I’m curled up on the couch right now, a little bit nervous to let the words I want to write set themselves free.
I need to preface this post with a few very important points before I put my story out there for all to see. Those points are:
♥ This is the Internet. I’m well aware that what I post here is accessible to anyone and everyone. I’m not ashamed of anything that I write on my Blog. I’m not scared to talk about what I Blog about in real life. I will not be embarrassed to be questioned about what I write about…not just concerning this post, but any post.
♥ What I’m going to talk about is personal. Really personal. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to…if it makes you uncomfortable, I would hope that you just click the little red “X” at the top of your screen.
♥ Blogging is therapeutic for me. I have made so many wonderful friends through Blogging, and I’ve met so many people that are going through similar situations. Blogging has given me such an amazing support network. Absolutely without a doubt, my family and close friends are my rock, but sometimes, you find what you have been missing in someone that really knows what you are going through, meaning, they’ve been in your shoes. Getting my story out there helps me in ways that I can’t even describe, and if I can help just one person to not feel alone, or to find solace in the fact that I know what they are going through, then I’ve done what I’ve set out to do…offer support, love, positive thoughts, and lots (and lots) of prayers!
♥ Like I’ve mentioned before, since I don’t really know who reads this Blog, I always try to keep everything as modest as possible. How do I know when I’m writing something that makes even myself uncomfortable? I try to think of it this way…if I found out that my parents, grandparents, or heck, even my boss or coworkers were reading my Blog, would I be ashamed? If I think for even a second that I’d be the slightest bit embarrassed, I don’t post it…or, I reword it. That’s my rule of thumb 🙂
♥ You really should read (or reread) this post from last February. It will help with the anticipated confusion.
♥ I am apologizing in advance for most likely confusing you. I am throwing a ton of information at you in one post, and it was pretty challenging to organize it in a way that you could follow. I’m sorry for the rambling, and I also apologize in advance for how long this post is going to be. I hope you’re comfortable 🙂
Now that we’ve cleared the air, I think I’m ready 🙂 Allow me sum up what I’ve been facing in one word.
- Kevin and I tie the knot! (Happiest. Day. Ever!) At the end of the month, I finish off my last pack of Yaz because of the nasty side effects.
- Not preventing.
- Not preventing.
- Not preventing.
- Not preventing. Also, I start my first cycle since coming off of the pill.
- Annual visit to my (now former) OB. I mention that we’ve not been preventing, and my concerns since being diagnosed with PCOS.
- I’m told to go back on Metformin and come back if I’m not pregnant by July.
- What in the world is wrong with my cycles? I decide to start charting, to see if I can make sense of what is (or isn’t, in my case) going on.
- Still haven’t had a cycle since November.
- I finally have another cycle. I’m still charting. I still feel like something is wrong.
- Still charting. Still feel like something is wrong.
- Still charting. Still feel like something is wrong. I haven’t had a cycle since February.
- Still charting. STILL feel like something is wrong. Hooray! I get a cycle on my own.
- Still charting. Yes, I STILL feel like something is wrong. Hooray! I get another cycle on my own (and this would be the last one until December. Welcome, marathon cycle.)
- Still charting. It’s been one year since stopping Birth Control with no success, so now I’m certain that something is wrong.
- I decide not to go back to my (now former) OB. I also decide to wait a few more months, and if nothing is happening, make an appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (Fertility Specialist).
- Still charting. Worrying like crazy because I just know that something isn’t right. I haven’t had a cycle since June.
- It’s officially been 14 months of trying with no success, and nightmare-ish charts, confirming one of my worst fears.
- I decide to make an appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Our first appointment was scheduled for September 21, 2011. I still have not had a cycle since June.
Okay, I need to elaborate on a few things. Let me explain charting. I had no idea what charting was until a year ago. I read about it. I watched tutorials. I read about it some more. Basically, a woman can create a chart compiling data about what is going on with each cycle. The most important component to charting (at least in my opinion) is taking your BBT, or basal body temperature.
Last January, I bought a BBT, and began taking my temperature every morning at 5:30. You must take your temperature at the same time every morning, and you must have at least three solid hours of uninterrupted sleep before taking your temperature. Your BBT predicts and confirms that ovulation is occurring.
The chart below is not mine, but it is a chart that confirms ovulation. You will notice a definite spike in temperature, and temperatures that stay above the coverline for days consecutively:
Temperatures that stay above the coverline and continually rise after ovulation usually are indicative of pregnancy. Temperatures that begin to fall, and dip below the coverline usually predict that the next cycle will be starting soon, like you see in the chart above.
When I started charting in January, my charts NEVER had a clear temperature shift. My suspicions were coming true…I was not ovulating, and I hadn’t been for a very long time. Kevin and I could try all we wanted, but there was no way that I would be getting pregnant without ovulating.
So finally, in September, I worked up the nerve to call and schedule an appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist. I did a lot of research, and decided that I wanted to go to Magee Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Remember, I’m still on my marathon cycle starting in June at this point, I’m seeing from my charts that I am anovulatory, and I know that I have PCOS.
I know that it can take a healthy up to a year to conceive. I know that. I had so many people try and convince me that it would happen if I just relaxed and stopped thinking about it. Although I appreciate the advice, that’s not going to work in my case. I’m not ovulating.
The day of our appointment comes, so Kevin and I head to Magee’s together, mostly nervous, but still excited to see if we can finally figure out what is going on. To make a long story short, UPMC scheduled me in the wrong clinic. (That’s a story in itself!) All of the doctors and nurses felt terrible about the mix-up, so they had me referred to one of the top specialists at Magee’s, Dr. Sanfillipo. The only downfall was that he was booked very far in advance, so we were not able to get an appointment until November 4, 2011.
Alright. I’ve waited this long, I can wait two more months. So, we wait. I still do not start another cycle. October comes and goes, no cycle. November arrives, and we are excited to go to our (real) first appointment.
Kevin and I head back to Pittsburgh on November 4. We meet our RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) Dr. Sanfillipo, and our fears are immediately put to rest. He made us both feel so comfortable…so welcomed. I couldn’t have asked for a better RE! Basically, before anything could be done, I needed to have a plethora of tests done.
The first thing I had to do was have a blood pregnancy test done to confirm that I was in fact, not pregnant. The reason behind this was that I would have to start a drug called Provera to induce a cycle, since I hadn’t had one since June. I would also need Cycle Day 3 Bloodwork, a Cycle Day 3 Ultrasound, a Hysterosalpinogram (HSG), a Sonohysterogram (SHG), routine bloodwork, and a few other ultrasounds. Kevin had to do his own test, which thankfully came back above average. We were both very thankful for that!
So after our appointment in November, Kevin and I did our best to fit all of this testing (in the proper order) into our schedule. I had bloodwork drawn to confirm that I was not pregnant, and I was prescribed the Provera. I had my first cycle since June start on December 6. Since I had to have bloodwork and an ultrasound done on Cycle Day 3, Kevin and I headed to Pittsburgh for all of those tests on December 7. (You can have Cycle Day 3 Bloodwork done on Cycle Day 2, 3, or 4 only.)
I had my HSG done on December 15 and my SHG done on December 19.
In short, an HSG is a procedure that is done to see if there are any blockages in the fallopian tubes. It. Hurt. Like. Crazy. It’s done in Radiology, because it uses X-Ray technology. They force dye through a catheter into your fallopian tubes. If there are no blockages, the dye is able to go straight through. If there are blockages, the dye is not able to get through. This all shows up on the X-Ray.
The SHG was totally painless in my case. Some women have said that their SHG was more painful than their HSG. I am so thankful that this wasn’t the case for me, because it was all I could do to not come up off the table during my HSG. During an SHG, saline is injected into your uterus via a catheter. It is filled so the technician can see if there are any cysts, polyps, or abnormalities.
I didn’t get the results of any of these tests until over Christmas Vacation. Kevin and I had an appointment on December 28th to go over all of the results, and come up with a plan. We were very anxious, as you can probably imagine.
I just have to say that Kevin has been such an amazing source of support through this entire process. I can’t help but feel broken. I can’t help but feel terrible and disgusting for being the reason we haven’t been able to have a baby. He has been so encouraging, supportive, and my biggest cheerleader. He doesn’t blame me. He doesn’t resent me. He holds my hand. He drives me to every appointment. He constantly reminds me that we are going through this together, and we will overcome whatever obstacles are put in front of us. I don’t know what I would do without him, really!
Also, we didn’t tell many people what was going on just yet, because we weren’t sure ourselves. I didn’t want to cause unnecessary worry until I knew for sure what (if anything) was wrong.
Kevin and I made the trip to Magee’s on December 28th. We got some good news, and we got some bad news. The good news is that most of my bloodwork came back normal. My SHG came back completely normal. The nurse even made a point to tell me that I have a beautiful uterus. (Thanks? Ha!) Kevin’s results were amazing, which we already knew. All these things were great to hear.
Then, we got the bad news. I haven’t ovulated in a very long time. (Which I sort of already knew thanks to charting.) Also, my HSG revealed that not one, but both of my tubes are completely blocked.
What does this mean? It means that even if by some sort of miracle I were ovulating, there is no way I could have ever become pregnant, because the follicle would never have been able to travel the path needed to make it into the uterus.
I am so thankful that I followed my instinct. I always knew something wasn’t right. I could have listened to the advice of those who told me not to worry, and I would have been trying all this to no avail. The odds were already stacked against us. Think about it, a woman with a regular cycle has 12 chances to become pregnant a year. I only had about 4 cycles a year, so I only had 4 chances a year to become pregnant, and I wasn’t even ovulating.
Of course, our next question to Dr. Sanfillipo was to ask what we do next. He told us that I had two options. Option # 1 was to have a repeat HSG done in Radiology. It would be basically the same thing (read: VERY painful) except that they would also take a very tiny wire and feed it up through my tubes in hopes of “pushing out” whatever is in there blocking them. The downside to this procedure is that it is not guaranteed to work, and the chances of my tubes blocking again is much higher.
Option # 2? Surgery.
I could opt to have a Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy done. It is an outpatient procedure, meaning I would go home the same day, but I am put out for this procedure. Dr. S feels like I might have Endometriosis, which is what is causing the blockages. With a Lap and Hysteroscopy, they would go in and remove any blockages in my tubes, and any Endometriosis they find, Also, any cysts or polyps will be removed. The results are more permanent, and he felt as though this was my best option.
After a lot of talking, praying, and of course calling the Insurance Company, I decided that I am going to have the surgery. Kevin has been SO supportive. The decision was all mine, and I knew he would be there for me no matter which option I chose. I’ve done some research about Endometriosis, and if it builds up for too long without being removed it can cause Cancer. This weighed heavily on my decision as well, because if I do have Endo, I want it removed.
My surgery is scheduled for February 28. Recovery time can vary from 4-5 days to a week, depending on what they find once they “get in there.” I’m really nervous, really excited, and really anxious about the surgery, but in the end, I think that it is what needs to be done in order to someday (hopefully soon) have a baby.
Despite these obstacles, Kevin and I are both very thankful. Some couples have to deal with both Male and Female Infertility. Some couples are told that they might never be able to have a child. We haven’t been told this, at least not yet, and I will never give up without a fight. We are also very thankful for insurance. My jaw has hit the floor multiple times throughout these past few months of testing. I have had over $10,000 worth of testing done and every single thing has been covered by insurance, my surgery included. We are SO lucky and we count that blessing each and every day.
For now, we are patiently awaiting the surgery, and praying that everything goes smoothly. Now that I’ve “come out” with the struggles and obstacles we’ve been facing, I plan on updating all of you about this whole process along the way.
Thank you, for your support, your prayers, and your kind thoughts. Thank you, for putting a smile on my face. Thank you, for being there, whether I know you in real life, or whether you’ve been in my shoes and are offering your experiences and wisdom.
I am so blessed and thankful to have the family, husband, and friends that I have. Without all of you, I don’t know where I’d be.
My heart is so full of love for each and every one of you.