Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Very Beginning

The beginning is a good place to start, is it not?  My husband, Kelly, and I were married on June 30, 2007.  I was 20 and he was 24.  We didn't know quite what we were getting into, but we were excited and in love.  Thankfully, those two things have not changed over the past three years together.  We knew that we always wanted to be parents so the last thing I did before we got married was drop the birth control pills.  We didn't think it would take too long, I mean, getting pregnant is easy.  Right?  Actually, you'd be surprised.  Some people are able to just spread their legs and create life, for a lot of others, it's not quite so easy.  It didn't happen and it didn't happen and it didn't happen.  At the time, it was half a frustration and half a relief.  As I said, I was 20 when we got married.  I was also in the summer between my sophomore and junior year in a four-year college program.  As disappointed and let-down as I was sometimes during those first two years, it was probably ultimately for the better and I'll readily admit that now.  Trying to finish college, working three jobs to pay the bills, and trying to support a marriage and a child would have been difficult.

But then I finished college.  Still nothing.  Which means, in the summer of 2009, I went to the doctor's.  The doctor that I visited didn't seem too concerned that my periods were weeks long at a time.  She off-handedly told me that I probably had PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) and ordered me a three-month supply of a progesterone supplement to get my cycles back into whack.

It worked great . . . for the three months that I was on it.  And, actually, the next month was okay too.  But then everything fell apart again.  By this point, I was already thrown back into the swing of a new school year as the teacher this time and had other things on my mind.  So I let the idea of becoming a mother fall by the wayside again for awhile.  The school year ended and the next summer rolled around.  By this point, we had been married for three years and still remained childless.  I began to get angry, which, in turn, threw me into action.  I had always hoped before that things would just happen on their own, like they were supposed to, like they seemed to do for everybody else.  But now, I didn't care if it happened all on it's own or not, I just wanted it to happen.

So I did my research and I found an OB/GYN that specializes in treating women with infertility issues, especially PCOS.  I was terrified, but I bravely went in to that first appointment in July of 2010.  I'm a woman.  I'm strong.  But I knew that if she told me that there was no chance for us, no hope for us to ever be parents naturally, I would fall apart.  I think that's one of the reasons that I waited so long for that first appointment, because I was terrified that that might be our prognosis and I didn't want that.  In that case, it would have been better not to know.  I would rather have remained ignorant and hopeful.

Thankfully though, that was not our verdict.  The doctor was very optimistic.  She ordered a battery of infertility tests and, at that very first appointment, informed me that I was probably Insulin Resistant as well as having PCOS.  She determined this by looking at the back of my neck and my under arms and observing something called Acanthosis nigricans.  Which, translated, means that there was a darkening of the skin on the back of my neck and underarms that typically indicates that a person has Insulin Resistance.  Of course, she needed a blood test to verify the diagnosis.  So they took a vial of blood from me.  In fact, they took seven vials of blood from.  What they all tested for?  I still don't know.  But either way, the diagnosis of Insulin Resistance was confirmed and I was given a prescription for a medication called Metformin.

Metformin is a miracle drug.  Immediately, I lost weight without even trying.  (I had lost about 15 pounds already with significant effort.)  I quit bleeding for weeks on end and, most importantly, thanks to the Metformin, I started to ovulate!  In retrospect, I don't think that I had ovulated ever before in my life.  I bled, but now, I do believe that the multi-week-periods were actually anovulatory bleeding.  As soon as I had that first appointment, I started charting my basal body temperature (Did you know that, after your ovulate, your basal body temperature goes up nearly an entire degree?).  I started taking folic acid and calcium and complex b vitamins.  I drank more water and less soda.  I was determined.

The first time I ovulated in my life, I was 23 and it was August 29th, 2010.  The husband and I made sure to have sex on all the right days because I was educated and I knew when the right days were for me.  So we had sex, and then some more, and then a few more times, just to be sure.  And then we waited.  For two weeks.  I was so sure, so very sure that I must be pregnant.  I had ovulated, his sperm analysis had come with a go-ahead, and we had done our very best to make sure that they were in the same place at the same time.  I was so sure.  But I was wrong.  I've never been so devastated as I was that day when my period started.  We'd done everything right and it had all gone wrong.  What if this was never meant to happen for us?  What if I would never be able to give my husband the child that he so longed for and deserved?  Again, I thought about leaving him so that he could find someone that would be able to make a father.  I was broken.

But, after I few days, I got over it and started looking towards the next cycle.  If the Metformin had been able to make me ovulate once, why not twice?  So I continued to chart my basal body temperature, to pee on the flimsy, little ovulation predictor sticks, to make sure that we would be ready when the sex really mattered.  And, sure enough, I ovulated!  It was still later than most women with regular cycles typically ovulate (26 days after the start of my period), but that didn't matter.  I was ovulating!  So, again, we did our best.  And, again, we failed.

I had something to look forward to this time though.  Along with the battery of tests that had been ordered for me was something called an HSG, or, in doctor lingo a Hysterosalpingogram.  This particular test has the possibility of being quite painful.  High-contrast due is inserted into your uterus through a catheter and it's progress is viewed on a live x-ray machine.  This test is used to determine if there are blockages in the fallopian tubes that might be stopping conception from taking place.  Even more exciting, this particular test has the possibility of increasing fertility for a month or two after it occurs because it clears out any minor blockages in the fallopian tubes!  

So, as my second cycle came to an end, I called and set up my HSG.  And then, a few days later, I went in for it.  Again, I was terrified.  Would it hurt?  Would my tubes be blocked?  What was the result going to be? Thankfully, oh so thankfully, it was nowhere near as bad as I had expected it to be.  My husband was not allowed in the x-ray room to hold my hand as I had hoped he would be, but it was okay.  It hurt, but not too badly.  And, even more importantly, my tubes were clear!  Which meant, as soon as this cycle was over, I was going to start my very first round of Clomid on my next one.  Clomid is first-round fertility drug that's used to help encourage women's ovaries to ovulate.  We were going to get some help in this whole baby-making process. =]

So I continued to chart, did our best to do the horizontal mambo around the time when I ovulated this cycle, but didn't really have much hope for it.  All eyes were on starting that Clomid next cycle.  That was sure to be our ticket to becoming parents!

I held off on taking a home pregnancy test until 10 days past ovulation (usually, I started on 9 days past), which, for the record, was Wednesday, November 17th at about 9 p.m.  I mean, it would be negative anyways.  They always were.  The Clomid was what we were aiming for, looking forward to, that was our golden ticket out of infertility land!  But, much to my surprise and disbelief, this is what I saw:

The line is faint, very, very faint.  But it's there.  And, if you're taking a pregnancy test, it doesn't matter how faint that second line is, if there are two lines, your eggo is preggo.  I showed it to Kelly and asked him what he saw.  He saw the second line too! I wasn't hallucinating!  (In response to looking at it though, the very first thing he said was, "I think I just touched your pee." XD)  The next day, I took three more pregnancy tests, sure that first one was a fluke, but, lo and behold, the second line stayed, even got a  little darker.  Either way, it was definitely visible on each of the tests the next day.  The whole dang box of them must be a fluke, I figured.  They were a new kind of strips that I hadn't used before.  The whole thing must be broken.  So I sent my husband out to buy some store-bought ones, they were more accurate, right?  I mean, how much value can you really get out of something you spent $0.20 on on-line?

Much later than I was hoping for, he came with a box of three First Response tests.  I stole the bag from him and ran to the bathroom.  Three minutes minutes later, this is what I saw:

There was still a second line!  Okay . . . maybe all the Internet cheapies weren't broken!  First thing next morning, I called and scheduled an appointment to verify that I really wasn't hallucinating.  They had one appointment open for the entire day with a general practice doctor that I'd never heard of before.  I took it.  And then I took two more pregnancy tests to see if that miraculous second line was still there.  And then I waited until 3:15 and saw a foreign doctor that I can't even remember the name of now (this was  yesterday). All I know is that he reminded me of Fez from "That 70s Show".  He gave me a physical, shipped me off to lab for a urine sample, and then Kelly and I waited in the doctor's room for twenty minutes while they gathered up the results.  The doctor was smiling when he came back into the room.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  Is he smiling intentionally or does he just smile a lot?  And then, he shook my husband's hand and gave him a hearty congratulations and told us to call next week to set up our six-week prenatal appointment.  Believe it or not (I'm still not sure if I do), I'm pregnant.  Today, as I type this, I am 3 weeks and 5 days pregnant, which translates to barely pregnant, but pregnant nonetheless.

I don't know what I'm going to do with that Clomid sitting in my medicine chest . . . it doesn't look like I'm going to be needing it now because, in 254 days, on August 1st, 2011 (or thereabouts) we're going to be parents. =]

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