Popsicles, Law and Order, and Hydrocodon: Life after (minor) Surgery

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It hasn’t been too long since I posted last, yet still so much has happened.  That’s how the TTC world goes, though.  Either a lot of waiting with not much to report, or a whirlwind of happenings in a short amount of time.  For us, it has been the latter.

Earlier this month, I had the procedure I mentioned in my last post.  Dr. S performed a laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, and ovarian drilling.  All went well.  No endometriosis.  No polyps.  Uterus looked good.  Dr. S did say that I had way more cysts on my ovaries than he thought (or had seen through ultrasound), but he “zapped” most of them.  Recovery wasn’t so bad.  I’m a teacher, so I’m out for the summer right now.  I didn’t have to take off work, which was a blessing.  Surgery was Tuesday, and I was off the pain meds and moving around independently by Saturday morning.  I saw Dr. S at post-op a week later, and he had pictures of the procedure.  That’s just what a semi-permanently nauseous girl needs to see- photographs of what she looks like inside!  I instantly felt queasy (or queasier than normal) the minute he pulled out the pages of pictures.  I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it!  Naturally, I declined a copy for myself; they can just keep those in my file.

During this time, I’ve been overwhelmed by the husband.  He has been my rock emotionally, but throughout this procedure, I saw just how precious this man is.  We sat and prayed together before the surgery, and, of course, joked the entire time until they whisked a very happy (thanks to valium) me to the operating room.  He served as my walker when I moved around the house- which, for the first two days, was ONLY to pee!  He helped me on and off the toilet; he fed me and catered to whatever I needed.  He sat with me on the couch and watched Law and Order (which he hates) just to hang out with me.  He took on the role of doctor with my medicines and supplements, even calling me after he had to go back to work to make sure I didn’t miss a dose.  All the while following Dr. S’s orders to abstain from “husband/wife time”.  The husband deserves serious kudos for all he’s been doing for me!

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All in all, this update is positive.  God is so good!  Surgery went well, AND Dr. S thinks I’ll ovulate and/or have a cycle at sometime during the next four to six weeks.  Then, we’ll start Clomid again (starting back at 50mg to avoid over-stimulating).  He said it’s very possible that the drilling will help my body ovulate on its own permanently, or at least for a few months.  I’m hopeful for how God’s working in us and in our relationship.  We feel like we’re closer to Baby M, and I can’t help but smile about that.

The Impatient Patient

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Today was pre-op for procedures next week, i.e., an entire day spent at the doctor’s office/hospital. Because I have nothing better to do than sit in waiting rooms while the loudly ticking clock reminds me just how productive my day has (not) been.

Up until this point, the only appointment my husband has been to was to give sperm for analysis, and that was at a lab, not the Dr’s office.  I’ve graciously excused him from all other appointments because we honestly need the money from him working to be able to afford all these appointments!  Anyway, all of the husband’s information thus far has come from me (and Google, although he won’t admit it).  Today, he lived it.  It was new for him, and new for me, too.

Arrived at the doctor’s office at 9:00 for appointment.  We didn’t get called back until 9:30.  Promptly at 9:05, the husband’s impatience set in.  “What are we paying him all this money for?”  To help us have a baby.  “Why did he get to sleep late and I didn’t?”  Bahaha Because he’s the doctor.  I love Dr. S, but after a while even I started questioning my patience.

We go back and I get vitals taken.  Joyous update:  I’ve officially gained 25 pounds since we were married and started trying (thanks, PCOS).  Just the news I wanted; in addition to having an ill-functioning reproductive system, I’m gaining weight.  Add that to the other symptoms that make the husband find me irresistible (back-ne, irritability, mood swings, funky hair growth).  He’s such a lucky guy!

Once in the room, I had lots of consent forms to read through and sign.  You know, the usual stuff.  “If during the course of surgery any tissues, organs, or limbs are removed…”  Well, that escalated quickly.  “I hereby grant permission to (insert doctor’s name here) to perform life saving procedures in the event that life is lost…”  Yikes.  

So I’m reading about my impending death, and the husband snickers behind me.  What could he possibly find funny at this moment?  Oh.  He’s checking out all the posters and models around the room.  And apparently reverting back to his 15 year old self.  I handed him a brochure to distract him.  Can’t have him squinting curiously at pictures of ovaries (and other things) when he meets the doctor who has been helping us.

“I understand that risks involved include infection, bleeding, loss of fertility…”  Can someone get me a valium please?  “Hey,” I hear the husband say, “Will we have to do those birthing classes where we bring a pillow?”  No, dear.  We don’t have to do Lamaze classes; it’s to help us know what to expect and how to handle birth, but it’s not required.  He keeps me laughing doing the hee hee hoo noises.  Back to the forms.  “Babe?”  Sigh.  Yes?  “Did you know the gender parts form at 7 weeks?”  Oh dear.  That man was seriously learning from the pregnancy guide brochure.  What else are ya learning?  “Did you know pregnancy is actually 40 weeks, not 9 months?  And you should always remember that the baby eats what you eat?  And you could keep running because activity is healthy?”

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Maybe I didn’t realize how much females know about pregnancy simply from having ovaries (although mine don’t function properly).  I have to admit:  seeing the husband learn so much was entertaining and sweet.  It’s also nice that he continues to use positive language about pregnancy- showing me he truly believes it will happen.

After meeting with Dr S and having him explain the procedures in detail (the husband liked him, except for keeping us waiting), we headed to the hospital to do pre-op there.  This one wasn’t as entertaining.  No posters/brochures, plus we were hungry.  And they had needles (I still haven’t conquered my fears despite this fertility mess).  But we survived the long day and even went out to eat (which we never do because we’re saving money).

All in all, I enjoyed having my plus one with me for an appointment for a change.  He kept me laughing so it was more light-hearted.  Plus, there was someone holding my hand when I needed it.  And when you’re preparing for surgery, today wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected.  Maybe surgery itself will be the same?  I’m beyond ready to get this over with and hopefully start ovulating!  Our journey to a baby has me hopeful and excited!  In the next few months, Lord willing, I’ll be pregnant with a little miracle!

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Update: What to do after Clomid fails

WHEW!  What a whirlwind of a week!  (Say that ten times fast!)  Quick recap:  After TTC for almost a year with PCOS, we’ve come to a crossroads.  We’ve tried four rounds of Clomid, this last one at 150 mg.  My stubborn ovaries haven’t responded; I’m still not ovulating.  The husband and I still desperately want to be parents, and we feel like God is leading us to pursue this dream.  We had some decisions to make for how to proceed.

On July 7th, I’m having a few minor surgical procedures done.  We’re getting a 1.  hysteroscopy (look around the uterus) and D & C, 2.  laparoscopy and dye (look around the abdomen and put dye through my uterus to check my tubes for obstruction), 3.  ovarian drilling (cauderizing the cysts on my ovaries), and possibly 4.  chromotubation (checking the tubes after the drilling to make sure they are still clear).

I can’t say I’m not nervous, but I am ready to take this step.  The drilling is supposed to kill the androgen-carrying parts of my ovaries- that dang testosterone causing all this b-acne/back-ne and the anovulation.  The idea is to allow my body to start ovulating on its own afterwards.  Many women who have the procedure go on to ovulate on their own or at least respond better to reproductive therapies (Clomid/Metformin/Femara).  The other procedures are to ensure that once we do get me to ovulate that we will not have any other problems getting or staying pregnant.  Surgery wasn’t my first choice, but our other alternative was injectables, which get expensive FAST.  Yes, this surgery is going to be pricey, especially with insurance denying to cover infertility, but Dr. S feels this is my greatest chance to ovulate.  Assuming I do ovulate, it will be temporary.  Eventually, my body will go back to its normal, not-ovulating self.

At this point I should probably admit that very few of our family and friends know what’s going on with us, fertility-wise.  We didn’t share that we were trying, and we didn’t share our struggles with it.  I went months without telling anyone, and I only broke down and told a friend because I couldn’t stand it anymore.  We partly kept it a secret because if we didn’t speak it aloud, maybe it wasn’t actually a problem.  We also wanted some sense of privacy in all of this.  Yep, I said it.  Privacy.  The girl spreading her legs for the doctor’s office every few days wants some privacy.  As much as I hate to admit it, there was a little shame on my part as well.  That’s something I’m still struggling with- the shame.  Being the reason we haven’t conceived.  Not being able to do the one thing a woman is supposed to do.  How did we get on this subject?!  AHH I don’t think I quite have the hang of sticking to one topic.

Anyhow, a few months ago I told my mom.  I was apprehensive about that, thinking she wouldn’t be supportive in the way I needed her to be, but she completely blew my mind.  She listens when I need her to, but she doesn’t tell me what to do.  I’m only 26, so I know it’s hard for her to let me make these decisions without her, but she has been really great.

Anyway, with impending surgery and all, the husband has asked me if we can tell his mom and a few of our close friends.  We’re entering a scarier territory, and he thinks we need a stronger support system.  I hate it when he’s right!  So I guess the next few days will consist of prepping for surgery and updating family on our struggle.  I’m not looking forward to this.  Maybe I can just tell them to come read my blog and avoid the awkward conversation?  Please pray for us.  Pray that my awesome doctor will have a steady hand.  Pray that I have a speedy recovery.  Pray that this works, and that we can finally have our miracle baby!

Hello world!

Infertiity.  I hate that word.  Such a negative connotation comes with it.  Like, “Hey lady, you will NEVER be a mom.”  That’s what I hear every time someone speaks the word.  But that word has come to rule my life.

My husband and I have been together for eight years, married for one.  He’s going to be an amazing father one day, and I’m still in awe that he picked me to be his wife.  Shortly after we wed, we decided to try for a family.  He and I have always felt led to be parents, and after praying about it, we were excited to start this chapter of our lives.  In August of 2014, I came off the pill, and the fun began.  And it was fun, for a little while.  Sure, we had some disappointments at the beginning, but it never seemed like we were doomed.  We knew God was just creating the desire in our hearts for the baby in our arms.

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Only He didn’t give us the baby we prayed for.  In December, after months of trying and getting the dreaded single line on the pregnancy test, we sought the help of my OB/GYN.  After a few tests, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and told I likely will never ovulate on my own.  No ovulation = not pregnancy.  We were thankful for a diagnosis and for a doctor with a treatment plan.  He didn’t want to waste time; Dr. S decided to begin an aggressive treatment plan and not waste any more time.  We felt very well cared for, and we felt confident this would work.

Round 1:  In January of 2015 we started Clomid 50 mg.  Oh, the headache!  The nausea!  At my D14 ultrasound, we didn’t see any viable follicles, but we did have good news.  I started my cycle on my own, without any help!  Seems ridiculous, but when you have PCOS and are TTC, this is a big deal!  Praying for strength to overcome my body’s shortcomings.

Round 2:  Clomid 50 mg.  At my D15 US showed a follicle 21.8 mm in diameter!  I took a picture of it on the screen, thinking wouldn’t it be neat if I had a picture of our baby as an unfertilized egg?!  Dr. S gave me an HCG booster shot (to ensure I ovulated) and sent a VERY happy me home to my husband.  That cycle resulted in a lot of BFN’s and the CVS clerk looking at me VERY strangely as I purchased one too many boxes of pregnancy tests.  Progesterone to start my cycle and upping the Clomid.  I had experienced so much peace this cycle.  Maybe it was because we saw a follicle, but I had been talking to God DAILY to give me the peace I needed to accept my circumstances and trust in HIM.  I felt so at ease, almost confident that it would all work out.

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Round 3:  Clomid 100mg.  HOLY HOT FLASHES!  I can’t sleep without icepacks and a fan going.  Poor husband 😦  Day 15 ultrasound shows slightly mature follicle Dr. S thinks will release in a few more days, on day 20 (my birthday!!).  I was at work taking a restroom break and Aunt Flow came to town- right when the fire alarm sounded!  Frustration.  At this point, I started to lose the positivity I had.  All I want is to be a mom, and it isn’t happening.  My faith was weakened because I was hurt.  I had continued to pray for peace this month, and although I was discouraged, I was still at peace.  God is allowing us to grow to appreciate the miracle of children.  After talking with Dr. S over the phone, he wanted to try metformin, a medicine to help with insulin levels.  I’m not overweight, but my dad is diabetic, and maybe this would help us conceive.

Round 4:  Clomid 150mg + Metformin.  Side effects in overdrive!  Nausea, headache, not flashes, upset tummy, emotional, AHHHH!  Day 14 Ultrasound:  no viable follicles.  I lost it.  Uncontrollable crying at the doctor’s office.  Several of the nurses plus my doctor sat with me while I sobbed.  I cried for the baby I wanted, the baby I felt was getting farther and farther from reality.  We talked with the doctors about what our next steps will be because I’m not responding to the Clomid.

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WHEW!  If you stuck around to read all of that, kudos to you for your patience!  It’s been a roller-coaster ride as we struggle with our circumstance.  God is truly testing our faith, mine in particular, as we face these challenges.  We still feel like we are supposed to be parents, even if my body doesn’t agree right now.