Saturday, January 29, 2011

CD 11 Ultrasound - Round 3

This morning was our CD11 ultrasound to check for follicles. I am always so nervous going into it that there will just be zero activity in my ovaries. That's what my ultrasound looked like before I started taking the Clomid - nothing. No follicles at all that seemed active.

This morning, though, there was some decent activity. No mature follicles, but five medium-sized ones. There were three on my left ovary, measuring 12mm, 10mm, and 10mm. Then there were two on my right ovary measuring 10mm and 10mm. The nurse said that follicles tend to grow 1-2mm a day, so I am scheduled to come back in for another ultrasound on CD14, which is Tuesday.

Last cycle, the result was very similar. Medium-sized follicles on day 11, but by day 13, there were two that were big enough to trigger. I am going to go buy some more OPK's and keep testing every 12 hours just to make sure I'm not going to ovulate before I go back in. I figure DH and I better get on some BD'ing too, just in case!

I'm a little bit nervous about doing our first IUI. I've heard there is a lot of cramping afterwards that can be pretty painful. Some women also said they got really bloated and generally didn't feel well for a few days. I'm hoping things go well for me, but since this is the first one, it's hard to know exactly what to expect. From what I've read and from what the doctor said earlier in our treatment, IUI increases the chance of getting pregnant up to 25%. With Clomid alone, the chances are something like 12%. So, Clomid with IUI is twice the chance! Plus, this is our third cycle so the odds are in our favor, statistically. I'm going to do everything I can to stay relaxed and to eat well for the rest of this cycle. I want to make sure to create a good environment for implantation. I will write more as the next ultrasound approaches.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Frustration About Diet and Exercise

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is extremely frustrating. My hubby hates for me to use that word, ha. Probably because I use it too often. But this time I honestly mean it. PCOS sucks.

I was diagnosed in 1997, but there were no doctors in my life who could tell me what I needed to do to help the symptoms. I wasn't able to take Birth Control pills, which was their standard treatment back then. I just gained weight, kept getting more dark hair on my face, chest and arms. The symptoms got worse and I never knew there was a way to make changes. I didn't seek ways either. Not really. I just tried to ignore it. I don't know that I expected it to go away, but I felt that if I ignored it, it was somehow less real. It was tough, though, because everytime I looked in the mirror, I saw a dark shadow of hair under my chin. It was heartbreaking on a daily basis.

Now, I've gotten the hair under control through laser hair removal, and while that is a great step forward, there are so many other symptoms that are not getting better. I still weigh 180 lbs. I have acne issues at age 34. We're having fertility issues. I'm always feeling tired. It sucks so hardcore!!

Dealing with fertility issues has pushed PCOS to the surface for me. I can't ignore it anymore. Not if I want a baby. And I do. So badly! Reading through different books and websites and talking to other women who have PCOS and are TTC, I think the solution is pretty clear. A strict diet of wholesome foods. Fresh fruit. No breads or pasta unless they are packed with fiber and whole grains. No fried foods. No sugars. No soda. Lots of protein combined with a complex carbohydrate. Basically, for me that means a complete and total overhaul of what I have been eating for the past 34 years of my life.

Then, on top of the major food changes, I know I also have to start exercising. It's such a hard thing for me. I don't enjoy exercise. I hate feeling sweaty and I'm so out of shape, exercising makes me so incredibly tired. I know what I must sound like saying this, too, but I want to be honest with myself and with anyone reading this who might be going through the same thing. I read online forums and people with PCOS say things like "I eat a carrot and gain weight." Maybe that's true for them, but I think for the most part, if you're eating the right foods and exercising, you'll find success. It's not impossible. But for me, the eating right and exercising feels like punishment. It feels like torture.

Some of the women I've been talking to online about TTC are so supportive, but at the same time, so many of them seem to have everything together. They exercise 5 times a week and are fit and thin. They eat right and are taking herbs and feeling good. They are in such a better place for carrying a healthy pregnancy to term. And they don't even have PCOS! I'm so scared I'm going to be the last one in the group to get pregnant - or that I'll never be able to have a successful pregnancy.

I just turned 34 this past weekend, and I realize more and more that I'm on a serious time crunch here. I don't have a lot of time to have a healthy pregnancy. Also, the more treatments we go through, the more expensive things are going to get. We can't afford IVF. Please, God, don't let it come to that! It's so terrifying. In a perfect world, I would have gotten my body in shape years ago and getting pregnant now wouldn't be difficult. But now I'm already in the middle of treatments. I'm already on cycle 3 of Clomid. I only have 3 more months of chances with this particular drug. I'm so scared I am wasting this fertility treatment. What if my eating habits and lack of exercise are going to keep me from getting pregnant no matter what fertility drugs I try?

I know there are tons of women who would read this and think, just eat right and exercise! What's the big deal?! Have some willpower, girl! And that's the way I talk to myself too. But the truth is that making such a huge change in my life isn't easy. Sure, I could do it for a week maybe, but then the hard work becomes a daily thing and I start to fall apart. I know I can make some small changes and try to change my life, but there's this time factor at work here as well. I don't have three years to slowly make all these changes. I need the changes now so that I can have a healthy pregnancy.

This has been a serious rant, I know, and much longer than I intended. But these are my fears. I'm so scared I won't be able to get pregnant for years because of these changes I have never made in my life. I can't turn back the clock. All I can do is try to make some changes in the months ahead and pray that it's enough to allow my body to carry a pregnancy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

11DPO - Temperature Drop

I'm currently 11 or 12 Days past ovulation. 13 days past trigger shot. I broke down and took a home pregnancy test this morning, and it didn't show even the tiniest faint line. Very disappointing. Also, I've been trying to stay consistent with taking my basal body temperature in the morning. This morning I got a huge drop in temp - from 98 yesterday all the way down to 97.31 today. That's the lowest temperature since before ovulation. It's not looking good for this to be our month.

This weekend I spent some time with my husband's best friend from high school. His wife and I were talking in the kitchen while the guys were working on building a fire in the living room. She told me that her sister was also diagnosed with polycystic ovarian disease when she was in college. Just like me. Unfortunately, her sister had some large cysts that somehow got wrapped around her fallopian tube. I am not sure I got the story right, but she ended up losing one of her ovaries. She's currently on the same medication I am - Metformin - and has had a lot of luck with it. She and her husband aren't currently TTC, but the story kind of threw me for a loop. I think I'm just too emotional to hear that kind of story right now. The thought of losing my ovary or having something going wrong right now scares me to death.

The two week wait is the most difficult part of the process, I think. There's so much hope, yet so much disappointment. I was really hoping this would be our month, and even though I'm not completely out until my period shows, I am losing hope.

I am already thinking about what I'm going to do better next month. I hate to admit, but I have gained a couple of pounds this month. I had gotten down to 173, but now I am back up to 176. In order to get pregnant with PCOS, I know I need to keep my weight down and my sugars under control. My plan for the next month is to lose as much weight as I can. That means taking my pills every single day and on-time, eating less sugar, and working out so that my body can be healthier and more able to sustain a pregnancy.

I will test again on Thursday if my period hasn't shown up yet, but I have a feeling it will be here by then. My birthday is coming up on Sunday. I'll be 34 years old. If my period shows, at least I can have a few drinks on my birthday. I would so much rather be celebrating a positive pregnancy test for my birthday, though. I'm determined to keep a positive attitude for this coming cycle. We are thinking that we will do one more cycle with just the Clomid and trigger shot, then if we still aren't pregnant, we will try IUI. I want to make sure I am as healthy as I can be for taking that next step.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The 2WW Sucks

The time between ovulation and AF (or BFP!) is the hardest part for me. The dreaded 2WW. Right now, I am 9 days past trigger shot, and 7 or 8 DPO. (Fertility friend says I ovulated Thursday, but I think it might really have been Wednesday. We'll see!) That means I still have another week until AF is expected. A full week before I can reasonably take a pregnancy test and hope for a BFP. And I can tell you right now that it's going to feel like a lot more than a week! These two weeks seriously just drag on and on! It's torture!

What seems so ironic is that there are lots of women (and girls) who freak out when they find out they are pregnant. For some women, it seems like the end of the world. It's inconvenient. And for some, it's devastating. On the flip side, then there are women like me who want it so badly. We try and try for months, go through all kinds of doctor's appointments and tests and take pills that make us feel like crap - and still nothing. It definitely isn't fair. But life isn't fair. That's just the way it is.

All I can hope is that someday soon, I will experience the joy of seeing the double pink lines on a pregnancy test. I can't wait to see my belly grow and to feel a little one stirring inside of me. I can't wait to hold that precious baby in my arms. When it finally comes, I know it will seem like this whole time of waiting and trying just flew by. It will seem like this was nothing compared to the joy of having that sweet baby.

I need to spend my 2ww thinking about the happy things in life. The things I am most grateful for. Like my amazing husband. I'm so lucky to have such a supportive man who will be such a great father and partner through the whole parenting process. I'm so grateful he wants to try to to make a baby and that he's willing to go with me to every doctor's appointment and hold my hand. I'm so grateful that we own our own home and that we have plenty of room for a baby here. I'm also extremely lucky in that I can spend my days doing the one thing I love most - writing. My life is truly headed to the place where I have always dreamed I could be. And I'm enjoying the journey there.

I need to stop worrying about the fact that we don't have a huge 3000 sq ft. house with a two car garage and a white picket fence. I need to stop caring about the fact that I wasted so many years on the wrong guy or the wrong career. That's all in the past. This is the time to take a look around at today. At the life I have right now. At the future, which is brighter than I ever dreamed it could be. Yes, the 2ww is tough, but look at the reward! It's totally worth it! When I feel down, I hope I can remember to tell myself to take a deep breath and enjoy the process. Enjoy the time getting to know my own body. This is a time when I can take control of my health in a way I never have before. I've already lost nearly 20 pounds! The journey may last a little longer than I hoped, but I have to trust that someday, it will all be worth it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ovulation Day

Yesterday was ovulation day. I feel pretty certain of it. Not only did I get the trigger shot the day before, but I also started feeling some pains really low in my abdomen last night. I've never had ovulation pains before, but I'm convinced that's what was going on. I'm still feeling crampy today.

The first time I got the trigger shot, the nurse told me that it often causes stronger ovulation pains. I didn't feel anything that first time, though. This second round, I'm sure that's what was going on last night. I'm thinking it's possibly because I had two mature follicles this cycle instead of one. Maybe they are both releasing eggs! Wouldn't that be exciting! It would definitely increase our chance of having a successful cycle this time around.

Of course, it also gives the possibility of twins. Yikes! Yes, twins are super cute, but the thought of how much time and energy is involved with twins scares the crap out of me. I can't imagine breastfeeding two babies. It would be never-ending! Plus, just thinking about how twins would cost makes me freak out. We're already thinking that one baby is going to put a slight strain on finances. Two would be insane.

But then again, having two healthy babies would be amazing in other ways! Twins always share a special bond that can't be broken. Two babies also would mean instant playmates. If it happens, I'll welcome it! Any positive on a pregnancy test this month would be crazy exciting! My due date would be near the end of September - around September 27th or so. I think that would be a great time of year to have a baby. I wouldn't be 9 months pregnant in the hottest month of the year, plus it's a quiet time usually. Long enough after summer for vacations to be over and school to be back in session, but far enough from the holidays to still be calm and not shopping all the time.

I know I'm rambling, but as I head into the 2 week wait, I get nervous and anxious and can't stop thinking about the what ifs? The 2ww is the worst part. It's the not knowing and wondering if there was anything we could have done differently. I plan to test on the 19th - 4 days before my 34th birthday. A positive pregnancy test would be the most amazing gift this year!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mature Follicles on Cycle Day 13

I am on my second round of Clomid, Cycle Days 1-5, 100 mg. I went in on CD11 for my first follicle-check ultrasound on Sunday, but there were not any that were big enough. I had a couple of medium-sized ones on the right side, but the nurse looks for 20mm or bigger in order to give a trigger shot.

DH and I went back for a second ultrasound this morning, CD13. They found two mature follicles! One was 23mm and the other was 18mm. I don't know whether the 18 is big enough to release an egg this cycle, but there's definitely going to be one little eggie released this month! I am so excited!

The most I can ask for each month is for a good chance. Without the Clomid, there's pretty much no chance I could get pregnant. I feel so grateful that the medications are working. There are no guarantees that I will get pregnant this month, but we're doing everything we can. Last night after we made love, I propped my butt up on some pillows and envisioned the sperm traveling up through uterus and the fallopian tubes, meeting the egg when she comes out, and snuggling into her. I know it sounds a little bit silly, but I want to stay positive and visualize the process. I'm hoping that by imagining the sperm meeting the egg, it might help my body to make it happen.

With the trigger today, I should ovulate tomorrow, on CD14. I should know if this cycle worked by Wednesday the 19th. My 34th birthday is the following Sunday, Jan. 23rd. Wouldn't a positive pregnancy test be the most amazing birthday present? I am trying to be less obsessive this cycle. Last cycle, the two week wait nearly drove me insane. And then when I found out I wasn't pregnant, I was depressed and upset. I'm going to do better to keep my hope up. And if my period comes, then we just try again. It's a new year, and I feel in my heart that 2011 is the year I finally get pregnant!