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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.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An Exiting and Unexpected Doctors Visit!

Today is the first day in a long time that I actually feel happy. My appointment with the reproductive endocrinologist went really well. She didn’t agree to try any of the treatments I have mentioned on my previous blogs but she did go over my disorder with me and discussed options. The visit was well worth the 4.5 month wait and my husband and I are not able to stop smiling today. I feel as though I have cheated the system or something. My body is truly amazing…before you judge me or call me conceited, please let me explain. I am talking about how I look in a bikini….I am talking about my bodies transformation since this time last year. Are you dying to know what happened yesterday? Ok, I guess I will tell you. I didn’t sleep very well on Sunday night, partly because I had slept most that day after getting the water removed from my ear at the emergency care center (from my bath the day before). As soon as the doctor drained my ear, my body sent a message to my brain that said Naptime! I made a nice lunch for my husband and I and immediately went upstairs and took a 3 hours nap. When my husband fell asleep on Sunday night, I just laid there with the TV off trying to visualize my brain sending a message to my ovaries. A lot of the eastern medicine books discuss visualization exercises and how important they are. Most fertility yoga DVDs have periods of about 5 minutes at the end of the sessions where you do them and I have found that doing a visualization exercise at night helps me go to sleep and often brings inspiring dreams. On every time I would to where I was almost to where I had a picture in my head, the puppy would like me in the face or start scratching on the mattress to create her bed. I finally fell asleep around 11:00 PM which would explain why I couldn’t get up to go the gym at 4:30. I managed to get out of bed around 5:00 AM and started getting ready for work. Distracted by the day I had ahead of me, I forgot to take my temperature and use the fertility monitor. I made my fruit smoothie, put in my ground up flaxseed (making babies) and was out the door. Amazingly my work day flew by and I was out the door in no time. I grabbed an un-which from the jimmy johns across the street and then walked to the parking garage. It felt like my car flew to the hospital where the appointment was and before I knew it I was sitting the lot trying to get up the nerve to walk inside. I called my husband who gave me a quick pep talk, ate my un-which and then started the walk inside. As I walked into the hospital, I immediately spotted the information center. I asked where the Advanced Reproductive offices were and this nice elderly man stood up and pointed to the nearby elevator bank and told me to go to the third floor. I thanked him and nervously took the elevator to the third floor and felt like me knees were going to give from under me as I stepped out of the elevator. I found the receptionist and told her I had a 1:00 PM with Dr. Santorro. I was given some paperwork to fill out and paid my copay. Luckily the paperwork took so much time to complete that I had zero waiting time in the lobby to think about what was about to happen. As I went up to turn in my paperwork and clipboard a nurse appeared to first take my vitals and then take me back to see the doctor. She weighed me (which I hate having my weight flashed in front me when I am already having issues) and took my blood pressure. When we were done she took me into an inner office where the doctor and a doctor in training were sitting waiting for me. Both introduced themselves and I already felt like this doctors appointment was going to be different. Dr. Santorro started out by reviewing my family history and then what has happened since I went off the pill last March 2009. She went through all of my lab results pointing out the positive and negatives. For example, my estrogen levels have been fluctuating which is a sign that I have activity in my ovaries and my vitamin d3 levels were low so I need to start taking supplements. After we went through everything that happened, she went over the specifics of POF and what I can expect. The doctor explained that women with POF have what is called a 10 year window when trying to get pregnant. This means that it is possible for us to get pregnant, but if you are not on top of fertility signs it can take up to 10 years to do so. Women with POF can have a period one month and then not have another for a few months. With POF, follicles are stimulated, ovulation can be about to occur and then the balance of hormones will be off and the whole ovulation will be cancelled. It is not that women with POF don’t ovulate; it’s that we don’t do it as regularly as other women. She explained what I needed to do in order to increase my chances of conceiving. Taking anti-oxidant vitamins, calcium supplements (2000 mg a day, divide doses take with food) and take Vitamin D3 (2000 IU per day). I also need to be watching my cervical mucus; this will be the best indicator for me since I don’t have regular periods. The doctor also told me some of the things other patients have noticed, for example their faces get a bit more oily then normal when they are ovulating. I asked every question I had down to ask and discussed all of my concerns with the two doctors. We then reviewed the medications I am currently taking. Dr. decided to take me off the progesterone stating that progesterone is actually given to women who have just given birth to make sure they can lactate and it actually keeps them from having periods. She also decided to run a thyroid test to see if I even need to be taking a thyroid supplement and also ran a bone density test to make sure everything is ok. She told me if it is low, I will need to increase my calcium intake or go on a low dose of hormone replacement which you can still get pregnant on. After we were done talking, she told me she would like to do an ultrasound and check up to make sure everything looked ok “down there”. I gulped as I played the last ultrasound I had in my head. I must have cringed as I remembered the encounter because both doctors asked if that was ok. I smiled and nodded and away we went to the ultrasound room. On our way I asked if I could use the restroom. The last thing I wanted to do was pee on one of the doctors during the ultrasound….that could be so embarrassing. As I pulled my pants up and washed my hands, I thought I would have one last conversation with my ovaries. I just patted my stomach and said “remember the letter from last week? Please respond”. I chuckled to myself when I realized how ridiculous I sounded but it was making me feel better. Doctors are always telling people we need to be more in tuned with our bodies, doesn’t that include conversations with our organs? As the doctor inserted the ultrasound tool, I said another quick prayer and then waited as the doctor tilted the screen towards me. She showed me the lining in my cervix and said it was a bit thin but then explained that was because I hadn’t had a period in a few months. Then she went looking for my ovaries and I think I stopped breathing as she found the right one and said “there it is and look how big it is”. Shocked, I looked up at the screen and saw my big, round ovary with little dots inside. The dots were follicles and there three maybe four of them!!! I couldn’t believe it. She then went searching for the left but was unable to find it due to my bowels being in the way which is completely normal. I guess if you have eaten anything within the 24 hours from when you receive an ultrasound, your bowels can block your ovaries. As the doctor made another comment about the follicles, I told both the doctors that even if they were lying I appreciated that news. The second doctor grabbed my hand and said they would never lie to me and then I laughed and said you can lie if you tell me I have follicles. I smiled as I remembered the report from the ultrasound that had been done almost one year from this day. “Right ovary is collapsed with a lesion and has no visible follicles”. Pretty amazing how things can change! The doctor told me that this was a good sign and to watch for fertile signals. I was so happy when they were taking my blood I didn’t care there was a needle in my arm. Blood could have been shooting everywhere and I wouldn’t have cared. I practically skipped out of that office and couldn’t wait to call my husband. We went from definitely doing IVF with donor eggs to that being an option in a matter of a few hours. I couldn’t believe I had gotten through an ultrasound without devastating news. I had gotten so used to getting bad news I wasn’t sure how to react at first. My husband was so happy that after we got off the phone he immediately called my mother in law who then called me. Everyone was so happy for me. I received so many phone calls, emails and Facebook posts showing support. I can’t tell you how much it all meant to me. It’s funny. As soon as I had accepted that I was going to have to use donor eggs and just let it go…hello follicles! I was looking through some paperwork last night trying to find my notes on fertile foods and other things I need to be doing and I found this quote from Randine Lewis author of “The Infertility Cure”.


“When we let go of our tight hold, and loosen up our grip on the outcome, (through adoption, through being told we’re helpless, too old, or whatever else ends the struggle), we can finally unclench; we can lift our hands and let go. Only then does the space open up for our reproductive energies to be receptive. Only then can Life say, O.K. now you’re ready!” So true, I was so stressed out and focused on trying to get my periods back that I had my body in knots. As soon as I said forget this, I am moving on with the next step and going to see the fertility specialist about getting donor eggs my body was like “wait what about me?” Today is such a great day for me. My husband and I have been messaging back and forth about how happy we are. Even though the follicles may not turn into a child, the fact that it could happen is an amazing feeling we didn’t think we were going to be able to feel. I am going to end today’s posting with a small thank you to my ovaries….Dear ovaries, thank you for deciding to attend the meeting yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised to see you filling your seat that has been empty in previous meetings. I hope that we can meet again more regularly and that you are able to recruit some “eggscelent” monthly candidates. Thank you so much for your hard work in the last week. I promise to keep my word on letting you retire in 10 years.
I hope everyone has an amazing day. Remember that miracles happen every day and that to appreciate all of the amazing people in your life. Yesterday taught me to remember both of these things. If you would like to better understand follicles in the ovaries, please follow this link and read on. It’s very informative and even has illustrations, thanks to answers.com for the great explanation. http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://wpcontent.answers.com/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f1/Order_of_changes_in_ovary.svg/320px-Order_of_changes_in_ovary.svg.png&imgrefurl=http://www.answers.com/topic/folliculogenesis&usg=__qSn5nrPyWlf0VwEr2j37FyadpAk=&h=265&w=320&sz=44&hl=en&start=8&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=avVWkBkLAXUlGM:&tbnh=98&tbnw=118&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dillustration%2Bof%2Bfollicles%2Bin%2Bovaries%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26tbs%3Disch:1

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.