Clomid.

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So… this starts today!!! As I mentioned in our last post, our doctor wants me to take Clomid for two cycles before we actually try to get pregnant just to ensure that we have the right dose. I am going to be taking the lowest dose to begin (50mg). Because I have PCOS, I may have to go on a higher dose, which I am glad I know ahead of time.

For those of you that don’t know or are just starting to look into this process, Clomid will stimulate ovulation in my body by blocking the estrogen receptors. Now, not being very medically minded myself, this didn’t make a ton of sense to me. It basically forces my body to have a “normal” cycle. My doctor recommended this not just because I do not have normal cycles but also because we want to make sure to control my ovulation so we know exactly when to do the insemination.

Also, just a note that Clomid is a very affordable way to control your cycle for the period of time that you are trying to get pregnant. Where we live, it was $21.99 per cycle (without insurance because our insurance does not cover fertility treatments).

According to my doctor, this is how my cycle should look and will now look because of Clomid:

Day 1: Start of period

Day 5: Start Clomid

Day 14: Ovulation should happen. This day, I will have an Ultrasound to make sure that I am, indeed ovulating. You can also, at this point opt to do at home ovulation tests. But, I want to make sure we know my body well and we know exactly what she is doing. Ultrasounds are the most precise way to know so we are going with that.

Day 21: Progesterone test. This was ordered by the doctor as another way to ensure that my ovulation cycle happened properly as Progesterone should be high after ovulation.

Now… I have heard from people I know and lots of people on social media that Clomid has some pretty terrible side effects. Hot flashes, headaches and worst of all, moodiness. I have known this since the beginning of starting this process. I plan to self-care a ton this weekend and journal here the entire time so I can track my moods (and hopefully give you all a heads up for what is in store). I am hopeful that this low dose doesn’t cause too many mood swings!

I am feeling amazing about this process. I trust our doctor and I have read countless articles and pamphlets about Clomid. I am so glad that we are starting early and that we will know how my body reacts. This is great! Everyone send your good thoughts our way that it goes correctly!!

Love,

Abby & Chrissy

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Where We’re At.

Hi all!

We have not been overwhelmingly present lately. And that’s really because there is not much happening. But, we are coming into a really important few months. And Chrissy and I wanted to update you on what’s going on and where we are at.

At our last Dr’s appointment, our doc asked us to start taking ovulation tests. I have an app that is supposed to track my ovulation via my cycle, moods, etc. Which we have found is really difficult when I already have a fairly irregular cycle.

I went into the first test thinking it would probably not read with the little blinking smiley face. It didn’t. And I was fine! Chrissy and I knew that my cycle was irregular and that I would probably not ovulate when my app was telling me I would.

So I committed to taking a test every three days (as the normal cycle of ovulation is around 4 days long). So I did! The second test I was a little more excited about. It had to be positive!

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It wasn’t.

And then it wasn’t again.

And again the next time.

And now my period is over a week later than it was last month.

My first reaction during those continual negatives was “Oh my goodness, my body is never going to ovulate and I am never going to get pregnant! GOOD GOD!” Of course I went into crisis mode. Thank goodness for Chrissy.

“Abby, it’s okay. We’re taking Clomid regardless. You’re body will ovulate. We just have to have a little help.”

So… I stopped taking the tests. It was making me feel like, in some way, I am failing because my body is not working the way I want it to. Which is UNTRUE. Women with fertility issues are NOT failing. I have not done anything to make it so my body does not ovulate. I have PCOS. I have always had weird periods. There is no fault to be placed. My body just needs a little help.

We will start taking Clomid after my next period (or in the middle of November, whichever comes first) to see how my body reacts and to ensure that it is making me ovulate. We will add sperm into the situation in January and try. We will get pregnant. And everything will be okay.

In the meantime, I am working on eating right and exercising. PCOS and infertility are helped exponentially by taking care of your body. I want this body to be baby ready! (And it helps me to be less stressed about the whole thing honestly.) My mom and I signed up for a 5k over Thanksgiving and I am excited to be training for that.

Wish us luck and we’ll update again soon!

Love,

Abby & Chrissy

New Doctor!

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Hi All!

Abby here. We went to our new doctor’s office yesterday. As you may or may not remember from our last post, our last doctor’s visit did not go well. In essence, no bedside manner. And it is important to Chrissy and I to have a good experience with this doctor. So we ventured out to find another.

Just a note here… I talked in my last post about asking questions and ensuring that you feel comfortable with your doctor. And I would like to reiterate that point. If something does not feel good, if you and your doc are not jiving, PLEASE do yourself a favor and switch doctors. This process is stressful enough. You want a doctor that will advocate for you and treats you with respect and dignity.  

Chrissy has a good friend that utilized this new doctor’s office for him and his wife’s fertility issues. And seeing as its the only other fertility office in our little town – we thought we would give it a try.

From the moment we walked in the door, everything was better. I’m not kidding. Everything from the waiting room to the women at the desk who greeted us.

Then came the doctor.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

Our doc (let’s call her ‘Dr. N’) was a breath of fresh air from the start of our appointment to the last moment. Dr. N looked over my chart thoroughly. She was SHOCKED that they told me it was a possibility that I had a tumor. That my Prolactin levels were only slightly elevated and there was no reason to worry. Additionally, she said that only one result on my blood test indicated that I have PCOS. She called it a “very minor case”.

How I didn’t leap off that table and start dancing around the exam room is beyond me. We were so excited! She answered all of our questions. Her best friend from college is gay and did IUI to get pregnant. And she has preformed IUI procedures before! Chrissy’s big thing was to leave the office with a plan. Before Chrissy could even bring it up, Dr. N said, “Okay, so what’s the plan? Let’s get this started!” OMG. MY FAITH IS RESTORED. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY.

At this point in the appointment she made a turkey baster joke. I love it.

We would like to take the fall months to save some money. (Sperm is NOT cheap and none of the procedures are covered under our insurance. But more on the financial side later….) Chrissy has graciously and selflessly offered to work as much overtime as possible so that we can stockpile to buy our little swimmers. With that said, Dr. N said that she would like to try Clomid out on me to see how my body reacts. Clomid is a drug that makes your body ovulate at a specific time. It makes my cycle very easy to track and will allow us to do IUI at the right moment.

We are going to do trial runs of Clomid in November and December to make sure that my body processes the drug properly and we have our timing right. Then, we will purchase our sperm (I believe that we have a donor picked) and have it shipped to us (2) units at a time. Each insemination is (1) unit and Dr. N thinks that we should try 2 times per ovulation.

“So, call me!” Dr. N says with a smile and a handshake to both me and my wonderful wife.

I cannot tell you how much this appointment has changed our perspective on this whole process. I thought getting pregnant was going to require a miracle. And it still may not work. But Dr. N made us feel like she’s on our side. She’s confident in the process and that my body will do well with the Clomid. She has a plan. And damn! She has a sense of humor.

I can’t wait to update you again on the process soon!

Love,

Abby & Chrissy

Fertility Appointment Outcome

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“Ummm… you could have a tumor in your pituitary gland.”

I’m sorry… what?! All I wanted to know is if I am able to have a baby!

Abby here. To talk a little about our experience of finding out the results from our fertility appointment #1. As Chrissy mentioned earlier, our first fertility appointment was nothing less than a disappointment. Nothing got better after we left.

Finding out how to become pregnant when you have “fertility problems” (read: we don’t have sperm in our relationship) is scary to start with. We knew it would be daunting. We knew that our chances of getting pregnant the first time with IUI would be about 20%. We knew from our appointment and research that it was going to cost about $1200 per cycle. What we didn’t know is that your healthcare provider can sometimes make it even harder. Even scarier.

I had a panel of blood tests and an ultrasound done at my first doctors appointment. We waited 2 weeks for the doctor to call us with our results. The phone finally rang. The nurse introduced herself and said she had the results of my biopsy.

WAIT.

Biopsy?? I didn’t have a biopsy!

I politely reminded the nurse of this. She was looking at the wrong file. “I’ll call you right back” she says. 2 more hours go by.

When she finally called me back (with the right file this time) she let me know that my blood levels told them two things:

1. I probably have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). I know enough about PCOS to know that it can cause thick facial hair, weird, irregular periods and cystic acne among other things. She said to me that this is probably the reason I am having a hard time getting pregnant. Hey lady! I am a LESBIAN. That is why I can’t get pregnant! Please read my file. (I will get more into PCOS in a later post.)

2. High Prolactin levels. I had no idea about Prolactin. What is this? Is this something that can cause me to not get pregnant? Is this something serious? I just have no idea. This is not something they went over in Grey’s Anatomy! (Only sort-of a joke…)

That’s when it comes out. “Ummm… you could have a tumor in your pituitary glad causing the high levels of this hormone. I’m sure that there are other things that could cause it though! People hear tumor and just freak out when they don’t need to!” Trying to stay calm and not immediately flip out, I asked the nurse to please ask the doctor and call me back. Again, 2 hours go by.

She calls me back and says there are multiple things that could cause this heightened Prolactin levels. But, they would like to get an MRI to make sure that it is not a tumor. It wasn’t discussed (but I later found out through our good friend Google) that if it was a tumor, it is benign. That it is not cancerous. I wouldn’t have to go through chemo. I wouldn’t have to have brain surgery. I wouldn’t even have to take meds for the mass! It was literally just a small growth that could possibly cause the high levels of Prolactin. They never told me any of that. They just threw the word TUMOR into my day and then told me not to freak out. Okay, lady. That sounds GREAT! (scoff)

(Don’t worry, it was not a tumor – everything came back clear.)

Now, I’m not telling this to make you more aware of tumors or prolactin or just to blab. I want people to know how scary this process can be. That nurses sometimes don’t read your chart. Sometimes they don’t have the answers and say things they shouldn’t say when they don’t know for sure. Sometimes doctors have the personality of a wet mop (see previous post). Some doctors offices act like they have no idea how to handle two ladies trying to make a family together. For this reason, we have chosen to go with another doctor’s office. Would you allow someone to put a baby in you that seemed to have little to no care about you, your wife and your potential family? Uh… no.

You have the choice of doctors and you should absolutely feel comfortable. Talk to your doctor. Ask them questions. Know what your deal breakers are. Know what is going to make you and your partner comfortable and uncomfortable. Chrissy and I sure did. Now, onto the next! Our appointment with our new doctors office is in September. And now we wait.

Love,

A&C