Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Puppy Love

Here are some PUP-dates from our little family. Our big boy is 4.5 months old and weighing in between 55-59 lbs. He is so big some times its hard to remember he's a puppy, but boy he sure is!

Henry and Chipper BFF!

Henry actually talks back! Sometimes its kinda rude! I'll be telling him to do something and he always has A LOT to say about it! I caught him in the act for this picture!

They love love love to play ball!

Here are my big boys barking at the 2.5 pound Maltese puppy next door. I think it'd be an unfair fight!

Hope everyone is having a great day! And I wanna say congrats to one of my three favorite infertiles check out her blog here . Thanks Jennifer for saying something we all need to hear and reminding us that God has a plan for us all!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Im in love, Im in love, and I dont care who knows it!

This past Friday started off pretty badly. the hubs and I got up at 6:30 on his day off so I could go and get stuck with a needle for the third time in 6 days. Three hours later I got a phone call from my gyn's office (which by the way I let go to voicemail, immature I know but its way easier to not have to interact with the bad news) and my beta-hcg test was declining. This means no baby this month... Pretty dark day until about 1:30.
That afternoon we met with our new RE (reproductive endocrinologist). He is an amazing doctor and I LOVE HIM! The first thing he said was "ahh your young, I love youth" and about 50 times during our consult he said, "you're just so young". It was so nice to hear. I was also delighted to hear all the answers to my questions that I have been asking my gyn's nurse for the past six months and she had nothing to say... The doctor explained to me that women, like me, who have PCOS are most commonly prescribed Clomid. For these women 50% will get pregnant and 50% will not. I am obviously a part of the 50% that did not, and for those women the side effects caused by clomid are way more severe. Example- I was shocked to step onto the scale and discover that in the past 7 months since I started taking Clomid I had gained an additional 27 pounds. I was horrified, but the doctor reassured me it was quite normal for women who do not get pregnant to gain this much or even more weight from Clomid. Also I explained to him how my periods have gotten increasingly more painful and the blood is no longer red, its brown. He said this is a tell tale sign that my endometriosis is back and he immediately recommended that I have another laproscopic surgery. For women with endometriosis Clomid does one of two things, makes you pregnant so it goes away, or makes it increase at a high rate. Boy aren't I lucky!
Needless to say I wont be taking Clomid anymore. I have a total new plan of action! We are taking this month off to let all of the hormones get out of my system. In the mean time I have begun a drastic diet and exercise program. Don't judge. If you had gained as much weight as I have since your wedding you would too! We are hoping to schedule my surgery for sometime this cycle. It shouldn't be to bad. I've gone through it before, it's minimally invasive and quick recovery time and hopefully my cramps will stop! Then we are on to our new course of hormone treatment!! Femara and follistem injections! The doctor explained to us that I will not have near as many side effects from the new medication, no blurred vision, no mood swings (Pat is sooo thankful for this), and maybe even weight loss!!! Hallelujah! And it works twice as well!
Pat and I were so pleased with this course of action and elated that the RE didn't shove IVF (in-vitro fertilization) down our throats. He said IVF is still far off and we have A LOT of options before we get that far. So all and all it was a wonderful day we left feeling so positive and refreshed. My husband and I could not have asked for a better match in an RE. He is being really agressive but at the same time conservative. Im in love!
In the mean time, I awoke this morning to greet an old friend. Hello Aunt Flo. Thanks for bring me a lovely gift complete with terrible, awful, no good, very bad cramps and of course bloating. Ahh how I look forward to the days when you don't appear every month! Hopefully very soon! Until then I will continue to be a crampy camper who gets to boss my husband around for a few days! YAY!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Two Week Wait

So for every infertile girl out there you know how much this time really stinks. The 2ww is the longest time and its so funny because really two weeks isn't that long. During this time a crazy woman takes over my body, obsessed with every little twinge, analyzing every thing I put into my mouth (or want to put into my mouth), googling that same thing over and over again, So this abnormal girl in the middle of her 2ww is putting together a list of my normal 2ww behaviors. Brace yourself... this is my life.
1. For a week after ovulation I don't move, no vigorous exercise, no sex, no lifting, nothing... Don't wanna jar anything.
2. No caffeine and no alcohol. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love coffee, but I'd give up anything for a baby. And though i have been known to have a beer every once and a while (insert gasps here) really you and your baby don't share a blood line until six weeks. I'm not over doing it in the past 3 months I have had 2 beers. I read on an infertility website "Drink until its pink" meaning the lines on the test. While I don't booze it up all the time it is nice to relax.
3. GOOGLE, its really freakish how one person can google the same thing so many times. Sometimes I even change around the wording to try and get different results, but every time its basically -early pregnancy symptoms- and then I will check every website to see if anything I am experiencing is on that list... crazy because i know them by heart.
4. Subjecting my husband to the most bizarre lines of questioning that any man ever knew. "Honey (i walk into the bathroom while my husband is brushing his teeth, shirt pulled over my head) do my boobs look bigger to you?", "Honey (same situation) do my nipples look darker?","Honey (again the same) what about my veins to the look more prominent?" This month my husbands responded very politely "Yeah, they kind of look like a road map." Instead of being mad I was ecstatic because any google crazed infertile knows that boobs are the first one to know your pregnant most of the time.
5. Underware checking. As disgusting as it sounds and I might be terrifying you all but everytime I use the rest room I check my underware for any signs of anything. Mucous, implantation bleeding, and that every present gift AF.
6. Every twinge is a cause for concern. When your in your 2ww every time you feel anything it is scrutinized. " I think I'm cramping", "maybe its implantation", "what if the opk's were wrong and I'm ovulating now?".

This list was not meant to horrify, but maybe someone out there identifies with me and they don't have the courage or haven't yet found their voice to write about it. All these things that seem so abnormal are such a normal part of our lives it feels really good to write them down.
The really hard part for the 2ww is that so many of the early pregnancy symptoms mirror the symptoms of PMS and when taking fertility drugs these symptoms are often intensified. For example I woke up this morning to find that my boobs have nearly doubled in size (anyone who knows me knows this is a TALL order), my husband said anything before I even asked, and they are so soar... but that is a side effect of Clomid. SO no celebrating just yet.
The good news, The RE at the end of the tunnel.
Tomorrow Pat and I have an appointment to see an RE (reproductive endocrinologist) so for this 2ww wait the end is near. Because Friday is day 27 of my cycle and we still wont know if I'm pregnant, though typically at this point i have some indication, I am undergoing two hcg blood test 24 hours apart to see if my beta-hcg level is rising or falling. Why not just take a pregnancy test? Well because the injections that I use are hcg (human pregnancy hormone) so the test will give a positive result even if I'm not pregnant. And we don't want to go the RE if I am pregnant. So please everyone keep us in your prayers these next 24 hours will be really telling!

Also thanks for everyone's comments. I felt really good after reading them. And to answer one question, I had told the doctor about the bike riding. He encouraged it because my insulin level was high, but not high enough for medication and exercise naturally brings down insulin. So in my case exercise could have helped natural ovulation. But that point was excellent a lot of women struggling with infertility are too thin. Thanks again for the kind words and prayers!

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Coming out"

So sorry for the long break from blogging, but there has been something going on in my life leaving me in a very difficult place. Its something that has caused my husband and I a great deal of pain and frustration for the past sixteen months... we are struggling with infertility. I have held this back from my blog because I really wanted my blog to be a happy space with pretty pictures and positive messages about a young married couple. The true reason I started my blog was to keep my family and friends updated about a pregnancy, however now that it seems like my dreams are a little farther off I am going to use this space to vent, and rant about being infertile as well as list all the treatment and appointments.
I was really hesative to turn my blog this way. I didn't want it to become just another infertility blog with an angry woman, but as I was reading those blogs I noticed that most of these women are in their late 20's and 30's. No one in their early twenties talks openly about infertility. I am so lucky that in my life I currently have 3 good friends who are struggling almost with the same thing and they are all young too (not lucky they are going through this, lucky to not be by myself). So if this blog can be comforting to one young couple who is trying and not getting anywhere then I would be so happy. If not then it will just be a place for me to put all of my thoughts out there! And if nothing else this blog will be informative to everyone about all the new terms and treatments!
Lets start at the beginning. I went off the pill 2.5 months before my wedding, just to be safe they recommend this time before trying to conceive.

-November 2008 Pat and I tie the knot, and start trying on our honeymoon. I had gone to a conference about NFP (Natural Family Planning), the preferred method of birth control for the Catholic Church and intend to use that method since Pat and I practice our faith and embrace most of its principles of the church. I started using the Sympto-Thermal Method. This means taking your basal body temperature every morning and charting it also checking your cervical mucous and the softness of your cervix. That's right I brought my little pink thermometer on my honeymoon!
Everything was going ok we continued to try and my temperature seemed normal.A few bumps and dissapointments around this time... Normal meaning there was a spike in the middle of the month and my temperature stayed somewhat high after ovulation. Well this all changed in March, I had no ovulation spike in temperature, and Same for April and each month my cycle was getting longer and longer, not to mention in about three months time I had gained over twenty pounds.
April 2009- My cycle last 59 days and no ovulation spike, dr. puts me on Provera, a medicine to start your period.
June 2009- Start a new cycle in contact with the doctor about the possibility of having PCOS (Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome), the number one cause of infertility in the U.S. Basically it really messes up all of your hormones, causes high insulin, acne, weight gain, and lack of ovulation. June, July, and August's cycles last 79 days long... I had bought a long term OPK (Ovulation Predictor Kit ) and It was positive for 23 days in a row, that's when you know your hormones are really out of whack! I did a bunch of blood work ups and it turns out I did have PCOS and unusually high testosterone... In the mean time Horrible waiting. Also I am riding my bike between 10-15 miles a day and eating under 1200 calories but not loosing a single pound! A significant side effect of PCOS. SOOOO frustrating! Around the middle of August I was started again on Provera to start my period and went in to have a consult with the dr.
August 2008- I started taking Clomid, A commonly use fertility drug that makes your body ovulate. While taking clomid on day 21 of your cycle you test your blood to get a progesterone level. From this level they can tell whether or not you've ovulated. My progesterone was 8, normal for an ovulation adult is in the 20's. But, I started my period without medicine on day 28!!
September 2009-2nd round of clomid, Still no temperature spike. Progesterone level-9. Started by myself on day 25!
-October 2009 My cycle was really messed up, they had increased the clomid to 100mg but I was spotting so heavily that they didn't take a progesterone test, oh well. I started by myself again on day 28!
-November 2009 & December 2009 (my cycle goes from middle to middle). We continued to take the clomid at 100mg, but the doctors had suggested because we still were not pregnant and Pat had a low motility count that (sperm don't move as well as they should) that we start IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination) and HCG injections. So on day 14 of my cycle went to the dr's office for an ultra sound to see if i had any mature follicels (follicles are where an egg is released from and in order to perform the IUI the doctor wants to see one follicle that measures 18). I had three two follicle over the size of 18! So that night I got my first shot from Pat, who was strangely smiley about stabbing me with a needle! And on day 16 I had a large temperature spike and I was inseminated. This process may sound strange but basically Pat has to take his specimen to the dr's office early in the morning they spin it on a centrifuge to separate the sperm from the rest of the seminal fluid, 45 min later I am there. The doctor inserts a catheter through my cervix into the uterus and injects the sperm... very painful! When they go through my cervix they always have to use a little pincher thing to open it, OUCH! We were sooo hopeful it was going to work, all timing seemed perfect... Day 28 AF (aunt flo as she is commonly referred to in infertile circles) shows up. A lot of disappointment.
December 2009- We take the month off from Clomid because i will be away from Pat for the fertile days, the dr was hoping since I had been on Clomid so long I would ovulate and start AF by myself, no such luck day 35 I started provera.
January 2010- Clomid 100 mg, and on day 8 I had an HSG (hysterosalpingogram), an X-ray test where they place a catheter trough the cervix and insert die into your fallopian tubes. They then take X-rays to see if your tubes are blocked... good news no blockages but I was diagnosed with a slightly bi-cornuate uterus meaning my uterus is heart shaped and not like the normal triangle. Because it is so slight It "probably" won affect my ability to conceive but more that likely will put me at a higher rate for c-section delivery if I ever get there! On day 12 we go in for the ultrasound... follicles not big enough, we go back for another ultrasound 2 days later and I have 3 large follicle. IUI scheduled for 2 days later, however that same day I took an OPK and it was positive,did hcg injection that night, so I called the dr and we did the IUI the next morning. Waiting Waiting Waiting... AF day 29, crushed.
February/March- Last month on Clomid 100mg, you can only take it six months at a time to prevent ovarian scaring. I had three huge follicles, and a large temperature spike in conjunction with IUI and HCG injection so now we are again waiting waiting waiting!

Now that you are caught up with my history if you have any questions about any of this or other fertility questions I have become pretty knowledgeable, I would be happy to answer. After reading this blog I don't expect every one to understand, or to empathize, and I'm not asking for your pitty or for you to feel bad for me. Just for your prayers and thoughts! Pat and I have had a really hard time with all of this and I am only 23 so I cannot imagine what It is like going through this later in life when options are much more limited, We are so blessed that we found each other so early in life and are both so focused on a family. What a wonderful and loving God we have!!!
Now that I have officially "come out" I will have lots of posting to, because as you will see this really can take over your life!