Tuesday, May 26, 2015

IUI #5 Results

Well friends, as you know from reading my last post, May started out to be a really great month. We used injections only this month (no oral pills), and surprisingly, they were really great. No major mood swings or emotional issues. This was a HUGE relief to both Lee and I. I really was starting to feel like myself again, and had a good feeling about May being our month.

In addition to having no unwanted side effects from the new fertility drugs, May also was great because Lee and I had a trip to New York City planned, and we knew that would be a good distraction for us. Lee and I both have May birthdays, and we decided to take a trip this year instead of exchanging gifts. Our trip to New York fell over our two week wait, and we thought it would be a good way to get our mind off of the results we'd be getting in the next couple of weeks. (After an IUI, we have to wait two weeks to take a pregnancy test to find out if the IUI was successful). So our trip was planned during our two week wait, and our pregnancy test would've been two days after we got home. I didn't expect to have a period during our trip, because the last couple of cycles, I've started almost exactly 14 days after the IUI, and we were scheduled to be home 12 days post IUI, so I was thinking this would be perfect timing.

Of course on the second to last day of the trip I had a very small amount of spotting. I had been super exhausted the whole time, (which is probably due to the amount of walking we were doing around the city), but I got excited thinking maybe I was experiencing implantation bleeding, and could potentially be pregnant. Unfortunately, the next day I learned that I was not experiencing implantation bleeding, and was not pregnant. This was extremely disappointing, but fortunately, we had a lot planned for our last day in New York, so I didn't have a whole lot of time to dwell on it. I was distracted for the next two days with site seeing and our travels home, so that was nice.

What seems to be both a good and bad thing with fertility treatments, is that once I find out I'm not pregnant, there's the devastation of another failed cycle, starting a period and everything that goes along with that, and then two days after getting the bad news, bring on the fertility drugs, which are basically a lot of extra hormones, whether they be oral pills or injections. This is how all of my cycles have gone so far, and it is always a lot to take on in just 3 or 4 days. The good thing is, once we get a negative, we are quickly starting another cycle, which gives us new hope.

For anyone who has lost count at this point, we have done 5 IUI cycles in a row (see below if you want to read about any of our other IUIs). We started in January, and have gone back to back with all of them. With these IUI cycles, we have tried a plethora of medications. We've tried Clomid (3x) and Femara (1x),which are both oral pills, and now Gonal-F injections(1x). For 4 of these 5 cycles we have also used a trigger shot called Ovidrel, and of course had 5 IUIs. With 2 of the Clomid cycles, I also took an estrogen pill, because the Clomid was causing my uterine lining to thin out. We have decided because May seemed to go so smooth, we are going to give the injections one more try. At this point, we feel like we have given the IUI process a fair try, and if it doesn't work after 6 tries, and 5 different types of medication, we're going to move on. But for now, we are starting IUI cycle number 6, and are giving the injections one more chance.

Hopefully June is our month, and we don't have to worry about what our next plan of action will be! As always, we are praying that this be the month we conceive a child, and that God ease our worries and give us peace in knowing that He has a plan for us to become parents with perfect timing. Thank you for reading, praying, and supporting us. We appreciate you.

If you want to read about our previous IUI cycles, you can do so here:
IUI Number 1  IUI Number 1 Results  Post IUI #1 Update
IUI Number 2  IUI Number 2 Results  Post IUI #2 Update
IUI Number 3  IUI Number 3 Results  Post IUI #3 Update
IUI Number 4  IUI Number 4 Results
IUI Number 5

Because life was super busy after IUI number 4, I did not write a Post IUI # 4 Update, but I will plan to do so for IUIs 5 & 6 so I can update you on our next plans.

On a side note, despite finding out IUI #5 was a fail while on our trip to New York, we still had a really great vacation! Check out a few of our pics from the trip:

As former cheerleaders, we of course had to take the classic cheer picture
and do a liberty in front of the Statue of Liberty.

Here is a picture of my love and I waiting to see The Book of Mormon. Although a little crude, I have
to admit that I thought the show was hilarious! This show was our favorite part of our birthday get-away.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) #5

Our fertility treatments for the month of April did not result in pregnancy. If you missed my last blog post, you can read about April's IUI here, and our results here. We decided to take a different route for the month of May, and I am SO SO GLAD that we did! Friends, I am so excited to tell you that May has been a really great month. Here's why:

For the month of May, we stopped using oral drugs completely, and did injections only. At first, I was really dreading this, because who wants to get a needle to the stomach every day for 7-10 days? To me, this sounded really awful. To start this cycle, I had an ultrasound and blood drawn to make sure that I didn't have any cysts on my ovaries, and to make sure my hormone levels were okay. Because my blood work looked good and I had no cysts on my ovaries, the doctor gave us the okay to start with the injections. We started the shots on day 3 of my cycle and did them nightly for 5 nights. After the 5th day of getting the shots, I went in for another ultrasound and blood work to see if I was responding to the medication. The nurse mentioned that most women use the shots for 7 to 10 days and sometimes the doses need to be updated after the first ultrasound. 

My first ultrasound showed that I was responding great to the medication. The nurse called afterwards and said I only needed to do one more night of injections. So on day 8 of my cycle I finished the medication. On day 9, Lee gave me the trigger shot, and on day 11 we had the IUI. Most people have injections for 7 to 10 days, and I only had to get them for 6 days... how awesome is that?! The past three cycles I've had the IUIs done around day 14, and this month I had mine on day 11. This means that my cycle this month will most likely be about 25 days, which is the shortest cycle I've had in the last 19 months.  

Not only was I thrilled to only have to get the injections for 6 days, I was also thrilled that I had minimal side effects from the medication. I did have a few headaches, which is common with fertility drugs, but I had no major mood swings, crying spells, etc. This was so amazing, and I feel like a new woman! It has felt so good to not be on an emotional roller coaster this month. I am so so thankful for this, and I know Lee is too! As far as the injections go, they weren't too bad either. The needle was pretty small, and the shot went fairly quick.

Although I didn't have any major emotional ups and downs this month, Mother's Day of course is a tough day for most child-less women who long to be mommies (myself included). Every holiday for the past couple of years I tell Lee, "This could be the last _______ we celebrate as a family of two!!" (Christmas, birthdays, Mother's Day, etc.) or "Next year we could be celebrating ________ (Mother's Day/Father's Day) with our own child! Unfortunately, we are now to a point that when I say that, I realize I've said that the past two Christmases, or whatever holiday we may be celebrating, and that is sad for us. Whenever Lee and I got married, we were thinking we would enjoy marriage just the two of us for about two years. We figured this would give us time to move home (we were living in Kansas when we got married), buy a house, me find a job in Evansville, etc. and then start a family. We both thought that was a great plan, but I teased Lee and told him I wanted to be a mom by the time I was 25. I was 23 when we got married, so that gave us plenty of time to get pregnant after our second anniversary. We actually ended up changing our minds, and we started trying to get pregnant about 16 months into marriage. As many of you know, my 25th year has come and gone, and this month I turned 26. Of course it is disappointing that we still do not have children, but we know that God has a plan for us, and although it may not mesh up with the plan we had for ourselves, we try to remember that God will bless us with a child at the perfect time.

So instead of dwelling on the holidays we are celebrating without children, I'm going to try really hard to make a point to celebrate the people we do have in our lives the next holiday. This Mother's Day, I was especially thankful for a few really great girlfriends and family members who made me feel extra special. One sweet friend sent me a cookie bouquet and reminded me she was thinking of me and praying for me over the weekend. Another couple of girlfriends sent me a texts and Facebook messages letting me know they were thinking of me on Mother's Day and saying an extra prayer for Lee and I. My brother made sure to tell me Happy Mother's Day and thank me for always "mothering" him over the years. This could be a really nice way of him saying "thanks for being so bossy and trying your best to make me behave over the years...", but either way, I'll take it! (haha just kidding, of course. I know he was sincere with his words, I just love teasing him), and last but not least my sweet mother-in-law gave me a card reminding me that although the journey is taking longer than I'd like, we have the faith to make it through. God used all of these people to remind me that I have SO MUCH to be thankful for, and I am really trying to remember that when I start to feel down. 

Although Mother's Day was this month, and that was a little tough, this has actually been the very best month we've had since starting fertility treatments. I finally feel like myself again, and I am so happy about that! It's so much easier to be positive and hopeful when every little thing doesn't either get on my nerves or make me cry.  Because everything has gone so smooth, we are really really hoping that May is our month! We are praying that May is the month God plans for us to conceive a baby, and would love for you to pray for the same thing. We are now in the two week wait between IUI and pregnancy test. Once we have our results, I will write another blog post and fill you all in. Thanks for reading our blog, and thank you for  your prayers. I really hope the next blog post I get to share with you all is an exciting one! 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

IUI #4 Results

In April, we had our 4th IUI. We started the month with Femara, an oral medication, on days 3-7 of my cycle. Then on days 10 and 12 I had blood work and ultrasounds done. Lee gave me the trigger shot on day 12 as well, and then on day 14 we had the IUI.

Overall, this month was pretty smooth. The Femara still caused me a few emotional days, but not nearly as bad as the Clomid. For that, we are so thankful. The IUIs are never enjoyable, but seem to be getting easier. The two week wait always seems to pass way slower than a normal two weeks, but that's probably because I'm always so ready to know if this is the month we finally get pregnant.

13 days post IUI (which is actually day 27 of my cycle) I took a pregnancy test at home, and it was negative. I figured on day 14 or 15 post-IUI I would start my period, which means day 3 of my new cycle would fall early in the week. I didn't want to risk not being able to get the medication for a new cycle on time, so I called the doctor's office 13 days after the IUI and let them know that I suspected my period was coming, and asked what we could do. The nurse talked to the doctor, and he said we were okay to go ahead and order the medication. The injectable medication gets delivered right to our door, so that's kind of nice that we never have to go to a pharmacy and pick it up. I ended up starting my period as I had anticipated, and you know what that means... we did not get pregnant with IUI number 4.

Lee and I had talked all month and decided if Femara didn't work for us in April, that we would go ahead and move onto all injectable medication (no more oral medication such as Femara or Clomid). This past cycle, the Femara caused me to produce only one mature follicle (egg to be released). All it takes is one, but since this seemed to be less successful results than when I had taken the Clomid, we decided to stop with Femara and move onto the next step. So this next cycle, we are doing only injectables (no more oral medication).

So here's what our next cycle looks like: Start cycle with an ultrasound and blood work. As long as the blood work and ultrasounds look good, we will proceed with the new medication. On days 3-7 Lee will give me nightly injections, and on day 8 I will go in for blood work and ultrasound to check my hormone levels and see if my body is responding to the medication.

Side note: I've had several people ask me during my last cycle what the medicine does and what the trigger shot is. Here is a very brief, uneducated explanation of what our goal is: take medication at the beginning of the month to help my eggs to mature. (Not only does a woman's body have to release the egg at the optimal time, but the egg also has to be mature enough, but not too mature in order to get fertilized.) So that's what the injections, Clomid, and Femara were all for. Next, the ultrasounds and blood work check to see if I have any follicles (eggs to be released) maturing on my ovaries, and if my hormone levels are appropriate. Once the follicles appear to be the optimal maturity, Lee gives me the trigger shot, which is an injection that forces my body to release the eggs (ovulation). Once the eggs are released, we have the IUI done, which is where Lee's sperm is placed directly into my uterus. This is supposed to be helpful because the sperm doesn't have as far to travel as it would if we had just tried to conceive at home. With the IUI, it is still up to my body to allow the eggs and the sperm to connect, but it does give better chances since we know I'm releasing mature eggs, and we know Lee's sperm shouldn't have far to travel. Who ever thought getting pregnant could be so scientific?! 

So anyways, this month I will start with blood work and ultrasound, do 5 nights of injections, have another set of blood work and ultrasounds done, and then the doctor will decide if we need to continue medication, and if so, at what dose. The nurse says most women use the injections for 7-10 days, and after those 7-10 days they have another ultrasound. At that time, if I appear to have mature follicles (eggs to be released) on my ovaries, Lee will give me the trigger shot, and then we will have IUI #5. Then after the IUI, we wait two weeks and have a pregnancy test, unless I start my period before then.

I know this is already a really long blog post, but I don't want to leave anything out! Over the past several months, I have had a lot of people tell me that they like reading my blog posts and are happy that I have a positive attitude. I write these blog posts from my heart, and I want them to be real and honest, and for those who know me, I want you to read these and feel like we're talking in person because my posts are that real. So can I be honest with you? The truth is, I have to work really hard at being positive, and sometimes I'm not that great at it... Some days I'm negative, angry, impatient, grouchy, and the list goes on. Some days I cry simple at the sight of a baby, and some days I get so frustrated that I tell Lee I'm done with this and don't want to take fertility drugs anymore. Some days I even get angry with God and complain about how unfair this is and wonder "Why us". That's the truth... These rough days are not everyday, and not even every week, but they happen, and I think its important for me to include that, because the ups and downs are a relevant part of this experience.

Every time I have a bad day, there are plenty of good days that come before and after, and on those good days I am reminded that God has not forgotten me, and does not wish pain upon me. I am reminded that although I don't have a baby, that I have a lot of other great things happening, and a lot of great people in my life, and that God has given us the resources to overcome this.

I am also reminded on a daily basis how wonderful my husband is, and although this experience pretty much sucks most of the time, infertility has forever changed our marriage, but not in a bad way. Infertility has forced Lee and I to talk about things and make decisions that we've never considered before. We've become closer in so many ways, and the patience, grace, and kindness that Lee has shown me every step of the way has made me fall in love with him all over again, and in a different way than I did the first time. I have never valued him more than I do now. I never ever imagined that when Lee and I got married that we wouldn't be able to start a family just like we planned. I honestly thought it would just work out that way. I know children will be in our future someday, somehow, but in the mean time, God has reminded me that Lee and I can use this experience as a way to come closer together, and closer to Him, which is something we hadn't necessarily searched for before all of this. Throughout this experience, I have realized just how thankful I am for Lee, and I know that God couldn't have given me anyone more prefect for handling me in this type of situation. 

So for now, although we don't have a baby and are still doing fertility treatments, Lee and I really are trying so hard to stay positive and focus on the good things: God, each other, precious time with friends and family, new experiences together, etc. That doesn't mean we won't have bad days here and there, but with God on our side, and support from friends and family like you all, we know can make it through all of this, and we will.  Thank you all for reading, praying and thinking of us, and encouraging us to stay positive. We appreciate each and every one of you❤️.