Archive | June, 2015

That Time I Ate Pineapple Core

30 Jun

Ladies in a group I follow mentioned eating pineapple core to help with implantation. I’ve eaten a lot of pineapple the last few days, including the core. It’s gross. So I was wondering, what crazy advice or tips have you been given to improve your fertility? Which ones have you done?  What changes, procedures, or additions have you made to your life to try to get pregnant?

Here’s my list of life changes:

  • I’ve gone on various fertility drugs over the last two and a half years in different combinations:
    • Progesterone
    • Clomid + Estradiol + Progesterone
    • Femara + Estradiol + Progesterone
    • Femara + Gonal-F (FSH) + Ovidrel (Trigger) + Progesterone
  • I had an HSG (hysterosalpingogram) to make sure my tubes weren’t blocked.
  • I had laparoscopic surgery for possible endometriosis. I didn’t have endo, but I did have some pretty severe polycystic ovaries that were zapped à la “ovarian drilling.”
  • I could probably buy stock in the at home pregnancy test and ovulation predictor kit (OPK) companies for the amount of them I’ve purchased.
  • I’ve been following a PCOS-sensitive diet, which includes giving up dairy (so hard, I love cheese & ice cream) and limiting carbs. For the most part, I eat almost all organic. I also eliminated all soda and most coffee. I do still drink a coffee on occasion … maybe once a week.
  • I drink spearmint tea (supposed to help with some PCOS symptoms).
  • I take supplements (prenatal vitamin, evening primrose oil, and a probiotic).
  • I go to acupuncture once a week and get treated specifically for infertility and stress reduction.
  • I walk 4-5 miles a day (usually).
  • I do yoga 3-4 times a week (usually).
  • I diffuse essential oils to unwind.
  • I go to see a therapist every two weeks to talk about the struggle. For someone who’s never been in therapy before struggling with infertility, this was sort of a big deal.
  • We did IUI for the first time … and now we’re waiting.

As far as the two-week wait, I’m championing through. I think about it a lot, but I’m trying not to let it consume me. Luckily, I’m pretty busy at work right now. My therapist recommending packing my schedule full of things to do, including scheduling some out past when I can take the home pregnancy test. She thinks that’ll make it so I’m not focused only on that test. I think I need a vacation.

That Awkward Moment …

29 Jun

When your therapist says, “Oh, you dressed up today! You’re wearing make-up. It’s noticeable.”

That made me feel really self-conscious. I’m wearing a polo shirt and khaki shorts. Since when is that “dressing up?” And yes, I did wear some new make-up today, but I didn’t think it was anything crazy. I mostly just wanted to try said make-up out for the first time. And I put a small hippie braid on one side of my head to get my hair out of my eyes. I must really look crappy when I go see my therapist. Is she judging my mental well-being based on what I wear? I hope not, I go there wearing comfortable things. Who wants to sit and cry on a couch while wearing a dress?

Note to self: Stop dressing like a scrub when you go to therapy sessions. Just because your uterus is sad doesn’t mean you need to look dumpy. Lay off the workout gear in public. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear normal working people attire on occasion. Live a little. Put on some make-up. Wear shoes that aren’t running shoes.

In other news, I’m already sick of the two-week wait (TWW) and it’s only been two days. This is going to feel like an eternity before I can pee on a stick!  I really, really want to feel optimistic for a positive outcome, but I also know that can lead to potential disappointment. This doesn’t always work on the first shot. But hey, if you’re out there and you had IUI and got pregnant the first time you tried IUI, let me know. I want to hear tales of success! Tell me about it!

You Want Me To Do What? And, Hey, Let’s Wait.

28 Jun

Saturday was a whirlwind.

Husband got up early to go to the fertility clinic and create a specimen. He sent me a lovely photo of the “room” they put him in. It consisted of a toilet and a hospital recliner. Sexy times!

We both went back to the clinic later that morning and met with my acupuncturist. But before that happened, I got super nervous in the parking lot and had to run into the building to go to the bathroom. Thanks, nerves.

Once we arrived, my acupuncturist met us in the waiting room. He needled me up in the IVF recovery area, which is not exactly the optimal “chill” kind of places. Lights were on. People were talking. Music was playing. I hummed along to Tom Petty’s The Waiting and Journey’s Lovin’, Touchin’ Squeezin’. Before I knew it, I was getting de-needled and headed back to the waiting room.

I felt like i had a small entourage with my acupuncturist and husband both being there, my Reproductive Posse. Eventually, they took hubby and I back to a room where I disrobed from the waist down. The nurse came in, had us verify a bunch of facts — gotta make sure the seed is the seed you need!

The IUI procedure in itself didn’t last very long. It was similar to getting a pap smear. No big deal. Immediately after, they raise your derrière up in the air for 15 minutes and you lay there willing your mate’s boys to GO FOR THE GOLD. For me, it was longer because my acupuncturist came into the room and needled me up a second time. Which, you know, was only mildly awkward considering he could see all of my nether regions (I’m guessing) since I was only covered up by a flimsy paper cloth. Yeah, buddy! It’ll be fun looking you in the eye the next time I see you!

So, I laid there a 2nd time with more needles in me for about 20 minutes. Husband and I talked about random things while we waited. Then we were done, I got all the needles pulled out of me, and we left. In the car, he asked me if it was as good for me as it was for him. Ha, what a joker! Just a fun 3 hours at the fertility clinic on a Saturday hoping that it results in progeny!

Oh, before we left, the nurse said we can take a home pregnancy test in TWO weeks. Why do I feel like the next 13 (12, really) days are going to drag on and on and on and on? Oh, and she told me to start my progesterone today … but not orally. She told me to insert the pills vaginally. Say what, lady? You want me to do what?! Yes, insert the pills vaginally. Um, okay. Of course I looked online and other ladies have done this (of course). They all complained of stained underwear. Fun. Super. Time to break out the 2nd string undies.

And for now, we wait. And hope. And wait. And try not to think about it (HA!).

It’s Go Time

25 Jun

We have our go-forward plan from my RE’s office.

  1. I take the Ovidrel trigger tonight at 10 p.m.
  2. My husband goes in to leave his specimen at 7:15 a.m. (sorry, honey) on Saturday.
  3. I meet up with my acupuncturist at the fertility center at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday.
  4. The IUI is at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
  5. When it’s over, I have the second acupuncture needling done with my acupuncturist.
  6. I start taking progesterone again on Sunday.
  7. WE WAIT.

I think it’s so cool the fertility center allows acupuncturists to come on site and do their acu-magic. I’m even more excited that my acupuncturist for the last 2 years gets to come help me. Being around people you trust matters and I consider him a trusted friend. I remain cautiously optimistic about everything. I see a glimmer of hope.

I am sure the waiting will be the hardest part. Probably harder than giving up cheese. I sure do miss cheese. Especially Parrano.

In other news, today was the day of blood draws. I had one done to check my estrogen at the fertility center this morning. I had two more at the hospital when I (finally) went for my GI Distress Test and B-12 check. I went to the lab closest to me that also happens to be in the children’s hospital. It was incredibly sad seeing so many sick little ones. Seeing kids struggling to breathe on their own breaks my heart. 😦

Hurry Up And Wait.

25 Jun

I had an super early morning appointment at the fertility center to check follicles and determine when we’ll have the IUI done. When I got to the clinic, the doors were locked and there was a woman and her husband waiting on the bench. We started talking and she told me they are doing IVF and have been trying for 7 years. I feel for her. That is rough.

Once I got called back, the lab lady took my blood and another lady did the ultrasound. She said I had one good looking one and several smaller ones … and then told me nothing about our next steps. Apparently, the nurses don’t come in until 8 and they are the ones looking at my labs and ultrasound and putting together ‘the plan.’ After that, then the doctor either agrees or modifies ‘the plan.’ What this means is that I won’t know anything until later this afternoon. Ultrasound lady did tell me that she thinks the doc will have me stay on the injections another day or two (awesome, can’t wait for more headaches and dancing to Follicle Inferno that’s happening inside me). Burn, baby, burn, follicle inferno! Her best guess was that it’ll be Monday or Tuesday.

Don’t they know Type A personalities don’t deal well with life in limbo? Also, my boss is letting me have whatever day it ends up being on off of work, so I’d really like to know so I can give him some advance notice. *sigh*

In other news, my acupuncturist says he goes to the fertility center to do before/after acupuncture for women having IUI and IVF procedures. He gave me his cell phone number to arrange that, which I think will be awesome. I need all the help I can get!

It’s Been Awhile. Why Not Blog About It?

24 Jun

Considering nearly two years have passed since I last posted, perhaps I should catch people up.

Yes, I’m stil trying to be better. Weight isn’t sliding off of me, but I’ve found a few answers as to why that might be happening along the way.

My husband and I have been trying to conceive for about two and a half years. It hasn’t been going so great. I had an hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to see my fallopian tubes were open last winter. One was blocked, but my doctor got it to open up during the procedure (yes, that hurt). Essentially, I had to lay on a hospital bed, lower half exposed and move around whenever he told me to while he shot dye through a catheter he jammed up in me. The pain was short-lived, but intense, and I do not consider it an enjoyable procedure … not that many procedures in your nether regions are enjoyable.

I also had laparoscopic surgery for possible endometriosis in April. What’s that? I was put under, and my doctor and the good ol’ daVinci robot went on an expedition to find possible endometrial adhesions or other potential things going on in my insides. My doctor found some adhesions and removed them, but the labs came back saying they are not endo. So I guess I don’t have that after all. I do have some pesky polycystic ovaries, though. My doctor found over 20 and performed “ovarian drilling” to zap them away. I was officially diagnosed with PCOS, which may explain some of my issues losing weight despite walking 4-5 miles a day and eating healthy. Oh, and since I had the procedure, minus the several week recovery, I’ve had zero lower back pain. An odd, yet wholeheartedly embraced, feeling since I’ve had back pain for years. Oh, and if you’re ever bored, research some of the symptoms of PCOS – it’s a laundry list of everything a lady doesn’t want in her life: infertility, excess hairiness in places you do not want hairiness, gathering/gaining weight in your mid-section, irregular periods, acne, skin tags, dandruff, thinning hair, sleep apnea, depression, etc.

In researching PCOS, I found that lots of ladies have had some success in managing their symptoms by cutting out dairy and carbs, so I decided to try that out myself. The hardest part has been giving up cheese and ice cream. I freakin’ love cheese, man. Saying goodbye to that is the hardest. I still struggle if we go out to eat because everything has cheese! A few weeks off of both, and our anniversary hit. My husband took me to a nice Italian restaurant and I had way too many carbs and way too much cheese that night. My system couldn’t handle it and I was very unpleasantly sick for two days — to the point of never really wanting to eat either thing again. I mentioned to my doctor how much better I’ve felt since I quit them and that I think I may have a food allergy with one or both of those things. He ordered me a “GI Distress Test.” Sounds awesome, right? I have to go take that at some point. I’ve also been working with a nutritionist who has me on an all organic diet with the goal of keeping my insulin levels very steady and calm with no spikes so my body is ready for pregnancy. If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me gnawing on some meaty proteins, sipping spearmint tea (Tea Gschwendner makes a lovely Moroccan Mint), or buying out the organic produce aisle at the grocery store.

In the meantime, after over a year of trying various drug combinations to try to get my system to regulate and ovulate without success, my OB referred my husband and I to a fertility clinic. This was right after we were all so very excited by a blinking ovulation predictor kit (OPK) result the day I had a follicle check scheduled at his office. We had never seen one before, so we were quick to think the surgery and drugs worked and this was our time! It was short-lived excitement because the test continued to blink for 16 days. That ain’t right and that is what prompted him to send me to the fertility clinic.

I wasn’t feeling particularly ready for that step, but we went to the fertility clinic appointment anyway and listened to the doctor. Surprisingly, he made me feel more at ease … like we can do this … like we have a plan. So, I agreed to up my dosage of the ovarian stimulation drug letrozole (femara), start taking follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH ) injections (gonal-f), take an human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) trigger shot (ovidrel), and try intrauterine insemination (IUI) for the first time later this month.

All of the mumbo jumbo and acronyms above basically mean the following:

  1. I took more of the cancer drug femara at the beginning of my cycle. It makes your body think you’re going into menopause so that when you go off it, your body is like, “HEY, HEY GIVE ME SOME EFFING ESTROGEN NOW, BITCHES!” It has fun side effects like hot flashes and headaches. Fun fact: Octomom was on this drug (scary!).
  2. I’m currently shooting myself in the stomach every night between the hours of 6-8 p.m. with a gonal-f injection pen. It turns me into a follicle making inferno complete with night sweats and killer all-day-long headaches. Oh, and it also conks me out in 1-2 hours (hello, old lady bedtime!).
  3. When I go in for my follicle check with my doctor, he’ll decide when he wants to give me the trigger shot of ovidrel. Once he administers it, we have 24 hours to get a specimen (read: splooge in a cup) to their office.
  4. After I drop off the specimen, they “clean” it, I come back later that day, the doctor inserts a catheter (yay, my favorite) in me and shoots me full of the specimen. I lay there for ten minutes and then I leave and go about my day.
  5. We wait. I pee on some more sticks to see if this worked.
  6. Hopefully all of the above results in a pregnancy. If not, rinse & repeat. If it doesn’t work after a few attempts, then we move further down the Monopoly board of Infertility. We do not pass go, and we do not collect $200. Instead, we start looking into in vitro fertilization (IVF) or other methods. Or maybe adoption.

I am cautiously optimistic. If I’ve learned anything the last few years of trying, infertility is a roller coaster of hope and despair … and you never really know which day it’s going to be on any given day. For now, the things that are keeping me sane (in no particular order) are: acupuncture, essential oils, yoga, talking to a therapist, and long walks with my dog. Oh, and the occasional binge purchase on iTunes of music I’d be embarrassed to listen to if I was still a judgmental music snob in my 20’s.

Stella Nash

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