Saturday, September 15, 2007

Napro 0 - infertility ??? (lost count!)

Here we are still baby less. Napro has not quite been the miracle that we were hoping for. After 6 months and now up to cycle 6 we are still not pregnant. Yep it is getting heart breaking. It almost gets to the point of thinking "Will it ever happen to us", "Are we always going to be a childless couple" or "Does god think we are really just not ready for a family"??

Speaking with my mum, it seems to be her opinion that I may have missed the boat age wise. All because I waited until I was married to start trying for a baby. I kind of wish I hadn't because I may have been a mother by now. But glad I did because I wanted to definitely be married first.

I have spoken with Gyno finally. He has decided that he does not want me to do have the ovarian drilling done without a second opinion. Which is fair enough in one respect, but he was very keen to do the same surgery 12 months ago with out a question. He has referred us to a fertility clinic (which is also an IVF clinic) for the second opinion. Sort of very nervous about being bullied into IVF. But reading up on the clinics web page they do have a procedure that helps for couples who have moral or religious objections to IVF. I think they call it GIFT. But we will have to look into it.

So right now we have put a stop to the clomid, and will use progesterone to help the cycle be of normal length. I think sometimes it is nice to enjoy being a couple without the pressures of TTC! We enjoyed a nice dinner out, which included some wine & beer. Than some good fun shameless sex when we got home. After all we are a good married couple who need a release of a Friday night.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Napro Round 2 The first half of the cycle.

New battle plan drawn for this cycle. Here it is:
  • Clomid 50mg CD3-5
  • Green tea every day until Ovulation
  • Vitamin B6 every day.
  • Robitussin from CD 10 until Ovulation
  • BD every other day until fertile CM is highly present. Than BD every day until 4 days past peak.
  • Follicle Monitoring via ultrasound on CD 10, 12 & 14 than one post ovulation. (To ensure ovulation has truly occurred.

So far I have had two of my follicle scans. They seem to be growing, but some that were big to start with have slowed a bit, others have caught up. So far I have 3 larger follicles that look like making it to Ovulation. But we will see what the next scan shows.

I have been getting a little frustrated. I have not been showing much sign of fertile CM. I really thought I would have a lot more by now, especially with the green tea & Robitussin. Time will tell.

Round 1 Napro with clomid

This is where many may get confused. Yes I had said no to clomid, but with out it, I just simply do not ovulate. I end up with masses of cysts and that is just not going to achieve pregnancy. But the dose of clomid on Napro is greatly reduced. I started out with 25mg CD (cycle day) 3-5. Yes that is right only three days at half the normal dose. This did work. I did ovulate. I just did not conceive. Not too sure why as the timing was perfect. My Lutural Phase was 21 days. YES 21 stinking days nearly a week longer than normal. So for that week, I was not sure if I was pregnant or not. It was hell!! I had to have major dummy spits at the Dr's office as they would not give me my test results in a timely fashion. It took from 9 am to 4pm to get the results and that was only after I broke down in tears & told one small white lie about medication. The test had been done early the day before and was ready the night before so it was not like they did not have the results.
After all this happened the Dr asked me how I felt about the cycle ending the way it did. I put it as pure frustration. Not sure why I would have a long luteral phase and not be pregnant. So this leads to round two.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

My hunt lead me to Napro

After I sat down with my Dr's it was apparent that clomid was not a great idea. The headache alone with out the other complications were bad enough. So it was decided that we would see another Dr who speciality is Napro or Fertility Care. This Dr is also very kind and sweet. He is some what shy, which makes me laugh because John is very shy as well, until you know him.

This Dr has been amazing with us, he has incredible patience. My thirst for knowledge must drive him up the wall. But I still ask questions and I still keep looking to expand the boundaries. This is also a very good time to let you in on a bit of knowledge that may help you to understand why we have not taken the IVF route.

John and I have moral reasons not to. Both interestingly enough are different. John is Catholic and has been raised by a very good Catholic family. I on the other hand have other moral objections. Which relate back to a family issues and very old wounds. But the outcome is still the same. It is not a path we wish to take.

So while we are on the subject of exploring other options, Adoption is not an option and it is not by choice. We live in a country where adoption of baby's is very few and far between. Only about 200 babies are adopted out each year. Sad but very true. Even sadder is that we are not even eligible to get on that waiting list for adoption.

Now back to the Napro method. It is a charting method that explores a woman's fertility health through observation of Cervical Mucus. This method is endorsed by the Catholic church as a way of Natural Family Planning, and fertility health through all stages of life. I do have to say this it is not one for the undisciplined. It takes dedication from both husband and wife. It can require long periods of abstinence from sex at times when conception is not ideal, especially if the woman does not have a straight forward 28 day cycle with ovulation on day 14. (Or something similar.)

But do not fear, it is not all education about CM and away you go. It is also looking at the bigger picture when it comes to infertile couples. It looks at what the hormones are doing through the whole cycle and investigates the causes of the problems. So there is LOTS of blood tests, and other investigations. Luckily for us we had recently had the tests done and so we did not have to repeat them. With the exception of the bloods of course.

In the few short months we worked out that I have progesterone & oestrogen issues in the Lutural phase. So I now have progesterone injections on certain days to combat this. This also helps with the cysts that may form. Very recently we were able to find a large one on ultrasound before it burst. In the past Dr's have only done an ultrasound as an investigation of server pelvic pain, which has been the cysts rupturing. The Napro Dr gave me progesterone in a certain sequence for a week. The cyst dissolved it self with in a week after the last injection and I had started a new cycle.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Bring on the Clomid

My advice to anyone who thinks clomid and summer months mix, think again!! Especially if you live in a hot and humid climent.
I started the clomid in the Mid November of 06. All was well. I ovulated, my progesterone was high, and the side effects were there they were manageable. The headaches would only last a few hours and I only had hot flushes when I did anything that raised my heart rate.

But that cycle was not to be, I got the news a few days before Christmas that my blood test was a BFN. My Dr nearly cried. He was really hoping I would get a BFP for Christmas. Instead by Christmas afternoon my period had arrived. I was devastated, once again we were not telling the family. How do you tell them that Santa was mean and gave you your period instead a growing baby for Christmas. Yep tough going.

The next cycle was just the same except the fatigue hit me hard and the headaches got worse. I was sleeping lots as well. I also was not happy with what was happening with my pain meds. And I was still waiting to hear back from the General Physicians office for my first appointment as part of the high risk management plan. As many know getting the medications right before conception can mean the difference between a healthy baby and devastating birth defects.
This cycle went bust too.

So once again we started with cycle number 3. This time I had a headache (still left over from the previous cycle) that would not let up. It was with me night and day and was making me unable to function. My Dr just kept upping my pain meds, but with muscle relaxants and codeine. Which did not a thing for the headache.

So this leaves me to the night before Valentines day. I had been sitting on a deep couch watching TV before bed. I had some cramping pain (which I was putting down to ovulation/cyst pain), but I was not too concerned about it. But when I got up, I could barely walk. I almost crawled down the hall to the bathroom to get ready for bed. At this point I knew I was in trouble. I tried using my bowels to relieve the pain, whilst my bowels moved it only made the pain worse. I rang my Dr, it was 11:00pm at night. I felt bad because I woke his whole house up, including is young children (one of which answered the phone). He told me to call the ambo's and get to the hospital.

So off I went. I spent the next few days in a short stay unit at the back of the emergency department having even more humiliating examinations, tests and other things done to me. Only to find & fix a blocked bowel.

After that I swore off clomid and went on the hunt for something better.

Fast Forward to April 2006

Just before our wedding anniversary I was given the bitter sweet news that I was being taken off the Methotrexate (MTX) as it had not worked. I was no closer to remission than I was before I started it. If anything I was worse off. I had gained a lot of weight. I had several major flares and was taking even more pain meds than before. So I was than given six months to "dry out" after I stopped taking the MTX.

I used this time wisely. I read up on Natural Family Planning, sort a brand new referral for a better Gyno who understood what high risk meant and got myself off the pill.

When I finally got to see the new Dr in August 06 he agreed that the best place to start was with all the testing whilst I was in the dry out phase. Which suited us very much so. He even had John do another SA, which was border line normal, but should not pose to much problems. Which was a major improvement from his last SA done back at the beginning of 05. I also had all of the usual blood tests to check my immunity status. But the bigger achievement, I finally got a HSG, & Laprosocopy done. The Dr also did a D&C as well because of the strange bleeding post MTX (which is not uncommon at all).

My tubes are clear, I have no endo, but sadly my ovaries were covered in small pearl like cysts. Which is the major indicator of PCOS. There were a couple of options given to us. One I was not very keen on. The golf balling of the Ovaries. Some part of me wishes I had taken that option, but it is currently hard to say if it would have worked.

We were given the all clear to TTC straight after the lap. In fact the Dr told us as soon we were up to DTD, we should as it seemed I had a follicle that was almost mature.

This is where family's get complicated. John & I had chosen not to tell the parents about the testing. It was a personal choice because we were not ready for the judgement and persecution of it all. But some how through their nosey enquiries they got through John's guard. But this time was odd. They told people about it!! Yes they told people who expectantly approached me. I was caught majorly off guard and seriously did not know what to say. As only my online friends & my nan (who took me to the hospital) knew about it. I mumbled something at the time.

From the beginning.

Before we can tell you about now, we have to tell you where we have come from. John and I met back in late 2001. We dated for a couple of months before it became apparent that our relationship was that extra bit special. It was not an easy courtship as we were separated by distance and most weeks only saw each other for about 8hrs, usually on the same day, as we lived an hour apart and neither of us could drive at the time.

But love prevailed and we decided that we were going to be together forever. We purchased (laybyed) the ring and kept it a huge secrete. But living with parent proved very hard to keep this secrete when it came to John.

Our families were shocked. My father was rude, insensitive and my stepmother even worse. I think my mother, who I was not really speaking to was the only one very happy. The reasons are too hurt full to post in the introduction.

We eventually tied the knot in April 2004 with the full blessings of our families. We had planned to start a family straight away, as my past medical history had shown that I had PCOS and I knew that the road to having a family was not going to be easy. Our families wanted us to wait. For a while leading up to the wedding and on the wedding day, we gave them this respect. But coming back from our honeymoon, something happened that changed everything. My Arthritis had come out of remission.

After finally getting into the specialists we were told that our treatment options would grimly effect our fertility. We went with the now or never approach. If only our family Dr would listen to us when we repeatedly asked for help, to be referred a specialist and testing ect. This Dr refused to take us seriously and told us to "Relax, stop thinking about it & just DTD every other day." "It will happen if you stop being in a rush to make it happen." He never took the words PCOS very seriously at all.

Thankfully my Rhuemetoligist took my plights to start a family seriously. He ran me through a whole battery of tests only to find I had yet another problem that can cause recurrent miscarriage. I had Anti Cardio Lupin antibodies or an Anti-phosphilipid syndrome. This did not happen until six months down the track and it was still another 2 months before I was put on low dose Aspirin to counter act it.

Fast forward to February 2005. It took a ruptured cyst to finally get the attention of the Dr's. I was then prescribed clomid for my next cycle, which too ended in a ruptured cyst. But worse this time around was the emotional back lash that the fertility med had caused.

"I remember distinctly being at a cousins wedding and having a total flip out because my loving farther in law had taken John to the toilet during the bridal waltz and I wanted to dance with him during it. To make matters worse, we had been told that no one out side the immediate family was to know what was going on. As they may ask questions. I must have looked like a complete control freak bitch!"

Our next cycle was much better. It was still with clomid, I actually ovulated with out a cyst. And I feared then and as I fear now that it ended in an early M/C. One will never know as the Gynecologist that I was seeing back then refused to do any progesterone and HCG tests, even though he was happy to dish out clomid like candy.

We then made the heart wrenching decision to stop the fertility treatments. I went back on the Pill & started Methotrexate. This was the toughest decision we had ever made together, we cried and held each other for hours on end. Still we were not meant to discuss this with anyone out side the family, but at the same time the family refused to discuss the issue either. They are still like this, but have loosened up a little bit more.