The Results Are In!

The long-awaited appointment to hear our test results was this morning. I’ve been feeling so many different emotions over the past month, there have been many highs and lows. Needless to say I woke up very early this morning feeling both excited and nervous for the impending news. Waiting a month for test results will do that to you!

Our doctor only comes to the office in our city on Mondays, so we decided to make the 2-hr drive up north to see her a few weeks early. After we dropped our pup off at my parent’s house, we were on our way. From there we went went to Tim Horton’s for breakfast, keeping a new tradition of breakfast before our RE appts! The rest of the drive went great and we had some wonderful conversations. I can’t express how much I have adored having more time off with my hubby since he finished school!

With all the nervous excitement surrounding this day, we arrived at the clinic about an hour early. So we signed in and went downstairs to get some drinks and look around. We came back up and shortly after we were called back to Dr. M’s office. My husband had a fun time flipping through all the books she had in there and he definitely helped keep my nerves to a minimum with his jokes (as usual!). I’m so glad I wasn’t waiting in there alone! Our doctor finally came in and after the greetings, she started explaining the results of the blood work, genetic screening, ultrasound, HSG, and SA we have had over the past month and a half. Which are:

Me:

  • Confirmed PCOS with ultrasound. First time with borderline testosterone levels.
  • High TSH (3.18). Positive for antibodies. Diagnosed with Hypothyroidism
  • HSG clear & normal. Open tubes. Retroverted uterus.
  • No genetic markers or abnormalities.
  • All other blood work came back within normal range.

Hubby:

  • 111 million/mL
  • 59% motility
  • 12% normal morphology

I knew no matter what we walked into today, we would walk out of there together- trusting that no matter what the results turned out to be, God is bigger than any number! Now, Dr. M did say that hubby’s SA morphology was slightly less than “ideal”, but with his high numbers she isn’t concerned. So it was officially confirmed that the main obstacle we are facing is my body not ovulating normally. Thankfully there are ways to help that! We walked away feeling very blessed today and we don’t take these results for granted one bit. I know there are so many couples that are fighting and praying for such results. So while we are still working against two disorders that disrupt ovulation, we are thankful & hopeful!

After a few questions on our end, Dr. M started discussing the treatment plan she thinks will work best for us-

  1. Call on cd1.
  2. Baseline ultrasound between cd1-cd5, given Rx for clomid & dexamethasone.
  3. Clomid (50mg) for 5 days. Depends on when baseline is performed, ideally cd3-7.
  4. Second ultrasound around cd12 to check follicle growth. Given directions for HCG Trigger shot.
  5. Follow-up ultrasounds as needed. Trigger then TI.

I am also starting Synthroid tomorrow to treat my hypothyroidism & Dr. M is going to check my levels again in 4-6 weeks to see if we need to adjust the dosage. In all honesty, I was a little overwhelmed when I first looked at our plan. I imagined we would just do one round of clomid, without the fancy add-ons. And while it certainly starts to add up, we are walking into this process confident that this is where we are suppose to be. We have covered every decision and step in prayer, and we will continue to do so- one step at a time!

As for now… we wait. We are still very hopeful for this current cycle. We have already witnessed multiple answers to prayer in the past couple weeks and we believe they will keep coming! It does help knowing that if this month isn’t our month, we are doing everything possible next cycle to get things moving. I feel so close… we are so excited!

This past month of testing in pictures:

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As always- THANK YOU for all the prayers, support, and encouragement!

~Stephanie~

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HSG Complete!

 

Good news… I survived the HSG!

In all seriousness though, the anxiety really was the worst part. I’m not a huge fan of regular exams, so when you add in the horror stories I’ve read and heard in the past few weeks.. not pretty. I’m so very thankful, and counting my blessings, that I do not have one of those stories to share.

The day of the procedure I made sure to take pain medicine before heading to the surgery center. I even remembered to not go to the bathroom until I got there since I would have to provide a sample for the required pregnancy test. So besides my very uncomfortably full bladder, I was doing just fine in the waiting area. It wasn’t until I was taken back to “pre-op” that my nerves started kicking in.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I like hospitals and doctors offices. But this was different. I felt… vulnerable. The nurse took my vitals and we had a short chuckle about maybe needing a child’s cuff to take my blood pressure (we didn’t). We were back there for 10-15 minutes getting things settled. There was a lot of hustle and bustle on the other side of the curtain, and I think the combination of it all definitely explains why my heart rate was sitting pretty in the 90’s . Before the nurse left, she placed a warm blanket across my lap and said she was going to tell my husband he could come back. As soon as the curtain closed behind her I had to fight hard not to cry. I knew if I started crying then it would just get worse when my husband came back and I would be a blubbering mess before the doctor even arrived. Can I just say- I thank God for my husband! He could tell I was as nervous as could be, and in his lighthearted nature, he started cracking jokes. I am so grateful he was able to come with me!

I’m pretty sure they were running behind schedule that day, because my doctor didn’t even come in until 25 minutes past my time slot. I gave my hubby a quick kiss and walked over to the procedure room with my doctor and the tech. From the time the door closed to when I was walking back out of that room, I would have to say it was a total of 5-6 minutes. The procedure itself took maybe 2 minutes, with the dye part only lasting seconds. It was uncomfortable, very uncomfortable. Many ladies told me it would feel like menstrual cramps, and it did. I think the most painful thing for me was when she had to turn the catheter around when she found out I have a retroverted uterus. Other than that, I wouldn’t call it a “fun” experience, but I’m glad we had it done.

Oh… and the news I know you’re all wanting-

 

OPEN TUBES!

 

Yeah, I’m pretty excited about that too. It was amazing to see the dye move on the x-ray screen. It was so quick, but thankfully they printed off images to look at later. Dr. M seemed pleased with the results, which is good! She said she would go over it in detail during our next appointment, so I’m very anxious to hear everything.

Due to scheduling conflicts concerning my hubby’s new schedule we had to make an appointment for the 25th, which is only just over a week away now! Instead of the office a few minutes down the street, we are making the trek two hours away to see our doctor at her main office in Akron. We will be going over all the results- my blood work, hubby’s SA, and the HSG. We will also be talking game plan! My hubby and I have been praying over this appointment for a long time, and no matter the results- we know it’s all in God’s hands and we take great comfort in that. Right now we are praising Him for the good news the HSG has brought & my hubby’s new job that comes with health insurance! Each piece of the puzzle comes right when it is meant to… and it is getting more beautiful by the day.

 

One Step at a Time

 

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post for a while and give an update on everything going on. Clearly I need to mark it in my calendar, because in the midst of work, family, and school I just haven’t found the time to sit down and write a full post. However, I am here now & excited to finally give an update!

We are now one procedure away from completing all the testing our RE ordered on September 16th. Tomorrow I will be going in for my HSG, otherwise known as a hysterosalpingogram. My doctor will be injecting dye through my cervix and then she will use an x-ray to look at my uterus and fallopian tubes. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the procedure as far as what to expect, but we are hoping and praying for the best. I’m not terribly worried about it, but thankfully my husband has the day off as well, so we will come home and lounge afterwards. Needless to say, we are both anxious to get this last bit of testing done with so we can hear all the results.

Now, let me rewind to 9/16- our first consult with our RE. I was so excited the night before that I barely slept. The anticipation for that appointment had been building for months. I was ready. For the past year I have been going to my regular OBGYN’s for exams and blood work, but this office was so different. The minute I walked in I was just amazed. I had become accustomed to walking down a hall that had a sign reading “Expectant Mothers This Way” and pointed to my doctor’s waiting area. I thought for sure that sign would apply to me in a few months, but it never did, and after a while it started to sting every time I would pass it. The RE’s waiting area, however, looked more like a spa. They had beautiful chairs and jewel tone walls. I wasn’t bombarded by pictures of babies and magazines about staying healthy during pregnancy. It was peaceful and inviting, definitely not as “clinical” as all of the other doctors offices I have been in and for that I am very thankful.

They called us back shortly after we sat down. Instead of going into an exam room though, we were taken to her office. I thought for sure they would ask me to weigh in and take all my vitals, but the only thing the nurse did was take my blood pressure when we sat down and she even apologized for needing to take it. I could tell she was being sensitive to the fact that we were there in the first place, more than I can say for the other nurses I’ve come across in the past two years. A few minutes later our doctor came in (Dr. M). She’s one of the sweetest ladies I’ve met, like the kind of person you would want to go out to a movie with, or just call and talk about your day. She even sort of offered me a job (jokingly…I think). Whatever the case, we both fell in love with her and her ability to be both sensitive and completely honest with us. We went over our history, the 10+ pages I filled out previously, what tests she wanted to run, and briefly what treatment plan she thinks would be the best fit for us. Then a little bit later we went in to an equally welcoming room (surprisingly, it was the exam room) where she performed an ultrasound and explained the other tests we would be doing in the coming weeks. After the ultrasound I went down the hall to get blood work done and we were handed all the information needed to make the follow up appointments.

As I’m writing this, it sounds like everything went really quick, but I can honestly say we never once felt rushed. We left the appointment feeling really good and we truly believe we are right where God wants us to be. I was prescribed Provera for 10 days following the appointment to jump-start a new cycle so we could complete the other testing Dr. M ordered. On September 30th I called in to report cd1 and schedule the SA (semen analysis), HSG, and follow-up consult. After a whole day of phone-tag, the SA was completed last week, my HSG is scheduled for tomorrow, and after many changes due to my husband’s new job our follow-up consult is set for 10/25.

I have definitely experienced some lows and highs in the past month. I have questioned if we are doing the right thing, if we can afford all of the tests, if we are “rushing” the process… But all in all, I have experienced great peace. A peace that is greater than any I have felt. I know it is nothing short of God’s love and work in my life, my faith. When I got the call that some of my blood work came back abnormal a couple weeks ago, worry started to settle in. Within minutes I started crying out and praying to the Lord. I prayed the whole way to the lab and as I was walking in, I felt calm. When I called last week to make our follow up appointment and they told me it would be at least another three weeks to get in and discuss our results, worry started to settle in again. I am happy to say that it left just as soon as it showed up! I am confident that no matter the results of all our tests- we will be okay. We will be more than okay! God already knows the results, He already knows how and when our family will expand. It’s not my job to know it all, but to trust in Him, and I’m so very thankful to have such a loving Father!

So here we are, taking it one step at a time!

Green Light…Go?

When searching for a green light where do you go? When you find it, do you speed through it right away?

Six weeks ago, today, I sat in my regular OB/GYN’s office hoping for more answers. I suppose my expectations were too high, or maybe I just didn’t speak up enough. Whatever the case, I left that appointment with more questions and tears than I had going in.

I had been anxiously waiting for that appointment for months. My husband and I had been praying about it, and even though it was just an annual appointment, the plan was to finally bring up what our fertility options are. As soon as I had mentioned it, she questioned me as to why I would want to look into it at my age. And that, my friends, is when I started retreating back into my shell. Believe me- to even bring up the subject of pursuing more diagnostic testing or fertility treatments was not easy. No woman grows up thinking “This is how I want to start a family!” No, this was, and is, a very difficult and personal subject for me and my husband. One that has been prayed over, talked about, and thought through for almost two years now. Even in my efforts to explain to her, again, that my cycles are very irregular and none of the natural remedies or lifestyle changes helped in the least bit, she dismissed me saying that I should really think about what I want. Many other things were said that day that were very discouraging, but we’ll leave it at that.

When I was first diagnosed with PCOS in September 2012 I felt like I broke in two. Maybe it was my hormones, or the fact that the nurse told me my results over the phone ending with “I’m so so sorry”, but whatever the case I just fell apart. I wish I could say that I picked myself up right away, but I didn’t. It took a long time for me to come to terms with what my life story was becoming.. is becoming. Through it all, not once did I believe that God had forgotten about me though. Month after month I started noticing my prayers changing. Instead of being consumed with when we would get pregnant, I started praying for the Lord’s guidance in all areas of our lives.

My prayers started coming together this past February when I attended a women’s conference at my church that was life changing. At the end of the service they invited people up to the front to receive prayer. My heart had been heavy for so long, as if I were carrying a massive weight with me. Sometimes it had gotten so bad that it hurt to breathe. I could feel the Lord calling me up to receive prayer that night, but I had no idea what He had in store for me.

As I started walking up, my mom followed behind me. Up to this point she knew I had some issues with my cycles, but had no idea that we had been trying to conceive for over a year. We were greeted by this sweet older lady who gently placed her hand on my shoulder and asked in the most tender way what she could pray for. The only two words I could muster up were “infertility” and “hurting”. Now I don’t know how long we were standing there, I don’t remember all the words that were said, but I will never forget those moments. She nodded sympathetically and as a tear started falling from her face, she placed one hand over my uterus and started praying fervently. Soon after, my mom’s hands were over my stomach as well and the three of us were in tears just crying out to the Lord. After only a few moments, I felt this intense heat where their hands were placed. I wish I had a better way to describe it, but it was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. God’s presence was undeniable and I will forever be grateful that I followed His calling that evening.

Now did I get pregnant after that? No. Did my cycles regulate after that? No. Did the sadness go away? Somewhat. Although I sometimes wish things could fall on my timeline, I know God has my best interests at heart. I was able to experience that night because He orchestrated it. I am able to face each day because of the strength He gives me. And I truly believe that one day I will get to experience motherhood- because of Him.

With all of this- where does fertility treatment come in? I have battled this question for so long. I have struggled, prayed, and meditated over this exact question for almost two years. Does seeking fertility treatment mean that I lack faith that the Lord will bring us a child? Absolutely not. Does it mean that I don’t believe in His power to heal my body? Not a chance! Regardless if we conceive naturally, or with help, that blessing would be from God. I believe that with all my heart. We don’t know how far we are willing to go with medical assistance- we don’t even know if we will conceive with assistance. But in my heart, I know that we will be parents one day. Perhaps this is just the path that is laid out for us.

We have proceeded with a yellow light for so long, waiting for guidance on what to do next and when to do it. My husband originally said when we started trying to conceive that he felt that we shouldn’t seek help until after he was done with school. After over a year and half of negative tests and that very disappointing doctor’s appointment in August, I made a call in to the RE. And guess what- M graduated on 9/10 and the next appointment they had available was 9/16! The light finally turned green for us and I find myself full of hope and expectation. Not just because we are seeing a specialist and might finally get some more answers and help, but because I feel closer to God than ever before! Every day, every decision, every step we take we place in His hands. So here we have a green light for this next step and we are taking it, not because we want to “rush” the process, but because our hope and trust is in our Father.

 

Green light… GO!

#infertility

 

About seven weeks ago I found myself on Instagram and every once in a while I would type in “infertility” to see if I could find anyone going through the same things I was. Let’s just say I was surprised when I saw that there were over 10,000 posts on just that one tag. I knew there were support groups online and in certain counseling groups, but I had never imagined to find one on IG. For weeks before I ended up making a TTC-only account, I would follow these women who would post very personal information about their lives and struggles. I found myself praying for them. Even more so, I was thinking about and praying for their stories sometimes more often than my own. So I decided to dive in with them.

My world has changed so much since I found this group of women. I tell them all the time that I wish it was under different circumstances! But regardless, they are some of the strongest women I have ever met. I love them! Each and every one of them. In six weeks time I have shared two (failed) cycles, an OBGYN appt, my husband’s emergency surgery, the decision to move on to an RE, and the loss of my grandfather. I have shared date nights, our 2 year anniversary, my husband’s birthday, and plenty of puppy pictures! With all of that, the one thing that stands out the most is that I have shared LOVE and I have received it, 1000x over! I never expected to find such an amazing group of women who are willing to take the time out of their days, their struggles, their pain- and pray for me. I cannot thank them enough!

I know God has placed us in each others lives at this specific time for a very special reason. I look forward to logging on every morning and checking on “my girls”. I get excited going to the mailbox,  knowing that it’s not just bills in there anymore! Even better- I have a long list of prayers that I go through every day, specifically praying for what each sweet lady is going through on that day or week. Infertility is one of the absolute hardest things I have had to deal with so far and I would never wish it on anyone, but if there was a silver lining in all this.. it would be that God brings people into our lives right when we need them. Not late, not early. It is so difficult waiting, but we no longer have to wait alone. I have faith that God’s plan is better than any of us can imagine, but on the rough days.. where you just feel like giving up- that’s when you need someone else to lift you up and remind you. I’m so very grateful for the ladies God has brought into my life during this time. I love seeing how our friendships have blossomed in just a matter of weeks & I know He is not finished yet!

 

Take a Step Back

You know how when you were little and your parents would always want you to step back from the edge, to move back away from danger and closer to what they deem as “safe”…

Well that’s where I am at right now. I’m on the ledge and I can feel how close the danger zone is.. It’s almost unbearable at times.

This cycle was unsuccessful, again.

So what can I do now??

I am taking a step back. To get back to the “safe” zone where infertility doesn’t run my life. I know it’s a part of my story now.. But it is not who I am.

So I choose hope. I choose to trust God and His timing, because my heart is just too involved in this. I choose to let go as best I can. I choose my husband. I choose to be the wife he needs me to be, not the obsessive emotional woman I have become in the past year. I choose happiness and joy, the kind that can only be received through Him.

My Father has put his hand on me and lovingly told me to step back. & I am listening.

Let Go & Let God

The hubs and I have been trying to figure out our “next step” for the past couple weeks. We haven’t set anything in concrete though, because honestly…

We don’t know.

I am so thankful that there are options out there. Yet, part of me is still holding out hope I can get my body to respond to natural treatments and healthy living since my blood results and tests have come back normal every time. That would be ideal. However, maybe we will have to go down the medical route.. Perhaps sooner than later.

Infertility brings a whole range of emotions. Many of which I am all too familiar with now. Just this past weekend I melted in my husbands arms, and he held me while the tears ran down my face.

It’s exhausting. Sometimes to the point where you just want to stay in bed. But you can’t- you still have a life to live.

Even amidst the pain and struggle, there are a multitude of everyday blessings we already have. Let me tell you, it is worth it to let go & let God. What good does it does it add to our lives to focus on the negative? So there… I say go ahead and have a good cry, or even scream into a pillow. This journey isn’t easy & it sure isn’t fun, but we are far from alone!

I have played this song every day for the past few weeks and I plan on continuing to for some time to come. ~(Help Me Find It- Sidewalk Prophets)~ I hope it brings some comfort to your heart today.

He will help us find whatever path to take. I truly believe that.

TTC update Temps are showing that we are officially in the tww  of the second cycle on Vitex. This is the earliest recorded O for me, at cd34. God is bigger than any obstacle we encounter! Praising Him.