Tag Archive | IUI

Miscarriage, Honoring the Child We Lost-Part II

It has been more than a week from the day we were supposed to hear our baby’s heartbeat.  Unfortunately, that was not to be.  Instead of hearing the number of beats and guessing whether our baby would be a boy or a girl, we were told that our baby passed away.  This is the most devastating loss I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.  In this series of blog posts, I’ll be sharing some of the stories which I hoped to share with our child one day.  Thank you for walking this journey of healing with me…

weeping woman

My First Pregnancy Appointment…

After I learned I was pregnant, I had to vist Dr. C, my NaProTechnology doctor.  It was a Wednesday, which meant his office closed at noon.  Although he agreed to see me regardless of the time I arrived, I wanted to get there as soon as possible.  Oh, and I was on cloud 9– because after two and a half years of trying to conceive, surgery, months of vitamins, and charting every little detail day by day, I had become a mommy!

 

I packed my charts, pre-natal vitamins, fed the fur babies, and made it out the door as quickly as I could.  Needless to say, there were a few details that escaped me on the way up.  I thought I was being careful.  I used the Google Maps App to get to Dr. C’s office.  No matter how many times I go there, I can’t seem to remember which exit to take, so having Siri give me directions makes life easier.

mobile phone

Anyway, there I was 60 minutes into the 90 minute ride to Dr. C, driving from the primary highway on to the secondary highway, when bam! I got pulled over.  I was exceeding the speed limit and so was everyone else on the road.   I’m not so familiar with the area, so as far as I was concerned I was just keeping up with the flow of traffic.  The cop however did not see it that way.

I waited until he came to my passenger window and asked me if I knew how fast I was going.  Then I lost it, seriously lost it.  If you’ve ever had a five year old try to tell you something he or she is excited about, that’s pretty much what happened.  Instead of telling the officer how fast I thought I was going, I shrieked, “I’m sorry officer, I just found out I’m pregnant this morning I have to go to the doctor to get a progesterone shot so I don’t lose my baby!  See, here’s my chart, there’s my prenatal vitamins, I didn’t realize I was speeding!”  The poor cop had no clue what to do.  Apparently the response I gave is not one he gets very often.  He was silent for a moment, then asked who my doctor was and where he’s located.  Apparently he was satisfied with my answers, because he didn’t ask any more probing questions.  He did ask if it was an emergency.  I couldn’t lie, so I responded: “It’s not something that has to happen this minute, but I need the progesterone shot because I’m high risk for miscarriage, I don’t want to lose my baby!”   I was totally ready to show him the pic of my positive pregnancy test complete with time stamp, but it didn’t come to that.

progesterone shot

Thankfully, the cop let me go with a warning, and I got to Dr. C’s where I got the low down what was going on inside my body and the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy.  I learned that my immune system would fight the baby, as it recognized it as a foreign protein, but that the baby would be producing calming countdowns to counteract my immune system.  In addition to the typical no alcohol, no second hand smoke, and no caffeine, I was also told that I could not consume cold cuts or soft cheeses because of listeria, a bacteria which could be harmful to both my body and the baby.  I was told that fish was a must, but due to contaminants, fresh water fish were prohibited, as were shark, mackerel, and swordfish,  tuna was limited to only one can per week.

We talked a lot about the possibility of miscarriage, not because Dr. C thought it would happen but because being aware of possible causes would help to prevent it.  I was told that both caffeine and alcohol would not only harm the baby, but also increase the risk of miscarriage, as would not getting enough sleep.  It was also important that I continue my regular exercise routine of walking 3x per week for an hour at a 3.5 mile per hour pace. I could totally do all these things, because it was worth it, I would do anything on the planet if it meant I could be a mommy!

coffee

Bring on the restrictions and the decaffeinated coffee!  I was pregnant, my leave of absence had done its job, and I was going to be a mommy!   I was on cloud nine!  I knew it would be a while before we could officially announce that we were expecting to the world, but there were a few people who we just had to tell right away.

That night, I called Jordan and told her the good news.  It was because of her and the courage she had more than a year ago that pregnancy was even possible for us.  We both cried tears of joy as we talked about the coming nine months and how our children would forever be the best of friends.  We dreamed such amazing dreams as we talked,  and I told her how excited I was about being a mom.  “Catherine” she said, “You’re already a mom!”  That thought filled me with such love, joy,  and hope!  I was already a mom, loving my baby with every breath I took, nourishing it with every bite I took, and protecting it with every possible danger I avoided.  I was doing everything possible to take care of our baby; I was truly blessed!

Reflecting on a year of infertility part III

I tend to be long winded; I actually started blogging to have an outlet to express all that was going on throughout this journey through the muck of infertility.  I was pretty sure that my husband, Frank, and my close friends were getting tired of hearing all that I had to say about what was happening.

keyboard

Here’s a quick recap: My NaProTechnology Dr diagnosed me with endometriosis and an allergy to grains.  I had surgery to remove the endometriosis and was back to work in two weeks.  I am so glad that I chose to make the drive to New Jersey and have my Surgery at the Gianna Center at Saint Peter’s Hospital.  I was back to work within two weeks and was told to wait two cycles before trying to conceive again.

While I waited for my body to heal, I observed some amazing changes in my chart.  My cycles became more regular in length, there was less pain associated with menstruation, and when I say less, I really mean that I went from a 10 to a 1.  I had less bleeding at the end of my cycle and the bleeding that used to happen mid cycle completely disappeared.  I still had some unusual tail end brown bleeding, which my doctor suggested might clear up as my body healed.

Since we had been told not to try to conceive, there was no pressure to wait for a positive, there was no disappointment.  I just enjoyed observing the positive changes in my body.   The weight I grained before Dr. C figured out my grain allergy was slowly coming off, I was starting to recognize my body again.

weight loss

Menstruation happened with minimal pain.  The once crippling cramps and abdominal pain that began two to three weeks before menstruation were replaced by two days of abdominal discomfort.    This reduction in pain was due to taking an OTC medication called pycnogenol, a natural anti-inflammatory derived from French maritime pine bark.

Things were going great, my pain was down, I felt better overall, but my weight loss had stopped.  I cut out chocolate for a week thinking that I might be overdoing it with sweets.  Even then I didn’t lose an ounce.  Something was up, it was time to hunt for grains again.  I had been trick by grains hiding in kielbasa, bullion, flour blends, and even shredded cheese.  But I was almost certain I had eliminated them all.

Still I had to try and see if there were a few I missed.  I went through my cupboards and fridge but everything in there was grain free.  I checked the chocolates I was eating, thinking there might be corn starch or corn oil that I had missed; still nothing.  It wasn’t until Sunday night when I was loading up my medicine case for the coming week that I thought to check the medications I was taking.

rice flourMy vitamin D3 was grain free, as was my magnesium, my glucosamine, my kelp tablets, my B6 and my B complex, and my prenatal vitamin.  It was down to the pycnogenol.  And there it was, hidden inside a tiny 100mg capsule, rice flour!  The capsule was smaller than an average pain relief pill, there had to be less than ¼ teaspoon of rice flour in there!  However much there was, it was enough to nix the weight loss.

I got back on vitacost and ordered a brand of pycnogenol that did not contain rice flour.   Of course the brands that were grain free cost three times as much as the other brands.  I decided to see how I felt without pycnogenol.  Big mistake.  For a moment I forgot all of the pain that endometriosis was, but it only took one cycle without pycnogenol to remind me.  While it’s true that I was feeling great after surgery, a few weeks off the pycnogenol and that all changed.

It took my husband, Frank, to convince me that my body and my health were worth the extra money.  So, I ordered the new pyconogenol and within two weeks the pain was gone.  Let me tell you, the expense was worth it!  If you are living with endometriosis, please ask your doctor about pycnogenol, it allows me to live almost pain free.

Reflecting on a year of infertility Part I

Napro II

It’s been almost a year since I first heard the dreaded word.  A nurse who thought she was out of earshot told a doctor, “Your patient is a little upset about her infertility, but she hasn’t really been trying very long.”   That’s how I learned my diagnosis, by overhearing a conversation I should not have heard.

It was like someone had reached in and ripped out my uterus and rendered me broken.  That’s how I felt, just broken; like the Barbie after her head popped off, something that just couldn’t be of much use in its current condition.  I’ll spare you the story of how much I cried.

I held it together in the office and asked what my options were.  I was told that before IVF, IUI was successful, but first we needed to have some tests.  It was an SA for my husband, Frank; and an HSG for me.  We were both pronounced pretty normal.

We went full steam ahead with IUI.  It wasn’t something we were excited about, but it was something we were willing to deal with to get a baby.  We were told we had a “good chance”.  The unfortunate part was all the drugs they pumped me full of during the treatment.  I got 50mg of clomid on days 5-9 and had two follicles, but they were small.  I also got two hundred mood swings, and was pretty psyched that my head did not do an exorcist style spin.  After turning into a screaming banshee, the HCG shot made me feel as if I were getting the flu, I was sure I was pregnant.  HA!  AF came and went.  My doc told me that I had some unfortunate side effects and should try again.

I got 100mg of clomid on days 5-9, then the HCG, which made me even sicker than the first round.  My cycle started to get weird similar to the way it was when I was in my teens.  I asked the doc about it, could the abnormalities in my cycle have something to do with our failure to conceive.  I got a “maybe but we really can’t be sure, every woman is different.”  I’m surprised that I didn’t ask him which cereal box he pulled his degree out of!  But, I was desperate and the treatment he was giving me was all that I knew existed.

Round 3 wasn’t much better.  I was more ill than in rounds one and two.  As the day for the HCG shot approached, I just knew I couldn’t do that to my body again.   I never made it to the HCG shot.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t put my body through such agony again.  I called the nurse and asked what my options were.  I was crushed when I was told that IVF would be the next logical step.  That seemed so illogical.  IVF would mean pumping me full of even more of the drugs that seemed to be slowly killing me.  There was no way that I would consent to that.  My heart told me that no good could come from feeling that way.

My friend, Jordan, mentioned that she was a NaProTecnology patient.  She had endometrosis and was scheduled for surgery.  She explained the differences between NaPro and the way my doctor had been treating me.  As a result of her treatment she felt better and was healthier, while I had never felt more ill in my life during my treatment.  What did I have to lose?

I started charting my biomarkers using the Creighton model fertility monitoring system.  My charting consultant agreed that I needed to see a NaPro doc asap as my chart showed some serious abnormalities.  I know I’ve written similar posts where I elaborate on how awesome Dr. C was during our first phone conversation–I’ll try to keep it brief.  I immediately started taking vitamin D3, magnesium, and a B complex vitamin.    I was feeling better before my first visit. Click here  to read Part II

After a year of trying…

We hit the twelve month mark.  Twelve months of trying to conceive made it official; we were dealing with infertility.   I felt broken, like something was wrong with my body.  This was truly the first time in my life I had not been able to achieve a goal.  I had no answers to why we couldn’t get pregnant, why I was still gaining weight, and why my pain kept getting worse.  I had always taken care of myself, followed doctors’ orders, I had always eaten good food, why was this happening to me?  My husband and I couldn’t do this without some help, so like it or not, it was back to the ObGyn.

After extensive panels of tests, they pronounced that I was normal and found one slight abnormality with my husband’s sperm.  The doctors wouldn’t say that it was definitely the cause of our infertility, but  there was a strong possibility that was it.  We were told that IUI, intrauterine insemination, would help us bypass this difficulty, and that the procedure was most often effective within three cycles.    We were given a quick overview of the procedure: I would take a drug to help me ovulate, undergo an ultrasound, then get a hormone injection of a drug called HCG, and a few days after the injection we would collect my husband’s sperm and perform the insemination.  In our desperation to become parents, we decided to go through with the procedure.

I was told that mood swings could be a side effect of the ovulation drugs; that was quite an understatement.  In fairness, ovulation drugs don’t affect most women the way they affected me, many women go on to conceive successfully without any side effects.  In my case, the fertility drugs took over my body.  One Saturday afternoon, while tidying up our bedroom, I noticed that my husband had left his socks on the floor.  In my head I thought, “I should tell Frank to pick up his socks.”  However, something different came out of my mouth.  The next thing I knew I was screaming, “ Damn it Frank! Why the heck are you always leaving your things around the house! Why can’t you ever pick up your socks!” I was completely shocked by what came out of my mouth.  I’m usually not the type to get angry over socks on the floor, especially since there is usually a pair of mine lying around somewhere.  But in that moment I was angry in a way that I have never before been angry with my husband, and my normal voice disappeared and was replaced by that of a screaming banshee.  I should have taken that as a sign that fertility treatments weren’t going to work for me, but I thought they were my only alternative and I was willing to put with to conceive a child.

The first round of treatments didn’t work, and round two was no better.  My doctor’s answer to the first failed cycle was an increased dose of the drugs which made me unbelievably ill in the first cycle.  I had acne from my chin to my forehead, I was nauseous, and in pain.  Once again I called the doctor’s office and was told that people sometimes have bad reactions to the treatment.  I can tolerate a lot and was willing to put up with all the negative side effects if it meant conceiving a child. When it was time for the ultrasound, the doctor said he thought we had a good chance of conceiving. Unfortunately, despite our good chances we still were not successful.  The doctor suggested that we try again.

Half way through round three I reached my breaking point.  I had taken the pills which the doctor prescribed but they didn’t have the desired effect, so the doctor prescribed even more of the fertility drugs.  Taking the extra dose in my 3rd cycle of fertility treatments meant that I was taking four times the dose which was initially prescribed for me in the first cycle.  I felt terrible, I was irritable, tired, cranky, bloated, puffy, and sore everywhere.  The thought of taking the last injection and completing the cycle made me even more ill.  Each time I had taken the injection I got unbelievably ill, I experienced hot flashes, moodiness, cravings, and unbelievable pain; all of this was on top of the irritability and moodiness from the pills.  As much as I wanted to be pregnant and become a mother I knew in my heart that making myself ill wasn’t the way to make it happen.