Archives for June 2013
After a natural period (thanks to Pregnitude?), five days of Letrozole (aka: Femara), and a shot of 150mg of Bravelle (follicle stimulating hormone), I went to the doctor for my mid-cycle ultrasound this morning. The doctor has told me that she will not proceed with the IUI if I more than three or four big follicles. When we tried our previous IUIs, I had only one follicle, so I had been praying all week that I would have three or four this time, and three or four big ones, at that!
I was beyond excited when I saw my ovaries on the ultrasound this morning. My right ovary had only one follicle, and that follicle was only 12mm. My left ovary had FOUR follicles… a 16mm, a 15mm, and two 12mm. The follicles need to be 18-20mm before we move forward with the insemination. The doctor says she expects them to grow 1-2mm per day, so by the time Tuesday rolls around (that is when we expect the insemination will be), the 15mm and 16mm follicles should be the perfect
sizes! That means that this time, I have [at least] two promising follicles, as opposed to only one follicle in our previous IUIs. To top it all off, the lining of my uterus was nice and thick too!
It has been a really difficult few weeks this time around. It’s hard to explain why, and I can’t even really put my finger on the specific reasons why it has been so difficult. I have been extra emotional, and there have been several days when I have not felt great physically. Every day has been one of constant surrender to God. I have to acknowledge so often throughout the day that I trust His will, and His timing. Oftentimes I do not really feel like I do, so it is just a matter of claiming it, and asking Him to help my unbelief.
Today was really encouraging. I feel so excited and ready for Tuesday. The icing on the cake is that after our IUI Tuesday, we get to go home to Nashville for a whole week! I am so ready to spend some quality time with my parents and sister. Plus, spending the first week of our two-week wait there will make it go by super quickly.
|The elephants were some of my favorite animals we saw today.|
|The tiger was BEAUTIFUL.|
|There were two pandas at the zoo when we were there, and both of them were sleeping.|
|A super weird looking bear… His tongue was like two feet long.|
|They are snuggling!|
|Otters are some of my favorite zoo animals.|
|Andrew with his niece.|
|Do you see the baby?! How awesome is that?!|
|LOVE the colors on this thing!|
|This little guy must have been tired… He kept yawning!|
|The birthday girl… Turned four today.|
Enlist your hubby to carry the camera and water bottle!
There are SO many recommendations for what medicines, supplements, and vitamins those of us with PCOS should take. What is amazing is that there are some things that work wonders for some gals, while those same things may not make a difference for others. It is both confusing and overwhelming. Here is a short list of what I take now, and why.
I should begin by saying that, as far as I could tell, Metformin did nothing for me. Our fertility specialist felt certain that Metformin would help regulate my blood sugar, which would in turn help regulate my cycles. After six months on Metformin, I was not noticing any improvements. Not only were my cycles not regular, they were non-existent. I replaced Metformin with Pregnitude twice per day, and Glucorein PCOS once per day. So let’s start there:
Pregnitude- This is a powder containing 200mcg of folic acid, and 2000 mg of myo-inositol. Pregnitude (despite its cheesy name) supports ovulatory function and quality of eggs. I have been taking Pregnitude for about three weeks, and had the first period I have had on my own (without meds) in probably six months. The Pregnitude is more expensive than the Metformin was, but if it works, it is soooo worth it!
Glucorein for PCOS– Glucorein’s main ingredient is chlorogenic acid, and it also contains L-Cycsteine, which is a naturally occurring amino acid. L-Cysteine has been shown to reduce BMI, fasting insulin, free testosterone (major problem for those of us with PCOS), and menstrual irregularity.
Juice Plus- I started taking this long before being diagnosed with PCOS. I noticed a big difference when I began taking this. I take it in place of multi-vitamins. Juice Plus+ does not make me feel nauseated or hungry, like vitamins have in the past. I think it also helps with my energy level.
Evening Primrose Oil- I take this during the first ten days of my cycle, and then not again until day one of my next cycle. EPO should be taken from cycle day one until the day of ovulation. Since I do not ovulate regularly, I take it from cycle day one to ten just to be on the safe side. Evening Primrose Oil helps increase cervical fluid and improve metabolic function.
Cinnamon- I posted recently about the benefits of cinnamon. Cinnamon improves blood glucose control, which is an issue for those of us with PCOS, reduces the drastic rise in blood sugar after meals, and improves the effectiveness of insulin.
Magnesium – It has been found that women with PCOS often have low-grade inflammation, which magnesium helps with. Magnesium also helps with sleep, which is a huge factor in balancing hormones!
Vitamin D- This is free, because we get it from the sun! For women with PCOS it is important to commit to spending at least fifteen minutes per day in the sunshine, every single day. If you can, have some skin exposed, and don’t wear shoes. Many women with PCOS have Vitamin D deficiency, which is a shame since Vitamin D is beneficial for improving infertility, breast health, nervous system health, and weight control. It may be beneficial to take Vitamin D in capsule form during the winter when, at least for me, it is difficult to be outside!
Omega 3 EFA Supplement or Fish Oils- Eating essential fatty acids (EFAs) helps manage weight, produce balanced hormones, and creates a healthy environment for conception.
Other things that would be GREAT to take, and that I may try one day if I find that what I am doing now is not effective:
Maca- Maca has a history of boosting hormone production and libido. It is high in minerals and essential fatty acids.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil- This is a great source of Vitamin D, if spending time in the sun is not quite doing the trick. It is also a great source of Omega 3s and fatty acids. Warning: This can be a tad pricey.
Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex)- In addition to helping night sweats, this may regulate cycles by normalizing FSH and LH. Chaste Tree Berry may also minimally increase progesterone production. This should be taken 400mg-800mg 3 times per day for eight to twelve weeks. Thereafter, 400mg should be taken every day.
I suppose this list could go on and on. There are so many things out there! But these are the things that I could practically see myself taking in the future,
if need be.
We took an impromptu trip to Nashville over the weekend, and Marlow got to meet her grandparents! We had such a wonderful trip, and cannot wait to go back.
and I have a long way to go in learning the computer software, but here are a
few pictures from the weekend anyway.
Andrew and I met with our doctor today, and decided to try one more IUI. If this one does not work, we will move on to something else (IVF). Therapy for our first IUI included 2.5mg of Letrozole on cycle days 3-7, two low-dose hCG shots, and a trigger shot. Our second IUI included 5 mg of Letrozole on cycle days 3-7, one low-dose shot of hCG (the low-dose shots are to encourage follicle growth), and a trigger shot.
This time, in addition to 5mg of Letrozole on cycle days 3-7, I will be taking FSH (via injection) on day 7 of my cycle. I am going into it this time feeling wary, and even a little apprehensive, but also hopeful. Were Andrew and I not going through this ourselves, I never would have been able to imagine the roller coaster of emotions that couples struggling with infertility go through… so many highs and lows, and not really many in-betweens! It is difficult not to let it invade your entire life!
We have another appointment next Friday for the mid-cycle ultrasound. That will determine exactly what day I will take the trigger shot, and of course, what day we will have the insemination. We do know it will be either next Sunday or Monday.
We found out over the weekend that our most recent IUI did not work, and we are not pregnant. But we also found out that Andrew did WONDERFULLY in all of his classes this quarter. He got one A, one C, and the rest of his grades were Bs. What an improvement from last quarter!
I am really at a loss as to what to say regarding what our next steps may be in the fertility department. I had the thought that, if this most recent insemination did not work, we may take a month off this summer since we will be traveling and whatnot. But when it gets right down to it, neither Andrew nor I can bear the thought of doing that, so I think we will keep on keeping on.
We go to the doctor tomorrow for blood work, and hopefully while we are there we will get to sit down with the doctor and discuss our options going forward. I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was fifteen years old, and that has basically been ignored since we began fertility treatments. Never looked into, and hardly discussed. I am really uncomfortable with that, so I plan on talking to the doctor tomorrow about how the endometriosis could be impacting our treatments, if it is still a factor.
I have read stories of women whose endometriosis was so severe that their doctors suggested skipping IUIs and investing in in vitro insemination instead.
At this point, Andrew and I are both really discouraged. Hopefully, our appointment tomorrow will yield some answers, or at least some direction.
My prayer today has been simply that God will show me Himself in all of this.
He certainly did last time.
In honor of Fathers’ Day today, here is a wonderful article:
Reading this made me feel so sentimental, and so thankful for my own dad! I have the best one in the world!
In celebration of my birthday yesterday, I made these tasty, PCOS appropriate, brownies. I highly recommend them, as they are both easy and healthy-ish. They are great for those of us with PCOS because they are grain free, and contain ZERO grams of sugar (Just be sure not to use real sugar. The recipe uses xylitol and Stevia). They are also filled with healthy fats. If you need to sneak a bit more protein into your diet (which I do), you could add a handful of walnuts or chopped almonds into the batter.
These brownies remind me of Little Debbie’s Fudge Brownies, which I happen to love! Except, of course, these brownies MUCH healthier than Little Debbie’s brownies, and you will not experience a sudden spike (and then drop) in blood sugar after eating them. This means that, not only will you not feel guilty after eating these, you also won’t feel lethargic, shaky, or insanely hungry an hour or two after eating them.
I had a wonderful birthday evening, and loved spending it with my little family. I am believing that, soon, our family will be a little less little, and that my birthday present is going to be finding out in five days that we are pregnant! (:
But even if that’s not what happens, and I find out on Monday that I am not pregnant, I will still feel so blessed. And I know God has plans for Andrew and me, and plans for our children…. Plans for hope and a future!