Pins and Needles! 

 

Follistem injection pen. (Your not-so-best-friend during treatments.)

 Since starting this blog, I have had an overwhelming amount of people message me to ask about the types of treatments I’ve been through and all the details on how each treatment worked. Such as; meds, side effects to those meds, appointment scheduling, and much more. So I thought I would take a minute to explain in as much detail as I can remember all the ins and outs of each treatment that I have done. Aren’t you on pins and needles to find out?!? 

The reason for such a title to this post? Well, I would say 75-80% of all fertility treatments involve injections, and a lot of them! So be ready, ladies. It’s a wild ride! You can look up any of there treatments and drugs on a website such as Mayo Clinic to get all the specifics. I am no expert so I would research yourself and consult your doctor to figure out what treatments are best for you. 

I will start with the first treatments and work my way to the most recent ones…

Laporscopic Surgery

When we first started this journey of seeking help with conceiving, my OB/GYN had a feeling that I had a disease known as endometriosis. (Which I had been trying to convince doctors to test me for it for years!) The only way to test for this disease, however, is through laporscopic surgery to explore in my abdomin if it is there, since it does not show up on ultrasounds or CT scans. 

Low and behold! My doctor found the disease and was able to clean out what he could. (I will go into more detail of this disease in a later blog, but for now this is good.) While he was in there he did some “exploring” and found that I had a septum, or wall, down the middle of my uterus. He was not qualified to remove this, so to make a long story short, I later had it removed by a different doctor at a later date. 

Clomid Cycles

The first set of the medicated treatments I did was an oral drug called Clomid. This drug you take on days 5-9 of your cycle and it helps your body ovulate on time to be able to time it better. For me, because of the low dose my doctor gave me, I didn’t have too many side effects except for being a little more emotional than usual those 3 months I tried this treatment. Nothing ended up coming of this treatment in the end for us. And after no luck, my OB/GYN ended up referring us to a fertility specialist. There we did the following treatments. 

Timed Intercourse Cycles

Now, this might seem like TMI! But, the more that you get into treatments, the more your life is an open book. Pretty much every part of it! Haha. 

For this treatment I was on 4 different medicines; Femera, Follistim, Ovidril, and Progestrone. 

The Femera pills prepped my body to create eggs and taken days 3-7 of my cycle, the Follistim injections forced my body to create multiple eggs and injections taken twice a day days 5 through usually day 10, 11 or 12, the Ovidril injection caused my body to ovulate taken one time sometime between day 12-14 of my cycle, and the Progestrone was a suppository pill inserted vaginally that aided in building the lining of my uterus and postpone my next period from coming so a pregnancy could take hold and taken twice a day for the inevitable “2 week wait”.

For the most part all of these drugs had similar side effects, for me that is. Mood swings, light cramping, itchiness where I did the injections (Which were all in my belly) and others, almost like I was in a constant state of PMS. (I know not exactly a fun time, for me or my husband.) 

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The Hope Chest

When my husband and I first started this journey to becoming parents, I was so excited about planning…EVERYTHING! From nursery colors, to what kind of outfits I would dress my baby in. And of course, baby names. I would go to baby sections of stores and just ‘window shop’. But with every passing month, that excitement would fade little by little. Until, I just wanted to never see a baby section again, and to be honest, I didn’t want to see babies either. My heart just broke. Then, one day, about 2 years ago, I had someone suggest to me, “why don’t you just get some baby things here and there and just save them?” I thought to myself, that is not a bad idea. I mean, people do it in hopes of getting married one day, so why not a baby? That is when I started my own ‘baby’ Hope Chest.

My husband and I sat down and budgeted to set aside $15 a month that I can go shopping for a baby item to add to my box. It ranges from decor for the nursery, to just a package of diapers. Depends on what I feel that month. To be honest though, some months are just to hard to think about baby items, so I don’t end up going. But that is ok. I just get $30 the next month to spend! 😉 Brett and I even go together and shop sometimes, which makes it fun to plan and anticipate together. (Remember, even though he may not show it, he is going through some of the same emotions that you are. He is trying to be strong for the both of you. Be sure to include him too.) 

Right now, we are living with my parents in the process of building a house. (So exciting!) Since we don’t have space to store our items here, we are setting aside our $15 a month to pay for a crib when we get to our house. That is something I am looking forward to shopping for! 

Ladies, I say all of this simply to say that it is ok to hope, to dream. God placed these dreams in our hearts for a reason. And even though it doesn’t happen when we feel it should, it will in His timing. Just continue to have faith and pursue life knowing that God does and will answer prayers! 

So, let’s have some fun! If you have started your own ‘Baby’ Hope Chest, what have you put in it so far? If you haven’t, will you start one? And, what will be the first thing you might put in there?

P.S. I would share a picture of my items, but it is all in a storage unit waiting to go into our new house! Hehe

Torie & Noah

imageHere is another great testimony of God’s Faithfulness. I met Torie through friend’s while my husband was deployed. We ended up getting referred to the same fertility doctor and developed such a close relationship spending countless hours going back and forth to the clinic that was an hour away for our appointments. A friendship I will cherrish forever! She also has a blog about her journey to mommyhood. Feel free to click here to check her blog.

Written by Torie:

I’ve been where you’re sitting, and if you’re brave and strong enough to read this I have to give you big kudos! I know the bitter sweetness that comes with reading other infertile women’s success stories. While it can give you hope, questions also begin filling your mind, “Yes you got your baby, but will I ever get mine?” “Will we have to pursue that extensive treatment?” Our stories may differ, but sweet sister, please know that you’re not sitting there alone, with your heart aching, looking for hope. I was where you are just a few months ago, and what you feel now, you will never forget.

Since I could tote around a baby doll, I was “Mama.” In fact, I’d be embarrassed to admit this face to face but since I have a gut feeling you could probably relate, growing up, I was “Mama” to my pet hamsters too. At least, I was Mama in my heart. For the thousand times you’re asked throughout childhood, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
My answer never wavered, a wife and mom. That was it. After graduating high school, I chose not to attend college because I couldn’t justify spending $40,000 on a degree that would take me away from my passion, my life long dream, and my future career as Mom.

A few months before our wedding, I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and my biggest fear of knowing I may not be able to physically bare children, became a reality. After our first year of marriage, my husband Noah and I decided to start trying to grow our family. I was thankful that we knew going in, we may have a long hard road ahead of us and I hoped that that would cut out a lot of guesswork if we didn’t get pregnant right away. Needless to say, I am all for proactive medical testing and strongly believe you have to be your own best advocate! Not long after we began trying I approached my doctor and asked if with my diagnosis we could be sent to a fertility specialist. We were told no, we’d still have to try for the standard one year requirement and if we didn’t succeed we’d revisit the idea. I was furious and honestly felt defeated when we’d only just begun. Doors were shutting in our face, but then by some miracle and the grace of God, a few days after Christmas we received a letter from our insurance saying our request had been approved and we’d be sent to a Reproductive Endocrinologist an hour away from home. With more blood tests, more ultrasounds, and a couple tests for Noah we were told our odds of conceiving naturally were a mere 5%.

In February of 2015 we tried our first medicated cycle a combination of Femara, Follistim, Ovidrel and Progesterone with half a dozen ultrasounds throughout the month. After a negative pregnancy test I’d start a month on birth control to get rid of the left over cysts from the failed cycle, before we could try again. We did this 4 times and with each consecutive cycle I felt more and more hurt, hopeless, and angry. Fertility treatments ruled our lives and I wasn’t any closer to earning the deeply coveted title of Mommy. The truth of it was, compared to most couples fighting infertility, we hadn’t been in the battle long. I felt guilty and ashamed for being so heartbroken so soon when we had close friends that had been at this for years. But these friends did something monumental, they validated my feelings and that was exactly what I needed. Whether you’ve been fighting infertility for months or years, the heartache is the same. For so many this journey is incredibly isolating. When we began to share our struggle, we discovered what an incredible support system we had around us, and oh how that revolutionized our outlook! We were struggling, but we were not alone! There were family and friends around the world praying with us for our baby! By July we had to move on and decided to try an IUI cycle with higher doses of the same medications. Our odds with IUI weren’t much better so we held onto hope but spent the majority of the month researching and preparing for our plan #6, IVF, in case the IUI failed. I liked having a back up plan and knowing what our next step would be, eliminating any chance to wallow after a negative test and instead move forward in hope. IUI didn’t work for us, but because we had prepared for that outcome, we were able to jump into IVF without missing a beat. If you’ve undergone fertility treatment, you know that you can only try one method for so long before moving onto the next more invasive option. Pursuing IVF meant putting it all on the line, setting aside our financial goals and taking on more debt. I never thought we’d have to go that far, but if it would give us the family we’d longed for, it would be worth it. God gave us 13 embryos from our IVF procedure and we implanted the first two embryos November 2nd 2015. We’ve never been filled with so much hope and so much anxiety.

God answered our prayers on day 501, one of our embryos stuck, and we will be meeting our sweet baby girl, Everlee Joy, this July! I promise sweet sister, if it can happen for us, it can happen for you. Keep knocking on those doors until God opens the right one for you.

156+ injections
6,000+ miles of driving to and from doctors appointments
Countless tears shed… To feel this sweet girl kicking me from the inside as I write this to you… totally worth it all.

“Lord you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1

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Morgan & Josh

img_0279Here is the first of many testimonies of God’s faithfulness in the journey through infertility! Morgan and Josh are good friends of mine, and we walked through infertility together. It is always nice to have a support system to walk with you during difficult times. Morgan was willing to write out her story to share with you all and I am so grateful that she did! I hope their story encourages you!

My husband Josh and I married in June of 2011. We had decided that we were going to wait to start our family until he was done with graduate school. He finished in the Spring of 2012 so we decided to start “trying” that winter. I went to my doctor and talked about what our plans were. He suggested getting off birth control right away so my body could regulate out so I did. My body did not regulate well. We tried for a couple of months before Josh left for basic training with no success.

Josh left for training so I decided to focus on eating well and exercising so I could be ready, to my dismay, I had not had a period for 4 months, I know tmi, at this point I was starting to worry that something was wrong, so I made an appointment to see my doctor. The appointment did not go well, after an ultrasound and blood tests I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and a septum in my uterus. They told me that I would most likely have to have help getting pregnant if I would be able to at all. I was put on progesterone to regulate my periods for health reasons and metformin to help reduce the Ovarian cysts. When Josh and I were reunited for longer than a few days at a time we started up again. Months went by and nothing. Every negative pregnancy test was heart wrenching. Not to mention the side effects of the progesterone making me irritable and the metformin making me feel sluggish. Needless to say our marriage was strained. We went to see a gynecologist in Aug of 2013 and he told us we had to “try” for a year before he could do anything. That was not what I wanted to hear. He did take me off of my medicine which helped me feel better physically but emotionally I was a wreck. My heart was hurting and my husband didn’t know how to help.

Fast forward one year in July 2014 I had only had maybe 4 periods since my last visit, my doctor puts me on clomid and performed an ultrasound to which he said my ovaries looked like Swiss cheese due to all the cysts. With a new found hope that these drugs would work we set out on our journey again with no success. Each cycle was a failure and the medicine was increased each time.

Then the news came the Josh was deploying and we didn’t know for how long. I felt like God was against us and that our dreams of being parents would never come to fruition.

When I found out that Josh would be getting back sooner than expected I went back to my doctor which put me back on clomid. He then told me that if this cycle did not work that we would have to be sent to a fertility clinic for further treatment. That scared me because we did not want to do those kinds of treatments and we didn’t know if we would have been able to afford it.

Now, I must back track a little. In September of 2014 we had been actively trying for almost two years. We were both broken hearted and wanted to grow our family. Josh comes to me with the idea of adoption. I had thought about it a little before but needed time to process my feelings and come to terms with the possibility that I may never be able to physically bare a child. After a few weeks of thinking and praying I decided that adoption would be the right course of action for us over more invasive procedures such as IVF.

We did our research and talked to many agencies and found one that we felt comfortable with. We got the paper work and filled it all out. Now let me tell you, that was a lot of paper work. There is a lot involved when adopting a child.

So there we were on our last cycle of clomid. I remember picking it up and the pharmacy tech said good luck to me. I don’t know why but it struck me wrong, maybe it was because at this point I was just going through the motions, I didn’t believe that that cycle was going to work. So we went through the cycle and I went in for my ultrasound to see if I had eggs about to release and I did, 3 to be precise. I left with so much hope. I waited the 10 days and took a pregnancy test and was broken hearted when it was negative. That was a Friday. Over the weekend we gathered all of the adoption papers to submit them on Tuesday since I had class on Monday.

Monday night I almost fell asleep in class. I stopped on the way home to get a pregnancy test to make sure I wasn’t pregnant before starting a medication that you cannot take while pregnant. I get home and take it not thinking anything of it because I knew it was just a precaution. I looked down as the color ran across the window and there was a line. It was a line I had never seen before. I checked the box to make sure. There it was! The long awaited line that meant I was pregnant! I ran out to Josh and practically forced the test in his hands for him to look at. We both cried from excitement. The next day I went into the clinic to take their test, just to be sure and it too was positive!

We decided to not submit the papers to adopt not knowing what was to come. It is still in our hearts to adopt and we will some day. Anyways, in Dec of 2015 our handsome little boy was born and we were in love from the moment we laid eyes on him. Evan is our miracle baby and is loved so greatly.

Great Night For a Date Night!

As I’ve stated in my post about how my husband and I met, I am going to be putting together blog posts about marriage as well as the stories of our journey through infertility. 

What is a better way to help with your marriage than spending time together?! I thought for my first post for this section it would be a great idea to just start with some great date ideas! With the help of some of some ladies that commented on a post that I made on my Facebook Page I have compiled a list of both big and small things you can do with your spouse to spend some time together! Enjoy!

Hiking

This is a great way to spend some alone time, and get active as well! Why not it really make it romantic and make it either a sunrise or a sunset hike to a lookout point? Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the view!

Coloring

Bring out the kid again and color together! This is a very relaxing and enjoyable pass time. If you have kids, this is something that everyone can sit down and do together. 

Reading out loud to each other

Whether it’s a novel, a devotional, or anything else you both have interest in, reading together is just a fun way to connect. And, hey, maybe each pick a charecter and act it out as you go! 🙂

Thrifting

This is a very inexpensive date. My husband and I find a local thrift store and give each other a budget of say $5 and we set off to see who can find the most unique and out there item we can find and see who found the best! Haha

Take a dance class together

Taking a partner dance class is a great way to spend time together. It also is about a solid hour of holding your spouse, real close! 😉 (What other reason do you need?) 

Dressing up for a fast food date

Getting all dressed up is always fun, especially for us girls. So why not on a budget, get dressed up and go to a fast food place with a table cloth and make your own “fancy dinner date”!

Investing in a Fire 

This was such a good idea! For those nights you don’t have time to actually go out somewhere, lighting a fire in the back yard and sitting out talking to your spouse under the stars. This also gets you outside so that all the distractions of housework, etc. are not around you and you can focus on genuine conversation with each other! 

Vacation no destination 

Now this is something that could done over a weekend or just for a day. But set out in the car and every time you hit an intersection flip a coin. Heads is right, tails is left. And just keep driving until dinner time and see what’s around and eat there for dinner. Really fun to be spontaneous together! 

I hope this list helps spark some ideas of different ways to spend time with your spouse and build your relationship together. What is your favorite activity you do with your spouse? Comment below and share your ideas!