“Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely; never depend upon your own ideas or inventions. Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish, and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.”
-Proverbs 3:5,6, The Voice Translation
When Andrew and I got married in August of 2010, I had not had a period in a couple of years. Several months before we got married, I saw multiple doctors regarding the issue. I knew that, although we would not want to begin a family immediately after getting married, we would want to start a family only a couple years into our marriage. I also knew that there was potential for our road to parenthood to be a long one (I had been diagnosed with severe endometriosis when I was in high school). Every doctor that I saw before getting married, instead of addressing why I was not having periods, prescribed me with Provera to induce a period. It worked less than 50% of the time.
Finally, in the spring of 2012, I knew I had to find someone who would take me seriously. Andrew and I had agreed that we were ready to begin trying to conceive.
August 2010: Andrew and I got married! We never used any sort of contraception, but I had not had a period in a couple years at the time of our wedding.
February 2011: Decided to try to get to the bottom of why I was not having regular cycles, and was told it was nothing to worry about. I just had “lazy ovaries.”
June 2011: I saw an RE who prescribed Provera. She explained that it would probably “jump start” my periods. It did not. I saw the same RE again, and she again suggested Provera. I took it, but still felt frustrated, and wanted someone to help me find out why I was not cycling on my own.
May 2012: Took Provera to induce a period, and then started my first cycle with Clomid. I did not ovulate.
June 2012: Second cycle with Clomid. No ovulation.
July 2012: Third cycle with Clomid. No ovulation.
August 2012: Fourth cycle with Clomid. No ovulation
September 2012: We moved from Nashville to Atlanta, so I saw a new doctor. I practically begged not to be put on Clomid again, but somehow, I was dissuaded. Hence, my fifth cycle with Clomid. And you guessed it…. No ovulation.
September 2012: September is also when I began reading The Fertility Diet, and made some major changes to the way I was eating.
October 2012: Sixth cycle with Clomid. No ovulation. I did start a period on my own this time (No Provera!) I would have sworn it was my new way of eating that did the trick.[Note: I do not recommend that anyone try Clomid SIX times. I have since learned that, apart from not inducing ovulation, helping me gain weight, and making me feel terrible, Clomid also thins the uterine lining over time.]
November 2012: I did not have another period naturally, as I was hoping I would. I called Georgia Reproductive Specialists and made an appointment.
December 2012: Diagnosed with PCOS… finally some answers!
December 2012: HGS (hysterosalpingogram) to make sure the shape of my uterine cavity was satisfactory, and to make sure there was no scar tissue blocking my fallopian tubes. We were all clear!
January 2013: Began Metformin, working my way up to 1,500 mg per day. The fertility specialist was convinced that, by helping to lower blood sugar levels, the Metformin would also help regulate my cycles, thus allowing me to get pregnant.
February 2013: Still on the Metformin, but not having periods on my own, and not ovulating.
March 2013: Per the suggestion of my doctor, I met with a nutritionist who specialized in PCOS. At this point, the doctor began thinking that if I tweaked my diet, I may begin cycling and ovulating on my own.
March 2013: Cut both gluten and dairy from my diet (which consists now of high protein and low sugar foods.) This was not something the nutritionist suggested, but rather, something that I knew had helped many other women with PCOS conceive children.
April 2013: My doctor left GRS, and I was transferred to another practitioner there. I am still believing this was a God-thing. LOVE the new doctor.
April 2013: As my body did not seem to be responding to the Metformin, we began therapy for our first IUI.
May 2013: First IUI after 2.5mg Letrozole, mid-cycle hcG shot, and trigger shot. Only one follicle. BFN
June 2013: Second IUI. 5mg Letrozole, mid-cycle hcG shot, and trigger shot. One follicle, again. BFN
July 2013: Third IUI. My body responded really well to the treatment leading up to this one (5mg Letrozole, and then Bravelle [FSH] injections, with my hcG trigger shot two days before the big day.) BFN
July 18, 2013: IVF consult. And I started birth control pills.
July 30, 2013: Saline ultrasound, blood work, and IVF teaching session.
August 5, 2013: Started Follistim and Menopur injections, along with baby Asprin. Around ten days later, I added Ganirelix to the shot regimen.
August 16, 2013: hCG trigger shot.
August 17, 2013: Egg retrieval, which resulted in 50 eggs, due to hyper-stimulation. Our egg transfer was officially pushed back to October.
September 16, 2013: Baseline ultrasound for frozen embryo retrieval
September 27, 2013: Midcycle ultrasound and blood work in preparation for our FET. My uterine lining was “beautiful,” and my progesterone levels were good. We FINALLY scheduled our transfer.
October 4, 2013 @ 11:50am: Frozen embryo transfer. (Still using Vivelle Dot Estrogen patches, Estrogen suppositories, nightly Progesterone injections, and Baby Asprin). If I am pregnant, I will continue the Progesterone injections all the way through the first trimester.
October 10, 2013: Faint, faint, faint positive HPT.
October 11, 2013: Slightly less faint positive HPT. I cannot believe it.
October 12, 2013: Positive HPT… a little darker than yesterday. IN SUCH DISBELIEF!
October 13, 2013: Positive HPT… a lot darker!!! Still taking the results with a grain of salt until blood work confirms pregnancy.
October 14, 2013: Blood work results are in: hCG is 60, which is a good thing! WE ARE PREGNANT. We will check hCG again the day after tomorrow. My numbers should increase by at least 50% between now and then.
October 16, 2013: Blood work results are in: hCG is 105, which is just a touch more than a 50% increase from our first blood draw.
October 16,2013: Got a phone call from my nurse, who said that the doctor viewed my betas for the first time today, and was not pleased at how low the numbers were. I scheduled a third beta.
October 18, 2013: Blood work results are in: hCG is 247, and my doctor and nurse are happy with that!!!
November 6, 2013 @ 11am: We heard our baby’s heartbeat! Hands down, the best day of my life so far.
November 20, 2013 @ 11am: We had another hearbeat. Our baby had more than doubled in size since our previous ultrasound. And he/she was wiggling all over the place! SO AMAZING! This was my last appointment at the fertility clinic. I’ve officially “graduated.”
November 23, 2013: My last day of Estradiol, Vivelle Dots, and Progesterone injections. YAY!!! I can hardly believe it!
December 2, 2013: My first appointment with my new OB. We did another ultrasound, and our baby is growing and wiggling. His/her heartbeat was 175 bpm.
December 10, 2013: At the insistence of my OB, I saw a perinatal consultant for an NT screening ultrasound, and to give bloodwork for some genetic testing… best pictures of our baby yet! We also found out, through the blood work they did during the appointment, that we are having a GIRL!
January 6, 2013: My second appointment with my OB. Andrew went with me, and we heard Bonnie’s heartbeat loud and clear!
June 15, 2014: We welcomed our precious daughter into this world! You can read her birth story here.
With Bonnie Claire’s birth we pressed the pause button on fertility treatments, for the obvious reason that we wanted to immerse ourselves in her wonder. We wanted to pour our love and energy into her without giving infertility a second thought.
April, 2015: Began to wean Bonnie so that we could pursue another FET.
May 2015: Andrew and I went to GRS for blood work. Soon after, I began birth control pills.
June 2015: During my saline ultrasound my doctor found polyps that need to be removed before we can proceed with the frozen transfer. We toss my original protocol, and surgery is scheduled for July 15th for polyp removal.
July 1, 2015: Pre-op appointment to discuss surgery, and to get the new FET protocol.
July 10, 2015: Start Lupron injections. (Estrogen tablets and PIO will soon follow.)
July 15, 2015: Polyps removed.
August 10, 2015: Frozen embryos transfer. Our last two embryos were transferred, one boy and one girl!
August 20, 2015: Positive pregnancy test, but a low beta of 26.
August 24, 2015: Early miscarriage confirmed, as our beta is even lower at 2.7.
October 2, 2015: I take a home pregnancy test on a whim, after missing a period (which isn’t terribly unusual.) The test is POSITIVE! We are in absolutely shock… in the best way!
October 5, 2015: Beta is 63.
October 7, 2015: Beta is 123.
October 9, 2015: Beta is 340.
October 23, 2015: Ultrasound show I am 6 weeks, 1 day along, and the doctor was able to detect a heartbeat. Next ultrasound is scheduled for Nov. 4th.
November 4, 2015: 8 weeks pregnant, and all is well with Baby!
December 2, 2015: My first (and last) appointment with my regular OB-GYN. After this appointment I decide to switch to a midwife and pursue a home birth.
January 30, 2016: I am hospitalized over the weekend after a week of a stomach bug that caused diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, which led to dehydration, which led to low potassium and magnesium levels, and dangerously low blood pressure. While I was at the hospital the doctor requested an abdominal ultrasound and an anatomy scan. Baby is measuring several days ahead, and is very active!
Here are some abbreviations you may find as you read the blog, along with what they stand for:
AF – Aunt Flo
BCP – Birth Control Pills
BFP or BFN – Big Fat Positive or a Big Fat Negative
BW – Bloodwork
CD – Cycle Day
CM – Cervical Mucus
DE – Donor Eggs
DH – Darling Husband
DPR – Days Post Retrieval
DPT – Days Post Transfer
DS – Donor Sperm
DX – Diagnosis
ED – Egg Donor
FET – Frozen Embryo Transfer
FSH – Follicle-Stimulating Hormone
GS – Gestational Syrrogate
HCG – Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
HPT – Home Pregnancy Test
ICSI = Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection
IUI – Intrauterine Insemination
IVF – Invitro Fertilization
M/C – Miscarriage
MF – Male Factor
OHSS – Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
OPK – Ovulation Predictor Kit
PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PIO- Progesterone in Oil
POAS – Peeing on a Stick
POF – Premature Ovarian Failure
PGD- Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
Prog or P4 – Progesterone
PUPO – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise
RE – Reproductive Endocrinologist
SA – Semen Analysis
TTC – Trying to Conceive
U/S – Ultrasound