Saturday, November 7, 2015

Infertility Update September and October 2015

Hi everyone! It's been a while since I've posted an update about our baby-making situation. So here's what we've been up to...

We took our trip to Mexico with my family at the end of September. We really had an awesome vacation! I'm going to do a separate post about Mexico, so once I do that, I'll let you all know. Since getting back from Mexico, I have been swamped with work for my two graduate school classes, and Lee has been busy with work and various projects around the house. The good news is, I only have 6 more weeks of school before I get a 4 week break from school... and after this semester, I will only have 2/5 of my MBA left to earn! Whoop whoop!!

Lee and I had originally planned to give IVF a try once we had taken all of the vacations we had planned for this year. Mexico was the last trip we planned to take, so we were thinking we would start this process sometime in October. During my last blog post, I mentioned that I was having second thoughts about IVF, and just really wasn't sure that it was the next step we should take. I prayed for guidance, and currently, we just don't feel called to start IVF. We aren't saying, "never", we're simply saying, "Not right now."

Fertility treatments are exhausting mentally, physically, emotionally, etc. After doing 6 IUIs back to back earlier this year, we just don't feel ready to try IVF. The thought of starting all of those hormones and doctors appointments is overwhelming... and to say it feels overwhelming is actually an understatement. After taking all of those hormones earlier this year, I still don't feel that I am 100% back to my normal self (I still have hot flashes, etc. which I never had prior to starting fertility treatments). IVF would require even more medication than the IUI's, and besides the medication, there are lots of ups and downs with the whole process. We're just not ready to go through all of that again.

So what now?! Well, quite some time ago, a girlfriend of mine mentioned that she had a few friends who use various natural family planning (NFP) methods, and she was considering stopping her birth control and trying something more natural. When she had mentioned it I really didn't think much of it, because we were trying to get pregnant so I figured any type of birth control was irrelevant to us...But then a few months later a friend of a friend messaged me on Facebook and said that he and his wife had been reading my blog and they felt called to share some NFP information with me. I kind of blew it off because once again, I just really didn't think there's any way it could help me get pregnant.

After Lee and I decided that we just don't feel like IVF is the best choice for us right now, I looked into Natural Family Planning, and happened to find a doctor in the area who really encourages it. So I called him, and he really wasn't taking new patients for his family practice, but he is taking new OB patients. Well, he is not an OBGYN, just an OB, and obviously I'm not in the market for an OB doctor right now, but I explained the situation, and he said he would be happy to meet with me. So I met with him and went into detail about mine and Lee's experience, my cycles, our 6 IUIs, etc. and he said given our circumstances, he thinks we could potentially benefit from trying NFP. Of course he can't guarantee it working for us anymore than our fertility doctor could guarantee our IUIs, but Lee and I figure it's worth a try.

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a way to track your cycle and know how to identify fertile times. This method can be used to both achieve and avoid pregnancy without taking birth control pills. Here is the site I initially looked at before calling our new doctor.

Our new doctor referred me to a woman in town who teaches all about NFP. Lee and I are using the Creighton Model, and to summarize it very briefly, its a way of charting and tracking my cycle to learn to identify fertile and not fertile times, based on various biological markers. So I met with this woman and she went over the basics, and now I am charting my cycle, and meeting with her every two weeks to learn more about the process and talk about my charting progress. After charting two full cycles, then I'll go back to the doctor and he'll look at my charts to try to try to determining if I really am ovulating on my own, etc.

This whole process is pretty new to me, as I've only been charting for like 3 weeks, so I'm not going to go into much detail just yet. But check back at the end of November, and I'll fill you in a little more on how its working for us. The main bummer with switching our plan from IVF to NVP is more waiting. The waiting part is really tough... that's never going to change. Lee and I have been trying to start our family for 22 months... 22 times we have tried, and have not gotten pregnant. At this point, we figure the benefits of conceiving on our own far out weigh the disadvantage of waiting a few more months for our miracle, and for that reason, we are willing to give this a try. If it doesn't work for us, we will re-consider IVF. For now, I'm learning a lot, and it's nice not to have the added stress of fertility treatments.

Side note: If you search the Creighton Model, you probably won't find much information about how to actually track your cycle... you'll mostly find research explaining why families are successful with using this model. The woman who is teaching me to track my cycle explained that for people to use this method, doctors really prefer that they get training like I am, so that the tracking is done successfully. Otherwise, people may try it, but not use this method accurately, and then not get the results they want, and that would give NFP a bad name. This method has been proven to be extremely accurate when used correctly. Most of the time when people use this method, if they get opposite results its due to an error in their charting.