I was told yesterday that I will have to remain on bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy. I've always been a busy person, and so everyone's first question has been, "What will you DO with all that time?!?" I am still not totally sure, but I thought since I'll be spending many hours with my computer nearby, I could keep track of what I hope will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.
So far none of this journey to have our family has gone as anticipated. In June of 2008, Eric and I had a discussion that we were ready to start a family. I wanted to try for the first time in either September or October of 2008, to ensure that I could make it through my final year of graduate school before delivering. Out went the birth control pills, and I began charting, using "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" as my guide. I dutifully took my temperature every morning, and we used condoms as a back-up method. July came and went, and I did not have a period, and it appeared I wasn't ovulating, either. By mid-August, I was worried. Everyone around me said, "Don't worry, it takes time after coming off the pill!" I called my gynecologist anyway. She started having me get bloodwork done at 2-week intervals. By mid-September, she had no idea what was happening. She asked that I take Provera for 10 days to see if it could induce a period and get my system going. One week after stopping, no period. More bloodwork, still inconclusive. My gynecologist threw in the towel and referred me out to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE).
I saw two different RE's in 2 days. Their diagnosis was the same: poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I am still not completely in agreement with the diagnosis given that I lack most of the characteristics of the syndrome, but what it all comes down to is that I wasn't ovulating on my own, and it didn't seem like my body was planning on it anytime soon. They both agreed on the first step-- a round of Clomid to induce ovulation.
I chose the female RE, and the first round went off without a hitch. I took my pills, suffered very few side effects, grew a nice big follicle, had a trigger, had lots of sex (not nearly as fun as that would have sounded before), and then waited. 12 days later, I got my period. I was devastated; knowing very little about fertility treatment I had sincerely believed that all I would need to get pregnant was one egg and well-timed sex. This seemed to really be rubbing in that "infertile" label. What else was wrong with me?
We immediately started round 2, Clomid again, and this time decided to do an IUI, or intrauterine insemination. Essentially, Eric's sperm would be washed and only the strongest would be placed through a catheter into my uterus where they would hopefully meet up with my egg and make an embryo. This cycle was not good: the RE started me on constant monitoring appointments, and it took a long time for the follicle to develop. She moved from the suburbs into the city and I was constantly driving in during rush hour to get monitored. We got a parking ticket, or I paid $10 for parking, I was late to work constantly... And it didn't work. I got my period again right before Christmas 2008. I decided I needed a break, and scheduled an appointment for a month later with the other RE I had seen.
In January of 2009, we met with Dr. Glassner and began treatment again. First the Provera to get my period, then I took a medication called Femara, which is supposed to work like Clomid. Except it didn't. After the 10 days, absolutely nothing had happened and it looked like I had just started my cycle. We decided to start me on much stronger injectible medications, and after a few days I had one big follicle and about 10 smaller ones, so I was quickly given a trigger to ovulate and told the cycle was a "bust" already. And it was. I let it ruin my spring break, a trip to Paris. I spent the whole trip feeling fat and bloated, not able to shop or buy cute French clothes, obsessing over symptoms, crying, and feeling sorry for myself after I got my period.
After this, I went right into another cycle of injectible medications. They started me off on one dose, found I was responding too quickly and dropped the dose, upped it, dropped it... after 2 weeks of this I was ready to trigger and have an IUI. Two weeks later, I was convinced I was pregnant (no period yet), took a pregnancy test, and it was negative. I got my period the next day. I decided to take a little time off (about two weeks) to see if I would start cycling on my own. I didn't. We went to start another cycle, and after about 10 days of injections, I had 20 growing follicles, but almost no lining.
I met with Dr. Glassner and he canceled the cycle. I said, I give up, let's do IVF. I figured IVF was my best bet-- it was obvious that I responded well to the injectible medications, and if we could just go ahead with it we'd have plenty of eggs to fertilize. He agreed that IVF was our best bet, and we said we would begin after I returned from Italy in June.