Wednesday, February 25, 2009

IUI's: The Middle and The End

Well, needless to say after our first negative, the next two IUI's were also negative. It got to the point where I told Tony he didn't even need to be there so he could get back to work. We joked that if I got pregnant, it would be a funny story to tell with the fact that he wasn't there when it happened:) So our first one was in May/June (my cycles began towards the end of the month and the IUI happened in the beginning of the next) and it was negative. I did June/July and it was negative. I had to skip July/August due to some work stuff that I could not get out of. So I was back on track in Aug/Sept and did another one. Each one was followed by the negative phone call from the doctor's office. One other thing I came to realize about Dr. G's office was that he was not always there and sometimes the nurse practitioner did my appts and IUI's. I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but decided that I was still getting the best care they could provide--and insurance would pay for:)

Well, there was a change in my Sept/Oct cycle. That change was that I got a nice note in the mail from my employer saying that we were switching insurance carriers. I wasn't too worried at first until I went to the meeting that was going to give us all our new information and found out that Dr. G was no longer considered an in-network provider. Needless to say I began to freak out a little bit. It was getting close to the time that I would begin my clomid for the 4th cycle and I had no idea what I was going to do. So....Aunt Jill to the rescue! I called her in a panic and she told me not to worry that we would get it all figured out. She hit the phones and found out that I would now have to go to another group, who was in Peoria, however they had no doctor at the moment and it was going to be a few months before one was coming! So freak out again.....Aunt Jill talked to the doctor's at my regular OB/Gyn office and they said that they would do my IUI's until the new doctor arrived at the new clinic. WHEW! bullet dodged.

Needless to say, things were a little different going to my regular doctor for the IUI's. There was no shot for ovulation and no sonogram monitoring, just good 'ole peeing on a stick to detect ovulation. I liked the downsize in appointments and of course the staff in the office was wonderful. Our first one there had to be done on a Sunday, and the doctor made like it was no big deal to come in on a day off--nor the nurse who had to be there as well. I also had the other doctor in the group perform some of them as well if my doc was otherwise engaged. Aunt Jill was so excited because now she got to be present for the "procedure" so that was going to be an even better story for the kids--Daddy wasn't there, but Aunt Jill was!!

We had 3 more IUI's with my doctor and the last negative came at Christmas time '07. Needless to say it wasn't the best time because I knew it meant we were moving on to something else, something bigger, and something I wasn't sure I was ready to admit we needed. There was finally a doctor in place at the new clinic and we had a consultation appointment set up for January. Here we go......

Sunday, February 22, 2009

IUI's: The Beginning

So, we had had all of our tests and we were ready to move on. When my next cycle started, I went into the office and they checked my ovaries to make sure that everything was clear. They were clear, so they wanted me to take Clomid on certain days of my cycle and then I had to go back for them to check that the eggs were producing correctly. They also prescribed me a shot of Ovidrel. Ovidrel is an hCG injection, which makes your body ovulate. I was a little worried/upset because the doctor or nurses never went over how to use the shot or give myself the injection. They just told me that it would be coming and then eventually when I would have to take it. I actually called my mom to come over and help me give it. All and all it went okay. Now came the interesting part.

Tony had the hardest job during all of our IUI's. He had to leave work, go home, do his "business" and then keep it warm while he drove all the way to Peoria to the doctor's office. The doctor was pretty adament that he only had a certain window of time to get it there once it had been "expelled." I remember when he called me once he had made the drop off. He had hit every red light and gotten behind every slow person on the way to the office. He said he went running in all worried that it was ruined and then the nurse took it like he had all of the time in the world to get there. He was so mad!

He waitied the 45 minutes in between drop-off and actual procedure in the car in the parking lot. We went in and they "inseminated" me and then I had to lay on the table for 30 minutes afterwards--it is a really long time and an awkward situation! Afterwards we went home. I waited a couple of weeks and then had to go get a blood test to see if it had worked. Well, needless to say it was not a good phone call when the doctor's office called because it was negative. We weren't swayed though, the doctor had told us that the curve of IUI's starts out slow, with the peak of positives coming within months 3-5. So we waited for my next cycle to start so we could try again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Our next step

So I went in to see the doctor for my follow-up appointment after the laparoscopy. She checked my incisions and everything appeared to be healing well. Then we had the serious talk of where we would be heading next. She explained that she felt that her expertise had been tapped and she wanted to send me to a reproductive endocronologist (RE for short--that is way to long to type again). Aunt Jill had of course checked out our insurance coverage and they would cover us to go, so my OB/GYN wanted to go ahead and send me on.

So, we got all set up to go see Dr. Graczykowski--Dr. G for short! My insurance required referrals before everything could begin, so we got all of that taken care of. Tony and I set up a consultation appointment with him. He worked out of the Methodist Atrium building. I remember being nervous when we went in. He was very nice, had an accent that was fun to listen to. He said that he wanted to start with intra-unterine inseminations (IUI) with clomid--we would do this for 6 months. If we were still seeing no results, then we would move on to In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). I remember something clearly that he said in that meeting: If IUI does not work, then we take everything out (egg and sperm) and work with them directly. It is then that we can see if it is an egg or sperm problem specifically. I really hoped that it would not get to this point, but...well, don't want to give everything away:)

We had lots of new tests that had to be run before we could begin. We both had to be tested for infectious diseases and such. Of course they all came back normal and clear. We were ready for our first IUI in late May of '07. Oh the places we have been since then!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

6 months later....

Sorry for the delay in posts, things have been a little crazy this past week.

Ok, so I have regulated prolactin levels, Tony has good swimmers and it is 6 months later (April '07) with still no pregnancy. I am starting to get really worried about things by now. So I call Aunt Jill and set up our appointment with the doctor. She (the doctor) is pretty sad when she sees that it is me and we are back without a potential pregnancy. She tells me that there is one more thing that she will do at her office before sending me on. She tells me that she would like to do a laparoscopy. This is when they make a hole in my bellybutton, blow it up with gas and look around. She said that even though the HSG was clear, it could have missed something that the laparoscopy would pick up. Then if there was something that needed to be corrected, she would go ahead and do it while she was in there. We decided that this would be a good next step and set up the appointment.

Here is where the next person found out about our troubles. I decided that since I would be put under anesthesia for this, that I should probably tell my mom in case something happened during the surgery. I remember going over to use her computer (ours was on the fritz) and how nervous I was to tell her. My dad was not home at the time. I cried and she cried, but it was nice to have my mom know.

Tony took me in for the procedure, it went smoothly overall. The only bad thing was that there was nothing that should have been impeding with our pregnancy efforts. It took a couple of days to recover, especially when I got my first ever hemorrhoid! Sorry if that is TMI (to much information) for some of you. I couldn't believe it--must have been from how they had me positioned on the table. It took a few weeks to get rid of that and I hope I never get another one. I had a follow-up appointment scheduled a few days later with the doctor to find out where we went next.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


So, my HSG had come back normal. When I had my follow-up with the OB/GYN a week or so later she had said that the radiologist had confirmed what she had saw during the test, no visible reason why we should not be getting pregnant. So we were on to our next step. She wanted Tony to have a semen analysis and she also wanted to test my prolactin levels. I had no idea what prolactin was or even did. She informed me that women who are breastfeeding produce prolactin and this is why they do not (or are supposed to not) become pregnant.

Well, first I want to say that Tony's semen analysis came back fine--believe me he was thrilled and walked around for a while saying he had "Great Swimmers!" My prolactin test came back high---so maybe this was why we weren't getting pregnant. First I had to get an MRI of my pituitary gland to make sure that there wasn't a tumor or something which was making the gland produce the high levels when I obviously wasn't breastfeeding. This is when the next round of individuals found out about what we were going through.

I was back in school at this time (early fall '06) and was going to have to take an afternoon off in order to have the MRI. Lets just say that one of my co-workers, whom I love dearly, is a little persuasive when she wants to know something:) I finally had to give in and tell my coworkers what was going on. We are a pretty tight team, so they would need to know soon enough as I would be leaving for several appointments as time progressed.

So I went and had the MRI--which is very loud by the way--and everything was fine. My body was just producing higher than normal levels of prolactin. I began taking a pill to help regulate that. It took a couple of months to get the medication regulated so that my levels were within normal range. The doctor then wanted us to try for 6 months with my corrected levels. If after that time there was still no pregnancy, we would move on to the next step. She suggested that we use ovulation predictor kits to make sure we were "doing it" on the right days as well. So off we went with renewed hope that all I needed was one little pill in order for us to start our family...hmm that was a nice thought:)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My first procedure.....who knew there would be so many?

Well, first on the list was telling Aunt Jill. There really is no good time to tell someone that you are getting ready for a procedure that may tell you if you are possibly headed towards infertility, so I decided to do it at a local baseball game.....on the way to the concession stands. Of course she was very supportive and it was nice to have someone to talk to about it, but we just weren't ready to fill everyone in. She of course can't tell anyone because of the whole confidentiality thing, but I knew she wouldn't just because we had asked.

My first procedure was a hysterosalpingogram--yep that is what it is called. Nice name, huh? I always use the acronym. I cut and pasted the next section from the web--a lot easier than trying to explain it myself:)

A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an X-Ray test that looks at the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes and the area around them. During a hysterosalpingogram, a dye is put through a thin tube that is put through the vagina and into the uterus. Because the uterus and the fallopian tubes are hooked together, the dye will flow into the fallopian tubes. Pictures are taken using a steady beam of X-ray as the dye passes through the uterus and fallopian tubes. The pictures can show problems such as an injury or abnormal structure of the uterus or fallopian tubes, or a blockage that would prevent an egg moving through a fallopian tube to the uterus. A blockage also could prevent sperm from moving into a fallopian tube and joining (fertilizing) an egg. A hysterosalpingogram also may find problems on the inside of the uterus that prevent a fertilized egg from attaching (implanting) to the uterine wall.

So Tony and I went to the local hospital for the procedure. They don't use anesthesia or anything, but man I wish that had given me something to relax me a little. I was wheeled into the room, with about 10 other people in there and basically had to get undressed in front of everyone. Then they strapped me up into stirrups with ski boots on the end. So there I am with my world bared to everyone around. The HSG itself went well overall. I definitely had a lot of cramping when the dye was traveling through my tubes, but all in all there was nothing wrong with my parts.

So my first procedure was over and we had no answers. So we were moving on to the next step.

OK seriously, I think there might be something wrong

Ok, where were we.......oh yes, we had decided for Tony to take a job that would move us back to where our families lived. We were very excited and went through a lot. Remember how I said we had built a house right before we moved, well we decided to do it again:) We lived in a really crappy apartment from Jan 06-Mar 06 until the house was finished. Plus it meant that we had to sell our 6-month-old house in the burbs. All through this time we were still trying, although the BBT charting was a little sparse. When we got settled into our house, I started it up again. At least now we knew that Tony was home during the "important" times.

By late summer 06, we still had no pregnancy and we were running out of excuses. No more stress because of the move and selling of houses. No more "Tony wasn't home this month", no nothing. So I knew it was time to call and make another appointment with my OB/GYN. The good thing was that this is the doctor that I had been seeing since I was 18, plus Tony's Aunt Jill works there, so I kinda got an "in"!! We still hadn't told anyone yet, so of course I just told her that I needed my annual--it was time for that--and I knew that of course once I was in the room, patient confidentiality would take over.

So I went in for my appointment, loaded with all of my BBT charts that I had been keeping. Luckily Aunt Jill was leaving early that evening and would be gone by the time I was done. This was going to work out perfectly:) So we did all of the normal "annual" things, then when she asked if I had any other concerns, I broke out the BBT charts and started filling her in. She determined from my charts that I was definitely ovulating (saw a definite spike in temp) and we were "doing it" at the right times. She suggested that we start some different testing to see what was going on. I agreed and we set up an appointment for the first one (to be named in the next post). I then added that I really didn't want Aunt Jill to know. One of the nurses overheard me and reminded me that while no one there would tell her, that she does do the insurance it looked like we were going to have to tell the first person about our struggles.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Trying is fun....but shouldn't we be seeing some results?

So here we are up in the "burbs" and enjoying life with two incomes! It was going great. We both liked our new jobs, we lived in a nice little duplex, bought a new car, life was good. We were also getting in lots of "practice." The only thing was, I was still getting the visit from AF (Aunt Flo--IVF talk...I think it is your first glimpse into that world!!) like clockwork every month. Of course, even if I was only a few days late I would begin to wonder.....but of course it was always a let down:(

So it had been almost a year since I had been off of birth control pills (BCP's--another acronym for ya!) and still no pregnancy. We were in the middle of building a house and getting ready to move in, but I knew that I needed to get in gear and get myself the dreaded annual appointment with a new OB/GYN. But seriously, who likes making that appointment, especially when you have to find a new one! I finally did make it and didn't cancel it (been known to do that a few times over the years!!). So I went in and had the dreaded exam and when she asked if I had any other questions, I decided I better fill her in on where we were with the "trying." I told her our story, a year of trying but with no success. I did leave out one little detail earlier.....Tony's new job required a lot of traveling. We weren't always "together" when we needed to be. After I filled the doctor in with ALL of the details, she suggested that I chart my Basal Body Temperature (BBT), along with when we were "trying." She said we should do this for at least 6 months and if still no results, to call and set up another appt. with her.

So, I went home, read tons of stuff on the internet, printed off charts, and bought the special thermometer. For those of you that don't know, BBT for a woman helps her to determine when she ovulates so that you can time intercourse. You need to take it first thing in the morning and try to take it around the same time each day. About day 14 of a regular 28 day cycle, there will be an increase of atleast .5 degrees for about 10-14 days. When you see the increase, it means that you have ovulated. Basically, the doctor wanted to make sure that I was ovulating and that we were having sex when we were supposed to.

So, we started on this endeavor right around the time we moved into our brand new house. It was all very exciting, especially when after about 3 full months in our house Tony interviewed for a new job and got we were moving back to where our families were, but it would inevitably put a kink in our plans to start our own family.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Our Furry Family

So, I was in the shower tonight and realized that I had forgotten two important people in our lives......our furry family members. Chaos-the cat joined the family first. Tony got her during the summer of 97--we were actually broken up at the time. He and a friend were living together and they decided they needed a cat. Well, the only problem was that animals were not permitted in their apartment complex......she really liked to look out the front window, which was fine until the super saw her. Needless to say, Tony kept the cat when they got evicted and she has been ours ever since:)
Tasker, our puppy, joined the family in March of 2004. Tony had been wanting a dog, but since we were poor (he was in college full-time and we were living off of my teacher salary) we hadn't gotten one yet. Well he won a poster contest for his major at a conference in Chicago and the prize was $$$$. So, we put that money to use and drove 4 hours to retrieve him from the breeder. Chaos has not forgiven us since (as you can tell from her happy picture)!!
We love them and they are ours! I just felt bad that they had not been introduced to everyone. They deserve a special post, and now they have one:)

In the beginning.....

Well, since I am here in the office by myself today (sickies all around me!!) thought I would use my lunch hour to make a post.

My, my, where do I even begin. Tony and I have a long history that starts back in our junior year of high school (Fall 1995). I can't say that it worked out the best back in the beginning, but after much soul searching and dating on and off for the next 4 years, we got engaged on Feb. 13th, 1999. Wow, almost exactly 10 years ago--that is scary!! We got married June 24th, 2000 after I graduated from college. We started out our lives together doing the normal things young married couples do, as well as sending Tony to college. We decided to wait to start our family until he was done with college--wasn't that a smart thing to do?

Well, not many people know this, but I actually went off the pill in the late summer/early fall of 2003. We thought maybe I would get pregnant and be able to have the baby right around the time he would be graduating from college in May 2004. Obviously that didn't work, but we weren't phased as it really wasn't that long to be trying. After he graduated and we got settled into our new jobs and home we decided it was time to get started on that family. I went off the pill in the fall of 2004.....and haven't been back on since (except to regulate my cycles for IVF, but that is another post!!).

Thus begins our journey to have a family, but we just had no idea where it would take us or how long!

Monday, February 2, 2009


I've been struggling for a while trying to decide if I should start this blog or not. I finally decided that I would, as would be evident now:).

Most of you who will be reading know who we are, but there may be some who will happen upon this and find solace in the fact that someone else is going through the same thing they are. I will spend the next few posts going through our history, some of you may not realize how long we have actually been going through this. We kept it very quiet for a long time, but slowly more and more of you have found, which isn't a bad thing, but is really the reason for this blog. I know people want to ask, but aren't sure if I would be okay with answering questions. So now all you have to do is check the blog-BAM-all your questions answered:)

So, this will be my place to update you on our journey, vent about the process and life in general, answer your questions, and hopefully not offend anyone:)