Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Latest Update and Prayer Requests

August through October are hereby declared the season of "Doctorall" in our household (or do you prefer "Doctorer" or "Doctoring" instead?)

Between the two of us, we have been (or will be) to the doctor:
August: 4 times
September: 6 times
October: 4 times (scheduled so far)

Keep in mind this is compared to the other typical months of the year:
Typically: 0 times

I don't want to do the math to figure out how much that is in co-pays...yikes, I did it anyway...geez

So here is the latest update on us:


Completed Appointments:
August 2 -- My annual checkup with my primary care physician, Dr. S., and to get a renewed progesterone cream prescription. He also ordered a blood test for me to check CBC (complete blood count) and progesterone levels again.

August 21 -- Unrelated to infertility, I had a cyst removed from my scalp. Fun, let me tell you...but Dr. S. did a great job, and thankfully there is no bald spot. I've since gotten a haircut to celebrate:


For those who haven't seen it yet...I got the length of it trimmed, the front angled, and now have side swept bangs instead of no bangs.

August 24 -- Fasting blood draw that Dr. S. ordered from the August 2nd appointment. This was on my cycle day 23 of 28 (optimal time to check progesterone levels). All CBC blood work was normal, except for a very slight vitamin D deficiency, so I've added that to the bunches of pills I swallow every day. :)
And I was so excited because my progesterone was 15.5!! (Previously in the 7-9 range)

August 29 -- Went to have my stitches removed, and could finally scratch my head normally. Hey, small things make a big difference, okay?

September 4 -- Another U.T.I. and so you know what that means...more Adventures of Peeing in a Cup!

September 5 -- Michael had a fasting CBC blood draw appointment.

September 10 -- Eye appointment. All looked great, and I was fitted with a trial pair of contacts to see if I can switch from Acuvue 2 to Air Optix Aqua.

September 13 -- Follow up eye appointment. Couldn't see as well, so he increased the prescription slightly to the really poor mild amount of -8.00 and -7.50 contacts (my natural eyesight is so good, that without the contacts, I couldn't make out the big E until I was inches away)...but at least I can see 20/10 with the contacts!

September 19 - A doctor appointment with my OB/GYN, Dr. H. This appointment was meant to be a discussion on the next plan of action to take (additional tests, procedures, etc.) and to discuss our options. I really love Dr. H. She is so nice. And what I love most is that she is not pushy at all. And when I say not pushy, I mean she says things like "Well, here are your options [lists them], but I just don't know what you guys feel is right for you..." It's so refreshing to hear a doctor say stuff like that.

So the consensus is that we have two options from here:
  1. Continue down the road of diagnostic testing (try to find a problem to explain why we haven't conceived); or 
  2. Begin basic fertility assistance treatments (drugs, IUI, IVF). 
After discussing the fine details of our particular situation, Michael and I feel like the best option at this point is to have one more diagnostic test done called an HSG test that will check to see if my fallopian tubes are open or blocked. It's not a very comfortable test from what I've been told. They insert a tube into your cervix, and then inject x-ray visible dye through the tube, then immediately x-ray your abdominal cavity to watch how the dye moves through the uterus and (hopefully) out both tube openings near the ovaries.

Dr. H. doesn't think there's any reason my tubes would be blocked, but the reason Michael and I (and Dr. H. agrees) want to just be sure my tubes aren't blocked is because we feel ready to take the next step under option 2) -- Clomid drug.

So if you recall from a previous post referring to a doctor's visit in the summer of 2011, Clomid was the drug that my first OB/GYN doctor wanted to put me on, but I didn't feel comfortable at that time because Clomid is a drug meant to stimulate ovulation. But at that time, I knew from my cycle tracking that I was already ovulating (and this fact was confirmed via vaginal ultrasounds with Dr. H. later). But Dr. H. thinks that even though I'm ovulating regularly, it might be a good first drug to start with because it may cause multiple eggs to be released, which might increase our "normal chances" each cycle. (So instead of us, say, having an average chance of 5% of conception, we may have 10%...just made those numbers up as an example.)

She also said that Clomid has been around for a long time (50 years) and that it's the cheapest fertility drug you can get. (There are injection type drugs that costs hundreds/month.) But, using Clomid is pointless if your tubes are blocked because there would be no way for the sperm to meet the egg no matter how many eggs there are, hence why we want to be certain my tubes aren't blocked before paying for and using Clomid.

The positives of using Clomid:
  • 45% of couples using Clomid get pregnant within 6 cycles (they recommend not using Clomid for more than 6 cycles) 
  • It tricks your brain into thinking it hasn't produced enough estrogen, so your body kicks it into overdrive to make more estrogen (estrogen is what makes cervical mucus and stimulates egg production)
  • Since I've been low in cervical mucus production, there's a chance my body may produce even more (hopefully)
But the negative side effects are:
  • Clomid can cause your body to make hostile cervical mucus - obviously not what I want, but they say that this risk is greater for higher doses (I'll be starting on a low dose) 
  • 10% chance of twins (although I would love to suddenly have two children instead of zero, twins create a complicated and potentially dangerous pregnancy)
  • Headaches 
  • Nausea 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Breast tenderness 
  • Hot flashes 
  • Mood swings 
Again, these are more likely to happen with higher doses, so hopefully I won't experience any of them. I also plan to use ovulation predictor pee sticks to facilitate our timing of intercourse, just in case the Clomid dries my cervical mucus to where I can't tell when I ovulate (since I don't track my temperatures anymore, I've only been watching my cervical mucus to determine when I'm about to ovulate).

September 20 -- Michael's annual appointment with Dr. S. to discuss the results of his blood draw from September 5. Overall his CBC looked great, just a slightly high cholesterol level. Dr. S. recommended we eat a wheat-free diet, which we are now moving towards. I may blog about this later because it's a lengthy topic on its own. :)

Upcoming Appointments:
September 27 -- Vet appointment. Obviously this doesn't involve us or infertility, but I just wanted you all to know that our pet children are getting the care they need. :)

October 3 -- Urology appointment for me. I've contracted 3 U.T.I.'s in the past year, and since the usual tips to avoid getting them have not been helping me, they want me to see a urologist to make sure there isn't some other reason I might be prone to getting them all of a sudden. (These 3 have been the only 3 U.T.I.'s I've ever had.)

October 4 -- HSG test to check my fallopian tubes.

October 10 -- Dermatology appointment to check possible skin allergies. Over the past 6 months or so (not really sure when I finally thought that it was strange), I've been getting very short-term (15-20 minutes) raised bumps along my jaw line that itch like crazy for a little bit and then disappear. I can't tie it to a particular product or food or anything because it also happens on days I don't wear anything on my face, eat different foods, and it happens at different times of day. Sometimes once a day, sometimes several times in one day. Maybe stress-related? I hope whatever it is would be easily identified and treated if necessary.

October 30 -- Dentist appointments. Unrelated to infertility, but still good to have done. Gotta maintain those purrty smiles! :)

Prayer Requests:
  • Urology appointment - that the results would be favorable, no serious cause for frequent U.T.I.'s. Or better yet, that I would simply stop getting them, period! (And while you're at it, you could pray that I'd stop getting periods for nine months...thanks!)
  • HSG test - I'm a little nervous about this test, because I tend to get a little squeamish when it comes to medical procedures, and this one does not sound like your ordinary OB/GYN checkup. As my mother can confirm, my first gynecology appointment at 18 years old was traumatic for me. I literally fainted. And this procedure is going to feel "uncomfortable" she said, and she also suggested I take 3 ibuprofens about an hour beforehand. So your prayers about this procedure for me to be calm and tough it out would be much appreciated. Dr. H. was wonderful in explaining all the details I can expect to happen that day, which brings me a lot of comfort that she takes the time to tell me everything. Also please pray for the result to be favorable (tubes would be open).
  • And the usual prayer request - For us to have patience and strength to wait for God's perfect timing and plan to unfold.

So that's where we're at. We both feel excited about this next step for some reason (trying Clomid). I'm surprised, especially because we both were so resistant to using Clomid back when my first doctor prescribed it last summer. My hope (not having expectations) is that God knew we needed to go through this past year of growing in Him, faith, and our marriage and that's why He didn't let us feel peace about Clomid the first time, but now we do. I know I definitely needed to learn that I cannot control everything, because there will always be some things that are simply out of our control. Creating a life is one of them. We are both so thankful for all of the humility and wisdom God has taught us through this, and we greatly appreciate your love, prayer, and support. This journey would be much more difficult to bear without it. Truly, we thank you!

Love & Hope,

1 comment:

  1. Hi Christine, I've been following your blog here and there. I admire your strength, humility, and patience. And most of all, even in all these trials and times of suffering...you keep God as your center--and that's an awesome witness to the faith!

    I was recently at an event where a certain Dr. Thomas Hilgers was the keynote speaker. He discovered a way to naturally regulate fertility in way that cooperates with a woman's system.

    There's more info at his institute's website, www.popepaulvi.com which has links to the technologies he discovered as well as where to find people knowledgeable in these technologies.

    Just thought I'd throw it out there! I wish you the best of luck, and I'll definitely keep you and Michael in my prayers.

    May God's blessings be upon you both! :-)