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


Thanksgiving

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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


hope shines bright

 

heaven and nature

 

bird

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


My Surgery – Polyp Removal

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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!

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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


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


IVF Consultation

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I was actually looking forward to our IVF consultation appointment.  I already knew we were obviously going to be talking about the IVF procedure.  I learned a lot in that brief meeting.  We met for about half an hour.

My husband and I both had questions about the procedure and other questions related to my endometriosis.  So, at the time we were looking at doing IVF in March or April 2012 at the earliest.  That actually got pushed back because of the timing of my menses.  I inquired about surgery to remove the endometriosis.  I wondered if that would be a good option for me and help increase our success, I thought it would.  The doctor did not recommend surgery.  He shared that surgery didn’t equate to success afterwards.  In other words, if I had surgery it didn’t guarantee our chances would increase.

Another item up for discussion was my thyroid.  The doctor emphasized the importance of the thyroid in the process and that problems with the thyroid can be related to developmental issues and possibly delays.  I learned something new!  My thyroid was doing good so I wasn’t worried.

Also in our meeting we discussed the IVF process and how the injections were like a mini IVF cycle.  That was kind of a relief because I knew how to do the shots.  I knew the process would be more invasive but I imagined it to be more than what we discussed.  The doctor recommended that I take birth control for 6-8 weeks, which confused me.  He explained that I would be taking it continuously and not have a period.  I thought, “This should be interesting!  I’ve never taken birth control before, well not the pill.”  When my husband & I were first married, I took birth control in the form of a shot…depo-provera, which lasts 3 months.  I only took it a couple of times.  A day or 2 after getting the shot I would vomit.  I don’t know why, but that’s what happened.  So, when the doctor informed me about the birth control (pill form) I was not familiar with that method.  I knew what it looked like and that there were 3 weeks of medication and 1 week of placebo pills.  I would be taking ONLY the medication continuously for 6-8 weeks.  When I mention IVF and birth control, it doesn’t seem to jive.  But birth control was and is prescribed to help regulate the menses and prevent my cysts from growing.  The doctor wants the best environment to work with and in order to get that, I needed to take birth control.  So, then it makes sense, right?  Well, it did to me.

In the state of Hawaii, IVF is only covered once by insurance.  But, if you switch insurance companies, you can get another try.  Without insurance, the doctor explained that IVF can cost in the range of $18-$20K.  I KNOW!  It’s expensive!  I believe most of the cost comes from the cost of the medication.  I didn’t understand that at the time but I definitely do now!  I’ll write about the cost of the medications in a later post. We also talked about freezing embryos and how much that would cost.  If you did IVF and wanted to have more children, you could have the embryos implanted and pay for that cost rather than the entire IVF process. That would cost around $4,500.  This process would also be available if IVF was not successful and you wanted to try again.  It would definitely be cheaper than doing the IVF cycle again.  But it also depends on how many eggs are retrieved, how many are fertilized, how many meet the criteria and standards for freezing and implanting, etc.  I hope that makes sense!  Just know that there are a lot of factors to consider.

Well, I was asked to call my OB/GYN and let him know the plan was to do IVF.  In the meantime, the fertility doctor would also be in contact with my OB/GYN to share information and recommendations.  I called my OB/GYN and left a message for him.  He did not return my call but I knew that he was informed about the plan because exactly a week later, I got my approval letter for IVF.  I was VERY surprised at how quickly that went because previous letters seemed to take much longer.  Nevertheless, I was happy! 🙂

I was assigned an IVF Coordinator.  This person would be there to explain things, keep track of things, and be there for me the entire IVF process.  She was not there that day, but the doctor gave me her name and contact information.

I left the consultation with much more than I bargained for.  I felt better informed and ready for whatever IVF entailed.  I had an appointment scheduled for the following week to start preparing for IVF.

Next post: IVF Preparation


Carrying On…

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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


The Wait is Over!

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As I wrote about my hyperthyroidism, I think you got the very abbreviated version.  I kept all my papers, consents, and information…I think it’s hiding from me!  Lol!  I may go into more detail about that later.

Anyways!  It’s been over a month since I started my blog.  I can’t believe I’ve made it this far and that people are still reading (& following along).  I feel the need to THANK YOU for your encouragement, love, and support.  When I thought about starting this blog, I contemplated whether or not anyone would be able to relate to me or understand the things I experienced.  I was very surprised and overwhelmed by the MANY responses and feedback I received.  I didn’t expect that at all.  Many friends and family emailed, messaged me on Facebook, and chatted with me in person to share their knowledge.  I just wanted people to know.  I felt like I was taking a gigantic step way out of my comfort zone, but it was necessary in order to let others know.  THANK YOU to all who have offered support in any way!  You have both strengthened and humbled me.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m trying to catch everyone up before I actually go through the IVF process.  I want people to know what IVF really entails.  So, I have less than 2 weeks to catch you up!!  Yikes!  I hope I can make the deadline I created for myself! Lol! 🙂

Alright, back to Step 4 – My referral.  In May of 2011, I received my letter of approval!  I was so elated and yet apprehensive.  Even though I knew the plan included injectable medication, I was unsure of the details, like how many cycles we were going to do.  I also knew that if the shots were not successful, we would be on our way to IVF.  As I reviewed my letter, I noticed that I was approved specifically for IVF.  “Wait a minute,” I thought.  “This is not what we agreed on.”  A couple of days after receiving my letter, I was contacted by my Fertility Specialist’s office.  They received their copy of the letter and called to schedule an IVF cycle with me.  I notified them of the error in my letter and that the plan was to do the shots.  I also notified my OB/GYN of the error and almost a week later, I got a 2nd letter, corrected.  Basically it said that I was approved for ovulation induction with gonadotrophin injections (the shots) and then for IVF if the shots were unsuccessful.  The referral was approved for 6 months, which meant that I would need to request an extension if more time was necessary.

I was instructed to call the Fertility Specialist’s office on day 1 for a day 3 scan.  Due to the timing of my cycle,  my first appointment with the Fertility Specialist was in June 2011.  This was nerve-racking AND a bit relieving at the same time.  Nerve-racking because I was stepping into new territory.  I was also relieved because I felt like I would finally be able to get some answers and assistance.  I hoped the Fertility Specialist would be able to tell me what was up with my body, and do something about it.

It was time for my first appointment…I asked my husband to join me because 1, I was nervous and 2, I wanted a witness.  I wanted us to both hear what the doctor had to say.  This way we would all have the same understanding and know how things were going to play out.  I felt that the first appointment would set the tone for us and give us an idea of what to expect, how we would be treated, and the level of expertise available to us.  In other words, my first appointment was crucial in many ways.

My husband and I went in for my day 3 scan.  I went to the town office, located in Hale Pawa’a, which is near Ala Moana shopping center.  When we entered, I notified the receptionist and waited to be called.  We waited about 5-10 minutes and then were walked to an exam room.  It was the size of other OB/GYN exam rooms I’ve been in.  There was a large framed art piece on the wall.  It looked like local hand painted art work.  It was beautiful.  I was able to look at the details of the art as I laid on the exam table awaiting the doctor.  I had been instructed to remove my clothing from the waist down.  I also noticed that the monitor in the room was set up with my name on the screen.  Since it was day 3, I was still bleeding and that combined with laying on the exam table was not the most comfortable thing.  The doctor knocked, came in, and greeted us, along with an assistant (the same one that walked us to the exam room).  He explained what he was going to do and then had the assistant turn off the light.  A small mobile lamp was turned on.  It reminds me of a night light.  You can’t see everything but you can see what you need to.  Having the lamp helped me see the screen of the ultrasound machine.  The doctor did a vaginal ultrasound, which looked like a long plastic penis-shaped probe.  At the top of the probe was a rectangular semi-transparent piece, which used sound waves to display the uterus and ovaries.  That would be why it has it’s name.  Anyways!  The probe was covered with what looked like a condom that fit loosely around it, and a little gel was squeezed on the top to help it glide through the vagina and uterus.  Hope that creates a visual that makes sense!

So, the doctor talked me through this and had the assistant take notes.  This was my first ever, ultrasound.  Yup, you read that right!  My first ultrasound.  As I looked at the monitor, I had no idea what to look for.  He took measurements and the assistant recorded them.  I watched in awe.  I was so glad the doctor knew what he was doing and I was amazed at the multitasking that took place.  In one hand he had the probe and moved it around to get different views and with the other hand he pressed buttons and keys on the machine to record what he saw.  When he was done looking at my uterus and ovaries he removed the probe and had the assistant turn the light on.  He explained what he saw and gave his recommendation.  The doctor confirmed that I had endometriosis and ovarian cysts.  I wanted to scream, “I knew it!”  But I kept my composure.  Lol!  I listened attentively as he recommended and prescribed Provera.  The order was placed by the Fertility Specialist’s office, but fulfilled my pharmacy.  I picked it up after work that day and was given the generic form, which is called Medroxyprogesterone.  It is a small white pill you take around the same time everyday for the duration of the prescription.  I took 10mg of this medication for 10 days.  You’ll notice that most of the pills and shots are taken or injected at the same time each day for a specific number of days.  Well, the purpose of the provera was to regulate my menses, help with the endometriosis, and help with the lining of my uterus, which was too thick for a day 3 scan.

I was somewhat disappointed I wasn’t starting the shots but I knew that the endometriosis needed to be addressed.  I took the Provera, which stopped my bleeding immediately, and waited for my menses…it took at least 3-4 weeks.

In the meantime, I had a LOT of thoughts to ponder.  I had a bunch of questions and suggestions for my medical insurance company.  In the time I had to wait for my menses, I wrote what I refer to as my “angry letter”.

Next post: My Angry Letter


My Thyroid – The Beginning

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Soon after deciding and trying to have a baby, I got sick…like common cold sick.  I went to my PCP (Primary Care Physician) to get checked out and to clarify the types of medicines to take that would not interfere with our plans.  I shared our plans to start a family and wanted medicine that was safe for pregnancy.  I was being cautious and taking preventative measures.  My appointment, however, took quite a turn…for the worst, I thought.  My PCP didn’t even really address my concerns because he had different concerns.  He thought my thyroid was the top priority, above our desires and plans to have a family.  Oh boy!

The doctor took one look at me and had me do a few tests, including blood tests.  I remember doing this one test in particular.  I don’t know what it’s called, if there’s an official name for it.  I stood up and put both arms straight out with my palms facing the floor.  My fingers were spread out and a piece of paper, like from a printer, was draped over them, one at a time.  My doctor noted that the paper fluttered a lot, which concerned him.  He asked me a bunch of questions and I answered them, unaware of his overall plan.  I agreed to take some blood tests and we’d be in contact again in a few days.  A few days later, I was prescribed Propranolol because my heart rate was very high, too high, it was affecting my sleeping and energy levels, among other things.

I left the doctor’s office, SO discouraged about our plans and now overwhelmed with what would happen next.  Our plans were officially, changed…and it’s like they hadn’t even started!  It was crazy!

My PCP concluded and confirmed that I had Hyperthyroid, which was caused by Graves Disease.  He gave me some literature to read, which included some of the symptoms and treatment options.  I borrowed a few books from the library and looked up a few things online to get familiarized with the condition.  So, basically hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid gland is over active, which can cause a fast heart rate, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, bulging eyes, etc.  The thyroid produces hormones and regulates the metabolism.  I wasn’t in denial about it but I wasn’t sure (yet) how this would affect us trying to have a baby.  The more I learned, the more I agreed with the doctor…that this needed to be foremost not pregnancy.  It was not difficult to accept because I knew it was necessary and if I didn’t receive treatment, there could be more detrimental results.

In the coming weeks after my appointment, I completed more tests including blood work, x-rays, and radioactive iodine uptake test.  The blood work completed confused me at first, because I didn’t know what to look for.  The thyroid hormones include: T3 (Triiodothyronine), T4 (Thyroxine), and TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).  I soon learned that the blood test results confirmed the doctor’s thoughts.  I also did an x-ray.  My appointment took at least an hour.  I laid on a long metal table, complete with a pillow and blanket.  Since the thyroid is located in the neck area, that is where the concentration of x-rays were.  I had to move my head in awkward angles so the overhead camera could take pictures of specific parts of my thyroid.  The third test I did, I think was a radioactive iodine uptake test.  I don’t remember the exact procedure for the test but I do remember taking something (I think a pill) and the top of my leg was scanned by an ultrasound machine.  It showed what the thyroid activity looked like in my body and how much of the iodine was being absorbed by my body.  It was a pretty neat test, I thought, although my results showed that my thyroid was hyperactive.  I thought it was cool that I could see what was happening in my body at that exact time.  In the end, all the tests revealed that my thyroid was in fact hyper and overactive.  What now?

After all the tests were complete I was given 3 options for treatment.  I needed to make a decision quickly because the doctor felt that this condition needed immediate attention.  Here were my options:

1.  Antithyroid medication

2.  Radioactive Iodine Treatment

3.  Surgical removal of the thyroid

Antithyroid medication are pills meant to suppress the production of the thyroid hormone.

Radioactive Iodine Treatment is a pill that contains a small amount of radiation and iodine.  It’s purpose is to slowly decrease the production of the thyroid hormone.  I was under the impression that eventually the thyroid was not going to work and I would have to take a daily supplement.

Surgical removal of the thyroid is exactly what it says.  The skin is cut near the collarbone and the thyroid is removed.  A daily supplement is also needed after this treatment is done…since there is no thyroid to produce any hormones.

So, my decision…the endocrinologist recommended I do radioactive iodine treatment.  He discussed the option of antithyroid drugs and did not encourage surgery.  After much thought, prayer, fasting, and discussion with my husband, I decided to follow the recommendation of the endocrinologist and do the radioactive iodine treatment.  This also meant that we had to postpone our plans to conceive, for 6 months to a year.

Two months after I first went to the doctor, I had a scheduled appointment for radioactive iodine treatment.  The process went fast.  I stopped taking the Propranolol.  I had all the instructions, food restrictions, and I knew exactly what to expect.  A week before my appointment I started a low-iodine diet.  Luckily, I found a recipe booklet online.  I also purchased non-iodized salt.  My low-iodine diet continued for 3 days after the treatment as well.  So I was on the diet for a total of 10 days.  Ok, on the day of my treatment, I basically went in to take a pill and leave.  I was instructed not to eat until an hour after I took the pill.  When I was called into the room, I followed the tech and waited.  It seemed like everyone was clearing out.  Eventually, I was the only patient in a huge room.  It was awkward but I knew why…hello, I was going be taking a pill that was radioactive!  I walked into a little room (located within the huge room), and watched the tech use gloves (I think goggles too) and carefully place the pill into a skinny glass vial.  It was placed on a counter along with a small cup of water.  I was instructed to use the vial to drop the pill in my mouth, without it touching my lips.  So, I leaned my head back, opened my mouth wide, and got the pill on my tongue.  I swallowed the pill with water and then was lead out the back door.  Yup, I went out an alternate exit because of the risks to others.  Got in my car and drove home.

Taking the pill was the easy part.  I didn’t feel different at all.  The dosage of the pill was based on my height and weight, as well as the severity of the hyperthyroidism.  The dose was very small but there were still rules to follow and precautions to take.  These are some of things I had to do:

  • Flush the toilet twice.
  • Rinse the tub after taking a shower.
  • Sleep in a separate room.
  • Stay away from pregnant women & children under the age of 2.
  • Continue my low-iodine diet for 3 days.

So, I pretty much had to stay home for a few days.  During the next few months, I took periodic blood tests to check the progress of my thyroid.  I don’t know if it’s progress as much as it was, looking for a reduction in my thyroid function.  It took a few months until my thyroid was low and I needed the supplement.  I started a supplement and 4-6 weeks later, I took a blood test.  I thought things were going as planned and that in a few more months, we’d be back to our original plan…trying to have a baby.  Man, was I wrong!!

My blood test result showed the thyroid function was back to being overactive.  I was stunned and speechless!  I absolutely could not believe it!  I don’t know what happened exactly but I knew my hyperthyroidism was back.  I suspected that my dose for the supplement was too high, but I haven’t confirmed that.  I had a lot of other thoughts as well but I was extremely surprised.  I felt like the radioactive iodine treatment didn’t work.  I thought the treatment was a one time treatment guarantee, but it wasn’t.  I’ll probably never know.  By this time, it had been almost 6 months since my treatment.  I wondered what the next steps would be and what I would be recommended to do.

Well, I did more research and in the meantime, decided to take the antithyroid medicine.  I carried the antithyroid medicines in my purse & set my alarm because I had to take them at least 3 times a day.  The antithyroid medications worked temporary.  I took them and then in 4 weeks after a blood test, I would have to decrease the dosage.  This continued until I was eventually taken off the medicine.  This was very frustrating for me…why wasn’t anything working?  (Little did I know that I would have those same feelings in my journey to try to conceive.)

By then I didn’t have any other options besides doing to radioactive iodine treatment…again!  The endocrinologist recommended that I do the radioactive iodine treatment.  I was torn, which may sound weird because I exhausted the other option (antithyroid drugs) and was not going to have surgery.  But, I still had to ponder the decision to do the radioactive iodine treatment again.  I knew that this would only prolong and continue to postpone our family.  Another 6 months to a year?  Really?  I was also worried about the long term effects of the treatment and how it would affect my ability to have children.  I didn’t know then, that my journey would be extended.  A year after my first treatment, I went ahead and did the radioactive iodine treatment again.  I went through the same process and fulfilled all the same requirements.  The second time worked!  Everything went as planned and a few months later, I was prescribed levothroid.  This medication, which is a supplement, has kept my thyroid levels stable since then.  That has been a blessing.

Prior to all of this, I had no idea this was genetic.  It wasn’t until I was going to do the first radio active iodine treatment that my dad shared his experience with me.  A lightbulb totally went off in my head.  I soon made the connection to my grandma.  The funny thing was no one ever asked me about my family history regarding this issue.  As time passed, I also learned of other family members that received treatment for their thyroid.  Education is important.  Having it would have been helpful in recognizing my symptoms, but it’s ok.  I think this experience was something I needed to learn.  It has also allowed me the opportunity to get to know and understand my family better because I can relate to what they’ve experienced.  It was a blessing in disguise.

Next post: The Wait is Over!


Step 4 – Referral, finally

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After the 4 cycle of clomid was not successful, I awaited feedback from the OB/GYN.  What was I waiting for?  An appointment with the Fertility Specialist.

Step 4 in my journey afforded me the opportunity to receive consultation from a Fertility Specialist, contracted through my medical insurance.  I didn’t however, plan for it to take 3 months to see the Fertility Specialist.  When my OB/GYN confirmed and planned for me to see the Fertility Specialist, I thought I’d have an appointment in a month or so.  That was not the case.  Apparently the Fertility Specialist was very busy.  I received an appointment reminder in the mail saying that I was scheduled to meet with the Fertility Specialist in March.  So, it had been 3 months since the last clomid cycle.  The process took much longer than I expected.  For someone, me, looking for answers and reasons for the infertility, 3 months is a long time to wait.  I called and attempted to get an earlier appointment, without success.  The appointment date I was given was the earliest one available.  I couldn’t do anything about it, except wait.

Since I had a lot of time before my appointment with the Fertility Specialist, I decided to write out questions in preparation.  I honestly thought the only option I had at that point, was IVF (In Vitro Fertilization).  It was not my preferred choice but I was willing to do it if that was the recommendation.

The day of my appointment arrived, with a bunch of nerves and butterflies in my stomach!  My husband accompanied me to the appointment.  The Fertility Specialist met with us at my medical provider’s clinic.  I heard that the Fertility Specialist came on certain days to the office to meet with couples.  Our meeting with the Fertility Specialist was actually just consultation, which included recommendations.  I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that there were other options besides IVF, like I first thought.  Based on the information the Fertility Specialist was provided at that time, he recommended that we start with injectable gonadotrophins, otherwise known as hormonal shots.  If the shots were not successful after a certain amount of time, we would move toward IVF.  You can’t imagine how relieved I was…extremely!  I thought it was a great plan and we were looking forward to working with the Fertility Specialist.

Before I could receive services from the Fertility Specialist, my OB/GYN had to submit all the necessary information to the referral department, which would then determine if I was eligible or not.  But, before the OB/GYN could submit anything, I needed to see the phlebotomist again and have a pap smear.  It’s definitely something I was not ecstatic about doing, but it was a must…in order to move forward.

I went in to complete the blood work.  The list seemed endless.  It was at least a few tubes…I think 2-3, I can’t remember the exact amount.  Here is a list of some of the blood tests that were performed.  I say some, because I don’t remember ALL the tests.  The list below are the ones that I kept, in no particular order.  Here we go:

  • Varicella
  • Rubella
  • Mumps
  • Prolactin
  • LH (Luteinizing Hormone)
  • FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone)
  • Estradiol
  • CBC (Complete Blood Count)
  • Blood Type
  • Gonorrhea
  • TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
I also remember taking an HIV test and chlamydia test.  It’s not as bad as it may appear.  I just had to go to the lab once.  I was actually happy about the blood type test because I previously did not know that information.  In addition to the tests that I took, my husband did another semen analysis and some blood tests.

I’m not sure if the TSH test is given to all that are seeking a referral.  But I know that I took this blood test because that’s where it all started for me.  In my first post I mentioned that after being married for a year, my husband and I decided to try to have a baby.  Infertility was not the first issue that we encountered in our journey, it was my thyroid. (Next post…for sure!)

Ok, back to the referral.  We signed separate consents and all the information was submitted.  I was in contact with a nurse that assisted with IVF referrals.  She called and kept me abreast on the status of my referral.  I also called her when I had questions.  So from there, I waited again…this time for a letter in the mail to tell me if I was approved for services provided by the Fertility Specialist.  I anticipated the arrival of my letter…wondering if it was possible to be denied.  I couldn’t imagine how that would happen, but it did cross my mind.  I continued to wait…

Just to recap, Step 4 came in 2 parts.  A referral for consultation and then a referral for services.  First, I got an appointment for consultation with the Fertility Specialist.  Based on the Fertility Specialist’s recommendations, my OB/GYN submitted paperwork as well as blood work to my medical insurance’s referral department.  The referral department was responsible for reviewing all the information, making the decision whether to approve or deny the case, and then notify the appropriate parties of the decision (My OB/GYN, Fertility Specialist, & me).  From the time the 4th clomid cycle was complete and my consultation with the Fertility Specialist, was 3 months.  Then, from the consultation to receiving my letter was 2 months…by then, it was May!  It felt like FOREVER!!

FYI: I’m working on a timeline!! 🙂

Next post: My Thyroid – The Beginning