Considering the great many posts that I have posted just this year about our fertility story, I thought it would be good to provide links to some of the key posts from our journey:
Day 1: Diagnosed with PCOS
Day 2: Recovering from Day 1
And then there was the issue of my progesterone…
We seemed to pull it together in July – good follicles, Frank was home – bliss!
Still, no luck. But just when I thought all was lost – aha! Another mature follicle.
Oh, did I mention the hormones make me a freak show? Only just about every other blog from June through August includes some sort of mention of the Clomid or Progesterone crazies.
We went through our first round of IUI in September, but unfortunately it did not work. We took one month off for some additional testing and got some positive news from our second-opinion doctor. So then we were back in the saddle!
After cruising along for another month, and after much discussion with our doctor, she referred us to an entirely different clinic. While we were finishing the diagnostic testing at the new clinic, we found out we were pregnant on 1/22/10. We were over the moon!
Unfortunately this little one was not meant to be. She went home to be with Jesus on 2/28/10. While we were heartbroken, we were not hopeless.
After giving ourselves a short break from trying to conceive, Frank and I started trying again and were fortunate in the first few months of round two treatments to conceive twins! We gave birth to twin girls on February 19, 2011 at 32 weeks 5 days gestation. While we are overjoyed at this double blessing, we are always mindful of the journey we went on to get here and are even more acutely aware of the delicate nature of life. If you are in the midst of trying to conceive and are looking for doctors, advice or encouragement, please email me at tallgrl98(at)aol(dot)com.
**THINGS WE’VE LEARNED TRYING TO CONCEIVE (TTC)**
1. Clomid: According to my doctor at Fertility Centers of Illinois, Clomid’s efficacy drops below 1% after 6 cycles of using it. This was big time news to me because my previous fertility specialist told us that we could use Clomid as long as we wanted. This learning for us actually resulted in my FCI doc calling my previous practitioner to make sure that everyone was on the same page about Clomid usage. Unfortunately, we maxed out my Clomid doses and have to pursue other options.
2. Metformin: previous practitioner diagnosed me with PCOS based on visually seeing the “rosary” of follicles on my ovary, along with my slightly elevated testosterone levels and irregular periods. Because I had 3 of the 5 main symptoms, she didn’t see the need to test for insulin resistance. This was a mistake. At FCI, they finally tested me for insulin resistance and found that I was hypoglycemic and immediately put me on Metformin. Apparently insulin does not just control blood sugar, but also impacts a variety of other hormones that can throw off ovulation/cause PCOS etc.
3. Relating to points 1 and 2 – you have to be your own best advocate in fertility treatments. I learned that I am NOT a pain in the rear because I stick up for myself or bring abnormalities to the forefront with my docs. Being proactive and asking questions means that you can get treated for problems right away, instead of spending years TTC and not knowing what is wrong. I found that my own intuition has been right on – even with my miscarriage symptoms. The whole reason I found that I had PCOS is that I noticed a change in my cycles 6 months after I was off of birth control. Fortunately, my doc listened and tested me, otherwise we could have tried for a long time (essentially banging our collective head against the wall).
4. Our bodies are WEIRD. Relating to point 3, I don’t generally get concerned about issues until I see a pattern, ie. multiple late periods in a row, etc. What I have found is that every period can feel slightly different – sometimes I have tender breasts with a period, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I feel sicker than other times. Knowing that every cycle is different helps me not freak out monthly, but it also helps me keep track of things that are persistently out of whack.
5. Fertility is both an art and a science. Scientifically, we know that all we need to do is introduce a sperm and an egg, but there is so much more to it than that. But after working with fertility specialists for over a year, they will tell me what they think will happen and then shrug their shoulders and say, “but then again, anything can happen.” The complexities of our hormones, the sensitivity of our reproductive organs and our chemistry can vary so widely and without explanation that I am beginning to think that the most frustrating job in the world must be as a fertility doctor.
6. Always, always, always have your get tested if you are having trouble for a long time TTC. I have so many friends that found that they had female factors and started treatment, only to find out months into it that they also had male factors that needed treatment, too.
If you have anything that you learned TTC, please share in the comments below! Thanks!