Tag Archives: treatment plan

You Are Here.

13 Aug

If my life was a map this would be a point of interest and possibly a crossroads. The last two years have changed me irreversibly. I will never be able to go back to the person I was but at the same time I know the evolution is incomplete and I will continue to change from here. This is my lyrically waxed introduction to an update post, but all pretentiousness aside, things are okay. They have been better but for now, they are okay.

First and foremost, we met with our fertility doctor (RE.) We had a long conversation and decided that the best path for us at this point is to pursue IVF. This proposition is both scary and exciting at the same time. It’s scary because it means we need about $17,000 to conceive a child, which even under the best of financial circumstances is a daunting amount of money to spend on a chance. It’s exciting because our the RE gave us a 70-80% chance of success, odds that are quite a bit better than those in Vegas or even those of a coin toss but still a gamble nonetheless. Randall and I have decided that we will be moving toward IVF, we have also decided that we will be taking a break from all things trying to conceive until we are mentally ready to tackle the “big guns” of infertility treatment. I have been waiting for ovulation, peeing on sticks, tracking my temperature, getting my hopes up and then getting them smashed to pieces for nearly two years now. I am mentally exhausted from it all and think a time out will do us a world of good.

As always, there is another reason for the time out as well. The RE gave us a 70-80% chance with IVF. What will make the difference between 70 and 80 percent is my weight. I weighed this morning and I am up 25 pounds from my lowest weight (for those who are just joining in I lost 65 pounds in 2011 from diet and exercise.) 10 pounds of this existed before we began fertility treatment – when I hit that low point, I also hit a plateau; after losing weight consistently for many months the scale would not budge. For awhile I really made an effort, I mixed up my workouts, tried calorie gains and deficits but as nothing worked I got lazy and stopped counting calories. The difference this time was that unlike my pre-weight loss days when I ate with abandon completely in the dark about the damage I was doing, I knew just how much I could eat/workout to minimize weight loss or gain. I held steady at those +10 pounds for about six months. Then we started fertility treatment and the wheels fell off. I am going to be honest, I heard the doctor say that I could expect a weight gain of about five pounds per treatment cycle and it was like he had given me the golden ticket to gain without shame. I ate and ate and ate and stopped working out because the meds drained me. I truly believed that I would get pregnant the first cycle and then having gained “a little” weight wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Then when the first cycle failed I was sad and mad and so I ate to make myself feel better. I baked and cooked my way to another weight gain but again…I would be pregnant soon, so it wouldn’t matter, right? So, here I stand with 15 “fertility treatment” pounds and 10 more from just being lazy. To give ourselves the best possible chance at IVF success, I need to lose 50 pounds. I am mad at myself because it would only be 25 if I hadn’t let myself go…but at the same time, nothing good is going to come of that anger, so I have to move on.

So, today is the day. I am going back to the basics, back to what I know works. I ordered a new pair of running shoes that will arrive today. I bought some new workout tops and bottoms that actually fit my +25lbs self. I restarted calorie counting using MyFitnessPal and have signed up for a 5k on 9/29, I am actually going to use my gym membership. This is happening. I have battled my weight all of my adult life and though the doctor assures me that my weight issues have not led to our infertility thus far, I refuse to allow something I know I can beat keep me from living my full life. Watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics last night, a commercial kept playing about putting your goals on the line, online. So that’s what I am doing.

The Goals:

  • Lose 50 pounds (or more) in six to eight months (aiming for 2 pounds a week)
  • Get my 5k back to where it was…aim for some PRs
  • Get my diet under control and stick to my daily calorie allotment
  • Stop treating my sadness with baked goods (fear not those who enjoyed the muffin recipe, this by no means will be the end of baking for me…it will just be the end of eating the majority of everything I bake to make myself feel better.) 🙂
  • Get Randall involved in both diet and exercise to help him shed his IF treatment pounds.
  • Get truly happy and enjoy being myself again

I am excited about this. I know from experience that you have to want to do something like this to make it happen and I know that for the first time in a while, I want to do this. So, I will. 🙂

BFN to BBQ

11 Apr

It’s been 2.5 weeks since I last blogged. I would love to say I had some sort of important thing keeping me from logging into WordPress, but the truth is I was just not feeling the blog vibe. I would apologize, but hey, it’s my blog and I think a 2.5 week break is fine. 🙂

I got a negative pregnancy test this morning. I felt a little off and had some pretty persistent “symptoms” that I couldn’t find record of in the last thirteen months of charting, so I let my hopes raise a little and peed on a stick. Surprisingly the negative took no wind from my sails. I felt good about the day and moved on post-pee cup like it was no big thing. This is major progress for me and illustrates both the purpose and effectiveness of taking a “break” before treatment. Score one for being too lazy to take my temperature every day!

The overall goal of taking a break from the hardcore rigorous form of trying to conceive was to get my mindset into a positive place before undergoing infertility treatment. I can honestly say that I am there. Randall and I have been working hard to save money for treatment and I am happy to say we have enough saved now to do one to two cycles of IUI with injectable medication without taking anything from our savings/e-fund money. The plan is to do treatment cycle one in June, likely beginning mid-month.We initially planned for a May cycle start date, but as I have heard/read online that injectable fertility medications make women into Hulk Smash! emotional bitches, I decided tackling both my raging hormones and my spring semester final exams just didn’t seem like the best plan. So, June it is.

This is an exciting and scary moment for us…we are standing at the crossroads of possible parenthood and our first potential big league TTC failure. My aunt and cousin (among way too many other family members) visited over Easter weekend and I explained the entire feeling of our infertility journey this way: I was once in CVS buying a pregnancy test, a bottle of wine and tampons. The cashier gave me the side eye and I told her that “I was just preparing for all possible outcomes.” This is my exact feeling about treatment at this point. It will work and we will have a child or it won’t and we will pick ourselves up and make a plan for the future.

Speaking of the future, Randall and I discussed the “what if” aspect while at dinner during date night tonight. Making a plan for this is #5 on the Ten Before Treatment and we have decided if this doesn’t work out for us we will be taking a BBQ road trip across Texas; this is a fitting plan as we had just finished growing food babies at Hard Eight BBQ. We share a mutual love for smoky, sweet sauces served with meat smoked to perfection (sounds a little dirty, eh?) and feel like this trip would be both kind to our post-treatment expenditures budget and a tasty good time. I have more than a few BBQ Meccas I have been dying to visit (Franklin, Snow’s, Luling City Market, Southside Market, Kruez Market) and Randall has some special stops he would like to add in (Shiner Brewery mostly…which side note – did you know you can only tour during the week?), I also wouldn’t mind making another attempt at seeing the Marfa Lights and would love to re-visit and camp a night at Big Bend.

Beer and brisket aside, the heart of the matter is that even though this is still a plan in its beginning stages it lets me know that no matter what comes our way this summer we will make it and be stronger for it.

An Update of Sorts

16 Jan

I have been a blog slacker lately. I will try to blog more often.

We received our official “unexplained infertility” diagnosis last week as all tests came back normal. It was strange to get the diagnosis. On one hand I was really happy nothing was wrong but at the same time not having an answer for why we are not conceiving is frustrating. The RE let us know that the next step is IUI (insemination), which involves placing sperm in the uterus via catheter. IUI works best when combined with fertility medications, so Randall and I have to make a decision as to whether we want to move on with oral medication (Clomid) or injectable medication (Follistim.) The decision is a little tough as the oral medication tends to have a lower success rate but is drastically less expensive and the injectables carry a higher risk of multiples and are more expensive but have a higher success rate. It’s a lot to take in, so we have decided to take no action until April. We will continue to try as we always have until then and hope for a “freebie.”

Weight loss is a weird area right now. My workouts are going really great, my eating is so-so though and I am losing very slowly because of it. There is some correlation between stress about infertility and emotional eating that I really need to work on. I am hopeful that once school starts again I will be able to keep a better schedule and control the emotional eating much better.

Spring semester starts tomorrow. I am excited to get back to it and really have something to focus on other than obsessing about the state of my uterus. The semester will be a busy one as I am taking 15 hours; three of which are History classes and will involve a ton of reading and writing. I have an interesting (to me) course load this semester and will likely geek out on the blog about random History facts in the coming months…prepare yourselves!

I have a couple of posts percolating about things that I have been thinking about lately, so look for those in the coming days. Enjoy MLK day and take a minute to remember Dr. King’s dream and also to think about yours.

New Year, New Plan.

3 Jan

Today was our initial consultation with the reproductive endocrinologist (RE or fertility doctor in layman’s terms). Driving to the office of Dr. K I had a ton of emotions. I was nervous about taking the big step toward dealing with our inability to conceive, upset that we had to visit him at all and slightly embarrassed at the thought of both adding another person to the number of people who have seen my hoo-hah and of Randall getting to experience a trans-vaginal ultrasound from the co-pilot’s seat.

The office was nice, tastefully decorated with decent music and a great, friendly staff. There was a woman with two children and a big pregnant belly in the waiting room. I’ll admit I was kind of wondering why she was there but it didn’t bother me as badly as it did another woman waiting. She was shooting death stares toward them, to which both the pregnant woman and her children were oblivious. While this is a sentiment that might be judged harshly in many circles, I completely understand the woman’s discomfort. We don’t need reminders of what we don’t have; it’s in the forefront of our minds all the time.

The nurse called us back and put Randall and me in a small, sunny room with a round table and a few chairs and told us Dr. K would be there shortly. On the walls were tons of pictures of babies, many twins and a few triplets. I remarked to Randall that it must be kind of cool to be an RE as not every doctor has a product to show off at the end of treatment. A removed appendix or photo of a squeaky clean colon really doesn’t elicit nearly the excitement of a cute baby (or two.)  There were also brochures about donor “materials” and financing options, subtle reminders of the reason we were sitting in that room and that those cute babies didn’t take the easiest or cheapest route to existence.

Dr. K came in an immediately put me at ease. He is knowledgeable and warm. We immediately connected over a shared love of history. He looked through the novel of a chart my gynecologist had sent over and we discussed my reproductive history. He presented us with our immediate next steps and the steps after those. I felt more empowered and in the know than I have in a really long time. He surprised me by telling me to ditch the basal body thermometer and just let him take over from here; a welcome reprieve.

After talking for over an hour we moved to an exam room and I had a date with the vag cam. Dr. K stepped out to allow me to undress. Randall was sitting in a chair and when I took off my pants and underwear, his eyes got wide and we laughed about the strangeness of the situation. I’ve always heard that dealing with infertility is like conceiving with a coaching staff and it seems like that is our new reality.

During the ultrasound, the scan was also displayed on a large LCD TV, allowing both Randall and me to see my uterus, ovaries and cervix as Dr. K looked them over. Everything checked out wonderfully and Dr. K confirmed that I have adequate ovarian reserve. Basically, I have eggs! And a good number!

Based on that good news, we have a plan: on Thursday Randall will have a more in depth semen analysis done and on Friday I will have testing done to confirm that there is no blockage to my fallopian tubes. By the middle of next week we will know the results of these tests. If they come back normal we will consider moving on to inter-uterine insemination next cycle. If we decide to do that, I will also begin fertility drugs at that time.

I am excited and scared to move forward toward making a family. I am glad we clicked with Dr. K and feel like he is right for us. It seems crazy, but the location of his office sealed the deal for me. Driving in, the area was so familiar. When we sat down in the waiting room I used Google maps to see how far we were from the chapel we were married in; 1.2 miles. Something about growing our family so close to where we became a family really struck me and I knew we were exactly where we should be.