Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Starting Clomid tomorrow!

Eeeekkkk it's finally happening. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I had my b/w and baseline u/s today. Everything looked good. My u/s tech said that my ovaries look beautiful and that they should produce lots of eggs. Yay! I start my Clomid tomorrow for 5 days (CD3-7), then on CD8 I start estrogen pills. I go back on May 6th (CD11) for my monitoring u/s to see how I respond. I will pick up my trigger shot then and get instructions for the rest. We should be doing IUI somewhere around Mother's Day. I am so excited!! I just hope I respond well. AAAAHHHH! :) :) :)

Edited: I just picked up my meds. I was too curious/excited to wait until tomorrow. My insurance covered better than I thought. I knew it wouldn't cover the Clomid, which was $25.99, it covered the Estradiol so I paid $7, but the shocker was the Prometrium, which I thought would be like $200, it covered so I only had to pay $25. So $57.99...That's not bad at all. I called my mom I was so excited. Haha!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Myth: All reproductive endocrinologists are the same.

Busted: From Every reproductive endocrinologist (RE) has his or her own style and it is important that you find one you are comfortable with. As you prepare to seek fertility assistance, take the time to think about what type of doctor relationship you want. You should also think about whether you prefer a male or female doctor. Many fertility centers host open houses so you can meet the doctors before scheduling a consultation.
Some REs also specialize in certain fertility treatments and procedures. Finding a doctor who is best able to meet your clinical needs is another important consideration. Most fertility clinic websites have bios for each doctor, including areas of particular expertise that you can check out.
Take the time to “do your homework” before choosing your doctor.  Forging a healthy relationship of trust and open communication with your fertility specialist is essential and will give you the best possible chance for success.
And one last note: after you have begun to see a fertility specialist, if you feel like he or she isn’t the right fit for you after all, change doctors! Ideally, it would be a specialist in the same practice so the transition will be smooth for you. You should not feel uncomfortable or worry that you will hurt other’s feelings. Your treatment team’s first concern is creating the best possible environment for you to have a baby.

Here's why this myth bothers me so much...I have seen two REs now. My second and current RE is amazing. When we had gone to see the inital RE, we were both excited to start with a specialist and took his words to be true. I knew in my gut that he was not our doctor, but just wanted something to work and so I denied it. He didn't see any concerns with my bloodwork (although my E2 levels were almost triple the normal range), mentioned I might have endometriosis (have never had any symptoms), and said it looked like I had PCOS (I have 28 day cycles in which I do ovulate, and no other symptoms). He sent me to do more bloodwork and scheduled the HSG. On the day of my HSG, after the procedure, I was told I didn't carry the rubella vaccine and that we needed to avoid pregnancy for 3 months after being vaccinated (turns out you only need to wait 4 weeks). This is when I realized he wasn't a right match for us. Why wait 3 weeks to tell me this? Why have me do an HSG if I couldn't try for 3 months after? This is when I had decided I wanted a second opinion. During that time I had asked that RE to return my call about my levels and it took him 5 weeks to return my call! 5 weeks is a lifetime when you are dealing with infertility.
We saw DR. G almost 2 months ago. He re-did all my bloodwork, ruled out PCOS, and told me he didn't see any reasons why I should think I have endometriosis. My E2 levels are the major concern. My body is producing too much estrogen, causing me to ovulate early. My first RE never spoke a word about this! Every time I see Dr. G I feel comfortable. He addressed every concern that I have always felt in my gut, without needing to be asked it.  He gave us a plan that we are comfortable with and I have no doubt that he will get us pregnant.
I will never forget the words my husband spoke as we left his office: "You were right, honey. This is the guy. We have found the right doctor."

AF has arrived!!

I started my period this morning. Never thought I would be announcing that so freely and making it a point of discussion! I am super excited. We are officially on our first IUI cycle. I left a message for my RE's nurse so I am just waiting for a call back. I can't wait. I feel like no matter what the outcome of this cycle is, we finally have a real shot, mainly due to the Clomid. I will keep you updated on the process!
Oh yeah, I also turned 31 yesterday. I had an amazing last 3 days, which really changed my view on turning another year older. Yes, I am not where I thought I would be at 31, but where I am is not that bad! I have a great life!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Myth: If you relax, you will get pregnant

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, April 24th-30th.

1 in 8 women and men are diagnosed with infertility. RESOLVE and the infertility community are busting myths and telling truths about the most popular public myths and misconceptions about the disease of infertility and the different ways people build their families.
I hope to bust a couple myths this week.

Myth #1

If you relax, you will get pregnant.

BUSTED: Mr. DF and I began trying to conceive our first child as soon as we got married, throwing out my birth control pills on our honeymoon. I like to think that I relaxed the first six months of trying. After 6 months, I started charting and really paying attention to when we should actively try. After my surgery, when we were allowed to try again (last August), I decided I was going to relax again and see what would happen. I tried to tell myself my body just wasn't ready to carry a child due to it needing the valve replacement. After a couple months of "relaxing", I became impatient again and sought help from an RE. We are now 8 months back at trying, with our second RE (a myth I will bust later this week). It hasn't happened.
Turns out the lack of relaxation isn't the reason for my infertility. My body produces too much estrogen, causing it to ovulate early, when my eggs have not matured enough to fertilize a healthy embryo. I will need fertility medication to get my body to do what it needs to do. No amount of relaxing will get my body to do this. 
From "The fact is, the vast majority of individuals who have infertility have a medical reason, not a stress-related one. Upwards of 90% of all infertility cases are caused by physical problems."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Here we go again

Started spotting today. UGH! Now the countdown to my period is officially on. I am just so ready to get this IUI show on the road!
Nothing further really needs to be said.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Acupuncture was bizarre!!

I'm really not sure how I feel about it. I was really strange. I feel like she put needles everywhere! She put one on my head, my forehead, on each hand, leg and feet. I think maybe a few on my right foot. She put about 6 on my stomach and they F'N hurt! She said it was because they were connected to my uterus. 
To warm them she used this burning incense, which was really weird, stinky, and smoky. I laid there for about 15 minutes, wishing it would end. 
She wants me to come twice a freakin week! She says we need to stop the spotting and get rid of the stagnant blood or IUI won't be successful. I made an appointment for next week, but honestly, I don't know if I plan on keeping it.
Right now I'm just weirded out. I think it's a little too hippy for my and I'm feel (no joke) that I smell like I smoked a freaking joint. It totally smells like weed, not that I'm an expert, but I've smelled it's very comparable.  And my left hand where the needle is, hurts. I couldn't even steer with it on the way home.
I just don't know what to think about it right now. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Last of my blood tests came back

My RE's nurse called me this morning. It was so nice to hear form her after all my worrying yesterday.
All my remaining blood tests have come back. My Thyroid is normal, both of our STDs came back negative, and I officially carry the rubella and chickenpox immunity!! Yay! We are good to go!
I asked her about what I can expect next cycle and what I need to do. She basically told me, I don't need to do anything. They will tell me what to do. Not used to that one! I go for my CD2 or 3 b/w and u/s and then she will call me with results that afternoon. Then she will call in my Clomid Rx to my pharmacy. We also schedule a monitoring visit for around CD10/11. That's where we will take a look at my follicles and decide what to do. If everything is good to go, they will then give me the trigger shot. Then I come back for the IUI. She said they will go over everything with me CD2/3.
I also asked about my acupuncture appointment tomorrow. I had totally forgotten to ask. She was really happy to hear that I was going and said I could go anytime during my cycle, just to let the acupuncturist know where I am at in my cycle.
She told me to call with ANY questions. I am not used to this kind of care! LOL I am in good hands and I need to remember that and try to "relax"!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I have been a nervous freak all morning!

I just can't escape all the thoughts about next cycle. I am so anxious about our IUI. I was really nervous about knowing what to do, when, and how next cycle. I realized after checking out Dr. G's website, that I don't need to worry about it so much. They will keep me informed about when I need to do everything and they will to the what and how. I guess I'm just not used to being in the hands of a competent doctor. I'm used to having to figure out everything alone and having doctor's give me wrong information.
So I thought I'd post what an actual IUI procedure entails for those who we're wondering like I was. I got it directly from Dr. G's website so this should be exactly what we start in a couple weeks!

Step 1. Fertility drugs are administered to stimulate the growth of two to three eggs to maturity. Typically, Clomid® pills or gonadotropin injections are employed to nurture the growth of follicles, which cause ovulation to take place.

Step 2. Monitoring of the drug treatments is conducted to measure the growth of follicles and to control the drug doses based on the patient. Because fertility drugs can produce multiple eggs, monitoring is also needed to reduce the risk of multiple births. Blood tests, performed at our clinic offices are used to measure estrogen concentrations, and ultrasound is used to measure follicular development. Generally, the goal of an IUI treatment is to produce three to five mature follicles.

Step 3. When monitoring shows the maturity of at least two or three follicles, the patient receives an injection of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), also known as Ovidrel®, which will induce ovulation.

Step 4. Here, the actual artificial insemination (IUI) procedure is performed.  On the morning of ovulation, a sperm sample is provided by the male partner, prepared for the IUI, and injected later the same day. With a very fine catheter, the washed and concentrated sperm sample is inserted through the cervix, high into the uterus of the woman. Comparable to a Pap test, the IUI procedure is fairly painless and uncomplicated.

Step 5. After the IUI procedure, pregnancy testing and early ultrasound monitoring are conducted at appropriate intervals.

Friday, April 8, 2011

SHG today and our plan

We had to wait FOREVER today, but here it is:
SHG went great. It was over so quick and I hardly felt any discomfort. According to Dr. G, my uterus is perfect! He even told Mr. DF that his wife has a beautiful uterus. LOL. So no reasons as to why I spot. He says I'm just a spotter. I asked what was next and his response was whatever you want to be next. Love him. So we went into his office and went over the plan.
He is concerned with my high estrogen levels. My body isn't quite working the way it should at my age. He's going to recheck my TSH & T4 thyroid levels, which we did to make sure they are ok. My CD3 ultrasound (u/s) showed some follicles, but not as many as he would like to see. Hormones should help with both of these issues. It will thin out my lining a little, which is too thick due to the estrogen.
If this last natural cycle is a bust, we will move onto IUI next month! We will start with CD3 blood work (b/w) and another u/s. Then I will take an ovulation hormone called Clomid to push those follies into creating beautiful eggs. Assuming I respond according to plan, when I see a + ovulation kit, I will need to give myself an Hcg trigger shot, which makes sure that my eggs are released. Then a day or two after we will do the IUI. I will also have an u/s that day to make sure the egg is releasing. If not, I go back a day later and do another IUI. I will take progesterone supplements after during THE WAIT :)
Assuming it doesn't work, we will try 3 cycles with this protocol, then move onto 3 cycles with added injectable hormones, and then IVF.
I hope I explained that all right. I'm overwhelmed with excitement right now. I am just so excited to move forward with a plan. It's is obviously not working the good ol' way so I'm ready to do this in full force! Wish us luck :) I completely forgot to ask him about acupuncture so I will call them on Monday and make sure it's ok.
I won't have to check my progesterone again this cycle so I don't have to worry about knowing my exact ovulation date. Dr. G is confident that I'm ovulating, and in reality the results wouldn't change the plan.
Now it's off to Vegas with the girls. I am going to try to "relax" the rest of this cycle and just see what happens. I will still check my fertility monitor and use ovulation predictor kits, but the thermometer is on vacation!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"I'll find strength in pain"

I keep singing that line of a Mumford and Sons song over and over today. I'm not in a particularly bad mood today, just anxious I guess. I'm wishing Friday would come quicker. I want to go do my SHG and speak with my doctor. I want to know what our plan will be for next month. I'm sad that I'm already thinking of next month when I am only on day 6 of this cycle.
I set up an appointment for acupuncture next week. I will speak with Dr. G and make sure he recommends it and that the day it falls on is an ok day to go, but I am looking forward to it.
One day all this sadness, all the tears, all the doctor's appointments, and all the money spent will be worth it and I will only cherish all of it as a memory of something that has given me strength. Today though I just sit and wonder when?
I know most of this is due to my upcoming birthday. You would have thought 30 last year would have been worse. I had already come to terms with not being pregnant by 30 a couple months prior when I found out about my surgery. I turned 30 thinking it would be my last birthday without a child, at least my last birthday without a pregnant belly. Now it seems I will be saying the same thing about 31.
One day it will happen, I hope. In the meantime "I'll find strength in pain".

Sunday, April 3, 2011

CD3 blood work and ultrasound done

Good news. Everything looks normal and good. Bad news, nothing exciting is going to happen this month. My ultrasound looked good; the technician said everything looked exactly like it should at this point. My blood work levels were: FSH 6.4, LH 7, and E2 (estrogen) was 94. Estrogen was way better than last time, but still on the higher side. Dr. G is not concerned though so I guess I shouldn't be either! They did also check my rubella/chickenpox immunity. They have to send that one out so I don't know the results yet. I just received the MMR vaccine as everyone knows so I should be fine. I'm still worried though...
Now I go for the SHG on Friday, where Dr. G will be the one to do it. Good, because I plan on bombarding him with questions! I want to know what we're going to do next cycle. I don't want to wait around anymore. They're also making me take another progesterone test after I ovulate. Lame. I just hope they do something exciting next cycle. This is getting old. I know this cycle will just be a waste. No miracles will happen for us. They haven't yet. I will turn 31 not pregnant.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hello Aunt Flo

My period is here. We are offcially on our 17th cycle of trying. I have an appointment for first thing Sunday morning for my CD3 bloodwork and my ultrasound. Then next Friday I go for my SHG. It sucks to have another period, but I knew it was coming a week ago when I started spotting. I am just glad that it's here so we can move on. Hopefully I will get some answers soon. And by soon, I mean next week!