My Story

Hi there, welcome to my blog. Yes I am a drama queen and yes I have been deemed “infertile” by a few of the medical experts in the great State of Colorado but that hasn’t made me give up my quest to have children quite yet. My husband and I have been on the emotional roller coaster of infertility since March of 2009 when I stopped taking birth control after being on it for ten straight years. I have been keeping a journal since the start of this process and thought I would share it with all of the other incredible women out there who may be going through the same thing or similar thing that I am. At age 28, I have been diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure (POF). With no history of fertility problems on either side of my family and normal periods before going on the pill, I was left to accept that I have this condition and that there is no medical explanation for it. Since receiving this diagnosis from a fertility specialist in May 2009, I decided I simply wasn’t going to accept that I wasn’t going to have children with my own eggs. I jumped into the world of Eastern Medicine, worked with an Endocrinologist and even went on a fertility diet trying to get my ovaries to start functioning normally. The conclusion I have come to is this…..having Celiac Disease (Gluten/Flour intolerance) and continuing to eat flour throughout most of my childhood and part of adulthood caused my body to produce anti-bodies that have now started attacking the organs/glands in my body. After a visit to an endocrinologist in December 2009, it was determined that I have ovarian antibodies which are essentially antibodies produced by my body that only attack the endocrine system. No doctor has actually confirmed my self diagnosis that the Gluten Intolerance caused this but Celiac Disease is an auto immune disorder and any auto immune disorder can cause your body to attack itself. I am currently waiting to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist to see what the next steps for me will be. I have read that doctors can try and stimulate the Pituitary Gland to get your Endocrine System running again or that you can be given steroids to help restore ovary function. I am hoping to receive one of these treatments in the near future but only time will tell. In the past 10 months, I have watched many of my close friends become pregnant while I remain a sad statistic. This blog contains my thoughts as I struggle through the process of figuring out what in the world is going on with my body and how I continue to try to stay upbeat and positive about my fertility and enjoy my life. I hope that my blog can help others would love to hear from other women going through the same thing, inspiring stories or anyone who just needs encouragement. I know and understand how difficult every day can be once you have received the POF or infertile diagnosis and want you all to know that I am here for you. Please note that some of you may feel I am sharing to much information (TMI) and for that I am sorry. If you want to read my blog…you get all the details. You never know what will be helpful to someone else right? God bless everyone and I wish you luck on your fertility adventures:0) Remember mind over matter!

My intent is to raise awareness of the issues. Please do not rely on this or any other article when making decisions that will affect you and your health. These are things I have decided to try after much research.
I am sorry I have to even ask, but this research stuff is starting to get expensive. I am just asking for $1.00 donation for posts you feel have helped you. I will use all donations to help fund my research and doctors appointments and of course report back to you. Baby dust to all of you and dont worry we will all find a way to have children.

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Infertile – a horrible word used to make women who are already feeling bad about themselves want to jump into a pool of chocolate fudge and eat their sorrows away only to realize that not only can they not get pregnant but now they don’t fit in their clothes. A word so easily tossed around by doctors that they don’t even realize they are saying it and a word that you never under any circumstances should google unless you want your brain to explode.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Still Waiting....

As I sit here preparing to go back to work after a long 6 days off, I am still waiting to find out what exactly it was that I felt two weeks ago today. My acupuncturist and I both believe it was me ovulating but after many let downs during this entire process I am afraid to get my hopes up.  Since last Tuesday, I have had runny almost water like CM and a dull cramp on my right side.  I have had some breast tenderness and for the past two days have felt sick after eating my first meal of the day. Could I be pregnant? Or is this just me messing with my own head again?  I was told to wait another full week to take a test but am going to report these symtoms to Jeff tomorrow and see what he thinks.  I have read that a lot of CM like I have been experiencing could be early pregnancy symptoms, I pray that this is what is happening with my body.  Only 7 more days until I find out....I can wait 7 more days....can't I?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Counting My Eggs Before They Have Hatched??

The weekend was filled with surprises. During my acupuncture on Friday, I had twitches all over the place which is a good thing because it shows activity. The CU Buffaloes & Denver Broncos actually won a game and I had some activity in what felt like both of my ovaries on Saturday and again on Sunday. On Saturday, I was standing at the CU tailgate munching on my breakfast when both my ovaries started to hurt. It was almost like a dull pain kind of like a pinching sensation on both sides. This went on for most of the afternoon and evening. I was talking about it with my mother in law and she smiled and said “maybe you are about to release an egg”. I laughed it off thinking in my head “yeah right” and went on to the football game. When we got home, I put a heating pad over my lower belly while doing my nightly foot soak and fell asleep not really thinking much of it. The last time I was on progesterone supplements, I had cramping just about everyday. This was a bit different then the cramping I had before but I just figured it was yet another side effect. I woke up pretty early on Sunday morning to go and spend the day with my family. I got ready and made it to their house in under an hour. We ate breakfast (yummy gluten free bisquick pancakes) and as my mom and I were cleaning the dishes, I all of a sudden got an explosive pain on my lower right side where I believe my right ovary to be. It wasn’t extremely painful, almost felt like something had burst and followed by a dull pain that lasted for about an hour. I sat down at the kitchen table and drank some warm green tea while I waited for the pain to go away and sent my husband this text “Something just happened but I’m not sure what. Got an intense pain on my right side of my uterus that lasted for about an hour.” Not a wife’s typical text to a husband but I guess we are not the typical couple. Sadly, these types of texts have become normal with us. I update him on all changes I feel in my body….I know what you are thinking...lucky him. As I sat there waiting for the pain to go away, my mind started racing. “What if the was implantation? No silly that couldn’t be, you haven’t been ovulating, this is your first month on the hormones. What could it be then??? Could it actually be ovulation? Or what if it was a cyst? No, I couldn’t have that bad of luck, could I?” Since this happened, I have really been trying hard to keep my promise to the hubby and focus on something else but I am failing miserably. I came in to work this morning and immediately starting doing research. According to what I read, I either ovulated or have ovarian cysts. I am going with the first one….something to celebrate! It is so great because my husband and I had “time together” on Saturday night right before Mr. or Mrs. Egg (I don’t discriminate) popped out. Now the race is on to catch the egg. I am picturing a fun game of little sperm racing with the egg. I should call the next couple of days “As the Sperm Swim”. Couldn’t have timed it better if I were actually using all of the ovulation devices I have in my bathroom drawer. I feel like I could be jinxing things by talking about it like counting my eggs before they are hatched only in my case before they are fertilized. Oh well, the fact that I am feeling any changes at all is truly a blessing with the already amazing changes I have felt since starting the hormones and DHEA. Anything else on top of feeling like I am supposed to will just be an added bonus. I have an appointment with Jeff this week and I am very excited to tell him what has happened since our last meeting on Friday and see what he has to say.

So just got back from my appointment with Jeff and “Houston we have received confirmation.” It is in his expert opinion (not just mine) that I ovulated on Sunday!!! As soon as he said it I immediately started crying and thinking in my head “Holy Shit”. Excuse my French but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think any of the things I am doing would work. I mean I have always had hope but man I never thought this would happen the first cycle on the hormones and only after seeing Jeff for a month!!!! I have officially experienced a miracle! I have gone from being told in May of 2009 that I had flat ovaries with no eggs, to a year later March 2010 being told I had round ovaries with standing follicles to this week being told that I have officially ovulated. Say it with me now Holy Sh_t!!!!! Jeff did say to not get my hopes up. That my body is still adjusting to trying to work properly again and that although a pregnancy is possible this month, we should concentrate on being happy with what I have already gotten out of my body this month. I told him I had no problem with that and that I wouldn’t be devasted if a pregnancy didn’t happen this month. Jeff told me no heavy working out, to cancel an allergy testing appointment I had scheduled for this Friday and to continue to be religious about doing my nightly footbaths. As I laid there during my treatment, I picture an egg with arms, legs and a smiley face walking through a fallopian tube with a flash light who is met by a new swimming friend. The two of them join up and navigate through the tube and into the uterus together and then find a permanent home to put stakes in and start building their new temporary home. Silly I know but I fell asleep halfway through this ridiculous story building. When I woke up I was ready to face the rest of my work day and wait on my husband to call with results from his doctor’s appointment. The holiday season can’t possibly get any better! I already have my Christmas miracle. Thank you Lord for blessing me with this new beginning, I pray that it eventually leads to another miracle but it waits on you :0) Just wanted to welcome little Julia into the world. She was born last week but this is my first post since then. Congrats S & D on a beautiful baby girl!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Double Hit From the Stun Gun

I was still feeling really good as I drove into work today. I have been considering making some professional changes to my life but am worried I might get pregnant in the midst of the changes. During our daily morning phone call, I expressed this concern with my mother who then replied “well remember you are talking about one to ten percent that may even be an option”. That comment just hit me like a stun gun and I didn’t talk for a full minute while I let the sting wear off. I rejoined the conversation as my mother called my name for the fifth time to see if I was still there. I then replied with “did you just say that to me?” I absolutely love my mother and I could not have gotten through this whole ordeal without her but it is statements like that which show me that she just plain does not understand what I am going through. Statements like “1 in 10% chance” or “there are other options” or “you are not dying” are statements that people in my situation really can’t stand to hear. I believe that being positive and not making statements that make the other person want to shrink into a ball and roll off into the distance is better for everyone. People who make statements like those I just mentioned are able to say those things because they have not had to deal with a fertility issue. It’s not their fault, it’s not the fertility patient’s fault either but it really does suck. Another thing I have recently learned is that my loved ones have been keeping pregnancies of people around us a secret from me. That is extra fun when I find out because then I get a dose of “I feel stupid that people have to keep things from me” mixed with “what the hell is wrong with me, why can’t I get pregnant.” I know people think they are doing the right thing not telling me but it makes it so much worse finding out through a third party. Ok, enough depressing talk. I am still feeling so happy and encouraged. We continue to be on the two year plan which has allowed me to be able to think about something else throughout the work days and actually become productive at work again.

And Finally Some Good News

As I sit here in at my desk and watch the first snow flakes of the season start to fall, I am still amazed at how great I have been feeling. The newly added hormones and DHEA have been such a great addition to my daily routine. I just had lunch with a friend of mine who suffered the horrible tragedy of loosing her full term baby about two years ago. She is now 10 weeks along and I am so happy for her...probably would have cried when she told me if my new drugs didn’t make me so darn happy all the time….not complaining at all. I was feeling pretty good after our lunch. Got back to work, stole a reeses pieces out of a coworkers snack drawer and was working along. A visit to the restroom brought on more good news. It appears that I have a large amount of clear, stretchy CM. I noticed it a bit this morning but thought nothing of it but this afternoon it is very obvious what is going on ….the estrogen is causing me to have a cycle!!!! I of course got out of the bathroom as fast as I could and called my mother and husband to which I got the response “um that’s great, you have good mucus?” They just don’t understand what a breakthrough this is. I know mucus is not that great of a conversation topic but I’ve got it and I don’t care who knows.

I was so glad that I had an acupuncture appointment; I knew Jeff would share in my mucus excitement. He was indeed very excited to hear of the changes I have been seeing and we discussed things I needed to be sure and do (besides my husband) the next few days. As soon as the needles were placed over my ovaries, I felt a sharp twitch on the right side. Right about that time, Jeff asked if I felt any twitches and when I told him yes, he smiled and said that’s good. Dying to know why that was “good,” I asked what it meant and he told me that it meant there was activity where ever the twitch was occurring. I replied with “it’s about time”. Jeff then responded with “it’s been a long time, so it may take awhile to wake your ovaries up.” I was sure to let him know I had been talking to my ovaries and not him when I had said “it’s about time”, didn’t want to piss the person off with the needles. As I was left to doze off for my 45 minute treatment, it took a minute for my mind to relax with all of the good news I had received throughout the day. My friend had gotten pregnant, I seemed to be responding to my new medicine pretty early in the process and the first snow was falling. I was just too happy to sleep….but I did it anyway. Jeff woke me up, went over the game plan (intercourse at least twice in the next couple of days and foot baths) and I was sent on my way to fight the traffic caused by the first signs of winter. I didn’t care about the traffic though, I just sat in traffic listening to my Beth Moore bible study..nothing, not even the butt who cut me off because he didn’t want to wait in line, could ruin my day.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Love Thy Hormones

If one more person asks me if I am feeling ok, I am going to scream!! Everyone at my office & at home seems to think I am not feeling well because I seem relaxed and have been really laid back. Come to think of it, I feel really relaxed and laid back (am I that big of a stress case that people immediately notice when I start to relax???....I even know that answer to that question, after all stress is my middle name. I am proud to say that I now know what it feels like to not be stressed out throughout each and every work day. I don’t know if it is my new jasmine dispensing air freshener in my office, the new heating pad I have brought to work (to keep my uterus warm…I didn’t say it wasn’t weird but I have read it works), the DHEA supplements or the low dose hormones but I have to say I feel fantastic. Until recently I always seemed to have a tiny headache all the time, and I just noticed yesterday that it is gone. I feel like my head is clear and I am able to remember things more easily. My skin also seems to have a new glow to it… I am basically in a constant state of euphoria :0) I noticed the change in my mood on Monday night and have already decided that the low dose hormones were exactly what I needed and even if they don’t eventually help me conceive naturally, it was the right decision to start taking them. My hormones were hanging on to healthy levels by a tiny hair like thread and the new addition has knocked them into what feels like fully functioning doses.  I am hopeful I will continue to feel even better as the months pass.  I am really interested to see if the DHEA will have any amazing effects on me as it did for the woman in the article I shared with you in my last post. If it made the patient in the article’s 46 year old ovaries behave like they were 20, will it make my 29 year old ovaries behave like they are 14?  Let’s hope so but let’s shoot for after the onset of menses because pre-puberty would be no period and I already know what that feels like :0)  I have a new strategy for every time I start to think about my fertility. I start taking deep breathes and concentrate on my breathing. When you do that not only does it relax your body but trying to focus on taking deep breaths helps clear your mind as well.  Hopefully after awhile I will program myself to not think about it. After all, I don’t have to worry until November 2012 so let the fun begin :0)

Hormones Here I Come!

I learned some things this week. One, although I thought it sounded amazing, staying in hotel connected to a Galleria is just not a good thing. Two, not everyone has the same understanding of personal space. Three, Continental Airlines doesn’t have rows 13 or 33 and on some of my flights they do not have a row 9 either….dont understand any of these except for the 13. I was lucky enough to get to go to a great women’s conference in Houston, TX this week. The conference and my room were both in the Westin which is connected to the galleria. Being the fashionista I believe myself to be, I thought that was great….but now that I am home looking at my bank account and all my new treasures….I realize that I probably should have stayed somewhere else or hidden my wallet from myself. Whenever I go to Texas for work or play, I come back feeling like a young teenager again. I grew up in Texas and moved to Denver when I was 18. Visiting the lone star state gives me the sense that I am young, rich and free of all the problems I normally deal with on a daily basis. I often return with a renewed sense of self and fashion followed by a few weeks of “what the heck should I wear this with.” While traveling from Denver to Houston, I had a few encounters with the same woman. On the shuttle ride from the check in terminal to the gate, her luggage fell on me twice then as we were getting off the shuttle she hit my heels with her bag. Taking a deep breath I just smiled and said it was ok after all I would probably never see her again. Well I was wrong, the flight attendants were getting ready to close the door to the plane when in runs the same woman from the shuttle. I took a deep breath and watched as she passed each row and stopped in front on mine. She threw her bag up in the overhead compartment and started climbing over me before I told her I was going to get up. What are the chances the same woman from the shuttle would be sitting right next to me on the plane??? Well to finish the experience with this woman, as it came time for our row to exit the plane she started pushing me out in the aisle at the same time the woman that had been sitting in front of me started taking down her bag from the over head bin. Her bag, fell directly on my head and everyone around us gasped. Only then did the woman from the shuttle back off and sit back in her seat. I just looked at my friends who had been on the flight and laughed it off rubbing my head as I walked off the plane. As for the missing rows in Continental planes, I have no idea why they do that. I understand why they don’t want a 13th row but don’t know why they wouldn’t have a 9 or 33 or if it was just that particular plane??? As I returned home from the conference I was anxious to get through my last day of work for the week so I could go to my doctors appointment. Hormone day, it was finally here! I had been preparing for it all month with acupuncture and working out.

My husband and I went to see Dr. Santorro. I had asked her to describe what IVF with donor eggs process was like for him (just in case). He has stated before that he is really against it but I wanted him to have the facts. After a demonstration, Dr. Santorro stated that the estrogen I was going to be taking was estrodiol and that it would be in a patch I was to wear directly above my hip and change twice a week. I was also to take progesterone on the 1st through the 12th of every month. This combination would help me ovulate. Then the doctor explained that she also wanted me to start taking 50mg of DHEA a day. I freaked out a bit inside as she also explained the side effects which included acne and facial hair. My husband looked over and said “if you get a mustache we wont have to worry about trying to have a baby” and we all laughed. I was thinking to myself “to bad I already have one and just rinse it off every month”….but I guess what men don’t know doesn’t scare them :0)

I was feeling pretty good about things when my doctor started describing POF and that most of the time someone with POF has a 10% change of getting pregnant. This made me cringe as she went through the statistics and as she kept talking I felt my positive attitude slowly wither away. To change the mood I interrupted her and said “so when I get pregnant, because I know this is going to work, what do I need to do. Do I need to stop taking any of these medications or keep taking them?” The doctor replied with “good, I’m glad you feel this is going to work. When you get pregnant, you will want to stop taking the DHEA. We will keep you on the estrodiol and progesterone because they are a very low dose and will be good for the baby.” She handed me the prescription write ups and said “good luck.” I was thinking to myself as we walked to the car. I am already having to worry about my hormone levels, premature aging and weight gain but now the doctor has added possible adult acne and access facial hair to the picture….I was picturing myself waking up one day and looking like the princess on the Shrek movie.

I could tell my husband was really bumming on the ride home from the appointment so I decided to break the silence with “you know babe, they gave us a 0% chance one year ago and we can’t assume my body is the same as another woman’s so we have a good chance.” He stayed quiet for about 15 minutes which made me sit there and wonder if I should have just stayed quiet and not said anything. After about 15 minutes he replied with “that’s true, we should give it about two years and then if we still haven’t gotten pregnant then I think we should look into IVF.” Wow, two years of waiting….can I do that???? You know what, I think I can. I am fine with the fact that this is plain and simple just not my time to become a mother. God knows best. So I am officially going to concentrate my energy on taking care of myself, my marriage, my family and getting a new home ready for when the time finally comes. I have been doing a lot o thinking in the past couple of days and I came up with this….I have accepted that maybe if in two years I have still not gotten pregnant that must mean that my eggs are no good. Meaning, I could possible pass on something to my child that I wouldn’t want to such as leukemia, colon cancer, liver problems, diabetes and my favorite Celiacs Disease. It seems that genetic diseases are getting worse with each generation and perhaps me not being able to get pregnant naturally is God saving my husband and I from an even bigger heartbreak of having a sick child and loosing them at a young age? Or even worse having a child with so many problems they wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy their lives. I have come to the realization that I need to stop pushing for this to happen, there is a reason it isn’t happening right now even if I don’t understand it right now. So this is me, taking an oath with my hand over my glamour magazine “Lord, I promise to stop being so pushy on restoring my fertility and understand that things will happen in your time and not mine. Please however understand that I may be exploring other options come December of 2012 as I will see that as my sign that is what I am supposed to do.” Ok, I feel better already.

When my husband and I went to pick up some DHEA at vitamin cottage I was a little shocked when they vitamin expert told us that they didn’t carry it due to it’s side effects. They had a whole sheet explaining why they refused to carry it. A bit worried, we walked across the street to the Sunflower Market to see if they carried it. They had four different brands so my husband and I split the bunch to read the labels and were able to find one that was gluten free. On the way home, my husband expressed his concern on me taking the supplement and I told him that the sheet from vitamin cottage state patients were fine to take it under a doctor’s care. A bit worried myself, I decided to do some research when I got home. I found an amazing article on DHEA. Here is the link The article states that DHEA “ is a relatively recent development in the treatment of premature ovarian aging but in a very short time has demonstrated remarkable results in the treatment of prematurely aging ovaries. Effects can only be summarized as rejuvenating ovarian function.” I was so excited to read this first part of the article that I had to stop, print it to PDF and send to my family members before I even finished the rest of the article. It goes on to explain how a patient started taking DHEA on her own before starting an IVF treatment. “She greatly increased the number of eggs in her next IVF treatment and the doctors were wondering what had caused these results. After investigating, it was found that after taking the DHEA for only 4 months, the 43 year old woman’s ovaries were behaving like those of a woman in her 20’s.” As I continued to read on I found a list of “Highlights of DHEA effects”. Some of them were increases egg & embryo counts, improves eggs & embryo quality, speeds up time to pregnancy in fertility treatment, increases spontaneously conceived pregnancies (my favorite one), and another favorite decreases spontaneous miscarriage rates. There was also another list of non-fertility related positive side effects which are improved overall feeling, physically stronger, improved sex drive, mentally sharper and better memory. My husband and I both decided that maybe some unwanted facial hair could be considered acceptable for a supplement that could do all of this….I have been taking it for four days now and so far no sign of any hair growth or acne and I feel really happy. I am just going to move on to a new obsession for awhile and worry about this in two years. Don’t worry I will continue to write about things that may or may not be happening. I am simply saying I have nothing to be upset about so I will no longer be spending my days feeling sorry for myself. The options are endless and I am only 29, I have many years to worry about how I am going to have a child.

Reading Materials/Other Items That Have Helped Me

  • Inconceivable
  • Making Babies by Sami S. David, MD & Jill Blakeway, LAc
  • pre-seed Fertility-friendly Intimate Moisturizer
  • restoring fertility - yoga for optimal fertility dvd - you can feel it working!
  • Taking Charge for Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH
  • The Infertility Cure by Randin Lewis, Ph. D.