.

"So, here is how the injections were described to me and how they are different. My dr. said he thought the problem was in my brain. Basically there is a "path" our bodies follow. Menstruation, Ovulation, then back again. But with lots of ups and downs of hormones in between. Usually most women's cycles follow this on a similar path each month. He said your pituitary gland and hypothalamus work together to make this work. Some women, like myself, have a problem with the hypothalamus that causes this path to get off track, hormones to be different and basically for the cycle not to work the way it should. My path gets lost! So my brain loses signals which causes hormones not to rise like they should which causes me not to ovulate or to have late ovulation or a weak one. Well clomid worked to try and get that signal working with fsh. And I did ovulate but not strong. Well, with using injections, your Dr. is your brain! He told me my brain could stay out on vacation because they were now going to give me the hormones, control their levels and basically function as my brain. Clomid was a pill you took and then you had to sit back and have ultrasounds to see what happened. With these, he can monitor your ovaries, your hormones and your cycle. He can control how many eggs are produced and what your ovaries and hormones are doing by adjusting levels of the injections. So nothing is up to your body anymore, its up to the Dr.! So everything is off of your back!"

Thank you KB! Now, obviously every woman is different, and even KB and I are different. So, my dose starting out will be 75 on the follistim pen but for KB I'm sure it was different because we have slightly different ovulation issues. The basic idea of controlling the cycle and controlling the ovulation is the same for every woman, but the dosages will be different. And that 75 is just our starting out number, which may need to be adjusted as we continue on which is why your blood work and ultrasounds become more frequent on the injections. Also, because they need to monitor you for safety reasons, so you don't over stimulate your ovaries, it is rare but it happens.

So that is where we stand, we are moving on and we are bringing out the big guns! It is time to make this baby!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Negative, negative...

I haven't gotten my period yet, so I went ahead and had my blood test yesterday. Shockingly, the results came back very quickly but not shockingly the result was negative. The nurse said that my levels were still high though and I'll get my period in a couple of days. I am pretty disappointed. I was really feeling like this could be our month, well I guess that I feel that way every month. My doctors are confident, and I'm still optimistic if not exactly confident. It is hard to be confident when I have gone this long without getting pregnant.

If I was pregnant this cycle, then the timing would have been perfect. I am going to be a bridesmaid in the second weekend of August. Had I gotten pregnant this cycle, I would have given birth around the second weekend of July. If I get pregnant this upcoming cycle then my due date will be right around the second weekend in August, the wedding weekend! I totally felt like, if the timing was going to be this perfect then I would finally get pregnant. Like it would have been a nice little reward for this struggle, as it stands I have a feeling that if I ever get do pregnant it will be in the worst possible cycle and I'll be due on the exact day of my best friend's wedding. But beggars can't be choosers!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Almost made it...

Well, I made it to Thursday. I was trying not to think about whether or not I am pregnant until I get my period, and I was doing very good, until today! I also wanted to leave up KB's story for a while so as many people as possible could read it. But I made it until about 5 am this morning, when I woke up and could not fall back asleep because my mind was spinning with "Am I pregnants." The best way to get past this wait? Tell you all about how crazy I feel!

I do not have any early pregnancy symptoms, other than my usual PMS symptoms. I am super bloated, a little crampy, very klutzy, very moody, BUT I haven't gotten any headaches yet. I have just been feeling really rattled and scattered lately, not entirely unusual but my moods seem a little extreme this month. I am feeling really hopeful and optimistic, but trying not to get my hopes up too much because we all know the depression that follows that let down and I do not want to revisit that. On Monday, I can go in for my pregnancy test which I will do if I haven't gotten my period. I think last month I started spotting on the day before I was due for the pregnancy test so if that happens again I'm going to skip it and just do the urine test because I'll know I'm not pregnant and there is no use drawing blood that doesn't need to be drawn. So now, I just have to make it to Monday! I'm feeling good about this month!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

KB's amazing journey...

Okay , no depressing info about me not being pregnant today, I have a special treat for everyone! A little while ago, my online support system, Miss KB told me the wonderful news that she had finally gotten pregnant. I was so happy and excited for her and her husband, I was a tad jealous of course but I was a little surprised at how thrilled I was for them, even my husband got excited at the news! I was just plain old delighted that KB had finally gotten that little miracle she (and her husband) much deserves. Even though we have never met I feel a strong bond with KB that I know is totally unique. Only friends who are both dealing with infertility would have the relationship that we have. Her amazing news absolutely made me feel like if she can do it, I can do it, and I know that you will all feel the same. So here is KB’s story, with a nice happy ending that she earned every little bit of!

Through email, I spoke with Kay Bee and she had asked me to write our story of infertility, but with a happy ending. And I will go ahead and apologize for length; I never can get stories out in a timely manner. I am sure you are probably thinking (because I know I did), “ugh, why would I want to hear about another pregnant person”, because trust me, I have been there and it is depressing, frustrating and it often gave me a feeling as if I was getting farther away from ever having a baby. However, there were a few special occasions in which I was given a sense of hope when hearing someone was pregnant and actually felt pure joy for that person (not that I was not happy for others, it was just hard). But for some reason, whether it is through blogs or people I know going through infertility, whenever I heard their treatments had succeeded, that they defeated the odds, it gave me nothing but pure hope that it would work for us too and joy that their pain had ended. After all, those of us that are going or have gone through infertility know that the baby we all will have eventually was hard earned! It was not an easy road, but now looking back at our journey I would not trade a month, tear, or treatment (except for the cost!). I know that probably also sounds crazy. In fact I remember someone telling me they felt this way after they were pregnant and I laughed and could not believe it. But trust me again, those pure raw emotions you may be feeling on a daily basis (you know the anger, sadness, frustration, depression, and just feeling crazy feelings) are still very raw to me and close to me. In fact, sometimes I forget that I don’t have to feel those anymore and somehow they sneak back up until I remind myself it is okay now and remembering what we went through is a good thing. But now that I am pregnant (which I promise I will get to in a second) I feel as if it is something we worked hard for, went through hell for and deserve. I feel as if we are even more appreciative and more excited than I ever would have been if we had gotten it “easy”. And for some odd reason, all that we went through just seems to all be okay. So, I guess what I am trying to say is I still get how you feel and I know your pain and I know you probably don’t believe me or like to hear this, but it will be okay and once it is, your road will be a part of your character. After all our worst experiences create our best character.

I went off BC in Dec. of 2008 thinking that my husband and I would just “not be careful” and we would get pregnant. After all, at the time I was only 25 and in good health and never gave thought to what laid ahead of us. We figured it would take a while, and we were okay with that but we figured we would just leave it up to God. Well, within 3 months I gained 20 lbs, got acne like I was in puberty again and my period never came. I did not think anything of it, just a side effect of stopping the pill after 9 years. Something deep down told me to go to the doctor but I am fairly stubborn so I ignored that gut kick reaction. Time went by fast and I was busy with work and we were building a house (and I was busting my butt to get the lbs off!) and so I just ignored the fact I had gotten 2 periods within almost a year. I started natural herbal treatments on my own, did the OPK sticks and the oh so pleasant charting. My g-o-o-g-l-e keys on my computer quickly became worn down. So in Oct. of 2009 I went back to my OB and I was diagnosed with PCOS. I was very confused because I did not have many of the symptoms; I guess I was considered “skinny PCOS” whatever that means! After a strict diet, meds, and working out a lot I thought my period would return. I also stopped opk’s and charting..it was a bad way to start each day. But my period did not come back until I used a combination of metformin and clomid. Oh my good friend Clomid. We ended up sharing 7 months together…7 months of hot flashes, crazy visions, and terrible mood swings! Out of those 7 months, I ovulated 4 times and used the HCG shot all those times and had the ultrasounds and blood work each month. We also did IUI one of the last months on Clomid. My 5th month of using Clomid my husband and I switched to an RE..aka my savior! He quickly said he did not think I had PCOS (which instantly I was relieved but also angry that I had gotten so depressed over a false diagnosis) and he thought I had a problem with my hypothalamus..so my brain was not working correctly which caused my cycle to be off and me not to ovulate. He gave us 2 more months on Clomid, which the last I did not ovulate at all. I was devastated this cycle but it was nice to sort of “take the month off”. I felt semi normal. After this cycle, we had decided, with our RE’s advice, it would be smart to move on to injectables. Now, part of me was excited to try something new, but part of me was hopeless and figured it would never work. I was also scared because he said if his diagnosis was correct, I would be pregnant within 3 months. And if I was not pregnant, something else is wrong that he is missing it and I would need surgery most likely to find out what they were missing. At this point we were thousands of dollars into this and emotionally drained so we figured if it did not work we would take time off. When doing gondotropins (injectibles) it is an intense process. Blood work and ultrasounds every 4-5 days, a shot every day, and 2 HCG shots (trigger and booster). This month was my ultimate low of low. I cried every day and was just negative about it working. It was taking a serious toll on me. It probably also did not help that within 3 months I had about 7 friends get pregnant and about all of them tried no more than 2 months! I felt very isolated and depressed. Thank God for my husband. I can’t even put words to what he was to me during this. He was more than a support system, even though he too was in pain. One thing that this entire journey did was bring us closer. He understood my pain, dealt with my moods, and held my hand through it all. Everyone needs someone and I hope you too have that someone whether it is your husband, best friend, mom, or anyone. I can’t thank him enough.

Well, back to our “journey”. After my progesterone blood work the first month of injections (I used Follistim), my progesterone was a 9. I was so upset because most months on Clomid, except the last month, it was 21 or higher. My ultrasound also showed that I had 3 eggs and we carefully timed IUI and the trigger shot. So needless to say I was confused and felt more hopeless than ever. Well, a long 2 weeks after that I was able to take a HPT, which I was dreading because I just knew it would be negative and I would cry and go through the roller coaster all over again. But somehow, it was positive! And at that second, all the tears I ever shed all became okay. I am now currently almost 9 weeks. I am taking provera, a progesterone suppository, to keep from miscarrying. It is a very nerve racking 9 weeks, but we are close to the clear. I have had 2 ultrasounds and recently was turned over to my regular OB (which my husband I were both kind of sad about). I think I cry every day in disbelief and get extra emotional whenever we get to hear the heartbeat.

I have been where you are right now. Please hang in there and please never give up! It just takes finding the right Doctor and right treatment. Injections were our miracle drug. If you are frustrated on Clomid, I suggest anyone ask their dr. about it! If you are interested in any dosages I did or anything like that email Kay Bee and she can give you my email. You all are in my prayers every night. And I find prayer does work. God Bless You All!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Start the countdown...

So, at my day 3 blood work and ultrasound appointment earlier this week one of my doctors actually popped in for a little chat which at first got me nervous because that is unusual, but it ended up being good news! He said that he doesn't see any reason why I can't get pregnant and stay pregnant and that he thinks I should be pregnant in 4 cycles max! I was so surprised that he would make such a definitive statement like that because there is always the chance that even though there is truly nothing wrong with either me or my husband, we still won't conceive. My doctor then continued on to say that he doesn't feel that we would even get to this point but if I'm not pregnant in 4 cycles then we would move on to a very low dose of the injectable hormones and continue with the IUI. He also said that he was confident that I wouldn't require any surgeries or anything, aka IVF.

Thanks to my doctors vote of confidence I have feeling pretty amazing lately! I feel like we have a time line and and that in 4 months, I WILL BE PREGNANT! Start the countdown to motherhood because HERE I COME!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Start up another cycle...

I got my period on Saturday morning...kind of a bummer but I'm doing fine with it. Now we just start another cycle and hopefully this month I'll get a couple extra follicles to give us a better shot. I am finding that the urine pregnancy tests have been pretty reliable for me, well they are always negative but they are always correct! I always feel some light cramping a day or two before I get my period and couple that with a negative test result, I can feel pretty confident that I am not pregnant. So I am thinking of bagging the pregnancy blood test at the end of the month. I am just feeling like a pin cushion.

I will of course have to check with the nurses to see if there is any reason why I need to have that last blood test at the end of the month, I'm not sure if it is solely to find out if I'm pregnant or if there are other hormone levels they are still monitoring or something. Apparently my veins have a tendency to "roll," which means that frequently the nurse will stick me and then have to keep jabbing around in my arm to get the needle into my vein, it is terrible and it leaves a huge bruise. Not good. It most often happens with my left arm so I've stopped offering my left arm up to slaughter and I've just been having my blood taken from my right arm. But now my right arm is taking on all the abuse. Long story short it would be lovely to have one less blood test every month!

Oh and PS: I had another really easy (well easy to compared to what I used to have) period this month again! Some cramping yesterday and the day before that taking a regular does of ibuprofen took care of. I'm finally having a normal period and I am SO thankful for that!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Test's taken...

Well the blood test has been taken and we're awaiting the result...although I'm pretty sure it will be negative since the stick I peed on this morning was negative. I'm disappointed of course but I think I'll get myself a nice pedicure today and maybe a new pair of jeans and not the kind I usually get that come from JC Penny's or Old Navy, but a fancy pair from the Gap or Express. So now I'm looking forward to my treat instead of dwelling on the negative test, works every time!

Next week the nurse is going to call me and say, "I'm sorry, but you are not pregnant. Would you like to start another cycle?" And I'm going to say, "Yes!" And I'm going to keep saying yes until I get that call that says, "Congratulations, you are pregnant! You don't have to do another cycle!" I am getting that phone call, I just have to be patient.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The land of implantation...

Ok, so this has officially been the SLOWEST week ever! Not only has it simply taken forever just to get to Wednesday, last week my dog took one little bite on the power cord to my computer when I wasn't watching her for two seconds and of course it was ruined so I wasn't even been able to get online until my new cord came in the mail today! So, finally I'm back in business!

Now, since I have been trying to occupy my brain so that I don't think too much about how slowly the time is passing, I realized that the busier my hands are the less my brain thinks about it. The problem is that I have to go to sleep sometime and that is when I my mind gets the better of me. All day long I can get myself nice and busy and then lose my mind in whatever menial task that I'm doing, but as soon as I lay my head on my pillow I immediately start fantasizing about what fun way I'm going to tell my husband I'm pregnant or going on a shopping spree at babies r us. I'll know for sure about this time next week if this month was a bust or not. The lab my blood work gets sent out to doesn't have the best turn around so even though my test is Friday I probably won't know until around Tuesday.

This month I know that I released an egg, and I know that we got at least some sperm up there on time so I feel like we had a good shot this month but I'm worried that the egg didn't fertilize or maybe even more likely didn't implant. I don't feel pregnant and I don't feel not pregnant. I actually don't feel anything going on but I have no idea when I'm going to get my period. It was pretty late last month so if this month is like last month than technically I am right on schedule. I'm just hoping that I get my period soon, I'd really like to already know the answer when the nurse calls to tell me the result. As usual, probably wishful thinking.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lack of feelings...

I feel like I have nothing interesting going on to tell you all about lately! Everything is now on such regimented schedule and it is going to be the same each month, which is great for my sanity but it doesn't make for much blog material! You all know I had the IUI done last Friday, and I go in for a blood test this Friday to double check that all my hormone levels are where they should be and then I go in for the pregnancy blood test the Friday after that. I'm going to stay on the clomid, even though I didn't have that great of results on it this month and I am pretty sure that I'm having some small side effects from it. It is weird, I assumed that if I were going to have side effects I would get them while I was actually taking the clomid but I guess since it just changes my hormones I seem to get side effects after I ovulate. This month and last month I have been getting hot flashes, teeny tiny little pimples all over my forehead, and I just feel really sleepy. Of course the tiredness is probably more related to the fact that I can't sleep through the night anymore because I'm hot - cold - hot - cold all night long! But I don't seem to get super moody anymore and my period was practically pain free last month so I'm thinking that the good cancels out the bad in my case. So all in all, it is just same old same old around here.

Well, there has been one change in me that is pretty significant...I've turned into an emotional robot when it comes to the infertility struggle. It is kind of sad but I think it is a necessary evil to get me through this time in my life. It is not that I don't care anymore about getting pregnant, I'm just kind of on auto pilot. I just put my head down and I'm plowing through the muck and I'm not looking up until I'm pregnant. I've stopped thinking about everything all the time and I am able to function on a normal level in my social and home life instead of being completely derailed all the time. The only thing is that I'm detached and cold about this, which is not my personality, and I didn't make a conscious decision to be this way either. I just kind of woke up one morning with a new outlook and a lack of emotions. It is getting me through though, so I'm not complaining...yet.