Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pins and Needles

I had my first acupuncture appointment today. Weridly, it was pretty cool and very, very relaxing. I went in and she took a loooooooong medical history. Then I had to stick out my tongue. That was a bit weird. Once all the history and beginning diagnosis was done, she had me lie on a massage table that has a knee bolster on it and a flat pillow for my head. She put small pillows under my hands and wrists and then took my pulse in both wrists for quite a long time. Then, it was time for the needles. Now, you need to know that I am a TOTAL wimp about needles, but I figured after all the blood I've had drawn, I could do these. I was right.

The needles are super-fine and when she told me the first one was in my ankle, I said "really?" That was a mistake as she then moved it so I could feel it, and feel it I did. I just about came off the table as pain shot up my leg and down my foot. The best way I can describe it is feeling like she had hit my funny bone but in my ankle. That pain was clearly NOT the point and she quickly adjusted the needle so I could feel it but not be in PAIN. The next needle was just a bit uncomfortable but not painful. She did eight needles in all, and only one other hurt at all, and it wasn't the needle that hurt. Instead, the point triggered a cramp in my toe and it wasn't bad. By the time she placed the last needle, I couldn't even feel the first three.

After the needles were in, she told me to breathe into my lower abdomen (if you've ever done a yoga class, you know what this means) and to relax. She left me to just meditate for 15 mintues, checked on me, then left the needles in another 15 minutes. It was completely painless but I felt pressure at different points in my body that would last a minute or two and then move on. These were apparently normal and showed I was "responding" to the treatment (we'll see). She took the needles out and I got off the table and was very, very relaxed. I sort of felt like I was floating. Not stoned or high, but just sort of physically lighter.

So, will I go back? Yep! If for nothing else than this is something RELAXING to do in this TTC journey. Plus, I actually can tell a difference with the herbs already. I feel cleansed and I have more energy. Lots of women swear this made the difference. I'm glad to have something positive to do that may be helpful and actually makes me feel better.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pills, Pills and More Pills

Let me preface this by saying I HATE to take any medicine I don't need. I've been known to switch to plain old Tylenol two days after breaking a bone rather than taking the prescription stuff. I also was never big on taking vitamins every day. THAT all certainly changed when I started TTC (trying to concieve). My daily regimine at the moment is:

16 little bb shaped pills of chinese herbs twice per day. Yes, that is 32 per day!
One Prenatal vitamin
One B-6 vitamin
If on Clomid- one Clomid per day for 5 days
When on Progesterone, 3 capsules per day for 14 days

In a 30 day month, that's 1607 pills! I feel like a drug addict now.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Story So Far

I thought I would give a little more background on what we've been through so far. Feel free to skim the details!

DH and I got married in 2001. At that time, we weren't sure we wanted kids at all, but we both agreed that it might be something we wanted in the future. In 2003, after both of my best friends had babies on the same day, DH and I got the baby bug. I went off birth control and we waited to see what happened. Many months later, no baby. My doctor started some basic blood tests, all of which turned out to be perfect, except my progesterone, which at that time was "slightly" low.

In the meantime, DH was getting ready to graduate from college (he went on the GI bill), and his parents were preparing for a move overseas. We decided it wasn't the time to be trying and agreed to take a few months off. Six weeks after DH graduated, my mother passed away suddenly. Needless to say, I was in no shape for a baby any time soon after that. However, we agreed to stay off birth control and if it happened, it happened. Of course, it didn't happen.

In October, 2006, our close friends announced they were trying to get pregnant and were having problems. In the meantime, another couple announced they were pregnant after two months of trying. Realizing time was going by an others were ending up with babies, DH and I agreed it was time to start again, and I was back to the doctor for new tests. Of course, my doctor's immediate reaction was "You've been off birth control HOW LONG?!?!" So I was off to have many many vials of blood drawn, and DH had to give a sample of his swimmers. In the meantime, we were referred to the Reproductive Endocrinologists at Emory University in Atlanta, where we lived at the time. I also started charting my temperatures. (Feel free to see my charts at www.fertilityfriend.com/home/laragc)

In February 2007, we had our first appointment with the RE. This was just an informational meeting, and she wanted to get yet another SA (semen analysis) and some further blood tests from me. She decided against an HSG (they inject dye into your uterus to see if your fallopian tubes are open) because I am allergic to the dye. We had our next appointment scheduled for late March. Somehow, just meeting the doctor apparently scared my ovaries and E's swimmers into action and I got a positive home pregnancy test that cycle. Unfortunately, when I went back to the RE, she checked my blood HCG levels (or betas), but not my progesterone. On my second test, we found that my beta was not rising properly. Still no progesterone test. A week later, I went back for an ultrasound, and we saw a heartbeat, but I miscarried the next day.

Two months after the miscarriage I started my first cycle of Clomid. It didn't work and my next cycle they found a cyst so it was on to birth control pills to try and shrink the cyst, and at my next exam, they thought it had worked, so on to Clomid cycle two. Unfortunately, I ovulated late that cycle and we didn't get to try because we were in the middle of moving to the San Francisco area.

After the move, we spent several cycles waiting for our new insurance to kick in, getting tests done yet again and just got to our new RE, "Dr. N" this past week. Our test results also showed we both have some issues. My progesterone levels are showing weak ovulations and are so low as to possibly have contributed to my miscarriage. E's swimmers are slightly sub-prime both in morphology(shape) and motility(ability to swim). Apparently, with this combo, we have approximately a 1% chance of conceving naturally each cycle (a healthy couple has about a 20% chance).

Despite these issues, Dr. N was very positive, and spent quite a lot of time talking about what we wanted to do next. E and I both agree, the next steps should be IUI and Clomid, followed by IUI and Injectibles. However, we are now on hold because at that same appointment, Dr. N did an ultrasound to count follicles and found instead that my cyst on my left ovary has returned and looks like it has endometriosis. Now, I am waiting to find out if surgery is the next step to get rid of the cyst and to check for any further endo.

That is where we are so far. Thanks for reading my story.

Welcome to my Blog

I am L, and my husband E and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm in real estate and E is an engineer. We have been trying to have a baby for many years, this time starting in October 2006. We got pregnant in March 2007, but lost Sprout at 6w3d in April. Since then, our fertility journey has taken many strange turns. Suddenly, we are facing a whole new group of challenges. In the past two weeks, we found out that E's sperm is just "ok," with slightly low motility and morphology (swimming ability and shape); that I may have endometriosis and probably need surgery; and we decided to add Chinese Medicine to the mix of treatments. Because I know our journey is not unique, I thought I'd start this blog so others going through this could comment and could have another journey to compare to theirs. I'd love to hear from any of you going through this. I will post more as the days go on and I look forward to meeting you all.