My Journey Through Infertility (PCOD)
I have known I have PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease) since I was about 18, I am now in my late 30’s.
Here is our story. Maybe it will help someone with what they are going through, or make you a little more understanding of the plight of others …
My ob/gyn told me the best thing I could do until I was ready to try and conceive was to stay on the pill. PCOD causes you not to have periods, which you obviously need. My egg would not always release, causing cysts on my ovaries and endometriosis. I married at 25 - my husband knew what we were going to face. My ob/gyn said to take 6 months to try and conceive the “normal” way. We did, it proved nothing. I did not get my period the whole time I was off the pill, and had to take Provera to start a period each month.
My ob/gyn wanted to start me on Clomid, a medicine that helps your egg release, but thankfully admitted to us that he was not an expert, and would refer us to a specialist 1 hour away if we desired. We did.
We tried Clomid for 6 months per fertility doctor’s orders, Clomid was covered by my insurance with prior authorization and 80% of these doctor’s visits were covered also. Clomid did nothing, I only got a period once the whole 6 months. So we opted for laproscopy (where the cut a slit in your belly button and above your hair line) and go exploring. I had endrometriosis they scraped out, and also removed a benign cyst they found at the opening of one of my tubes.
Next step from here was a year of fertility medications, to be injected into me daily at home by my husband. After 6 cycles (1 month on, one month off) if this did not work, the next step was IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). In case you do not know, IVF is NOT covered by many insurances, and certainly not ours.
Emotionally I was pretty stressed. I have known since I was a little girl that I was meant to be somebody’s mommy. Financially, our insurance only paid for some of the medication and part of the visits. We decided, money or no money, we would never forgive ourselves if we did not take this chance. We had to go in twice for demonstrations on how to inject. We came home loaded up with needles, medication, a hazard box, and other wonderful supplies. I had nightly injections in my arm at 11 pm for 15 days ( mind you, I had to get up and teach at 5:30 the next am!), and would work all day … and then drive 1 1/2 hrs to the doctor for blood work check and internal ultra sounds (you can just imagine how little the insurance covered), and then drive an hour more home. After much careful monitoring by the doctor of the egg count and blood levels, they finally approved the second injection, a bigger needle to be injected into my lower, lower back.
The doctor and nurses said to wait 10 days after I thought your period was supposed to come, but of course I didn’t listen to that and took a pregnancy test the next weekend. It was negative. I was devastated. On a whim (and because we had bought a 2 pack test) that NEXT Sunday (7 days later) I woke up and thought, maybe I misunderstood the doctor, was it 10 days after the medication or 10 days after the day my period was supposed to come? I took the test, like millions of others I had taken over the years, just to humor myself. When the 2 lines came up “you are pregnant” I didn’t even think, all the ideas I had about lovingly telling my husband went out the window! I woke him up screaming “What does 2 lines mean???!!!” over and over again shaking the stick and paper .. then called my mom, his mom, my sister in law while he ran to get another test.
That too was positive, and I had to wait until Tuesday to drive down to the fertility clinic to confirm my pregnancy. It was the last time I drove down there. They confirmed my pregnancy and I was referred back to a regular Ob/Gyn and had a fairly normal pregnancy and delivery. Our son is now 10 years old.
Around his 5th birthday I unexpectedly went off the pill for a month and found myself immediately pregnant! 9 months later we gave birth to a little girl, who is now almost 5 years old. Thinking that was a fluke, I stopped taking the birth control pills again a year later, and found myself pregnant again - with a 20 month old already here! After the third child I quickly realized that, through all the earlier issues of infertility, after having the first baby, my body was ripe to have children. I had my tubes tied and still am in shock that I am a mother to 3!
Every story is a little different. And though mine has the happiest of endings, I can honestly say parts of me did not believe we would ever be here, that I’d have this story to tell.
Is There a Link Between Menstrual Disorders and Pregnancy Problems?
Some women can mark on their calendar when their monthly cycle will grace their lives, but others are not so lucky. Sometimes it can be normal to have a cycle that does not come on the exact same day each month, but sometimes it can be a sign of a menstrual disorder, especially when accompanied by a change in other cycle characteristics, such as how heavy it is or how long it is.
If you have noticed changes in your cycle,or if your cycle has just always been rather erratic, your ability to get pregnant may be affected. Not all menstrual disorders will affect your ability to conceive, but some will, so it is important to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss any concerns you have about your cycle.
Amenorrhea is a term used to describe when you have missed a minimum of at least one menstrual period. This often occurs due to your body not producing an egg. There are a variety of reasons why you may not ovulate, and then in turn miss your period. These reasons may include excessive exercise, transitioning to menopause, stress, polycystic ovarian syndrome, not eating enough, illness and certain medications.
Sometimes we will miss a period and it is not a big deal, but if you have missed your period for longer than three months, definitely call your doctor.
Abnormal bleeding, is well, abnormal and is definitely something you need to have checked out when it occurs. If you are bleeding during times outside of your menstrual period or experiencing a menstrual period that is heavier than normal, this is generally considered abnormal and should be checked by your doctor.
Some causes of abnormal bleeding may include intrauterine device problems, fibroids, cancer, pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy, infection, polyps, hormone disorders, miscarriage or certain other health conditions.
This is the term used to describe periods that are very painful. Many women have cramps and/or general discomfort during their monthly periods but your period should not be disabling. If you have a lot of pain, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Some causes of painful periods may include endometriosis, fibroids and contractions.
If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant and it is just not happening, start keeping a period diary. Write down when it comes, details about flow, pain level and every other detail. This will help your doctor in determining whether or not a menstrual disorder could be the cause of your problem getting pregnant. It may also reveal another issue. No one wants to write about their period, but this could certainly be helpful.
What You Should Know: First Trimester of Pregnancy
This is one of a series of articles on pregnancy. For more information about pregnancy and birth options, see my other articles including my series on homebirth.
The First Trimester
Theis unique, in that you aren’t pregnant for 2 weeks of it and may not feel symptoms for up to 6 weeks. This can be a blessing for some women, who have a difficult time dealing with the symptoms associated with early pregnancy. This article will outline the symptoms of the first trimester with a brief explanation of what’s going on with your baby.
You may feel premenstrual, overly emotional, or out of sorts. Exhaustion, morning sickness, and a lack of really feel pregnant can lead to bouts of crankiness. This is completely normal and as you adjust to the changes in pregnancy (including the hormonal changes that your body is trying to get used to) you can learn to cope effectively with the emotional aspects of pregnancy. You may also find that you get upset easily, not just angry but upset or sad. These feelings are totally normal as your body sets the foundation for the changes you will experience in the next 9 months. I’d recommend extra rest (not getting enough sleep can exacerbate the emotional and other symptoms of pregnancy) and support from your child’s father and/or family, though you may not want to tell your family until you’re through the first trimester due to risk of pregnancy loss.
You won’t be showing yet, but there are many symptoms that occur in early pregnancy.
Breast changes: your breasts may grow at this stage, and they may be sensitive or tender.
Morning sickness: more appropriately named ‘all day sickness’,can be anywhere from slight to particularly troubling. If you find that you can’t keep anything down most of the day, this is not uncommon. Try to keep something in your stomach and stick with foods that you crave or that you know won’t trigger nausea. Some women swear by Sea-Bands, which are worn on the wrists and can help curb nausea.
Frequent urination: get used to seeing the bathroom, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in it, particularly in the first and third trimesters.
Acne: hormonal changes in pregnancy tend to lead to break outs. Some women only break out around the time that they would have had their periods, but other women find themselves struggling with acne throughout their entire pregnancy. Be careful using acne treatments, as some are dangerous to a developing embryo.
Fatigue: do I even need to mention this? You may have fallen asleep by now…
It is so important that you get your rest during the early part of pregnancy, so don’t skimp on sleep because you think you’ll be fine. Not only can it cause all of your other symptoms to get worse, but not getting enough rest can make your days extremely difficult. The sleep is important to your developing embryo, so don’t feel guilty getting a couple of extra hours. If you can find a chance, naps in the afternoon can also be extremely helpful. The fatigue will get better most likely, around the 4th month.
Dizziness: The hormonal changes combined with increased blood flow can lead to dizziness early in pregnancy. There isn’t much you can do besides making sure that you don’t get too hot or wear constrictive clothing. Nausea can also make dizziness worse. Keep something in your stomach to curb both the nausea and dizziness associated with low blood sugar levels, and try not to stand for long periods of time if dizziness is an issue.
Bloating: Though you’re not showing yet, you may experience some bloating that can make your pants feel snug. I wish I could say this symptom goes away, but it doesn’t until after delivery.
Gas: You may find yourself burping more or passing gas as your body gets used to the increased digestion required to keep 2 people fed. This can make the bloating more pronounced.
Food Aversions/Cravings: You can start to get cravings or food aversions even early in pregnancy. I’d recommend eating what your body craves, in moderation, and staying away from things that you know will trigger nausea.
Headaches: increased blood flow as well as hormonal changes and exhaustion can lead to headaches. If you’re prone to migraines, this can make things more difficult, particularly since some migraine medications aren’t safe for pregnancy. Talk to your doctor before taking anything stronger than Tylenol.
What about sex?
Many women in the first trimester find that their sex drive is much lower, though some find it’s much higher. Nausea, fatigue, and body aches can make sex seem less appealing, though many women report that they find it easier to orgasm throughout their pregnancy.
Sex during pregnancy won’t hurt your baby unless your doctor or midwife tells you otherwise, so you don’t need to be concerned from that aspect. On the plus side, you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant!
During the first trimester, your uterus does grow somewhat, but the baby is very small so it won’t grow that much. By the end of the first trimester, your uterus is about the size of a grapefruit (starting from about the size of your fist) and is just peeking up over your pelvic bones.
What is your baby doing?
This is a time of big changes for your baby, who is going from zygote to fully formed by the end of the first trimester. Though your baby won’t be growing much or putting on weight, don’t let that fool you. All organ systems and bone structures are formed by the end of the first trimester, and the heart begins to beat several weeks before you enter the second trimester. Your baby is building its brain and spinal cord early on, so make sure to get your folic acid to lower your risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. After that, your baby starts working on the heart and other vital organs, while on the outside you would start to see the facial structure develop and then fingers and toes (if you could see your baby, of course). Initially, they have webbed fingers and toes, but this goes away long before your baby is born, so you’ll never get to see it except perhaps via ultrasound. Some women aren’t aware that the developing embryo has a tail until several weeks into the first trimester. As the body lengthens and develops, it takes up more of the spinal cord which was developing first, and the tail disappears.
Embryos develop from the top down, as a general rule. The most important things come first!
During this time, the placenta is also forming, and doesn’t completely form until around the 4th month, which is part of the reason that first trimester mothers are so tired. Their body is doing the work for two.Good luck and congratulations on your pregnancy! Don’t forget to see what comes next in my next article about the second trimester. I’d also love to hear what you think about my articles, so don’t be afraid to comment!
Top Five Reasons Infertility is Hard
Are you TTC?
Infertility, it is the one thing that plagues millions of Americans. And yet, trying to conceive (TTC) pushes moms to try just about anything. No matter if it is an old wives’ tale, or just some new invention to help fertility, women trying to become pregnant will try just about anything to help in the process.
If I sound like I know something or two about this subject, it would be because I do. Yes, I am not hiding my face, I can admit my own struggles, not for myself, but for all the women that have to dealt with this painful subject of trying to conceive and the infertility that comes with this process.
But in light of this serious subject, here are my own top reasons infertility is hard. And yes, each women or couple who have gone through this can come up with their own, as there are many reasons it is difficult.
Top Five Reasons Infertility is Hard
One of the hardest things that come with infertility is the frustration that usually follows a woman month to month. No, it isn’t just a once a month thing. It becomes a lifestyle of trying to conceive.
You have to watch women around you get pregnant, have babies, and you still are left with nothing. Yes, you’re happy for them, but there is that little place inside you that aches for a baby.
Did you ever hear someone say, “Just be patient. It will happen it when you least expect it.” Only a woman who is TTC can understand the frustration that comes with this statement.
Whether you know why you can’t conceive or merely are struggling with the infertility on your own, there are no words to say; it is just difficult. Especially, when you’ve tried everything you know to try and still nothing. Sometimes, patience can be a pill to digest.
No matter what you try yourself, it all is in the hands of Providence. All you can do is make your body the healthiest you can. Do all the things we’ve heard so much about: exercise, drink water, take herbs, and watch for ovulation…And Wait! In the end, it is in God’s hands of when you will conceive.
Six Benefits of Having a Baby Over 40
While the odds of conception decrease as you age, there are still many advantages of having a baby when you are over 40 years of age. These advantages have to due with your stability and your ability to handle the challenges of parenthood. If you are considering having a baby and are over 40 then take these things into consideration.
Many moms who wait until they are older to have a baby are financial secure. They have been working for a couple of decades and they tend to have a well established career. Being over 40 also means that climbing the corporate ladder is not as much of an issue because she has already advanced to upper management or to senior positions in her company. Women 40 and older also tend to have money set aside for emergencies and for unforeseen expenses.
Another advantage of having a baby over the age of 40 is that you most likely have developed emotional maturity. This means that you understand your emotions, you know how to control them and you know how to keep yourself emotionally balanced. Emotional maturity also means that you know how to offer others in your life emotional support, including your partner and your new baby.
Many women that decide to have a baby over the age of 40 have health insurance. This means that they will be able to afford quality prenatal care. It also means that the baby will be covered by health insurance after they are born.
Mature moms also tend to be more educated when it comes to baby care and child care. This education comes from college educations, life experience and from personal research. Mature moms know the importance of preparing for new challenges in their life, including the challenge of having a baby.
One of the best advantages of having a baby over the age of 40 is that the woman is more aware of how her body works and what is normal and not normal. This will be beneficial during the conception and pregnancy phases of having a baby. This body awareness will help the woman to identify when she is fertile and if something is not quite right with her body.
Another gift that comes with maturity is patience. This is a quality that moms need when raising children. Having this personality trait will make life for everyone in the family a whole lot easier.
Am I Ready For a Baby?
Side Effects During Pregnancy May Be Stressful, but No Need to Worry Over These Symptoms!
Pregnancy is a time filled with changes throughout your entire body. You may think being pregnant will only affect your stomach, but surprisingly, there is almost no part of your body that is not affected by the growing baby in your uterus. Pregnancy is a complete body experience with side effects everywhere. Most side effects are only slightly aggravating and are easily dealt with and often forgotten about once the baby is born. Read on for some of the most common minor complaints of pregnancy that cause no worry or fear. Of course, if you ever feel concerned about any symptom you are experiencing, the best idea is to contact your doctor for further instructions.
One very common side effect of pregnancy that many people may not know about is constipation. The digestive tract works very efficiently during pregnancy and retains almost all the fluid from your diet. The food you eat is digested so thoroughly that there is very little waste. Because of this, it is common for the digestive tract to become backed up which leads to constipation. All this is fueled by your changing hormones throughout your body. To lessen the severity of your constipation you can try to increase fluid intake and fiber content of your diet. By eating less dairy products you may also decrease your constipation. If you have very severe constipation, consult your doctor for an over the counter laxative that is safe to use while pregnant.
Along with constipation, comes gas pain and intestinal pain. Because of the pressure exerted on your intestines from your growing uterus, digestion may become slightly uncomfortable. The changing hormones in your body also lead to slower digestion which may result in painful gas. As the baby moves down the pressure lessens, but the larger the baby grows, the pressure grows as well. Chamomile tea has been proven to help ease indigestion as well as avoiding foods that you know may cause stomach upset.
Headaches are also more common during pregnancy. This is due to the high water content throughout your body. There is more water in your brain and blood vessels so more pressure is exerted throughout your skull which leads to headaches. Tylenol and rest seem to relieve headaches very effectively!
Heartburn is also a very common ailment during pregnancy. The growing baby exerts pressure on your stomach which may release some acid into your esophagus. Eating small meals and sleeping upright help alleviate heartburn. You can also take antacids such as Tums to help lessen the amount of acid in your stomach.
Many pregnant women also suffer from hemorrhoids. These are especially common in women who have had a previous pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are caused by pressure on the anus resulting in enlarges blood vessels. Hemorrhoids can be internal or external and may cause severe to moderate pain. Taking long baths, and avoiding constipation are the best ways to minimize your hemorrhoids as well as avoiding standing for long hours.
Lightheadedness and fainting also affect a percentage of pregnant women. By not resting enough or drinking enough water and eating well, the brain may become deprived of vital nutrients. Lightheadedness is generally mild and may be remedied by sitting immediately and lowering your head. If you do not sit down immediately you may faint, which can result in injury to mother or baby. If you feel that your heart is racing while you feel lightheaded, you should contact your doctor.
Swelling of your extremities is also common during pregnancy. Your water content throughout your body increases to meet the demands of the growing baby. This results in swelling of hands and feet as the water settles there. This is generally very worry-free, but if you feel that your hands and feet are too swollen or cause pain, you should see your doctor and allow him to examine the swelling. Occasionally, swelling is a sign of distress in the mother and needs further examination.
While there are many other symptoms of pregnancy including mood swings, abdominal pain, ligament pain and varicose veins, many of these are not severe and warrant no worry. If you ever feel that something just seems wrong or feels out of place, it is always best to contact your doctor to ensure nothing is wrong as well as ease your mind. By staying in tune with your body during pregnancy you can help ensure a healthy mother and baby.