So, in the world of infertility treatments, here is where we stand…
Operation Make Baby Neuhaus-Sonne: Round One (Clomid)
On the 56th day of my cycle (normal women usually have a cycle lasting 28-35 days) my doctor decided it was time to stop waiting for aunt flow to show, and started my period with Provera. It is basically a hormone that you take for ten days or so. The withdrawal from the hormone is what causes your period to show up. My body responded to those hormones like a champ. I stopped taking the pill on a Thursday and Aunt Flow arrived the very next day. WARNING: TMI— I warned you ahead of time, so you deserve this if you are still reading…. Aunt Flow must have been angry because it was a bad one. A murder scene. Lots of feminine products needed!! I only mention it because I think this is significant: I haven’t had a period like that in almost a full year. It is weird, but that made me hopeful. My rationale was if my body responded that well and that quickly and that accurately to Provera, maybe, just maybe, my body would respond in the same fashion to Clomid. I was cautiously optimistic at this point.
Well, Aunt Flow lasted 5 days. Very normal. On cycle day 4, I went into the Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) to have blood work and ultrasounds done. This allowed the doctor to assess my follicles (the little guys that release eggs as they mature and burst). I was told all looked great—I was ready and set to go onto the next step: Clomid.
The doctor had to order my meds through a specialty pharmacy in Naperville, who delivered the meds to my home! So weird. Anyway, I received the 5 pills of Clomid, an injectable trigger shot of Pregnyl (which is hCG to trigger ovulation on the “best possible” day when my follicles are ready to go), and progesterone inserts—yucky. The plan was to take Clomid, monitor my follicles and hormone levels, inject myself with the trigger shot on the best possible day, spend lots of time with Jacob (wink, wink), OVULATE, and start the progesterone inserts shortly after that. Fingers crossed, right?
On day 5 of the cycle I began taking Clomid. I was so nervous to start taking this medicine. I’m not really sure why. I’m not nervous to become pregnant, really. I think it is more about the fact that I have heard horror stories of women on Clomid…. Like, they become giant raging bitches and just down-right horrible people to be around. And then there’s the fact that I read too much! I look up things…. all the time. And in this case, I read about OHSS. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. This is when your ovaries over-react to the fertility meds, swell, and could possibly burst. The effects of OHSS could be mild to life-threatening, so it is worrisome. I need to stop Googling (is that a word?).
All in all, for me, Clomid wasn’t so bad. I had a pretty bad headache every morning (nothing I couldn’t deal with) and some stomach upset on day 3. Also, a symptom that started on day 1 of Clomid and just wouldn’t quit—sore boobies. OUCH! Whatever I have to deal with, though, I say BRING IT ON. A bundle of joy is well worth it to me.
On Monday (cycle day 11), I went into the RE to have blood work and ultrasounds performed in order to see if my hormone levels are where they should be and to see if my follicles grew. Unfortunately, my follicles remained the same size as they were on cycle day 4. Supposedly, they were still ready to go, but they didn’t get bigger (which is not bad, but not great). The blood work showed low hormone levels, as well. At this point, I was not close to ovulating. The doctor said it was still too early to tell if the Clomid had worked or not.
On Friday (cycle day 15) I went back for another ultrasound. My follicles were still tiny, showing no significant growth. However, my left ovary likes to play hide-and-seek. It sits further back than my right ovary , which makes it much more difficult to capture a good image. The technician said the picture wasn’t that great, so there may have been something growing, but it was hard to tell. This is still not great news. My follicles (especially on CD 15) should have been growing, if not fully matured. However, I was reassured some women take longer to develop mature follicles and I was not out of the race just yet.
I went back in for another ultrasound and blood work today (cycle day 18). No luck. Nothing. Those little buggers are there, just hanging around, but they didn’t grow at all. [Are they just being lazy? Do they need a swift kick in the rear?] So now we are scrapping this cycle. Starting over, starting from scratch. A cycle of insured meds right down the drain…. and only three cycles of insured meds left.
I know it is absolutely pointless to worry about the things we cannot control, but it is so difficult not to. It’s much easier said than done. I started off with buckets full of hope and with each cycle gone the buckets become a little more empty. It’s hard to explain what this all feels like—It’s almost as if I’ve lost a loved one, but instead of mourning a tangible and physical being, I am mourning the loss of hopes and dreams, the little flashes I get in my head of what it would be like to hold my own child for the first time, the flashes I get of my child playing in the backyard with their grandparents….mourning the loss of something that never was.
But now I have to put aside all the despair. I have to gear up for another cycle. I cannot stress or wallow. I have to be positive and try again…. The “little ovaries that could,” perhaps?
Here’s to the next cycle! Here’s to hoping! Here’s to success!