Sunday, June 26, 2011

Infertility Resume Continued-2008

Okay, so this is another one of those times that I wish I had kept better documentation.  We took a break from fertility meds.  I remember talking to my OB about putting me on BC right after we stopped the treatments.  He asked me if I thought I could handle not being on BC and "trying on our own for a while."  Of course I said YES!  I remember being so excited that he thought it might happen.....we might get pregnant on our own.

Well, I remember it wasn't long and I started having crazy periods again.  First they were 40, then 50, then 60 days apart.  (Talk about getting your hopes up that you are pregnant!)  Then they started their every 14 days again.  So, I made an appointment to see him again.  He put me back on BC.  He tried Lybrel which is one of the BC's that you don't have a period on.  Well, we quickly found out that my body does NOT like those.  I remember spotting for a whole month.  Ugh.

So, he decided that I should stay on the BC and stop taking it for 5 days every time I spotted for more than one day in a row.  I don't remember why he didn't want to just change my BC, but there was a good reason.  It actually worked much better and I started feeling great after a few months!  My OB was wonderful!  I'm still so sad he moved!

The notes from our HRE (horrid re) state that I called on 3-4-08 to make an appointment to consult with our HRE to discuss starting treatments again.

Our appointment with HRE was on 4-7-08.  He decided to DC my BC, try letrozole2.5 mg x 5 days, and do a mid cycle scan.  This is the first time we discussed IUI.  It also says we discussed gonadotropins (injections) verses ovarian drilling, but I don't remember that at all.  I was probably very over whelmed, or we never actually discussed it.  I don't know.

I remember having to sign a consent to take letrozole because it was not an FDA approved fertility medicine.  I remember that it was a cancer medicine.  Anyway, it was kind of a last resort.  It is what they try on women that clomid and femara don't work on.  

I called on 4-25-08 to tell them I had started my cycle and the meds.  I scheduled my day 13 ultrasound for 5-7-08.
5-7-08--left ovary 24.6, 13.9.  right ovary 20.5.  Endo thickness-7.71.  (basically perfect.)  We decided against IUI, mainly because of the extra cost and my husband has no issues with his sperm.  The doctor couldn't tell me that it would make that much of a difference.

5-7-08--Had Ovidrel injection at 8 pm to try to get my ovary to release the egg.  My OB's wife/my boss gave me the injection.  I was still too scared to give myself a shot!  

5-9-08--had to call to find out if I was supposed to take progesterone this cycle.  By the way, I was supposed to already be taking it and no one told me.  ugh.  (I remember the break down that came with this.)

5-19-08--I started.  After an almost perfect cycle.

5-22-08--had day 3 ultrasound to see if I was cleared for next treatment.  In the notes, it states that my right ovary is in the normal position, and my left ovary is behind my uterus.  It is always like that.  It pretty much makes vaginal ultrasounds a little (okay a lot) uncomfortable.  It also makes me wonder if that is part of what is wrong.  A very tilted uterus and a left ovary behind my uterus.  Nothing is where it is supposed to be.  That can't be helpful in the whole pregnancy process.  And, just a side note:  I have had to help more than one person do a vaginal ultrasound on me find my ovary.  I know pretty much exactly where the wand should be to be able to see my left ovary.  Sounds crazy, but it is more comfortable than letting them look around.  Uncomfortable.

5-22-08--I had no large cysts!!  YAY!  I got to move right on to the next cycle.  Same protocol as last time, but we decided that if the HRE decided that the results from the meds were as good as the last time we would do IUI.  

5-29-08--Ultrasound says 11.9, 10.1, and 18.9 on left.  11.1 and 10.5 on right.  I remember being very disappointed.  I had lab drawn.  I keep forgetting to mention that, but every time I stepped into the HRE's office I had lab drawn.  Just a part of it.  Dr. B decided to do a follow up ultrasound in 2 days to see if the follicles had progressed.  He also explained IUI.

6-2-08--left ovary 10.1, 16, 12.9.  right ovary 13.  Endo thickness 7.66.  ugh.  

6-2-08--got lab results.  Was told to start OPK (ovulation predictor kit) as if I had a surge I was to call.  We decided to go ahead with IUI this cycle.  

Apparently I had no surge with my ovulation predictor kits.  We talked about it and decided not to do IUI this cycle because we wanted to save it for when we had better results.  

6-19-08--I started.  Again.

6-23-08--came in for day 3 ultrasound.  Small cysts on both ovaries, but decided to go ahead with treatment.  Decided to change protocol.  Femara 2.5 days 5-9.  Bravelle injections 75 units days 10-12.  Ultrasound day 13.  Decide when to do IUI on day 13.

I remember how scary doing those injections was for me.  I decided I couldn't ask my boss to give me injections everyday for 3 days so I was going to be a big girl and do it myself!  ha.  So I did.  I gave myself shots in my stomach.  It really was so easy and not bad at all!  

7-1-08--left ovary 12.1, 10.3.  right ovary 17.5.  endo thickness 8.33.  HRE decided 1 more day of bravelle injections then lab to determine when to do ovidrel and IUI.  

 I remember getting the phone call to give myself the ovidrel immediately and I was ready for IUI the next day!  so EXCITING!  I had to call my husband and ask him to bring my ovidrel to work.  I remember sitting in my bosses office to give myself that shot.  I shared an office with another girl, and she had a parent in our office!  ha.  

7-2-08 was my first IUI.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I remember that we waited FOREVER after my husband gave his sample.  I was afraid something was wrong.  There I was sitting in an exam room undressed from the waist down for over an hour!  Ugh!  This place had no regard for their patience's comfort.  I remember the IUI being pretty uncomplicated once it finally happened.  I remember laying on that hard table with my feet up in the air for 10 minutes afterwards.

It really wasn't painful at all right afterwards.  We came home and packed the camper to go to the lake.  We left a few hours later.  After we got there I was in so much pain!!  When I do ovulate it is pretty painful.  I was hoping that was why I was hurting.  

7-14-08--had negative pregnancy test.  ugh.

7-24-08--started my period.  We decided to take a break from treatments.  

The IUI was the last time that I walked into that office.  Fertility treatments are a very emotional process.  I believe that everyone working in a RE office should be respectful and realize what all of the couples coming in there are there for.  I believe that they should have sympathy.  I believe that fertility treatments are very touchy and costly and everyone should remember that.  I believe that when going through something so tough I should not be just a number.  I believe that before the doctor walks in the room that he should read my chart and at least know my name and what treatment protocol we have decided on.  I believe that I should be informed of what I should do next and what meds to take and that I shouldn't have to call multiple times and ask multiple questions before I get answers.  I believe I should never hear you should have already been taking that when no one told me.  

The above is what prompted us to not go back to this RE and find a new one.  We took a very long break from treatments due to trying to save money,  finding a new RE, and trying to get an appointment with our new RE. 

I have also decided to let it go.  I have held onto my deep dislike for my HRE for too long.  Yes, I do still believe that if they had taken more time to talk to me, get to know me and my medical problems, and really tried to help me I would not be in the place I am now.  But I also know that I was clueless and uneducated on infertility and that was my fault.  I am to blame, also.  I also know that this was a very good learning experience for me.  I learned that you do have to do your own research and take responsibility for your own illness.  You cannot whole heartedly trust that a doctor is doing what is in your best interest.  At least this experience did not have to do with a life/death situation.  It could have been worse.  And I learned one of the hardest life lessons I have learned to date.  
And I'm going to let it go.

Of course I ended up back on BC because I started having my period every 14 days again.  This is when I was told to always either be on BC or fertility treatments because not doing one or the other could cause uterine disease which could lead to cancer.

May not sound like a big deal, but it was huge to me.  That statement totally took away the possibility of me getting pregnant "on my own."  That was when I started to realize that I may never get pregnant.  This was one of the hardest parts of our journey and when I think I was feeling down the most.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What is in Such a Tiny Pill??

Last Thursday I forgot my birth control pill.  I did not realize it until Saturday.  Thank goodness for the days of the week listed on the pill pack!  Thursday night I was very sick at my stomach and just blamed it on something I ate, but I really didn't know why.  Friday I was, well lets just say, a little testy.  ha.  I thought maybe it was because I had gotten so hot sitting outside at a little festival where my mom and I had a booth. 

Usually when I get hot I don't like to eat much, but on Friday I could NOT get enough to eat!  It was crazy.  I kept telling my mom, "I don't know what is wrong with me, but I just don't feel like myself!"  I chalked it up to the heat.

On Saturday morning we were on our way back to the festival and I was taking my medicine.  I actually looked at my birth control when I took it and it said I was taking Friday's pill when it was Saturday.  Ut Oh!  I knew I had in fact taken it on Friday, so I started putting the pieces together and realized it must have been Thursday that I missed my pill.

By Saturday my face had started breaking out, and I was just SO tired.  I decided to take an extra pill Saturday night when I ate.  I knew it might make me a little sick at my stomach, but I can handle that if I feel a little more like me.

My mom and I got very hot, too hot in fact, at the festival.  We came home earlier than planned on Saturday.  I was hot, tired, sweaty, etc., when I got home, BUT I could NOT stop cleaning!  It was crazy!  I don't know why, but when I am not on birth control I have some very serious OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) symptoms.  My husband had not gone with us to the festival, so he was very happy to see me when we got home.  Poor guy.  I really seem to take things out on him when my hormones are not right. 

I started bossing him around the minute I walked in the door, and then I would start apologizing.  It is like I just can't control what comes out of my mouth, and I have NO patience.  Especially with him.  Of course I told him what I had done.  He offered to fix me something to eat so I could get that extra pill in my system.  ha.

Sunday morning I did feel much more like myself.  I was a little sick at my stomach and I slept most of Sunday away, but I can handle that much better than my OCD bossy self!  Oh, and by the way, as hot, tired, sweaty, and CRAZY as I was when I got home on Saturday, I cleaned my place from top to bottom.  Ugh.  I just couldn't stop. 

But, even though it helped my ahem...attitude....ahem, I am broken out, hungry, tired, and my ovaries and uterus hurt.  Okay, so I know it sounds silly to say my ovaries and uterus hurt, but after you have taken as many fertility meds as I have you know RIGHT where your ovaries are.  And after having a DNC, I know RIGHT where my uterus is. 

And believe me, it could be much worse, and I definitely realize that, but it just amazes me what all is in that tiny little pill.  I am SO thankful for that tiny little pill and believe me, I am going to try my hardest not to forget to take that tiny little pill again!

Well, and speaking of fertility meds, we are moving into a new place in the middle of July sometime.  So, I decided to start cleaning out a few cabinets so there isn't quite as much to do when it gets closer.  The first one I tackled was the medicine cabinet.  I truly did not expect to find anything that made me sad, but boy was I wrong.  I found progesterone from 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.  Okay, so maybe when I was done with it because I wasn't pregnant I just threw it in the cabinet and didn't look at it again.  I was reading the dates and most of them were summer dates.  It made me kind of sad because this is the first summer in 5 years that we haven't been doing fertility treatments.

Don't get me wrong, summer is a horrible time to be doing fertility treatments, but it is easiest with my husband's job and it just always seemed to work out that summer is when we had the most money saved.  So, that is how we have spent our summers.  No, I do not enjoy fertility treatments, but they are kind of exciting and always gave me hope that this might be IT!  So, I have to admit, it made me kind of sad that we are not doing treatments this summer. 

I also found some bravelle.  I almost made me sick.  That stuff is SO expensive!  If I had known it was in there I would have donated it to someone who was having trouble paying for their fertility treatments. 

I also found an empty package of birth control.  I looked at the date and rememberd why I kept it.  It was the last BC I took before I started my fertility treatments last spring at my new RE clinic.  I had a lot of hope.  I wanted to be able to look at that empty BC package and know it was the last package I would take for almost a year.  I just knew this was going to be IT! 

I did throw it all away, the progesterone, the bravelle, the out of date ovulation predictor kits, the out of date pregnancy tests, and the empty package of birth control.  And it made me kind of sad.

Obviously the treatments did not work, but it was nice to remember how much hope I had.  So, now I am ready.  I have found the motivation I needed.  I am ready to get in shape and start saving for IVF.

Isn't it funny how God works sometimes??  He even works through the cleaning out of medicine cabinets.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Overweight and Infertility

You can call it uneducated, naive, denial, or many other words, but I honestly had no clue that my weight would affect my fertility.  I had always known something wasn't quite right.  I really didn't over eat very often.  I did not always make the best choices, but my choices vs. the large amount that I am/was over weight didn't add up.  Yes, I could have exercised more, made better choices, and learned to stop eating before I was miserable, but it still didn't add up.

I have been over weight since I was about 6 years-old.  Not morbidly obese, but enough that it was definitely noticeable. 

I had an adult neighbor growing up who was a huge influence in my life.  She likes to talk, as do I.  My mom and I would often meet up with her in the street between our 2 houses and talk.  Before we knew it 2 hours had gone by and we are still standing in the street talking!  (Needless to say I did not grow up on a very busy street.  ha!)  She had 4 children, her oldest son being a year younger than me.  She then had 2 more sons and a daughter.  I babysat the 3 younger ones quite often. 

I remember one of our conversations one time just between the 2 of us standing in our street. She said to me, "Well, it has begun.  H's (her daughter) friends have started making fun of her for being fat."  At this time H was about 7 years-old.  She was a healthy child and maybe had a little belly, but no where close to obese.  She continued to tell me that it just broke her heart to have H coming home from school crying because the other girls were being mean and making fun of her. 

Then she says, "How do you handle it?"  Me a little confused says, "Handle what?" 

See, I had honestly never let my weight control me.  Thanks to my natural temperament (that I was born with) and my awesome mom who continuously fed my self esteem, I really most of the time did not let my being over weight bother me.  So much so, sometimes I even forgot I was over in this situation.

Then she says, "Your weight.  You don't seem to let it bother you."  And I am sure I kind of giggled, which I do in most situations, and told her that I had decided along time ago (I was only maybe 14 or 15. lol) that if "someone doesn't like me for me then I don't need them in my life."  She was a very expressive person and with her jaw dropped and her eyes bugging she says something like, "How do I teach H to be like you? I want her to feel that way!  Wow."  She then told me that most adults still haven't learned that in their life, and she thought it was great that I could feel that way.  She then of course asked me if I would talk to H about the girls making fun of her and encourage her that she didn't need friends like that.  H and I were like *this (fingers crossed).  (H even had my phone number memorized and say maybe her mom was very busy running 4 children around and maybe sometimes forgot to pick H up from dance class, and H would call, "Mom forgot me at dance AGAIN.  Can you please come get me?"  LOL!  So, of course I would.)

Now, don't get me wrong.  I was made fun of.  I am sure there were a few tears shed.  But, I had plenty of friends ......and even boyfriends ........who loved me for me.  So, H soon lost her baby/young kid weight and became a beautiful young lady.  I am pretty sure she didn't have to worry about the struggles that her mom was concerned she would have her whole life.  Thankfully!

But me, well, I have never gotten rid of the overweight status.  And honestly I still feel the same way I did at 14.  But, this whole being overweight affects your fertility really stinks.  All that time I had spent excepting my being over weight.  Not that I think it was necessarily a "bad" thing that I excepted it, but I never had a clue that it would be one major piece the puzzle.  The puzzle that is keeping me from being pregnant.  No, being over weight isn't necessarily the only thing that is keeping me from being pregnant, but it is a large piece of the puzzle.  It pretty much throws a curve ball at what I have spent me life excepting. 
Now I heard from many doctors in my life that it would make my asthma better if I would lose a little weight.  I just let it roll right on by me.  Ha.  I had heard from a few doctors after I had a bad car wreck that injured my ankle that if I would get some weight off my ankle it would help it heal.  I also let that roll on by. 

Me, stubborn???  Never!

So when I hear from my first RE that losing weight would help my fertility, I honestly let it roll on by.  I thought, just like in every other situation, that losing weight always helps every situation......but I had overcome all of my other medical issues without losing weight, so why was fertility any different.  Boy was I wrong!

I have to say that I could tell it made my HRE (horrid reproductive endocrinologist)  feel uncomfortable to tell me that I needed to lose weight.  He did not harp on it at all.  He said it once and never mentioned it again.  It wasn't until I kept having fertility struggles that I did my own research and found out that losing weight could really make the biggest difference in my fertility.  It could make more of a difference than any of the fertility drugs.

So I tried.  I exercised more.  I ate what I thought was better.  I definitely ate less. 
Annnnnddddd nothing. 
I couldn't lose a pound. 
I just kept packing them on. 

Then I remembered that when I was in college and was put on BC for female issues, I lost weight.  Most people gain weight on BC.  It was all beginning to click.

Then I went to see my new WRE (wonderful reproductive endocrinologist) and he gave it to me straight.  He told me that my PCOS is likely why I had been overweight my whole life.  He asked me if I had tried to lose weight on my on and been unsuccessful.  With tears streaming down my face I said yes.  *Finally, someone understands!*  He told me that with my PCOS, I couldn't do it on my own.  He prescribed metformin and told me to pick a diet.  Atkins, Weight Watchers, etc., and do it.  He told me he wanted me to lose 25 pounds before I saw him again.  I thought to myself......."It will NEVER happen.  I've tried this before."

I joined Weight Watchers, and to my surprise, it worked!  I have lost 45 pounds since I first met with my WRE.  I appreciate that he doesn't look like he feels uncomfortable when he tells me to lose weight.  I appreciate that he isn't cruel about it.  I appreciate that he told me my PCOS is not my fault and that is why I could never lose weight. 

But I'm stuck.  I want to still lose weight (believe me I still have plenty I could lose!), but it isn't happening as "easy" as it was for me.  I use the term "easy" lightly.  I just don't know where to go from here.  I have almost lost my motivation.  YES, I still very much so desire to be pregnant and I know losing weight could help IVF be successful, but where do I go from here. 

I have GOT to find my motivation, and I am really hoping that writing this all out will help me find it!