Archives for posts with tag: Cycle monitoring

Remember just yesterday when I said injectables would be a hasty decision for this cycle?

Guess who’s doing injectables this cycle? That’s right–this lady right here.

After leaving my appointment feeling like I’d just been bowled over, I sat on the subway in a daze, staring at a bag of needles and drugs, and a sharps collector.

Wait…what just happened? I don’t remember going into this appointment intending to leave with these things, yet here I am.

Let’s rewind a little.

So the appointment started off normal enough, and then it was my turn to talk to my doctor (he’s only involved in the last part of the 3-part cycle monitoring appointment–one person takes my blood, someone else does my ultrasound, and then it’s doctor time). We talked about where to go now, he sort of asked me what I wanted to do, saying that we had nearly maxed out the oral drugs, “…but then we did the surgery…”, suggesting, what? That the surgery resets everything to zero? I should have asked, but I didn’t. I think the message I was sending was that I’d prefer to try another month with oral drugs, but obviously he’s the expert, so I was looking to him for guidance on this one. Then he talked about scheduling, already looking ahead to the next cycle (that’s promising–thanks, Doctor). He asked me what I did for a living, and then kind of made a face. There are more appointments involved with injectables, I guess, and I said that J and I had discussed that if I needed to do them, this would be a good month as I’m still off from school.

And then *poof* the cycle was set. Injectables. Done.

He warned me about multiples, about selective reduction, and then slipped in that this could possibly (though the risk is small) turn into an IVF cycle.

Um…what?

I wasn’t ready for that. But everything was happening so fast, and I always feel like I’m taking up too much of his time. He sounds sort of annoyed sometimes when I ask questions, so usually I just keep them for Dr. Google.

It was my favourite nurse who showed me how to inject myself. She was there at our first appointment when J passed out and couldn’t get up for 20+ minutes, so she looked at me and said, “You’re not going to be getting any help with these, are you?”. Nope. Flying solo on this one.

So…$1000 later, here I am. Injectables. I still don’t know how I feel about all of this, but too late for that, I guess. All systems are go.

-Preparing to be a human pin cushion Regular Van.

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I know what you’re all here for…updated scar photos! Here it is:

Aren’t they things of beauty? Belly button is still pretty gross looking, so I’ll hold off on those photos for now.

Okay, so now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s a wee update:

  • My trip to England was great. It was the perfect length (a week), and the weather was amazing! I had to keep reminding myself I was in England–it only rained once! It was a lot of fun to spend time with my gran, my mum, and my sister. A great ladies trip, indeed.
  • I had had the joy of experiencing constipation for the first time in my life. Holy crap (no pun intended–okay, maybe a little pun intended), it really hurts! A few days before I was supposed to leave for England, I was having some pretty intense pains in my lower abdomen. I thought it might be related to the surgery, so I went in to see my doctor. He prescribed me antibiotics and ordered a urine test done to see if there was an infection hiding in there, but said it could also be constipation. The nurses had warned me about this as a side effect of the pain meds, but I thought I would have experienced it way sooner (not a week later). Also, I didn’t touch the prescribed Tylenol 3s after the surgery, so the only narcotic pain meds in my system were the ones they used in my IV (which I assume they always use?). Anyway, the urine test came back showing a wee infection (that time there was no pun intended–I’m on a roll today!), so I took the round of antibiotics. The pain minimized over a few days and I felt okay leaving for England.

While I was there, though, the pain came back with a vengeance. We were to fly home in a few days, and a seriously intense pain started in my lower abdomen again. I’ve mentioned before that I am tough when it comes to pain. I can take a lot, but this was crazy. Everyone was in bed but my mum and I (we were watching the Olympic opening ceremonies), and I just started crying after about 30 minutes of this pain that was kind of spasming without letting up. My mum got me a hot water bottle and said it sounded like constipation she had after having my sister. It was unbelievable to me that this pain came from poop. Anyway, the next day I was fine and it has yet to return. I get it now, anyway. Constipation hurts.

  • I learned that if I want my period to come, I should take a pregnancy test. Without fail (that’s a bit of an exaggeration), whenever I take a pregnancy test, my period comes later that day. It’s like my body has let go and everything starts flowing. This was the case on Saturday. I used my last test even though I knew I had a snowball’s chance in hell of actually being pregnant this cycle, but my period was late. It’s a long cycle, but it’s like clockwork–32 days. This time, it was 37 days. I expected some disruption because of the laparoscopy, but there’s always that little smidgen of hope that we have. Anyway, my disappointment was slight this cycle, as we were flying blind. Maybe I ovulated, maybe not, and who knows when? It’s been a long time since I’ve been so happy to see my period. I’m super pumped to get this cycle going! Lefty is often the only ovary to show up to the egg-making party, and she’s the one who’s had a blocked tube this whole time.

I was supposed to go to the clinic today to start cycle monitoring again, but I kind of slept in…I’m on vacation! I’m supposed to sleep in! Anyway, I’ll go tomorrow morning and see what the doctor is saying. I talked with J, and we both agree that injectables would be a hasty decision for this cycle. I’m producing at least a couple of good follicles every month with the Femara, so I think I’m just going to stick with that for this first real cycle after the laparoscopy. I ALWAYS ovulate from my left side, but that blocked tube wouldn’t let anything get out. Could it actually be that THAT was what’s been causing the problem the whole time?

Seems almost too easy…

I’ll write another update tomorrow after my appointment.

-Unblocked and ready to rock Regular Van.

I had a cycle monitoring appointment today, but that’s not what I’m going to write about, since nothing of note happened. I’m back in Monday. Hopefully my eggs will be fully cooked by then.

With the news of another failed month a few weeks ago, I was surprised by my sadness. I thought I had got it all out of my system when the first IUI failed. Been there, done that. I knew the chances were slim it was going to work (the odds of pregnancy is so tiny), and I thought I was more prepared this time because I’d been through it before. I found myself breaking down at the most random times: sitting on the toilet, making dinner, putting clothes away…and my sadness and tears were just as heavy as they were the first time round. It felt like the sadness lingered longer this time, too, and I worried that this process wasn’t getting any easier.

I decided I needed to do something in an effort to feel slightly less helpless. I made an appointment with the naturopath, which was one of the best decisions I’ve made in this journey. I also downloaded Circle+Bloom‘s program for PCOS, and started listening to the guided meditations on the first day of my cycle.

This summer, in preparation for teaching French for the first time, I read “Eat, Pray, Love” in French, and became fascinated with the idea of meditation. I didn’t do much about it until a few months ago when I found Andrew Johnson‘s awesome iPhone apps. I listen to them at school after a challenging class, and I often use the Meditation for Sleep app when I’m having a hard time falling asleep. His soothing Scottish accent knocks me out cold!

I saw that a few people had mentioned Circle+Bloom on their websites, so I thought I’d check it out. The meditations have become a really cherished part of my day now. I bought some lovely smelling sandalwood incense, and I burn this while I’m using my mind’s eye to focus on my inner lady bits. It’s been amazing to feel the different sensations throughout my body as I focus on each specific part and give each part time and attention.

I feel like I’m a player in all of this baby-making business again, and less like a spectator who’s getting all of this stuff done to her. I think this more active role is helping me to heal from the incredible sadness that was starting to take over.

Here’s my proof that it’s working: Our next door neighbors came home today with their brand new baby girl. J and I had been talking about them yesterday, and we were both wondering whether she’d had the baby yet (she was due April 1st). The car pulled up in front of our house this afternoon, and I saw my neighbor holding the baby carrier. I called for J, telling him the baby was here, and we both went outside to say our congratulations. The baby is absolutely beautiful, of course, and though I felt great twinges of sadness and maybe a tear creeping in there, I held it together and genuinely meant it when I congratulated them. I don’t know if I could have done that even two weeks ago.

So today, on Day 13 of my cycle, I’m going to focus on a successful cycle, whether that means that this is the month we get our BFP, or whether it means it will be a month of healing for my body and my soul.

-Meditative Regular Van

Cycle monitoring – Cycle Day 3 – Duration: about half an hour

I’m writing this blogpost from a tasty breakfast place near my fertility clinic. Their logo is a smiley sun, which is exactly what I need to see right now.

I had a hard time at my cycle monitoring appointment today. I haven’t been so close to tears with the doctor since our first appointment. It didn’t help that the lab tech taking my blood is 7 months pregnant, or that my doctor looked genuinely sorry for me when he saw me again.

I think he sensed my desperation when I asked what else we could do to get this thing going. He mentioned male vitamins, but said he only really suggested those for guys with low sperm counts, which is not my super spermed J.

“It’s all me”, I said, half joking.

We came up with a plan, though. All is not lost, and he told me each cycle tells us things, in my case, positive things. I responded well to the Clomid, my lining thickened up nicely, everything was in track.

He took more time than usual today with my chart, which I appreciated. We talked about my thyroid, and thought maybe it was time to look at again. U have a sneaking suspicion my prescription is going to get bumped up, as I feel no different than I did before u started the meds.

He talked about antibodies and how these suggest something potentially autoimmune going in inside me. Not sure how I feel about that, or what it could be, but I’m not overly surprised. He suggested I start a daily regimen of baby aspirin, so that’s been added to my ever-increasing pill box.

Clomid starts today with two pills, same dose as last month. Next step if things don’t change by June: laparoscopy.

I feel emotionally exhausted. I can see it in this post, I can feel it in myself. The sadness from the failure of last month’s cycle is lingering, and I’m not sure how to shake it.

Meh.

-Sulky Regular Van.

“And you know when I’m down to just my socks what time it is… Oh! It’s business time…”

In my house, “business time” is less about “…making love/making love for/making love for two/ making love for two minutes/when it’s with me girl you only need two minutes/because I’m so intense”, and more about spreading for the ol’ stirrups.

Properly chosen socks have become a staple during my cycle monitoring/IUI appointments. My sock of choice is of the knee variety. They keep my legs warm while that ultrasound wand is doing its business, and let’s be honest here, I’m not shaving my legs unless my legs are exposed all day.

Anyway, a fellow blogger is organizing a sock exchange for interested IF ladies.

You should check it out, because “you know when I’m down to my socks/it’s time for business/that’s why they call them business socks, ooh…”

-Currently Wearing Socks Regular Van.

Cycle monitoring РCycle Day 13 and 14 РDuration: About 1 1/2 each time

So I’m combining appointments here, because nothing really exciting happened until today (and it wasn’t that exciting–sorry to get your hopes up).

Yesterday’s CM appointment was pretty routine–blood, ultrasound, doctor. Dr. Man came into the room and asked me how I was doing. I think the exact sound I made was “Unngghhhmmmm…?”.

“Feeling a little full?”, he asked.

Oh Dr. Man…you have no idea. For the past few days, I have felt like someone’s been blowing up a balloon in my belly through a straw inserted through my belly button. They keep blowing, and blowing, and blowing…

Another blogger mentioned feeling like a chicken who needed to hatch her eggs, and man alive, did that visualisation resonate with me! When the Dr. told me I wasn’t ready yet, I thought I was going to lose my mind. I feel constantly as if I’m going to pop. Needless to say, it’s a little uncomfortable.

So he told me to come back this morning, which I did, at which point he told me we were good to go for tomorrow and Sunday (double the IUI fun this month!). I’ve got three sturdy follicles, two on one side, one on the other, all over 19 mm. This is exciting, as last month I only had one viable one. My lining is looking okay at 8 mm, with a rating of “B” (anyone know where I can find information about these ratings?).

I got my Ovidrel shot, and was sent on my merry way, waddling out of the clinic.

I feel like a beast. Let’s hope these little eggs are sticky and can catch themselves some sperm!

-Human Chicken Regular Van.

Cycle monitoring – Cycle Day 10 – Duration: About 2 hours

Blood work, ultrasound, doctor. Rinse, repeat.

I’m totally old hand at this. I have even learned to walk quickly out of the elevator, as that will get me on that ultrasound list ASAP (longest wait of all 3 aspects of cycle monitoring).

I was feeling pretty good while waiting for my cycle monitoring today. J and I had a nice weekend together–we had a spat on Sunday, but talked about it and it was nice to connect emotionally and have some tender time reminding each other how much we love the other.

Then I met with the doctor. He explained at length why I had seen a different doctor last Sunday (I wasn’t really bothered, actually), and then proceeded to look through my chart to see if any new results were in (there weren’t any). He said he wanted to talk about J’s sperm, and I told him that J had super sperm, of course, just like he’d told us last time. Well, turns out he isn’t as super as we had thought. The DNA frag assay came back at 15.9%–“normal” is under 15. He didn’t seem overly concerned, but said that often when there is an issue on both the women and men’s side, telling people when to have sex doesn’t always cut it. We may need to try what’s called an IUI, and that’s when…

I’m going to stop you right there, doctor.

“We tried that last month. It didn’t work.”

Oh…rrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiigggggggghhhhhhhtttttttt…

I know the doctor sees about a bazillion people, but that put me off a little bit. He even did the IUI! I felt slightly offended that my vajayjay didn’t stand out from the thousands he’s likely seen.

Anyway, he said it was still early days, so he doesn’t want to see me again until Thursday. I left feeling slightly deflated, and wondered what had happened to the positivity I had felt earlier.

Lately, my emotions have been somewhat yo-yoish. I may be experiencing the Clomid mood swings, but who knows. I think I’ve already referenced Kristen Bell on my blog, but I’m doing it again. If I’m not between a 4 and a 6 emotionally, I am in tears. This is my life, the life of a delicate flower. Please watch this if you haven’t already:

So Yo Yo Ma! That’s how I’ve been feeling lately.

Blah.

-Yo Yo Regular Van.

Cycle monitoring – Cycle Day 2 – Duration: 3 hours

Here we go again. Cycle monitoring began today, preparing for our second round of IUIs (hopefully).

I went through the regular battery of assessments (blood, transvaginal ultrasound). J came with me this time and managed to nap through most of it. I was thankful to have him there, though. I sort of tore him a new one last month when I called after my appointment and he couldn’t talk because he was “too hungover”. He has since learned. Good boy.

My regular fertility doctor wasn’t working today (thank heavens, the man actually DOES have a day off!), so I saw the doctor who did my HSG test. This was kind of good for me, as it allowed me to ask questions that I was sort of afraid to ask my doctor. Namely, how did he come up with a PCOS diagnosis? I still wasn’t convinced. He showed me the results of the blood work from my AMH test (I think it was 4? Does this make sense?), and my antral follicle count was 54 (both indicators of PCOS). Also, I guess my left ovary is kind of a beast, so that was enough to convince me.

Then he started asking me about fucking facial hair again.

Ugh.

Anyway, he upped my Clomid to 2 pills a day (I think that’s 100 mg now), and talked about Metformin again. He said it took awhile to kick in, and J admitted we’re kind of desperate at this point, so if it’s going to help, we may as well try it. So I’ll add that to my meds cocktail this evening for the first time. It’s incredible to think that before all of this insanity started, I hadn’t seen a doctor in years and years. I was firmly anti-drug, definitely anti-big pharma, yet there I was today, buying an AM/PM pill box.

This doctor told me to be patient. He said I was young, and he promised me it was going to happen. No one has said that to me yet. He also acknowledged how hard it is to go through this, and to get the call with a negative pregnancy result. This meant so much to hear from a doctor. I nearly cried (but I was brave–I held it together!). I don’t know if my face showed my stress or irritation to be back going through all of this again, but for whatever reason, he somehow knew that’s all I needed to hear.

So…Metformin starts tonight, Clomid starts tomorrow, and Synthroid is ongoing. The good news? Not a suppository in sight. At least…not for a few weeks.

I’m off to camp with my students for the next 3 days. I think it will be good for me to be outside, though I’ll miss my dearie husband. I love him extra hard today for some reason.

-Soon-to-be-drug-filled-but-always Regular Van.

Cycle monitoringCycle days 10, 12, 13 – Duration: about 1 and a half each time

Lots to report on in this post. Things have been moving swiftly. My cycle monitoring appointments started to pick up steam 3 days after the HSG. I arrived and ran through the regular battery of tests: blood work, transvaginal ultrasounds (from here on out=TU because transvaginal grosses me out kind of). The final part of every cycle monitoring session is a quick update with the doctor.

So my session on CD 10 was moving along tickity boo until I got to the doctor part. He told me that the results of all the blood work was “starting to come back”, and he was concerned about my thyroid (I knew it, but that’s another story for another time). He said it was well within normal range, but normal range is not ideal range for women who are trying to conceive. At the time, my thyroid came back at 2.8, and he said he wanted to see it at 2.5. He then said (and here’s where I lost my mind temporarily on the inside, then on the outside much later in the privacy of my own home) that theirs is a “fertility clinic, not a cancer clinic”, and then proceeded to write me a prescription that I would be on for “the long haul”.

Um, can we rewind a bit?

Who throws around the “c” word with no explanation?

I didn’t ask what he meant because I was kind of floored with how the whole discussion had flipped on a dime, but thinking about it rationally now, I guess he was saying that I need to monitor my thyroid with my regular doctor. I guess.

Moving on.

He wanted me back 2 days later for more cycle monitoring, as he felt ovulation was nigh. And so, as a good, obedient, slightly freaked out little patient, I returned 2 days later. Again, I “cycled” through the cycle monitoring stations, and awaited my doctor time. This time, he told me that I had some good looking follicles forming on the right and possibly the left ovary. Exciting!

We discussed our options for this month. He said we could try au naturel if we liked (me: tried that for a year–not so great. Next option?), he could do a cervical insemination (CI) where he would put some cervical mucous on a slide with some sperm to see how they interact, then insert it into cervix if everything was working out well, or we could do an intrauterine insemination (IUI). He expressed some concern with the CI, as a result of the clomid he put me on to encourage ovulation, but the choice remained ours. He wanted me back the next day to check on the follicles to see when we’d be ready for J’s part, and let me know if would be soon (like, next couple of days).

So I returned the next day for another round of cycle monitoring, feeling like a friggin’ pro by this point. At first, I was a little bashful about stripping down to my lady bits in front of the ultrasound techs, but by now, I’ll pretty much pull my pants down for anyone. I started thinking about the multitude of things had been all up in my junk over the past week, and it was really quite shocking.

At the cycle monitoring session on CD 13, I was told tomorrow was going to be the day for whatever we had chosen to do. I said IUI, doctor said he wasn’t going to fight me on that one, and agreed that that course of action made a lot of sense. Phew. So we came up with a plan (I like plans a lot): J would come with me tomorrow to submit his sample, his sperms would get washed to get rid of the extraneous bits, and the doctor would turkey baste them into me.

Romantic.

I was excited. I still am excited. I’m excited that I feel like we’re getting somewhere. IUI doesn’t guarantee a pregnancy (the success rate is pretty crap, actually), but it’ll get us a step closer in figuring out what’s going on.

I got a shot of Ovidrel, which triggers ovulation, in preparation for tomorrow’s IUI. It was a tiny shot in my belly. Little pinch, no big deal. There was some very minimal pain at the site of the shot for maybe an hour or so, but then totally gone. No other side effects that I noticed.

I left feeling positive and excited about what was going to happen tomorrow. First IUI. Hesitant optimism, I’ll call it.

-Hopeful, but still Regular, Van.

Cycle monitoring – Cycle day 3 – Duration: about 4 hours (wait time nearly 3 hours)

So I went for my first cycle monitoring session last week. Here’s what it entailed:

I arrived at the clinic about 8:30 with a coffee in hand, knowing I was going to have another ultrasound so I would need a full bladder. I knew I also had to have more blood work done. When I entered the clinic, I was shocked at the number of people around me. The place was rammed. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Who in the hell is having babies on their own?”. It was comforting and disturbing at the same time: lots of people in our boat=good – we’re not the only ones; lots of people in our boat=bad – why are so many people struggling?

I put my name down on the sign-up sheets for blood work and ultrasounds, and found a comfortable place to settle. The number I drew for my ultrasound was a looooooong way away. Soon after writing my name, I was called for my blood work. They drew way less this time than they did during my initial appointment.

I returned to the waiting room to continue waiting for my ultrasound. I downed my coffee, wondering if I should even be drinking it (were people judging me?), and then drank a bunch of cups of water. I waited and waited and waited…with a full bladder. Not fun.

After probably an hour and a half of waiting, I was called for the ultrasound. When I got in the room, I was surprised to learn that it would be transvaginal.

Here’s where the squeamish should stop reading.

Cycle monitoring starts on Day 3 of your period. Ladies, I’m sure you can understand my confusion when the tech used “transvaginal” and “day 3” in the same sentence. I told her I had a tampon in, and she told me to pull it out and put it in the garbage in the ultrasound room. Uh…I consider myself pretty easy going, but I had some issues with that. I guess a fertility centre is no place for the bashful.

I also told her I had a full bladder. She seemed annoyed that I didn’t know this ultrasound was transvaginal, and sighed very loudly before telling me to go to the washroom.

When I returned, no one was there. No one continued to be there for a good 10 minutes. Another technician came in, apologized for no one being there, and then asked if I had put what can best be described as a puppy pee pad on the exam table. No, it was here already, I told her, and wondered if they often had women rummaging through their pee pad stash.

The ultrasound was way less gross than I had anticipated (I was pretty much expecting Niagara Falls with blood), and I then returned to the waiting room. Between the blood work and the ultrasound, I asked at the desk whether I needed to sign up to see the doctor, too. The receptionist informed me that, yes, each visit includes a chat with your doctor.

So I waited again. This time: maybe 45 minutes.

The doctor called me in and put me in another waiting room, where I sat for 15 minutes or so, and had a nice chat with a woman who was there receiving treatment for a second child. It was great to talk to someone who had been through the process once before, and who was returning years later. Her case sounded pretty complicated, with both herself and her husband having issues. That comforted me to know that despite the challenges, the doctors here at Create had a good handle on what she needed.

The doctor then called me in to a room, and asked me to wait there, which I did, for a little over half an hour. I wondered for a while whether they had forgotten about me, but I didn’t say anything. Inside the room was a rolling chest of drawers, with the drawers labelled “Pap swabs”, “STD kits”, and “Chlamydia”.

Why would anyone go in the chlamydia drawer???

Finally, the doctor came in and we chatted. He didn’t really remember who I was, which was okay with me, since I’d only met him once before. He looked at my chart (blood work and ultrasounds, I think), and he reiterated that he believed I have PCOS. He talked about clomid again as a way to get things going, and his confidence convinced me to give it a try. He reminded me about the hysterosalpingogram (HSG), which I booked for the Thursday of the following week.

Our meeting was brief, and he warned me that the clomid might cause mood swings. My life is kind of a huge mood swing, so I wasn’t overly concerned. He seemed more concerned for Jon :).

I took the clomid for 5 days with my biggest meal of the day.

As for the mood swings? You’ll have to ask my husband about that.

Next post: the dreaded HSG.

Duh, duh, DUUUUUUUUUUUH!

-Still Regular Van