Inducing Labor

Posted on

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about how people (me) and things change over time, whether good or bad.  Around this time last year, I was angry and bitter after a failed IVF cycle.  I had SO many feelings.  I cried, I was frustrated, I wanted to be alone, and I distanced myself from the Lord.  The feelings of my heart floated around like endless ripples in the water.  The thoughts in my mind crashed like waves on the shore.  I was in no position to help anyone because I was the one that needed help.  I needed to change my attitude then in order to accept the change I embrace now.  Now, a year later, my life has undergone an irreversible change…being a parent.

Inducing Labor

As the days drew near to our babies’ delivery, I knew the plan was to induce labor.  The doctor wanted me to make it to 39 weeks, if baby didn’t come before then.  With twice/week appointments and NSTs plans seemed to change frequently.  Everything depended on my doctor appointments and exams.  In the meantime, I decided to read up about inducing labor to prepare me for that process.  At 38 weeks, I was dilated to 3 cm and my doctor was hopeful for my scheduled induction.  My uterus was “ripening” well so my doctor recommended pitocin to induce labor.  A week earlier he recommended pitocin and a vaginal tablet.  Sorry, can’t recall the name of that medication right now.  The tablet is inserted vaginally and used to help the uterus soften to prepare for delivery.  But, since my uterus was “ripening” I didn’t need the tablet.  Lucky me.

Week 39 arrived – my scheduled induction.  My husband and I had a leisure morning, ate lunch at Zippy’s, and then headed to Queens with all our stuff.  When I say stuff, I mean baby’s car seat & 1 bag – full of clothes for both of us, clothes to dress the baby upon discharge, snacks, toothbrushes/paste, and whatever else we felt was necessary.  I had been warned to eat a good lunch because I wouldn’t be eating anything until after the baby came out.  (I would’ve been fine except being induced took WAY more time and energy than I ever expected.)

Anyways, so once we got there, we got our room, got hooked up to baby monitors, IV, and pitocin…the inducing started.  My husband and I pretty much just cruised in the delivery room until it was time to sleep.  We watched TV, looked at our phones, texted family members with updates, and stared at each other.  Lol.  Actually, it’s REALLY hard to do anything in the hospital.  A nurse or 2 would come in every hour to check the monitors, medications, ask questions, do a vaginal exam, etc.  My doctor came in the evening (and was in consultation with the nurses and doctor on shift) to check on me.  He reminded me that inducing labor is a really slow process.

About 14 hours into the process (3am) I decided to have an epidural.  I was really hesitant about having an epidural because then I would be bed bound and reliant on a catheter to use the bathroom.  I asked the nurses and residents about the specific process.  I was SO tired but I couldn’t sleep because I was uncomfortable.  It’s funny because every time there’s a new shift a new nurse would come in and ask me what my level of pain was.  For me it was low (2-3) because of the excess fluid made it almost impossible to feel any contractions.  You’d think that since I didn’t feel any contractions, I didn’t need an epidural.  But, I agreed to have an epidural.  Apparently Queen’s was really busy that night and I had to wait about 15 minutes.  It wasn’t long to wait.  I suppose if I was farther along in the process, 15 minutes would feel much longer.  Lol.

The anesthesiologist came in and explained the process of an epidural and what to expect afterwards – possible side effects.  At 3am my husband was already sleeping but was awoken by the bright lights that needed to be on.  The anesthesiologist talked me through every thing, step by step.  She was really good, I hardly felt anything.  To me, if I can barely feel the needle – you’re good.  I’ve had blood drawn that’s hurt more than getting an epidural, honestly.  The anesthesiologist also explained the button…an additional boost of medication that should only be pushed as needed.  Once you push the button, you’d have to wait at least 10 minutes before pushing it again, if you needed to.  Well, you could keep pressing the button but it wouldn’t release any medicine.

The epidural was nice!  I was definitely able to feel comfortable and get minimal rest.  I didn’t feel the contractions before I got it and sure didn’t feel them after either.  Lol.  After that things were pretty mellow until the morning.  Mellow as far as progress for the baby.  The nurses and residents continuously come in and check on you…but at least at night they use the low light so you can a little rest, or none if it bothers you.  Lol.

In the morning, around 7am, now 18 hours into my scheduled inducing, my doctor came to check on me.  He, along with a couple of nurses, pricked my water bag so it would slowly drip out.  He made a few holes using a very thin needle.  I happily didn’t feel anything because of the epidural.  My doctor noted progress – I was dilated to 6 cm.  This was great news to me because I thought we were nearing the birth of our baby.  Technically I was in active labor but couldn’t feel it.

In the early evening my doctor came to see me again and I was still dilated to 6 cm.  I had so much fluid and the baby was still now dropping so the doctor decided to let out a little flow of fluid to help guide the baby down and help me dilate more.  He made a few more pokes to let more fluid drain out.  The nurses changed the padding under me as needed.

Evening went fine, well maybe fine isn’t the right word for it.  I was hungry, tired, and confined to the bed.  We watched TV, talked and cruised in the room.  We got a visit from my sister-in-law and 2 nieces, who brought dinner (for my husband of course).  My sweet husband ate outside the room so I wouldn’t have to smell any of it.  We chatted and then they went to visit someone on another floor.

Everything was pretty calm…until about 1 in the morning.  (I had been at the hospital for 36 hours now.)  My husband was sleeping on a fold up bed near me.  I started to shake and shiver as if I was cold.  I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t.  After 10-15 minutes, I decided to call the nurse.  Unfortunately, the remote had fallen to the left of the bed and it was hanging down that side.  I tried to reach for it a couple times and almost got it.  I felt the shaking getting stronger and out of control.  I called my husband a few times but he didn’t hear me.  I reached one more time for the remote and got it.  Oh, I forgot to mention that besides having the IV on my right hand, the epidural tube came up my right shoulder, I had an oxygen mask on, a blood pressure cuff on my left arm, AND I couldn’t feel from the waist down.  The blood pressure cuff went off every 20-30 minutes.  SO, reaching for the remote to call the nurse was much more difficult than it sounds.  Lol.

I finally called for the nurse.  When she came in, I told her how I felt and she told me to try and relax.  She asked if I wanted some medicine for nausea.  I agreed to take it – via IV.  But before she could give it to me, I threw up on myself and the gown I had on.  My husband awoke to me throwing up and helped the nurse clean me up.  I got a new gown and a warm blanket, literally.  When the nurse left to get the nausea medication, I asked my husband to give me a blessing.  I didn’t know what was going on with me.  I was shaking and shaking.  I couldn’t stop myself.  My husband gave me a blessing before the nurse came in with my nausea medicine.  My regular nurse for the evening came in and checked my temperature.  The thermometer read that I was fine but the nurse didn’t believe it and quickly obtained another thermometer, which showed I had a fever.  I took deep breaths to help calm me but that didn’t always help.  I got the nausea medicine and my shivering slowed down.

It was 2:15am…My contractions plateaued and I was over it.  I wanted the baby out.  I still had a fever and shakes (intermittently).  The nurse called my doctor and a c-section was in the works.

Next post: Cesarean Delivery


Day 10

Posted on

Sorry, I’ve been slacking on my posts!  This time of year tends to be like that.  Well, thank you for your patience!

Between our unsuccessful FET and now, I’ve been able to take a step back and relax.  Which is good, right?  Of course.  Ooh, before I forget, the FET completed our first IVF cycle…even though we started in May and got postponed until September.  Not sure if I mentioned this before.  Sorry if I have and you’re reading this again.  Lol

Alright, Day 10.  When I scheduled my exam with my IVF coordinator, I knew Dr. F would not be there.  Instead, I would be seen be his wife, also Dr. F and an OB/GYN.  It would be my first time meeting her.

On Day 10 I went in for my exam.  As I waited in the exam room I wondered how the appointment would go.  I hoped the lining of my uterus looked good enough so we could gain further insight on the best treatment for the next cycle – of whatever we decided.  Remember our 3 options?

After a brief waiting time, the female Dr. F came in.  She did the ultrasound and appeared to be enthralled at the lining of my uterus.  This both intrigued and worried me.  She did note that my uterus was a little different, but that it did appear to have its own trilateral pattern.  I didn’t know how to interpret what she said.  I was kind of at a loss for words.  I felt she was honest with me and I appreciated it.  I had so many questions in head.  I wondered if that meant I would be able to carry a baby or not.  As my exam continued and she looked at my ovaries closer, she recognized my endometriosis.  That explained the difference in the look of uterus.  Hopefully that makes sense.  Well, she took screen shots for Dr F to review and that was it.  After she left, I spoke with my IVF coordinator about our plans.

I was under the impression that we had 3 options.  As we talked, I realized that our options were limited to 2…FET or IVF cycles.  I thought that the fresh cycle with a little medication was a separate option.  But, it’s not.  It’s a fresh IVF cycle.  Lol.  I felt so dumb for not getting it before.  I did get a good laugh though.  Although our options were lessened, it doesn’t change the fact that we still have options…which is good.

Anyways!  In my discussion with my IVF coordinator, she requested that I give her 3 months notice before we start anything.  In previous conversations and emails, I told her that we wouldn’t be starting anything until January, at the earliest.  We laughed about how I would have to tell her now because in 3 months it will be the beginning of February.  We left it at that because we both were unsure of what Dr. F would recommend.  We decided to wait until Dr. F could review the images and then my IVF coordinator would contact me.

Within a week, my IVF coordinator called.  Since we plan to wait until January/February we have time to consider our options.  She instructed me to call her in January on Day 1 of my menses.  Dr. F has requested to do another SIS.  Fine with me, as long as it helps and allows Dr. F to continue to provide the best treatment for me.

Another factor in the process is that we will be switching medical insurance effective January 1st.  This is definitely a change but it also opens the option to a second IVF cycle, covered by insurance.  (I’ll talk about this again in a later post.)  In January, we will confirm our decision and take the necessary steps.  In the meantime, we wait… and read.

Next post: Endometriosis Diet


Our Results

Posted on

It’s been 3 weeks now, since I got the results of our FET.  I guess it’s about time to share it.

I drove in to town for blood work on the morning of Sept. 20.  I was already home when my IVF coordinator called  me.  It was less than 2 hours after my blood work.  When my phone rang, I took a deep breath and answered it.  Once I heard my IVF coordinator’s voice asking me how I was doing, I knew what the results were…negative.  She confirmed that as we talked a little longer.  She explained that the results were not what they wanted and I asked her what that meant.  I felt the answer was pretty vague.  I wanted a straight forward answer – positive or negative.  She then explained that the test came back negative.  I went silent.  We scheduled a follow up meeting with Dr. F and then she offered support.  I assured her that I would be ok.  Immediately after our conversation ended, I took a deep breath and called my husband.

When I gave him the news, I knew from his response, that he was just as frustrated and hurt as I was.  I felt bad giving him such junk news while he was at work…and it was only a little after 10 in the morning.  We hung up and then I tried really hard to think about what just happened, without tearing up.  Ya, that didn’t happen.

It only took a few seconds before tears began to stream down my face.  I didn’t know what to think.  I thought about the risk and wondered if we had made the wrong decision.  Nope, we didn’t.  Just because taking that risk didn’t result in pregnancy didn’t make it a wrong choice.  Well, that’s what I think.

I thought, what now?  I was so hopeful that the FET would be successful.  I knew what other options we had, I just didn’t want to do them.  Then I wondered whether I should continue to try to become pregnant.  I truly felt like giving up that desire simply because the process is draining – financially, physically, and emotionally.  I say “I” because my husband didn’t share those same feelings.  To tell you the truth, I was done.  I didn’t want to do this anymore.  It hurt.  My heart ached for relief and tears continued to flow down my cheeks.  I kept telling myself I would be ok but I didn’t feel ok.  I wasn’t ok and I didn’t know what it would take for me to be ok.  My tears subsided and tried to do things around the house, aka cleaning.  Just FYI, dishes is not a good one to do.  But I did them and found it difficult to wipe my eyes because obviously my hands were busy.  While I was doing that my sister-in-law called.  I programmed my ringtones so I knew she was calling, in fact hearing her ringtone caused me to start crying again.  I couldn’t answer the phone, I just couldn’t.  Not only were my hands soaked in dishes, my mind, heart, and mouth were not working collaboratively.  I wasn’t trying to avoid my sister-in-law, I just knew I was in no position to talk.  I again felt bad, for the second time that day, and decided I needed to leave the house.  I left a little while later to take a drive and to get some shopkicks.  (Shopkicks is an app that gives you points for walking into stores as well as scanning items.  You can redeem your kicks for gift cards.)

I went to Pearl Ridge – Macy’s, American Eagle, Best Buy, Waikele – Old Navy, and Fabric Mart.  Needless to say, I got a lot of kicks!  Lol.  I spent a lot of time at Fabric Mart looking for material for a couple of projects.  A friend of mine, after seeing my reupholstered chairs, gave me her outdoor patio set.  I searched for material for that but didn’t find what I was looking for.  I did, however, find material for a skirt I’d been wanting to make.  While I was at Fabric Mart, my sister-in-law called again and my mom.  I talked with both of them.  By then I still felt hurt and sorrow, but I was ok to talk.  My mom & I talked for over an hour.  I walked around the fabric store with headphones in one ear.  At times I held back tears so other customers wouldn’t see.  My mom was trying to encourage me and help me.  I know it was hard – for her and me.  The pain and grief I felt was stronger than any words of encouragement, understanding, and love.  My mom tried really hard to help me.  After we talked I felt a little better.  I ate a little something at Waikele Jamba Juice and then sat outside on the bench, thinking…what now?  I stayed out for at least 4 hours before returning home.  I quickly realized that this was not like a pill I could swallow to remove the anguish I felt.  It would take much more than I was willing to give.  I canceled dinner plans for that evening and decided to stay home.

The pain I felt ran deep.  I felt so alone and knew there weren’t a lot of people that could relate to what I was going through.  Not that there aren’t people that understand, I just don’t know a lot of them.  I wasn’t looking for sympathy, I was seeking relief.  By the end of the day, my tears dried up and anger penetrated through everything.  This wasn’t going to be good.

I was SO angry, I went into an extreme mode.  I’m not sure how else to describe it.  Maybe more like defiant.  I had reached my breaking point through this entire process and I wasn’t having it anymore.  Most of my frustration was centered around the fact that I wasn’t pregnant.  It was unbelievable to me.  I just shook my head in disgust.  I remember telling my husband, “I’m done.”  I felt like we never get a break and decided to take my own break.  I was so hurt and angry I didn’t want to pray or read my scriptures.  So I didn’t.  I wanted to take a break from being faithful every time.  I didn’t even want to go to church.  I didn’t want to be around people.  I felt as though the Lord had forsaken me.  I know, that sounds bad but it’s the truth.  This was a huge thing for me, especially because I’m not like that at all.  That’s how appalled and mad I was.  I just didn’t care.  This attitude of mine lasted about 4-5 days.

As much as I didn’t want to do things, I still did.  I still went to church and spent time with friends even though I didn’t feel like it.  But I knew I wasn’t over it yet.  One night I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend.  I was asked about how the FET went and results.  I told my friend it didn’t work and she apologized.  I told her she didn’t have to be sorry.  When I got home that night I mentioned it to my husband.  I told him, “It’s like I’m numb.  I’m so mad I don’t have any feelings.”  Which was true.  I knew exactly what I was doing.  I acted like it wasn’t a big deal, but it was.  Apparently I had a good facade.  Lol.

A little over a week after we got the results, I was praying and reading my scriptures again but sporadically, whenever I wanted to.  There was also the General Relief Society Broadcast, which is an annual church broadcast for women 18 and older.  In its entirety, it’s about 1.5 – 2 hours long.  There’s usually a lunchoen and activity connected with the broadcast.  I didn’t want to go but I did want to watch the broadcast.  Instead, I went to watch 2 of nephews soccer games and my oldest nephew’s baseball game.  I sat down to watch it a couple days later.

I remember, it was a Monday morning and my husband had already left for work – it was his birthday!  I put the broadcast on.  There were 4 speakers.  They were ALL great!  The 3rd speaker was Sister Linda S. Reeves.  As she spoke and shared experiences, I just cried.  She explained some of the feelings she had as she endured a couple of trials.  I knew exactly what she was talking about and felt the need to cease my anger.  I needed to stop this “adult tantrum” I was having.  Following the broadcast, I went into the bedroom and prayed earnestly to the Lord to calm my trouble heart.  I didn’t like being angry but I felt I was justified in my frustrations at the time.  It was hindering my growth.  I included my husband in my prayer too.  I knew that this took a toll on him as well.  This is a “we” thing, not a “me” thing.  Our pain was the same but our methods for dealing with it were different.  I knew my husband needed comfort too.  I received the peace I desired, which allowed me to start to move forward – little steps at at time.

As the weeks have gone by, I’ve noticed a change.  When I first got the news that I wasn’t pregnant, I wondered how I would get over it.  Now, 3 weeks later, I know I don’t need to get over it.  I just need to move forward.  To me, when I hear about “getting over” stuff, it represents the need to forget about it and never look back.  Maybe in certain situations, that’s true, but for in this circumstance, no.  I don’t need to get over it.  It’s a part of who I am, an experience I will never forget.  Something I know, will strengthen me.

You’re welcome to watch or read the talk by Linda S. Reeves here! (It’s good!) 🙂

Next post:  Now What?


My Surgery – Polyp Removal

Posted on

Wow, I can’t believe it’s time for a new post!  It seems like I just wrote the last one!  Lol.  Trying to keep up with my one per week goal.

Ok, back to telling you about my surgery.  The day before my surgery I reviewed everything in hopes of being a prepared as I could possibly be.  I was still not at all worried about the surgery.  In the early afternoon, my OB/GYN called.  I was surprised to receive the call.  He informed me that the previous surgery had been cancelled and asked if I wouldn’t mind coming in early.  I willingly agreed.  Less than half an hour later, the Surgicenter called to confirm my new arrival time.  I agreed to be at the hospital @ 6:45am.  Yikes!  Lol.  This meant that my surgery would be around 8:45am.

I had to go to sleep early but that didn’t happen.  The olympics were on late & I stayed up to watch.  So, needless to say, I was definitely tired the next day.  I took my thyroid medicine with a sip of water, as instructed.  We pretty much got up, got ready, and left.  My gracious husband drove (with no traffic, yeah!) and we walked to admissions, right @ 6:45am.  Phew!  All I had was my ID and medical card.  I needed that in order to check in.

In admissions the lady asked me a few questions, I signed another consent, and then put the tag around my wrist.  Then we were off to the Surgicenter.  Since the hospital was undergoing construction in different areas, we were routed to a different elevater to the 4th floor.  We went through a very short maze before arriving at the Surgicenter.  I handed the receptionist the envelop labeled O.R.  It contained 2 documents that I had from my pre-op appointment.  We sat down and watched TV while waiting to be called in.

It wasn’t long before I was called and we followed the nurse to an area.  I say area because it’s not a room.  It’s a bed separated by curtains.  It’s not the most private but it’s sufficient for the surgery I was having.  It is kind of funny because you can hear conversations and questions that are asked & you know it’s going to be your turn soon.

The nurse brought in a chair for my husband and I sat on the bed.  She instructed me on how to get dressed and then closed the curtain.  I gotta say, that was one of the weirdest procedures I’ve done.  So, I undressed, put my clothes in the bag provided and then my slippers in a separate bag, that was also provided.  Then came the interesting part.

On the wall was a chart/visual for the cleansing.  I’m not even sure what to call it.  Lol.  I had to wipe my body down with wipes.  It’s not like I was at all dirty, but it’s part of their preparation for surgery.  I think everyone has to do it.  Anyways!  There were 3 small packages of antiseptic wipes, 3 wipes in each.  They were thick and warm.  I know…very interesting.  Each wipe was for a specific area and I had to wipe in a downward motion.  So, I faced the wall and followed the chart.  It took a couple minutes.  My husband helped me because I couldn’t reach my entire back.  Lol.  I’m laughing as I write this because I’m thinking about how awkward that felt for me.  I understood the reasoning behind it, I just never had to do that before.  The good thing about the wipes was that they didn’t leave a residue or sticky feeling.

After that adventure, I put on the robe, socks, and hair cap.  The robe was heavier than I expected and hot.  There were vents in various places and a system that could be attached to the vent to make it cooler.  I didn’t use that.  I was ok, it wasn’t like I was really hot.  I was comfortable.  Here I am all dressed & ready to go, waiting for the nurse to do my IV and ask me a bunch of questions.  Shucks, you can’t see my purple paw socks.  Lol.

My husband opened the curtain and we waiting for the nurse to come back.  When she did, she took my vitals, and then asked me what seemed like, endless questions.  She asked me what time I took my thyroid medicine, when the last time I used the restroom, what other medications I’m taking, family history stuff, etc.  I can’t remember everything she asked me.  Then, she left and a different nurse came by to verify…and asked pretty much the same questions.  My husband & I just laughed because it seemed so repetitive.

My Ob/gyn stopped my to check on me.  Then the anesthesiologist came by and explained what he would be doing and again asked some of the same questions.  Another one they ask a lot is your name and birthdate.  It’s funny because it’s on the tag on my wrist.  Lol.

I thought it was interesting that the anesthesiologist didn’t put my IV in, the nurse did.  My husband again had a close view of that.  He’s funny.  Just like my egg retrieval, he tells me that the needle is big.  Lol.  It went fine for me.  The only thing that was different this time was that I felt the nurse put the IV in.  It didn’t hurt, I just felt the movement of it.  The pink thing on the left, I felt that.  Sorry, I don’t know what that’s called.

By this time it was a little after 8:00am.  I didn’t feel rushed.  We had breaks here and there.  We were taking it easy & laughing.

The OR nurse came to check on me and ask me questions, same ones.  Lol.  Oh ya, and they ask you why you’re there – what procedure you’re having.  She explained that they were going to wheel me over to the OR in a little bit.  I said ok and then we waited about 15 minutes.

So, between 8:15 & 8:30am the OR nurse returned.  My husband took my clothes and then sat in the waiting room for me.  I, on the other hand, went to the right and out a door.  We went down the hall and then took 2 more right turns…that was it.  It was a really short ride.

Upon entering the OR, I was overwhelmed by the lights and bombarded by all the people.  I laid flat on the bed and the OR nurse whispered in my ear.  She told me that there would be a lot going on and that I would be ok.  I felt fine, I was surprised at everything in there. The room was large, complete with very bright lights and equipment.  The lights looked like there were mounted from the ceiling, almost 2 feet in diameter with a lot of individual bulbs in them.  That didn’t include the regular room lights.  Then there was a huge monitor that was mounted from the ceiling as well.  It was probably 30-40″.  I’m almost sure it was for the camera.  There was something on the right of me, about a foot away.  I didn’t look at it because I was too busy looking at everything else.  I saw cabinets too.

The nurse wheeled me right next to a table, covered with a white linen.  She asked me to scoot over and while I was doing that they would untie my robe so my back was directly on the linen.  I moved over and down so my bottom was near the end of table.  As I laid there the OR nurse and another person attached pieces to the table, like arms.  One was for my arm with the IV and the other was for my arm with the blood pressure cuff.  It seemed like the table was just my size.  If I turned either way I would fall off.  Anyways!  There were people everywhere.  I didn’t know who they all were but I was sure they had a purpose in being there.

Right before they were ready to do the surgery, my Ob/gyn came over and talked to me.  While he explained what they were going to do, I dozed off.  How rude, huh?  That’s all I remember.  Lol.  The next thing I know, I’m in the recovery room.  In there I had a 3rd nurse.  When I got up, I really had to pee.  She was surprised that I was awake. When I asked, she told I had only been in there for 15 minutes.  I told her I had to pee and she said ok.  She asked me to lift up my but and then she put a tray or something underneath.  When everything was ready, she told me I could pee.  So, I did…and it was weird.  She put a fishnet panty thing with a pad on me.  Even though I was awake, I still felt tired and drowsy.  After that the nurse told me she would check on a few patients and then take me back to the Surgicenter.  I agreed and then rested a little more.

I had no idea what time it was since I left everything at home.  The nurse came back and wheeled me toward the Surgicenter.  On our short ride there, I saw my Ob/gyn.  He said that everything went great and that they removed 3 polyps.  I was surprised and grateful.  He told me he talked with my husband and gave him a picture of one of the polyps.  He sent my polyps to the lab to find out if there were malignant or benign.  I was curious to see the picture.

After our brief conversation, I was back in the Surgicenter.  My husband brought my clothes and we waited a little while.  I had to wait for the nurse to take off my IV.  My recovery room nurse gave me a free water bottle.  It was their thank you gift due to all the construction.  The nurse removed my IV, bandaged it up and then I changed.

Here is my hand all bandaged up!

My husband opened the curtain and the nurse came back.  She inquired about how I was doing.  I was fine.  She offered water or apple juice.  I went for the apple juice.  We shared it.  Then she told my husband to meet us at the drop off.  I thought we were going to walk to the car.  Nope!  The nurse said that because I was given anesthesia, I would not be allowed to walk anywhere.  So, she brought the wheelchair for me.  Lol.  It was my first ride in a wheelchair.  It was great not having to walk all that distance to the car.  My husband pulled up and I got in.  I thanked the nurse and then we were on our way home.

I looked at the picture and we talked about the whole process.  When we got home it was a little after 11:00am.  My husband made lunch and then I relaxed for the rest of the day.  Watching the olympics helped pass the time.

Here is what one of the polyps looked like.  The picture looks big but the actual size is about an inch square.  It’s really very small.  Cool huh?  Sorry, it’s a picture of my picture.

After surgery, there’s always follow up.

Next post: Follow Up


My Surgery Date!

Posted on

Getting a surgery date was much harder than I expected.  When I called to talk with my OB/GYN, I was informed that he was on vacation for 2 weeks.  I just shook my head in disbelief.  Seriously?  I thought, “What are the odds of that?”  Lol.  The only option I had at that point was to schedule a phone call appointment with my OB/GYN upon his return.  I inquired about having another doctor do the surgery but when I talked to the nurse, that didn’t seem to be an option.  I couldn’t do anything about it…I just had to wait.  For the next couple of days, I was annoyed…just because.  I estimated that the earliest date for my surgery would be at the end of July or maybe early August.  Then I gauged that my ET would probably be pushed back to late August or September.  I wouldn’t be able to confirm that until after my phone call appointment on July 16th @ 4:30pm.

While I waited, I confirmed with my IVF coordinator, via email, that there was only 1 polyp.  She checked with Dr. Frattarelli and confirmed it – only 1 polyp.  I also spent my time researching polyps.  At that point I wasn’t sure how big or small the polyp was but I knew I would be ok.  A uterine polyp is pretty much a growth on the lining of the uterus.  It can look like a bump or hang like a tear drop and can range in size.  I know that sounds quite gross but that’s the only way I can explain it right now.  Lol.

The day of my phone appointment arrived, July 16th.  When 4:30pm rolled around, I expected my phone to ring.  I tried to keep my phone nearby so I would’t miss the call.  I had all day to think about what the doctor might say.  Time seemed to tick away and still no call.  4:35pm, 4:40pm, 4:45pm.  Still no call.  I wondered if my OB/GYN would call or not.  I thought, “I really don’t want to call tomorrow wondering why no one called me.”  4:50pm, 4:55pm, my patience was being tested.  Then a little after 5:00pm, my phone rang…it was my OB/GYN.  Phew!

As I explained the purpose of the appointment, my OB/GYN noted that he had not received any information from Dr. Frattarelli.  He noted that he briefly check his mail but hadn’t seen anything, but he still had more to look through.  I was quite surprised that after 2 weeks, my OB/GYN hadn’t received information about my polyp.  So, I briefly updated my OB/GYN.  He said he would follow up with Dr. Frattarelli.

I waited as he looked for an open date for the operation room.  My OB/GYN quickly scheduled my surgery for July 31st and said he would have his nurse call me the next day.  I agreed, of course!  Wouldn’t you?  I just wanted it to be done with so I took the earliest date I was offered.  The phone appointment took about 20-25 minutes total.  I realized after we hung up that I knew the date, but not the time.  Oops!  But it was ok because I knew the nurse was going to call me the next day.  This is one way I feel that being laid off has been a blessing.  I didn’t need to take the day off or call in sick or anything like that.  Much less stress.

The following day, the nurse called me.  She scheduled a pre-op appointment for July 27th & reviewed some of the things I needed to prepare for.  I asked her about the time of the surgery and she told me 10:00am.  Then she explained that at my pre-op appointment, she would review more information with me and I would most likely have to do blood work.  That was fine with me!

It was such a relief to have my surgery date.  I assumed it would be similar to my egg retrieval.  I didn’t worry about it.

The date for my pre-op appointment came quickly.  I checked in and sat on a chair waiting to be called.  I saw a note on the board that said my OB/GYN was running 45 minutes to an hour late.  Oh dear, I thought.  I geared up for a long wait.  To my surprise, my name was called about 10 minutes later.  I’m grateful I didn’t wait too long.

The nurse took my height, weight, and vitals – blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.  She asked me a few questions related to family history and date of the first day of my last menses.  You know, the same basic questions.  She escorted me to the exam room where she asked me to remove my clothing from the waist down.  The nurse gave me a disposable sheet and then told me the doctor would be in soon.

A few minutes later, my OB/GYN knocked on the door and came in with the nurse.  He briefly checked my uterus and breathing.  It was a really quick appointment, maybe 5 minutes.  Then, as instructed I changed & met with the doctor in his office.

He explained, with a visual aid what a polyp looks like in the uterus.  He continued with talking me through the procedure.  I listened attentively and learned that the doctor would be using a camera to look into my uterus.  Apparently, using a camera is much more accurate than the ultrasound when it comes to locating polyps.  So cool.  We discussed some of the side effects and that I should expect some spotting for a few days.  The doctor also explained that the polyp would be cut off with a scissors.  I’m sure it’s a special kind of scissors.  Pretty interesting to me!

My OB/GYN also told me what time I needed to arrive at the hospital.  Since my surgery was scheduled for 10:00am I needed to be there 2 hours prior – 8am.  I was also instructed (just like my egg retrieval) not to eat anything after midnight the night before my procedure.  The day of the surgery, I was instructed to take my thyroid medicine with a sip of water.  That was it, nothing else.  Since I was having an outpatient surgery and would be receiving light sedation, I needed to arrange to be picked up.  I would not be allowed to drive home nor would I be released without an adult.  Lol.  That sounds funny but they’re quite adement about someone being with you.  We reviewed the pre-op instructions, which I just explained, and then signed.  We also reviewed a consent which stated the purpose of the procedure, anesthesia, and medical treatment.  The doctor & I signed that form.  He asked if I had any questions.  At the time I only had one question.

My question was this….since he was removing the polyp, could he also remove the ovarian cysts?  I figured since I was going to be under anesthesia, why not?  Lol.  Well, the answer was no.  But it was ok.  The doctor explained that ovarian cysts are removed through the belly button, not vaginally.  I thought that was interesting and it made sense.  It seemed so obvious after he explained it.

After leaving his office I walked a short distance to the nurses desk.  She briefly reviewed the pre-op paper and the consent.  She put the originals in an envelop labeled for the O.R. with my name on it.  She instructed me to bring that envelop with me on the day of my surgery and hand it to the receptionist at the O.R.  Then she gave me my copies of the two forms and I was off to the lab.

At the lab, I did a urine test and blood work.  First the urine test, which I always seems weird to me, and then I waited to be called for blood work.  There were a handful of people waiting so I knew I had a few minutes before I would be called.  It wasn’t long before it was my turn.  I went in and requested the wrap instead of the tape.  I make it a point to ask for the wrap because the tape is horrible.  It rips the hairs off my skin and leaves a residue that has to be scraped off.  Not fun.  Plus, I think going to Dr. Frattarelli’s has spoiled me.  They always use the wrap, which is great.  The phlebotomist found my vein easily so I was out of there fast.  My entire pre-op appointment, including lab work, was about an hour.

All done!  Now, all I had to do was wait a few more days until the surgery.  In the meantime, I emailed my IVF coordinator and she sent me an updated calendar.  With all the postponing and changes that arose, this was my 3rd and hopefully last calendar.

I was ready! 🙂

Next post: My Surgery – Polyp Removal


My SIS

Posted on

We have some new subscribers!!  Yay!  Thank you for joining in on the journey! 🙂

Almost immediately after I published my last post, I said out loud, “Oops!”  I realized that I forgot to mention something, something big.  I don’t know how it slipped my mind!  So, before I talk about my SIS, I’m going to rewind a little.

Ok, here it is.  A week and a half after beginning the birth control pills again (early June) I was informed by my employer that they would be restructuring.  I was not alone in this, at all.  2 weeks and then I would be out of a job.  Words can’t adequately express the many emotions I felt at that time.  I felt SO many different emotions.  I felt angry, worthless, disposable, protective (of others), distraught, etc.  For the first few days after receiving this news, I was furious.  I did not like the way the lay off was done.  I went in one day and cleaned out everything!  I made the decision to use some of my leave and not return.  I think I went in one more day but that was it.

The lay off brought much more dynamics to what I already felt was a complicated task – IVF.  At that point I felt such a burden.  I wondered what would come of our efforts to try to start a family.  I contemplated whether or not to search for work.  I had so many more questions than I had answers for.  I knew what I had to do, I just didn’t want to do it.  There were 2 things I knew for sure…1 I had to file for unemployment, and 2, I had to pay COBRA.

In order to maintain my medical coverage and continue with IVF, I had to pay for COBRA.  During open enrollment, my husband changed insurance companies so at the time of the lay off, we had different medical coverages.  Unfortunately, in the state of Hawaii, when you do IVF and something comes up, if you don’t continue coverage, you forfeit the only opportunity you’ll have.  I was not about to give that up.  Technically, insurance only covers one chance.  It felt like such a huge sacrifice because now I had to pay the full coverage for medical insurance.  But, it was necessary and temporary.  I can switch to my husband’s insurance once the IVF cycle is completed.

Filing for unemployment was another frustrating process.  Even with the handbook, powerpoint, and instructions, the process proved to be a daunting one.  I’m glad I didn’t go through it alone.  Once you get through the first few steps, it gets easier.  I think that’s all I’m going to say about that.  If you need assistance, let me know.  I’ll help you!!

Through all of those emotions (and this experience), I still felt relieved.  It might seem to be kind of weird but I was glad to leave.  My philosophy and thoughts on the lay off simply come down to this – a company that doesn’t value me doesn’t deserve me.  I decided not to let the lay off bother me and moved on to more important things.  The lay off has been a blessing.

Ok, now that you’re all caught up with that, I can talk about my SIS.

So, like I mentioned in my last post, my IVF coordinator emailed me my new calendar and scheduled my next appointment.  My new calendar revealed that my ET (embryo transfer) would now be scheduled for July 30th.  It was pushed back because of the delay in my thyroid test results.  So my once July 25th ET was now 5 days later.  I sarcastically told my husband, “I’ve been waiting forever already, what’s 5 more days.”  Lol.  Things can always be worse, but why dwell on that…it doesn’t help.  Honestly, you really have to be able to laugh, put things in perspective, and at times search for joy in the little successes.  It’s not always easy to do but it has its rewards.

I went in on July 2 for my SIS, in preparation for my ET on July 30th.  Prior to this, I’d never heard of a SIS.  Saline Infusion Sonogram (SIS), also called a sonohysterography, is a test that looks at the shape of the uterus.  The saline solution is like the dye of HSG test, it acts as a contrast to help the doctor look at the uterus, using ultrasound.  The SIS is similar to the HSG test, I’ve mentioned previously.  Minor cramping can occur.  It took less than 5 minutes.

On the day of my appointment, I forgot about the SIS and I didn’t do my research.  I guess I was distracted with the lay off that I didn’t read up about it.  Maybe that was a good thing, maybe not.  The doctor was behind schedule so I had time to talk with my IVF coordinator.  She reviewed with me the calendar and the medicines I would be starting that evening.  I didn’t have my blood taken just my vitals – blood pressure, pulse, and temperature.  The doctor came in and did the SIS.  He put the speculum in, catheter and then the solution.  I felt a bit of cramping but it was bearable.  The doctor pushed the monitor toward me so I could see.  I saw a little oval.  The doctor took a picture of it and then zoomed in closer for a better view.

With a closer view, I saw bigger oval with a white line through most of it.  Dr. Frattarelli explained that the oval shape was a polyp, which would hinder our embryos from attaching to the lining of the uterus.  Therefore, it needed to be removed surgically…before proceeding any further.  I was absolutely speechless and it felt as though things were going in slow motion.  I was overcome with disbelief and then reality set it.  Yet another postponing of the ET.

When I began this journey I compared it to a roller coaster ride, this was definitely one of those rides.  I cried the whole drive home (about 30 minutes).  It felt like deja vu.  I questioned my pursuit of becoming pregnant.  I felt like there was so much adversity, it was too much to bear.  I felt so sensitive that day, I needed time to myself.  But having too much time to think about things isn’t always helpful either.

That evening, my sister-in-law called inviting us over to play “Dance Central 2” on xbox 360.  I was so emotional I thought it would be better to stay home.  I reluctantly agree to go.  I knew my parents were there and I was apprehensive because I knew the moment I saw any member of my family, I would immediately start crying.  I  wasn’t ready for that, so I thought.  As I made the less than 5 minute drive over, my eyes watered in anticipation.  What was I going to do?

I wiped the tears from my face, took a few deep breaths, told myself it would be ok, and went in.  I was met with so much love and kindness, I was surprised I kept my composure.  I wanted to cry but I felt that was selfish.  I needed to forget myself – my heartache, pain, and sorrow – and enjoy the moment.  In other words, I had to suck it up and leave my personal feelings outside.  It was more than just about me.

I tried my best.  As I’ve reflected on that night, I had such a fun evening with my family.  I don’t think they will ever know how much they helped me that night.  As I made the short drive home, I felt such relief.  I was so proud of myself…I didn’t cry.

I was responsible for contacting my regular OB/GYN to schedule surgery.  I knew the surgery date was not up to me.  I could gage when the surgery might be but I wouldn’t know until I called my OB/GYN.  Dr. Frattarelli requested that I give my OB/GYN a day before calling, that way he had time to send the appropriate notes/information to my OB/GYN.  So, I called my OB/GYN the next day.

Little did I know, I would have to endure a little more…

Next post: My Surgery Date!

FYI: I’m going to be launching another website soon…www.madebykainui.com!  I’m excited!! 🙂


Our Last Cycle

Posted on

Since we chose the next cycle to be our last cycle, that opportunity came in December 2011.

Ooh, before I talk about that cycle, I want to let you know about a different decision.  In September 2011, after much thought and consideration I requested to work less hours.  Reducing my work hours would help ease some of the stress and burden I felt.  That decision was met with some friction and uneasiness, no, not from my husband, but at work.  In the end, my request was granted and in October 2011, my work hours changed.  I was little hesitant as to how I would adjust.  I had more work to do in a shorter time, which may seem like it would cause more stress, but it’s interestingly been the opposite for me.  I had more work at the time because a colleague left, leaving just 2 of us to cover the island (of Oahu).  My part time status has required me to be more efficient in my use of time at work, which I find to be right up my alley.  I don’t like to waste time, I like being efficient.  I have adjusted well, despite other challenges that have come up.  I will go more into detail about this when I get to February/March of the timeline.

Going back to our last cycle, starting with the day 3 scan everything went smoothly.  I got the injectable medication and made it through the 10 days of shots.  The shots are usually for about 10 days.  From what I remember, there was at least one good egg.  Of course, I was reminded of the multiple birth discussion.  We did an IUI a couple of days before Christmas.  Since it was the end of December, we wouldn’t find out until January whether we were pregnant or not.  We met the New Year full of hope and possibilites.

A couple weeks into the New Year it became apparent that we were not pregnant.  It was downer, but just temporarily.  I already knew that depending on the outcome of the last cycle, we still had a plan and things didn’t end there…and it was ok.

I remember when I was so against IVF because I thought it was very invasive and unnatural.  I wasn’t ready to accept that method because I wanted to exhaust all other options first.  Of course, that takes a lot of time but I think I needed to take those small steps to realize and understand the whole picture.  I had the opportunity to experience what many others go through, without saying anything.  I can now relate to so many women who experience infertility, at any given time.  I find it so interesting that I have learned new things and gained new perspectives based on my experiences with infertility.  Things are not always black or white or crystal clear.

There have been numerous occasions when people have given me advice about how to get pregnant.  One of the most common suggestions I’ve received is this: You just need to relax, take a vacation, then you’ll get pregnant.  LOL!  Relax?  Hello, I think endometriosis is past relaxation.  It cracks me up!  It makes me laugh because I know they’re just trying to help and comfort without knowing what’s really going on.  Of course I can’t get mad at people for trying to relate or help.

I have learned so much about myself and reproduction…probably more than I ever wanted to know.  I have gained such love and understanding of the power to procreate.  Not that I didn’t know this before, it’s just been manifested more throughout this experience.  It is so complex and extremely sacred.  I don’t need to be pregnant to know that.  This experience has without question, instilled in me, a deeper gratitude for my husband, my parents and procreation (among many other things).

Went off on a little tangent there!  Well, after having 2 cycles of injections in a 6 month period, we were ready to move on.  That meant IVF.  I needed a separate approval for IVF consultation and received that a couple of weeks later.  I didn’t really look too closely at my letter.  I assumed that because we decided to pursue IVF, the next step was IVF.  My approval letter was only for IVF consultation.  I think it was a process thing where my medical insurance and fertility specialist had to communicate.  Anyways!  Once I got my letter I scheduled my consultation.  I had at least a week to formulate some questions and be prepared to meet.  When the day of the consultation arrived, I was ready!  It was now February 2012.

Next post: IVF Consultation


Carrying On…

Posted on

I have to apologize for not writing anything for you to read!!  I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest and Etsy!! 🙂  I still have lots to catch you up on!

Ok!  In my last post I talked about the hope and possibilities with 4 eggs.  When that was not successful, don’t get me wrong, I was definitely disappointed.  As I think about it now, I am so thankful for that experience AND that the Lord didn’t answer my prayers in the way I desired.  So many times I hear people blame God when things go wrong in their life or when they are not given what they desire.  In my experience, I know the Lord knows and loves me because none of the 4 eggs resulted in pregnancy.  You may think I sound crazy because the goal was and is to become pregnant, but I know that there is NO way I would be able to handle that…physically and mentally.  As earnest and sincere as my prayers were, they did not override the Lord’s knowledge and understanding of what I need.  I’m not going to lie, it took time to come to that understanding.  For me it was an important lesson to learn.  I feel extremely blessed that I didn’t have to choose embryos to abort.

Ooh, I don’t think I explained the HCG injection in the last post.  I told you about it but not the purpose of it!  The HCG injection is given to make you ovulate.  Ok, now back to the journey!

After feeling devastated that none of the eggs were successful, I went in for my day 3 scan.  By this time it was August 2011.  The doctor started me on the injections again…I was happy.  Happy for another opportunity to try to become pregnant, not happy about the actual injections.  Lol.  When I went in for my next scan, after doing the injections for about 5 days, I was puzzled when the doctor told me to stop the injections and wait for the next cycle.  I was like, what?  I believe the lining of my uterus had grown too thick in a short amount of time, which was not good.  So, we stopped the injections for that cycle and waited for the next cycle.  Of course, I was bummed.  I also thought about the timing of my approval and how much time I had remaining on my referral.  We were half way through my 6 month approval.  I wondered if I would get another chance to do the shots before the 6 months was over.

Since we waited out the cycle, I went back to the doctor in September 2011 for my day 3 scan.  I was hopeful about the opportunity but unsure what the doctor would say.  When I heard “provera” again, my heart sank.  I knew why…it was the lining of my uterus and the endometriosis.  In my head I knew that would set us back at least another month.  Ugh.  I wasn’t looking forward to it but what was I gonna do, complain?  Complaining or getting mad wasn’t going to change the facts of the scan.  Who would I complain to, my body?  Would I get angry at my uterus?  That would be just be lame and absurd!  Lol!  So, I took the same amount of provera as the first time, for 10 days and I got my menses in October.

October 2011 was the next time I went in for a day 3 scan.  I periodically got blood work done at the office and this was one of those times.  I soon found out that my thyroid needed attention.  I took a deep breath and sighed.  I really felt like things weren’t going very well.  So, we took a little pause from the shots to address my thyroid.  In the meantime, I was nearing the expiration date of my approval.  My husband and I thought we might be able to have one more chance with the injections before we ran out of time.  Well, that didn’t happen.

I was curious about what would happen when November came.  I made some calls to my OB/GYN’s nurse and talked with the PA and doctor.  They all agreed that it would be ok to continue and an extension would filed.  I would then have to wait for another approval letter which would indicate how much more time we would have.  I don’t think there was ever a doubt or question that I wouldn’t be approved.  I didn’t know for how long.  Also during this time, I felt we didn’t have much success or opportunity with the injections because of the endometriosis, thyroid and other stuff.  We had done 1 cycle of injections in a 5 month period.  That didn’t seem like very good odds to me.  I was ready to move on to IVF.

My husband and I met with the PA and we discussed our options.  We decided to do one more cycle of the injections and if that was not successful, we would pursue IVF.  I received a letter in November 2011 that we were approved for one more cycle and we had until May 2012 to complete this one cycle.  We opted for the next cycle to do the injections, if the uterus and lining looked good.

Next post: Our Last Cycle


Acupuncture

Posted on

What would you do, if what you’re already doing isn’t working?  Do you continue to do what’s not working or do you find alternatives or supports to help you?  Those were some of the questions I faced.  I had to ask myself these questions because that was reality for me.

Since the clomid cycles were not successful in achieving pregnancy, the next step was to obtain a referral.  So, I contacted my new OB/GYN and we reviewed the plan.  Oh, the “new” OB/GYN…I felt comfortable having the last OB/GYN help me through the rest of the process.  While waiting to hear back about my referral, I figured…this “western” medicine is not happening, we should try something else.  Hence, I went to acupuncture.

Acupuncture was not a replacement for modern medicine or “western” medicine, at least not for us anyway.  Acupuncture is something I consider complimentary to modern medicine, that helped provide more understanding and different approaches to an already complicated situation.

I went to acupuncture without consultation or a recommendation from my doctor.  I did not ask because at that point I thought….this can’t hurt our chances!  Why not try it?  Some of my friends advised me to see an acupuncturist but no one in particular.

My husband did the research and I made the call.  I set up my first acupuncture appointment!  He came with me to check it out.  Plus, I was nervous and didn’t want to go by myself.

If you ever have the opportunity to participate in acupuncture, I would recommend it!

At first, I was definitely skeptical!  I didn’t know what I was getting into nor did I realize the effect it would have on me.  I was a little freaked out because I wasn’t familiar with it, meaning I had a general idea but not the specifics.  I knew I was going to be poked with needles and thought it might hurt a little.

My first appointment was about 2 hours.  I read and signed consents.  Then I tried it out…I was invited to one of the rooms and asked to remove either all of my clothes or to remove my clothes from the waist up.  I laid on my stomach, put my head in the rest area provided at the end of the massage table, and covered myself with the sheet.  The massage table was covered like a bed, with a sheet to protect the table and a sheet to cover me.  When the acupuncturist came in I was asked questions pertaining to my history, infertility, and reviewed some of the things I could expect.

Next, the sheet was lifted to uncover only my back and arms.  My back was lathered with lotion and I moved on to cupping.  If you’ve ever done cupping you may have a different perception than me.  The fact is, I never saw the cupping process because my head was always face down.  I heard and felt cupping.  My husband, however, has witnessed cupping being performed on my back.  So, he assisted with my explanation of this.  Cupping helps the blood flow in your body.  It involves small glass cups that are placed on your back.  Prior to that, a cotton ball is lit on fire and swirled inside a glass cup, which creates smoke.  The cup is then placed on your back.  You can tell it’s on your back because the glass becomes like suction cups to your skin.  The skin surrounding the cup is sucked up into the glass cup.  The smoke removes the oxygen from the glass cup creating the suction effect.  The cup was moved around my back in a particular manner.  At times it stayed in a specific area for a few minutes.  It was at those times that I got a hand and foot massage.  Oh, I almost forgot.  While I was laying on my stomach there was also a pillow by my ankles holding my feet up a little off the table.  This probably sounds really weird and possibly harsh.  I hope I’ve explained this well enough for you to understand.

I had a least 3 cups on my back.  I have to admit, the first time I did cupping it was sore, and for good reason.  After the cupping was complete, the cups were removed.  My back was really tense.  That was also apparent when the acupuncturist did a back pinching thing.  I don’t know what the exact name for it is, but it hurt.  It starts at the tailbone.  You push the skin toward the spine and pinch it.  Alternating hands (thumbs & index fingers), you pinch the skin up following the spine, until you reach the neck.  It seemed to take forever, probably because I was in such pain.  The pain was due to the tightness of my back.  After the pinching thing, I got a back massage. When that was done, the sheet was lifted a little.  I was asked to turn over and lay on my back.  When I was ready, the sheet was draped over me.  Don’t worry, the acupuncturist was very modest about it and the sheets were not sheer.  The pillow by my ankles was returned to that spot and another pillow was placed under my head and neck area.

It was now time for the actual acupuncture!  I was instructed to breathe a certain way while the needles were being placed in specific areas.  If you don’t know anything about acupuncture or Chinese medicine, know that there a hundreds of points on the body.  I can’t tell you all of them, just know there are a lot! Lol!  One of the purposes of my first appointment was for the acupuncturist to assess how my body works and then identify the best way to help me.

My first experience with the acupuncture needles was not at all what I expected.  I knew that they were different from needles used to draw blood or give shots like TB, which are hollow.  I remember in high school a teacher had acupuncture done to her as part of the lesson in class one day.  It was mostly around her face and I was not bothered by it.  Anyways!  I was surprised that I couldn’t really feel the needles.  There were a few times that I felt a very brief pinch but that was it.  Since I was laying on my back I didn’t see where most of the needles were placed but I did feel them.  I remember lifting up my hand and seeing one between my thumb and index finger.  It was so thin I could barely tell it was there.  If it wasn’t for a thick cylinder metal piece at the top, I don’t know if I would’ve be able to see the needle.  The needles were about 2-2 1/2 inches long.  When the needles were in their proper places, I was instructed to close my eyes and rest for 20 minutes.  Just as a side note, I did not have needles coming out of every acupuncture point.  The needles were strategically placed.  The acupuncturist set a timer and then came in to remove the needles at the completion of the time.  I was instructed to take my time getting up and dressed, then meet the acupuncturist outside.

I got up, got dressed and we went outside to talk with the acupuncturist.  She gave me further instructions about a diet, book & article to read, as well as additional things I could expect in future sessions.  I still have the handouts I was given.  I thought the session went well considering it was my first time.  I scheduled another appointment for the following week.

As I write about this experience I realize that there are SO many things to share about the topic of acupuncture.  One post isn’t going to be enough!  Oh dear.

Anyways!  When I went home after the appointment I didn’t notice anything different until it was time to take a shower.  I saw the marks on my back from where the cups were.  My back wasn’t covered in marks, there were maybe 4-5.  They looked like bruises that were perfect circles, scattered around my back.  Lol.  It took a few days before it was gone, which I expected because of all the tightness in my back.

Acupuncture usually consisted of cupping, massage, acupuncture and rest.  My first appointment was the longest.  The typical appointment after that was about an hour, complete with validated parking.

Ok.  I had this thing…for 2-3 days after acupuncture, I would wear my hair down to cover my neck area.  I didn’t want people to think I was being abused.  Lol.  I don’t know why because I wasn’t being abused.  Well, a few months into treatment, a day or two after acupuncture, I made the mistake of going to Wal-mart with my hair tied up.  I forgot what I was shopping for but I remember walking pass the sewing section & noticing this tall, African American looking guy following me.  He looked like he was in his 40s. I didn’t know why he was following me.  I tried not to make eye contact and walked a little faster but, he caught up to me.  He said, “Excuse me, what is that on your back?”  It was then that I realized why he was following me!  I laughed to myself.  He spotted a mark from the cupping.  It was on the middle back of my neck, right above my shirt line with about half of a circle visible.  I explained to him how I got it.  He seemed surprised, nodded while explained, ok with it, and then walked away.  Thinking about that experience makes me laugh.  Hope you got a good laugh too! 🙂

Next post: More Acupunture


Clomid with IUI

Posted on

I forgot to mention that prior to starting any clomid cycle, my husband and I attended a workshop offered by the Pacific In Vitro Fertilization Institute.  It was FREE!  Basically one of doctors provided handouts in a lecture type setting using a powerpoint program.  The workshop was held at Kapi’olani Medical Center.  It was an hour presentation and then a brief Q&A.  Parking was also validated but I think we paid $1-2.  I believe it is by reservation only.  We went on our own, meaning we were not referred to the workshop.

Check out the website and click on the seminar tab located on the left column.  You must reserve a seat in the dates available online.  They also have ads in the Midweek.  I remember reserving 2 seats for us and receiving a call to confirm our attendance.  It was very well organized and there were probably about 10 couples there.  I hate to say this but we looked so much younger than the couples that attended.

Anyways!  The workshop was only about In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).  It was very specific and informative!  So informative, it freaked me out!  After attending the presentation I knew I was not going to do that (IVF).  In fact, I was relieved that I wasn’t at that point in the process.  For me it seemed very invasive.  I simply just wasn’t ready for that type of treatment.  Hence I was open to doing the clomid cycles.

Alright, getting back to Round 3 of Clomid with IUI.

So, hopefully I gave you a good general idea of what the process entails.  It’s not very different but it is more involved, for both you and your husband.  When my OPK was positive, I called and scheduled an IUI.  I really had to explain and convince the person over the phone that my OPK was positive.  I felt like that person didn’t believe me.  As soon as my IUI was scheduled, I was reminded of the specific timeline of the appointment, which I had already received in written form.

When you drop off the semen sample to the lab (prior to your appointment) it is “washed”.  Basically the semen is cleansed and put into a tube.  I’ll talk about this when I talk about some of the books I reviewed.

I arrived for my IUI and the appointment was about 30 minutes total.  I spent more time waiting than anything else.  The nurse took my weight and blood pressure then walked us to a room.  My husband & I waited for the OB/GYN to perform the IUI, at least five minutes.  When he came, he showed me the tube that contained the sperm and asked me to verify the information on it.  There’s a label that should contain your name and your husband’s name, birth dates, and other pertinent information.  You should NOT be looking at a tube that has someone else’s name on it…other wise, that’s a problem…for obvious reasons!  Lol!  I confirmed the information and he proceeded with the IUI.  The IUI was very similar to an HSG test.  The exam table is the regular one complete with stirrups, but it is lowered.  The OB/GYN put the speculum in and then the catheter.  The tube is then connected to the catheter and the sperm travels through the catheter to the cervix, where the sperm are released.  It didn’t hurt and was not in any way painful.   The IUI itself is only a few minutes long.  Like I said, waiting before and after the IUI is longer.

Anyways!  When all the sperm is in the cervix, the IUI is complete.  All the tools are removed (catheter and speculum) and you wait.  I was given a pillow to put behind my back and I was instructed to lie on my side at a 45 degree angle for 10 minutes.  A timer rang and I switched sides.  The purpose in doing this was to use gravity to help the sperm reach the egg.  After the second 10 minutes were done, we left.  After the IUI is done, you probably will not see or have the opportunity to talk with the OB/GYN.  For me, the IUI was conducted at a different office, and my regular OB/GYN was not located there and did not do the IUI.  So, if you have questions…ask them before or during the IUI.  Also, the OB/GYN will probably talk you through the procedure.  If they do not, ask them to tell you what’s going on as they do it.  It should not be a surprise to you and it’s important to be informed of what’s happening, especially with YOUR body. 🙂

Approximately 14 days/2 weeks after the IUI, expect your menses.  If no menses, take a pregnancy test.

By doing the IUI, I hoped my journey would take the pregnancy path.  Well, Round 3 of Clomid with IUI did not result in a positive pregnancy test.  Unfortunately, I got my menses.  It was so disheartening, disappointing, and stressful for me.  I was so over it.  I was ready to give up.  Nothing was working.  I wanted a referral.

Since it was Day 1 again, I scheduled and went in for a Day 3 exam.  I was still over it when I met with a fourth OB/GYN.  Ya, I met a different OB/GYN each time I was prescribed clomid.  (That was really frustrating.) Except this time, I was different.  I was determined to move to the next step.  As I explained the plan to the OB/GYN, I was informed that taking clomid with timed intercourse or IUI would be less effective the longer I did it.  So, logically, continuing with clomid didn’t seem the best way to move forward.  I don’t know why, but I decided to give it one more cycle.  Everything was all clear, and I got my 4th prescription of clomid.  I also decided my plan was changing.  I was not going to take clomid for 2 more cycles.  This was going to be my LAST prescription of clomid and if it didn’t work, I was getting a referral.  So, off I went with my clomid.  In my heart I knew it wasn’t going to work, but I did it anyways.

And I was right!  Round 4 of Clomid with IUI proved to be unsuccessful.  I also had a different OB/GYN perform the second IUI.  The process was the same…using the OPK, scheduling an IUI, doing the IUI, and then waiting.  Waiting is definitely a crazy time.  There were so many scenarios that ran through my mind…all the what ifs, good and bad.  For example, I thought if I did get pregnant, I could have a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.  I also thought about morning sickness, additional tests I would be asked to take, how it would affect my work.  The list goes on and on.  All of theses thoughts are very realistic and very pertinent, but not always helpful.  I think it can be detrimental at times because the thoughts don’t allow your body to relax.  It reminds me of that moment on a roller coaster right after you’re locked into the ride.  There’s no going back.  It’s nerve-racking.  You’re excited, yet unsure of what to expect.  To help ease my mind and body I constantly distracted myself by keeping busy with other things, unrelated to my thoughts.  See, if you have time to think, that’s what’s going to occupy your mind…well it did for me.  In order to limit my mind from going on a tangent, I mastered some of my talents, exercised, etc.  It was temporary but effective.  Prayer was also very effective.

From very early on in our efforts to have a baby, I quickly learned that I had little to no control over the outcome.  I thought I did, but I didn’t.  I constantly conducted (and still do) self-reflection.  The purpose of my self-reflection was to see how my thoughts, feelings, and actions were affecting my behavior and attitude toward this entire process.  I also find this to be helpful in other aspects of my life.  So, from there I tried REALLY hard to adjust my behavior and attitude to obtain a new perspective on my experience.  Simply changing my thoughts and actions did not (& do not) alone change my behavior.  I needed more strength than that.  I prayed everyday, many times throughout the day.  I needed to stay focused on the important things and not let my thoughts or other influences bombard me.  I recognized that I was getting impatient, frustrated, and ultimately stressed out.  I needed help to have faith in God.  So, praying alleviated my stresses and I received the peace and comfort I so desperately craved.

When my menses came and I knew I was not pregnant, I was much more overwhelmed than I portrayed.  I put up a front that I was ready for the next step.  In reality, moving forward in the process and getting a referral meant that I would have to accept what was really happening with my body.  I didn’t want to face what I knew was coming…IVF.  I kept telling myself I wasn’t ready…I didn’t want to be ready.  I wanted everything else to work so I didn’t have to experience IVF.

Next: Costs & Research