As a woman trying to conceive for over two years, my blog takes a moment to reflect on infertility in a realistic, day-to-day manner — just as any couple trying to conceive lives. Each day brings its own set of emotions (which let’s be honest can change even moment to moment) and its own wild experiences (can we say vaginal ultrasounds with five white coats in the room?), and we need places where we can slow down and try to make sense of it all. Other musings likely will make their way onto these pages, too, because I hear there is more to life than fertility. Huh! This blog for infertile couples and infertility bystanders intends to take a look at these realities in a raw and reflective way. As my good friend Emily Saliers says, “You have to laugh at yourself. Because you’d cry your eyes out if you didn’t.”
Here’s to hoping for a baby and expecting to be changed along the way.
Our TTC Timeline:
2007: Married! To my main squeeze of almost seven years at the time. Yeahoo!
2008: Age 26. Baby cravings kick in to high gear, catching myself staring at babies in public and yearning for one. Wait, what? I’m not supposed to be having these yet! I’m a career woman! I cannot admit this to anyone. I will pretend like they aren’t there and get a piercing instead. That’s a healthy substitute for a baby, right?
Somewhere in 2009: Stop using birth control due to side effects such as nausea, dizziness, etc., use the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) for pregnancy prevention. Oh, little do we know the uselessness of waking up at the same early time every morning to temp.
November 2010: Start trying to conceive. Slightly earlier than our planned timeline when we first got married due to aforementioned baby cravings & seemingly paranoid fear of infertility. Use of the FAM comes in handy, now reversed.
April 2011: Annual GYN visit, talk about TTC & that it hasn’t yet happened after 5 months. It’s so early, trying not to worry yet. Share charts with GYN & she’s concerned with lack of temp spike indicating ovulation, slightly long cycles. First vaginal ultrasound ordered to look for any initial abnormalities, comes back all clear. GYN orders me to quit or greatly reduce running because of its impacts on fertility and check back in October if still not pregnant. Run my last race, a ten-miler I’d done several years in a row. Big fat bummer.
May 2011: Cycle immediately restored to 28-days. Ovulation spike was spotted off and on for next several months.
October 2011: Ms. P strikes again, 12th time in a row. Consult with GYN and referred to fertility center. Make the call and, oh crappers, this is really happening. First appointment at fertility center to go over history, tests ordered.
November 2011: All initial tests come back fine, including sperm analyses, AMH, and the dreaded HSG. Got a day off work, pizza, & ice cream out of it, though. Milked it for all it was worth. Diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Thankful for no real problems found, but also maddened that there’s no clear treatment target.
December 2011: Start Femara with monitoring (baseline ultrasound beginning of each cycle & ultrasound mid-cycle to monitor response & follicle growth) to boost ovulation further & to ovulate more than one egg each month.
February-March 2011: Add in Ovidrel injection to trigger ovulation for an even better boost and timing. Continued great response to meds, ovulating two to four eggs each month, still no pregnancy.
April 2012: Meet with Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) to discuss treatment options. More labs done to check for things like celiac, still nothing found. IUIs are next best step but only increase odds by 2% each cycle. Decide to go this route if no pregnancy next cycle.
May 2012: Nope. IUIs are in our future.
June 2012: Need baby something, get puppy! Cyst at baseline, but not too significant. Femara+Ovidrel+IUI #1. Four follicles, get a lecture from the fellow about risk of a multiple pregnancy. Laugh in their face because a single pregnancy seems impossible right about now — not worried, let’s proceed. Yep, two weeks later it’s negative.
July 2012: Femara+Ovidrel+IUI #2. Negative. Starting to worry, and cry for the first time at the fertility center. Later in the month saline ultrasound to look more closely at the uterus. Super painful and terrible, nothing significant found but fellow says it likely is time to move toward IVF because of unexplained diagnosis and low IUI success rates (works for 30% of couples).
Later in July 2012: Due to short cycle, move toward another IUI cycle, but it is canceled due to cysts. Month off of meds is nice & gives ovaries a break.
August 2012: RE opens own practice, decide to move to new beautiful clinic with her. New clinic philosophy is for RE to see patient at every visit, and this is wonderful! Estrogen+Femara+Ovidrel+IUI #3+Progesterone. Negative.
September 2012: Estrogen+Femara+Ovidrel+Progesterone. Cyst at baseline but still planning for forth and final IUI. At mid-cycle ultrasound have two good follicles, but really want three or four for our final attempt. Cancel the cycle. Head to the beach for a week.
October 2012: Start acupuncture, dietary overhaul. Estrogen+Femara+Ovidrel+IUI #4+Progesterone. Negative again. Crushed, we’re going to need more technology or to move on. The debate between IVF and adoption heats up.
December 2012: Plan to start IVF at end of month, but just aren’t ready. Decide to likely do IVF in February but take some time to be sure, continue acupuncture and dietary changes and give them the recommended three months to take full effect.
January 2013: Decide on IVF, on the books to start stim late February 2013.