Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Infertility Update June 2016

Confession: Normally when I post these updates, they are usually a few weeks behind. I started doing this during our fertility treatments last year, because I knew that if we got pregnant, I'd want a couple of weeks to tell friends and family personally before we shared on here. As you all know, my cycles are not always the same length, and because of this timing, I am usually ending once cycle and beginning a new one in the middle of a month, but it's just easier for me to update everyone on a monthly basis.

Based on the timing of my April post and that cycle, I assumed my next cycle would end near the beginning or middle of May, given my previous cycles.

So technically my "May" cycle ended Mother's Day weekend. Another month, no pregnancy. Kind of sad that it was Mother's Day weekend because that time can be difficult anyways, but all we can do is accept it and move on. So that's what Lee and I did. I really didn't feel like I had much else to say about it, other than we weren't pregnant, so I didn't write a May blog post. Then, about two weeks later (still in May) my cycle started all over again (ugh!), which made that cycle only about 2 weeks long. This was very unusual for me, and has never happened before, but my doctor did some blood work and confirmed that I did NOT conceive and miscarry, so that was good news.

My doctor doesn't know what caused the unusually short cycle, but he said to continue charting and if it happens again, we can do some more testing. Thankfully, this did not happen in June. Unfortunately, we also did not conceive in June. So I have actually completed 3 cycles since my last blog post, although its only been about 8 weeks since my last infertility update.

I want to update you guys on our future plans, but in order to do that, I think I need to recap. If you've been reading along for the past year and a half, and already know what's going on, feel free to skip these next 4 paragraphs.

Last year we did 6 rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI), with several different types of medication. None of them resulted in pregnancy, so we decided to take a break from fertility treatments. We had a few trips planned last summer/fall, and decided we wanted to go into those without the worry of taking along medications, or risking missing the trip for a doctors appointment, or missing an appointment because of the trips. Our plan was to try a round of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in October once we were done traveling for the year.

October came, and we decided that IVF with my eggs and Lee's sperm would likely be the last type of fertility treatment we are currently willing to try. We have learned that these expectations change, especially as the circumstances change, but this is what we are thinking for now. We wanted to make sure we have utilized all of our resources, that way, if IVF is unsuccessful, we can  have peace of mind knowing we really did try all of the options that fit within our comfort zone. That being said, we decided to give Natural Family Planning (NFP) a try. It took us a few months (about 5) to figure out how to chart my cycles, and really get an idea of what is going on. In March, my doctor figured out that near the end of my cycle, my progesterone level is dropping too soon. Having low progesterone can cause the lining of the uterus to shed sooner than normal, preventing implantation, along with a host of other issues. In addition to having low progesterone, I was having trouble recognizing ovulation, so my doctor recommended both Vitamin B (daily) and Mucinex (certain days during my cycle) to help enhance signs of ovulation, that way I can more easily recognize when this time is coming. So in March, I began taking these medications.

March went well, and I had a fairly normal cycle. Detecting ovulation in April was a mess, and I completely missed my window of ovulation and my window for taking progesterone. We hoped May would be better, but it was not. Ovulation was still hard to detect, so I had started and stopped progesterone (which may have caused my next cycle to be so short), and ultimately, we did not conceive.

My next cycle was a mere 2 weeks, but thankfully blood work did not show evidence of a miscarriage, and for that we are so thankful. June's cycle has been pretty normal, but unfortunately, we did not conceive. So here we are now, hoping for better news in July.

My doctor recommends that we give this medicine cocktail + cycle tracking a fair try, aka about 6 months or so. March was month 1, April was a wash, May was month 2, May's 2nd (2 week) cycle was a wash, and June was month 3. So we are about halfway through this NFP trial. We will keep trying July, August, and September, and pray that one of those months is finally the month God chooses to bless us with a child.

As we continue trying to conceive over these next few months, we are aware that these months could pass with no result in pregnancy. Although we try to remain positive, and are devoted to giving NFP a fair try, we also try to be realistic. If after this summer, we have still not conceived naturally, our doctor has given us 3 options, not in any specific order:
1. He can refer us to a more specialized NFP doctor in St. Louis
2. We can return to our  Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) who did our IUIs last year (or another RE if we prefer)
3. Adoption

Although we have no idea what will happen over these next few months, Lee and I have talked, and unless God puts something else on our hearts, if we do not conceive on our own, we plan to return to our RE this fall to finally give IVF a try.

How amazing would it be if we were able to get pregnant naturally? This is truly our wish, and if you want to pray for us, these would be our prayer requests: Pray that God allow us to conceive naturally.  Also, we would appreciate that you pray that God give us peace with His plan, regardless of what that entails.

As many of you know, I have made so many friends through this monthly infertility support group called The Nest. My friend Elisha hosts it once a month at her home in southern Illinois, and I have been attending for over a year. This group has been such a blessing to me! New friendships, great food, and people who just 'get it'. We have wonderful friends and family who have supported Lee and I throughout all of this, but having someone who has been through a similar experience is just a different type of support. These women encourage me, listen to me cry and vent, pray for me and with me. My relationship with Christ has grown due to the encouragement of this group, which has in turn also strenghtened my relationship with my hubby in ways that I never even knew our relationship needed to grow! It's kind of crazy to say, but in a way, I have to be a little bit thankful for infertility, because without it, I would not have met some of these women.

Because Lee and I are continuing our current treatment plan over the next few months, I really don't have much to update you all with other than whether we are or are not pregnant, but I want to keep blogging, because it is enjoyable for me, and I love keeping you all updated on whats going on in mine and Lee's lives. So in the meantime, I am going to write a few posts about what how infertility has ironically blessed me, how I've learned to cope, etc. and I will share those posts in lieu of a monthly update post here and there. I will also write updates on our situation, but probably less often since I won't have a lot of news to share. Don't worry, though. If Lee and I conceive, we will not leave you out of that exciting news! So many of you have kept up with us through this blog, and we are so thankful for your engorgement, prayers, and support. In the meantime, please let us know if there's something that we can be praying about for you as well.

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