Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Trying to Conceive Journey

I have struggled on if I wanted to write about this...something so personal, but I also want to get it out there and hear others stories.  What am I talking about?  The title says it all.  Our trying to conceive journey.  Now if you have no interest in this, feel free to skip this post.  If not, sit back and get ready for a long, emotional post.

My husband and I got married in August 2013.  It was the absolute best day of my life.  Soon after getting married, we decided we wanted to start a family.  This is where our trying to conceive journey begins.

I went off birth control, downloaded an app to keep track of my periods and hoped for the best.  I never once thought it would take more than a month.  I never thought to look into all the methods, vitamins, lubes, fertility issues, acupuncture, herbs or kits.  It wasn't until we hadn't conceived in three months that I felt I needed to up our game.

I added on ovulation predictor kits (OPKs).  These little buggers are so much more difficult to read (figure out the actual ovulation date) than I thought they should be.  I also started reading and posting on BabyCenter.  This is where I found out that we weren't even on the same page as so many other couples struggling to get pregnant.

After using the OPKs for two months, I finally got it down.  Here are two tips: test twice a day when you are closer to your ovulation time (from a week out) and keep testing after your positive to see when the strip goes negative to see when you really ovulated.  You will have ovulated between the last positive and first negative.  That is why it is important to test twice a day.  Also, I used the internet cheapies (Wondfo on amazon) and First Response.  Cover all my bases.

Next, we added a water based lube.  This might be a bit TMI, so gloss over if you would like.  But if you don't produce enough cervical mucus (such a gross phrase), you can use things like Pre-seed, a water based lube, to help those swimmers along the way.

When these didn't work, we I started acupuncture.  Plus I added in Chinese herbs recommended by my acupuncturist.  I also added in prenatal vitamins which made me feel so bloated.  Another tip: take them at night.

Still nothing was working, so we went to a vitamin/herb store and I started drinking a fertility tea, taking Dong Quai and Vitex.  I thought for sure doing all of this would work.  Well it didn't.

Next up was going to the doctor's to see if anything was wrong with me and/or my husband.  My husband got a sperm analysis.  Oh boy was he ever excited about this.  His results were pretty good.  Everything was in a good or great range other than his volume being lower (due to stress of going in a cup, maybe?) and the percentage of normal shaped swimmers was on the lower end, but still in the normal range.

So it was my turn.  I had my normal annual exam and everything looked great.  So next was to see if anything was wrong internally.  That appointment was two Mondays ago, and that Monday changed everything.  You see they did an internal ultrasound and we found out that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  I was devastated to say the least.  This makes it so much harder to get pregnant.

Basically, PCOS means that while my ovaries are producing eggs (which is good), they aren't able to fully mature and drop because cysts form around them.  And this is all due to my hormones being off balance.  When I was on birth control pills, this never showed up or came up because birth control pills control the cyst production.  Once I went off the pill, they started to show up and I had no clue about it.  Can we say my husband and I were devastated?

What is a girl to do next?  Even after her doctor tells her a lot of the internet.  I wanted success stories, stories of any kind and more info (even the scary stuff).  After a few days of research, I feel confident that my issue isn't too bad.  This might change after a few months of still trying, but right now, I have hope.

My body does ovulate, but it can't release the egg (what a contradiction that is).  I get ovulation pains, ovulation signs (pain and positive strips), but it just won't release.  So my doctor put me on metformin.  Basically, it decreases the male type of hormone that causes the cysts and helps the body use the insulin produced in your body the correct way.  It helps regulate cycles, start ovulation (from maturing the egg to dropping the egg) and lowers the risk of miscarriage once you are pregnant.

If metformin alone doesn't help, they will add clomid which will make me ovulate pretty strongly.  The biggest drawback for me?  There is a higher chance of having multiple babies.  I already have twins on both sides of my parents families, so my chances would go up even higher.  But it just may be the risk we have to take.  Another drawback, you can only use it for a few months because it really thins the uterus out.  Kind of a scary thought.

So here I am today, two weeks into Metformin and I am happy to say that I don't have the side effects that so many posters talk about.  I take 500 mg twice daily with food (huge, I took it once without and felt super dizzy and off), and I hope that this will be our miracle drug.  I also still take my pre-natal vitamins and vitex (in case you are in the same boat as I am).  If not, then it's onto so many other options that I would rather avoid if we can (IVF, insemination, Clomid, injection shots, etc.).

So we are still on our trying to conceive journey.  Hoping and praying that each month is our month.  But it is in God's hands, and hopefully he will bless us with a baby soon enough.

Anyone have any suggestions?  Any experience with PCOS?  Anything to try if you have PCOS?
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  1. Very proud of you for sharing! I can't wait to meet baby Butler in the future :) Love you!

    1. Love you too! And baby Butler can't wait to try his/her first cupcake from you!

  2. Stay positive and it'll all work out. I have some info on PCOS and fertility issues I'll email you with. Love you!

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