SOCIAL MEDIA

My Infertility

Monday, March 27, 2017
What is the cause of your infertility? This question has been asked SO many times and I feel like now is the time to address it. I've decided to write up a one stop shop for the whys of our infertility. The cause, the treatment specifics, and what has worked for us in conceiving both of our girls. Infertility is the taboo in the room for a lot of people. People don't discuss it nearly enough, people apologize for it too much (which they really shouldn't), and most really aren't educated on the spectrum of infertility causes. My hope is that you walk away understanding my journey a little better and maybe someone you know as well. This blog is specific to me and only includes my personal experience, though there are TONS of resources available to better educate yourself on this topic.

THE CAUSE: I HAVE PCOS


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common health problem caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. The hormonal imbalance creates problems in the ovaries. The ovaries make the egg that is released each month as part of a healthy menstrual cycle. With PCOS, the egg may not develop as it should or it may not be released during ovulation as it should be. PCOS can cause missed or irregular menstrual periods. 


Irregular periods can lead to:

Infertility (inability to get pregnant). In fact, PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility.


Development of cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) in the ovaries



The symptoms don't stop there for me. No, menstruation is literally just scratching the surface. I've also suffered from excessive weight gain, oily skin, and borderline insulin resistance due to PCOS. There is a whole plethora of symptoms that other women may potentially be faced with (this incurable diagnosis impacts the lives of 5-10% of woman in America).



TREATMENT

Now that you know my "why" for the cause of my infertility, let's go over our treatment plan. After conceiving naturally and miscarrying - Justin and I waited two years before trying again. We immediately consulted a reproductive endocrinologist, and they began their rabbit hole of tests to conduct. We were lucky. In our situation, male fertility is not a factor. That just left me. I had a reproductive "work up surgery" where our RE cut me open (laparoscopically - minimally invasive surgery) to make sure my reproductive organs were all in good shape. Everything looked great from the surgery, but it turned out that I had a uterine septum as well. A septum creates a block in blood flow and nutrients to your fetus - often times resulting in miscarrying because the baby cannot survive. That was a big deal for us. We had the reason why we potentially lost our baby.

After the surgery, I had to wait three months to let my uterus heal before we could begin trying. In the mean time, we discussed the best option for us to take. We knew I had PCOS, but we also knew my organs looked great, and at this point we wanted to see if we could still try to conceive with the LEAST amount of medical assistance. We were offered clomid (oral medication to stimulate follicle growth), but I declined. I wanted a more potent alternative since Justin was deploying soon and because we'd only have one month to try for a baby before he left. That lead us to injections of follistim. Follistim is a FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) that stimulates follicles and allows them to develop and mature. We would also need a HCG option to *trigger* a release of the follicle(s) once mature. The RE prescribed novarel (intramuscular injection) to trigger and release my mature follicles.

When it became time to try for baby, we stuck to the previously discussed treatment plan. I took follistim shots for over two weeks when trying to conceive during this cycle. The RE started off with very low doses 50 IU 75 IU because he didn't want my ovaries to over respond and produce multiple follicles. The goal is ONE mature follicle from these injections. The lower doses were not working nearly as quick, so my dose was increased to 100 IU and then 125 IU. The 125 IU was a sweet spot and I was able to produce a mature follicle. I went in for blood work and ultrasounds basically every two days during this period of time. I had growth scans for the follicles and blood work to check my estrogen levels. 

Once the follicle reached 19mm I was instructed to take the trigger shot (or you can bring the shot in and have a nurse give you the injection). I started using ovulation tests (per the RE's request) to track exactly when I was ovulating. Once I got a positive ovulation test, we ** BABY DANCED** like crazy! I took a test to confirm when my ovulation window ended - and that put us in a two week window until we could take a pregnancy test. 

After two weeks, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. The RE had me come in twice in a six day period to check my HCG levels. Rising levels indicates conception has occurred. 

AVA AND OLIVIA 

Both of our babies were conceived with the treatment plan above in regards to medication. We conceived Ava on the first cycle and Olivia on the second cycle (I was given the incorrect trigger shot during the first cycle we tried for baby #2). We are currently trying for baby # 3. 

Infertility can be beat in so many cases. Those who suffer from being infertile (like myself) have SO many options to look at. I think it makes it less scary knowing that it doesn't end at you not being able to conceive without assistance. Everyone's fertility journey looks different and everyone has a different story. BREAK THE SILENCE. Mamas and papas do not have to suffer alone. Talk about it, be a support, find your village of others that can relate. I have been a voice and advocate for my personal infertility, but maybe I should remind myself to take my own advice?

I hope this summary gives you a better idea of what Justin and I go through in order to conceive. If you have any other questions, comments, or supportive words - PLEASE continue to email me or write comments below. 

Happy Monday! 

♥- Leilani

Post a Comment