12 January 2012

The Fertility Treatment Slow Lane

You know those blog posts you read from pregnant women, "Things No One Told Me About Pregnancy"? There should also be one entitled "Things No One Told Me About Infertility and/or Fertility Treatments". 

I feel like I am perpetually one step behind, and constantly clawing to catch up. There is no real way to be fully prepared for infertility and/or fertility treatments unless (a) you studied reproductive endocrinology in medical school or (b) there is no b. It's like that dream where you wake up and you slept through final exams. You feel insecure, inadequate, and like you are screwing your life up big time. Damn, I hate that dream. That's kind of how all of this feels, except it's real life. I am so unprepared for what is behind the next door of infertility fun.

But getting back to things no one told me - I have a big one. No one told me that fertility treatments can be delayed, or worse, cancelled. In my mind, the doctor spells out a particular treatment plan, the patient adheres to the protocol, and then anxiously awaits the results. All of the anxiety and potential heartache lies in the results a.k.a. are you pregnant or not? I somehow failed to take into account that we are dealing with our bodies here. Fertility drugs may or may not help things along. Procedures may or may not improve your chances of success. Our bodies will react or not react however they damn please.

For example, take my situation. I've been living in a strange gray area called, "Three months and No IUI."

I started treatment with my fertility doctor about three months ago, and we have been sidelined three cycles in a row. Why? Two different cysts and a bad reaction to the fertility drug, Clomid. That's the long and the short of it. I don't have the time nor the care to map out how this makes me feel. Actually, you can probably guess how this makes me feel. What's the word? Mad? Not really. Sad? Eh. Frustrated? Bingo.

No one told me you could get fertility treatment blue balls. And, yet, here I am, with one of the worst cases of IUI blue balls on record. Apparently, my body is in the fertility treatment slow lane. She's got an attitude like, "Oh, you thought I was just gonna do what you wanted? You wish, bitch!"

As each day passes, I am learning I have less and less control over where my body wants to go or what my body wants to do next.  I am just a passenger along for the ride. Cue more frustration.

Any friends want to share other things no one told you about infertility and/or fertility treatments? Maybe we can all learn something.



14 comments:

  1. You hit the nail on the head ...

    We are in our 13th month. And AF is due on Friday the 13th. I couldn't feel MORE unlucky right now.

    We just did our first round of clomid. Nobody told me that this part would cause more anxiety that BEFORE treatments. I thought that handing it over to the doctors would be EASIER.

    So. Wrong. It. Hurts.

    I'm in limbo myself. Waiting. Because if no BFP this cycle (aka the minutes that feel liek hourse between now and Friday) then I choose another round of clomid OR go for an HSG.

    Nobody told me that choosing which treatment to do first would be so ... difficult. And that it would feel like I was letting our future baby down by picking the wrong one.

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  2. No one bothered to tell me that you can BOTH have infertility! After several rounds of epically failed oral meds (Clomid and Femara), we went to our RE and found out my husband also had infertility issues. That was a fun phone call.

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  3. I'm agreeing with Jenn Marie, in that the most difficult thing is deciding what to do next. After 3 failed rounds of Clomid, its go time in deciding what next steps to take. Going to see an RE (I'm currently just being treated by my OB) is going to be step 1, but how far will we go in treatments with her, should I start trying acupuncture even though it too costs an arm and a leg, should I continue with Yoga for Fertility, should we start looking into adoption, should I start investing in some serious therapy because crying every day can NOT be healthy or help the cause.

    Sometimes it all becomes too much.

    I am bookmarking this blog post so that I can hopefully come back and learn from others' experiences as well! ;-)

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  4. I guess I have learned that nothing ever really goes the way I think it will. I was sure I would get pregnant easily. Almost two years later and I'm still not pregnant.

    I thought my lap would just remove cysts. Then I find out that I also have moderate to severe endometriosis.

    I thought my HSG would show both tubes were blocked since they were blocked during my surgery. Surprisingly, they were both clear.

    I have no control and I never know what is going to happen. I guess I should just learn to take it one day at a time and stop all the expectations. It's a hard habit to break!

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  5. Did your body just call you a bitch? Not cool, not cool at all!

    I'm so happy to see the above commenters with great responses to your frustration. I learn more and more about infertility and I am so thankful that I was blessed with a baby. Know I'm always thinking of you Carly. Keep your head up!

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  6. There really wasn't much that anyone told me about infertility or fertility treatments, the only people that I knew that had done fertility treatments were your typical "It's-been-3-months-and-I'm-not-pregnant-so-I'm-doing-IUI". Yeah...those girls. There has always been a strong temptation to slap them.

    Things that I've learned along the way? Chart, use ovulation sticks and get pretty darn familiar with your every twinge. Don't hesitate to see an RE. Don't hesitate to do all the tests and get things ruled out or figured out quickly. The process can take forever so don't push it off month after month while continuing to try on your own (not that I'm saying you are in your particular circumstances-I'm referring to my own). By all means continue to try but also do the tests. Each time a test comes back in the clear, it will be that much less stress off your back. And if it doesn't come back clear? At least you're not laying awake at night wondering. Lastly, I am not a huge alternative medicine fan but acupuncture does work if you find someone you are comfortable with. Find one that specializes in fertility, take your charts in and schedule regular appointments. Mine recommended Chinese herbs and after only a few appointments, I noticed a difference in how I was feeling. In particular, period cramps and pain lessened an incredible amount and I didn't need the prescription painkillers anymore.

    The whole infertility process has been a huge learning experience for me. I think it's turned me into a hypochondriac as I've become more in tune with my body. :)

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  7. IUI blue balls, lol. I have no experience, just wanted to offer support. Having been (and sometimes still in) a situation where the usual platitudes of support do nothing but frustrate me more, I won't offer any. Just support.

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  8. I think the #1 thing we all forget (even those of us who work in the medical field) is that we (humans) are only "practicing" medicine. It's sort of like practicing a martial art. You attack, and even though you do the right move at the right time, the parry may deflect it. Medicine is the "attacker" and the body is the "parry". I thought after removing my diseased right ovary, I'd be back on a "normal" track. And I was! For a few months in my life, I actually discovered that "normal" feels pretty darn good! Then my body went back to it's own "normal". Lefty has decided to take up righty's cause. My husband is ready to have kids yesterday. We decided to wait until after our vow renewal next year, but I'm preparing everyone that it may not happen biologically. They are FAR more hopeful than I am. I don't mean to sound like a fatalist to them, but I know that stress hormones are SUPER powerful, and the more I stress about it, the worse any chance of getting pregnant will be. So I'd almost rather not hear "Oh, there's all this technology out there and it'll happen!" I'd rather be pleasantly surprised than brutally disappointed.

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  9. I learned that even though our original tests all came back fine, every. single. time. I had a monitoring ultrasound they found something new wrong...oh here's an endometrioma, oh here's a huge fibroid, oh the endometrioma is really big today, or you already have a huge follicle at CD9 but your lining is crap. So much so that I just anticipated worst case and when it turned out ok, I could get to be excited.

    I also learned not to stress about numbers. Despite my issues above, my follicles and lining usually responded as they should, and my stats looked JUST like all those people online who got pregnant with multiples on the first round of femara and iui! Oh wait, until the negative pregnancy test. Even with our IVF, our starting numbers were great, our final numbers not so hot, but it worked x2.

    I hope you can move forward soon!

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  10. Although I am not undergoing fertility treatments or experiences infertility (so I do not think anyway) I love reading your blog because I always learn something and I feel more in touch with situations women are going through. I mean heck, it could really be me one day when I decide to expand my family. xoxo

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  11. First your numbers are too high and then you are too low and then things are canceled. And you still had to pay for it!

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  12. I am starting the process after three rounds of clomid, for me it is just there are so many issues. My body does not work normally and some things like charting just don't work without meds. I am just trying to mentally prep for the process. I have not been thinking about it because I don't want to fall around the rabbit hole. I guess it will be one step at a time.

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  13. Thank you all for contributing your thoughts and experiences. I wish none of us knew the frustration of infertility. :(

    @Jenn Marie: Good luck with this cycle! I hope you get your BFP.

    @Candace: YES! Men should get fertility testing, too. Absolutely.

    @Jen: Yep. Figuring out what to do next can be confusing and frustrating especially when finances must be considered. There is only so much research we can do. At some point, we have to trust our doctors, and hope for the best. Good luck, friend.

    @Rebecca: I agree 100%. I never know what to expect! My expectations are so low right now. It's the only way I can sort of deal with the infertility roller coaster. :/

    @Colleen: Thanks, friend. <3

    @Jen - Our Life Accounts: Oh gosh, if I could go back, I wouldn't have wasted so much time trying naturally. I try not to think about all the time lost. I'm glad you had such a good experience with acupuncture! I saw my cycles improve while I was going consistently, too. Also, my anxiety was at an all time low. Woohoo!

    @Layla: Thank you, friend. Your support means a lot. It really does. xo

    @J.Darling: I'm sorry to hear about "Lefty". :( I'm thinking good thoughts for you guys. And, yes, try not to stress prematurely. Easier said than done.

    @Merry: Oh wow, it sounds like we have gone through some similar experiences! I'm encouraged to read that treatment eventually worked for you. Congratulations on your x2! :)

    @Chanel: <3

    @completelyrandomsally: Hugs, friend. Infertility sucks!

    @Christina: One step at a time is the best way to approach all of this. Otherwise it is way too overwhelming. Good luck! xo

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  14. I loved this blog post. I have been ttc 7+ yrs and nothing. I was diagnosed with endometriosis 6 yrs ago and that was fun. I also had pcos and that is gone now, thank goodness. I know have the fun part of trying to figure out what's wrong with me when the doctors say nothing is wrong. Hubby had problems but he is supposedly "fixed" now. Just finished my 2nd round of clomid, first cycle did IUI and it didn't work so second cycle I did just clomid and trigger shot of ovidrel and timed intercourse and got blood work back yesterday and it was negative. Just wondering if its ever going to be my turn! Good luck ladies if your testing soon and hoping its a BFP :)

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