Trying to conceive part 5

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Written March 26, 2017

Fertility treatments began recently.

I am already exhausted.

My story is unique, because all stories are unique. No two people go through the same process to get a family.

Our first appointment was just a consultation, we met with our Fertility Specialist and discussed our options. There are three options that we could go with, here they are;

Option 1: continue on the medication I’ve been previously taking, along with a new additional medication to help stimulate an egg. I would visit the clinic every few days for ultrasounds to monitor ovulation and once an egg is stimulated from the medication, I would take a hormone shot at home and continue to get ultrasounds regularly to see if anything happens to the egg.

Option 2: Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization (americanpregnancy.org).

Option 3: In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technology (ART). IVF is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus. (americanpregnancy.org).

 

Our first visit at the Fertility clinic was on February 13th. Up to now March 26, 2017 we have been to the clinic four times. Here are the appointments broken down a bit.

1st visit: Consultation:

We discussed the three options and decided to start off with the first option. We added another fertility medication to the one I was already taking, ultrasounds and eventually a fertility shot, if things were progressing. We did discuss that even though I had been on fertility medication to make me ovulate, I was actually not ovulating at all. So I had been thinking I was making progress for a year and a half while in reality nothing was happening at all.

We also discussed that because I have been TTC for close to two years we would skip option 2, (IUI), entirely if option 1 did not work. It would be better for us to work on Step 1 for 3-4 months and then go right to option 3, IVF.

2nd visit: Ultrasound

This ultrasound was to check on my eggs. Until this visit I had no idea if I even had eggs, but I was pleased to learn that I have an extreme amount of eggs, probably because I’ve never ovulated before.

After this visit I was told to continue taking Femara (Letrozole) the medication that I had been on since July 2015, but a much lower dose and to add Decadron (Dexa) once my eggs were stimulated.

Alex and I were so new to this process that we didn’t know what questions to ask and what to expect, so we called the clinic and were told to come in for another ultrasound and then a sit down with a nurse.

3rd visit: Ultrasound and Meeting with the nurse:

At this ultrasound they rechecked my ovaries and we chatted with a nurse who answered all of our questions, gave me a form that spelled out every step I needed to take and when I need to take them. I felt really good and positive about everything!

4th visit: ultrasound, Meeting with the nurse:

Today was our fourth appointment. I had taken the medications and was waiting to do the shot after a good ultrasound today. I sat on the exam table ready to be super uncomfortable but praying for a nice large stimulated egg that was ready to ovulate. My ultrasound tech was great, she was very vocal and pointed out what was on the screen and then she was quiet and I knew that there wasn’t an egg. She finished up and I got dressed. So close to tears I held Al’s hand and I prayed that there was an egg, how could there not be? How could I be on so much medication and still not have an egg that is really supposed to develop naturally?

The nurse came in and said that there was no sign of a stimulated egg. That I needed to come back in three days for anther ultrasound. Guys, I held it together, I said “ok”, scheduled an appointment and got in the car. Alex and I ran some errands (including getting a chocolate shake from Cold Stone) and we went home. I put on pajama’s and slept for hours. The cramping and uncomfortableness from the ultrasound along with the frustration I was feeling really  got to me. I felt very discouraged.

My story is unique, because all stories are unique. No two people go through the same process to get a family. In my story I have had a lot of negative news. Other than hearing that I actually do have eggs, my process has been daunting, I have been given bad news at every appointment for two years. I am tired, drained, mentally exhausted and sad. Saying this to my husband prompted his knight in shining armor skills and he held me while saying that this doesn’t mean it’s over. This just means in three days we re-strategize, we look at what we have, what we can do and then put our whole selves into our new plan.

So next week I will go back to the doctor, I will still be tired and drained, but I will pray with everything I have to hear something positive, and the next time I go to the doctor I will pray with everything I have to hear something positive and the next time and the next time and the next time. I will continue to pray, I will continue to hope and I know one day, somehow I will be a mother.

 

 

Trying to conceive part 4: My husband’s thoughts on baby making

Adult living, PCOS blog

Well friends, here it is, thoughts from my husband on our TTC process. Let me start this off by saying, this man is wonderful and while he may not have written this in the timely manner that I continuously nagged him to, he is an incredible man who puts up with my crazy and that is not an easy task! Enjoy Alex’s side of making babies!

 

On Fatherhood and our Fertility Journey

Jill’s always been far more ready to be parent than I have. Case in point is the delay it took for me to write this post compared to the prolific pace that she kept up by herself. I’ve been delaying this process as far back as I can recall. I’ve not always been the best partner on this journey and it’s a credit to Jill that she’s stuck with me throughout the whole ordeal.

Becoming fully bought in on the idea of becoming a father and starting a family was not a sudden thing for me, there was no inflection point or moment of clarity. I just thought about it one day and felt differently. I’m not sure if this the normal course of events for most men. I don’t have many friends that are my age and are dad’s and even if I did, I’m not sure it’d ever really be discussed in normal discussion (Guys don’t talk to each to each other about emotional stuff? Inconceivable!)

During our period of disagreement, my thoughts on the subject could best be summed up thusly, “I am such an asshole for postponing this, but I can’t bring myself to commit to this yet either.” There was nothing unique about my objections, I was uncertain about where we were going to live long-term, I felt very uneasy about our financial situation and at the end of the day, felt we could barely take care of ourselves, much less another human. My self doubt centered on the fact that deep down, Jill’s condition probably trumped my concerns and I resented my self-perception of not carrying equal weight in regards to this process. So I dug in, insisted that I was not ready and that we needed to progress further down our own paths before I could start this journey.

I’m particularly proud of the fact that Jill and I were able to both recognize that since we were at loggerheads over this issue, we’d be better served with a third party mediating. Finding compromise was not easy, but we were able to get there and are better off for having sought out help. The moral of this part of the story: Therapy works, don’t be afraid of it.

What I’ve ultimately found during this journey is that, as with most things, the fear and anxiety that occurs before a particular event is far worse than actually going through it. We have come a long way since we first discussed having children. We’re both at good places in our careers, own a home and generally take care of our business in a mature, adult fashion. We’re now more concerned with what our children will call my mother (we like “MeeMaw Jardo” A LOT, she… does not) or if they should play varsity sports before they’re upperclassmen (I don’t see a problem, Jill has strange ideas about this though…) and how we’ll announce we’re pregnant (not telling!)

This process has become, dare I say, fun? I’m genuinely optimistic about our prospects of getting pregnant and looking forward to all that comes with it. I’m excited for the next step and look forward to fetching Jill all kinds of strange food combinations at odd hours, reading all the pregnancy literature possible to keep her off my back (I think I’ve already told her I did this… don’t say anything.) and eventually waking up one day and thinking, “Let’s do it again.”

Trying to conceive part 3

PCOS blog

June 1, 2013: I am officially a married woman!

June 2, 2013: When are we having babies?

My poor, wonderful, understanding and kind husband. He is a SAINT! I have always loved babies and have wanted to be a mom my entire life. I truly believe that I was meant to be a mother. I did not do a great job hiding those feelings from my husband (even at 16 when we met) and he has constantly been supportive and incredible on my road to motherhood.

Something that helped Alex and I in this process was going to therapy. Really it was THE THING that helped us. We both wanted a family but we couldn’t work out the particulars by ourselves. I wanted to start trying the day after we got married, Alex wanted to wait until we were more settled. Having a family is not a simple decision. We fought, yelled, threw low blows and cried for months. We couldn’t work out the best way to start our family. We needed a third person to help us, guide us and not make us feel bad for saying what we really felt. We found a therapist who made both of us feel comfortable and made us feel that we could work this out, even when we felt hopeless. After a few months of weekly therapy sessions we decided on this…

Alex and I knew we wanted to graduate college before we had kids, so we did that (even though it took a while), we knew we wanted good jobs before we had kids (that happened surprisingly fast), then we knew we wanted to get a house before we had kids (again, took a while but we did that too). Now we had our degrees, our jobs and our house. We decided that 2015 was going to be our year!

January 2015 came and I (with supervision from my doctors) went off the majority of my medications, including birth control. My doctors wanted to see if because I had been on birth control for so long my body would just magically start having a regular period. So for three months we waited to see if that happened, it didn’t. We decided to go to an OBGYN and see what she said. We did tests, ultrasounds, blood work, exams and came to the conclusion that I was going to start a fertility medication called Letrozole. We started on the lowest dosage and would slowly work our way up to the highest dosage over five months if I did not ovulate.

Month one-No period.

Month two-No period.

Month three-No period.

Month four-No period.

Month five- PERIOD!

Month five was January 2016, six months after first seeing our OBGYN. So although we had already spent six months “trying” it wasn’t really trying because I wasn’t ovulating. Now I was ovulating, I had to track my cycle. Well, my body decided that wasn’t going to be easy either. Tracing from January to June, I had a 39 day cycle, a 34 day cycle, another 34 day cycle, a 32 day cycle, and a 38 day cycle. Remember a normal cycle is 28 days long, also for some reason ovulating tests were not accurate for me and I was told not to bother with them at all. I was getting my period, but we had no idea when I was ovulating…that part is pretty important when you are trying to conceive a baby.

June 2016 we switched medications to Clomid, another fertility drug. Six months of that and the cycles got weirder; 34, 40, 37, 36, and 38. We went back to Letrozole because I was at least having more regular periods with that drug. My doctor said that I can keep along the path we were on and I might get pregnant, but she also suggested that I should go to a specialist.

That is where I am now, waiting to see a specialist in February and hoping that they tell me something good. Something happy.

My experience is hard and daunting. My experience is sad and depressing. My experience is scary and painful, but my experience is not unique. I am not the only woman who struggles with infertility. It is a long and stressful path and I know that one way or another I will be a mother. My husband and I could get pregnant, we could adopt, we could have a surrogate; we have so many more options to consider. We will be parents one day, I will be able to look back at this blog and say “I am so glad that part is over!”

Next time, a little bit from Alex on the process.

 

Trying to conceive part 1

PCOS blog

Let’s get this part out of the way… I am NOT pregnant and that is not for lack of trying!

My husband and I have been working on getting pregnant since July 2015 (that is 18 months, people)!

After months and months of getting our hopes up and being disappointed, I decided that I needed an outlet for my feelings. I also thought that putting my experience out into the world wide web could maybe help someone on their pregnancy journey.

So I am going to make this into a series of blogs where I can start from the beginning and reflect through the entire process.

Getting my 1st period…(yeah, that beginning!)

I had the sex talk with my mom and sister, diagrams were used, textbooks were brought out and awkward silences had been sat through. So  I knew what a period was and what puberty was and that one fateful day it was going to happen to me.

I remember getting my first period. I was 13 and at a homeschool get together class and was not feeling well. I went to the bathroom and there it was, blood. I wasn’t scared or upset in any way, I stuck some toilet paper in my underwear and went back to class. When I got home, my mom and sister were nowhere to be found. I took it upon myself to apply my first pad…a GIANT overnight pad. That is when I started freaking out! I have to wear this huge thing every month? I have to have this bulky monstrosity stuck to my underwear and still be a functioning person? To me it was the worst thing that has ever happened!

Eventually my mom came home and I had another awkward talk about tampons and pads. Being a young girl is just so fun! The next month I expected to get my period but it didn’t come. Months passed and it never came back. At a routine doctor visit I asked about the infrequency of my cycle and was told that it is totally normal for a young girl to be irregular, eventually my body would start to have a typical 28 day cycle. So I was not worried at all about not having it, in fact when all my friends would complain about their time of the month I was could breathe a sigh of relief because I didn’t have to go through it.

Two years passed and still no second period. One day while watching TLC, a 1 hour special came on about this couple Jon & Kate Gosselin. Since then they have become very famous, but at that time I had never heard their story. The special explained that Kate had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which caused her to have irregular periods and therefore required her to need fertility treatment to conceive. Immediately I went to the doctor and brought up PCOS and I began the diagnosis process.

I am not a physician and I do claim to be an expert in PCOS, this is all my experience and every person is different and experiences different things. My doctor talked me through possible symptoms and when something I was experiencing came up we discussed it further. My doctor was great, she took time with me and referred me to an Endocrinologist who eventually put me on two medications; metformin, a diabetic medication that helped control my sugar levels and birth control to help me get a regular period. She also referred me to an electrolysis to help with the wonderful symptom of excess facial hair growth…thanks PCOS!

I know this is weird but I owe my diagnosis to Jon and Kate plus 8, I wouldn’t have known about PCOS without watching their special. PCOS has caused a lot of frustration, anxiety and tears, but it is something I will always have and being more informed will only help me live successfully with it.

 

Until next time…

A trip of a lifetime

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Very soon I will be taking a trip, an amazing, incredible, glorious trip. I am going to Australia!

First off I have a few people to brag about, the people who are the reason for the trip, my favorite brother in-law Maxwell and his fantastic soon to be wife Megan. The trip is only happening because of them and I cannot begin to share my excitement and honor of being included in this wedding trip. Next my MIL, FIL and 2nd MIL…um…you people rock! Alex and I would have to either miss the trip entirely or he would go and I would have to stay home if you people weren’t so awesome. Thank you (I think that will be said a billion times a day from now on), you three are making a dream come true.

I also want to say a BIG THANK YOU to Max for allowing me to steal my husband away from him for some honeymoon time. We are so grateful to be able to sneak away, have some couple time and then join the family again. I promise that Alex will have tons of time to spend with Max, golfing, ping pong playing, picking at each other and getting on each other’s nerves. I just want a little time with him and the rest of the time I will be kicking him in the butt forcing him to be by Max’s side.

We have a bunch of things planned, some events will be spur of the moment and I hope to have some lay around time too. The entire trip will be filled with family and tons of bonding time, a little alone time might need to happen too!

I am going to be writing about everything we do and hopefully I can post on here to keep my people in the US updated (and make my parents a little jealous).

Australia here we come!

Boomerang kid

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I was born in the late 1980’s which makes me part of the millennial generation. My generation is also known as “Generation me”. We are technologically advanced, we are narcissistic, we are expected to have 6-8 careers in our lifetime and we multi-task like nobody’s business.  There is something else about my generation that makes us unique. We are “boomerang kids”.

Our poor parents work hard raising us, want us to go to college, want us to be successful; so we go to university, most of us have jobs during school, we somehow make our four year degree program last 5 or 6 or 7 years. Then we graduate and our parents are proud of us, then we boomerang right back to them. Parents are becoming empty nesters so much later in life compared to previous generations. We are allowed to live at home and look for a mediocre job, earning minimum wage, barely able to make our monthly student loan payments. We don’t pay rent, we don’t buy groceries and because we are so focused on ourselves we rarely thank our parents for all they are doing.

In 2006 my family moved abroad. It was my senior year of high school and the plan was for me to return to the states to finish high school with my friends and my boyfriend. I was supposed to live in my parents’ house with my older brothers, but when I got home I was spending every second at my boyfriend’s house. So I officially moved in with my boyfriend, his parents and his little sister. This was pretty unusual and a lot of my friends thought it was really weird.

In December of 2013 I will be graduating from college. I have spent a long time in school (let’s just call it four years + a little bit) and once I graduate my husband and I have to decide what kind of careers we want, will our careers dictate where we live, if we want to rent or buy, really we have no plans. We know both of us need to work, I am considering going to school for sign language interpreting or grad school. Things are so up in the air, what are we supposed to do in the mean time?

We boomerang. That’s what we do. I told a co-worker that I was moving in with my in-laws after college and they squished up their face and said “oh no!”. I guess a lot of people would feel like that if they had to move in with their in-laws, but not me!

I truly LOVE my in-laws and I do not take our relationship for granted. I know that I am very lucky to not only have awesome in-laws but to feel completely comfortable around them. My husband and I have been together since we were 16 years old; I lived with them for an entire year. I consider them my family and they definitely had a part in making me who I am today.

My husband and I will have a GREAT set up at my in-laws house. We will pretty much have the entire basement to ourselves, which means we have a living room, bathroom, huge bedroom and game room which includes a pool/ping pong table. We can set up the basement as our home with our things and arrange it however we want. I am not going to take this amazing gesture for granted. I want to show them how much I appreciate their kindness. I am so lucky to have such loving people in my life.

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My mother in-law Judy and I at Enger Tower in Duluth.

 

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My husband and I with his parents at our wedding. 

 

Anyone have stories about how awesome their in-laws are? Please share!