Archives for posts with tag: PCOS

So I haven’t updated in a while, not for lack of exciting news. No BFPs yet, but things are progressing.

Our first IVF cycle is well underway. I had my egg retrieval yesterday, yielding the following results:

  • 23 eggs retrieved
  • 11 reserved for standard IVF–6 of which fertilized
  • 12 reserved for ICSI–7 were useable–7 fertilized

I’ll find out tomorrow whether we’re doing a Day 3 or a Day 5 transfer. I’m still pretty nervous about those little guys, and how they fared today. My doctor seems pretty adamant about only transferring 1 little embie, but I guess that could all change if they aren’t growing well or if they look kind of crappy.

J is super positive, and seemed a bit surprised that I wasn’t doing cartwheels about the results. I keep reminding him we’re not out of the woods yet, and there’s a looooooooong way to go before we can even think about actually being parents (this idea seems so so so far away).

I’m really uncomfortable. Yesterday after the transfer, I was in more pain than I was after my last surgery. Now, having said that, I also didn’t take any pain killers, as we were advised against Advil and we didn’t have any Tylenol. I took today off of work as well, which I wasn’t planning on doing, but oh my goodness, there was no way I would have been able to teach today.

So…that’s the news so far. Still cautiously optimistic, and anxious about tomorrow’s results. Fingers crossed!

– Already Looking Pregnant I’m So Bloated Regular Van.

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…3 to be exact.

I had my laparoscopy yesterday, and I have to say that it wasn’t that bad. I was really anxious about the IV because I had never had one before, but it was less painful than getting blood taken. Apparently, I have “dainty veins”, so the anesthesiologist thought it would have hurt me more. We were off to a good start!

Here’s how my day looked yesterday:

I arrived at the hospital at 6:30 AM, with a scheduled surgery time of 7:45 AM. I got to change into super comfy hospital clothes, which was awesome because I was exhausted from not really sleeping the night before. I met with a nurse who asked me a series of questions, went over the surgery with me, and then I went back to the waiting room to sit with J. Pretty soon after returning, I was called again, this time to get the show on the road. I went to a room with about 4 other patients, and we each sat in a partitioned section while we waited for our surgeon, our nurse, and our anesthesiologist to come and talk to us. It felt like a weird blind dating set up or something, with both sides not sure if they were approaching the right person. I felt relieved to see my surgeon, who is my doctor at the fertility clinic. It was just nice seeing a face I knew, and he was super friendly with me. The nurse was really nice, too, and she led me to the operating room, which was filled with people. There were probably 8 people in there. I kind of waved to everyone (really bizarre–what’s the protocol here?), and hopped up on the bed. The nurse kept talking to me, but everyone else started talking about me like I wasn’t there. The IV was inserted, I said how it hadn’t hurt at all, then I drifted off to sleep in like 20 seconds.

The next thing I knew, I was in another part of the hospital, and someone was putting an oxygen mask on me as I came to. When she took it off, I asked her if it was okay if I kept sleeping, which I did, and then a bit later they wheeled me off into the room I started off in, where I changed into the super comfy hospital clothes. I kept drifting in and out of sleep, and then they sent J in. I felt fine–no pain, no nausea, it was pretty comfortable. The nurses checked in on me every now and then, and eventually they brought me some apple juice, which went down just fine. My throat was really dry, so I had some more. Before I was allowed to leave, I had to try to pee, so getting out of bed was the first time it really hit me that I’d had an operation. It wasn’t super comfortable to get up and walk around, and peeing was no walk in the park, either. I guess I’d had a catheter up there, too, so it burned a little. Anyway, pee came out, so I got to go home.

They put me in a wheelchair while I waited for J to pull the car around, and that’s when the nausea hit me. I thought for sure I was going to puke there, and wanted nothing more than to get back into the bed (which had already been stripped of sheets and wheeled away). One of the nurses put a cold cloth on the back of my neck and a candy to suck on, and I was okay again. Someone wheeled me down to the car, and then I was on my way home.

I spent yesterday on the couch, still drifting in and out of sleep for most of the day. J was amazing, getting me whatever I needed and not letting me go to the washroom on my own.

The results of the laparoscopy: endometriosis was found and removed (stage 1–no big deal), both ovaries were drilled, and they discovered my left fallopian tube was actually blocked. This was shocking for my doctor, as the results of my HSG were that everything was clear. I guess the spot where it was blocked would have produced a clear-looking HSG result, but nothing was getting past that sucker. My doctor lasered it open, though he doesn’t know if it’s going to stay open. I guess he had talked to J about thinking initially there would have been a possibility to remove it (!!!), but thankfully it didn’t come to that.

Today I’m still popping Advil like it’s going out of style, but I’m up and about way more than yesterday. I’m a little afraid to look at my incision sites, and my belly button looks kind of oozy. Gross.

Anyway, that’s my update. I think my experience was a really good one. Hopefully this will help us out!

-Stitched Up Regular Van

The waiting now officially begins. The IUI went off without a hitch, though Dr. let me know that my body “looks like it’s about to ovulate”, then reminded me that Ovidrel makes 98% of women ovulate (and it’s always worked for me in the past). Kind of nerve-wracking, though. I’ve never been told at my second IUI that I haven’t ovulated yet.

Anyway, the good news to that is that I get to hold off on starting the progesterone until tomorrow morning. Thank heavens for small miracles.

J has a conference 2 hours out of town this week, so he’s been in a big rush these past couple of days. We talked yesterday about him not sticking around for the IUI after he dropped off his sample. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of this yesterday, but I said it was fine if that’s what he needed to do. And I meant it–I didn’t mean “fine” in that wifey way that really means it’s not fine.

Then we get to today. I was super emotional last night, but I was on my own, so no one saw me weeping while watching the documentary of Elmo’s puppeteer. And I mean weeping.

I felt fine when I walked into the clinic, but when J came over to wait with me to get my blood taken and preparing to say goodbye, I lost my shit a little bit. I started crying which I have never done in the clinic before–not even at our first meeting. I can keep it together in there for some reason. Not today, however. I told J I didn’t think I could do the IUI alone, and I needed him there. I’ve done 6 of these things already. I know the drill. I needed him there, though.

Reflecting on it now, I realize I had never really thought about how intimate the IUIs really are, and the emotional weight that is connected to them. The process itself is quick, but it’s not necessarily the physical act of it that I needed J there for. I initially thought that it’s pretty much the same as getting a pap test done, but I can see now that I don’t really believe that. I’m being injected with sperm that could potentially result in a baby. That’s kind of heavy, and this is supposed to be a partnership (and it is, don’t get me wrong–J is incredibly supportive). I feel like most of this journey has been a solo flight–I’m coming to the regular appointments, I’m getting blood taken on the regs, and I have a long-standing date with my friend Dildo Cam. I don’t mind doing that on my own, but I feel like when we get to the stage where something could actually happen, J should be there. I think he knew that, too.

May 28th is the date for my pregnancy test. I have a surprising amount of hope and positive feeling about this cycle. I can’t explain it, but I feel like this is my time. For the first time ever, I’ve started to be able to visualize myself pregnant, then with a baby, then with a school-aged child. I feel confident that I am going to be a mum. This is all new for me.

Sending big love out to wannabeayummymommy and her man today. It’s a big day for them, and these two deserve nothing but awesomely amazing news. Everything is crossed for you, girl.

-This time might just be it Regular Van

Round 1 of this cycle’s IUIs is complete.

In the left corner, measuring in at a substantial 20.5 mm, Folli “the baby maker” Eggerson!

And in the right corner, measuring in at…oh wait, Folli wins by default, as he’s going unchallenged.

According to Dr., one egg is just fine for a young pup like me (I will never get tired of him telling me I’m young). He explained today that traditional ovulation predictors don’t work for women with PCOS, as their hormones are all wacked. Interesting, as I used to use them and they turned positive when I thought I should have been ovulating.

Big thanks to Lori at Wanted: Family of Three for my fancy IUI socks. I couldn’t wait to be able to wear them! Koi fish are supposed to bring luck…let’s hope these swimmers (and J’s!) do their jobs this month.

A very flattering (!!) shot of Kois and stirrups. Yes, those are oven gloves on the stirrups.

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…that’s the goal, direct from my naturopath.

Did I mention this was the SECOND time I’ve met this woman? Thankfully, I have had adequate experience with people sans filter that I don’t think I even flinched when she said this.

So let’s backtrack. I had my second appointment with the naturopath yesterday. I’ve been feeling pretty good lately and was happy to report my progress. Her first question was not “Are you pregnant?”, which I appreciated, but “how’s your libido?”. It’s improving, that’s for sure, because it was pretty much non-existent for a while there. She was very excited. I also got to tell her that things are getting a lot juicier in the nether regions. She nearly squealed, but instead responded with the now famous phrase:

We want you wet and horny. That’s what gets babies made.

Oh Dr., I love you.

She then took my pulse to check in on the liver stasis she felt at my first appointment, and also to feel for the dampness she felt last time as well (pulse dampness). She said my pulse was “beautiful”, the dampness was gone and the liver stasis had greatly improved. “Your body is healing itself”. I nearly cried.

You need to understand that I have a long, long history with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and never have I heard that I had a strong, healthy pulse. This is progress, big time.

I told her where I was in my cycle, and she nearly jumped out of her chair while asking me if she could do some acupuncture on me. Of course, was my reply. Now, I wasn’t prepared to take my leggings off, but I figured she could deal with my super hairy legs. She did a million belly points (I’ve never had that many), two leg points, two hand points, and 4 ear points (this was new to me, too). Her technique was gentle with no manipulation of the needles once they were in. The ear points hurt going in, but the pain was gone in a second or two. I had a glorious acupuncture nap, and awoke refreshed and calm. It was a great experience.

She concluded that these big changes were likely due to my massive reduction in dairy consumption. She figures for me, it’s beyond lactose intolerance and more likely a sensitivity to the proteins in dairy. I don’t miss it, and still have the occasional piece of pizza. The fact that she can see a difference in 5 weeks is motivation enough to keep off it. She reiterated what I have always known but need to be reminded of frequently: my body needs really good stuff put into it on the regs.

We left with not making an appointment, but with two possible scenarios: if I fall pregnant (I love that phrase), I’m calling her to share the news because I’ll hardly have anyone to tell at that early stage, or I call on day 1 of my period to set up an appointment for sometime between day 9 and 12. I appreciated that she said the first option first. I like hope in other people. She believes my body can do this on its own now. No one has told me that yet.

All in all, an awesome appointment. I really do love her!

-Not yet a Slip ‘N Slide but getting better Regular Van

Today was our first IUI for this cycle. My doctor’s away this week, and it’s been kind of nice hearing different perspectives.

So far, this has been a longer cycle than the previous ones I’ve done at the clinic. I didn’t get triggered until yesterday (CD 18). I has a little follicle in there that was hanging around the 16 mm mark, and the visiting doctor was hoping it would mature before either the trigger or my own surge. It measured at 17 today, so that little buddy is trying! I’ve got my “juicy” one (thanks, new doctor!) at 22 mm today, and a “beautiful lining perfect for an egg”, she told me. I’ve never heard this before! Lining measured at 11 today–the thickest it’s ever been. Hopefully that makes a difference.

This marks the first cycle that i’ve been on the metformin for the full dose for the full month. It’s also the first month with all the naturopath supplements.

Fingers crossed…back again tomorrow for round two.

-Hopeful Regular Van.

Cycle monitoring – Cycle Day 9 – Duration: about half an hour/Naturopath appointment #1 – Duration: about an hour and a half

Holy appointments, Batman. Also, holy quiet blog. I’ve had nothing to report, and I’m afraid I don’t have much to report today, either, but I’m sure I can squeeze some words out of myself.

So to start off my day, I went for my cycle monitoring appointment. Today was a first: they called me for my ultrasound BEFORE calling me for blood work. Shocking! I think the blood ladies were gassing about something, and so the ultrasound ladies beat them to the punch. Today was F-A-S-T. Of course, the day I have booked the entire day off instead of just the morning, I’m in and out of there lickety-split. Anyway…nothing too eventful went on at the appointment. Doctor wants me back for Saturday, so off I will go. Clomid is done for this cycle, so now I’m just growing me some big ol’ follicles. I mentioned that I was going to see a naturopath later that day, and he seemed pleased (well, supportive, anyway). This made me feel better about my decision. I asked about bringing information from my chart, and he said no problem–a nurse at the front desk would photocopy the necessary sections for me. Superb!

After my appointment, I took my stack of papers and went to the smiley sunshine breakfast place again. I enjoyed my crepomelette while pouring through the pages and pages of my chart. There was piles of stuff in there, so it was easy to occupy myself, Googling all the different tests and results that came back.

My thyroid seems to be in great shape. The most recent levels are down from 2.8 to 1.8. So thank you, little synthroid. You are doing a good job.

I met up with J for lunch, which was nice. His office is near the financial district in our city, and I was shocked by the number of suits I saw. I felt a little out of place (though soooo much more comfy) in my lululemon.

Later that afternoon, I had my first appointment with the naturopath. I should mention that she specializes in infertility. She looked at my chart info carefully and went over it all with me. Awesome. She questioned the PCOS diagnosis until she saw my egg reserve number (50+). She tested my nutrition levels with a machine that had two metal handles that I held onto, and they sent readings to her computer (sounds wacky, I know). The results show deficiencies in nutrition levels and sensitivities to foods. My results? I’m sensitive to dairy (this is not news), and chickpeas in hummus form (heartbreaking!!), but regular chickpeas are okay. Weird… I should avoid scallops and oysters. No problem. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten either, nor am I planning to. She suggested I keep my salmon intake to¬† once a week, and recommended I go back to being vegan for most of the week.

This was interesting news to me. I had stopped being vegan in an effort to get myself healthier for future babies, so it seemed crazy to hear maybe I should have stuck it out. She felt that eggs on the weekend were okay and minimal fish, but beyond that, vegan it is. Also, sugar. I knew this was coming, and I have to say, when I did a cleanse a few years ago and went off sugar for 5 months, I felt amazing.

To recap: nutrition goals–vegan on weekdays, no more sugar. It was comforting to hear from a professional that my diet is actually pretty good–no white flour, very rarely anything processed, and a whole lot of green leafy stuff.

The result that she was most concerned about was the battering my adrenals seemed to be taking. She said there was a link between these glands and the thyroid, and getting my adrenals in check would help with thyroid issues. She came up with a plan for me that involves a whole whack of supplements, and a follow-up appointment in 5 weeks.

Here’s the run down:

Co-enzyme Q10 – to ensure egg quality

Licorice tea – helps adrenal function (and is SO delicious!)

Myoinositol – helps PCOS symptoms, by the sounds of it. I can’t remember why she recommended it, but she didn’t mention the connection between it and PCOS.

New non-prenatal multivitamins – too much iron in prenatals, she says. Okay. I trust you.

Homeopathic drops – cleanse/improve liver function (some liver qi stagnation)

Continue fish oil, B12 drops, and Vitamin D drops.

Holy mack, that’s a lot of stuff.

Feeling hopeful that if nothing else, my body will start to feel amazing, baby or no baby.

-Hope-filled Regular Van.

 

So chalk this month up as another failed month of baby-making. I went for my blood test today after doing two cheapie POSs, so I had a hunch I was still Regular Van.

It was slightly less heartbreaking this time, and I don’t have a trail of mascara streaks on my sweater like I did last month.

I feel resigned. I feel resigned to a feeling that this isn’t going to happen for us, and it’s a feeling that’s growing stronger. I’ve had a few occasions these past few weeks when I stopped to think about what we’re doing here with all this baby stuff, and the thought of me pregnant seemed so ridiculous to me. I can’t shake this feeling like this isn’t going to be a part of my reality. I sound melodramatic, I know (it’s been 2 rounds of IUI, I need to get over myself), but I don’t feel like I’m being dramatic. I feel kind of calm about it…I can’t explain.

At the same time, though, I feel overcome with this massive sense of guilt, like maybe it’s my mindset that’s at fault. Maybe if I was more positive or could imagine myself pregnant, then magically I somehow would be.

I’m resigned to feeling like things are a bit hopeless right now, but I’m more at peace with that then I thought I would be. At this stage, I often feel more frustrated that I can’t DO this thing (getting pregnant) more than I am frustrated by the significance behind being pregnant.

Maybe I don’t want it badly enough, but maybe I’m not allowing myself to want it enough because somewhere inside me I have this feeling, this knowing, that more than just maybe this isn’t going to happen for us.

I’m running out of fight.

-Just 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 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