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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Catching Up: The Past Few Years

I had been on serious medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis which I was diagnosed with at the age of 16. The medications; Plaquenil, Enbrel, Prednisone, and most of all, Methotrexate are extremely harmful to a fetus and therefore it is absolutely prohibited that one tries to conceive while taking them. Thankfully, and completely by God's mercy, my RA went into remission a couple months before we were married. Soon after that, I was diagnosed with Hypo-thyroid Disease which can cause ovulatory problems. I began medication and after a few months, my levels were normalized and I felt great. We had been married 6 months when we were able to get off of Birth Control Pills and stop "preventing," knowing that all the RA medications would be out of my system. I began charting my basal body temperature and other fertility signs. The book, "Taking Charge of your Fertility," by Toni Weschler taught me so much about my body and my cycle that I never learned in sex ed. I soon discovered that I was not ovulating at all. At first, the doctors assumed it was due to the Hypo-thyroid Disease, it was also thought that it could just be taking the BCP's a while to get out of my system. After a few 75 day long cycles in which I still did not ovulate, I insisted that I be tested for other conditions. Finally, it was concluded that I had Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I remember how horrific that diagnosis seemed. I cried hysterically. Little did I know, it would get so much worse.

I was prescribed Metformin and was told by a nurse practitioner, "I guarantee you'll be pregnant within 3 months." (2 years later, I wish I had gotten that guarantee in writing.) After 3 months on Metformin and still no ovulation in sight, I switched to a new OB-GYN. She put me on Clomid, 50mg. We did 3 months of that and still no ovulation. On our 4th cycle with Clomid, the dosage was increased to 100mg. Finally, I ovulated! Ahh, the relief, some hope. That cycle however, did not result in pregnancy. Nor did the 2 following Clomid cycles. I was referred to have a HysteroSalpingogram (HSG)to make sure that my fallopian tubes were not blocked. Thankfully, we learned my tubes were all clear and looked good. It cost about $650.00 to learn that. We finally decided to suck-it-up and agreed to try to get in to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist, despite the $215.00 consultation fee which we really couldn't afford. We made the appointment for the following month.

By this point it had been about 12 months since we first began trying. Our amazing RE Dr. D suggested that we try the more serious fertility meds, injectible Gonadotropins paired with an Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI). We began injections of the ovarian stimulator, Follistim, the GnRH antagonist, Ganirelix and the HCG, "trigger shot." We were so hopeful and excited. The medications cost roughly $1,000.00 for 1 cycle. Thankfully, some family were able to help us out with the cost. When I discovered that 1st IUI had failed, I was absolutely devastated! My heart had never hurt so badly. Floods of different emotions rushed through me; anger, sadness, grief, frustration, hopelessness and so much more. Why is it so easy for some women to conceive and yet for others, those who may very well want it more, it is so difficult? It just wasn't fair! We tried again with the meds and a 2nd IUI, only to disappointed all over again.

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