Where we are now… an update

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I haven’t updated my blog in a very long time and there is a lot to be said.

In August we made the decision to skip all the BS with the OBGYN and go straight to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. I researched all of the centers I could find in Belgium and settled with the reproductive clinic at UZ Brussel a major university hospital in Brussels and their fertility clinic is the 2nd best fertility clinic in Europe. With just those stats I was ready to work this thing out with them. Making an appointment was easy and they were able to get me an appointment almost right away. The appointment was on my husband’s 39th birthday in August. When we got married we always said our goal was to have a baby by the time he turned 40 and it just seemed perfect that the appointment was at the one year mark for that resolution to come true. That day was also CD 1.

The appointment was great and the doctor answered all of my questions before I could even ask them. I was blown away and so ready. She mentioned she wanted to put me on Clomid a fertility drug used to not just help a woman ovulate, but to make sure that the eggs are a decent quality when they are released. I ovulate on my own every cycle, but she wanted to make sure that my eggs were nice when they were released. That day she sent both my husband and I to have blood work done. I had an ultrasound where I had a total of 28 follicles waiting to mature, which is awesome. 

A few days after the first appointment I had an appointment with a nutritionist and my husband had an appointment to have a Sperm Analysis done. My follow-up with the fertility clinic was set for October 8th. Well there was a whole screw up with the appointment and they called me 24 hours prior to tell me it was cancelled. I was devastated and there was a lot of screaming and cryings going on that afternoon. After sending emails to the doctor she called me and everything was straightened out. I now won’t be seeing an RE again until December 17th, but from my phone conversation with her I got a lot of information and my treatment will be changing dramatically.

The good news is all of my blood work and my husband’s blood work came back perfect and based on that with my ultrasound we should have been able to get pregnant by now naturally with now medical intervention. Well obviously that has not happened. My husband’s SA (Sperm Analysis) then explains that. In an SA they check everything from how fast the sperm swim, how many there are, how they swim, what they look like, everything. Most of those qualities were actually fine except his morphology, which is the shape and sizes of the sperm. Some of them are too big, some are too small, some have weird heads, others have 2 tails any of that can make morphology low. The normal range for morphology is 4% out of the millions of sperm, my husband was at 1%. This really changed how we are going to approach things.

The doctor now suggests that we start doing rounds of IUI aka. intrauterine insemination. It is not the #1 option for a low morphology, but in many couples it can work. I will still be put on the clomid because with IUI everything has an order and the clomid will help the egg to be ready for the sperm that will be introduced into my uterus. This is our last resort before IVF or IVF with ICSI. We didn’t think we would end up skipping so many steps, but it has come to this. I never really paid attention to male factor infertility and I never thought much about it because all of this time I assumed it was me and my PCOS. Luckily my PCOS is 100% under control and the doctor doesn’t see any need for medication. I am happy that I am good, but it bums me that I spent so much time and energy trying to fix myself when I should have paid my husband a little more attention on this.

Don’t worry we have started our fight. My husband just received his bottle of FertilAid for men in the mail and we are upping his vitamin intake. I have read great things about walnuts and fruit smoothies for morphology and believe me I am getting all of that into my husband. It is like the roller coaster never ends sometimes. We were ready to get in line for a new ride. I even started a registry at Babies r us because I was planning on starting my treatment and ready for it to work. The disappointment of not being able to go through with or original plan was horrible and I went between being angry and mad for about a week. It doesn’t help that everywhere I go and everywhere I look there are pregnant people and there are babies. I have met great people through the TTC community who are fighting the same fight and it is amazing to have people to talk to, but it sucks that none of my personal friends are really able to relate. There are many times where I feel like I am in this fight alone because nobody I know understands. Most people I know can have sex and get pregnant like normal people and we have to get pregnant by going to a doctor’s office and having them introduce the sperm directly into my uterus and there is still only a 10% chance that this will even work.

I am fighting on until our next appointment. I was also given the task of losing 8 kilograms (17 pounds) before my next appointment to determine if I can be treated or not. I have lost some weight and I only have a month until I see the nutritionist and her verdict can say if we get to go along with IUI in January or not. I try so hard to only get disappointed and I don’t want any more disappointment. 

That is my update for now. I will try and update again after I see my nutritionist in a month and when I see the RE again in January.

For a person that doesn’t exist yet

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This week has been one of those weeks when it comes to TTC. I think anyone who has been TTC for a little bit knows what I am talking about. You feel like everything and everyone is against you and of course nothing can go right. I have spent nearly everyday of this week crying or having anxiety attacks. Everywhere I go or look reminds me that I cannot function correctly and everyone else seems to be having a baby except me.

The place for these feelings hit me the most seemed to be Facebook. I could scroll down my feed and encounter great numbers of baby related posts. There are the people with babies who post picture after picture of the things they do with their baby and what their baby can do. Then there are the pregnant ones who post belly shots and those stupid automatic week updates. Then there is status after status about their pregnancy and how blessed they are, etc. They can talk about how blessed they are and then I question, “Why can’t I get that blessed too?” or “Where is my blessing?”. I am sure I get dirty internet stares when I openly talk about Infertility on facebook, but why not. If these individuals can go on and on about their blessed pregnancy or horrible pregnancy then I can talk about my infertile problems and I do. No matter how much I try and get it out there that some of us who can’t just accidentally get pregnant I wish I could have an accident too, but the truth is for me the chances of an accident are quite small thanks to PCOS.

In wake of all of this I decided to be done with it and take a “break” from facebook. I just feel like if being on it give me anxiety of what I can’t seem to accomplish, then I will just not spend more time on it. I posted my contact information for people to reach me and I left. Truthfully I have been on a few times since and each time has been the same thing. I can barely scroll down the page and there it is again…pregnancy…staring me in the face, taunting me, pointing at me, and laughing at me.

I still don’t think many people that I know get where I am coming from, but then again they are Fertile Myrtles and I am Infertile Janae we won’t get one another. I spent a lot of yesterday crying and just feeling overall sorry for my broken self. This morning the only person who was really able to help me move in a new direction was my bestie (Moe). I was able to open up and tell her how I felt and she was the best person to reassure me that I am doing everything I can. I am the type of person that has plans and normally they work out. When my plans don’t work there is normally a Plan B, C, D, etc… I am always ready to move onto the next plan,  but now with this I have no other plan. There is nothing past this point expect to wait and wait. I can’t make new plans and I just have to try and work on this one that seems to be going nowhere.

Today my 2nd day of my “Facebook Fast” I was thinking about something. I thought about how I have been intensely planning my life around someone that doesn’t even exist yet. When my husband and I talk about going on vacation or taking a trip in the future it all depends on if I am pregnant or we have a baby by then. There are no plans that really can be concrete. I remember thinking that when I went back to work I would be pregnant. I went back to work 2 weeks ago and I was not pregnant. My plan was when I went home at Christmas I would be nearing 6 months pregnant, well that won’t be the case if I am even pregnant by then. Next summer will we go on a trip, we don’t know because we might be waiting for a baby. By next summer will there be a baby…at this rate we have no idea. I can’t move on with my life because everything surrounds this person that doesn’t exist yet. I hate the feeling of nothing being concrete. I always have set goals or ideas for future increments in time, but I can’t do that right now because we don’t know will there be a baby or not. I feel like I am trapped in limbo and I don’t like limbo. I would rather be moving forward, but I can’t. There is nowhere to go.

Taking it to the Next Level

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Well yesterday made it 6 months since we started TTC. I was really down for a good chunk of the day because I never expected for us to be in July and not pregnant after we stared trying in January. I just kept thinking about how much I don’t want to do 6 more months of the same thing. I am tired of everyone talking about “relaxing”. Here is a newsflash if I am relaxed or not every cycle my body will do the same exact thing, it is programed that way. I wasn’t happy with our lack of progress and I was ready to make some new moves, but I wasn’t sure what those moves should be.

Later on I posted on one of the message boards that I am a member of and it was suggested I check out one of the other groups of women who are intensely trying the same way I am. I made a post in that group telling my story about how I was diagnosed with PCOS and that my OB refused to treat me for it. Immediately those ladies told me I should skip looking for a new OB and go straight to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. In the last few months I had thought about seeing an RE and when I first thought of it I did some research and found two clinics in Belgium. One of them I was impressed with. I learned they are the 2nd largest Reproductive Medicine Clinic in Europe and people come from all over the world to be treated at this clinic. Yesterday after having a talk with my husband I went online and filled out an appointment request with the clinic. This morning I woke up to an email from the clinic and they have given me an appointment. Next month I am in with an RE. I am beyond excited because it will be a new journey inside of a journey. I have renewed my fire and I am ready for this!

Equal Rights = Not Sitting Down & Shutting Up

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c1a0533be393ba1f12db59f024585a08 Have you actually sat and paid attention to how many people post about their pregnancies, babies, or children on facebook or other social media? Ok did that. So after that have you noticed how many people talk about their infertility on Facebook? Now I am sure you have come up with very dramatically different answers. I am sure your first number is incredibly high and your second is maybe 1 and I am sure that 1 just might be me.

Why are people not speaking up about their infertility issues? Well for one it might be embarrassing to be the 1 our of 400 who can’t actually seem to conceive a child no matter what you do. Or who would like to talk about infertility?..BORING…bring on the cute belly shots and naked babies. Sadly 1 in 10 American couples will suffer from some type of reproductive problem (infertility). Most times the people who are suffering would never speak up about it unless… Have you noticed that every few years there is a celebrity that comes out with infertility issues and every applauds this person and the couple suffering will come out of the wood work, but then once the press tour is over then the time to speak up is over. Most recently it was Gulianna Rancic from E! News.

So what happens when it it outside of that time of the year or decade when you can speak-up. Well you might as well keep your mouth closed and that is what most couples seem to do, but I have decided to do the opposite. No matter how much I try I can’t seem to get pregnant and I have come to the point where I am considering some drastic measures in order to succeed. A lot of people go on about their goal to lose weight or their struggle in school and that is considered normal, but as soon as you bring in infertility the show is over. Everyone now feels awkward because you brought up something that no one talks about on a normal basis.

So at this point I have made people feel awkward with my talk about how I can’t get pregnant, but I don’t think people have talked about how awkward I feel when they constantly talk about their pregnancy or their babies. I am not saying there is anything wrong with it, but I do feel there is a HUGE double standard. If I am someone who is overweight who goes on and on about how everyone is skinny and I just want to get skinny that would be perfectly acceptable. Let’s say I was single and everyone has a boyfriend and I go on with talking about how I am single and how much I hate it, that is perfectly acceptable. So now everyone around me seems to be pregnant or has babies and I am trying to get pregnant and it is not working and I talk about it publicly, unacceptable.

I’m here to speak up about not being able to get pregnant. It is the hardest thing I have ever faced and I want other infertile women who might be in hiding to know that it is okay to talk about your struggle, truthfully talking about it even when it hurts and I just have to have a whine it feels great. I am not hiding this huge secret and no one will ever have to ask why I don’t have kids yet.

_ _ _ _ _

I would like to take a moment out to send my prayers and to ask for them in return as my husband and his family deals with the death of his Grandmother. She was 99 years old and lived a full life. She is survived by her daughter and her grandson. May she rest in peace.

The Bitter Truth Of TTC

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pregnant-womenI am now at CD (Cycle Day) 10, but these thoughts originally struck me at CD 1, but I had to wait for my emotions to cool and for my hormones to settle down before I actually placed them in typed words. For those already TTC you will know exactly what I am talking about and you might not be at a place where you have admitted it yet. For those who are thinking about TTC I will tell you something that I should have been told from the very beginning and it would have saved me a lot of soul searching and guilty feelings.

Here it is ladies…TTC makes you into a bitter person. I have been dealing with this bitterness for a couple cycles now, but it never really struck me until CD 1 of this current cycle. For the last couple cycles I have found that I beat myself up for these feelings and I felt like something had to be wrong with me for having these feelings. I have come to realize that these feelings are normal and every woman who is deep into TTC has experienced them.

I started realizing this bitterness when I would scroll through facebook and people would be talking about either their pregnancy or their new babies. Then others would announce pregnancies and I felt such deep envy and jealousy inside. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy for them because I was, but I couldn’t help, but think “Why not me?”. As the cycles continued these feelings grew stronger. I would hear about all these teenagers who are pregnant and they can’t even take care of themselves and here I am a grown adult who can take care of myself and my future “baby daddy” isn’t going to disappear on me.

CD 1 of this cycle was the worst one. I spent the first few days in a deep funky depression. On CD 1 one of my best friends announced her pregnancy on Facebook. I already knew she was pregnant because she had told me as soon as she found out and we have had many conversations about her pregnancy. I think not just because it was CD 1 and that was the day I learned once again I wasn’t pregnant, but the fact that it was public and as I scrolled through my feed I could see all the messages of Congratulations to her and again there I was with the, “Why not me?”.

When you are TTC it consumes every minute of every single day. I eat, sleep, and drink TTC at all times. I read books, watch television shows, documentaries, and movies all about pregnancy and getting pregnant in hopes of gaining all of the information I need. I work very hard during every cycle to get things perfectly in hopes that the sperm might meet the egg and then every cycle I am disappointed when it doesn’t happen. At this moment it is everything I want. I would gladly give up everything just to have this one thing. All I want right now is a baby. I want to reproduce my DNA, pass it on to another person and watch that person grow and experience life. It is all I want right now and it hurts when everywhere I look there is another pregnant woman or another adorable little kid and I can’t seem to get it no matter how hard I try. I have always been taught to work hard for what I want and I have worked the hardest for this one goal and there seems to be no reward.

Then there are those people who tell me to “relax” and not “stress” about it. How can I relax when I am doing what I am supposed to do, work hard towards a goal? How can I not stress when my hard work rewards me with nothing? For the most part none of these people are TTC and so they don’t understand what I go through every single day. It hurts when there are woman many who I care about as friends and family can just have sex and do nothing and suddenly they get pregnant like it is some sort of magic, when I work every day towards it. I wake up every morning and before I do anything even speak I stick a thermometer in my vagina to take my temperature and I plug it on a graph. I watch the pattern that this graph makes through my cycle. Nearly everyday I have to check the mucus that comes form my vagina to determine that it is fertile or not. I spent my free time researching vitamins and supplements and everyday I take a handful of pills in hopes that they can help me obtain my goal. I spent hundreds of dollars on pregnancy tests and ovulation kits. I barely drink any alcohol and for 2 weeks during every cycle I make sure that I am strict on what goes into my body and during that 2 weeks no matter how much I want a drink there will be no alcohol going into my body. During those 2 weeks I am analyzing every single thing that my body does. I have now restricted my diet even more since I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in order to minimize the effects of the syndrome in order to conceive. I work hard and still no reward. Wouldn’t you be bitter too?

Then there is always the “Just pray about it” or “Keep praying”, I just want to SCREAM half of the time this is said to me because do these people not think that I don’t pray about it. I spent most of my time praying about it. It is the top thing on my prayer list. Not a moment goes by where I am not praying about it. I know God has a plan and I know he answers prayers and believe me I pray until I fall asleep praying about it.

Then on the TTC boards I have made some great friends who for the most part are in the same boat. Many of those women are TTC #2+ and I hate to admit that I get bitter and annoyed with them. They are always talking about how hard it is and all their feelings, which I get for the most part except for the fact that they already have children. I am not saying that they don’t appreciate their children because I know they must and love them more than anything, but here I am with NO children at all TTC #1 and I can’t seem to get anywhere while women who have children complain about not being able to get pregnant with more when all I want is one. Is one too much to ask for?

I wish I was warned about this before TTC because then I wouldn’t have to beat myself up so much. I would have been prepared for the heartache that I was about to face. The doctor tells you nothing and makes it seem like having a baby is just around the corner and that it is so easy and simple. You go into this process thinking that it is going to happen right away and then later being diagnosed with an infertility disorder doesn’t help anything.

I admit that I am bitter, but in the end I think admitting it has made me a better person. I can now put said bitterness in check when it tries to come out and play. I can remind myself that a child is always a blessing no matter the circumstance and happiness is all I should give out. For all the people I know who are pregnant I am truly happy for them and I hope they know that I truly am.

TTC is a process and it is one of the hardest processes I have ever had to endure. In the end I know I will be a better person because I have worked my butt off for this. My child will know how much I have worked to ensure that they even existed and I can’t wait to hold that child in my arms, one day and hopefully soon.

This thing called PCOS

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This is not my ovary, but it is similar. Those little black dots are cysts.

After months of trying to get pregnant and running into issues like my cycle being very long or having horrible pains around my ovaries in the middle of the night we decided to consult my OBGYN. Personally I don’t think she was helpful at all. I already had assumed that PCOS was the problem and so I knew that if I was to get diagnosed that there were treatments and we could move from there. PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovulary Syndrome and is mainly classified by many small cysts around your ovaries. These cysts can cause your hormone levels to be off and they can aid in insulin resistances. Many woman with PCOS are overweight and one problem is that it can be much harder to lose weight with PCOS. Woman with PCOS will have very long and/or irregular periods. My cycles have been very long and I ovulate very late in them.

Today I went to the doctor and I showed her all of my charts and I had my list of questions and/or concerns and the biggest one was PCOS. She did an ultrasound and showed me the cysts on my ovaries. She did diagnose me with PCOS, but then tells me that she will not give me any medication for it because we have not been TTC for a year. We haven’t, but most people will go that year without getting a diagnosis and once that happens they will be given medications like Metformin or Clomid to aid in the process. She won’t give me any medication and says we have to keep trying naturally. She then goes on to tell me that I shouldn’t chart because they don’t require that until you are at a year. Well lady I have charted my cycles for the past few months and I have proven that there is a problem, which you have just diagnosed, but she still won’t give me anything or any other advice. I was beyond pissed off because I feel like if I am able to receive a diagnosis I should be able to receive care for said diagnosis.

Right now we are thinking over our options. I will continue with my plan of taking Vitex to help regulate my cycles and drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea to do the same. It can take YEARS to get pregnant with PCOS and with medication those years can possibly be diminished, but she won’t do anything for us until JANUARY! I am considering switching doctors, but sadly the other English-speaking OBGYN at the hospital has a much longer wait than mine does at about 8 months. Seeing an RE (reproductive Endocrinologist) might be a next step for us if we are unable to conceive in the next few cycles. I was also not happy with that she kept asking my age and things, but she never asked for any tests or anything of my husband who is 14 years older than I. I was not pleased with her services and I feel like I need a doctor who will take me and my concerns seriously.

TTC Haul!

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haul

I have been planning on writing this since Wednesday, but I never got the chance. On Wednesday I finally made it to base while the Post Office was open and I got all the packages waiting for me. I was shocked to see that all of my new TTC stuff had arrived.

  1. I bought a cheap batch of LH OPKs (Ovulation Predictor Kits – Blue) and HCG HPTs (HCG Hormone Home Pregnancy Tests – Pink). They are way cheaper than buying 7 OPKs for $10 at the PX and then spending all that cash on Pregnancy tests. I will by an FRER (First Response Early Response) if I think a BFP (Big Fat Positive) might be on the horizon. This whole bag contains 40 LH tests and 10 HCG tests for only $17.99 on Amazon.
  2. My Raspberry Leaf Tea that I am LOVING! There are plenty of benefits of the Raspberry Leaf Tea like building up a strong uterus able to sustain a pregnancy, lowered chances of miscarriage, easing cramps during AF, and even a less painful and quicker delivery. There are a ton of other benefits, but I knew I had to get this stuff. Also these are by Yogi and they come with an inspirational quote on every tea bag. I bought a box that contains 6 boxes. Each box contains 16 tea bags. This cost $19.17 on Amazon.
  3. This last one for me is the Vitex also known as Chaste berry. I bought this in pill capsule form. Vitex can help regulate the female menstrual cycle, lengthen the luteal phase, and decrease chances of a miscarriage. The bottle I bought came with 100 capsules and cost $7.48 on Amazon.
  4. The last bottle the Maca Root is actually for my husband. It can be great for women who are TTC, but I am taking enough things already so I opted out. My husband is taking Maca Root because it is a great natural way to increase mood, gives more energy, and balances hormones…just what a guy involved in TTC needs. This bottle came with 100 capsules and cost $11.60 on amazon.

Even though it hasn’t been long we are both feeling affects of our new supplements. My husband says he has a bit more energy and his mood is great. I also feel really good. We are hoping this is our cycle. I really hope the Vitex can help and make sure I ovulate earlier in this cycle so I won’t wait another month just to ovulate like last cycle. I started using OPKs, but they are all negatives so far. I am waiting to get a positive on my Internet Cheapie before I use one of my fancy Clearblue tests.

I have a feeling it is time for bed. Good night!