Thursday, June 18, 2009

Where I am in this journey

I have been asked where I am so far in this journey, so I thought I would dedicate a post to it. I want to let you know, though, that I am not an expert. I have learned a lot over this process, but not near as much as many people do in this topic. I will start from the beginning (the logical place to start, haha) and bring us up to right now. I will include details and links for you to check out if you would like to do some further research into the topic.

Ok, we started trying October 2007. Actually, we weren't trying to prevent as of then. If you do the math, that is 1 month after we were married, haha. However, we had been together for 6 years by then, and living together for 3, so we felt like it was ok. I was not on birth control ever, so I never had to worry about going off of it. I have always been regular, however I did miss a month once a year, strangely enough. I had no real reason to think that we would have problems, but have always felt that I would have problems. Infertility runs in my family, which I didn't really know at the time. Anyway... I was not doing anything to help us get pregnant, but we weren't trying to avoid either.

In August of 2008 I was feeling a lot of side effects and I was a week late, so I took a home pregnancy test and got a very faint positive. Unfortunately, I had probably already miscarried. It was what was called a chemical pregnancy. It was a painful time, as many babies were born at that time, including my niece to my brother and his girlfriend. What made it even harder was that the day I found out it was a miscarriage I was going to tell my husband that we were expecting. I bought something to tell him (which I will use in the future) and it is now stuffed away, where I will not come across it in daily life because it is difficult to look at right now. It was also the day that we celebrated 7 years together and less than a month before our 1st wedding anniversary.

A month after my miscarriage I started charting to try to determine the best time to get pregnant.

In December of 2009 I finally brought up to my doctor that I was having problems. She told me she wanted to see 3 months of complete charts and we would go from there. She told me she was determined to help me get pregnant.

In March 2009 I brought in 5 months of charts. I was diagnosed as having annovulatory cycles, which means that I don't ovulate on my own. In the 5 months of charting, I had ovulated only 1 time. And the time I ovluated before that ended in a miscarriage. We don't know how long before that it had been since I ovulated. I do notice a difference between months I do and months I don't, and so I had not really felt a difference in a few years leading up to my miscarriage. Some women who don't ovulate do still get a period, although it technically isn't a period, and this was the case for me. I just didn't get cramps and most of the other fun stuff to go along with it. I do get all of that fun stuff the months I do ovulate. My doctor ordered me to go through a bunch of different tests to try to determine why I don't ovulate.

In April 2009 I had bloodwork done on my cycle day 3 and cycle day 25. Cycle day 3 was to determine my FSH and LH levels and my estradiol level. Those tests came back normal, although estradiol was borderline, however right now my doctor is not concerned about it. Cycle day 25 was to test my progesterone level. This came back showing that I do not ovulate that month, which we expected. This month my husband also underwent a semen analysis. His tests came back normal.

In May 2009 I went through a procedure called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). This was an EXTREMELY uncomfortable procedure. It is short, about a half hour at most, and I was awake for it, which is normal. I was not under any type of anesthesia or anything, which is also normal. Every woman who goes through this feels differently during and after this test. Unfortunately for me, it was very uncomfortable. OK, so here is what they did. They insert a catheter into the cervix. This catheter has a balloon on the end. The balloon is blown up inside the uterus and dye is pushed out into the uterus and into the fallopian tubes. Pressure is put into the tubes through the dye to determine if there is any blockage in the tubes. If there is, the tubes are usually cleared with the dye. All of this is seen through live xray. It was an extremely painful procedure. I was very close to being sick and my nurse would not let me get up until I was feeling better because she was concerned I would pass out (and so was I!!!). BUT the good news is that my tubes are clear and anatomically I should have no problem getting pregnant. My tubes are fine. There was some slight blockage in one of my tubes, but that was cleared by the dye. I can not tell you the emotion I went through to have this test done. I had fear, embarassment, sadness, frustration, and hope. I was frustrated that I had to go through this procedure, which my insurance may or may not cover (they did!), when other women just had to look at their husbands and get pregnant. I only had some slight discomfort after this test. Unfortunately, the test did screw up my cycle and caused it to start 10 days early, but that can happen after an HSG. When I finally do ovulate, this procedure will help me have increased fertility for about 6 months after. Fingers crossed!

So where am I now? In May 2009 I started my first round of a fertility medication called Clomid. I am on 100mg doses. I take it cycle days 5-9. I did ovulate round 1, but we didn't think it would work (because of the HSG throwing off my cycle!) so I didn't monitor and missed my ovulation date. I am about to start round 2 of Clomid at 100mg.

Where do I go from here? We are on this for up to 6 months. It could be less depending on what my doctor believes. I am actually planning on stopping treatments after September to give us time to save money for further treatments. We are hoping that my next job will have fertility treatment coverage because that will determine how far we plan on going in fertility treatments before we start the adoption process. As I said before, 1 round of IVF could be half the cost of adoption fees so as of right now we do not think we will do IVF. We are considring IUI, but we will have to save for it, which is why we are stopping in September.

If you have any more questions let me know! I am more than willing to discuss what I do know or research what I don't know. Like I said I am no expert, and I'm not very far in this process, and I hope I don't have to go much further, but I am learning a lot and I am willing to share what I learn and what I know. I am also willing to share how I feel in this process because this process really does consume you once you go through it. It becomes your life, your obsession. I think of my infertility every day of my life. It is a rollercoaster of a journey. I hold strong to Jeremiah 29:11, to others going through this process as well, and to my amazing husband, who is my rock during this time. He is not as affected as I am. He stays positive and that is fantastic to me.


Kittybits said...

I admire you so much for posting this. Good luck to you on your journey!

Mrs. G said...

Thanks for posting this. I am too on clomid, second round. I totally understand what you are going through. Good luck to you and your husband!