Monday, December 14, 2015

Fertility Testing - August/September 2015

Before I begin, it's important to note that I'm overweight. I know I'm overweight and I've been anxious this whole time that no matter what I go to the doctor for (fertility or otherwise) that my weight will be a cause. I know I should lose weight and I'm working on it, but I didn't want to hear that I should try to lose weight first before they'd do any tests...

08/21/15 - Doctor visit (Goal: ask for fertility tests)

Happy to report my doctor never mentioned weight as a problem! She said normally their first step is to advise you to use OPK's to check for the LH surge and as I told her I already am/have she okay'd the next step. She also mentioned stopping the BBT and just focusing on the OPK's.

She gave me lab slips for:
- Semenalysis for DH
- Pelvic ultrasound on any of CD's 4 through 7 [check ovarian reserve]
- Blood draw testing for: AntiMullerian Hormone, Glucose (fasting), Insulin (total), T4 free and TSH.

She said that the blood tests should take about a week to get the results back so I'm having them done tomorrow as I'm CD24 tomorrow. I need to fast from 10pm onwards so I think a Saturday is the easiest for me to avoid questions from work.

They're also testing me for hypothyroidism so we'll see how that goes. I'm glad we're doing all the testing at once but as you all know I'm in the US so we shall see what this all costs (we do have insurance thankfully but the deductible isn't low ).

08/22/15 - Blood test (CD24)

Took 2 vials of blood. Was told they need to send off for them. Should take about a week to get those results

08/29/15 – Blood test results

- Antimullerian Hormone: 3.35 ng/ml
- Insulin total: 20.5 (I only fasted for 8/9 hours, instead of the 12-14...)
- Glucose: 95
- FT4: .90 ng/ml
- S-TSH: 2.05 international units/ml

All normal

08/31/15 - Period started

09/04/15 - Ultrasound & doc visit (CD5)

8am: Ultrasound to check my reserves. Started internal but had trouble finding ovaries. Abdominal one (fatter ended wand) found them much easier.

8:30am: Doc visit to talk about results. Saw Dr. Naylor. He didn't explain the results outside of "normal". Said he wouldn't order a "dye test" until after we'd been trying a year and after DH has received his sperm analysis results. Asked to test progesterone and he gave me test slip. Needs to be done 7 days after OPK peak (so CD27).

Results of Ultrasound were sent to me via the patient portal. 4 follicles on one ovary, 5 on the other which is normal for someone my age.


Rather than waiting until I have the Day 21 bloods (7 days after positive OPK so actually Day 27 for me on a typical cycle) I've decided to post this post now. The initial bloods cost just under $400.00 so I decided to wait for the rest until the start of the year and a new deductible.

The same for DH's sperm analysis... too close to the end of the year so January is our month (unless we get pregnant on lucky month 12!)

12 Months of TTC - A Reflection on the Process

It’s just crazy to think that this month represents 12 months since we started trying to conceive, and in another 12 months, who knows where we will be?! Will I be pregnant, or will we have a child or will we still be TTC and trying to find help with it?

I decided to write this post to talk about how I'm feeling right now, 12 months in and not even a hint of a positive HPT and to maybe show other people that they’re not alone if they feel the same or similar.

For the last few months I’ve honestly been trying not to think about it too much. Before beginning this journey I never considered that we might have to think about IVF or IUI as an option for us (especially IVF). I really thought it would just happen naturally, and admittedly, months before now.  Still, and I’m not really sure why, I just have this feeling that while it might take meds, it will happen for us and that having a child is just something that is in our future.

I look up videos that talk about how it felt to "finally" be pregnant in an attempt try and channel their positive feelings and to try and imagine how it will finally feel for us.  Most videos seem to be posted after people have finally got their BFP and it's rare to see ones posted in the middle of it and trying for that first child so admittedly I struggle to find someone who I truly relate to.  I'm sure that's because people don't think others want to read those negative posts, or watch those sad videos, but also because it's hard to admit how vulnerable you are and to really analyse how you're feeling when you're trying very hard to remain positive.

DTD for the first time knowing that we were unprotected, and attempting to make a child… that right there was just mind blowing.  I was filled with some many different emotions; happy and positive, but also a little scared and nervous. Finally pulling that trigger (so to speak) and realising that we’re on the cusp of a whole new chapter of our life together. First there was love, then there was marriage and now we’re working on bringing the baby carriage...

The first cycle out of the gate we put our all into it. I was taking pre-natal vitamins, doing OPK's and checking BBT. I was feeling really positive, because, after all, it's drummed into you that no birth control = pregnancy. I was utterly convinced that we had been successful that first month because I had nausea, bloating and heartburn etc.  I knew that period symptoms are often the same as pregnancy symptoms but it didn’t make me any less surprised when my period started, I was just SO convinced!

As the months passed I started to learn more about the process… how there are only about 3 fertile days per cycle with a 20% chance and that it’s “normal” for it to take, on average, 12 months to conceive. I learnt more about IVF, IUI, AI, herbal supplements and medications than I thought I’d ever need to know about. I also found out that it's perfectly normal to skip 2 cycles per year. While I personally haven’t skipped a cycle in the last 12 months (I did skip one in October prior to TTC), I did have 2 cycles where I was about 2 weeks late. When it happened the first time I read so much information online that said sometimes people don't get positive urine tests despite being pregnant so I had a blood test done and of course it was negative. The second time I didn't bother with a blood test and decided to wait until the next time my period was due... it only took 2 weeks.

In August I decided to have some hormones checked, including my thyroid as well as having an ultrasound to check my egg reserve. Thankfully, my tests came back normal but I did find myself hoping that they would find something small (and treatable with just a tablet) wrong… something to explain why there's been nothing and not even a hint of a something. 

So lately I try and think positive and wonder what I'll be like when I'm pregnant (see… optimist!). Will I be "crazy" hormonal? Will I get bad morning sickness? Will my belly get big out front or out to the side (the latter is how my mother carried me)? Will I have hip issues? C-section or natural labor? And of course I can’t forget the standard “I wonder what the baby will look like” thoughts. My husband and I are both brunette’s with blonde siblings. We both have hazel eyes but I have brown eyes in my family… it’s fun to predict J

I imagine what it'll be like to get that BFP... and I try and remain positive. I imagine how I’d make the announcement to our friends/family, whether I’d call my husband at work, go into work like normal or call in sick? Could I keep it quiet for the “standard 12 weeks"?... probably not! I'd probably end up telling at least couple of people who already know we're TTC. In fact, I actually have a list of people I need to tell and my approximate method/timeframe of telling them. There are some people I’d have to tell last because once they knew, everyone will know.

So, here I am, currently 4DPO in our 12th month of TTC and if we "fail" this cycle we'll continue with fertility testing next year (I still need to check progesterone and husband has his sperm test) and hopefully start a round of clomid to encourage ovulation.

Hopefully I’ll be back sooner rather than later updating with my “how I knew I was pregnant” story. But if not, I’ll be back at some point to continue the stories of the journey.

AI - artificial insemination
BBT - basal body temperature - in my case, orally
BFP - big fat positive, i.e. positive pregnancy test
CD - cycle day
Cycle - A cycle is counted from the first day of your period until the day before your period starts again (typically around 28 days, mine is more like 32)
DTD - doing the deed, i.e. "sex"
FB - Facebook
HPT - home pregnancy test
IUI - intra uterine insemination
IVF-  in vitro fertilisation
OPK - ovulation predictor kit
OV - ovulation
Rod - Implanon birth control rod
TTC - trying to conceive