Cycle Cancelled

Chatted with the nurse today and the recommendation from the doctor was to cancel the cycle. No scan on Sunday and not taking my last two Gonal-F injections. I didn’t get the full details of my results but I know that my estrogen continued to go down and my progesterone dropped considerably which is a sign that the medications were not stimulating my body to ovulate – or even to recruit a follicle.

Anyways, I am heading off on holidays tomorrow and I’m gone all next week. I’m going to attempt to take a break from thinking about the whole infertility thing. On Monday, August 8 I have a phone appointment with my doctor and I’m going to be asking for a referral to Genesis Fertility Clinic in Vancouver and pursue IVF through them this fall.

Thanks so much for all of your messages, good thoughts and support during this first treatment cycle.

The results thus far…

Your results on July 25th = Estrogen 253, LH=41.2, Prog= 6.5

Results on July 26th = Estrogen 198, LH=42.5, Prog= 9.3

Normal hormones before stimulation are- Estrogen= <200, LH= <5,  Prog= <2

Your day 3 hormones were (these are from January) = Estrogen= 243, LH= 27, Prog=  not done

The above was an email that came in from the nurse this afternoon. Because she is 1.5 days delayed getting my results due to me living in a teeny tiny rural community she has only had Monday and Tuesday results so far. On Monday my estrogen level was 253 and on Tuesday it was down to 198. That is the WRONG direction, estrogen!!

The nurse did say that it is quite possible my body is just stimulating slower than others, which has been known to happen. I’m to keep taking my 150 dose of Gonal-F each night for the next three nights and also get bloodwork done tomorrow and Friday. I’m also booked in for a scan on Sunday morning at the fertility clinic in Kelowna, but we may cancel that depending on what my blood work looks like over the next two days.

So back to waiting and getting poked with needles. I’m giving myself an injection each evening, getting my blood drawn every single morning (which is another shit show in itself – I have to go to the hospital at 5 AM to get my number and then I go back at 7:30am to wait and then usually don’t get my blood drawn until about 8:15am. Thank freaking god I only live a couple minutes away from the hospital.) and I’m getting acupuncture every second day so I am just getting poked with needles like crazy right now. I might spring a leak soon!

Anyways, back to the waiting game. I am not feeling optimistic at all but I guess all I can do now is wait and see…

1st gonal f injection…check!

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First belly injection = done. It definitely wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I’m glad I’ve got the relatively ‘easy’ Gonal-F injections right now as I’ve heard some horror stories about the pain of some of the other injectibles.

Today was a big drug day with my regularly 100 mg dose of Clomid this afternoon followed by my first Gonal-F injection this evening. I was extra emotional today and spent the majority of the day in bed or on the couch. I also had Dairy Queen poutine and a blizzard for dinner. Yup.

Tomorrow morning we go for our first set of blood work. Though I hope it shows positive numbers, I know there is a good chance it won’t. I still haven’t heard back from the nurse about getting more blood work done this week so hopefully I will be able to chat with her about that Monday or Tuesday.

Come on little follicles! Grow, grow, grow!

Cycle Day 6… What is going through my head

Hi there. This is Cycle Day 6 for me and Day 4 of Clomid. Tomorrow evening I start the Gonal-F belly injections.

At first I thought I wasn’t having Clomid side effects but when I really examined how I’m feeling I realized I most definitely am. Symptom 1: emotional. Holy hell. Let me give you this little analogy, on Friday morning (CD5) I had to call in to work and pretend I had an appointment and would be late because I. couldn’t. stop. crying.

It all started in the shower. We are house hunting in our new city and recently got approved for a mortgage – exciting! But in the shower I started thinking “why are we spending ALL this money on a big house that we can’t even fill with a family?!” and then I started bawling and couldn’t stop.

It’s almost kind of funny now (to me) but at the time it felt very devastating. It’s also not like me to get quite so emotional so I was like what the heck? But then I remembered the Clomid, and being emotional / crazy is one of the main symptoms…

I’ve also had crazy bloating, at the end of the day and  hot flashes / night sweats, which could also be related to me being off my estrogen medication but is also a common side effect of Clomid.

Anyways, the other thing that is making me crazy right now is the Monday morning blood work. So because I live in a rural community my doctor is not going to have the results of my blood work until Tuesday afternoon. Also, Monday morning I will have only done one Gonal-F injection – that might not be enough to make the follicles grow! Especially with my slow moving ovaries! So I really want them to let me get blood work done either Mon – Thurs (yes every day!) next week OR at the very least Monday and Wednesday. I sent a frantic email to the nurse this afternoon requesting that and at the end of the email apologized for being Clomid crazy… So we will see what she says.

I’m just freaking out that they are going to call it quits on my body after only a couple of injections, when for some women with POF they have to stim (fertility talk for the injections) for 14+ days! I know my doctor is concerned about wasting our money, but I can make more money, I’m more concerned about losing out on an opportunity to use my OWN eggs for a baby.

I recently found this amazing instagram account, she also has POF, and her and her husband did THREE egg retrievals to get five little frozen embryos. I’ve been messaging with her about all the medications she used and it was a lot, some days she had to do four injections, so I just really don’t want my doctor to give up on me after 6 measly days of injections!

Anyways, that’s kind of where I’m at right now. Will check back in after the injection tomorrow night!

Infertility is a Disease

One thing I want to address on this blog is some of the common misconceptions that artificial insemination, fertility treatments etc. are unnatural. Since struggling with getting pregnant I’ve heard any number of the following many times; if you just relax you’ll get pregnant; stop thinking about it; give it time; your body just needs to get the birth control out of your system (18 months later I think it’s out!). I know that everyone means well and is coming from a place of kindness and compassion, but I want to use this blog as a bit of an educational tool as well as talking about my firsthand experience.

Now, I have an actual condition that has been diagnosed by multiple tests. If I said to you “I was just diagnosed with brain cancer” would you say ‘just relax, it’ll cure itself.’

I don’t think so.

Due to my age and where I am at in my life, I am focusing on the most frustrating side effect of my disease right now: the inability to conceive. However, Premature Ovarian Failure has a number of other nasty side effects I will need to address next, such as a significant decrease in bone density (often resulting in diagnoses of osteoporosis) and increased risk for breast cancer (which already runs in my family).

Just like if I was to be diagnosed with cancer, osteoporosis or any other number of diseases, I would then seek treatment for those diseases which is exactly what I’m doing right now for my infertility. I think we can all agree it’s not ‘unnatural’ to seek treatment for a disease. However, since the World Health Organization only classified infertility as a disease in 2009, I can understand why there are so many misconceptions out there about it.

PS: No side effects to report from the Clomid so far. Taking dosage #2 at lunch today.

 

 

Cycle Day 3…Clomid time!

IMG_1805Hello from Cycle Day 3. Thank freaking god the last two days have not been as terrible as the first day. The cramps mostly went away by the end of CD2 and now on CD3 they are basically non-existent. And today I start Clomid! I took my 2 pills at lunch. Online it said you can take them with or without food and I was hoping that taking them with food might help a bit with any potential side effects. I am a little nervous for some of the side effects, which include bloating, nausea, fatigue, hot flashes (nooo, not again!) but it will be worth it if it makes my body do it’s thing. Also apparently having the side effects means the Clomid is working the magic, so while being nervous to experience them I’m even more nervous about not experiencing anything!

In the spirit of staying hopeful about this whole process I googled “Clomid and Gonal-F success with POF” and have copied and pasted two ‘success stories’ below from infertility forums on the web. I will admit, there weren’t a lot of success stories to be found but there were a decent amount of people who said the fertility drugs did make them create follicles, just the IUI ended in a BFN (Big Fat Negative). All I am truly hoping and wishing for this treatment cycle is some follicles, even if I don’t get pregnant it will mean these drugs make my body do something so even those stories are success stories in my eyes!

Yes, my doctor thinks there is a 90+ % chance it won’t work but that leaves a 10%-ish chance it will, and people have fallen into that 10%  before and I could very well be one of them! I’m going to focus on remaining positive about this process and try really hard to not be doom and gloom about it.

I was TTC for a few months without success and also having trouble with irregular periods and weak eggs (getting my period less than 7 days after ovulation). I had a AMH test which said the level suggested premature ovarian failure. It was devastating. I had even scheduled an appointment to see and IVF specialist already. I went on Clomid 50mg days 2-6 and fell pregnant on my first round. I’m now almost 9 weeks pregnant and everything is fine.

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It is possible to have IUI sucess with high FSH/low AMH. My RE said some doctors would recommend we go straight to donor eggs with my age and AMH. Well, we got lucky on our 2nd IUI, although I think it did surprise the heck out of our RE. My RE explained that the high FSH primarily meant that I might be a poor responder to the medications, not that I didn’t have any eggs left.

We had originally decided to do one IUI with medium strength meds to see how I reacted to them (did I produce follies) prior to moving onto IVF. Well, we got 3 follies the first try, although a BFN, so we decided one more IUI try before moving onto IVF (since no insurance coverage). At my age we didn’t want to waste too much time before moving onto IVF. Well, the 2nd IUI worked and I’m currently 11 weeks pregnant. We used a similar dose of meds (100 mg clomid and 150 follistim), and got 3 follies again.

Will be back in a few days with an update on how I am feeling!

Cycle Day 1… here we go!

I finished off my estrace & provera pills yesterday morning and by 11am I already had some spotting. I was freaking out a bit because if yesterday was day 1 of my cycle then I was going to have to look at going out of town to get bloodwork done next Sunday. Plus it would have just felt SO SOON, I was not expecting my cycle so quickly after finishing the estrace and provera. Anyways, here we are.

This is a horrible cycle too. I could barely sleep last night the cramps were so intense. So I finally took some Tylenol PM around midnight and it completely knocked me out. I slept straight through until 7:40am this morning. I have to be at work at 8:00am. Let’s just say it is not a good hair day…

The cramps are also circling around my midsection into my lower back. These actually might be the worse cramps I’ve ever had! When I was on the birth control pills for 10 years I would get a “cycle” every month, but it was usually pretty painless and easy. No cramps really to speak of. This is not like this, this make me feel nauseous gross and just all around like garbage.

So anyways, this cycle has officially started. Here we go. No turning back now. I start the Clomid on Wednesday, July 20.