Gestational Diabetes Testing

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Hi everyone!  I didn’t realize it’s been over a month since my last post.  I’ve been thinking about writing for a couple weeks and am only now sitting down to write.  I’m pretty sure you’re not dying to read my posts and if you are, I apologize for the delay!  Lol.

Well, between 24-28 weeks, the doctor ordered a blood test for me, specifically to test for gestational diabetes.  I wasn’t worried about how the test would go because a few of my co-workers explained the process to me.  I was a little worried about the results because I have diabetes in my family history.

At 25 weeks, which was mid-April, I went in for the test.  I knew I had to be there for an hour, which is not the most exciting thing to do, but it had to be done.  Prior to my blood test, I was instructed not to take my thyroid medicine and that I had to be fasting at least 8 hours.  So, I did.  The phlebotomist gave me 5 oz of a sugary drink of my choice – lemon, lime, or orange.  With no particular preference, I went with orange.  She told me I had 5 minutes to finish it but instead I drank it as fast as I could.  I felt so disgusted afterward.  It was as though I drank pure syrup.  It was so concentrated, it reminded me of the Malolo or Hawaiian Sun syrups.  Yuck!  Upon finishing the drink, I was informed that I was allowed to take sips of water while I waited an hour.  I was also instructed to remind the phlebotomist 5 minutes before my hour so she could be ready to draw my blood at the exact hour mark.

While waiting, I took sips of water here and there.  My poor baby was active.  I felt so gross from the drink and so sad for my baby.  I also went for a walk to distract myself from feeling so gross.  The walk and sips of water helped ease my discomfort and calmed my active baby.  When it was time, I notified the phlebotomist, she drew my blood, and I left.  Luckily, I had taken the day off so I didn’t have to rush anywhere.

The next morning, early into my work day, the nurse called me about my test results.  She told me the results came back high so my doctor wanted me to do the 3 hour test.  I hesitantly agreed.  At the time, she didn’t tell me what the actual value was and I didn’t ask because I was too overcome with worry that I might have gestational diabetes.  I told her I would do the 3 hour test the next day.  I adjusted things at work so I could take half day.  I later found out that my blood glucose was 165, which was high.  The range was 70-140 mg/dL.

I looked up information on gestational diabetes to get more educated about it.  Then my husband and I went on a walk to talk about gestational diabetes, how it would affect our baby, what it would require of me, and all the risks involved.  I was so overwhelmed with information it was if I assumed I had it.  I was definitely worried, in fact, it was my first pregnancy scare.  I decided that night that I would take my thyroid medication in the morning before the test.  I also made sure to fast for at least 8 hours.

So, the next morning I went early to start the 3 hour test, 7am to be exact.  This test was a little different from the first test I did 2 days prior.  The phlebotomist took my blood before giving me the glucose drink.  I again went with orange flavor and then I was given 10 oz, the entire bottle, to drink.  Yuck!  After I finished drinking I came back 3 more times (every hour for the next 3 hours) and got my blood drawn.  In the meantime, I sipped water and walked.  The phlebotomist alternated arms and in the end, I received 4 pokes.  My poor arms.  I left with both arms wrapped in colored stretchy tape.  I was anxious about the results but hoped it would come back normal.  I knew I wouldn’t hear back until the next day so I tried not to think about it too much.

The next day, I expected to hear back about the results so I waited a few hours before calling the doctor’s office.  I spoke with the nurse, who confirmed that the results came back normal.  I asked her for the specific values and wrote them down.  I knew I would receive the results in a day or 2 via mail but I wanted to know the break down.  Here are the values she gave me: 74, 134, 124, and 116 mg/dL.  The 74 was the baseline value, no glucose drink.  134 mg/dL = after 1 hour, 124 mg/dL = after 2 hours, and 116 mg/dL = after 3 hours.  Phew!  It was such a relief and I was really grateful not to have to worry about that anymore.

I think I now truly understand why pregnant women do not look forward to the gestational diabetes testing.  Although I was impressed by the choices of glucose drinks, I was not a bit excited to drink it, twice.

This experience, although briefly stressful, helped me remember that this pregnancy is a gift.  It helped remind me to take things slowly and enjoy the experience of being pregnant.  Not that I haven’t enjoyed it, but this experience was just a little reminder for me.  It was also a reminder to me to exercise more to prepare my body and mind for labor.

My husband found a short video on You Tube for me – on stretching.  This meant that I would have to wake up 10-15 minutes earlier each day.  Not what I desired to do, but knew that it was important.  My husband offered to stretch with me, which helped, until he got sick.  Then I needed motivation to stretch on my own.  And now, he’s not sick, but I’m still stretching every morning on my own.  I tease him that it was a trick.  Lol.  There have been a few instances when I’ve stretched right after returning home from work, especially if I’ve been sitting a lot and my back is sore.  The video has helped me.  Just as a side note, it’s about 10 minutes, only instrumental, and calm.

Here’s the video!  Check it out if you want.

Next post: Free Breast Pump

Screening Tests!

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I realized after I completed my last post, I didn’t tell you my due date!  Well, here it is: July 30.  The ultrasound revealed that I was pregnant with 1 baby.

Alright, moving on to screening tests.  Oh ya, I forgot to mention that on January 1st, my insurance changed making it necessary for me to find an OB/GYN.  I searched and got information from family and friends.  I wanted someone nearby but that option was not available.  I didn’t prefer having to drive to town but it was better than the doctor that was only available every Tuesdays.  Plus, starting a job, I didn’t have time to take off nor did I want to take unpaid leave.  I was looking for a doctor that was available on the weekends as well.  So, we decided to see on of my sister-in-laws OB in town.

At my first appointment, the nurse asked me a lot of questions and I filled out some questionnaire as well.  When I met with the doctor, we went over all the information and he asked if I wanted to participate in a screening.  I told him that it didn’t matter because either way, we would be keeping the baby.  The choice was up to me.  So, I agreed to complete the screening.  I thought it was only one but as we talked about it more, I understood that it was 2 screenings.  He gave me the time frames for when they’re completed and then said he would send a requisition to Queens Medical Center (QMC) because they do the screenings.  I agreed and that was it.  I left and had lunch with my husband.  While we were eating I got a call from QMC to schedule my 1st screening.  I was really surprised at the  prompt response, very impressive.  I scheduled my first screening.

First Screening

I really wish I could remember the names of the screenings but I can’t.  All I know is the first screening was an ultrasound and blood work for down syndrome.  I completed it at 11 weeks, almost 12 weeks.  I thought everything went well.  It was pretty cool that I had my own bathroom, adjustable lighting, and a curtain for privacy.  Also, the jelly they use for the ultrasound was in a warmer.  Lol.  It was thoughtful, rather than it be cold.  I liked the fact that the technician gave me a USB to put all the ultrasound pictures on.  She reminded me to bring the USB to the second screening as well.  Having the USB is really cool and quite up-to-speed with the technology available now.  I’m grateful to have that, in addition to the 8 pictures the technician put on it.  Also, the technician printed out all the pictures she placed on the USB and gave them to me before I left.  I remember her telling me that now I will have the pictures forever and I can put them on facebook or wherever.  I told her her I was happy to have them but probably won’t be placing it on facebook.  Lol.

A week or 2 after my first screening, my OB/GYN called and shared the results of the first screening.  He explained that I was low risk.  Phew, that was a relief.  After all we experienced trying to become pregnant, I figured I wouldn’t get too much relief when I actually got pregnant.  So, hearing the doctor tell me the results showed I was low risk, was awesome.  I was so relieved and at the same time, still not convinced that my pregnancy would be smooth sailing.  Nevertheless, I was grateful.

Second Screening

At my second screening, my husband came with me.  It was around week 18-19.  I knew this screening would be looking at the physical development of our baby.  For instance, a cleft lip.  Also, the screening looked at kidney function, blood flow through the heart, the blood flow from the umbilical cord to the baby, etc.  I gave the technician my USB and she loaded the pictures on it.  It was so interesting to me to watch the things she looked for.  One of the coolest things I saw was my baby’s nose and lips.  I know you may be wondering why I think that’s so cool, but I find it neat.  I knew she was looking for any physical concerns like a cleft lip.  This was the 3rd ultrasound I’ve had during my pregnancy and it was neat to see the growth.  But seeing my baby’s nose and lips was cool because at that point I knew our baby was still very small but the technician could zoom in for a closer look, something that would not have been as successful in previous ultrasounds, for obvious reasons.  Of course, there are a lot of cool things to see during an ultrasound.  I remember while my ultrasound was going on that the lab technician came in and drew my blood.  Either she was really good or I was too focused on the ultrasound to feel anything.  Lol.  I think she was good because she drew my blood from a different arm and found my vein right away.

Towards the end of the ultrasound, the technician asked if we wanted to know the gender of our baby.  I told her we did and then she proceeded to move the probe all over my stomach.  She did mention that she would try her best.  I knew that meant cooperation from the baby would be necessary.  Lol.  As we looked at the screen, it didn’t take long for her to scan our baby’s gender.  The technician said, “Well that’s pretty obvious, no questions there.”  I tried not to bust out laughing, instead I let out a little chuckle.  I immediately turned and looked at my husband.  We smiled and then I looked back at the screen.  We’re having a BOY!!

At the end of our ultrasound, the technician wanted to try the 3D probe.  We agreed.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with the 3D probe, it’s a little more rounded with something that looks like a ping pong ball at the tip.  Not sure if that helps.  The 3D probe was quite entertaining for us.  The technician tried so hard to get a good picture but our baby didn’t make it easy for her.  Each time she got a good view, he would move his hand and block his face.  We just laughed.  She printed pictures for us, 11 pictures to be exact.  Soon after, we left.

I was relieved, not because we’re having a boy, but because we were able to find out the gender of our baby. For my husband and I, we didn’t have a preference.  You know, when you wait so long (or what feels like so long) you take what the Lord gives you/trusts you with.  I was also relieved to be able to refer to my baby with a gender.  I read that it’s important to talk to your baby early in pregnancy and all this time, I’ve referred to the baby as it or baby.  Now I could say he!  Lol.  It seems so minor but it was definitely a relief for me. 🙂

Next post: Weight Gain


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A few days after our fast, I received a call for an interview.  I agreed to an interview and accepted the date and time available.  As the day drew near, I was definitely more nervous.  I had at least 2 weeks to prepare for this interview and hoped everything would go well.  I soon realized that the day of my interview was the day I could be expecting my menses.  Oh dear!  I hoped that if I did get my period, it would come after my interview and I would be home, ready for it.  I also hoped that it wouldn’t come and that we would be pregnant.  Either way, I’d be ok and prepared for whatever we would face.

Upon returning home from my interview, I soon forgot about my period and decided to put up the Christmas tree.  I know, it was the week of Thanksgiving, probably the earliest I ever put a tree up!  I’m sure it was just a distraction.  Lol.  As I put up the tree, I was particular about the ornaments I chose.  I didn’t go with the usual ones.  I felt that this Christmas we would focus on hope and faith.  I did my best to express these thoughts in the ornaments I put on the tree.  Here are a few of the ornaments.


hope shines bright


heaven and nature



I thought these ornaments were perfect!  Looking at each of them reminded me to keep focused on the miracle we prayed for.  They helped me keep calm and do my best not to worry about the “what ifs.”  I knew that whether or not my menses arrived, was out of my control.  But it didn’t mean I should lose hope either.

A few days went by and still no period.  I tried not to fret over it because I knew it was very possible that I could get my period late.  Thanksgiving came, we made it through Black Friday, and I began to wonder.  It was a great weekend by the way.  I asked my husband if he thought I should take a pregnancy test.  He said I should wait 2 weeks after I expected my period.  I thought that was ridiculous.  I explained that with IVF we knew 10 days after the transfer, which was only a couple days after a missed period.  I didn’t think we needed to wait 2 weeks.  We talked about it and then decided I would take a pregnancy test.

Having gone through IUIs and IVF, I never needed a home pregnancy test.  Not to mention, they’re quite expensive at the store for a 2-3 pack.  Hence, I didn’t have a pregnancy test to use and I didn’t want to purchase any either.  Hmm…that presented a little dilemma.  Well, not really.  We decided that I would just call the doctor and request it.  In fact, I would have my thyroid checked at the same time.  I called my doctor and he agreed to both tests.  Yeah!  Plus, I knew that paying for a pregnancy test at the doctor’s office would be cheaper than buying one at the store.  So clever!  Lol.

The next day I went in for my 2 tests.  A few hours later, I had results.  Here is a journal entry from that day…

“I don’t know where to start but today I went in for blood work and a urine test – for my thyroid and HCG test.  When I came home from errands I got an email with my results.  The results showed that I’m pregnant(emphasis added).  I don’t know what to think!  I’m excited & scared.  But mostly grateful.  With all that Samuel & I have been through the past 6½ years trying to have a baby, this is truly a miracle.  I know there is no medical explanation for why I’m pregnant.  It’s unbelievable.  I just gave a prayer of thanksgiving & gratitude to the Lord.”

This was close to 10 ‘o clock in the morning.  I called my husband and let him know the results.  He was just as surprised and grateful as me.

I shed tears of joy that day, so grateful the Lord answered our prayers, blessing us with this miracle.

Little did I know there would be more to come.

Next post: More to Come

Now What?

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 2 weeks since my last post.  I’m sorry for not posting earlier.  I’ve been quite busy with a variety of projects.  I’m planning to post them on my other website soon.  Anyhow, I hope you are all doing well. 🙂

Coincidentally, the last post I wrote was the day I met with Dr. F to discuss our options.  Prior to our meeting, here are the options I thought we had:

1 – Do another FET, which FYI, insurance does not cover.  It’s an out-of-pocket expense that costs $4,000.

2 – Do another IVF cycle, which I estimated would cost another $3,000+.

and 3 – Nothing.  Take a break from all the medication and wait.

In my last post I mentioned that I was done and I didn’t want to continue trying anymore.  I felt that way because I was so hurt and the process is time consuming.  I recognized that a break was necessary but I didn’t want to take it.  Honestly, I wanted to do another FET but I knew what I needed to do…option 3…Nothing, at least for a little while.  Choosing to do another FET right away would have been more draining.  I knew my body needed to rest from all the medications and the emotional stress I experienced.

Doing another FET seemed to be only option but the price was not inviting.  Plus, money is always considered, whether or not I’m working outside my home.  I knew that we could afford to do another FET but I really had to think about whether that would be a smart decision.  I thought about the options we had and was still usure of what to do.  My husband & I discussed the options and decided we would wait until next year, 2013 to do anything, whatever it would be.  Of course, our decision also depended on Dr. F. recommendations.

The night before the meeting I wrote a couple of questions in my phone so I wouldn’t forget to ask them.  I really didn’t know what the objective of the meeting was and I didn’t know what to expect.  I figured we would discuss the FET and options, obviously, but other than that I didn’t know.

The day arrived for my follow up appointment with Dr. F.  I went by myself because my husband had a work meeting and was unable to attend.  When I arrived, they were apparently busy.  I knew I would be waiting a little longer than usual.  It wasn’t a problem because they have a TV and I have my phone to do shopkicks on.  When ready, Dr. F. and I walked to his office.  He shut the door and then talked with me while looking through my folder.  He allowed time for me to ask questions.  I only had 2.  The first questions was in regard to my endometriosis and if I should consider removing it.  I don’t remember the entire answer but I remember him explaining that removing it would be helpful if I experience a lot of pain.  I remember thinking that I do but I didn’t say anything.  I just thought about it.  The second question I had was about my menses.  I wanted to know why I didn’t get it prior to the blood test results.  Dr. F explained that during a normal menstrual cycle, a drop in progesterone levels would initiate my menses.  So, because I was still taking the progesterone I didn’t get a period until after I stopped the medication.  I was like, “Oh!”  After that I felt dumb because I felt like I should know that.  Lol.  After answering all my questions, we carried on with our discussion.

Dr. F. apologized for us not having any success.  I didn’t know what to say.  I felt he was genuine and I played it off by telling him, “it’s ok.”  That was awkward for me.  It wasn’t ok but I knew we both recognized that success was important.  Instead of dwelling on the lack of success, Dr. F focused on the embryos.

Dr. F used an analogy that helped me understand his perspective in the process, including our options.  I’ll call it…The Olympics.  He showed me pictures of our remaining 5 embryos and compared them to the olympics.  Seeing the embryos renewed my strength, hope, and purpose.  I completely understood the analogy and was again reminded of the risks involved with every step.  To make it to the freezing, each of the embryos are really good.  They’re the best athletes!  When it comes to the day of competition, you hope for an elite performance but never truly know how they will perform.  I may have exaggerated a little more than Dr. F, but you get the point right?  Dr. F. explained that he would expect 3-4 babies from the 7 embryos we originally had and with the 5 left, he still has that same expectation.  I know each embryo must meet a specific criteria so it was intriguing to me that the same expectation applies to the 5 remaining embryos.  Pretty cool actually!

We continued our meeting by discussion our options.  I was pretty accurate in my guesses for options.  Dr. F reviewed all the options, including the ones I thought about.  Dr. F, he’s so nice.  One more than one occasion, he’s told me I’m young.  Lol.  Sometimes I don’t feel young when I think of trying to have my first child at thirty-something.  But I am young! 🙂  Just a little note here…if the Dr. tells you you’re young, soak it up!  Lol.  Anyways!  Here’s a brief description of what we talked about:

1) FET.  Cost: $4,000   Begin: whenever we want.  This option is always available as long as we have frozen embryos…and we pay the storage fee.  Ya, I know, it reminds me of the all the storage facilities that have popped up on Oahu over the past 5+ years.  Except my embryos require much less space.  Lol.

2) IVF.  If we switched insurance companies we would get another “free” try.  Dr. F office would not charge us a copay for this second cycle.  Not sure if you remember but the copay price begins at $3,000.

3) Natural cycle with a little medicine.  I was not expecting this to be an option.  I told Dr. F that we weren’t planning to start anything until next year, end of January at the earliest.  He was respectful of that, which I really appreciated.  Now that I think about it, I don’t think we talked about how much this option would be.  I’m assuming that it is much cheaper than the other options.  I’m guess it’s like an IUI, which is a few hundred dollars.  Dr. F requested to do an ultrasound after we finished our discussion.  He wanted to see what the lining of my uterus looked like without medication, during a regular cycle.

Our meeting was done.  We walked out of Dr. F office and into an exam room.  I had a few minutes to change before he and my IVF coordinator knocked and came in.  During the exam, Dr. F inspected my uterus and remarked that it looked good.  What a relief!  I was hoping it would look ok.  I was so enthralled that Dr. F could tell I ovulated by the looking at my uterus.  It was amazing to me.  Dr. F wanted to see the lining of my uterus at different times during a normal cycle.  So, I have to call to schedule a day 10-12 exam.  Looks like the natural cycle is an option for now.  Yeah!

Well, those are our options.  I feel good and comfortable with them.  Another good thing is that I didn’t feel pressured from anyone to do anything.  The decisions were and are completely ours.  You know, after the FET was not successful, in some ways I felt like our options were limited to FET or IVF.  I’m glad that I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. F.

Still not sure what option we’ll choose.  We’ll see.

Next post: Considering the Options

Our Results

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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?

Follow Up

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Hi everyone!  Hope you are doing great on this Aloha Friday! 🙂

Before I review the follow up treatment I received, I want to share something that was shared with me!  About 2 weeks ago, I was helping in the kitchen at a funeral.  I spoke with a friend who just did a cycle of clomid.  She and her husband have been trying to start a family, which has been a challenge for them.  She shared something I hadn’t heard before.  The doctor treated her husband’s low sperm count with…(drumroll)…clomid!  I was surprised.  Since we didn’t experience that, I found it really interesting.  SO, if you know someone whose spouse has low sperm count, tell them to talk with their doctor about clomid…it may be an option to inquire about and pursue.  Not that low sperm count is a popular topic but if you know a couple that is trying, talking with their doctor doesn’t hurt.

Ok, back to my follow up.  So, at home after my surgery wasn’t too eventful.  I rested.  I did have a little pain – cramping – but I refused to take a pill for it.  It was bearable.  Instead, I used my white flower oil to easy the cramping.  The pain dissipated and I was comfortable.  My doTerra oils had not arrived yet, so I used what I had available.

The next day, I received a call from the surgicenter checking on me.  The woman on the phone asked me if I took any medication for pain.  I proudly told her no.  Lol.  She asked me a few more questions related to my current status.  I explained to her that I felt fine.

I received my doTerra oils in the mail that day, which was great…little did I know I would need them.  I looked through my post-op paperwork, which showed some of the things I may experience after surgery.  The only thing applicable to me (besides the cramping)…constipation.  I’ve been on birth control since May so constipation after the surgery reminded me of endometriosis and the pain I felt when I got my mense.  However, I didn’t have my menses, so that was one less factor.  Anyways!  It was painful to use the bathroom so I decided to use my doTerra oil…DigestZen, which is a blend of 7 oils.  The directions state to put 1 drop in 4 oz (1/2 cup) of water.  I quickly drank it and then laid down to rest.  My lip burned for a few minutes because of the peppermint oil contained in the blend.  Obviously the oil touched my lip.  Lol.  The burn was nothing.  The oil helped relieve my constipation.  I’m glad I used it.

Well, I had a little less than 2 weeks before my post-op appointment with my Ob/Gyn and scan with Dr. Frattarelli.  During that time, I received my bill in the mail.  Yup, the bill for my surgery.  I was worried about how much it would cost so I looked at my coverage plan and got an answer.  I already knew that the surgery would cost me $15.  It was a relief.  So, when I saw the bill I was quite surprised!  I saw on paper…$5,115.40  Yikes!  Lol.  The bill listed all the things that were used, including the OR, recovery room, anesthesia, etc.  Man, some of those things are expensive!  I’m glad I pay for cobra, even though that seems expensive too.  I still only had to pay $15 but it showed the breakdown, which I found interesting.

The following week my appointments started up again!  On one day I was scheduled to see Dr. Frattarelli and the next day I was scheduled to see my Ob/Gyn.  So, on Monday, August 13, I went in for my appointment with Dr. Frattarelli.  I was still taking the birth control and the lining of my uterus was thick, which I expected.  My Ob/gyn followed up with Dr. Frattarelli, which is good.  Good news…we’re on track for the FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer).  Phew!  What a relief!  Of course, it’s temporary because things can change.  I find it necessary to be grateful after each appointment.

So, that day I started taking 1 mg of Estrace (Estrogen) 2x/day and one 81mg aspirin 1/day.  The Estrace is a small blue pill.  It’s 2mg so I cut it in half to get the 1mg.  I didn’t have my pill cutter so I just used a knife.  Good thing the pill has an indention, it’s too small to break in half with your fingers.  I tried.

In case you’re curious, here is a picture of what Estrace looks like.  It’s about a 1/4″ in diameter, so it’s really small.  The picture shows both sides of the pill.  On the left is the letter “m” and on the right, you see an “e” and the number 5.

On Tuesday, August 14th, I went to see my Ob/Gyn.  He also asked me how I felt and reviewed symptoms.  My Ob/Gyn showed me a visual of the female reproductive system.  He drew a picture for me showing me where the polyps were located.  The only question I had was about the results.  I knew my Ob/Gyn sent my polyps to the lab to be tested.  I didn’t get the results.  I wasn’t worried because I figured he would have called if it was bad news.  Well, I was right.  My Ob/Gyn apologized and confirmed that my polyps were benign.  Yeah!  I will never forget what he said.  He was surprised that Dr. Frattarelli was able to find a polyp using ultrasound.  I am definitely grateful that Dr. Frattarelli found a polyp and that my Ob/Gyn removed 3.  When my Ob/Gyn explained that, I felt so comforted.  I thought, yup I pray for my doctors!!  By the way, the lab results for the polyps cost me around $20.

So, after those 2 appointments I knew that my surgery was successful and that we were moving forward with the FET.  I had this thought…could I now become pregnant without ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology)?  I don’t know.  I’m not going to try to find that out now.  I’ve come this far, I’m going to follow through with the FET.  Would be interesting though.  I think I still have endometriosis, so probably not.  Lol.

Anyways!  According to my newest calendar I was instructed & responsible for taking birth control through August 17th.  I have to admit…I like not having a period.  I haven’t had a period since May.  It’s nice not having cramps and pain.  🙂  The rest of my calendar depended on the first day of my menses.  I had tentative dates scheduled but I wouldn’t know for sure until I got my menses.  So, it was time to wait…

Next post: Day 1

Frozen Embryos

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After all the excitement, stress, and relief of finding out how many eggs were fertilized we were now waiting for the next pivotal step…knowing the # of frozen embryos.

Since the change in plans with the embryo transfer, we were hopeful that there would be a sufficient # of embryos for freezing.  Because the embryos need to meet a certain criteria before freezing, they are given a few days to grow before they are rated, measured, and frozen.

So, as a little reminder, there were 10/12 eggs fertilized.  Five days later I was notified by phone that 6 of the 10 eggs were frozen.  (More on that # in a later post.)  I felt blessed and relieved because I knew 6 was more than sufficient.  You may be wondering if I had to pay $1,500 for freezing, after all, we agreed to freeze any remaining embryos.  Nope!  We didn’t have to pay for the freezing, yet.  If our IVF cycle went smoothly or as planned, we would be paying for the freezing immediately after the embryo transfer.  Since our embryo transfer was postponed, we did not have to pay for the freezing.  Once we do the transfer we will pay $1,500 to have the remaining embryos frozen.

I’m not sure how many embryos will be transfered, nor do I know how many of the embryos will survive thawing.  Only time will tell.

Well, I received a calendar specific to the embryo transfer (ET).  I was surprised to find out that the ET was scheduled for July 25th.  I assumed that I would be doing the ET on the next cycle.  I was disappointed that I had to wait 2 months but after I thought about it and looked at all the medicines I still had, I knew it would take more than one cycle.

I was instructed to call on Day 1 and see the doctor on Day 3.  He wanted to see how the lining of my uterus looked.  So, of course, when I go in for my appointment, the lining looked great.  Lol.  And as usual, I had blood drawn.  The doctor also put me back on the birth control (active pills only) to maintain the lining of my uterus.

Two days later, I was informed (by an IVF coordinator) that my thyroid was low and I needed to take a blood test.  I, in turn, informed my PCP and did a blood test that same day.  The results revealed that my thyroid was in fact low…meaning I needed to increase my dosage.  How frustrating.  I knew it was related to the medications and changes my body experienced because of it.  The main reason for the frustration is that it usually postpones everything.  The thyroid is a priority but it can be frustrating when progress depends on it.  If you have to take thyroid medicine, you’ll know what I mean.  And, if you change dosages you pretty much lose a month.  The thyroid medicine takes 4 weeks to know whether it’s the right dosage or not.  If not, it needs to be adjusted and then another 4 weeks.  I hope that makes sense.

Since my ET was scheduled for July 25th, I had time to take care of my thyroid.  It was good and I was able to get my thyroid within the normal range. 🙂  In the meantime, I was still taking the active birth control pills.  During this time, emotions are quite calm and relaxed because there’s a lot of wait time.

A month before my scheduled ET, I followed my calendar and went in for an appointment.  I was surprised to find out, upon arrival that I was not on the schedule.  It was definitely a miscommunication.  Apparently they were awaiting the results of my thyroid test, which I received but had not given to them.  So, that day, I called my PCP and asked that the results be faxed to the fertility specialist.  My PCP’s nurse called me requesting that I sign a consent.  I was like, seriously?  I drove to the clinic, signed the consent, and it was faxed.  As soon as my IVF coordinator received my tests results, she called me.  She emailed me a new calendar (2nd) and scheduled my next appointment…exactly a week later.  My IVF coordinator informed me that the doctor would be doing a scan and SIS – test.

Blood is drawn each appointment and you squeeze the stress ball.  At one of my appointments, the lady who drew my blood asked if I wanted to take a stress ball home.  I reluctantly agreed.  It’s quite funny, I think.  Here is a picture of the stress balls.  I hope you get a great laugh, like I did! 🙂

Next post:  My SIS

My Research & Self-Diagnosis

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Ok, as promised I’m finally going to share what I my body was really experiencing.

Remember now, I still felt like there was something wrong with me…I just didn’t know what it was until I started reading.  I did clomid and simultaneously searched for answers.  So often you hear others say, “Everything happens for a reason” or “Things happen for a reason.”  That just ate at me.  My reasons were a little different.  I was looking for WHY…why is nothing working, thinking that would solve my problem.  Knowing the cause of such difficulty brought temporary relief.

I borrowed a couple of books from my local library and began to read intently each moment I could.  I would come home from work and just read, sometimes getting a late start on dinner.  I would read late into the night, well late for me, often times going to sleep way past my bedtime.  I felt that educating myself on the topic would broaden my perspective on the whole process and increase my understanding…so I didn’t look like a deer in headlights.

As I read, I noticed a lot of the books were similarly structured but their explanations were very different.  I would only read through the IVF chapters and then skim through the rest.  I didn’t want to read about adoption, surrogacy, donors and the sort.  I knew that was not the direction I wanted to go, nor was I prepared to pursue those options (& still not).

Book 1: “Having a Baby…When the Old-Fashioned Way Isn’t Working”

I read a book by Cindy Margolis, a former model.  She experienced multiple IVF cycles and had a surrogate help her have 3 children.  The junk part was that after reading the book, I found out she and her husband are now divorced.  I find it interesting that they separated because they both contributed to the book and expressed their thoughts.  As she shared her story she emphasized that they went through this process together and how important it is to have supportive family, etc.  I thought…that sucks!  I’m sure there’s a lot more to the story.  To some degree I was unable to relate because I didn’t have the same concerns she shared.  I did however, understand how she felt.  She expressed feeling awkward around friends, thinking that it was her fault that she was not pregnant, and strong desire to have a baby.  She told her story and expressed the idea that it was not her fault and she was not going to let it bring her down. I’m glad I read it.

The book I found to the most informative and helpful is “What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant” by Daniel A. Potter, MD & Jennifer S. Hanin, MA.

Book 2: “What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant” (2005)

This book is truly amazing!  It’s so easy to follow!  I opened to the first chapter (page 1) and read this, “Nearly 15 percent of reproductive couples (men with female partners age 20 to 45) suffer from infertility.”  So, although I felt SO alone in my journey…I was in fact, not at all lonesome.  I didn’t like the term infertility because it sounded like I was unable to have a baby…ever.  I was wrong, of course, about that term.  The book explained, “Infertility is a medical condition.  A condition so misunderstood that it touches both genders equally.  A condition so common that it affects 80 million people worldwide.  In this country, infertility is growing at an alarming pace.  Over 16 million Americans have been diagnosed as infertile, and experts believe the actual number is easily triple that” (pg 2).  I really had no clue that there were so many people dealing with this!  I was somewhat relieved but I still didn’t know what was going on with ME.  Of course, I was only at the beginning of the book! Lol!  I continued to read and obtained more interesting facts.  The book also describes the menstrual cycle, including fertilization.  I found this to be much more complicated than I thought!  See, although I was still keeping track of my menses the chances to become pregnant each month was much smaller than I thought.  The book contains a few illustrations as various processes are described and explained.

I found the answer I was looking for when I made it to chapter 4, entitled “What Your Doctor Might Find in You.”  I began to read about endometriosis…and a light bulb went off in my head.  It’s like the book was reading my mind.  Lol!  Here is what I read (on pg 64-65)…I’ll apologize now, it’s kind of lengthy.

“Endometriosis is a progressive disease where the tissue lining your uterus (endometrium) implants and grows in your abdominal cavity. …When you menstruate, the foreign tissue in your pelvis also bleeds (since it’s actually uterine lining), causing irritation and inflammation that can lead to scar formation and distortion of your pelvic anatomy.  This anatomical distortion can cause infertility.  Strangely enough, severity of symptoms seen with endometriosis doesn’t correlate with severity or stage of the disease.  Some women have little or no pain from severe endometriosis, while others experience immense discomfort before or during their period from mild disease.  Symptoms of endometriosis include the following:

  • Extremely painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), especially if this condition develops after years of pain-free periods
  • Discomfort during intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Pelvic, back, or side pains before or during periods
  • Rectal pain or painful bowel movements, diarrhea, constipation, or other intestinal upsets during menstruation
  • Frequent and painful urination during periods
  • Infertility

The book continued, “How Common Is Endometriosis?”  Endometriosis is one of the most common gynecological diseases, affecting more that 5.5 million women in the United States and millions more worldwide.”  The book also mentioned some suggestions and treatment options to help alleviate the pain, but clearly stated that there was no cure for endometriosis.

I TOTALLY believed I had endometriosis!  I remember telling my husband, “I think this is what I have!”

I thought everyone had cramps, until I read the book.  I had been experiencing painful periods for a while but my cycles were pretty regular.  I experienced 4 of the symptoms the book mentioned – extremely painful menses, pelvic & back pain, painful BM, and infertility.  This was my WHY!  I realized that all these symptoms were hindering our attempts to become pregnant.  As I thought about my self-diagnosis, so many more things began to make sense!  I thought, no wonder clomid didn’t work, even with the IUI.  Speaking of IUI, I said I would talk about the sperm being “washed.”  Here is the explanation provided by the book, “What To Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant” (pg 100).

“Why Wash Sperm?  Semen is mixture of sperm cells, seminal fluid, and debris (dead sperm, white blood cells, mucous, and fat globules).  You probably didn’t realize it, but semen contains prostaglandins that cause menstrual cramping.  While sperm behaves fine in the vaginal environment, if your doctor injects raw sperm directly into your uterus, you would experience severe pain.  So the goal of sperm washing is to separate healthy sperm from toxic seminal fluid.  One method of doing this involves a specialized lab tech who layers sperm on top of a nutrient medium and spins it in a centrifuge.  Spinning forces sperm cells to the bottom of the tube.  Once spun, he draws this purified sperm into a syringe so your doctor can inseminate you.”

I hope this makes sense!  It made sense to me.

Anyways!  Getting back to my self-diagnosis…I’m going to explain the symptoms I had.

  1. Extremely painful menses – Having cramps everyone month was a given.  The pain was really inconsistent each menses.  I think maybe a handful of times, total, I didn’t have any pain.  Otherwise, I had very painful menses.  Most of the time I just tried to take the pain, but I couldn’t handle it all the time.  I preferred not to take anything for the pain and I wouldn’t unless I had to.  It was SO bad at times, I had to take an OTC pain reliever.  The pain was very sharp, intense, and constant.  It’s not the funnest thing in the world, that’s for sure!  For me, the majority of the pain lasted for at least 1 day and sporadic pain the next day.  When I refer to my menses, I’m talking about years of pain, …before I started (& during) this journey.
  2. Pelvic or back pain before or during menses – Ooh, this in combination with #1…not good.  One of the BEST purchases I ever made was…a heating pad!  Most of the time, I experienced horizontal lower back pain near my tailbone.  Using the heating pad helped minimize the pain.  It also helped me sleep better at night.  This usually lasted 1 day, sometimes 2.
  3. Painful BM, constipation, etc – I think this is pretty self-explanatory.  I didn’t know before reading the book that this was such a problem for me.  I just expected it every time I got my menses.  I didn’t take anything for it but I did do some deep breathing to relax.  This lasted the entire time I bled, which was about 4-5 days.  I don’t have any good suggestions for this.  Just recognize that it’s a symptom.
  4. Infertility – Uh, this was quite obvious to me.  Becoming pregnant wasn’t happening for us so I understood this to be a factor in our inability to conceive.  I’ll talk more about this when I get to the referral.

I was never asked about my symptoms from any OB/GYN nor did I divulge all kinds of information.  I was pretty much just asked: how long I bleed and how many days my cycle lasted.  I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault…but when I got my referral, it made a big difference.

I really hope this helps you understand what I was going through and the all frustrations I had.  I received tremendous understanding and knowledge reading the books.  I’m glad I did.  My research didn’t end there.  I still read about it and other related topics.  Knowing more allows me to make better decisions and understand what to expect.

Next post: Acupuncture

Clomid with IUI

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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.

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Clomid…Round 2

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You’ve probably noticed that I use “I” & “we” interchangeably.  This experience is something my husband and I have gone through TOGETHER!  I apologize if it confuses you!

I felt impressed to seek information and knowledge through reading, so I did.  In my research I went to the library and borrowed a few books.  While reading the books, I searched specific terms on the internet.  I will discuss some of the books I read on upcoming posts, not this one.

When my menses arrived on Day 29, I was so bummed.  I tried not to be pessimistic about it.  I just shook it off and told myself… I was being unrealistic in thinking it would work on the first try.  I wanted it to work on the first try but it didn’t and there wasn’t anything I could do to change that.  Was it worth getting all worked up over?  No, but I was still bummed.  It took a lot of personal energy to jump into the next cycle.

It was Day 1, again.  I followed the same process and called to schedule my Day 3 exam, except this time I met with a different OB/GYN.  Meeting with a different OB/GYN can be a common occurrence when taking medication such as clomid.  Everyone’s menses comes at different times, which can mean your regular OB/GYN may not be available on Day 4 to perform the exam.  It was annoying because I had to explain the entire process up to that point.  Nevertheless, I complied.  Everything was all good and I was prescribed clomid for the second time.

Round 2 of clomid brought the same outcome…not pregnant!

My menses arrive on Day 28 and so did a flood of emotions.  It was harder than the last time because I had something to compare it to.  It was really an emotional roller coaster.  Actually, I think it was more like a huge wave, crashing on the shore in slow motion.  I was flabbergasted.  I just shook my head in disbelief.  I couldn’t believe it didn’t work, again.  I was skeptical and began to doubt the success of the medication.  I thought…what would be the outcome of the continued use of clomid?  Would I really become pregnant using this medication?  I purposely talked with friends I knew were prescribed clomid and it was successful for them.  I found out from a friend that after 6 months of consecutively using clomid, her OB/GYN recommended that she take a break from the medication before starting it again.  I think her ovaries needed to rest.  So, I anticipated that I would be required to do the same.  I even assumed that since it worked for my friend, it would work for me. (Don’t do that!  Don’t assume.  Lol!)

I again scheduled and went to my Day 3 exam where I met another OB/GYN, yup, a third one.  This time was a little different because the original plan was taking clomid 2-3 times and trying to conceive on our own, and then taking clomid 2-3 times with IUI.  I again explained my situation, prior experiences, and plan.  I had to be my own advocate because I was the only one who knew what the plan was.  I didn’t want to be persuaded to take clomid any longer than the 4-6 months as planned.  I was adamant about that because for me the processes was already taking too long, not to mention it was testing my patience.  Well, I received my third prescription of clomid with some additional instructions for the IUI.

Reluctantly, I continued…Round 3 of clomid with IUI.

For Intrauterine Insemination, often referred to as IUI there are a few extra steps.  Here is what the Clomid cycle looked like with IUI:

Day 1: (of your menstrual cycle) You call the the clinic for an examination on Day 3-4.

Day 3-7 or 4-8: You take Clomid.  The dosage depends on you.  Mine was 50mg.  It is a white pill about the size of a dime, maybe even a little smaller.  You take it the same time every day for 5 days, starting the day of your exam.  So, be sure to set your alarm.

Day 12:  Start using the ovulation predictor kits to test the LH surge.  When the OPK is positive, call the clinic to schedule an appointment for IUI.  The hours of operation were provided.  The appointment was under my name, I believe it’s always under the woman’s name.  My husband needed to drop off his semen sample two hours before the scheduled appointment.  The sperm also needed to be what they call “fresh” meaning within 1 hour of ejaculation.  As the patient you are also responsible to consider travel time, including traffic.  The appointment will most likely be scheduled for 1-2 days after you call the clinic.  I believe it’s 24-36 hours after your OPK was positive.

Day 27-28: Expect your menses.  If no menses, take a pregnancy test at home or at the clinic.  If your menses occurs, you start back at Day 1 again.

It was draining, emotionally and physically.

My feelings were so complex.  As much as I felt motivated to continue, I also felt frustrated.  I thought there was something wrong with me.  I began to feel alone in my experience, like no one could possibly understand.  Feelings of doubt began to creep into my mind as I contemplated why.  Why was it so necessary that I experience all of this?  I blamed myself.  I felt like it was all my fault, that I was the problem in the equation.  After all, I was technically considered infertile and the semen analysis revealed no concern there.  By the way, being referred to as infertile does not necessarily mean that you can’t have children ever.  It’s the term used for couples that have been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for at least a year.  We were way past that time frame.

Next post: Clomid with IUI