Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gnawing hormones.

Since I started typing on this blog I have only addressed the 'house.' There are many components to a home, however. After we bought our house a dog followed. Duke quickly became the most important thing to us, aside from home improvements, completion of a Master degree and my husband's continued education.  I assumed that the natural progression would be children soon there after.

Now, to back up a bit.

As a teenager I didn't follow the same natural progression in puberty. A gynecologist placed me on hormones to bring on a menses. Months later it never returned. Again I followed the same regiment of hormones which were followed up by birth control.

Fast forward 10 years-

My husband and I decided to go off birth control March 2011. I began to loose my hair and had to chop off long lusturous locks to help combat the hair loss. Unfortunately, again I had trouble with my menstruation or lack thereof. My gynecologist placed me on rounds of progesterone and clomid. Internal and external ultra sounds. Without realizing what clomid was or its effects, I took as directed. I did several cycles through my primary gyno. All were unsuccessful. He could not tell me why I could not menstruate on my own but convinced me to continue with the medications. Over a conversation with coworkers I was enlightened as to what clomid does to the body. I was more than surprised my Doctor had not explained more, nor did I ask. After speaking with family about my issues in July, more family stories began to come out. My Mother also had the same problems, as did other female members of my family. An Aunt of mine had different infertility issues which were unknown but she recommend acupuncture to help with fertility. By October I was spending each week with my acupuncturist. She began educating me on things I never knew or thought to ask. She was unhappy to hear how my gyno was placing me on hormones without being more thorough. She suggested I move onto a fertility specialist.

I was skeptical at first. For one, I am only 26 and thought maybe over time I would menstruate. I work for a, um, very large organized religion organization. They do not acknowledge certain medical practices that are 'un natural.' After probing my insurance I realized I was in fact covered to meet with a fertility specialist. IVF was the only thing not covered.

The day after Thanksgiving, my husband and I attended our initial meeting with Dr. Gocial at RMA of Philadelphia. Immediately after reviewing my charts and file I was diagnosed hypo/hypo. Hypogonadism/hypothalamusism, google if for the exact definition. But basically I have a hormonal imbalance. (My husband probably could have called that) Dr. Gocial began me with a round of Progesterone and estrogen to bring on menstration. He then placed me on clomid to help with fertility. Unfortunately, the clomid had an adverse affect to my body. It made my lining too thin. That cyclye became a wash. Necxt cycle he would move on to gonadatropins, injectable horomones. (Bravelle)

The first cycle of injectables were free from the Doctor's office. After the rund of injectables followed  internal ultrasounds and blood work. My body did exactly what it needed to. I was then ready for my first IUI. (I prefer getting turkey basted.) The Dr takes a cathadar and injects the semen after they have been thruigh a thorough rinse process. My husband has strong, billions of sperm swimming hard and strong :) After two long and agonizing weeks, I was told my pregnancy test came back negative.

The next cycle began but this time we had to pay out of pocket for the medications since my insurance wouldn't cover them. $1600. Same process, same results.

That's when I began fighting the power. I petitioned human resources at work and won! Our Dr reviewed his thoughts with us. After careful consideration we decided to start the IVF process.

For the third cycle my employer would cover the meds through a special mail order pharmacy. I had to stop acupuncture due to financial reasons and we had to finance the IVF procedure. We are still in the IVF process to date. I am uncomfortable with giving exact dates or times because I don't want people to know them. When people know, the questions often follow. I don't want to have to explain to everyone that we still aren't pregnant. Our parents know every detail and I like it that way. I have gone through a mock run through of an IVF retrieval. During which I asked the Dr if anyone has ever peed on him. (You must go with a full bladder to the surgical center)

My basis for discussing my background or personal issues is to help educate others. Infertility isn't a worng thing. Most people don't discuss it because it makes them feel less for not being able to get pregnant. I feel the opposite, by not being open infertility issues become almost taboo. And it shouldn't be. It affects more people than you'd think. After going through this issue with ny husband we hear more often other stories of infertility. The financial toll that follows with infertility is only one part. The psychological and physical toll are just as great. I categorize myself as a strong woman but infertility is hard. There are parts of infertility that are sad, some that are even funny. But you have to remain in good sprits. That's why I will have no problem discussing the real aspects of what has occurred to me throughout the last year because I would have loved to hear real stories when we realized we have infertility. My best advice is being comfortable with your Dr. We love Dr Gocial, in fact we love RMA of Philadelphia  and their staff. You will get more action from your Dr than your husband some weeks. You will feel moody, crazy, sad, all in intervals or at once! You loose any sense of modesty or insecurity about your woman parts. I have learned to scootch my butt down on the table and spread eagle before my Dr has even asked.

Ultimately, no one knows the feeling of infertility unless you have gone through it. I have the support of a friend and coworker who had her own issues. She was able to walk me throughout the IUI process. Fortunately, for her she was successful after the first IUI. I know the IVF isn't 100% but I feel I would rather take the chance, go through the surgical procedure, the hormones, the every other day Dr appts, than to never have tried at all. Be open. You will hear many shared, similar stories.

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