the wait begins

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Well the two week wait has officially begun…

It wouldn’t be a two week wait if there weren’t at least a couple irrational thoughts though. Today my concern is that although I took my Ovidrel shot on Thursday evening, I never got a positive result after taking it (I did get a very clear line, just not as dark as the control). I am sure I most likely just missed the LH surge but it just would have been nice to see it. I seem to respond very inconsistently with OPKs…I should probably just stop using them and put myself out of this misery. I have gotten positives twice before when I did not ovulate in addition to all this. The other weird thing was that the shot hurt a lot this time. I am so used to injections by now, but this one was really painful compared to previous times!

I am hoping to take a much more relaxed approach this time during the next couple weeks. It did me no good to worry as much as I did last month, but it did not help that I felt sick the entire time.

One other weird thing I noticed, I have been shedding a lot more hair lately. My guess is that it has to do with the Femara. Other side effects I have that I think are from that medication include headaches and hot flashes.

Has anyone else had crazy OPK results and unpleasant side effects from Femara?

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one egg in my basket!

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Believe it or not, we had the most successful ultrasound yet this morning! I was a little nervous because on Saturday morning I took an OPK and it was positive. It seemed insane that I would be ovulating so early in my cycle given my history, but things are so unpredictable for me you just never know. I decided to take my chances and wait until our normally scheduled ultrasound this morning to get a better idea of what was going on. Like I said before, I was not expecting much since historically it takes me longer to grow mature eggs (and never just one!)

Even Dr. RE said “I’m so nervous!” when she walked in to the room to do the ultrasound…I’m such a good experiment! Anyways we were so happy to see ONE follicle at 17mm! Unprecedented for me…this was just amazing to us! She said she can calculate out when I should trigger with Ovidrel or we could come in one more time. We decided to come back on Wednesday for another ultrasound just to make sure nothing crazy happens. There were a TON of very small follicles, but I would highly doubt any of them would get big enough.

Hopefully this cycle continues to go smoothly and I’ll be able to focus on distractions during the two week wait!

acupuncture

I am on cycle day 10 today and am anxiously awaiting Monday for our ultrasound. I don’t expect to see any different results compared to the last cycle though since my medication is exactly the same so far (probably will not see a follicle over 14mm).

When we first started trying to get pregnant a couple years ago I did acupuncture on a weekly basis.  I was familiar with it because I used to go periodically for some back pain that I get.  My acupuncturist did warn me that since I was taking fertility drugs and going to acupuncture that I was even more likely to conceive multiples, but I had such a hard time growing mature follicles that I was totally fine with that.

I was a little hesitant to go back to acupuncture this time around because I will not let myself ovulate more than one egg this time (if I have more than one large follicle the plan is to continue to do egg retreivals to remove all but one).  I ended up scheduling an appointment for today though, because I think it will really help me to relax.  Hopefully my acupunturist can do something to avoid causing me to stimulate too much this time around.  I do miss how nice it feels after getting it done.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

dreams

I have really vivid dreams – and I think the hormones for infertility and pregnancy make them even worse for me.  Sometimes it takes a while for me to even figure out whether something really happened to me or I just dreamt it.  When I was taking Clomid last year before the triplets were born I used to constantly dream about negative pregnancy tests.  Then the week I found out I was pregnant I dreamt about a positive test finally.  The night before we found out it was triplets I had a dream that there were three babies, and the week I went into pre-term labor I also had a dream about that.  Needless to say there is now a little bit of anxiety over my dreams when it comes to the subject of getting pregnant this time around.

Last month during our first cycle since losing the triplets, I had a lot of fitfull nights.  The dreams did not have anything to do with babies or pregnancy (for some reason ever since I delivered the babies those completely stopped), they were just weird and usually disturbing.  The two week wait was the worst (of course)…I kept waking up in the middle of the night with horrible nausea.  I would be so drowsy while this happened that the next morning I would always question whether I was really feeling sick or if it was a part of the dreams.  I later found out I was nauseous because of the hormones from a large ovarian cyst I still had.

The last two nights the pregnancy/baby dreams returned for the first time in 7 months.  Two nights ago I had a dream that I got a positive pregnancy test.  Last night was not so good though.  I kept having the same dream (actually nightmare) over and over, and it was that I was pregnant again but I was 25 weeks along and I went into preterm labor again.  It was so real that each time I would wake up from the dream I could swear it felt like I really was having contractions – this is just insane!  Nights like this make me really nervous for what it’s going to be like when I finally get pregnant again.  It is pretty scary to think that in the grand scheme of things, the infertility treatments are most likely going to be the less stressful part of this process for me.

Does anyone else get these crazy hormone-rage dreams?  Maybe if I start meditating more it will help my brain process things better while I am awake and keep these negative things out of my dreams each night.

happy pills

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This is what I call the femara/letrozole I am taking. I am currently on day 6 of my cycle and the fourth day of taking my pills. Luckily I don’t seem to get too many side effects from them. Dr. RE is planning to have me only take them for 5 days this cycle (20 mg per day) since I had 5 mature eggs last cycle. Hopefully this one turns out a little better. Last cycle I had to have a retrieval performed to remove four of the eggs to ensure I only ovulated one. That was not the most fun procedure I have had done and I would like to avoid it in the future. Unfortunately since there was not an embryologist on staff (it was done at the last minute on a weekend) we did not have the opportunity to freeze any of the eggs that were retrieved.

our story…so far PART IV

If you have read my previous posts about our story, you will know that during this pregnancy I had dreams that seemed to tell me something that was about to happen.  I was determined to prove this wrong and hold on to my other two babies.  I was being monitored fairly frequently to get my vitals and check for signs of infection.  They would also try to listen to the babies’ heartbeats.  This was very difficult for them to do because the other two babies kept changing positions and moving around in their new found space.  They were kicking so much the nurses had a very hard time finding the heartbeats – so usually they would just eventually switch and try looking at them through ultrasound.  Babies B and C appeared to be doing well and I was hopeful that I would be in that hospital room for a long time.

Later that night my in-laws came to see us.  While we were with them I started to notice some contractions again, but they were fairly far apart.  The nurses thought it might be for the placenta for Baby A since I had not delivered that yet.  They did warn me that they were not 100% sure of this and wanted to avoid a manual exam due to the risk of infection.  Once the contractions were closer together I was moved to labor and delivery again.  The doctor on call there did a manual exam and confirmed it was not the placenta, but another baby.  I was horrified.  Baby B took a few more pushes to deliver but it was all a blur.  She was born still, they said she most likely passed away from the stress of being in the birth canal.  I was still having a lot of contractions after she was born so they told me to just continue pushing.  A few minutes later, our baby boy was delivered.  I remember being so uncomfortable – I felt battered, exhausted, and devastated.  The nurses had me hold the babies for a little bit but I quickly gave them to my husband because I was shaking so badly I thought I might drop them.

The next second things started moving very fast.  Apparently they wanted my placentas out right away so they inserted 5 pills to increase contractions (which I was still having on my own) vaginally.  This was incredibly painful. Then a nurse was pushing on my belly (I had no idea what was going on at the time) and kept telling me that I need to stop flexing my abdominal muscles.  Then another nurse came in and put an IV of pitocin on me.  At this point I was in an extraordinary amount of pain and wanted those placentas out immediately.  I finally delivered all three placentas (they were fused together so it was much more difficult to deliver).

So far I have focused only on what happened to me and the babies and I need to make sure I mention how amazing my entire family was during this horrible experience.  My husband could not have been more perfect.  He always knew exactly what I wanted, even when I was in too much pain or anguish to talk.  Our parents were so supportive and knew that the most important thing for us was that they were there with us.  Also, the doctors and nurses we worked with were so amazing.  They answered all of our questions and were so incredibly kind the entire time.

Once we were discharged and had some time to grieve, we decided we would start fertility treatments again in the spring.  Dr. MFM thinks that incompetent cervix may have been the reason I went into preterm labor so she said that it is very important that I only get pregnant with one baby and that once I am pregnant I will get a cerclage to stitch my cervix closed.

our story…so far PART III

Once we found out that all three babies were looking healthy (with the exception that Baby C had a clubfoot, but that was nothing major) and that my cervix was so long we were so relieved and thought that the worst was behind us.  I did have a fair amount of anxiety still, but it became more and more about how much we had to do before we brought home three babies and how we would handle our daily activities with them.  Due to the economy, we are stuck living in a small three level condo.  The location is amazing, but three small levels is not ideal for three babies.  I knew we were not going to be able to change our living situation anytime soon, so I tried to make up for it by organizing things to make more room for the babies.

The days between 19 and 20 weeks were pretty much the same as all days in my pregnancy.  I did notice a small increase in cramping, but I had been experiencing these cramps throughout the entire pregnancy due to how fast I was growing.  I definitely looked like a woman in her third trimester by this time, and there were visible differences in the size of my belly each week.  I started to wonder if the increase in cramping were braxton hicks contractions, and made a mental note to ask about them at my next appointment, which was scheduled for 20 weeks 3 days.  One night during this week I had a dream that I went into labor and delivered the triplets.  In my dream I was horrified because I knew they would not survive at 20 weeks.

Early the morning of September 25, 2012 I woke up to use the bathroom (at this point I was going about 4-5 times each night).  I noticed that something felt different, and “full” in my lower pelvis area and figured it was some constipation.  I went downstairs to eat a granola bar and walk around a bit to see if that made things feel a little better.  I tried going to the bathroom again and the discomfort seemed to be getting worse.  I started to realize that the pain I was feeling seemed to be coming 5 minutes apart.  I was pretty groggy since it was the middle of the night but this was enough to make me very nervous.  I manually checked the area with my fingers and felt a bulging of something soft very low in my pelvis.  The first (irrational) thought I had was “oh my good that is a babies foot and it is almost out of my body”.   I started screaming and my husband ran downstairs to help.

Luckily we live only 5 miles from our hospital so we quickly drove to the ER.  I was so confused when I got there – the guards looked and me and said “are you in labor?”  I had no idea what to say….I was supposed to start my birthing classes the next week and just felt like this couldn’t be happening.  I finally replied “I think so – its triplets and I’m only 20 weeks though”.  They rushed me upstairs and I was quickly put into a hospital gown and in a bed.  A nurse came in right away to get my information and as she was talking to me a felt a huge gush of liquid.  She confirmed it was my water breaking.  This sent me into a complete panic.  The doctor on call came in and he was amazing.  He was very calm, which was exactly what I needed at the time because I was freaking out.  He said that I will be delivering the baby but I can take as long as I want to – it would just require one push probably.  At this point the contractions were really strong and right on top of each other.  Coupled with my emotional anguish I decided it was time to just get it over with.  He asked if I wanted to hold the baby after I delivered and I said “I don’t know”.  He said very gently, “I think you should, but you don’t have to” so I decided I would.  He was right it just took one push and our sweet baby girl was born.  My parents arrived shortly after, and by some miracle our baby girl stayed alive for 45 minutes after she was born.  Long enough for all of us to hold her and watch her breathe and move.

The doctor thought there was a small chance I could avoid labor and delivery of the other two, but he said it is not likely we would be able to avoid it until it was safe for them (babies must be born at 24 weeks or later to have a chance at survival outside the womb).  They also said that if I show any signs of infection they would need to induce me to get the other babies out immediately.  I was put on a clear liquids diet and strict bedrest (not even allowed to sit up) and eventually moved up to the family care part of the hospital.

our story…so far PART II

So after our first ultrasound after starting treatment with Dr. RE we learned that it might be necessary for me to take very high doses of medications to grow mature follicles.  This meant my cycles typically were a little longer, but at least we knew it was possible to get me to ovulate at all! After three cycles (two of which I ovulated on), we found out I was pregnant!  I took a First Response Early Result pregnancy test a few days before my period was expected and it was positive before I even had the chance to set the test down on the counter.  We were beyond excited, but a little nervous about the potential for multiples because I most likely ovulated several eggs.  We had an ultrasound at 7 weeks for a “headcount”.  The night before the ultrasound I had a dream it was triplets – which made me slightly more nervous because the night before I took my pregnancy test I had also had a dream the test came back positive.  We had accepted that we had a good chance of coming out of this with twins, but more than that really did not cross our minds.  We were stunned when we found out at the ultrasound that we were in fact expecting triplets!  Dr. RE was not thrilled with this and did mention selective reduction, but we were 100% not interested.  I knew a couple families who had triplets, and although it was difficult, they managed everything fine and I knew they would be able to help me through the process.

I began seeing a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist (Dr. MFM) at 10 weeks and had follow up appointments every two weeks on average.  Unfortunately we were in for a bumpy ride with all of the monitoring that went on due to the high risk nature of the pregnancy.  Dr. MFM said that I should plan to leave work sometime around 20 weeks and that I should not leave the city we live in after 12 weeks or so.

Baby C was the triplet that caused the most anxiety while I was pregnant.  Around 12 weeks Dr. MFM saw that he had a pretty severe looking cystic hygroma.  From what we understand, a cystic hygroma is basically fluid under the baby’s skin.  Dr. MFM said this can happen due to a genetic problem or it can just happen randomly, but that either way with as bad as it looked on Baby C she suspected that I would lose him by 20 weeks.  We were really surprised when we came back two weeks later to see that the cystic hygroma was completely gone, so we decided to not do any genetic testing (the Dr. had suggested we could get an amnio if we wanted to know whether there was a probleme genetically) due to the small risk of the procedure.  Unfortunately at the next appointment, around 16 weeks, Baby C appeared to have a club foot.  This put back the fear of a genetic problem, so we ended up doing an amnio at the last minute.  It was a little tough to get to Baby C with the needle due to his position, and it was more painful than I anticipated but once we got the results that everything was perfect we were hugely relieved.  We also found out Baby C was a boy because of the amnio! Around 17 weeks we got our first cervical length measurement and Dr. MFM was happy to see that I was 6 cm long, which was really great for a triplet pregnancy!  She said that since things looked so good we could wait three weeks to come in for our next appointment.  Unfortunately we never got to that appointment…

our story…so far PART I

I always feared/suspected I might have trouble getting pregnant when I was younger (currently I am 28).  I never had a regular cycle, and although I didn’t always know what the consequences of that was, I knew it probably was not a good sign for my future fertility.  Shortly after getting married (actually as soon as we got back from our honeymoon) I saw my doctor to talk about options for me since it became very obvious that I can not ovulate on my own.  She did not think I had PCOS because I did not exhibit any of the “textbook” symptoms (other than lack of ovulation), so she suggested Provera to start a cycle and then 50 mg of Clomid for 5 days.  After about 9 months of doing this and increasing my dose up to 150 mg of Clomid for 5 days I still had yet to ovulate.  At that point my doctor suggested I see a specialist.

During the winter of 2011 we had our first appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (Dr. RE).  We immediately liked her (not only has she gone through infertility herself, but she mentioned she was taking her children to Harry Potter World on vacation – she had me at Harry Potter!).  She immediately diagnosed me with PCOS (I had a strong suspicion this was the problem at this point).  Shortly after going off birth control I started to display some of the more classic symptoms of PCOS – bad skin, bad hair, and eventually a 15 lb weight gain (this did not put me into the category of “overweight” but was a blow to my confidence when coupled with the other symptoms).  I have always worked hard to eat well and exercise, and these 15 lbs would not budge no matter what I did!

Anyways Dr. RE prescribed 1,500 mg of Metformin for me to begin immediately (gradually getting the dose to 1,500 mg).  I had a couple days of rough side effects but that was all.  I was surprised to find out that the worst part about the drug for me is having to take three large pills each day in addition to all the other pills I take.  The plan was for me to take the Metformin indefinitely (until 12 weeks gestation once we conceived) and then start a more aggressive Clomid or Femara regimen.

The thing I liked most about Dr. RE’s plan was that each cycle would continue until I ovulated.  If I didn’t respond to 5 days of medication by my day 11 ultrasound, she would immediately prescribe another round and test with an ultrasound again later in the cycle rather than giving me Provera and making me start over.  Since I was all too familiar with Clomid and its lovely side effects, we decided to start with  Femara to see if I responded to that.  She said I would likely have fewer side effects compared to Clomid so I was pretty happy with that.  Unfortunately the cost of that medication was significantly higher than the Clomid (around $400 compared to our $5 copay for Clomid)  I was to take 12.5 mg days 3-7 and come in on day 11 for an ultrasound.

Hello Blog World!

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Hi everyone! (or should I say “Hi Mom” because she is probably the only one reading this right now…)

I am starting this blog because reading other people’s blogs while going through the journey of infertility has been so helpful for me and I have gone through some unique experiences that I would like to share. My hope is that my story will help at least one person in the way that I was helped. It can be very difficult to find people who you can relate to when going through infertility so if just one person benefits from hearing about my experience I will consider this a success! As of now I am planning to keep this anonymous, but once I get more comfortable with the whole blogging thing that may change. We’ll see 🙂

The next few posts will give a background on what my husband and I have experienced so far on our journey to start a family. I will warn you that there have been a lot of pretty negative experiences on this road, but we are confident that we will have a happy ending (as corny as that sounds).