Monday, November 28, 2011

Cycle #2

Well... on CD15 I was ready to bag this cycle and call it a wash.

I had not even the faintest hint of a line on the OPK... I was having pain, but it was different than the ovulatory pain I experienced in the previous cycle. My CM was inconclusive... it's always kind of milky in color, but appeared to be thinner and more watery... since I have severe scarring of my cervix I know that CM isn't a reliable indicator for me. My cervix had moved higher and seemed to be softening...

So... I called Dr. Awesome's office. They suggested I either wait a few more days to see if a surge shows up -OR- go in for a scan and possible trigger. I opted for the scan.

Scan shows 1 follicle on my right ovary, 26mm. We do a progesterone draw to confirm that we haven't missed ovulation. Progesterone is .84 indicating I have not yet ovulated as of 10:30 am on CD15.

Once I return home, OPK's start showing a surge. By early afternoon it is fully positive. We are scheduled the following morning for IUI.

CD16, my temp is UP (WHAT?). 10:15 am, we are in the RE's office... sample is prepped and IUI goes off a bit smoother than last cycle, although still quite painful. My cervix remained open enough to get the catheter through... slowly and painfully. Thankfully, they didn't have to break through the scar tissue again.

Today, I'm 3dpo... concerned we actually missed our IUI window. Wondering what a better method will be for the next cycle (a few months away). Also, concerned that I had one cycle of great response to clomid and this one is piddly.

We did BD w/ Pre~Seed evening of CD13, hopefully with my cervix open and the extra fluids some of those swimmers made it to where they belong. So... BD CD13, O CD15, IUI CD16... the IUI could still be productive if my O was in the few hours before I woke up... if it was during the day on CD15 we are probably out of luck unless those swimmers made there way and hung out from our romp on CD13.

The next two cycles are breaks... well, technically, I'm having surgery on Dec. 22 for the endometriosis, cervical stenosis, & bladder pain. I'm so excited to start the Christmas break with surgery. Depending on the outcome of the surgery, we will try naturally in January and possibly start IUI again in February (clomid or injectables or combination?).

I'll head in on Friday for a progesterone draw... to confirm that ovulation occurred and was strong enough. If my progesterone is low, I will be prescribed suppositories to use until AF shows.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Natural Fertility Journey

We didn't jump right to ART... although I was pretty sure that our fertility issue was anatomical this time and might need some interference.

My bag of tricks has included:

BBT- Basal Body Temperature Charting w/ cervical signs and fluid
OPK's to confirm Ovulation (or lack of)

Food Based Prenatal Vitamins
Fish Oil/DHA
Vitamin D
Evening Primrose Oil

Self Fertility Massage DVD
Castor oil packs

Acupuncture (weekly)

I also tried guafenesin for cervical fluid and Metformin for PCOS for a very short time, it made me very ill.

The biggest impact on my cycles (becoming ovulatory) has been dietary changes. I gave up almost all sugar, only use healthy fats (real butter, EVOO, coconut oil), I eat gluten free and combine lean protein/complex carbs for my meals. I need to eat 5-6 times a day in order to regulate my blood sugars & boost my metabolism.

For the past 11 cycles, I have ranged from 26-37 days in length... for PCOS, this is remarkable. :-)

Calming the Baby Tide

I spent the last two years trying to regulate my cycle and return to an ovulatory pattern. I spent the first 3 months of the year charting, ensuring BD happened on the correct days, and assuming we'd be pregnant quickly... after all, I was ovulating which was my previous cause of infertility. We'd both spawned/birthed children previously despite some obstacles.

I spent the next 7 months fretting over why I wasn't pregnant yet... what else was wrong. Then the SA came back low... VERY low... so I blamed it on that. Two weeks later the SA came back normal (after a 60 hour abstinence). So, we decided maybe it was too frequent BD draining the supply.

While waiting three months to see the RE, we spaced out BD a bit, taking breaks during my fertile window while still getting enough action to ensure adequate swimmers. We used PreSeed (messy). Still nothing... not even a hint of a line on a stick...

Honestly, I knew deep in my mind that pregnancy won't be easy to achieve... now or ever. It wasn't a dozen years ago, why would it be now? I haven't conceived in 7.5 years, and there has been plenty of drama "down there" since that pregnancy and delivery. I just wanted it to be easy this time...

Strangely enough... now that we are on a plan, I feel better. I also think a part of me is just assuming it isn't going to work so my hopes aren't as high. I want it to work... and I will be an emotional wreck if it does (or doesn't), but I feel like that's one of those far reaching dreams that just may not be.

I've calmed down over the last 5 weeks... AF wasn't even emotional for me this past cycle (normally I'm a mess). I like having a plan. I like not having to stress about when we should (or shouldn't) BD. Now I have phases- 1. AF & baseline ultrasound 2. medication 3. POAS 4. IUI 5. progesterone draw 6. AF or BETA. This helps my OCD mind function. I'm sure after a few cycles of this, it will lose it's calming affect.

As things stand, this will be our last round before a couple month break. During that break, I will likely have my cervix dilated to remove the scar tissue and possibly have surgery to remove the endometriosis. After surgery, we are undecided about waiting for a few months and seeing if it happens on its own or continuing on with a couple more IUI's.

I want to say that I will do whatever it takes to have another child... to have a child with my amazing husband. But the reality is, I don't know how we could ever afford IVF... even if we managed to save the money for a round, how could we justify it with all the other expenses of raising our family (and trying to get out of debt).

For now, we are between medication and POAS phases. Sunday starts the OPK's (CD10). We will take BD breaks on CD12-until IUI (likely CD14). We will still use PreSeed on CD10 & 11 and following IUI. Last round, we had a 3 day BD break but the total swimmer count was lower than the previous 2 day break so I don't think it's going to change our numbers much. The counts were still good and motility was good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stress... AND Shingles?

I have shingles.

Related to TTC? Who knows. Generally, shingles can happen to anyone who has had chicken pox... the virus (varicella zoster) lays dormant in your body forever more and can be activated by STRESS.

It's incredibly painful... and I feel generally ill. I'm taking antivirals and using lidoderm pain patches over the rash. Putting the patches on is horrifically painful, but after about 10 minutes the pain improves. I can only leave the patches on for 12 hours so I've been going without at night. Funny, I'm not having difficulty sleeping... and I can lay on the side of the rash. It seems the steady pressure is bearable, but light friction is NOT. But, I do wake up VERY sore and don't want to move...

Evidently I can continue TTC... I'm right at the start of a new cycle and I'll be done with antivirals a week before ovulation. That said, the antivirals are considered safe during pregnancy (category B). I don't like to take even a Tylenol while I'm pregnant, so I'm glad the medicine will be done beforehand.

Yesterday I had my baseline ultrasound (CD3). I have a total of 16 anterior follicles. My uterus is clean and ready to go. I started clomid (150mg) yesterday, we are hoping 2-3 of those follies will mature and ovulate like they did last cycle. (It's great to know that my body starts with a good number of follicles, if we have to move onto IVF we know that injectables will mature all 16 of those follies.)

I'll begin using Clearblue OPK's on CD10, we are anticipating a CD14 ovulation again... which means IUI on Turkey Day! I'm still BBT charting, I like to confirm ovulation and watch for the length of my LP (and any variations). My temps are running a bit high due to the shingles virus AND clomid, so I may stop temping until CD8 (after clomid is done).

And that's about if for the next 10 days or so...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ART Fail...

I had myself convinced that we would be lucky... that one round at the fertility clinic and $1,000 would solve our baby making woes...

I even took it a step further... I had THREE beautiful, ripe follies so why not plan for triplets (or twins at least).

I'm just saying...

The reality is... no matter how many sticks I pee on... this round was a FAIL. And I hate that. I wanted this to be simple. I wanted it to be "oh, let's just get around this roadblock in your cervix and you'll be knocked up in no time".

I know, statistically speaking, this may work for us in the first 2-4 attempts. It took four ovulatory, well timed cycles to conceive baby girl number one and I was a dozen years younger (after many, many unsuccessful anovulatory cycles). So, why would I really think that the first go at this would work?

I've never been fertile. Yes, I have been blessed with birthing three beautiful daughters. I haven't conceived again in seven years... two of my three children required fertility assistance and I was in my early 20's. I've had surgeries and numerous gyn issues crop up in the last few years... so, why on earth would I think it'd be easy now?

Pulling myself together... moving on. Next cycle starts today...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Most Severe Pain EVER... and bad news.

Yesterday, midday, I started experiencing what I thought at first was indigestion or intestinal distress. It started as a burning sensation in my abdomen. After a bit it seemed to improve so I loaded 12 kids into the van for an outing... about 15 minutes into our drive I began experiencing such severe pain that I couldn't drive. Devoted Daddy had to leave work (it's grading time and therefore a very busy time for him) to drive me home and help with the kids until their parents picked up. I lay on the couch, curled in a fetal position with a heating pad pressed to my belly.

Dr. Awesome thinks I have a cyst (which is more common when you take fertility meds like clomid)... advised that I take Percocet and rest, call if it worsens, and come into the office in the morning for an ultrasound.

I don't take pain meds... so it took several hours of pain and two calls to the Dr. before I took a pain pill... then I slept. When I woke at 4am, the pain meds had worn off and I was in excruciating pain so I took another one, waited for it to kick in and set my alarm for 7:15 to call the clinic once they were open (thankfully my fertility clinic is open 7 mornings a week).

The good news is that I don't have a cyst... everything looks beautifully normal inside. The bad news is we don't have any clue what is causing the pain... Dr. thinks its likely severe endometreosis given my history.

In other news... I had a beta blood test as part of my work up today... it was negative. At 10dpo it should have shown at least mildly positive if we were pregnant.

I'm really struggling... I had three eggs and perfectly timed IUI and nothing took... what does that mean? Is there a blockage in my fallopian tubes? Could my ovaries be bound with adhesion that are preventing the eggs to enter my tubes? Are we wasting $1000 each cycle trying with IUI... should I stop and have the laparoscopy to figure out what is causing this pain and how its relating to my infertility before proceeding with more rounds of treatment?