Steps in *our* Process (this time)

Hi all!

Chrissy and I just got done with our 2nd IUI. It went AMAZING (hopefully so amazing that there’s a baby in me).

I wanted to give you all an idea of what *our* process… this time looked like (keeping in mind that each IUI, uterus, cycle, doctor, vagina, nurse, etc are all different).

Steps in the process:

-Get my period: I have to hold my breath every single month for my period to start. But, luckily, with the mix of fertility meds and a healthy diet, my body has come to a somewhat “normal” period.

-Planning: As we mentioned on our Insta, our doc is out on maternity leave. So, we switched doctors to someone that Dr. N recommended. I talked with our new doctor and he came up with a solid plan for us. (I have the overwhelming urge to call him Dr. McDreamy because he is a very good looking man – but we’ll just call him Dr. T!) Dr. T went over my file and came up with a new plan for this month.

-Femara: This fell a day late this cycle just because we were getting all of our information correct….

-Ultrasound: …But it worked! Day 14 ultrasound confirmed a follicle that was about 20.5mm.

-HCG Trigger Shot: I should have had this on day 14 when we went to the docs office to have my ultrasound. But, like a dork, I totally forgot the shot at home. So my wife willingly and happily gave me my shot again this month. She’s a gem!

-Insemination #1: Dr. T wanted to do one insemination a day earlier than we normally would (day 15) and then one on day 17 (we did 17 & 18 last month). He said this would be so there would already be sperm waiting for the egg when I ovulate. Great!

-Insemination #2: Went awesome! Just a note that I haven’t read almost anywhere: your cervix and uterus may be SUPER crampy after your first IUI of the month. If you are doing a second one a day or two later, do yourself a favor and take some Tylenol. It does wonders.

Something I learned this month is to trust the doctors even more than I already do – Dr. T wanted to do things differently. And I was pleasantly surprised at how everything was handled… after some minor worry that things were changing. Our doctors office is so amazing and I absolutely adore my wife who makes me laugh while I have my butt propped up on a pillow so the little swimmers head up instead of down.

Two weeks from now we’ll know!

Love,

Abby & Chrissy

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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

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 #1

Hey all, it’s Chrissy. I’m going to write this post from my perspective of Abby and I’s first fertility appointment and what I learned, didn’t learn, loved and found to be disappointing.

First, like most appointments we had to wait, which was fine because honestly I enjoyed sitting with Abby and sharing our excitement. We had a few questions written down, questions that we couldn’t find answers to on the internet and questions that were more opinion based for our Doc.

The first lady into the room was a nurse,  she asked a lot of questions about Abby’s general health, exercise, menstrual cycle and moods. The nurse was super friendly and seemed engaged in the process and the answers.  The next lady was our fertility Doc, who had the personality of a wet mop. I wanted to raise my hand and ask for the nice one to come back! Abby even tried to lighten the mood by making a “Jurassic Park” joke referring to how the sperm would arrive to the doctors office, I laughed, the Doc not so much.

Abby and the Doc went over Abby’s cycles which seemed worrisome to the doctor as they weren’t always regular which could making conceiving more difficult. The Doc then made a very unfortunate comment basically stating “Well if Abby can’t conceive then we can try with you (meaning me!)”. What the heck? Just because there are two baby makers in this relationship doesn’t mean we can just substitute me in whenever. I was concerned with how quickly the doctor seemed to just pull in a pinch hitter and I could tell Abby was hurt too.

Abby and I quickly moved into our questions, “Which cryobank would you recommend?’ “What’s the process look like?”, “What does insurance cover?”. The Doc explained that Abby would need to get a blood panel done for hormones and they wanted to do an internal ultrasound that day to establish a plan.  The insurance question she wasn’t able to answer which was expected but we figured it didn’t hurt to ask. The Doc only referred two cryobanks which I thought was unfortunate, as the two the recommended were sister companies and basically one in the same.

I was happy to have the first appointment done but a little disappointed in the execution, it’s fair to say we shared a few adult beverages together afterwards!

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I think it is important to understand how Abby felt during this process and she can get into more detail about the medical process in her next post!

Love,

Chrissy and Abby

Step One – Donors

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Abby here!

So… what’s the first step in the process when you get pregnant as lesbians? Obviously the first step is to discuss the potential of parenthood with your partner. But, seeing as Chrissy and I did that via text before we even met … we had that step covered.

One of the first things we really did was make an appointment with a fertility specialist in our area. And, unsurprisingly, we had to wait almost two months for our appointment. In the meantime, we began doing as much research as possible about cryobanks, cost and how much testing and information they provide.

Something I think needs to be said here is that Chrissy and I discussed our donor options and we have decided to go with an anonymous donor. We do have friends that have and will use donors that they know. No one way is better than the other – this is just the route we have chosen to build our family.

We narrowed the search down to four cryobanks. They are all fairly well known. We were sitting on our couch one weekend, looking through all the information that was available. Saying that we were overwhelmed with the amount of testing, what was available, storage fees is the biggest understatement. Our heads were spinning…. But, I love spreadsheets. I used one to keep myself sane when I was planning our wedding and thought, why the heck not for finding the right sperm??

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I put all of the different banks on the sheet that we were looking at. I compared testing that they did. Storage fees. The information about the donor that was available to us. Pretty much any information I could find.

And honestly? They were mostly the same. There was some things that were tested for through some banks and not the others – but all of the big ones were covered (all STDs, all of the most common genetic diseases). The main difference in all of them was the amount of information that you could get about the donor and price. Since we had already decided that we didn’t want to know the donor – the amount of information that we would be getting was somewhat irrelevant to us. We would like for our kids to look like us. But we also knew that we would never get a perfect match because we were going outside of our own families for donation.

So, in the end, we decided to go with a very reputable bank that was middle of the road price-wise. They offered all of the testing that was important to us and the information on the donors that we needed to ensure that the babes will look (somewhat) like us.

What’s next? We will discuss insurance, our fertility appointment, stress, money and everything else that comes with this process, stay tuned!

Love,

Abby and Chrissy