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.

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