Friday, March 6, 2015

Hello, March!

Has anyone seen February? I know, it's so cliche, but how are we in March already?? I'll get over my "time flies" shock in a minute.

For the month of February, we planned on doing our IUI. I started a new cycle, called my doctor and they scheduled me for an ultrasound. This is completely normal. Every month that I've taken Clomid or done any kind of fertility treatment, they do an ultrasound on cycle day 1 to check to be sure that there aren't any cysts, make sure you aren't pregnant, and to check other things that I'm probably not even aware of. All of my ultrasounds have been fine. No major cysts, no pregnancy (obviously), etc. The appointment is so textbook that I didn't even get Jordan to go with me because it's so "not a big deal".

Well, this ultrasound was a bit different. I'm watching the screen as they are doing the ultrasound, and I see it...a big black hole. A cyst. I watch the nurse practitioner pause, take measurements, look at it from different angles - we got a good look at that sucker. I have no idea how zoomed in we are, so I ask, "Ummm, how big is it??" To me, it looks a little bigger than a golf ball. She said, "it's very, very small, but I want to get some labs to see if it's producing hormones..." (She also told me the exact measurement, but I can't think of it at the moment.) Great. I do the blood work, and they tell me they will call me with the results in 24 hrs. If it's not producing hormones, I'll start my injections that night, but if it is producing hormones, we'll have to wait another month to do the IUI.

SIDE NOTE: She said that it looked like a "functional cyst" not a polycystic cyst - yay silver lining!

The nurse calls the next afternoon to tell me that we need to wait another month. It's not a major cyst, but with the amount of money that we will spend on the IUI, they want everything to be as clear as possible. They didn't give me any meds to get rid of the cyst because it should dissipate on it's own. I was bummed about having to wait, but thankful that my doctor is cautious. Overall, my spirits are in a good place about this.

The next week was the ice/snow storm. Monday, we went home early from work because it started sleeting and the roads were freezing. Tuesday, I didn't have work at all because the roads were still icy/frozen. Wednesday, the ice had thawed to where it was safe to drive. It was raining a little bit, but nothing major, so we went in to work. Then it started snowing, and the snow was actually sticking! It was so pretty! We went home around 1pm - we don't know what to do with full on snow in Ruston! (I think we got around 3-4 inches of snow.)

I was thinking about all of the crazy weather & road closures when it hit me. If I would have started the injections for my IUI, there's no way I would have been able to continue with the IUI. The way this works is that I have to go back to the doctor every 4-5 days for labs to see if they need to adjust the dosage of my meds. With the ice/sleet/snow, I wouldn't have been able to drive the hour to Shreveport and would have possibly wasted some of the meds. Who knows, maybe there would have been a way to make it work somehow? But I think that Jesus was looking out for me. He saw what the next week looked like, and knew that I wouldn't be able to travel to see the doctor like I should. Maybe they would have just told me to keep the dosage the same and moved forward anyway? I probably would have been anxious and worried that it was all for nothing.

Did Jesus put a small cyst on my ovary so that I wouldn't be able to start the IUI? I don't know. Could He have controlled the weather instead? Yep.

I don't know all the answers, but I do know that He looks out for me. He's in my corner and wants the best for me. Maybe I'm making a bigger deal about it than I should, but I've prayed and asked God to open my eyes to see how He takes care of me. I know that He takes care of me in big ways & small ways. I don't want to be so wrapped up in what I've got going on that I miss the details that He tends to. I need Him in the small details just as much as I need Him in the big details.

I have all of my meds ready to go, so please be praying that if I don't get pregnant on my own this month, that everything, weather included, will be all clear next cycle.

So, now we wait...some more. :)

XOXO - Lindsay

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Peace & The Consultation

My last post was about how fearful I was of beginning fertility treatments again. That morning I was battling this internal panic, but once I "called it out" and addressed it with the Truth of God's word, the panic & fear left. I read and re-read the scriptures that I blogged about. I took captive the thoughts of fear that were infiltrating my mind and trying to control my emotions.


It's funny-not-funny how surprised I am when this happens. God did what He said He would do! When I cast my cares upon on Him, peace followed. When I leaned not on my own understanding, He directed me. When I determined that I was not going to let fear steal my joy, I found strength. I trusted, and He was there. Mind you, this was one day, and not even all 24 hours in the day. Please don't read this as "look at me, I did so good!". Read it as, God answered my prayer. I've been praying for God to remind me of the ways that He provides for me and the ways that He does answer my prayers. He is good and he does answer my prayers...I don't want to take His grace for granted. I don't want to only focus on what He hasn't provided for me yet. On that Thursday morning, He answered my prayer and calmed my spirit. Praise Him!

With my calm, thankful heart, we drove to Shreveport to my doctor's office (an hour away). My appointment was at 3 pm and we arrived a little early. (Side Note: I am NOT an early person, so the fact that we were early is also a miracle.) I signed in at approximately 2:40 pm; we sat down and waited for our turn. The waiting room was rather empty, so I was thinking, "This is good...we probably won't have to wait very long." I was incredibly wrong. Dr. Vandermolen, God bless him, called us back to his office at 5:30 pm. Yep, almost 3 hours of waiting. I was beginning to think I was going to die in that waiting room. I couldn't get mad because he is so patient, answers every question, takes his time explaining things, and does not hurry you out the door at ALL. While he's taking his time with me, someone else is waiting their turn. (When we left at 6:15, he still had another patient to see.)

First, he gave me and Jordan both high 5's for our weight loss and overall health improvements! Yay!

We discussed the 2 IUI's that we did two years ago (my first IUI was with my then-OBGYN). He said that on paper, everything looks great. Since nothing has changed medically, we are still working off of the diagnosis of "unexplained infertility". He told me again that I was an "excellent egg-maker" - woo hoo!

(Side Note: I asked how many cycles I did with my OBGYN. I did 6, not 9 like I had originally posted.)

So, now what?

He told us that if we wanted to go straight to IVF we could. He said that there is a very strong argument for doing one more IUI, possibly 2 more IUI's, but anything beyond that would be a stretch. IUI #4 would be straight injections, no pills. We would do Clomid, then Menopure, then trigger shot.

I asked about using Femara instead of Clomid. He said that since I have responded to Clomid as I should, he doesn't want to switch to Femara yet. If I wasn't ovulating or something like that, he would have already switched to Femara. If I want to do 2 more IUI's, he would do Clomid with the first, and if that wasn't successful, then he would switch to Femara.

My immediate response is, let's do one more IUI. Money is an object, plus, I want to exhaust all options. I want to do one more IUI and if it isn't successful, I'll have closure knowing that I did everything that I could do up to that point, and now it's time to move forward. Dr. V also said that our health improvements do help our chances of IUI #4 being successful. (Jordan is on board with whatever I want to do. Bless him.)

I can't remember exactly off the top of my head, but my doctor's percentage of success with IVF is very good. They are not a "boutique" clinic where they just take people's money and do as many treatments as they want. They do what they believe is medically necessary to achieve pregnancy. They also do high risk IVF's. Couples who have been told that there is no hope, they will give them a try. (Apparently this is a thing...fertility specialists will turn away couples that have lower chances of conceiving so that if the IUI or IVF fails, it will not negatively impact their numbers. Rude.) I know of several people who have done IVF with Dr. V and have beautiful babies to show for it!

Overall success rates are: 20-23% with IUI, and 60-63% with IVF. When I look at those numbers I think, "why am I wasting time on 20-23%???"

HOPE. I really do have hope. It's scary to hope because you can be let down, and that crash is so hard. If IUI #4 is not successful, then we will move on to IVF, but for now, I'm focused on hope & IUI #4.

"Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise." Hebrews 10:23

I could have started IUI #4 this past week, but decided to hold off until next month for a few reasons. 1) I wanted more than 4 days to really think about this. I know, I've been thinking about this for months, but I felt like I needed to talk to Dr. V, then process that info, then make our decision. 2) We are in the middle of re-setting our eating habits with the Whole 30 eating plan. I want to wait until we are finished with that. 3) The main reason is that Jordan has a lot going on at work right now, and I would rather wait a few weeks until that extra stress is out of the way.

Whole 30 ends February 3rd and Jordan's work stress stuff will be over by then, too. We will begin all of the pre-IUI blood tests within the next week or so - Dr. V wants to update some of my blood tests since it's been 2 years.

I would love to have your prayers. Specifically: for my body & spirit to be calm and receptive to the medicine, for healthy follicles to release fabulous eggs, lots of strong sperm, that those fabulous eggs would be friends with that strong sperm, that the fertilized egg would implant in my uterus, we would get a wonderful BFP, and that I would have a healthy pregnancy which will produce a healthy baby Rome. Amen!

I'm excited for IUI #4. I believe that it can work for me. I am holding on to hope!

XOXO - Lindsay

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Today is the day of our consultation with my RE, Dr. Vandermolen. I have been a little anxious the past few days, but today, I'm all-out afraid. I'm afraid that today is a new beginning for loss, failure, disappointment, sadness, etc. I'm afraid that we are going to repeat what happened 2 years ago. Ultimately, I'm afraid that my dream of physically bringing a baby into the world is going to die. I know, I sound so dramatic, right?

The only thing that can combat my slightly irrational fear is scripture. Since this is out of my control, I'm going to focus on what I can control - me (sort of). I'm going to choose to trust God and not to doubt. I'm going to proclaim peace over my heart, mind, will, and emotions. I will be ok. I will be ok. I will be ok.

Here's what I'm thinking on today...

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

"Nothing can shake me; He’s right by my side. I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic; I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope...You’ve got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around." Acts 2:26 (The Message)

I'll update more later. Here we go!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Beginning: Introduction & Other Details

The main purpose of this blog is for me to have an outlet to write down details of our life that I don't want to forget. Specifically, details about our dealings with infertility. I'll write about other things, too, but mostly, this blog will be about our infertility treatments, etc.

To catch you up...Jordan (my husband) and I have been married for 7.5 years (5/19/07 to be exact). We talked about having children before we were married and agreed that we wanted to wait a few years before we had children. I was 21 and Jordan was 26 when we got married, so we both had some "growing up" to do first. We are both from Baton Rouge, LA and moved to Ruston, LA in November of 2008. We lived in 2 "rent houses" before we decided to make Ruston our official home when we built/bought a house in August 2013. We had lived in Ruston for almost a year when we decided that we wanted to start trying for a baby. I read about all the normal particulars about how to know when you're ovulating, etc. and it all made sense. I had always had regular cycles, so I didn't think that there was any real reason to worry about getting pregnant.

The first year of trying came & went (2010), and I was annoyed that I hadn't gotten pregnant yet. Everyone else that I knew was getting pregnant, so why wasn't I?? Surely we were doing something wrong and just didn't know it. I went to my OBGYN and told her that we had been trying for a year, but no pregnancy. She recommended that we do bloodwork and start Clomid (50mg). The bloodwork showed that I had low progesterone, but she said that Clomid should help with that. The first month that I was on Clomid, I responded well to the medicine, had sex at the time that they told me to, and still, no pregnancy (2011).

When I went back to the doctor for Clomid month 2 (on cycle day 2 or 3), she said that she had to do an ultra-sound. The ultra-sound looked fine, so she increased my Clomid from 50mg to 100mg. Took Clomid as directed, sex on the right days, bloodwork showed that I responded to the medicine correctly...still no pregnancy. This went on for several more months...honestly, I lost count...maybe 9 months of Clomid?? (This is why I'm blogging about this now, so I don't forget what I do remember.)

SIDE NOTE: At some point, we did a semen analysis, and everything was fine. Perfect count, perfect motility, etc. After a few months of being on Clomid, my doctor started to see signs of PCOS. I also started taking Metformin to combat the PCOS. I was never "officially" diagnosed with PCOS, just more like "borderline" PCOS.

One of the last times I went to my doctor during that string of Clomid months, I had to see one of the other doctors in the group. She asked if I'd considered doing an IUI. Since I didn't know what that was, I said, "no?". She explained what it was, so I said sure! The next month, we did our first IUI.

IUI #1 (July 2012)
I took Clomid, and was given a tube to collect the sperm. I was instructed to put the tube in my bra, and drive it to the lab (about a 40 minute drive). The nurse explained how time sensitive this was, etc. I did as instructed, got to the lab, and they had no idea who I was/why I was there. i frantically call my doctor's office, and they tell me, "oh, sorry...not that lab, this other lab at another location." I'm angry. I asked if there was any point in continuing, and they said no, it will be fine. I run back to my car, drive to the other lab where they did the sperm wash. Get the sperm wash back, put the tube back in my bra, because my doctor is at ANOTHER location, so I have to go there for her to do the actual procedure. Now, I'm really frustrated. I know that this is a very time sensitive thing and you are sending me all over Monroe?? I get to the office where my doctor is for the day, and I go to the front of the line and tell the receptionist why I'm there. She talks to my doctor, and they send me right on back. Procedure is done, I pay, and go home to rest. I tell myself to calm down. Right. (Side Note: Jordan was going to come with me, and I don't remember exactly why he didn't - some work emergency.)

This cycle is longer than the others, so I get excited. I go for bloodwork. The nurse calls back, and very happily tells me, "nope! you aren't pregnant!". If she would have told me this in person, I might have punched her in the face. IUI #1 = failed.

After this (August 2012), we did an HSG test, which came back fine. I watched the dye spill out of my fallopian tubes with my own eyes - no blockage. This was good news, but still no answer as to why I haven't gotten pregnant yet.

After the craziness of IUI #1, I talked to a few people who had also had trouble getting pregnant and they recommended that I see a fertility specialist, Dr. Vandermolen, in Shreveport (an hour away). I didn't really want to do that. I didn't want to admit that I needed to go to a fertility specialist. I was told that it takes forEVER to get an appointment with him, so I might as well call to get on the list for an appointment in the next 6-9 months. I called to make the appointment, and the receptionist tells me, "this never happens...he had a cancellation for tomorrow at 1:30 pm". I took the appointment, then emailed my boss to request the next afternoon off. Thankfully, my boss is incredibly understanding and he said that would be fine.

I went to the consultation and Dr. Vandermolen told me that he reviewed my chart from my OBGYN, and that if I wanted to, I could go straight to IVF if money was no object. Well, money is an object, so I opted to do more IUIs. This is where I don't remember ALL of the details.

IUI #2 (January 2013)
I took Clomid along with another injectable medicine. I went to Shreveport several times for bloodwork & ultra-sounds. All of my results were perfect. Dr. Vandermolen even said that I was a "perfect egg maker". We went for the procedure at the exact time we were told. Sperm count was fabulous, I don't remember the exact number, but it was very high. The procedure was done, and we went home to rest. I felt really good about this one. The experience as a whole with Dr. Vandermolen's staff was exponentially better than my OBGYN's office. (I know, this is not what OBGYN's do. But if they are even going to try, they should have done better.) IUI #2 = failed. I was really upset, but I put myself together and went back for IUI #3.

IUI #3 (February 2013)
I took Clomid, the injectable medicine, plus a trigger shot. Again, went to Shreveport several times for bloodwork & ultra-sounds. My results were better than the month before, and I was REALLY hopeful. We went to Dr. V's office and he said that I needed one more dose of meds before the trigger shot. We did the extra dose of meds, and everything looked great. We did the trigger shot (which completely freaked Jordan out, ha!) and went to Dr. V's office the next morning, as instructed. The procedure was done, and we went home to rest. IUI #3 = failed.

At this point, I was not ok. We had been doing some sort of treatment for over a year and nothing was giving the result that I wanted. I had an emotional breakdown, and we decided to take a break. I know, I only did 2 months with Dr. V, but emotionally, I could not handle another month. If you're familiar with the drugs that I was taking, you know that they make you feel like you are pregnant. Feeling like you are pregnant but not actually being pregnant is horrible to say the least. Plus, this is all very expensive and none of it is covered by insurance. On top of that, I had gained some weight during all of this - like 30-40 lbs. I was miserable.

I changed my focus to our house. We were building and I threw myself into picking out tile, paint colors, etc. It was a great distraction for me. We moved in the house and got settled, but now I no longer had something to distract me from my empty womb.

SIDE NOTE: I also started seeing a different OBGYN and I love her. Her staff is so kind and so supportive.

I decided that whether I was pregnant or not, I needed to get healthy...especially if I wanted my body to cooperate the way that it should. In October of 2013, I started focusing on my physical health and losing weight. In February 2014, Jordan and I totally changed the way that we eat by starting the Whole 30 eating plan (super strict paleo). After the 30-day plan, we continued to eat this way. During 2014, I lost 56 lbs and Jordan lost a little over 60 lbs. We really stuck to it until about October...we started incorporating old habits. Thankfully, neither of us gained any weight back, but we didn't lose anymore either. We are starting the Whole 30 eating plan again now to "re-set" for 2015 and my upcoming fertility treatments.

It's been 2 years since I saw Dr. V. This Thursday, January 8, we go back to Dr. V for a consultation to come up with the next game plan. When I scheduled this appointment several weeks ago, I felt sick. The anxiety of the roller-coaster is trying to creep in. I know that it's going to be a lot. I'm afraid of the costs financially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I don't want to gain weight fact, I want/need to lose more. I don't want to waste money on "unexplained infertility" - I loathe that term. I don't want to feel like a crazy, emotional, hormonal nut-case. But I do want to bring life into the world, and we are willing to do whatever we can in order to do so.

When my body isn't doing what I want it to do & the "control-freak" side of me is starting to lose it, I want to focus on what I know for sure, what is certain, which is Jesus. I do believe that God is good, and that He gives good gifts to His children. I do believe that He loves me and wants the best for me. I do believe that I can trust Him completely. I believe that He will work all things together for my good.

So, there you have it. Sorry it was so long. Please pray with us, and pray that I remember to keep up with this blog! Don't worry, I'm working on making it "cute", haha!

XOXO - Lindsay