Well! What a day it has been – full of ups and downs emotionally. I was hoping it would be a big day in TTC news, because I was scheduled to meet with my Ob-gyn for a physical and while in there I planned on begging for a plan of action. Here’s how it all went down.
First of all – without being graphic, it’s a miracle, AF has finally arrived. Today was CD 82, literally double my previous cycle, and I am so glad to say tonight that it’s also officially considered CD 1. Thank goodness. I needed that cycle to be over so I could look ahead to the next one with some form of optimism. Thank you, Provera.
So talk about timing – I’m sitting in the waiting room of my Ob-gyn when I check my phone and realize I have a voicemail. It’s my endocrinologist. Now, when I saw her a few weeks ago, she gave me a blood test to check on my hormonal levels and adrenal glands and all that fun stuff. I was so happy she gave me those tests, bypassing my Ob and just getting it tested now. That way it would be one less step. However, I was told those tests could take 2 weeks to come in, which was a bummer, since I was hoping to go to this appointment armed with new information, in order to make a good plan. So I was thrilled to realize she left me a voicemail detailing my results! In a hurry, I jotted everything down on paper that she was saying on the voicemail right before being called in to my appointment. Timing could not have been any better! Here were the results of that test:
-My iron levels were a bit low (normal is 8-250, mine is 21). She recommended a supplement.
-Cortisol, other adrenal glands, estrogen, B12, pituitary gland, prolactin – all normal. I have no idea what some of those things are but if they’re normal I’m happy.
-Problem #1 (Unrelated to fertility): I tested positive for ANA’s. ANA’S are autoimmune antibodies fighting off autoimmune diseases. I already knew I had high thyroid antibodies, but now for the second time, I’ve had a blood test confirming there are other antibodies in there. This means that it is a possibility in the future I will test positive for a specific condition, likely rheumatoid arthritis (it does run in the family). Lupus is another autoimmune disease but I have no symptoms and I’m just sure that’s not it. Either way, I need to make an appointment with a rheumatologist. I did see someone after that first positive blood test, but the guy was kind of a jerk and treated me like an experiment. Plus, I had no symptoms. Adios! But now I’ll be calling someone, again.
-Problem #2: My testosterone levels were high. Well, that explains why all of a sudden I’ve had dark, visible hair above my lip (okay, a mustache) that has required actual shaving. Nothing more romantic than a fe-mustache. It probably also explains my increase in acne the last few months. Again, delightful. Well, on the voicemail my endo suggested I ask my Ob about Metformin, a drug that lowers testosterone levels and can help regulate your cycles.
I was pleased to get all this info, especially over the phone, and especially literally 5 minutes before my appointment. I quickly looked up Metformin on my phone, and found that it is not a fertility drug. Rather, it deals with regulating insulin levels, which in turn lowers testosterone and helps regulate the fertility cycle. Hmm…regulating insulin, testosterone having something to do with blood sugar…does this sound like diabetes?
So then I went into my appointment, on a high from that voicemail. I just couldn’t believe the timing. Well, my highs quickly turned to lows. During that fun time that is the physical and pap smear from the gyno, we talked about forming a plan. To make a long story….shorter, my gyno doesn’t want to just throw a drug at me, like Metformin, or Clomid, which I mentioned to her(it stimulates ovulation and helps out the egg). Now that my thyroid is cleared as a cause to this problem, she stated that it seems I have other things at work here in my body. While she could just make me a prescription, it wouldn’t be getting to the heart of the problem. And it might not work. Plus, those are serious drugs. While I totally get that, and appreciate it on some level, I was hoping for a specific plan of action. So I said this to her. I said I really don’t want to wait around another 82 days to see if this happens again – so what does she recommend? She recommeded that I:
-Go get yet another blood test. This time, it’s a fasting test (Ooh, variety!) for insulin levels and blood sugar. Another reminder that I knew sugar has been a problem with all this! This, along with my testosterone levels being checked again, will confirm that I do have a problem with this and that Metformin may be a good idea.
-Get myself another new doctor. This time, a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). Well. She said it’s clear that my fertility problems have moved on to the next level, and I would best be taken care of from a doctor who deals only with fertility problems. I took down a few names and numbers of those she recommends. I left with mixed emotions. Here’s the thing: First, those doctors are pretty popular. I really did not want to wait months to get an appointment, while my next cycle just passes me by. Second, I had to think about the implications of seeing an RE. That’s a big deal! People who get injections, and IVF treatments, and artificial insemination go to RE’s. RE’s give treatments that cost tens of thousands of dollars. An RE is the highest doctor to go see when having fertility issues. This is it. This is a big deal. This guy will do one of two things for me: 1) help me get pregnant, or 2) tell me getting pregnant isn’t going to happen. There will be no other doctors greater than this one!
So I left on a low. I was hoping for a plan with my gyno, something simple and effective. I wasn’t ready to be referred to the big guys. It allows me to internalize a major statement – I will be seeing a specialist for my fertility issues. I have real problems with fertility! It’s not like I didn’t know that before, but I hadn’t internalized it on this level. I kind of just thought maybe it would straighten itself out on its own in a reasonable amount of time. It still may, but I’ll have a doctor who looks at this stuff for a living watching my tests. I am happy about that.
Being slightly Type-A, I got in my car, sat in the parking lot, and immediately called the recommended RE. I’ll be damned if I’m going to wait 6 months to get an appointment with these people. I talked to the financial advisor to the doctor I’m going to see. She was very nice, helpful and best of all – got me an appointment on FRIDAY! Three days from now!! I couldn’t believe it. I’m at the beginning of my new cycle, I’m meeting with the RE in three days. Now we’re talking. The RE wants all of my records, obviously, so after hanging up in the parking lot, I went back to my Ob and asked that they fax my records asap to the RE. Tomorrow I have to call my other doctors and have that all sent over too. So then I was back to a high.
Here are a couple of other tidbits:
-If I don’t still have AF on Friday, it is likely my RE will give me an ultrasound to determine if I have eggs that are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Let’s pray AF is over so I don’t have to go back a week later.
-My DH (darling husband, again, I don’t make these up) will most likely have to be tested himself at this point. I told the financial advisor I didn’t want to put him through the ringer when the problems are so clearly mine. She said that even if the problems are mine, what if he has problems of his own? We would want to know all of the problems at once so we could determine the appropriate course of action. I feel bad to have to drag him into it, and plus, what he will have to do isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of fun. Luckily, he was great about it, saying that this process involves him anyway, so why shouldn’t he be tested? He laughs about what he will have to do, and I’m sure he’d get through it. So I’m very lucky to have him.
-The financial advisor told me I need to call my insurance and find out the specifics of fertility coverage. How long had we been trying? Well, I told her 7 months. True, it’s been 7 months since I went off BCP, but we haven’t been really trying that long. Oh well. And I’m glad I said even that, because she said, sometimes insurances won’t cover anything until it’s been a year. But what about my medical issues? I mean, that’s why I’m doing this in the first place! My temps are low, I’m not ovulating, my cycle was 82 days long, I have autoimmune issues…come on! She said it all depends. So I’ll be giving them a call and begging, it sounds like. I’m certainly not waiting until that year mark. I’m going – Friday.
You know, I’ve said this before, and I’m saying it again, but it’s funny. Never in a million years did I start this blog knowing that TTC was going to be a difficult journey. I originally created it to just talk about all things pregnancy, assuming in a few months I’d be pregnant. I even figured I’d be far well along by the holidays! Ha. But I’m so glad that the blog was here, because it has really been an outlet for me to vent and some up my thoughts. It all comes together here on the blog. And I share my blog with people I trust, and complete strangers on thebump.com. It’s a great feeling, and I really appreciate that you take the time to read about my journey to baby. Thanks 🙂