Long Time, No Talk

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Hey all!  I know it’s been so long since my last post, but I wanted to stop by and say Hi!!

Hoping to get back into blogging soon & posting an update soon!

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National Infertility Awareness Week #NIAW

I started off my morning by making my annual post to Facebook, letting my family & friends know that today kicks off National Infertility Awareness Week!  This is what I posted:

2015 #NIAW #1in8

2015 #NIAW #1in8

“We are ‪#‎1in8‬. Today starts off ‪#‎NIAW‬, a cause very near & dear to my heart as it’s been nearly 5 years since Zac & I started the journey to add a child to our family. We battle with MFI & PCOS. In the past 5 years we’ve seen 5 different doctors, endured numerous invasive procedures, I have taken so many rounds of Clomid & Femara I’ve lost count, we’ve gone through 5 IUI’s, Zac has given so many samples he’s a pro at it now, all of which have yet to produced that positive we’re so desperate to see. It has taken such a toll on us mentally, physically & emotionally. But, our journey is nowhere near being over, so we continue to fight & hold onto hope!
I share our story to let others know that: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! I have met some of the most amazing people during our journey and the support they all give is amazing. I want others who may be struggling with Infertility to know that they are not alone, please feel free to reach out to me. Or, if you personally don’t deal with infertility, chances are you may know someone who does, please send them my way.
Thank you to all of our family & friends! We’d be so lost without your love & support! Someday we will kick Infertility’s butt!!”

 

I love the theme for this year:  YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  I know that others are not open about their struggles, it took us quite awhile before we were completely comfortable sharing.  But, I want to let them know that they aren’t alone in this, there are people out there who completely understand where you’re at and how you’re feeling.  This is why I do what I do, I love sharing our journey on the chance that I may help someone else out with theirs!  Don’t be afraid to reach out.

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The 3 U’s: Urology, Ultrasound & Update!

Good morning, afternoon & evening to all of my family, friends and followers!  I hope you’re having a great weekend so far.

On Tuesday of this past week, DH and I made the trek down to Wichita to have his 2nd appointment with Dr Gilbaugh and I wanted to give everyone an update on what we learned.

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As most of you know, he was scheduled to have a transrectal ultrasound done to check to see if there were any blockages that could be preventing the semen/sperm to pass through properly therefore accounting for his low counts and volume.

I know some of you may be curious as to how this all worked, but I will leave most of the details to your imagination.  I did take pictures of the setup before DH got on the table and I will note that he said that it didn’t hurt but was definitely uncomfortable and he was so nervous.  Poor guy…I had to hold his hand.

All setup for the US.

All setup for the US.

Follow the arrows, that's what the Urologist used!

Follow the arrows, that’s what the Urologist used!

All ready to go & waiting on the Doctor!  And, yes, Zac wanted this pictured posted.

All ready to go & waiting on the Doctor! And, yes, Zac wanted this pictured posted.

Anyways…on to the results.   What did he find?  Nothing.  Nada.  Not a single blockage, cyst, anything!

Part of me was so relieved nothing was found, I was such a nervous wreck for days leading up to this thinking that something worse was going to be found.  Especially when dealing with the prostate and the words blockage or finding something, if you know what I mean.

The the other part of me is crushed that they didn’t find anything.  We so badly wanted some answers and explanations.  So, what does this mean for DH now?  He’s now officially categorized as unexplained.  Dr Gilbaugh has exhausted all options and there’s no explanation as to why DH’s counts are low other than it’s most likely due to his genetics.  I really hate unexplained, I wanted answers.  But, it is what it is and we certainly have options since we’re so open to fertility treatments.

While we were there, Dr Gilbaugh also had DH do another semen analysis.  His count came back at 12 million which is lower than 2 months ago and the Doctor did mention that this is a prewash count.  For those that don’t know, before treatments like IUI & IVF are done, the sperm goes through a wash.  When that happens, generally half of the count is loss, so he explained that it all actuality his count is more like 6 million.  But, he did recommend that before we are ready to restart treatments to have our RE do another semen analysis and a wash so that we’d know for sure.  Volume was up slightly, but morphology and motility was down, no surprise there.

Ugh, i’m not gonna lie, I so desperately wanted some answers and it’s taken me a few days to come to terms with the “sometimes there just aren’t any explanations”.  And, like I said before, it is what it is and God obviously has big plans for us.  I just need to learn to become a little more patient.

Otherwise, there’s not much else going on right at the moment.  We have a couple of down weekends and then we’re bombarded with weekend plans through the end of June!  We’ve got choir concerts, visiting parents, my birthday weekend, my lil sister is moving home, my brother is getting married Memorial Day weekend, my youngest niece is having a baby, my family is celebrating the family business hitting 100 years and my bestie & I are going on a road trip!  Whew…exhausting but exciting!

My weight loss has kinda hit a standstill but I’m working on getting myself remotivated and I have noticed I’m a great excuse maker!  Something I need to work on!  I am determined though, I want this more than anything and now it’s the only thing standing in our way of restarting treatments and hopefully having a baby some day.

I’m going to try to blog more often, since there’s not much going on treatment wise, I may be checking in more with every day life stuff, giving updates on the weight journey or venting more.  Stay tuned for a birthday/mother’s day post since I’m the lucky one who happens to have both fall on the same day this year.  Lucky, lucky me…not.  Also, Infertility Awareness Week kicks off tomorrow!

And…one more picture to round out this blog, because well, I just LOVE this man soooooo much!!!

My Love!

My Love!

Update Update Update!!!

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I am such a horrible blogger, I see that it’s been close to 3 months since I posted an update.  I figured it was probably about time that I did one.  Since my last blog post, we’ve had 2 more appointments.  One with an Urologist for Zac’s sperm issues and our 2nd with the Reproductive Endocrinologist.  I’m going to do this blog in sorta 2 parts, going over each appointment individually.

Appointment #1 – Urology – Dr Gilbaugh, Wichita Urology 

When we first met with our RE, she immediately wanted Zac to meet with an Urologist to have another semen analysis done and to go over anything that could be possibly causing the results to come back low.  So, after a nearly 2 month wait, we finally got our appointment with the doctor.  He started out with having Zac do another SA, and let me tell ya, he’s becoming such a pro at this, lol.   Our first impression of Dr Gilbaugh was such a good one, he made us feel so comfortable and let me tell you, when you’re dealing with a doctor that’s about to get extremely up close and personal with your private area…well, you need to be comfortable with him!  He went over Zac’s analysis first thing, count was at 14.4 million, up by about 4 million from the last analysis.  Volume was still low at 1.6, motility was at 31% and morphology was as 60%.

While we’re glad that his count is going up, the doctor is concerned with the volume being low.  He was able to rule out it being hormone related as Zac’s levels all came back in a good range.  Next the doctor wanted to check to see if issue was being caused by Varicoceles, which are:  abnormally dilated testicular veins (pampiniform plexus) in the scrotum.  (Feel free to read more about this issue at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=116&display=1 ).  After a very thorough examination, the doctor was able to determine that Zac is not dealing with this.

So, where does that leave us?   Dr Gilbaugh went on to explain that sometimes when the results come back with consistently low #’s and other things have been ruled out, there could be a blockage somewhere and it’s not allowing the semen/sperm to completely pass through the area it’s needing to be.  Blockages could mean cysts, calcifications or other.  And, the only way to diagnosis this is by doing a transrectal ultrasound.  Lucky Zac.  While he’s not thrilled with the idea of having one of these done, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get answers.  I’m going to attach a picture and I’ve circled the area the doctor is concerned about there being a blockage in.  Zac has this ultrasound scheduled April.  I’m mixed on how I want the results to go.  Part of me hopes there’s no blockages, but then I hope there is so that we finally have an answer of what’s going on.  I have no clue on how they go about fixing this, but I’m sure that’ll be brought up if the US does in fact show something.

The area circled is where the Urologist is concerned there could be a blockage not allowing the sperm to be fully passed through.

The area circled is where the Urologist is concerned there could be a blockage not allowing the sperm to be fully passed through.

 

Appointment # 2 – Reproductive Endocrinologist – Dr Tatpati, Center for Reproductive Medicine.

Today we had our follow up appointment with our RE.  And, first things first, it was such a good appointment and I’m feeling so much more comfortable with this doctor now.  Back in December the number one thing brought up was my weight.  The doctor is wanting me to get down to a lower number, which I totally agreed with.  Today I was a little reluctant going into this appointment, I hadn’t been trying to lose weight as hard as I could have been and I was preparing myself for a lecture.  Well, to my surprise, I was down 12 pounds! She was totally pleased, almost ecstatic with this number.  It was such a confidence booster and exactly what I needed to keep losing.  I know I can do this.

She also went over my lab results a little from December.  She had my insulin levels checked and I was literally right on the line of being in the mild to moderate insulin resistance range, by like .05.  She did say with the weightloss, I’m most like down in the mild range and with the continued loss, I’ll go down into normal.

We also talked about Metformin a little, I’ve been on a low dose, 500 mg, since December and I seem to be tolerating it well.  I had labs drawn today to recheck my metabolic panel to make sure my liver is tolerating the Met ok, if so, she’ll up my dose, most likely to 1000mg.

All in all, it was a great appointment!  And, the most exciting part, is that she thinks if I continue with the great path of weightloss I’m on, we could be looking at being able to restart treatments in October!!  That I’m most excited about, I’m have a goal to work towards!

 

I just want to say thank you so much to all of my great supporters!  You all mean so much to me and I’m so deeply touched that you want to follow our journey and are supporting us so much along the way.  Lord knows we need it!

Slow Moving Train…

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Update time!

 

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On Wednesday, the 10th we went to the Center of Reproductive Medicine in Wichita and started seeing our new RE, Dr Tatpati.  Overall, I think the appointment went well, I wasn’t expecting much and I think that helped in terms of not feeling let down when leaving without a plan set in motion.  Initially I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to like the new doctor during the first 20 minutes, she seemed very preachy and was almost making me feel a little stupid. But, the longer went spent talking and going over things the more we all seemed to relax and I think she’ll be good for us.

Of course the number one thing to come up was my weight.  I was prepared for it.  Although, I didn’t really appreciate the way she brought it up, and she was starting to make me feel awful about myself.  I’m not stupid or blind, I know I’m overweight and need to shed some pounds.  I did pipe up and tell her that I didn’t like when doctors talked at me, and that I needed someone to help with some guidance.  She changed her tone a lot after that.  She gave me a goal to shoot for and I’m extremely comfortable with it.  I know I can do it.  I might need a little extra encouragement along the way.  So, if anyone wants to join me in getting healthier and making some lifestyle changes, feel free to.  I’m open for some challenges, ones that are going to help in keeping it off instead of dropping a lot all at once.  (Hence my title!)

She did say that one of the best things I have going for me is my AMH – Anti-Mullerian Hormone level (the level that helps measures ovarian reserve), is very, very good.  One of the best she’s seen.  She said that it definitely allows time to be on my side.  Since the test was ran a year ago, she does want it rerun to make sure it’s staying around the same.  She was also concerned about my insulin level being elevated and is having me a do a 2 hour glucose tolerance test to make sure we’re not looking at possible diabetes, and then she’ll decide whether she wants to put me back on Metformin.  And, with the talk of having me go back on Met she also wants a comprehensive metabolic panel done to look at my liver function levels.  Which, going back to our original RE, had said they were high and immediately took me off of the Met.  So, this should be very interesting to see how it all turns out.  I’m going in Friday morning for all of the blood work and the glucose test.  Very thankful that I can do all of these labs here at my family doctor’s office instead of traveling an hour out of town for them.

Now, on to Zac.  The other half of our appointment was spent talking about Zac’s history and issues.  Our RE seemed very interested in his cancer history and the fact that he’d been on a growth hormone for a good portion of his life.  She does think it’s odd that he’d have a near excellent semen analysis 4 years ago, to having 2 since then and they’ve gotten worse each time.  She definitely thinks there’s something hormonal going on there,  so, it was decided that Zac will be seeing a Urologist that specializes in male infertility.  Bonus for us is that the urologist office is about a mile from our fertility clinic!  No having to drive clear across the city for both doctors.   And, since we were so close we went ahead and went to the urologist office and got his appointment scheduled.  Holy nuthouse…that office was a zoo, lol!  But, we managed to get him all set up with an appointment with Dr Gillbaugh on February 5th (his first available)! Zac will do another SA and then we’ll meet with the doctor to go over things.  

Anyways, that’s about it!  Pretty anticlimactic, but it’s definitely a start in the right direction.   I feel very strongly that we’re on the path that God is intending us to be on.  And, He’s doing a bang up job of teaching me patience and that all good things are worth waiting for.  Slowly but surely we’ll get there.  I know that we’ll encounter a few bumps along the way.  And, we’re going to need all the support we can get.  We’re going to try our hardest to make some pretty big lifestyle changes (not entirely sure what yet) but we’ll definitely need people to be understanding and cheering us on.  This journey has already been hard these past 4 years and I have a feeling it’s going to get even harder.  But, I know in my heart of hearts that we’ll see that rainbow at the end of the storm!

Oh yeah, I forgot to add, our next appointment with the RE is February 19th. I’ve got a good 2 months to make some progress. Go me!

Next Chapter

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Holy cow I’m a horrible blogger! Sorry it’s been well over a month since my last post. Just goes to show you that we eat, sleep, and pray infertility and when we’re not doing treatments…we’re mega boring! LOL! Anyways, i’m hoping that my posts will be a lot more frequent now.

Tomorrow we begin the next chapter in our infertility journey! We’re going to see our new RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist)! I’m super nervous and anxious but I have high hopes that this will be the one to finally help us achieve our dreams. I don’t know what to anticipate but we’re going into this with no expectations and open minds. Well, maybe some expectations. Hopefully we’ll get some answers to some long unanswered questions. I’ll be sure to post an update tomorrow evening sometime.

In other news there hasn’t been a lot going on. I’m trying to prepare myself the best that I can for Christmas. I’m just not into it this year. We barely got our tree up, but the rest of the decorations still sit in their boxes, the outside lights won’t be going up and I have no desire to do any baking. I’m having the hardest time wrapping my head around the fact that we’re about to celebrate another holiday without a little one. It certainly never gets easier as another year rolls by. If I could stay in my house and hibernate until the new year, I totally would. But, since that’s not possible, I’ll get through the next few weeks the best way I know how. Everyone please bear with me.

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When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The “worst” is never the worst.
Lamentations 3:28-30 The Message (MSG)

Long Time…No Blog…

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I know, I know…this is way overdue!  I can’t believe the whole month of October flew by without a blog post from me.  Goes to show you how incredibly boring our lives are.  And, I promise I haven’t been withholding any important announcement, although I really wish we could be making one.

Anyways, here’s a little update of what has been going on the last month…

The day after my last blog post, Zac & I had to do one of the hardest things of our adult lives.  We made the heart wrenching decision to put our Mama Kitty down.  My hands get all clammy and the prickly skin shows when I start thinking of her.  I’m still in the stage of full on sobbing hysterics when I think of her.  She was my baby and my ultimate source of comfort during these last 4 years & some odd months of our infertility journey.  My heart is completely broken but I know that we made the decision.  She was so sick and her liver was shutting down, I couldn’t bear to see her suffer.

Goodbye sweet girl.

Goodbye sweet girl.

On the TTC front, we had decided to do a medicated only cycle with timed intercourse.  I know in my head that getting pregnant the old fashioned way is a long shot, but I always hold out for a miracle.  Our doctor had me do 10 mg of Femara along with .5 mg of Dexamethasone.  I went in on cycle date 13 for a follicle check, my lining looked good and I had a couple measurable follicles so the doctor decided to have me trigger to help with timing.   Needless to say it didn’t work.   It only confirmed how much I hate timed intercourse (sorry if that’s too much information for some), but I can guarantee that anyone who has been TTC for any amount of time with definitely agree that it majorly sucks!

And, of course in true ME fashion, I had to document the cycle!

Starting Femara & Dex

Starting Femara & Dex

My date with Wandy.  Yes..that is my uterus & ovaries on the screen!

My date with Wandy. Yes..that is my uterus & ovaries on the screen!

Trigger time!

Trigger time!

 

Zac & I have also made a decision regarding going forwards with further treatments.  I had mentioned some time ago about making the decision to leave our current doctor because I felt that we were stuck in a rut with her.  At my last follie check I was able to talk with her about next steps because obviously what we’d been doing hasn’t been working and we can’t keep doing the same thing forever.  She did agree with me and suggested that it may be time for us to switch back to our original clinic and start looking into IVF.  (Just for info…this doctor is not an RE, she’s an OB who specializes in infertility and is able to do IUIs in her clinic.  She’s a fabulous doctor and we learnt so much from her, I just feel we’ve exhausted all her options.  I am, however, looking forwards to having her be my OB when we finally do get pregnant!)

If we are indeed looking at IVF as our next option, we probably won’t be taking that on for several months.  (Holy freaking expensive!  And, I want to lose some more weight beforehand.)  I did go ahead and give our old clinic a call to get an appointment set up, requesting a different doctor this time since we didn’t hit it off with the first one we tried down there.  I know they are going to want all of our testing redone and figured while we’re waiting for our next treatments we might as well get this stuff out of the way.  (Blood work, semen analysis, HSG, etc…)  So, as of right now, our appointment with our new RE is set for December 10th at the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Wichita with Dr Tatpati!  I hope we get some answers and finally be able to succeed with having our child.

Other than the above, there’s not been much else going on.  The holiday season is gearing up and I’m doing my best to mentally prepare myself to get through the next couple of months.  I hate being infertile during the holidays.  Halloween sucked, it made me so sad to see all of the littles dressed up in their costumes, and it was honestly, one of the biggest reasons we decided not to hand out candy this year.  I’d rather sulk and be depressed in private and not have the constant reminder of what we don’t have.  I’m praying hard for strength and guidance.  And, I apologize in advance to everyone, I’ll try my best.