So I've decided to start a blog devoted exclusively to my infertility posts. Well, not that I promise never to let a bit of my real life pop in now and then, but mostly I'm figuring that a lot of my friends inside the computer really don't want to have so much information about my reproductive life. Still, I do desire an online outlet for my infertility craziness, so here I am. I don't know yet whether I'll tell any of my friends in real life about this blog. I obviously won't object if they stumble upon this blog one way or another, but sometimes I wish I were a bit more in-the-closet than I am. I always intend to keep my mouth shut about things, but then I just blurt out information. I'm hoping that having a blog where I don't have to censor myself as much will make it easier for me to censor myself in real life.
So here's a bit about me:
I am 30 years old, married 3 1/2 years, and have a beautiful 2 1/2 year old foster son. My husband and I have been trying to conceive, well, since our wedding day, I suppose. Before we got married, we knew we might face some challenges, because I have PCOS and had an extremely irregular menstrual cycle. We tried charting and all the normal stuff. A year after we married, we talked with my OB/GYN about what else we should be doing and she gave me Clomid. Five cycles of Clomid later, and still no pregnancy, I was good and bored. Oh, I was ovulating for sure, based on my temperature charts, but no pregnancy.
I think in September or October of 2005 we finally went to a Reproductive Endocrinologist at "The" Clinic to go to around here, much to the annoyance of my OB/GYN. I get the impression that the two professions don't exactly love each other too much, and I'm not really certain why.
All tests came out as expected for a chick with PCOS. No other problems found. HSG was negative, SA was stellar, I had (not surprisingly) polycystic ovaries (duh).
The RE didn't want to do anymore Clomid cycles, as I'd come close to reaching the lifetime limit on how much Clomid they like women to take. So... on to IUI with injectible FSH it was. Whoopie!
Cycle 1: My first FSH/IUI cycle was February 2006. Picture perfect cyle, for the most part, and as everyone expected I would, I responded brilliantly to extremely low-levels of Follistim. Life was good. I romantically made my husband come with me to the actual IUI appointment figuring if we were going to conceive a child, it would be nice if he could at least be in the room. Hah! The IUI was quick and painless and rather, if you'll excuse the pun, anticlimactic. "That's IT?" I asked, incredulously. That's it. I almost felt like there ought to have been at least a little discomfort for my trouble. Not that I'm asking for unwanted pain or anything, but sheesh! There was no WAY this could work if it were that painless! Unfortunately, I was right. Cycle 1 (or 6 if you count the five failed Clomid cycles) was a failure.
Cycle 2: Took up all of March. It was the cycle that would never end. Slowly, slowly, my dosage was inched up bit by bit. I was still responding really well, but no follicles were jumping up and saying "Pick me! Pick me!" So that cycle I had 10 ultrasounds in 29 days. My IUI was on CD31. Two weeks later, I was out of town, so couldn't have my Beta done, but I didn't need it anyway, since CD1 reared her ugly head in the middle of my vacation.
Cycle 3: was a blessedly quick cycle. CD1 was June 12, 2006, and the IUI was a mere four ultrasounds later on June 27th (CD16). Though the cycle failed, I'm still very grateful that it was such a quick cycle because I threw up every single day that I took the Follistim. Every. Single. Day. In the first two cycles, I had some mild side effects from the Follistim and some truly evil side effects from the Prometrium suppositories that I took for two weeks after the IUIs. But this cycle... oh boy did it suck. Every evening I would take the Follistim shot, and an hour later I was start to feel nauseated. I would be up all night feeling sick and then throwing up most of the day. I usually felt better in the evening after work, and then I'd take another shot before bedtime and an hour later... lather, rinse, repeat. "How odd!" said my nurse. "I've never had a patient with that side effect," said my doctor. "Well, it could happen," said my pharmacist husband. Duh. Of course it could happen. It DID happen! Anyway, Cycle 3 failed, so on to...
Cycle 4: Present day. Cycle 4 started 13 July 2006. As usual, I'm responding well to the drugs, but since I have PCOS, I'm super-sensitive to Follistim, so they have to be very careful not to give me too much. My current status is that I have a bazillion little follicles (hence the sonographer's usual "My, but we have perky ovaries today!" which led to this blog's title), and 4 worth measuring, only 2 of which are likely leaders. Left Ovary (never the forerunner, it seems) has follicles measuring 9.9 and 8.9 mm and Right Ovary has follicles measuring 13.4 and 10.4 mm. My estrogen level is up from two days ago at 113. So far so good. The follistim still makes me feel nauseated, but I haven't been throwing up as much, which is great.
Tomorrow I have an appointment with my RE to talk about what to do after this cycle. Originally, the RE wanted to do 5 IUI cycles before talking about moving on to IVF. Her reasoning is sound. There doesn't appear to be a medical reason that IUI wouldn't work for me. She believes it is simply a matter of time. My numbers look good, I respond well to the FSH injections. Can't ask for much more. However, I don't want to do a fifth IUI cycle at this point, particularly in light of the fact that Follistim makes me so ill all of a sudden. I mentioned this to her at one of my monitoring appointments and she said no problem and that we could lay out the IVF protocol at my consult and just hope that I never need the information since Cycle 4 is obviously going to be successful. Hah! I can't even type that with a straight face!
So here we go...