Healing

Yesterday I was working from home because I caught a bit of a cold, and Dr. Oz was on in the background. He had a segment about Crystal Sonic Therapy and how it can do wonders for healing clarity, pain, relaxation and sleep. I decided to download one of the CD’s on itunes to see if it helped me any, and I have to say it is VERY relaxing. I am sitting at my desk listening to it with headphones and it really is amazing how powerful it is. If you are struggling and you can take the time to listen, I highly recommend it even just for relaxation because I’m not sure I’ve personally experienced any other benefits from it so soon.

My lucky little family and I are starting therapy on Friday. It is going to be good for us. Mr. Lucky and I have some things to sort out stemming from our infertility and growing our family. Mr. Lucky really wants me to get pregnant. If you didn’t know by now, I’m infertile. However, weight loss surgery changes things for some people. The sudden weight loss can make people who were previously infertile, very fertile. For that reason, my surgeon and nutritionist have recommended that we use protective measures to avoid pregnancy for the first 18 months after surgery. When I told him this, he was bothered by the fact that I would want to prevent pregnancy after all we have been through. The truth is, I really don’t want to ever be pregnant. I am ok with building my family through adoption, I’m even ok with Lucky Charm being our one and only. He isn’t. He keeps talking about me getting pregnant after the 18 months and we really need to get this resolved. I don’t like to continuously disappoint him, but isn’t it time to put my own needs and health first? When we were going through fertility treatments, it was my body that was violated and attacked by hormones, not his. Nevermind that I am still bleeding profusely so the opportunity to get pregnant is NOT there. It is going to take alot of time for my body to re-adjust to hormonal changes, but hopefully soon I will get a break from bleeding.

I am finally below the weight I was before we started treatments (270). My next goal will be to be below the weight I was at our wedding (228). I really don’t ever want to be back here again, and the thought of pregnancy and gaining weight after all of this hard work scares the pants off of me. Nevermind having been through an incredibly painful back surgery and recovery.

Adoption vs. IVF

Disclaimer: Bear with me, these first entries are going to be LONG but they are necessary for me to give you the background for what is going on with me now. Once I catch you up, they shouldn’t be this long! But trust me, you’re in for a wild ride if you join me.

Our emotions at this time were indescribable, but I’m going to do my best to help you understand. After so many months of having hormones pumped through my body, disappointing doctors appointments, medical bills, negative ovulation and pregnancy tests, we were empty.

When you are living a life in the world of fertility treatments, you are living and breathing it EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. You must know what day of your cycle it is, and if it is a required “baby dance” day (10 days a month, usually from cycle days 10-20, or 12-22 depending on how early or late you tend to ovulate) regardless of whether you feel like it or not. After the baby dancing days, you will be counting how many days post ovulation you believe you are, and towards the 9 days post ovulation mark I was itching to start testing for pregnancy. Yes, crazy, I know. We should have invested in pregnancy test companies. (Thankfully, I discovered dollar tree pregnancy tests a few months into treatments) Anyway, you should get the point with the photo below of the days you are tracking when undergoing treatments (from what I remember, it feels like a lifetime ago).

Sample Fertility Calendar

Sample Fertility Calendar

We were now facing the challenge of moving forward with the choice of adoption, or IVF.

We had some insurance coverage towards IVF so the cost was far less than adoption, but the toll on my mind and body would be greater. Adoption was unfamiliar territory for us, but it was also the (in my head) guarantee of a child. After all, it was never fully my desire to be pregnant, but to be a mother.

My battle against myself related to IVF: I was truly questioning if I would EVER be okay again if IVF didn’t work. I didn’t think I could EVER come back from that mentally. You see, infertility has a way of digging so deep into your core, that you can’t even fathom the feelings of not being able to fulfill your God-given quest to become a mother. I also convinced myself that the “worst case scenario” would be that we dumped a bunch of money into this, and we still had frozen embryos if the first transfer didn’t result in a successful pregnancy. Mr. Lucky and I spoke about this a million times, and went around and around with it. He felt strongly that we should try IVF, but he was also supportive if I didn’t want to continue on that path.

The adoption battle: Mr. Lucky was not fully convinced this was the best option for us. He had all of the negative stories in his head about adoption, and he believed he couldn’t love an adopted child the same as a biological child.  Not even that, he really wanted a biological child. I have always had adoption in my heart. We didn’t have the money for it, but it would result in a baby to love on. I was feeling my heart pulled in this direction, and I was starting to lean away from IVF.

I was on the phone with Shanna one night, and I was having a little cry-fest. I couldn’t make a decision, and I couldn’t see straight through any of it. My mom wanted us to try IVF, Mr. Lucky wanted us to do it, but I was SCARED out of my mind. I didn’t want the disappointment. So we talked through all of the concerns I listed above, and came to the conclusion, that she believes I would forever regret NOT trying IVF and wondering what could have been, and the worst thing that could happen would be that we would have frozen embryos waiting for a transfer another time.

I decided she was right, and I owed it to myself, and my loving devoted husband to try IVF.

This is what led us to IVF, and what resulted in failure, and no resulting medical explanation.

Following the failure of our IVF cycle, we attended a foster-to-adopt / state adoption orientation locally. At this meeting, they stressed the importance of knowing you will likely be placed with a child at the average age of 8 – or younger if you were willing to foster and then wait out the long years of the termination of parental rights, or the reunification of the child with their parents – which is the number one goal of the programs.

We sat on this information for a few weeks.

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♣ My Lucky Past ♣ – Part Two

(If you missed Part One – click here.)

Lucky me, I had my bestest, LMM (more about her soon!) with me for my consultation at the “Cancer Center” with a doctor to evaluate ultrasounds and blood work related to the thyroid tumors. The doctor we met with didn’t seem too concerned, and believed they were just nodules. I was so grateful to have the love and support of my LMM during this time, and that I didn’t have to attend these appointments alone. Mr. Lucky works A LOT, too much sometimes, so I often do everything alone.

The Dr. called a few days later telling me that I tested positive for antibodies which show that I also have Hashimotos Thyroiditis. This is an auto-immune disease that is attacking the thyroid, but there is no treatment. He advised me to continue on my Levothyroxine (generic for Synthroid) and come back for my scheduled follow up. After seeing this doctor several times, I felt like my levels were not where they should be after a year (one of my results was a 53 and your thyroid levels should be between a  1-3).

When I was first diagnosed, my level was 8.6. So I switched doctors and began seeing another endocrinologist. During my time seeing him, he advised we could continue trying to conceive, and kept bumping up my medication. I reported to him that I was having pounding in the chest even when I was walking slowly down the hall. It didn’t feel right, and that was the only culprit I could find. The problem was, the smaller dose wasn’t bringing my levels to where they should be, so we were in a pickle. Still, he advised me to continue on the higher dose and see a cardiologist as needed.

Meanwhile, we decided to pursue IVF. We had run through a battery of blood tests, labwork, an SIS, and lots of prayer. When the box of fertility medication was shipped to us, it was very intimidating. There were a ton of needles, and a ton of medications, and I was overwhelmed. The nurses at the clinic assured me that it would be a breeze.

Around cycle day 10, I started ultrasound visits to check the growth of the follicles to see if they were maturing properly. After each visit the doctor seemed to keep bumping up the doses of Bravelle (the medication I was using to stimulate the follicle growth). He said that I had several (16 if I remember correctly) follicles but they weren’t quite maturing. After several mornings of driving 40 minutes to the clinic every morning to get the ultrasounds done, and bloodwork each morning, the nurse called me to tell me my cycle was cancelled for poor response. The follicles were just not maturing based on my E2 bloodwork. They were appropriate in size, but not mature.

That was the only answer I got, other than, we would be happy to try again using a different method. That wasn’t an option. We had run out of funds through this process to continue pouring money into treatments that were not resulting in answers. Perhaps we may have considered if we had more of a clue what was going on other than, “they aren’t maturing and we aren’t sure why”.

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♣ My Lucky Past ♣ – Part One

Hi, I’m Mrs. Lady Luck. I am in my late 20’s and have had quite the “lucky” life. But through it all, I remain positive, that this year is going to be the year for my family and I, and I am going to be the one to change that luck. By no means, is this blog’s purpose to complain about the hand I’ve been dealt, but rather to try and help others out there who may be struggling with similar problems or those who may need inspiration to push through and appreciate the wonderful things in life. I have SO many things to be thankful for despite the obstacles I am faced with.

I have always told people that I have a little black cloud that follows me around, and just when things are going wonderful, that black cloud rains down.

So here’s a little about me, and my lucky family. Mr. Lucky and I met in college 12 years ago. We have been together since then, and have been married for 5 years. Most of my “luck” came along shortly after we were married and we decided to pursue having a family. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome early in 2008 and we decided to start trying to conceive in the case that it may take a while. I was scheduled to graduate college a year later (after a long 8 years of taking classes on and off and changing majors several times). We started fertility treatments about three months after we started trying on our own. My ob/gyn suggested this route since she was confident it would not be easy for us to conceive without assistance. I started Clomid at the lowest dose that month, and waited for an appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).

After seeing the RE, he recommended we continue with the Clomid and go up doses a few times. After several months of no ovulation on Clomid, he switched me over to a drug called Femara. It’s a drug used for breast cancer, but has been successful used as a fertility aid. I actually ovulated on Femara, but it did not result in any pregnancies. As time went on, we were getting anxious to start our family because the months of seeing one line on a pregnancy test were draining. Our next step would be using Femara and then doing an intra-uterine insemination (IUI) in the RE’s office. This consisted of several early mornings of monitoring follicles, bloodwork, a sperm sample, and an appointment with the doctor on a Saturday morning to proceed with the transfer of sperm. My mom was coming to town that day for my college graduation, so Mr. Lucky wasn’t able to be there with me. As I sat in the waiting room alone, I couldn’t help but start to freak out. What IF they mixed up his sperm with someone else’s? How awful would that be? I never had doubts before this, but this particular morning I had about an hour and a half wait to see the doctor and the waiting room was full of hopeful couples. After the  IUI transfer, we were headed out of town for my college graduation with hopes that we would soon be pregnant. Well, that cycle again was a bust. There was no explanation for the failure because the sperm sample was great, and the follicles were prime, and my levels were just right.

It was around that time, that I started feeling the effects of extreme fatigue and suggested that my doctor check my thyroid levels. The nurse insisted they should be fine because they were checked the year before when we started treatments. I begged her to just run them anyway. The levels came back showing I was definitely hypothyroid. So the doctor also recommended that I have a thyroid ultrasound. We put the fertility treatments on hold while this next round of tests were being performed. After my ultrasound was done, he reported to me that I had two thyroid tumors, and would need to follow up with a specialist to determine my risk of thyroid cancer.

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