Stupid ovaries.

My ovaries and I aren’t getting along at all. As the days pass, I’m coming to the realization that my ovaries are lazy. Stagnant, unconscious. They don’t DO anything.

I should have already known this, since I was only able to ovulate on Clomid when I stair-stepped, and each cycle would be 60 days long. For some strange reason, I assumed that moving on to the big drugs, the real deal, would change all that. I was wrong!

Today will be my 14th day of follistim. I did 5 or 6 days of 50 IU, 5-6 days of 66 IU, and today is Day 3 of 75 IU. My last blood test a few days ago showed that my estrogen actually dropped a little bit, and the ultrasound didn’t have a single follicle on each side larger than 8 or 9 mm.

Is this normal?

Even though the labs don’t say it, I must have PCOS. There has yet to be a moment where my doctor confirms I have PCOS, but if you have 30 follicles on each side, just hanging out, isn’t that a strong indication? I understand that my doctor wants to take things very slowly, because of those 60 follicles. I imagine I’m at a high risk for multiples, if my ovaries ever decide to actually do anything! Right now, the only thing growing is my frustration level.

And I’m used to waiting, by now. I should expect that it takes forever for my follicles to grow. It’s just that I wonder if it’s worth it, to do follistim with an IUI, if it’s going to take months to get there.

I did a little googling and it seems others in my situation just say the hell with it, and go to IVF. I am willing to do that – next cycle. It’s not an option for this cycle, and I did check. So I need to wait this one out, again. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen, and I’m still holding out a little hope, but I wonder how many days of shots I will be doing before a doctor says, this isn’t working. On to the next thing.

It’s funny how that “woe is me” attitude creeps up on me. Once I started the shots, I was feeling pretty decent again. Now that nothing is happening in there, those thoughts just appear in my head again. They tell me it’s going to be a long time until I’m pregnant. They tell me I’m going to be doing IVF during the school year, which makes for a stressful time. And the scariest thought is this: what if my autoimmune problems, which are clearly still around, aren’t going to allow the 1) follicles to grow, 2) sperm to meet with egg, 3) BFP to stick, 4) baby to be carried to term. Seriously, the “woe is me” attitude brings about many worries, and they don’t help me in the slightest.

It’s the worrying right now that holds me back. I would’ve liked to join in on the diet and fitness challenges that Belle, Sunny, and Jenn (among others) are doing, but I can’t make the commitment. What if I need to eat rice krispies with almond milk in the middle of the day to make me feel better? And how can I find the right diet? The diet that feels best for autoimmune problems is not exactly the same as the PCOS diet, and I feel like I have too many health problems all at once to figure out what my body needs.

The one thought I’m trying to push away is the fear. If I could successfully completely cut out certain foods from my diet, would I get pregnant then? If I was just more dedicated to health and fitness, would it happen? Is the fact that I ate an ice cream the other day, with sprinkles, mind you, which had dairy and sugar (two things I usually don’t eat), and I had stomach issues the next day  – could that be why my ovaries aren’t functioning?

These are completely irrational thoughts, and I understand that. But I hate feeling so out of control with my own body. Naturally, I want to place the blame on myself, because when I do that, things make sense. If I just throw my hands up and say it’s not my fault, well then, it doesn’t make sense to me. But by doing this, I am adding so much extra pressure to myself that I don’t need, and it causes me to…overeat. I have always held myself to standards that are too high. I have always put on the pressure, the stress. Now is no exception. It’s very hard to let go. Ugh. I do want to get in on those challenges, girls. I just don’t know where to start.

I’ve been stabbed!

I just got back from my mini-vacation to Maine to visit my grandfather. It’s always a nice time, made especially for the ultimate combination: relaxation and over-eating. I managed to snap one picture with my phone:

Though I didn’t actually go in the lake (that would be too much exercise), I enjoyed the view. My husband and I did go down there once on the night of the 4th, enjoying the neighbors’ illegal firework display. This was the first trip to my grandfather’s house that I have been gluten- and sugar-free, which I knew would be a challenge. My grandfather’s wife, from Alabama, is a great cook, but was very understanding that I didn’t eat any of her desserts. And since I knew that avoiding coconut cream pie, pecan pie, brownies, and sugar cookies wouldn’t be easy, N kindly baked me two gluten-free, sugar-free desserts before we left: a “whoopie pie” cake, and coconut chocolate chip cookies. Both were very good. Of course, I didn’t take a picture of either one but if anyone wants the recipes, I can send you the links. The “chocolate” in the cookies was carob chips – a new item for me that we could only find at Whole Foods, but they were tasty.

Though I do have to say, there’s nothing like being completely gluttonous, eating every luxurious food in sight until you can’t breathe to motivate you to lose weight. Being gluten-free and sugar-free has not helped me lose weight at ALL. But then, I knew it wouldn’t. I know exactly how I need to lose weight. It’s a simple formula, of which exercise is the smallest part. I need to cut my portions in half, at least, stock up on veggies, and drink lots of water in between meals. It’s that simple. Why I haven’t just done it already, I’m not sure. Too much on my plate (literally). Too many “can’t”s in my brain, and I haven’t felt like I could take on another one. I can’t get pregnant, I can’t ovulate, I can’t just have sex to produce a baby like so many others, I can’t have gluten, I can’t have sugar, I can’t have more than a little dairy…and I can’t eat more than my husband does. I shouldn’t. At this point, stuffed full of cookies, I’m motivated. Let’s see if I can actually do this, and stop talking about it already.

In other news, I have successfully stabbed myself in the stomach three times. I officially feel like I’m seeking out fertility treatments. Clomid was an easy pill to swallow…I could almost forget why I was taking it. Getting shots in the stomach that need to be refrigerated, dropping the needles into my sharps container afterwards, along with every other day blood tests reminds me that this is no joke – this is the real deal. The first time, I was nervous, and wanted my husband to do it. He agreed, but right before it was time, he sort of chickened out, and I decided I needed to man up anyway. The actual stabbing part didn’t hurt at all – like, not even a little. But while the needle was hanging out in my stomach, as I pressed the release on the pen and then counted to 5 – that hurt a bit. Yesterday, for my second shot, I don’t think I had a steady hand. The pen must have been wobbly, because it bled a bit and I have a small little bruise there now. Today’s third shot – no blood, no bruise, no pain. I must be getting better. If it wasn’t such a weird thing to be doing, it might actually be fun. Maybe I should’ve been a nurse.

One of the medications I was prescribed was on back order from the company located in Maine, and I need to take it with me to my appointment on Monday, so conveniently enough, we swung through Portland on our way home and actually stopped at the pharmacy. Now I have all of my meds: Follistim, Ganirelix, Ovidrel, and Crinone. Obviously I know what the purpose of the Follistim is, and I know the Ovidrel is the trigger shot. Crinone is the progesterone, right? How much of a pain in the ass is that? And I have no clue what the purpose for the Ganirelix is. Anyone?

I have a ton of future blog posts rolling around in my brain, but they will have to wait. If my ovaries respond (not too well, though) and I have myself a nice IUI, this will be my 4th attempt at conception. I’m allowing myself just the smallest bit of excitement and an even smaller dose of hope. But regardless – could this be it?

 

The world’s worst presents.

The day has finally come (tomorrow). The day I start my third type of fertility treatment – injectables with an IUI. Let’s see – I haven’t had a period since, (hold on, let me check a calendar) May 11th! That’s a long time! Today is CD 54, but I only know that because I just checked. I haven’t kept count since the day I found out 150 mg of Clomid was going to do nothing but cause me to go insane, and that was somewhere around CD 25.

Sidebar – I was at a thyroid appointment the other day (which is looking lovely, by the way -0.9 TSH is damn near perfect) and my doctor asked if I have been getting my periods regularly. I almost burst out laughing.

Anyway, I’ve been going through the proper steps to ensure a great time with my first set of shots. I watched the videos, asked a few clarification questions with the nurse, got a fantastic HSG completed successfully, and had my baseline blood work and ultrasound this morning. Oh yeah, and Christmas came early:

Kidding. These would make the world’s worst presents. The best thing about that picture is the watermelon I plan on consuming over the next few days.

Now, this morning’s ultrasound wasn’t exactly routine. I must say, first of all, that the wonderful condom-covered probing camera (known affectionately as the dild0-cam to most of you) was a comforting delight compared to whatever was shoved up there with the HSG last week. When we started, the nurse said, “You have a full bladder. Did you go to the bathroom?” I felt like a kid. Yes – I did! Like, 20 minutes ago! I can’t help the fact that I chugged a protein shake right before I got there…

Then, as he’s looking around in there, he discovers what I’ve known for a while – I have tons of little baby follicles in each ovary. Like, a lot. Like, he stopped counting and said, “Let’s just say there’s 30 in each one”. That’s a total of 60 follicles. That’s a lot of maybe-babies. Then he found one (I swear it’s that pesty cyst, back to say hello) and he says, oh, this one could be developing. If that happened, the cycle would have to be cancelled. But rest assured, there’s no way in hell I’m ovulating on my own. I would know it if I was. Anyway, I didn’t get any calls this afternoon regarding my blood work (which would have shown it), so I’m not concerned. After that was all over, I met with a nurse who went over the plans for tomorrow. She commented that it’s a good thing the doctor is starting me on a low dose (50 IU), because of the amount of follicles I’ve got in there. This leads me to an unpleasant thought – I feel like, if I’m going to have 60 follicles, I should’ve ovulated on my own. Or at least with Clomid. Maybe I’m not the typical type of person that does injectables with IUI, or IVF if it should come down to it. Clomid should have worked. But it didn’t. And my new fear is that even on the low dose, I’m going to produce too many eggs, and the cycle will have to be cancelled. I just really don’t want that to happen. I guess what I’m saying is simply that I want this to work. I really, really do.

With this type of treatment being so drastically different from what I’m used to – a simple pill for a few days – I hope I do it right. Not to mention the fact that I’m going to Maine tomorrow for a 3-day mini-vacation, and the drugs are coming with me. My first shot is tomorrow night, up in Maine. It can’t be that complicated – but I think I need to watch those videos again. My doctor commented last week that the first shot will take me 45 minutes, but 44 of those minutes will be the anxiety leading up to it. After that, it’ll be quick. I don’t think it’ll take me 45 minutes per say, but I can’t say I’m thrilled about doing this. In my stomach.

Also, different from many others is the fact that I don’t have my period. My doctor didn’t put me on Provera. So many nurses are asking me when my period has started, and I always have to explain I’m not getting it. So I’m not even sure what cycle day tomorrow is supposed to be – 1? 3? If you get your period, when are you supposed to start the shots?

And another question – approximately how long after the last shot do most of you trigger/ovulate? I know with Clomid you were supposed to ovulate about 10 days after the last pill. Is it similar for follistim?

Ugh. So many questions on this first round of injectables. Whether you’ve gone through injectables with an IUI, or IVF, is there anything you think I should know about any of this? Giving the shots, ovulation times, words of advice?

I’ll be back for another post once I return, and by then I should be an old pro.