Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Journey Through Infertility Pt.1, Clomid and ultrasound

***Disclaimer: I'm getting down and dirty with my journey of infertility and the process involved. I will be using anatomical terms, sex and bodily fluids in my descriptions. Basically I want to paint as real of a picture as I can. If it's not something you think you can handle, I suggest you stop reading now.***

This is the first of a series of posts about my journey with infertility. I was thinking I could cover it all in 3 parts.

My husband and I have been trying to conceive since July of 2012 (about 4 years). At this point we had been married for just over 2 years. Now when I say "trying", I simply mean we stopped using all preventative measures. Fast forward to about October 2014. It had been over 2 years, and no baby. In all honesty, I didn't think much of it. As a health major, I new there was a very small window of the perfect time to get pregnant and I just assumed we were missing that perfect window each time. It wasn't until I read an article that said

In a study of 346 women:
38 percent were pregnant after 1 month.
68 percent were pregnant after 3 months.
81 percent were pregnant after 6 months.
92 percent were pregnant after 12 months.
In their conclusion, the researchers wrote, “Most couples conceive within six cycles with timed intercourse.” After a year of trying without conceiving, experts say you should see a fertility specialist.

We took the articles advice and decided to talk to my gyno about what could be done. The first test I was given was a test called a hysterosalpingogram. During the hysterosalpingogram dye was injected into my uterine cavity through the vagina and cervix. My uterine cavity fills with dye and if the fallopian tubes are open, dye fills the tubes (which gave me a super crampy feeling) and spills into the abdominal cavity. This shows whether my fallopian tubes are open or blocked. The radiologist administering the test said that a lot of time after getting this test done, women get pregnant because the dye pushing through the tubes clears out things that could have been partially blocking.

The test came back saying I did not have blocked fallopian tubes and the magic dye didn't seem to magically cure me. After that test, my husband got his little swimmers checked and all was good with him. My gyno referred me to see a specialist (Dr. Foulk). After meeting with Dr. Foulk he decided to start me on a pill called Clomid. They explained the cost and what the procedure would be. At the beginning of my cycle I would go in for an ultrasound. Mind you, this isn't the cute little ultrasound you see on T.V. or the movies. You know the one where the women lays down and the doctor puts a big glob of lube on her tummy and them places the ultrasound on top and takes a look. this was a transvaginal ultrasound. The type of ultrasound where I was bare from the waist down, legs up in stirrups, and a probe with an ultrasound on the end (covered by a condom) was inserted into my vagina (plus it was $250 a pop [our insurance did not cover fertility treatments 😞]).

For all you visual people out there, here is a transvaginal probe.

They wanted to make sure my body was primed ad ready to start my cycle. Before leaving the doctors office they scheduled an appointment near the end of my cycle for me to come back in for another ultrasound. I was then instructed to take Clomid for about a week. After about 2ish weeks, I had to take an ovulation test everyday for 3 days. If I received a positive, I was to call the doctors office right away to go in for another lovely ultrasound, of I didn't, I would show up for the ultrasound they scheduled at the beginning and if it didn't look like I was ovulating, I received an hCG injection in the butt. The doctor would then give me what he called "homework", which meant my husband and I need to have sex that night and the following night.

This cycle of ultrasound, Clomid, ultrasound, hCG, homework, continued for another year. I know a lot of couples out there would live to start doing the homework, but I have to tell you, in my experience it became a chore. Sex couldn't be all that spontaneous (my husband wasn't allowed to ejaculate at all a week prior to our homework sessions), because it was so planned out. I started to become really frustrated and couldn't understand how there were so many "oops" babies in the world.

I became bitter at all my friends who one month would tell me they were gong to try for a baby, and the next month telling me the "good news". I really wanted to be happy for them but I actually felt very lonely and dysfunctional. It doesn't matter what you think we are here on this Earth for, but biologically speaking, humans are here to reproduce and here I was not able to do the one thing that should have come so naturally. I felt like less of a women.  That year was a low point for me. It was hard knowing that both my husband and I wanted children so badly, and it was my fault we couldn't have them.

After a year of unsuccessful Clomid attempts, Dr. Fould wanted us to move on to the next phase, Intrauterine insemination (IUI or artificial insemination). Click here to read part 2.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Workout Plans

Alright! So I got up off my butt after my last post and went on my new indoor was tough. It is crazy how out of shape I've gotten and how much harder things are when you are pregnant. In the past I have done very well with running consistently by creating a training plan. I was always excited and felt accomplished when I could cross a workout off my list. So, I decided to do something similar and create workouts that I could do each day. It's made me excited to work out again now that I have a plan, I'm just hoping this motivation can stick around long enough, that it becomes a habit, and I can just do it, no motivation needed.

What is this plan I've come up with...Drum roll please...
And there it is. I did my first workout yesterday. I'm laughing now because I thought it would be super easy. Running a 1/2 mile then do some weights, then run again. I said to myself, it's only a half of a mile I can easily run that. Well, jokes on me. I struggled. The first 1/2 mile run was the toughest, I probably ran about half and walked half. The next rounds of running weren't as bad, but I am monitoring my heart rate so I had to stop and walk some of the time because of that. It felt so good to be out there though. For a few minutes I actually felt like a runner again. I did the Wednesday work out today and spent 30 minutes on an elliptical. Not my favorite cardio workout, but it got the job done and I feel great!

Welp that's about all I've got for an update for right now. My next post will be a series of my infertility and IVF journey.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Updates and Exciting News

It's been a very long while. I originally stopped posting because my blog is entitled "Runlove", but i haven't been doing much running. I plan to dedicate a few posts on the reason why, but in short. I am pregnant!!!

4 more to go (women are pregnant for 10 months, who knew)!
This pregnancy has been such a long time coming. My hubby and I have been trying to conceive for the last 4 plus years. We finally decided to to in vitro fertilization (IVF), and it was a success! I really want to write a few posts on the IVF process, what I went through, how I felt, etc.. because when I was starting it, I could find a lot of personal experiences of IVF especially related to running. Before I launch into my all about in vitro story, I do want to talk about little Baybay Day. Well first off...

We got the positive on 8/27/2016 and I am due on 4/28/2017. I had this amazing plan to run all through pregnancy up until the day I gave birth. Ha...and then reality set in. Here are my reasons for the lack of running

  1. I wasn't allowed to run after 7/31/2016 (the day of my half marathon) for at least one month while going through IVF treatments. This is a rule I was aware of when we received instructions for IVF. I knew the San Francisco Half would be my last run for a while, but I planned to start running again as soon as I could.
  2. I was very sick and am still sick to this day. It's funny that they call it "morning sickness" when it lasts all morning, noon, and night. This so-called "morning" sickness derailed all my running plans. In the past, if I was tired, had a migraine, or even wasn't feeling well, going on a run was the cure (at least a temporary one). While I was running, I no longer felt sick, or tired, or had a migraine. This was not true with nausea. Running made it worse. In fact even standing made it worse. I felt better while lying down. I started feeling sick at about 10 weeks in. I started taking a drug called Diclegis (the only class A FDA approved drug for morning sickness), which has actually helped me feel a lot better, but leads me to #3
  3. All of this non running for about 4 months total, led to one super out of shape woman. I barely did anything while feeling sick. I made it to work (and often times had to leave early because I was throwing up 10 plus times a day) and then came home to lie down. When I finally got on Diclegis and started feeling better, it was too late. I would run about a quarter of a mile and be so out of breath I would have to stop and very slowly walk. Mind you, when I say "run" I'm meaning I was running at about a 14 minute mile. I understand for some this is the norm, but I have a hard time keeping running motions at anything less than that, otherwise it turns into walking motions. 
It is crazy. For the last 3 years, running came relatively easy for me. It wasn't hard to get myself out the door during training, but now I finding it hard to have motivation to even go on a walk. Laziness has set in bad. Prior to my running days I never did anything that could really be construed as regular exercise, however once the running bug hit (after about a month of running), I was out there (barring any injuries) 4-5x per week. I just never thought I'd be here, not running with no motivation for exercising. I know there are still many aerobic exercises I can safely do while pregnant, but I think I've gone so long doing absolutely nothing, that I've become comfortable. Racing was a big motivation for me to keep running day in and day out, but now I can't race. There are so many good reasons to stay active during pregnancy including:
  • - gaining too much weight
  • - eases aches and pains
  • - lowers gestational diabetes risk
  • - easier and shorter labor
  • - easier to lose the weight postpartum
  • - bounce back quicker postpartum
These are all great reasons, but there are for some reason not motivating enough. I am just over the 6 month mark of this pregnancy, and my hope is to get in more exercise while I still can. I hear the 3rd trimester is a doozy and I hope to get back in the habit of exercise before then. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit, and that's about all I have left before I start the 3rd trimester. In fact let me get off my butt now and get on my indoor trainer!

Please stay tuned for some posts about the sh@#t I wish someone would have told me about pregnancy and my IVF story.
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