Secrets no more!

Well, I’ve finally done it. I’ve told the rest of the members of my family (and my in-laws) that I’m struggling with conceiving a child and therefore am getting medical assistance. There. I said it.

Most of my close family already knew – but there were a couple people I was holding out on. I was hoping my husband could jump in and help, because I have seemed to be tongue-tied for the last seven months, but he was definitely less assertive than I was. So that wasn’t going to work.

Finally, the other night, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I hate this idea of carrying a personal secret that someone close to me, whom I trust, would want to know, and would be supportive about. Why keep it in? I didn’t give specifics, just that medication would be involved and I’d be starting in a few weeks.

Ever since then – I feel so much better. I have nothing to hide! Seriously! It’s out (not on Facebook….but out), and I just feel such relief. On Christmas, if the question comes up, I’m ready to deal with it. I’ve got my speech prepared.

Telling people about this was seriously the best thing I ever did, because I feel better.

Now, on to Clomid!! Three more Provera pills and I’ll hopefully get AF two days after that, like I did last time. That would put me right at Christmas – with the office closed. Oh well. As long as I’m calling on Monday and starting Clomid shortly after that, I’ll be happy. I’ll keep you updated!

And this is why I love blogging…

Even though I’ve just started Provera, and therefore am anticipating my period so I can finally start Clomid, the following poem sums up my thoughts right about now.

I’ve borrowed this from the original blog of 999 Reasons to Laugh at Infertility’s Facebook Page but I found it on the awesome blog of The Pursuit of Pregnancy. Feel free to share – I know many of you that would get a kick out of this!

‘Twas the night before your period and all through the house,

not a creature was stirring, not even your spouse.

The tampons were waiting in the bathroom with care,

in hopes that Aunt Flow would soon NOT be there.

Your future children were nestled, like dreams in your head,

while visions of cramps start to come before bed.

You’re sure you are pregnant, your breasts are so ripe,

you examine that toilet paper each time you wipe.

But you just might be pregnant, you have all the signs,

so why does this test never show those two lines?

And you cry on the floor until you are ill,

tomorrow you’ll refuse your prenatal pill.

“Come nausea, sore breasts, and frequent urination!”

“On weight gain, fatigue and then to lactation!”

We are getting impatient, our clocks start to tick,

but each month all we do is pee on that stick.

We know more about ovulation than our family doc,

so please fill our womb before our friends’ newborns can talk!

We thank all of our relatives for those sympathy hugs,

but we’ve spent our whole salary on fertility drugs.

Our spouse has more sex than his full teenage years,

but this time he’s not bragging to all of his peers.

So before our next cycle, lead us the fertile way,

Happy baby-making to all and keep periods at bay!

 

It’s Wednesday – Happy Hump Day! 🙂

[Still] Waiting on Clomid…

I understand that patience is not my best trait. I’m working on that. But every little setback in delaying this process is SO FRUSTRATING!

An update: A few days ago, I called on Day 28 of my cycle, like I was told to do, to ask for the pregnancy blood test. I did, but got my head nurse’s voicemail, so I left a message asking if the blood test could be faxed to the place in my town I usually go to, not all the way out to their office 40 minutes away. Well, after school I checked my phone and had a voicemail (10 minutes too late to call back…). My head nurse was out, but another nurse took the call. She misunderstood me in my voicemail and thought I said I was on Day 20. So, in her message, she said, “You’re still too early for the pregnancy test. We usually like to do it between Days 30 and 35 – call back in a few weeks.” Ahh! I frantically tried to call back to clarify but it was too late. So, I left another message.

The next day, in the middle of a meeting, I got a call, and I was able to answer it. It was my head nurse, apologizing for not being there yesterday and the miscommunication. She said sure, I could have my blood test faxed, but it wouldn’t be as quick in its results (two days, not immediate). Also, she wanted to know if it was at all possible I could be pregnant, because if so, I would be tested for progesterone levels. Nope, I’m sure. Okay, she said. She had it faxed. Then, she seemed to forget the rest of my plan, asking such questions as, “Did the Dr. say you were starting Clomid next cycle?” (Yes.) “So you’re nearing the time you will be needing it?” (Yes.) I’m not just calling for my health, here!

So that very afternoon I went and had the blood test done. No big deal – I can wait two days, as opposed to finding out immediately. The last time I had a pregnancy blood test done it took two days. I had to have my thyroid checked anyway, so going to my local lab worked out.

Today was two days later. I was supposed to call my head nurse for the results, and she would fax a prescription for Provera to get my period started. Yesterday afternoon, on my house’s answering machine (we’ve only ever talked through my cell – why would she not call that?), she left me a message that I didn’t get until 5:00 letting me know that my lab I had the test done in went ahead and tested my progesterone levels. She didn’t specify whether she asked for it on the lab, or whether the lab did it by themselves. Either way – because my progesterone was tested, and not just a pregnancy test, it will take another WEEK for the results to come in. Seriously?!

I understand it’s just a week. Really. And compared to what others have had to go through, a week is nothing. It’s just that I’m SO close to starting Clomid. So close to actually being able to start hoping for a baby. I was going to be on Clomid during my week off, on the holiday vacation. That would’ve worked out, just in case I did have any weird side effects. Now I’ll be on it the week I get back to work.

Oh well. I can deal, I don’t want to be desperate. I’m just anxious, and super excited. I cannot wait any longer!

Do I want to share? I do..but I don’t…

I’m feeling some reflection coming on. (My friends roll their eyes when I do this.) There are so many people out there who are going through their infertility journeys that have been going on for years. They’ve had injections, IVF, and countless other treatments that I don’t even know about yet. After doing a blog search through this main site, I’ve come across some of those people. I really feel for them, and almost feel sheepish commenting on their blogs that I’m just starting my journey.

That said, I love writing this blog. It is so therapeutic to me, and helpful. But there are a few things standing in my way.

If this blog could have turned into anything, I would have loved for it to be a sort of forum for pregnancy, for those who are struggling and those who aren’t. While this is currently all about my story, I’d love to eventually hear the stories of those who are going through their own pregnancy journeys, allowing for a place full of information for anyone trying to get pregnant.

Therefore, I’ve been thinking about how to improve my blog, and I have a few thoughts. First, my story is a big deal to me. My friends are very caring and supportive, and read my posts, which I appreciate. But as I said before, so many others are going through this times 100, and in no way do I want this to sound like I’m the only one who’s struggling here. I’d love to get this out to the public, to women who could share their comments and stories.

How do you get a blog out to the public successfully? Well, it might help to own your site. At this time, I do not. But it still can be shared – through sites like Twitter and Facebook, and through word of mouth. I can put tags in my posts, to make it easier to locate. I could spend way more time on this blog, and add photos and make it look more cleaned up. I wish I had time for this!

But as I’m super excited to have a few followers who aren’t my close friends – perfect strangers going through a similar experience, I’m wondering how to keep spreading the word. I’m totally fine with my friends who already know about this sharing this with their friends – especially anyone they think might benefit from the support.

Here’s oneeee little problem. I haven’t told all of my family and friends about this. At all. Therefore, I can’t put anything on Facebook. I keep wanting to make that leap, because I know there are many of my Facebook friends who would be supportive, but then ALL of my Facebook friends would know, and many of them I’m not really close to. Do I want to put my problems out there for the world to see? It is my place to do that, when everyone has issues, but not everyone broadcasts them?

As you can see, I’m going back and forth. Once I share it with the Facebook world – it’s all out there. There’s no going back! Lately, I’ve been wanting to tell practically everyone about it. I’m not necessarily looking for anything – but it makes me feel better to get it off my chest. Unfortunately, I’m still too chicken to take that big step. So until then – I appreciate my blog followers, those who I know and those I don’t, and will take baby steps into really getting this out into the world.

Finally – I’d love suggestions! If you have a blog – what works for you? What are some challenges you faced when starting your blog? If you don’t have a blog – as a reader, what does and doesn’t interest you? What could I do to improve the look and feel of this blog? Thanks for your input! 🙂

To test or not to test?

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s to celebrating the one day a year where seemingly everyone stuffs their face with food, which is one of my favorite pasttimes. What diet? Actually, for whatever reason I found self control over the last few days and lost a few pounds of water weight. Let’s see how long that will continue.

So the real reason I’m blogging (and from my phone at that) is because I just got a call from the head nurse of my RE. She was returning my call; I had called to get results of my husband’s SA and to see if I could get my prescription for Provera. I wasn’t planning on starting it yet..it’s only Day 15 or 16. But I didn’t want to wait until Day 30 of my cycle, only to have to wait to get the prescription, wait ten more days to take all of the pills, and then another few to actually get AF. I thought I could get the prescription early so that I could start it a little early, like maybe Day 25.

The call did not really go as planned. Well, part of it. My husband is officially out of the running to figure out why we are having problems. His numbers were “outstanding”, the nurse said. I can’t remember all of them, but one number was 73 million when they want to see at least 20 million. And the other numbers were just as good. Apparently his swimmers are fantastic! This is good news; one less thing to worry about.

So here’s the little problem. When I was at that appointment, I was asked if we wanted to do a cystic fibrosis test. The doctor didn’t know if it was covered by insurance. I politely half-declined, saying I would talk it over with my husband. Well, because I didn’t officially decline the test, apparently the office thought I was considering it. On the phone, the nurse said the doctor wouldn’t treat me until I was tested for cystic fibrosis and the results came in, which could be up to two weeks. Needless to say, I was kind of upset. If I knew this was mandatory I would have had it done weeks ago and been done with it. Now I’m halfway through my cycle and certainly don’t want to watch another one go by.

But I misunderstood. They would only not treat me if I did get the test and the results weren’t in yet. If I declined then they would proceed as planned.

Here’s the thing: the nurse would not give me the prescription for Provera. Hardly. In fact, I am to wait until at least day 28, go and get a pregnancy test done, and then they will give me Provera. Ahh!!

So here is the question I’m considering. Get a cystic fibrosis test done or not? My husband is on the fence too. After all, if we both tested positive for the gene, would we stop trying to have kids? No. So..do we have to know? That and, if we do get tested, and day 28 comes and goes, they will not give me Provera until the results are in. More waiting. If the results for me come back positive, then my husband would have to get tested. More waiting. All for something that’s very rare and neither of us have anyone in the family with it. But I kind of feel like a bad person if I decline.

I’m sure the guilt will get to me and I’ll have it done. I’m just angry that I didn’t realize that I should have taken care of this weeks ago, and now by the time the results are back it’s cutting it really close to when my cycle should be ending.

At times, this is so ridiculously frustrating. Yet one more test, with waiting for the results. And another pregnancy test? I get that Provera can’t be given out without it but it’s like a slap in the face! No, I’m not pregnant!!! I’m attempting to try with medical assistance! Just give me the Clomid already!!

Okay, glad I got that out! I need to find patience within me, and quick.

You know what will make me feel better? Stuffing my face with Thanksgiving deliciousness. Emotional eating? Yep. It’s the one day a year I won’t feel guilty for doing so.

No More Research!!

It’s been over a week since I had my first RE appointment, and I can’t stop thinking about Clomid! Seriously, it’s a new obsession I need to be taking a little break from. My God!

My DH (darling husband) went in for his SA (semen analysis) yesterday. Poor thing. He was great about it, as I knew he would be, but how gross. If it were me, I don’t think I could do it! Then again, guys are so different from girls in this aspect – they can tune anything out and get the job done, haha. That said, he wasn’t thrilled about going into the room right after another guy walked out. That, and the magazines provided to him were from 2007, he said. Let’s think about that for a minute – how many guys have looked at and touched those magazines since 2007?? I’m certainly doubting the nurses go in there with cleaning spray and wipe all those pages down. I’m just saying – that’s disgusting.

But he made it through, and I do appreciate him going there, without complaint, even finding it hilarious, and getting it done. One more step towards baby, hopefully.

Meanwhile, I wait. And wait. Again. All I’ve been doing since May is waiting. I waited to get AF multiple times (when my cycle was 41 days long). I waited to TTC when I was told my thyroid numbers were too high and I wasn’t allowed. That’s when I started this blog, in the summer. That took a few months. I waited when my cycle was 82 days, and could’ve gone on forever. I’ve waited for appointments – I’ve just been waiting. And I am NOT a patient person. I’ve come to that conclusion. It’s too bad, because my job tends to require patience. But when I know what I need, and know the actions that need to be taken, I cannot wait. I want it now!!

But I have no choice. I need to wait for DH’s numbers to come in, probably in the middle of next week. Then, assuming everything is normal, Clomid can be prescribed to me, but I can’t take it until the beginning of a cycle. I’m on CD12 right now, so it’s too late. I was given instructions to call for Provera, again, if I don’t have AF by CD30. I’m sure I won’t have AF by CD30, as I never have. So I’ll call, take the pills for 10 days, wait 2 more days (hopefully not more), have AF for 6 days, wait 3 or so more days, and THEN I can start taking Clomid. AHH!!

That said, my research on Clomid gives me mixed reactions, though I’m going to take it anyway. Here are the good things about Clomid: 80% of people who don’t ovulate, ovulate while on Clomid. Of those 80%, 50% get pregnant. Those are pretty good numbers. Also, if Clomid were to work, it would within 6 months. Finally, my mother had my sister on Clomid, Round 2, with no side effects to the drug and a healthy baby, at 36 years old.

Here are the questionable things about Clomid: There has been a Clomid lawsuit for the risks of birth defects. Someone I know had a preemie many years ago with birth defects while on Clomid. More people than not say they have some crazy side effects to the drug; mainly hot flashes and mood swings. Both of those sound doable to me, but I guess those mood swings aren’t, like, cranky, but more like crazy. I don’t want to be crazy. Also, it doesn’t work for a lot of people. I don’t want to waste precious months.

And then there’s the fact about Clomid that isn’t good or bad – it ups your chances for twins to 10%. I go back and forth on this one, but always conclude that it doesn’t matter – I want to have children; eventually at least 2, so if I get them both at once, that’s fine. It would be pretty special. But at this point, one will do just fine!

So, I try not to do google searches and yet stay busy when at home. No more research! Until the next thing, that is. Meanwhile my “diet” that I once again swore I was going to follow, hasn’t been followed. I’m doing great with the “no gluten” thing. But that’s the only thing I’ve been able to commit to. It’s all about portions – no weight will be lost without smaller portions! Kind of disgusted with myself on that front but I’ll keep plugging along. Thanksgiving is Thursday – that’s basically National Pig-Out Day! I’ll do my best but I make no promises.

Let the Games (Really) Begin!

Well, it has been a crazy couple of days, for both good and bad reasons. But finally I have some actual news, for the first time since starting this journey.

But first, a health recap: My body is yelling at me. I’m not sure why, but I’m not liking it.

First, on Thursday, I ate a couple Halloween candy-sized Twizzlers. These weren’t ordinary Twizzlers; they had stuff in the middle. I had never had them before. And I ate like 5 of them (completely going against my new diet plan, btw.) Lunch ended. No more than 10 minutes later, I felt a lip hive starting (angioedema). I could not believe it. I NEVER get lip hives during the day. I let it sit for a few minutes, trying to judge how bad it was going to get. Sometimes it’s a small one, unnoticeable to others, and I don’t need to take anything. But after a few minutes I could feel it growing, so I took my old hives medication, which I rarely need nowadays. I knew it was going to take a good half hour to kick in. Then, I started feeling a tickle in my throat. It kind of felt like the beginning of a cold. As time went on, a lump developed in my throat, and I realized I had a hive somewhere down there. To top it all off, I started getting hives inside of my mouth, which has never happened before. I could feel them in my gums, past my teeth. Other than the lip hive, the others weren’t something other people would see, but I could certainly feel them. I was a little panicked, but trying not to make it worse. I can definitely let anxiety get the best of me, and I wasn’t about to let that happen. I decided that after the meds had time to kick in, if it got worse I would take the next step (probably a hospital visit.) That’s the last thing I wanted.

Luckily, once the medicine kicked in, my lip hive started to shrink, along with all the others. I was left with a sore throat and sore cheeks. For the rest of the day and night my throat bothered me and made me sound hoarse. It was the most bizarre thing. My first guess was an allergic reaction to those weird Twizzlers. I get hives, including my lips, but nothing like that. So that was a great afternoon. To top it off, as I left school that afternoon I got a call from my OB-GYN, saying that when she did my physical and pap last Tuesday, I tested positive for both yeast and bacterial infections, and I would need to pick up meds for both at CVS. Now, let’s just put it this way. I’ve had many yeast infections in my life, and I know the symptoms. In fact, as soon as I feel them, I buy myself medication and take care of it. I have NO symptoms of either of these infections. But eww, gross. It was a great day.

Then, yesterday was an important day. I went to see my newest doctor, my RE (reproductive endocrinologist). In short, a fertility specialist. Before I get to that, let me say that after going out to lunch with friends, as I was driving to the appointment I felt a lip hive starting, AGAIN! Now, mind you, I had tacos for that lunch. And rice. NO sugar, no candy. Nothing I ate yesterday I ate the day before, and vice versa. Ridiculous! I quick popped medication for that, not wanting to repeat yesterday. But as I went through the afternoon, through the appointment and into the night, I have to admit that I had a small little lump in my throat. Nothing like the day before, probably because I took medication faster. By bedtime last night, I had hives all over my face, shoulders, back. What the heck!? This is clearly NOT an allergic reaction to food. It’s just a rough spot of what I’ve known for years – my hives are an auto-immune response to my messed up immune system doing..whatever it’s doing. Fighting off my healthy thyroid for no reason. Stuff like that. But I have to say, this daily lip hive thing is not okay with me. I’ve been taking medication only as needed for months now. I will now be going back to regular dosages to see if that’ll help. I took a dose this morning, which I never do. Let’s see if I get hives at lunch again today, for the third day in a row.

Luckily, there was some good news in the last few days. I had an excellent appointment with my RE. Here’s what happened:

After meeting with the nurse who went over ALL my medical history, family history, etc., I met the doctor. He’s a nice guy, very laid-back. I’d expect to see him using a leaf-blower or at a bar watching football, not examining the ins and outs of all my parts. But whatever. All I need is a nice doctor and I’m happy, and he was very nice. He did an ultrasound (not on my stomach…) which was actually kind of cool. As he was digging around in there he made comments. He said my uterus looks great, normal, healthy, etc. Then he moved the camera over to one of my ovaries. He showed me the screen, and said, “This ovary is showing a classic case of anovulation.” Then he pointed to all these little black dots inside the ovary. He said that the black dots are all the beginnings of eggs that aren’t being released. In other words – I don’t ovulate. Well, hallelujah. I have been waiting for a doctor to confirm what I already knew for so long now! I knew in that 82 day cycle with a BBT that never rose that I didn’t ovulate. But now a doctor knows! Yay! So that was awesome.

Then, later, I met with him in his office. Long story short – here’s the plan. I don’t ovulate, my cycles are very irregular, etc. He had me get some blood taken (which I did right afterwards, another 7 vials) and he also wants my DH to get his blood taken, and to get a semen analysis. Poor guy. I warned him it might happen, and now it officially is. Luckily he’s totally fine with it. After the results of all of his tests and my blood tests come back, assuming his come back normal, the Dr. will start me on Clomid, the fertility drug. Because these tests probably won’t be all set for another week or two, by the time they are analyzed it will be too late to start Clomid for this cycle. Clomid has to be taken at the beginning of a cycle, and I’m basically at the beginning of mine now. So, unfortunately I have to wait another cycle. But, the Dr. said, “We’re not going to make you wait another 89 days.” Thank you!!! He said that if I don’t have AF on CD 30, to call up, and he’ll give me Provera to get it going again, and then start Clomid. I haven’t had a 30 day cycle since…BCP! So I’m super excited.

Here’s what I know about Clomid – it is a fertility drug, it makes you ovulate. Some people have side effects from it – including major mood swings and nausea. As one person on thebump.com put it, the side effects are basically pregnancy symptoms. I also know that if you don’t get pregnant from Clomid in 3-6 cycles (depending on the Dr.), it’s never going to work and they move to the next thing. Finally, I know that my mother took it, had no side effects whatsoever, and conceived my sister from it on the 2nd try. So, here’s hoping.

The Dr. also took a look at all my auto-immune issues, including the hives. I get hives from semen, as well, and I’ll leave it at that. He mentioned that they will keep an eye on all of that, because it may fare better for me to go straight to artificial insemination, bypassing the hives and auto-immune stuff, rather than wasting a ton of time on Clomid. Eew. I don’t know much about that, and I’m not going to go there just yet. He mentioned that, but still planned on Clomid for now. He said if this was a classic case of simply not ovulating, Clomid is the best bet. If this has anything to do with auto-immune stuff, they will look further into AI. So for now, we’re going with Clomid.

The other amazing fact about this – and it really is amazing – is that my insurance covers EVERYTHING. I can’t believe it! I called my insurance company, they said as long as I have an underlying health condition (anovulation) tests, drugs, treatments are fully covered, no deductibles. Then, I received a written copy of the insurance stating the same thing. As a third check, I met with the financial advisor for infertility after my appointment yesterday and she confirmed as well that she spoke with someone from my insurance company and they told her the same thing! She said, “I don’t get to say this to many people, so consider yourself lucky…you’re fully covered, and you’re all set!” Then she hugged me. Good times!

So, now I just have to wait out the next 30 or so days. I’m thinking that it’s not likely I’ll get AF on my own at 30 days, since that has yet to ever happen. So, I’ll probably be asking for Provera again, and then I will start Clomid. I am so happy to have a plan in place and a doctor who is in charge. I’m praying Clomid will work. But on the off chance it doesn’t, there are still so many other options to try, and my doctor will know what’s best. Plus, it will be covered by insurance! So, as one of my friends stated, “Let the games begin!”

Add two more doctors to the list! Let the games begin.

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 🙂

Know someone struggling with infertility? Just listen.

This post is going to be much shorter. I want to talk about struggling with infertility.

I was reading an article in Redbook magazine the other day, and there was a huge article on infertility. It wasn’t about the health aspects as much as it was about how the topic is so taboo in today’s culture. Women who are infertile, or whose husbands are infertile, are scared, embarrassed, and unsure of who they can trust in talking about the issue, so they don’t. A large amount of women don’t even tell their own mothers that they are trying, and struggling, to conceive.

Well, this hit a nerve with me. I understand that I have not been labeled “infertile” by any doctor, by any means. Some women have gone through years of trying and have tried Clomid, injections, and IVF with no success. They have had doctors tell them it’s just not going to happen, and they’ve gone home knowing that they are, in fact, infertile. That is a horrible, horrible thing, and I hope for me, that day never comes. Yet, I feel infertile. I can’t conceive, I can’t even ovulate, I have long cycles with no period in sight. I’m young and generally healthy, except for this nagging thyroid condition. My husband and I have already expressed our hopes, desires, then disappointments, when we have realized this process isn’t going to be what we thought it was – easy. And I’m sure that in the next months/years, we will have friends who conceive and have kids. Some will do “all the right things”, like chart and watch for signs of ovulation, time it just right, and get pregnant, just like that. Some might get pregnant almost effortlessly, as if by accident. And there will be some, or at least me, who doesn’t. I have hope that I will, it’s not that. It’s just I think it’s going to be a while. And I was not mentally prepared for that in the beginning.

As you know, I like to talk about myself (haha). I like to talk TO myself. I like to reflect. What can I say? After reading that article, I can’t imagine not telling my mother what I have been going through. Heck, I’d be ready to tell anyone on the street what I’m going through. Yet, I haven’t told my husband’s side of the family. They know we want kids. They don’t know that we started trying last summer. That I’m going through all this crap. Why haven’t I told them? Well, just like the article said, it’s a taboo subject. People who don’t understand all this might think there’s something seriously wrong with you, or the opposite, that you’re over-exaggerating and you’re really fine. It’s embarrassing! How could this be happening to me? So I totally understand where those women in the article were coming from when they withheld the information from the world. I wanted to tell the public first, and most of my family second. But it shouldn’t be a taboo topic. It should be talked about and understood by everyone. It’s a big deal, and those women and men need support.

Then, also in the article, there was a list of phrases never to say to someone who is either infertile or is struggling to conceive. I can’t remember them all but here were a few:

-“Just relax and calm down. If you stress about it, it won’t happen.” The only kind of stress that hinders your ability to TTC is the debilitating kind, like if my house was destroyed by an earthquake right now and all my family died at once. That kind of stress.

-“Don’t think about it. It will happen when you least expect it, like it did to me.” Well thanks, I’m so glad you were Fertile-Mertile over there, but it’s kind of hard not to think about!

-“What’s meant to be is meant to be.” This one really hurts – are you saying that if it doesn’t happen, I wasn’t meant to have a child? Really? And Octo-Mom was meant to have 14 kids?

As someone who is officially struggling to conceive, I have heard some aspect of all three of these comments before. I know people want to say the right thing, but those comments aren’t it! If you know someone who is struggling with infertility, they probably just want you to listen.

Thanks! 🙂

When the power goes out, the bloggers get blogging.

As I predicted, last week would give me a lot of information on the health issues I’ve been facing. While I shared them with some people, I really wanted to settle in and write about it, because blogging 1) helps me collect my thoughts, 2) is a great way to put things in perspective, and 3) is definitely a peaceful and relaxing activity. I always feel better after writing!

Then the power went out. We had a crazy October Nor’easter, right on my sister’s birthday. Her power went out before mine, so with the snapping of tree limbs all around my house, we had a birthday dinner for her. We made it through dinner, dessert, and clean-up with power. As I was commenting on Facebook that we seemed to be the only neighborhood in town with power, the lights went out, at 8pm. And so did the heat. Five days later, and we’re still without power. I have lived in this house, with the exception of college and an additional year, for 23 years. We have only lost power once, for about 24 hours. I’ve never seen anything like this. My house got down to a very chilly 51 degrees. I wore a heavy winter coat while hand-washing the dishes, and my dogs shivered as they curled up in little balls on the couch. This is no way to live! I’m all about living simply, but that was pushing it just as bit. Luckily, we were able to borrow someone’s generator who does have power, and we finally hooked it up last night. It’s ridiculously loud, and there are a million cords all around the house, but we have been given heat, two lamps, the tv/internet/phone, and my one surviving fish now has a heated tank once again. Now my house is a roasty 63 degrees, and slowly rising. I’ve decided to take out the computer and waste the batteries for a little while to compose my thoughts.

Let’s back up. At the beginning of last week, with still no AF (Aunt Flo…I didn’t make it up.) in sight, I called my gyno, as she had told me to do the week before. She faxed over a pregnancy blood test to my now-so-familiar blood testing lab, told me to get the blood test done in the next few days, and if the results came back negative, they would start me on Provera. It has a more complicated name, but I know it as Provera. It jump-starts your period.

So I went on Tuesday afternoon and got the blood test. It was extra painful, for some reason. Between all the blood tests I have been getting lately, I don’t know what it was but it hurt. Anyway, the woman said she’d process it in the morning. I got pretty anxious and excited. I have no idea why.

So I waited, and checked my phone throughout the entire day Wednesday. No luck, but then again my gyno said I should know on Thursday in the first place. Thursday came and went too, again with my phone by my side. I was praying to the pregnancy gods, honestly, that a miracle would occur. I told myself there was a 99% chance I couldn’t be pregnant. I had low temps, two negative OPK’s, but I did have CF two days in a row, unmistakeable. And we tried, even though at that point we didn’t know how low my TSH was. Oh well, it was low enough, but it didn’t matter anyway. Friday at lunch, I had a voicemail. Of course, they won’t leave anything over the phone so I had to call the office. The receptionist said in a cheery voice that the results came back negative (duh) and she had already phoned in my prescription for Provera. I could pick it up after work. She also told me that there were 10 pills, I needed to take them once a day, and by the end of the 10 days, within two more weeks I should have my period. Oh, and they sometimes make people very sleepy so take it at night. If I don’t have my period two weeks after the 10th pill, she said, call back. I told her I have an appointment with the gyno in about a week and a half, so could I just tell her then? She said sure. Would they still want to see me for a physical if I do have AF then? Yes, she said, they would. Good, because I have lots of questions.

So, I’ve been taking Provera every night since Friday. I have four more pills to go. Then another two weeks to wait. By the way, today is CD 77. Good times. The last time I got AF, it was August 19th. This is insane! And it sucks not knowing when it’s coming. I’ve always had some notice, and been able to prepare. Now I have no clue. And what if – is it possible that the pain and cramping I could experience with this would be a million times worse than normal, given it’s been a build-up for months? I seriously hope not.

That’s where I stand on that issue. I just want AF to come, honestly, because I want to start over. Let’s pretend this multi-month anovulatory crap cycle never happened, and go back to those precious 41-day cycles. I had three of those in a row, then this. By the way, I went off BC in April. I’ve only had AF three times since then, and waiting on the fourth.

Then there was more news. I went to my new endocrinologist on Thursday afternoon, for the first time. As you may recall, my old endo was great in the beginning. She put me on Synthroid, monitored it decently, and seemed pretty knowledgeable. But over the summer, when my TSH came back at 8, and I mentioned TTC, she told me I was not allowed to try. I don’t blame her for that one, that did seem like a good move. But then, even after it came down to a 2 a month later, she was unwilling to discuss the risks of TTC and the growing list of questions I had. My biggest question was if I could get my TSH tested more often, just so I knew what it was (so I could TTC without her knowing….). She said no. My next appointment with her was in January, and that’s when she wanted to test it again. I begged for one additional TSH test, and she finally gave me a slip for the end of November. That’s it. And that’s when I decided I have to do enough waiting as it is with these health issues. I’m not doing it for one more thing. So I did a google search, found an endo in my town with good reviews, and it turns out she works in conjunction with my gyno down the street. Perfect.

Upon meeting her on Thursday, I was thrilled. Her demeanor was friendly, caring, and almost motherly. The receptionist let on once that she has school-age children, and that was even better. She would definitely understand my desire to TTC when she has children of her own, right? I put on my polite, professional, gracious voice to show my appreciation for her help, and as a way to say, “Forgive me, but I’ve brought with me 5,000 questions”. In fact, I did bring a doubled-sided piece of paper filled with research and questions I’ve accumulated from Mary Shomon’s books and the internet. I did actually say to her, just to butter her up, “You’re going to think I’m crazy, especially as a new patient, but I’ve brought a lot of questions….” Then I sat, calmly and patiently, and we reviewed my history and old labs. Finally, she said, “Okay, you’ve got questions. Shoot.” Really? I can actually ask you questions??

I touched upon basically all aspects of thyroid and reproductive health. I asked about diet, food allergies, exercise, vitamin deficiencies, the fertility issues I’m having, difficulties in losing weight, ideal TSH levels, etc. I asked about it all. And she answered it all. Here are some of the most valuable answers she gave me:

-After mentioning that my current TSH is a 1.39, which is definitely in the normal range, I asked what she thought the ideal TSH should be when TTC. (I knew that all doctors have a different number. The lower, the better.) She said between 0.5 and 1. Wow!! So, I asked, should we up my Synthroid dosage? She decided that instead of upping it to 100mcg, which might be too much, twice a week I am to take an additional half a pill along with my regular pill. After 6 weeks, she’d like to check it again. But together as patient and doctor (aww) we’re aiming for my TSH to be between 0.5 and 1. That, in itself, is the most wonderful news. My TSH is low now but she’s going to let me go lower. Awesome.

-I mentioned the research I’ve done on antithyroid antibodies. They are a sign that you have an autoimmune thyroid problem. Obviously, I do. My numbers are “off the charts” as my allergist put it, at 900. Normal is 9 or less. I’ve read that high antibody numbers doubles the risk of miscarriage. True? And what can I do about them? The doctor said yes, it is true. It does up the risk of miscarriage. (Yikes..it’s high enough already). However, if a miscarriage were to occur from the antibodies, it would more than likely occur in the first few weeks of pregnancy, when many women don’t even yet know they are pregnant. I probably would, because I’m charting, but 3 weeks in isn’t nearly as upsetting as 3 months. Phew.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about that number. The number isn’t the problem. It’s just the signal that I have another problem. As long as I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (um, forever), that number will remain high. She said she won’t even bother to check it in the future, because we already know what it is. It will drop a little, maybe, but not much. So that’s that. Pray for no miscarriages when that day comes.

-Celiac’s Disease – what’s with that? She said in patients that already have Celiac’s Disease (allergy to gluten), she finds many of them also have an autoimmune thyroid problem (either Hashimoto’s or Grave’s Disease). However, that is not necessarily the case the other way around. She noticed that my food blood tests came back negative. I don’t have flat-out Celiac’s Disease. But I still do think I have a gluten, or at least wheat, intolerance.

-Here was a big one: If my TSH is doing so well, what is up with this long, messed up, anovulatory cycle? Well, she said, since your thyroid is doing so well – it’s probably not your thyroid. Seriously? So even though people with hypothyroidism tend to have long, anovulatory cycles and messed up fertility, that’s probably NOT what this is? Maybe not, she said. Then, and this made my day, she filled out a lab slip for me to get done immediately, testing all my hormones! I got it done Saturday morning (another 7 vials of blood). It might take up to 2 weeks to come in, but when it does, it may help answer my fertility question. What is going on in my body? She explained what the tests were, but I can’t remember them except for testing my estrogen and testosterone levels. She did for me what I was hoping my gyno may have done when I see her in the next week. Only my thyroid doctor, but testing my gyno-related stuff. She rocks.

-Then, just for my piece of mind, she gave me an additional 4 or 5 lab slips for my TSH. She even said, “I gave you a few extra just in case you’re feeling worried about it and just want to see what it is.” Oh my goodness. Seriously, she must be the best doctor I’ve ever had.

I would recommend this doctor to anyone who thinks they might have a thyroid problem. She is wonderful. I stayed in there for almost an hour, asking all of my questions. She patiently listened, answered, and I felt like I was the only patient she has ever had. It was the best thing. And it helped, thinking back to that appointment when I got my negative pregnancy test the next day. It’s still helping now, as I’ve been in a little bit of a funk the past few days, waiting for AF to come, feeling like a real chance to conceive is so far away. At least I have a caring doctor.

In my final thoughts on all this, it’s pretty hard to eat healthy when the power goes out and the contents of your fridge and freezer are sitting in the snow on the front lawn. A hot meal goes a long way. So when my friends got a hot pizza the other day for lunch, I decided, here’s the test. I ate two big pieces. Then, that night with the hot dinner my husband’s cousin cooked at his house, I ate a wheat roll. Let’s see what happens, I thought. Well, since those two meals that day I have had stomach pains and digestive issues (let’s leave it at that) a couple times a day, especially the first two days afterwards. I haven’t felt that kind of stomach pain in a while. Do I think it’s the wheat? Yes, I do. That said, this is an intolerance, not Celiac’s Disease. Thanksgiving is on its way and I will be damned if I’m not going to eat pies made in wheat crusts. I may have some pains the next day or two, but it’s worth it. Until then, though, it’s back to wheat-free cereal, pasta, bread, etc. I don’t think my body likes it, and that’s just the way it is. As for sugar – I’ve been eating a lot of that again too (hey, I bought Halloween candy for the kids…and then Halloween never happened! Returning the candy never crossed my mind…)So that could be a part of the pain too. Once the power is back on, and the gym reopens, and I go back to work (school was cancelled for the week!), I hope to refocus on my food health, without obsession. Weight should be saved for the creation of another blog, maybe, but I’m at the cusp of putting my BMI into the “overweight” category. I don’t like that, and I don’t like how I feel. Right now I feel fat (I know I’m not “fat” by some definition but I feel that way), out of control with my eating, and infertile. Not a good combination. It leads to the funk I’ve been feeling! So, looking forward to getting on with my good health and dropping a few pounds with some healthy eating and small portions.

Hey, that was a lot of information! And just as I thought, I feel better. I always do. So, thanks for reading these long, huge blog posts. I do appreciate it. Someday when I’m feeling adventurous, I’d like to make them more readable, perhaps with pictures, more links, etc. For now, it’s my primary venting mechanism.