Monday, November 30, 2009

Snowstorm, Grey Cup, and Naturopath

It's been a whirlwind few days for me. On Friday I had my appointment with the Naturopath (more on that in a minute), then I worked at the mall for the rest of the day and into the evening. We had a snowstorm on Friday which stalled traffic for hours, and my in-laws arrived. On Saturday we took in some of the events for the Grey Cup, including the parade, and on Sunday we went to see the Grey Cup. After the snow on Friday the weather warmed up considerably resulting in a headache for me (that still won't leave). I haven't had hardly 2 minutes to myself. I'm so glad that I took Monday off.

The Grey Cup Parade

Let me tell you about my appointment with Dr. Arnel. I think I may have already mentioned that I don't typically go to male doctors. Not that I don't think that they're capable, but I just think that a female doctor will better understand when you explain things like menstrual cramps and breast tenderness. Dr. A was really good.

First he reviewed my charts with me. He had never heard of an HSG screwing up a cycle like how I'm experiencing now. We agreed to not consider this month's chart. He said that having regular cycles like I do is very important and rules out a lot of typical fertility problems like PCOS or endometriosis. He noted that my cervical mucous lines up really with with my ovulation dates. -- Can I just say that it's so nice to talk to a professional who understands charting.

He did say that he would like to see my overall temperatures increase by at least 0.5F - both before and after ovulation. He said that low temperatures can be indicative of an overactive thyroid.

So, he's changing my diet just a bit. Thankfully I do eat healthy already so it won't be a huge change for me. Here's the treatment:
  • Eat more protein - he wants me to include protein in my breakfast and in my snacks. He suggested adding hemp seeds or sunflower seeds to my cereal or almond butter to my oatmeal, and snacking on the same seeds between meals.
  • Reduce or eliminate dairy - he said it's still okay to be eating my bowl of ice cream while I watch The Biggest Loser (morals aside) as long as I do so on a full stomach. No more breakfast shakes though. He suggested that I buy some rice or almond milk to use instead. I bought some rice milk. It was okay in my cereal but was not good to drink at all! I may have to bend the rules on this one.
  • Eat more pork and fish and less chicken and beef. People it's true - I'm a meatitarian. I do enjoy eating meat. But Dr. A said that chicken and beef are acidic and he wants to reduce the acidity in my body. He strongly encouraged me to eat more legumes and beans - but I have Hubby to consider here as well and he won't convert. I bought some Quinoa grains to try to integrate into our meals.
  • And finally he gave me some supplements. 2 for my Thyroid and some for overall health. He said that my Omega 3 supplement isn't enough for me and now has me taking fish oil - in the liquid form. It doesn't taste so bad, but it's like drinking oil - blech. The other supplements are in drop form so they are easy to take.
I'm doing my best to follow his advice. It will be hard this month as I can't see myself packing up the supplements and the hemp seed to take to my parents house over the holidays. I will try to eat more proteins though and will watch the dairy too. I go for a follow up in early January. Hopefully my next cycle will see my temperatures rise (if this cycle ever ends).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Go Riders!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cycle #20 - A Definite Bust!

I have apparently been mis-informed. I had heard through the grapevine that often, after a HSG, a woman is more fertile. I had my HSG on cycle day 10. I typically ovulate on cycle day 14 or 15. My body showed all signs that I was going to ovulate on schedule (my cervical mucous was of eggwhite quality, my fertility monitor was giving me high readings, and my cervix was so high that I couldn't reach it), Hubby and I had some well-timed intercourse hoping that this would finally be our cycle.

Today I'm on cycle day 22 and my BBT Chart shows no indication that I ovulated at all. In fact, my temperatures keep dropping! This morning my temperature dropped to 96.14 F (98.6 F is considered to be normal). I'm beginning to wonder if I'm part Zombie! I ran a quick search on Web MD (mostly out of curiosity) and apparently this morning's temperature would qualify me as having hypothermia!

I put my question about HSG cycles out to my IF sisters on the internet. I was (am) curious to know what they experienced during their HSG cycles. The experiences varied from no difference, to a longer cycle, to pregnancy.

I'm inclined to think that I did not ovulate and that the temperature dropping is an indication that AF is on her way a little early. And that's okay. If she shows a little early, then it means that my next cycle will start a little early!

If you had an HSG what was your cycle like? Did you notice any differences?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Some Tips for the Fertiles of the World

I know that when I had my miscarriage that most people had no idea what to say to me. Most people (my own mother included) ended up saying something very hurtful (although that was clearly not their intention). I already wrote a blog post about what what not to say after a miscarriage and I'm not going to repeat it here. Unfortunately, unless you've experienced a loss of your own, you inevitably end up saying the wrong thing to a grieving mother.

The same holds true for the Fertiles. Unless you've experienced infertility first hand, you have no idea what to say or how to act when you're around an IF friend. All of us IF's have had to endure countless Facebook baby announcements and receiving e-mails of ultrasounds from pregnant friends.

I think that most of my readers are Infertile like me. What the world needs is a guidebook for the Fertiles. They already have the ability to procreate, let us have the guidebook! I came across these great links while reading I-V-F You and thought that I would share them with you as well.

Let's get it started:
What else can we add? Have you come across any articles - or do you have any other ideas of what the world needs to help accommodate the infertiles?

Friday, November 20, 2009

A "Natural" Progression

Yesterday I went to meet a Naturopathic doctor. A few days ago I was looking at our health insurance coverage to see if the cover my optometrist appointment and I started to look at everything that was covered. I know that massages, chiropractic, and acupuncture appointments are covered up to $500 a year - and I truly appreciate that. Naturopaths are also included in that category.

We're approaching the New Year, a time when all of our coverage starts again - meaning that between now and Dec. 31st I have $500 in coverage and starting again on January 1st I will have $500 for 2010.

So I got to thinking... So far all of the tests that Hubby and I have done for the RE have come back inconclusive. So, in theory, we *should* be able to conceive naturally without medical intervention. So why not take advantage of the coverage that I have?

I did a search online for an accredited Naturopath who specializes in fertility. It turns out that there aren't that many. One of the websites stood out for me. So I called them and booked a free consultation with one of the Drs.

Every one of my other doctors (and even my dentist) is a woman - so I admit that going in I was apprehensive about meeting with a male Dr. My general rule of thumb is that I won't go to a mechanic who doesn't own a car so why would I see a male doctor? He was great! Our conversation was easy - almost like we already knew each other. And - he wants to see my charts! Hallelujah! That's a first!

He agrees that if there's no medical reason for our infertility we should be able to conceive without drugs or other treatments. I booked my first complete appointment for next Friday. I'm so excited to be seeing someone who wants my input, who listens to my questions, and takes the time to explain any treatments.

I'm still keeping our appointment with the fertility clinic on Dec. 15th - I want to get our test results and to see what their next step is. I don't want to jump into taking drugs or doing an IUI just yet.

I promise to keep you updated. I'd love to hear any of your experiences that you've had with a naturopath

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - The BBT Thermometer

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Okay We May Need Some Help

All of the testing that the RE ordered last month is complete. I went in for CD3 bloodwork, Hubby went in for another SA, and last week I had my HSG. When we left our RE appointment, they had us book a follow up appointment to review our test results and to discuss our next steps. That appointment is for December 15th. That's 4 weeks away! I'll already be onto my next cycle by then.

Yesterday I decided to try to move things forward. I called the fertility clinic and left a very nice voicemail asking to move my appointment up. They called me back (during the only 15 minute span of the entire day when I wasn't within earshot of my phone) and left me a voicemail that basically said "sure, call us back".

I called them back immediately - voicemail. Hmmm. I called them again this morning - voicemail. I left another message, said to call me at the office and this time to please have me paged. No call. Hmmm. Me no likey. This is very poor customer service. My clients would not be as forgiving of me if I did not call them back within a timely manner.

But, I will continue to be patient. They are a busy clinic after all. The fact that they are willing to move the appointment is a positive sign.

Working with the RE however will most likely involve spending money. Fertility drugs and treatments are not covered by our provincial health care nor our private insurance. So each day that we come closer to that next step could potentially mean the beginning of spending lots of money.

While I try to wrap my brain around that I wondered if I should make that leap. If our test results are normal shouldn't we be able to conceive naturally? So in that spirit I did a search for local Naturopaths that specialize in fertility. And today I took the leap and booked a consultation for Thursday. If nothing else my insurance will cover these appointments!

I'm admitting that we may need help in the baby making department. I just haven't decided what that help looks like yet. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sublime Sunday

On Sundays the t.v. typically belongs to Hubby. He is a HUGE football fan which basically means that from early June until the end of January he controls much of the remote control. (He follows both the CFL and the NFL - thankfully for me, he rarely watches college ball.) That doesn't mean that I'm without any power however.

Sunday morning before any pre-game shows start I have some quiet time. Junior and I spend some quality time together on the couch while watching Moving Up on TLC.

Junior has never been a cuddly cat. He was rescued from the streets when he was a kitten and most likely was born to a feral mom. While he's not cuddly he is sweet and kind and loves to play.

On Sunday mornings he and I have some special time together. Hubby and our other cat Gary always leave us alone too. Here's Junior all cuddled up:

Often I know that I expend way too much energy thinking about TTC and infertility and that's no way to live. I know that I need a sanity break every now and then. My boys are really good at keeping me grounded.

I know that pets are no substitute for children, but they don't require babysitters, never steal the car, and don't need a college education either. I don't call myself their mom, nor do I call them my furbabies, instead they are "my boys" and we love them dearly.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

HSG is Complete

Today I had an HSG. I took the day off work because the nurse who scheduled it said to take the morning off in case of a reaction or delays - I opted to take the entire day off. That means that I get a 5 day weekend!

To everyone who told me to "enjoy my holiday" (which, by the way includes my dear Hubby) I responded with "any day that begins with the insertion of a catheter is never a holiday!"

So, what is an HSG you ask? Well, in my non-medical terms, basically, under a live X-ray, a doctor inserts a catheter into your cervix and injects radioactive dye. Then they watch the dye on the X-ray monitor to see where it goes. In an ideal world the dye should fill up your uterus and then go through each fallopian tube before spilling out into your abdomen. An HSG is used to determine if you have any blockages in your fallopian tubes and to see if the uterus is a normal shape.

Curious about what it looks like? Here is a link (don't worry - it's a view of the X-ray monitor).

Here's how my day went. First off, I didn't sleep well. I was actually more nervous about this non-surgical procedure than I was about going in for knee surgery 15 years ago. I got up @ 5:30 'cause I wanted to have a shower first (I wanted to be all spic and span).

I was told to be at the hospital by 7:30 am. Of course I arrived by 7:15 (I'm never late - including for AF!). As I looked around the waiting room I watched the other women arrive. Of the 8 women, there was only 3 husbands that came. Truth be told, I think that if Hubby had come with me I would have been less stressed, but realistically it didn't make sense for him to take time off work to be there.

At 8 am they took all 8 women into the changing area. We were told to undress from the waist down and to put on a lovely gown. Then we proceeded to another waiting area. Imagine a big waiting room with 8 women in blue gowns, some in boots, some in socks and shoes, each with a purse all waiting quietly. No one spoke to each other. After I got home I thought that I should have put down my iPod and struck up a conversation or two. These are my infertility sisters after all. Why were we all so shy to make friends?

I was the second one called in for the procedure (an advantage to arriving early). There were 2 doctors and a nurse there. The younger doctor actually performed the procedure. She warned me that the speculum was not warmed up. However, she failed to mention that she was not using any lubricant! Umm, hello? You're a woman. How do you think that feels?

When she inserted the tube through my cervix I felt immediate cramping. It was just like menstrual cramps - not pleasant. The procedure overall lasted about 3 minutes. The older doctor told me that everything was clear. I still asked to see the X-ray. He showed me the screen (in hindsight I should have taken a photo with my cell phone - but 3 strangers had just looked up my bits and I was a little out of sorts).

When I looked at the screen I couldn't tell much. There was a dark circle slightly off to the side and a couple of squiggles on each side. The squiggles were the fallopian tubes, the circle is my uterus. It didn't look anything like you see in a health class diagram.

After the procedure the nurse hands me a pad to put on as there is often leakage. The pad was close in size to what I imagine an adult diaper must look like. I'm grateful that I had a panty liner in my purse! The liner was necessary as I have had some definite spotting since the procedure.

Anyway - all of our fertility testing is done. So far all of our results have been good. So why are we on cycle #20 of TTC? That will be the first question that I ask the RE at our next appointment.

Sometimes women are more fertile after the completion of an HSG. The dye sort of "clears out the cobwebs". Let's hope that we are included in the "more fertile" category.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Remembrance Day

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 8, 2008

This is a date that I definitely feel like I need to post on. But it's not an easy post to write.

November 8th was my estimated due date (EDD) for my pregnancy. November 8, 2008 that is.

After the miscarriage one of the things that kept me going was knowing in my heart that I would be pregnant for sure by the time my due date rolled around. That didn't happen. And now here we are another year later and I'm still not pregnant.

Truthfully I don't find this date as depressing as the anniversary of the miscarriage. That was the worst imaginable day of my life. November 8 is just a reminder of what could have been.

I know that for some women their EDD is a really rough time for them. It's not easy for me either, but it's not the end of the world for me either. It's a date I doubt that I will ever forget.

On one hand I feel like I should be grieving more for what I've lost. On the other hand I feel like I need to move on and get past this.

I think that time has definitely helped me heal - as it tends to. But also knowing that we are finally seeing an RE and moving forward is also helping.

So, I don't really know how to write this post. It's hard to commemorate the anniversary of something that didn't happen. But I feel like I need to do something.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pregnant For the First Time?

Are you pregnant right now? Is this your first child? Do yourself a favour and do not put yourself on any mailing lists!

When I was pregnant (which seems like a lifetime ago) I signed up for a discount card at the maternity wear store (yes, I was so excited that I had already started to buy maternity clothes. Most of which are still in my closet with the tags attached).

That small act has resulted in me getting coupons and samples in the mail for each of my baby's "milestones". Unfortunately my baby didn't even survive long enough for us to see his heartbeat on an ultrasound.

A month before our due date we started to get diapers and formula in the mail. Every few months after more would show up congratulating us on our baby's growth and development. Do you have any idea how this feels to a woman who not only lost her baby but hasn't been able to conceive again?

The kicker was the telemarketer who called to congratulate me on our "new arrival" in an attempt to sell me an education savings fund. I do feel bad now for my response, but at the time I think it was forgivable. I said "my baby died" and hung up.

I don't mean to sound jaded, but excuse me, I am. So please, if you are expecting, wait before you put your name on any list. Trust me, you can sign up at any time, just don't do it too soon!

And to the companies who have that information - make it easy for families to get off your list. 25% of pregnancies end in a loss. That's 25% of your potential customer base that you are hurting.

If you're wondering what I did with everything - all of the coupons hit the recycling bin. The formula samples (mostly full sized) were donated to the food bank.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

About Body Talk

By a show of hands who here has heard of Body Talk therapy? Nope, not me either. A couple of months ago I went for a massage with a new massage therapist. I told her about our struggles with getting pregnant and she suggested that I go for a Body Talk session. She said that one of the practitioners at the clinic used it to cure her infertility.

I'm totally open to all options. You all know that I'm walking around with acorns in my pocket right now. Heck, I'll try almost anything (I do draw the line at drinking my own urine to cleanse). But money is a little tight right now, and I sincerely doubt that our insurance will reimburse me for this.

The other day I finally decided to go for it and book the appointment. Maybe the prospect of having to shell out $10,000 for IVF treatments got me to thinking that $100 is much more affordable!

I'm still a little confused about how the treatments work. Basically she held my wrist and asked a series of silent questions - not to me, but to my spirit guides and angels. She then would tell me what needed to be "fixed". And she would clear the path to wellness.

Definitely you need to go in with an open mind and you must be open to alternative therapies and treatments.

But I came out of the treatment feeling positive. Plus she actually said that I won't need any more treatments - and that definitely leads me to believe that she's not money grabbing.

For the record, she said that I will be pregnant by January.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Nov. 4

Just what a girl needs on Cycle Day 2!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lucky # 20?

Cycle #19 was a bust - just like the 18 previous cycles. Today I start cycle #20.

I was completely caught of guard with this period. I had no symptoms of its approach (other than my drop in temperature). No pimples, no food cravings, no cramping. Instead I woke up this morning, feeling pretty good in fact. My good mood lasted for about an hour until I picked up my BBT thermometer and checked today's reading.

My temperature had dropped a bit yesterday. I was hoping that was just a blip since I hadn't slept well. In fact, I honestly thought that it would go up again today. When I saw today's temp I had to check it again.

96.58 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, I knew that there was no hope that I could be pregnant, none whatsoever. But I felt good and got on with my day.

During this morning's staff meeting I started to feel a few small cramps. I rushed to the washroom right after to "get prepared" for my period. Instead I was greeted by her early arrival.

It reminded me of when I was a young teenager. Too young to really know anything about my period, too young to be on birth control, too young to care. I never tracked anything about my periods then. I really had no idea of when my period would show. After a couple of embarrassing moments, I soon learned to pay attention. This morning was very nearly another embarrassing moment!

So onwards and upwards. I went home at lunchtime and called the fertility clinic to book my HSG and I called the radiology clinic to book my ultrasound. I will go for another FSH test on Thursday. Hubby has his second semen analysis on Thursday as well (this time they are testing for antibodies).

Other than the testing this will be a "normal" cycle for us. We aren't scheduled to return to the fertility clinic until December 15th. Hopefully if I'm not pregnant by then we can start to get more aggressive.

My Chart

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