This month I had my annual physical with my new OB/GYN. I finally got to discuss what had been going on the past seven months - our failure to conceive, my incident in April, and how I've noticed that my cycles were getting longer each month.
Much to my surprise, my doctor was immediately on the ball about things. From everything I had read, doctors don't really become proactive about infertility until after a year of being unsuccessful. She ordered blood work for the next cycle. And assured me I'd be pregnant by the end of the year.
This was the month that the reality of infertility set in. This was the first month I cried about it all.
My first round of blood work was on day three of my cycle. It tested follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which is responsible for ovarian follicular growth - basically my egg supply. I do not remember my exact number; however, I do remember the nurse telling me that that my particular number was great. I was ecstatic to hear positive news and I foolishly convinced myself - all these tests are going to come back perfect and we were just dealing with a timing issue.
Then the second blood test came a little later in the cycle. Progesterone. Just because your ovarian follicular growth is
Thankfully, I had that friend I mentioned in the last post that had been through this exact same thing. Low progesterone, not ovulating, and having to use Clomid. Although I was in tears telling her the news, she was so positive and helped me to see the positive in the situation. No, I'm not ovulating, but now we know that and thankfully there's a drug that has a pretty high success rate in helping with anovulation. So after a few days of crying with Chris and some close friends, I was ready to accept it and move forward. I was excited again.
So now that we knew what was going on with me, my doctor wanted to make sure that this was our only barrier - so she ordered my husband to have a specimen analysis. His sperm count was fantastic (above and beyond what was needed) and his morphology was normal (no sperm with two heads), but his rapid motility (the ones that typically get down the fallopian tubes and to the egg) was only about half of what it should be.
So we both have issues going on - issues that are pretty vital to conception. An egg needs to be released and sperm need to get to that egg. Without these two things there is no conception.
My doctor's nurse informed me that while it is possible to get pregnant with his low rapid motility, we may need to look at possible IUI if nothing happens in about three months.
I started my first round of Clomid this month. When you start on Clomid, a progesterone 21-day test is ordered to make sure your prescribed dosage is working (re: you ovulate). If not, they up the dosage. Thankfully for me, Clomid turns me into a Ovulating Rock Star. Remember back in July my progesterone was 1.2? My first month on Clomid my progesterone was 52. Yeah, 52. And although that number was amazing, nothing happened. 29 day cycle.
Since Clomid worked so well for me, my doctor wanted me to continue with taking it. Progesterone this month was 47 - still amazing. But nothing happened. 29 day cycle.
My third month on Clomid. Since I was ovulating with Clomid and it was possible that we could get pregnant (but haven't the past two cycles), my doctor ordered me to have a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). This test looks at the uterus and fallopian tubes to make sure there isn't a blockage of any kind within the tubes; they need to be clear for both the egg and sperm to travel. I'll be posting a separate post about the HSG a little later (it deserves its own post). Ultimately, there was no blockage (thank the Lord!). So I did Clomid and I did the HSG, but still nothing happened. 30 day cycle.
After three cycles on Clomid and no baby, it was time for the first IUI. I was prescribed Clomid for the fourth month. Told to start taking OPKs immediately after my last Clomid pill and call the office once the OPK is positive and they'd schedule an IUI the next day.
Unfortunately, we were unable to have the IUI this month. The week I ovulated, we ended up driving to North Carolina as my grandmother unexpectedly passed away.
Even though we'd been working towards conception and pregnancy for almost a year at this point, I wasn't upset with having to miss the IUI. I know the Lord works in mysterious ways; ways we can't see and sometimes can't even understand, but I can't help but think that we missed that IUI for a reason. Maybe the IUI is going to work perfectly for our situation, but it just was not time. I don't know. Nothing happened. 30 day cycle.
When I started my cycle in December, I was already exhausted. We'd gone through four round of Clomid and been unsuccessful and I'd unexpectedly lost my only grandparent. I just felt heavy and worn down. I really wasn't looking forward to another month of trying.
If you've battled with infertility, you know that it's easy to become consumed with planning and timing. For December I had calculated my cycle and looked ahead to around the time I would most likely ovulate if we did another round of Clomid (since I'd been fairly consistent in the past). Ovulation was going to happen right on or around Christmas Eve. Because of this and pure exhaustion, we decided not to spend our Christmas holiday focused on anything besides Christmas. We both needed a break.
I spoke with my OB/GYN, we discussed the fact that the Clomid is working perfectly - I'm definitely ovulating, but we're still not getting pregnant. And I didn't want to do another month on the Clomid without being able to do an IUI (and since ovulation was going to be around Christmas, the offices would be closed anyway) and since we needed a break, we decided not to do Clomid this month. No IUI. Nothing. We will resume Clomid and hopefully be able to schedule our first IUI in January 2014. What a great way to start a new year!
It was a liberating month. Wanting a child and not being able to conceive weighs down on you - so December was a blessing. I felt like me again. I made a point to not pay attention to my body at all. It was hard and I'd be lying if I said I didn't, but it was the least I'd thought about it in over a year and it was wonderful.