Deep Breath…

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.

Ready?

Infertility
There.
I said it. 
It’s just like pulling off a band-aid. 
Okay, now let me back up a little bit and start from the beginning. I’m going to try my best to summarize what’s been going on since Kevin and I got married. I think it’ll be easiest to do in list-form. I love lists (nerd alert), so here we go:
July 2010
  • 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.

August 2010

  • Not preventing.

September 2010

  • Not preventing.

October 2010

  • Not preventing.

November 2010

  • Not preventing. Also, I start my first cycle since coming off of the pill.

December 2010

  • 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.

January 2011

  • 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.

February 2011

  • I finally have another cycle. I’m still charting. I still feel like something is wrong.

March 2011

  • Still charting. Still feel like something is wrong.

April 2011

  • Still charting. Still feel like something is wrong. I haven’t had a cycle since February.

May 2011

  • Still charting. STILL feel like something is wrong. Hooray! I get a cycle on my own.

June 2011

  •  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.)

July 2011

  • 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).

August 2011

  • Still charting. Worrying like crazy because I just know that something isn’t right. I haven’t had a cycle since June.

September 2011

  • 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.

    58 thoughts on “Deep Breath…

    1. Goodluck Breanna and Kevin! I was also diagnosed with PCOS. I had to do fertility with both of my kids….obviously it was a lot quicker with Olivia since they knew what needed to be done. I also went to McGee's Women's Hospital. I have met Dr. Sanfillipo, but my doctor was Dr. Wakim. He was also wonderful. It will work out in the end. You have to believe it. If you ever need to talk or have questions, please feel free to call. Us "fertility challenged" (as I liked to call it) girls have to stick together…..Take care.
      Tricia Clark

      1. ♥ Trish, thank you so much for your encouraging words! I haven't met Dr. Wakim yet, but I've heard wonderful things about him from multiple people! I know it will work out, I have faith! "Fertility Challenged" is a good way to put it! It describes us, but it doesn't define us! 🙂

        Thanks again for sharing your story with me! 🙂

    2. Breanna I'm so sorry that you have had to go through all of this! How exciting that hopefully you can be on the path to recovery ( and hopefully baby) soon! I'll keep you in my prayers! And I'm sure you know that God is always watching out for you And that he loves you! And knows that you're strong enough for this trial! Thanks for keeping all of us posted! And what a wonderful husband you have! *hugs*

      1. ♥ Megan, thank you for your kind words and prayers! I do have a wonderful husband (and family) and know that I have such a strong support system! Thanks again! 🙂

    3. So glad you've got a plan, babe! You are going to be such a good mommy…you've had to work harder than some to get there, but when that baby finally gets here it'll all be worth it. Love you! I'm always, always here for you, in whatever way I can be.

      1. ♥ Hey sweet girl! Thanks so much for the kind words and love! You are totally right – it will ALL be worth it! I'm so glad to have you as a friend! 🙂

    4. Breanna, after reading your "story", my heart aches for you. Kudos to you for being pro-active in your health. Thanks for baring your soul to the world. I will be praying for successful surgery and a baby in your future!!!
      Sarah

    5. I'm so glad you have a plan! You are so strong and you are going to be such a wonderful mom!! Remember that I'm always here for you, just a FB message or a text away! <3

      1. ♥ I love you 🙂 Thanks for being a wonderful friend through all of this! 🙂 You are going to be a wonderful Mom, too! It WILL happen! I have faith for you AND me 🙂 Thanks again for the love and support!

    6. The best part of your story is that this is not the end!!! Praying for many happy years of baby-filled marriage for you and Kevin, and for a surgery to give you beautiful fallopian tubes to match your beautiful uterus! 🙂 They are amazing at Magee's; they see so much volume of patients there that they really know what they're doing. They've seen everything and will know exactly what to do to get you in a speedy, successful recovery! 🙂

      1. ♥ Thanks so much Amber! You are totally right about this not being the end…it is only the beginning! 🙂 Magee's is wonderful, you are right! Thanks for your love and support!

    7. Well, you KNOW I'm behind you! I also loved Dr.Sanfillipo! Dr. Wakim is great too (although less warm and fuzzy)! I am so happy you have a plan and I'm sending my prayers that it works BEAUTIFULLY and SUCCESSFULLY.

      1. ♥ Sweet Lea! You have been an amazing source of support for me! Your story alone has already given me so much faith and encouragement! Thanks for being a wonderful inspiration and a lovely friend!

    8. Breanna, I am so sorry you are going through this but like Amber said this is not the end of the story! My doctors told me they would never say I can't have kids until they completely remove those parts. You are so brave for "coming out" with this as so many women suffer in silence. Thankfully you have a supportive and loving husband at your side. You two are in my thoughts and I hope your surgery goes well and I pray for your happy ending.

      1. ♥ Thanks Nicole! You are totally right about the 'suffering in silence' part of IF. That's why I wanted to share what I am going through. Thanks so much again for your support!

    9. I just read your story, and my heart breaks for you… but it also smiles for you. Your story is one of hope and strength, and will surely be an inspiration to many people who are going through the same thing. You and Kevin will be at the top of my prayer list! I will look foward to seeing how God works you through this experience… I'm sure He will give you all the grace you need for your surgery and recovery.

    10. I just want you to know that there are so many of us where you are. We may not have the same issues, but there are lots of us praying for babies. I'll be praying for you because I KNOW how hard it is to pray for and want that blessing and have it not happen. We tried for over a year and recently just stopped because of the husband's upcoming deployment but like you I haven't ovulated in over a year. It's frustrating knowing what's wrong but my doctors haven't wanted to do tests yet since everything else was/is normal and a year is such a short time compared to how long others try. I'll be praying for you sweet friend!

      1. ♥ I totally understand what you are saying! Thanks so much for the prayers, we appreciate them SO much! I am also praying for you, sweetie. I can't imagine going through a deployment 🙁 I will be praying for your husband's safe return! Thank you again! 🙂

    11. Oh Breanna sweetie I am so sad that you've had to go through this. You are such a beautiful, caring, sweetheart and my heart breaks that you've had to know the grief that comes with IF. You are so brave to face the testing and fears and still coming out positive on the other side of them and with a great plan! I have so much hope for you and I can't wait to see what the future holds! I'm excited to visit your blog for a weekly belly shot updates 🙂 Don't lose hope and your sweet sunny spirit. Will be praying for you love 🙂

      1. ♥ Hey you! Thanks so much for you amazingly kind words! You've always been such a great source of positivity for me, and I thank you for that! 🙂 Much love! XOXO!

    12. Great job getting all of this OUT THERE! I know I felt a lot better after doing the same on Monday. 🙂
      I wanted to tell you though – one of my very best friends, had the surgery you're about to have back in July. By October, she was pregnant. Her gender ultrasound is actually today!
      So … of course not everyone is the same …. but you have a whole lot of HOPE!
      God bless,
      Bec 🙂

      1. ♥ Thanks so much for the support! It is so encouraging to hear success stories from those in a similar boat! Congratulations to your friend! 🙂 Thanks again!

    13. I'm so happy to hear that your Dr. gave you that HSG before just prescribing you Clomid! You've got a keeper of an RE sounds like =) Welcome to the out of the closet infertiles!!! Good luck as you begin paving your way down the road of infertility and good luck on that surgery, I hope it unblocks those tubes!!!

      1. ♥ Thank you so much for your sweet words! I'm so glad I had the HSG as well! I am appalled by the number of women that are prescribed Clomid without an HSG or proper monitoring!

        Your kind words have helped so much already! Thanks again!

    14. I just want to give you a great big hug! I'm so sorry about your struggles. I can't imagine! Praying for you and hoping that the surgery will be a big help!

    15. I am proud of you too. I am so sorry that you are going through this. IF sucks. But it sounds like you have a great plan and a great doctor. Sending you lots of good thoughts for your surgery!

    16. I feel your pain and cried while reading this because it brought back sooo many memories, but I am here to say,"NEVER GIVE UP!!!". My husband and I are living testimony to that! We tried for almost 13 years to have children and went through all of the same tests you and Kevin have gone through over and over. As with you, it was me that had the problems and not my husband. But in the end…we have two of the most wonderful boys anyone could ask for. We've been married for almost 32 years and Evan will be graduating this May and Eric will soon be driving! WOW, it doesn't seem possible nor did we EVER think we would experience any of it. Hang in there because just when you think it will never happen, God gives you some awesome miracles!!!

    17. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your journey. It is stories like yours that makes me feel not so alone 🙂 My husband and I are just hitting our one year mark of TTC and I felt like something was so wrong with me because I didn't know anyone who actually had to TRY to have a baby. Now I know that isn't true. Thank you again, you have no idea (well yes you do) what it feels like to be made aware that you're alone on this voyage.

      1. ♥ Hello Ashley! You are most certainly not alone, and I am so happy to hear that hearing my story helped you to feel even the tiniest bit of comfort!

        I'll always be here to lend a listening ear if you need one! 🙂 Lots of love, thoughts, and prayers to you! And thank you again! 🙂

    18. Breanna,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story. While I'm not in the same situation you are, I have been having some problems and just started Provera. It's comforting to know that we really do know our bodies best and to hear your instincts be right makes me feel better about my thoughts about my own body. You are a very brave woman and I am hoping and praying for you. February 28th will be here before you know it!
      Michelle

      1. ♥ Hey sweets! Thank you so much for taking the time to offer kind words of support and encouragement! I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers as well! 🙂

    19. I'm so happy you have a plan. I'll be thinking and praying for you each day. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, and I KNOW there are many women going through similar experiences and feel so alone. You are such an amazing person and I feel honored to know you. You will make the most incredible mother! Just know that many of us are here for you each and every step of the way.

    20. Proud of you for sharing your story!!! It is so hard to be vulnerable about this, it's such a personal thing…it's hard to put it all out there. But now you've opened up big doors for even more prayer, encouragement and support! I will be praying for your upcoming lap, that everything goes smoothly and that they will be able to help unblock your tubes. This is a tough road to walk down, but it's one that will make you so much stronger and develop your character even more. God always has a plan =)

      1. ♥ Hey love 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers! You are totally right. God always has a plan, and I'm trying to remember that now more than ever 🙂 Thank you again for your support!

    21. I'm so glad to read your story. I am getting ready to go to my first RE appointment next Tuesday, after 18 months of trying. I'm praying for you and your husband! I have always loved reading your blog, but now I will be even more excited to check in each day!!

      1. ♥ Thank you so much for your support and encouragement, it means the world to me! 🙂

        I wish you nothing but the best at your first appointment! I hope that it goes really well and you come out feeling less stressed. Keep me posted!

    22. First of all, thanks for stopping by my blog last week! I have been meaning to comment back to you buthave been super busy! LIFE!!!

      Second… You and I sound so much alike! My husband and I have been trying since April 2011 to have a baby. I came off the pill then and have been having crazy cycles since. My OB told me that we needed to try for a year before any tests are done… This year has seemed like the longest year of my life!!!! And its not even been a full year yet! I told my husband that I have a gut feeling that something is wrong. I have had problems with ruptured cysts (I still do) and I feel something is just not right.

      We agreed that if I am not pregnant by Feb then we will call the docotor back. If he still says wait then we will be getting a second opinion!

      Its very hard to watch people around you become pregnant. I never imagined it would take this long to become pregnant or that I would have a problem. But here it is! And it sucks!!!

      I will be praying for you and your husband!!!!

    23. I'm getting to this late – (because I just started following your blog!!) but I wanted to say that I am praying for you.
      You are so brave to talk about this and I bet you have touched so many people with your story!!!
      Sending lots of love your way!

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