Well first of all there really isn't much to share at this point, but because several people have asked I figured I'd post a blog on it.
So here is the deal. As many of you may know Jeramy and I have been working hard at changing the name of this blog for several months now. Unfortunately we have not had much luck, but honestly I was prepared for that going into this. Most of you probably don't know that I have always had very irregular periods since I was a teenager...so much so that I began referring it as the quarterly rather than the monthly. When I was in my teens that was a wonderful thing, and then I went on birth control for a decade which regulated my cycles. However when I went off the pill last fall, the length between cycles grew further and further apart topping out around 65 days.
After charting my cycles for a couple months to see what was going on, I went to see my regular doctor who ran all sorts of tests on me. In the end he couldn't find anything that explained my problems and referred me to an OB/GYN. Unfortunately the OB/GYN he referred me to did not have a new patient visit open until October...and this was back in early June. Being the impatient person I am, I was not willing to wait that long. I also had chatted with some girls online about these issues, and found that most of them had not been very happy with their OB/GYNs when it came to fertility issues because they did not have the knowledge and technology that specialists have. So I did some research online and found a practice of about six Reproductive Endocrinologists (REs) about a 10 minute walk from my work that accepted self-referrals. I managed to get a first appointment within 3 weeks with the RE who started the whole practice and specializes in ovulation disorders.
After doing another exam and more bloodwork, my RE basically concluded the same thing as my regular doctor. I have an ovulation disorder technically called oligomenorrhea but that it was not explained by any of the usual causes. In fact, he said we'd probably never know what was causing it. However, the good news is that ovulation disorders are among the most treatable of infertility conditions, so if I have to pick a problem I guess this is a "good" one to have.
The first approach to treatment that my RE recommended was a drug called clomiphene citrate (aka clomid). We will try this for 3 cycles before pursuing any further testing or more aggressive treatment. In addition to taking the drug, they monitor me with ultrasounds and other tests to make sure the drug was doing its job and that I did not experience any side effects that would negatively impact the whole process. So in August I took my first round of clomid and everything went very well except for one thing. *NOTE: if you are squeamish at all about hearing descriptions from me on female anatomy and reproduction I suggest you stop reading now.* Basically a woman's body produces cervical mucous during the most fertile time in her cycle (ovulation), which helps to transport sperm around the cervix and to the recently released egg. One of the side effects of clomid is that it can completely dry this fluid up, which is what happened to me. My RE ran a test right after I ovulated, which showed that I had very little cervical mucous. So for the next cycle, he recommended that I do an Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). Basically this is the same thing as artificial insemination, and the purpose would be to get the sperm past the cervix so that the lack of cervical mucous is not a factor.
So at the beginning of this month I started my second round of clomid with the intention of adding in IUI as well. Unfortunately when I went in for my first ultrasound on Friday to check follicle growth (follicles grow on the ovaries and contain the egg that is released at ovulation) there were none to be found. The only thing there was a cyst on my right ovary, presumably left over after ovulating the previous cycle. So they had me come back on Tuesday, and they found the same thing. Ovarian cysts can be a side effect of clomid and they usually resolve on their own. However as long as the cyst is there the follicles aren't going to grow so there is no point in doing an IUI this cycle. So now I'm just sitting around and waiting for my period to come again so that my doctor can do another ultrasound to see if the cyst is still there. If its gone then we'll try the second round of clomid again as the cyst nullified this one. If its still there I have to wait another cycle. And since my cycles can be very long when I'm not taking clomid that could be a very long wait.
So that is the story to date. Who knew that getting pregnant would be so hard or require quite so many visits to the doctor? Or so much money? While my insurance paid for everything related to the diagnosis (or lack there of) of my problem, it stopped paying the second I started the clomid. I definitely get frustrated and depressed over it at times, but I've been doing my best to keep busy and concentrate on everything else going on in my life. Jeramy has been very supportive through all this as well, and has certainly done his part in terms of going to the more important doctor visits with me as well as...ahem...everything else that is required of him at the specified intervals of time.
I have thought of just abandoning this treatment all together and pursuing a course that involves smoking crack, quitting my job and applying for welfare. After all that approach seems to work well in terms of getting other women pregnant. (Yes folks...that is a joke).
Anyhow, I'll try to give periodic updates when there is something to tell. But honestly it is really just a whole bunch of waiting then a sudden burst of activity and then waiting some more.