Thursday, November 29, 2007

Decision 2007

The birth of Emma was the most beautiful, amazing experience of my life that left me wanting to go through it again and again. Then the post delievery care came in and that was the worst of it all. I remember telling Phillip one night, "I hope you are okay with just one child because that's all we are going to have." He was so gracious and went with it.

Several months later passed and I was getting into a routine and was able to handle everyday life. We had somewhat of a schedule and I was actually getting a little bit more sleep. (I require atleast 9 hours of sleep to be fully functional.) My zomby state was slowly lifting. I began thinking about the possiblity of another child. We slowly began talking about it and when Emma was 6 months we new we wanted to have another child but weren't sure when. Now that we established that we wanted another child the big question on our minds was WHEN? We knew what we would have to go through to get pregnant. Looking back the process was fairly easy. Once we were ready to go forward we REALLY had to be ready because it happened to fast with Emma. So we talked and prayed about it and we figured we would start by talking to my OB/GYN on my next visit which was scheduled for January 2007.

I went in to talk to Dr. Damrich about wanting to have another baby and that I was diagnosed with PCOS at the Reproductive Endocrinology Clinic. We weren't 100% about the timing but we wanted to discuss options so we could mull it over. Dr. Damrich suggested that he try his protocol for PCOS before releasing me back to the infertility Dr. I was up for trying anything that would help us to concieve naturally. He started me on 500mg of Metformin and we would do a blood test in 21 days to measure the progesterone to see if I ovulated.

WebMd explains Metformin for PCOS:

How It Works

Metformin lowers blood sugar levels by:

Decreasing the amount of sugar produced by the liver.

Increasing the amount of sugar absorbed by muscle cells and decreasing the body's resistance to insulin (insulin resistance).

Lower blood sugar leads to a lesser need for insulin. The body then makes less insulin. Lower insulin leads to lower androgen ("male" hormone) production.

Why It Is Used

Metformin is a diabetes medicine sometimes used for lowering insulin and blood sugar levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This helps regulate menstrual cycles, start ovulation, and lower the risk of miscarriage in women with PCOS. Long-term use also lowers diabetes and heart disease risk related to high insulin levels.1

Does not cause the pancreas to make more insulin. When taken alone, it will not cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Lowers the amount of fat (lipids) in the bloodstream and lowers (lipid and triglyceride) levels.

Reduces abnormal clotting factors and markers of inflammation that can lead to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).

Decreases the level of androgens.

Metformin can be used to treat women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to reduce insulin levels and promote normal ovarian function. Metformin is best used in addition to eating a healthy diet, losing weight, and exercising regularly.

How Well It Works

Metformin lowers insulin, androgen, and cholesterol levels. It also improves metabolism in women who are insulin-resistant.

Metformin treatment triggers ovulation in about 45% of women with PCOS.2

Metformin with clomiphene (Clomid) is more likely to start ovulation than either treatment alone.2 This combination treatment triggers ovulation in about 75% of women with PCOS.

Metformin may lower the risk of miscarriage and gestational diabetes in women with PCOS.1 But the safety of using metformin throughout pregnancy is not known.

January on 500mg (1 pill) of Metformin produced no ovulation. 5 days of Prometrium to start period

February bumped up to 1000mg (2 pills) of Metformin and day 21 come in for progesterone level test.
No ovulation. 5 days of Prometrium to start period.

March bumped up to 1500mg (3 pills) of Metformin and day 21 come in for progesterone level test.
No ovulation. 5 days of Prometrium to start period.

April we stayed on the same protocol as March. 5 days of Prometrium to start period.

May I still took 1500mg (3pills) of Metformin daily and added 50mg of Clomid for 5 days.
No ovulation.

The past several months taking the Metformin has caused my Interstitial Cystitis to flare up.

Webmd describes interstitial cystitis:

What is IC / PBS?

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a condition that results in recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and the surrounding pelvic region. The symptoms vary from case to case and even in the same individual. People may experience mild discomfort, pressure, tenderness, or intense pain in the bladder and pelvic area. Symptoms may include an urgent need to urinate (urgency), a frequent need to urinate (frequency), or a combination of these symptoms. Pain may change in intensity as the bladder fills with urine or as it empties. Women's symptoms often get worse during menstruation.


Interstitial cystitis is a chronic, painful inflammatory condition of the bladder wall characterized by pressure and pain above the pubic area along with increased frequency and urgency of urination. This occurs because of chronic inflammation of the lining of the bladder and swelling of the interior walls of the bladder. Affected individuals urinate frequently with pain even though there is no diagnosed bladder infection. In a small percentage of cases, people with interstitial cystitis also have scarring and ulcerations on the membranes that line the bladder. Interstitial cystitis typically affects young and middle-aged women, although men can also have this disorder. The exact cause of interstitial cystitis is not known.

Many things trigger flare ups for me such as particular medications like Metformin. It was getting worse by the day and Phillip and I discussed what we should do. I could not continue this protocol because it was making me physically miserable. If we were to conceive it was not going to be through Metformin. It was time to consult my Reproductive Endocrinologist.

May 31st we went back to see Dr. Lucas. We were a bit nervous but excited to see him again knowing how fast things went and how confident he was the first time around. He ran my bloodwork again and told me to come back in two weeks for the results and we would go from there.

June 14 we met with Dr. Lucas again. Great news! My hormone levels were normal! Praise the Lord! One thing normal on me now that wasn't back then. What made things change? He said if he knew that answer he could bottle it up and make millions! There was no need to take Prednisone and wait 30 days for that to get into my system. We could start the shots again right away! Woo Hoo! I went home with a prescription for Prometrium to start my period and one for the shots. We are on our way!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pinks and Blues

Birthing Classes prepare you for your pregnancy and your delivery and some of the basics of when you bring your baby home. As soon as I delivered Emma it was like everyone scattered! Phillip and I looked at each other and were like, "What are we supposed to do with her now? Where's her manual? Why did everyone just leave us?" From Day 1 we could tell Emma had a sweet spirit. She was such a good baby. But sometimes good babies do cry. "She's crying! What do we do?" This parenting thing isn't so easy. Boy are we in for it!

I think God heard our prayers because he sent the nurse in. She showed me how to nurse Emma and it quieted her down instantly. God is Good!!! It was the most amazing experience. I had what she needed and only I could give it to her. She took to nursing right away. Later on that night Emma was still fussing and another nurse came in. She looked at Emma and said, "this little girl is hungry!" So we introduced the bottle to her. This was to supplement her in the meantime while my milk was trying to come in. This seemed to help her.

We kept Emma in our room all night. There was no way we were ever giving this baby up! She is so precious! She might have slept nice and cozy swaddled in her blankie but Phillip and I sure didn't. Poor Phillip had to sleep on the make shift sofa/bed and I on the not so comfortable hospital bed where I was still attached to all my iv's, etc. By Tuesday morning we were so tired.

Wednesday was the welcome home day! Being the end of November the weather had taken a turn for the cold. It was about 30 degrees when we left. Emma fit nicely into her car seat but I did not! I was a little worse for the wear. After a 3rd degree episiotomy and hemroids, I was not doing so good down there. They let me have a tiny little "doughnut" to sit on for my ride home. Do they really think that was going to help? Not really. I was hurting so bad when I got home. But it was so awesome to come home and be welcome'd home by my Mom and Dad, Uncle Mike, Auntie, Brooks and Claire! We all got to visit for a little bit before everyone (but my Mom because she ended up staying for a few weeks) headed back to Florida.

Here's where the hard part came in. I ended up getting a bladder infection. Note to anyone after having a baby, get tested for a bladder infection before leaving the hospital. I had my catheter in much longer than usual because I was so swollen down below. So we had to deal with that and Phillip had to run back and forth to the pharmacy. After I was done with one medicine the infection would come back. I eventually got it fixed and felt better.

Saturday came. We had been living in the glorious land of everything pink until everything turned blue! I cried all day Saturday. For no reason. Cried and cried. The weird thing was that I would be fine one minute and all of a sudden I would just start to cry. Then it would go away. It continued into Sunday. I know was crying all the time because Phillip was supposed to go back to work the next day. I feared him leaving. I feared him driving his truck. I feared him on the interstates. I didn't want him to get hurt. I needed him more than ever now and I couldn't do it on my own. My Mom took Emma for us and we went into our room to have some quiet time. We took a nap with the radio on. Sunday's on "NPR" they usually have cool music playing and sometimes they read stories. It had started getting dark outside and I woke up with a start to this deep voice talking on the radio. I started to panic. Phillip woke up and I started crying and hyperventilating. I couldn't control myself. He ran to get my Mom and we just all sat together crying and trying to get me under control. I was having a panic attack. It was the scariest thing ever! This was the very first time that I have ever had a panic attack.

Phillip's work was so gracious to us. They let him have an extra couple of days off to take care of things at home. He ended up going back to work on Tuesday for a 1/2 day so I could get used to him being back at work and me handling things at home. Some of his co-workers could tell that he was upset and had a lot on his mind. They had kids at home too and so he opened up and told them what we were going through. They confirmed that it was normal and that their wives had also gone through similar situations. Ugh hello? Why hasn't anyone said anything before now? I was having baby blues/postpartum depression or whatever you want to label it as. What I was going through was normal. Then why did everyone talk about how having a baby is such bliss? This is not bliss.

Looking back at this I can now say that God is Good. He is always there for you. He used this situation to bring Phillip and I closer together. We prayed everynight together for healing and guidance about what to do and how to handle it. This was the only thing that seemed to make me feel better. Wednesday we decided to call my Doctor and they said they could see me right away. My Mom drove Emma and I up to the Dr.'s office and we met Phillip there. I went in first and told them what had been going on and how I had been feeling. They then brought Phillip in and we all talked together. They suggested that I start taking a low dose anti-depressant and she gave me some anxiety medicine for the panic attack as well.

It took several days to get into my system but each day I started to feel better and better and back to my normal self. This was what parenting was all about now. Bliss. Being able to fully function and be happy and ok with having a wonderful husband and baby. A week later I was self-sufficient and my Mom, to her regret, was able to go home.

I can honestly say that God did spare me from a terrible case of post-partum. I completely and fully loved Emma, took care of her, interacted with her, changed and bathed her everyday. I loved her. My anxiety was with Phillip and fearing that I would loose him. Being a full-time working woman previously to a stay-at-home Mom was a shocker too. I was used to a schedule and always running around with lists and things to do. Having a newborn in the cold months was hard in itself because you were told not to take them out in public places. I needed to get out of these four walls that I staired at 24 hours a day literally. It was too cold to walk her outside because it was 40-50 degrees outside. I was going nuts. That was the hardest adjustment.

Choosing to take medicine to help with my post-partum was a very hard and personal choice. I needed to be the best Mom I could be for Emma. To be able to do that I needed help. Help came in the form of Lexapro. This medicine was safe to take while nursing so I was able to continue to do that. Unfortunately at 3 weeks I tried pumping and realized that I could not cover the bottom of a bottle. I then realized that I needed to give up nursing and switch to 100% bottle feeding. I have no regrets not being able to nurse. I tried my best to nurse but my body physically could not produce enough to satisfy Emma and give her the nutrients she needed to grow healthy and strong. It was also nice because Phillip or whoever was around could help feed Emma which gave me a little bit of a break. Bottle feeding still gave us the ability to bond because you still hold your baby close, you still look into their eyes, you caress their heads and play with their fingers. It doesn't make you a better Mom if you nurse and it doesn't make you a bad Mom if you bottle feed. You need to do what allows you to be the BEST Mom you can be. In turn you will have a better relationship with your child.

I praise the Lord for the lessons I have learned during these very hard times. I pray that Post-Partum depression would be talked about more and addressed in birthing classes. I think it's important for girlfriends to talk to their girlfriends about post-partum if they've experienced it. But most of all I pray that you will be a friend to someone who may be going through it. I pray that you will be there to listen to them and be a support system for them. I feel extremely passionate about post-partum depression because we've all heard such tragic stories of the most extreme cases that if only someone could have listened more or helped them and not judge them, then hopefully we can keep this from happening to others and woman can get help earlier and faster.

If you know someone who has it or you would like to talk about it please feel free to email me at

Thursday, November 15, 2007

November 2005

11/3/05 Appointment with Dr. Damrich. Gained 25lbs total. +1 Swelling.

11/10/05 Appointment with Dr. McKee. Gained 32lbs. 2cm dilated. Hopes that I will last 10 more days! +2 swelling. Ordered to only work 1/2 days.

11/14/05 Appointment 3cm dilated 70% effaced. +1 swelling Gained total of 30lbs. Emma's head is down. If by Thurs I'm 5cm he will induce Friday. Thinks she could be b/t 7-10 lbs!

11/24/05 Turkey Day! Phillip and I spent a quiet Thanksgiving together. It was so nice to be together and spend our last days together before becoming parents. We have a lot to be thankful for. We walked and walked and walked some more hoping we could walk this baby right out of me.

11/27 I was sitting on the couch and Phillip was in the other room on the phone and I felt tightening in my abdomen but it didn't hurt. It was very persistant and didn't let up. I started timing whatever it was that was going on. I figured if I was having real contractions that they would be really painful and I would know what was happening. They were 3 minutes apart. I called Phillip in the room and made him get a notepad and write out when they started, stopped and the time in between each. We decided to call the Doctor and they told us that we need to come in! Woo Hoo!!! This is it. It's so calm. My bags had been packed and in the car since the day I found out I was starting to dilate but we ran through everything again just to make sure. On the way we called our parents to let them know that we were headed to the hospital. We got there around 9ish and they hooked me up to monitor me. I was contracting. They finally admitted me around 11pm. I called my parents back and told them to pack their bags and head on up! We also called my sister and they were going to let the kids sleep a few more hours and then head up early in the morning.

11/28/05 5:30am we were awakened by the nurse who was armed with a bag of Pitocin ready to start my induction. (My contractions slowed down over the night so they had to jump start me again.) 6:30am my Mom and Dad arrived and were excited to be there for the big day. 7:30am the Dr came in and said that he was ready to break my water! It was the wildest sensation because when he broke the water it was a warm gush of water and it didn't hurt. But boy was I in for the shock of my life. The breaking of the water didn't hurt but not even 30 seconds after, I felt the worst contraction come over me. Luckily, the wonderful epidural man was only in the room next door so we had to wait for him for about 5 minutes. I was so scared of getting the epidural because it goes through your spinal column and could paralize you if it goes in the wrong spot. When they put the needle in they do it while you are experiencing a contraction and I had a hard time sitting still so they had to stick me 3 times to finally get it in. I highly recommend an epidural! It is the most wonderful invention ever. It doesn't make your legs feel paralized like I thought it would but it did make them heavy enough that I couldn't feel the pain but I could feel pressure. At 9:45 the Dr came back into my room and said that I had completly dilated and was 100% effaced so it was time to start pushing. Once they got everything ready I started to push and 30 minutes later at 10:19am Emma was born. I got to hold her for a few minutes before they took her for her measurements and bath which they did right there in the room. We both got to watch everything that they did with her. Emma came in weighing 8lbs 2oz and 20 1/2 inches and healthy as can be. Shortly after birth I started feeling sick to my stomach and not feeling so good. Phillip rushed over to my beside and before I know it I was laying flat on my back in the bed and they were rushing to get my blood pressure up. I had lost a lot of blood and fluid during delivery which caused my blood pressure to fall but once they got me stablized everything was ok again. My parents were waiting in the waiting room and were able to come in and see Emma laying in the warmer and they were so excited to be the first to greet their new Granddaughter.

We feel so blessed to have had me go through such a great labor.

October 2005

10/10/05 Went in for fetal monitoring. Not much movement over the weekend and today. Dr. said we have a strong and beautiful baby! Total weight gained 24pds.

10/13/05 Appointment with Dr. Przbyz Gained total of 18pds. Got flu shot.

10/14/05 Mom, Dad, Shannon, Brooks & Claire come to visit

10/16/05 Work threw me a wondeful baby shower. Very emotional.

10/21/05 Headache. So far I have experienced major swelling in my hands and feet. 10/15 Shannon noticed that my lips were swollen. Called nurse on 10/19 and she said this swelling was normal at this stage. If I see spots, dizzy or get a severe headache to call again.

Emma sure is an active baby now. I feel her moving all the time!

September 2005

9/1/05 Appointment with Dr. Przbyz. Had back pain on right side. Pulled muscle. Gained a total of 13.5 pds so far. Emma's heartbeat 160

9/9/05 Noticed both hands and feet were swelling. Phillip put Emma's crib and changing table together tonight.

9/15/05 Appointment with Dr. McKee Gained a total of 18 pds. Failed diabetes test. Should be no higher than 140 and I was 161. Safe to travel 4-6 weeks before due date. Went to Jacksonville for baby shower.

9/16/05 Had bad spasms in chest that went to my back. Shannon had sympathy pains with me!

9/17/05 Baby shower! Mom & Shannon threw a wonderful baby shower. Phillip felt her kick a lot this morning!

9/20/05 Took 3hr diabetes test and passed!

9/27/05 Very stressed out! I'm tired, emotional and irritable. Having visitors. We'll get through it.

9/29/05 Appointment with Dr. Smith Insulin resistant. Put on special diet. Allowed to have: 3 meals per day with 3 servings of sugar per meal. 15g sugar = 1 serving of sugar. Gained 20 pds total.

August 2005

I was kind of at a loss as to what I was thinking and feeling as the pregnancy progessed. I was sitting at the computer and I suddenly remembered writing notes in my pregnancy journal. In late July and August Emma was very active in the morning and at night. I craved brownies (shocker!) and salty foods.
8/21/05 The Dr. prescribed Nexium for my indigestion. This has helped tremendously and now I can eat fruit! I went to the store and bought fruit salad and a bag of grapes. Phillip already had watermelon cut up and I ate it for the first time in a long time. Very happy!
Ann and Willie stopped in overnight for a quick visit. She bought Emma a very pretty pink dress and some onsies. It was nice to visit with them although it was short.
8/23/05 Phillip and I went and registered for all of Emma's goodies at Babies R Us today. As always the decision making was as easy as ever. I spent lots of time researching product parental reviews and really narrowed down what we wanted. We had already picked out the stroller, pack n play so that was easy. While we were registering we came across an at home fetal monitor. We bought it and really enjoy listening to Emma kick and move around. We haven't been able to hear the heartbeat yet but we are still listening.
8/25/05 Feeling very worn out. Stayed home from work today to rest. Had a headache and a hard time catching my breath.
8/26/05 Picked up paint for Emma's room. Benjamin Moore- Nob Hill Sage #450
8/27/05 Phillip painted Emma's room.
8/28/05 Phillip felt Emma's first kick! He was so excited and had a big grin on his face. He was amazed at how hard she kicks.
8/29/05 Hurricane Katrina paid us a visit in Birmingham.

July 2005


Notice the thumbs up!
How exciting is that? A baby girl! What a blessing the Lord has bestowed on us! Emma Brooke Martin will be her name! We can't wait to meet you!!!

June 2005

May 2005

Isn't our baby the most precious thing you've ever seen? I think Baby Martin has my eyes! What do you think? J/K! Looking back over the last year, boy things seem like they've been easy. If you asked me while we were going through the treatments I would have told you how long it took! There is hope for our future children. Now that we have figured out how to get me pregnant things will be a piece of cake for the future!

Once we got the ball rolling with my Infertility Doctor things went so fast. This pregnancy thing isn't so bad. We feel so blessed to be pregnant and healthy. God is good and faithful!

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

One positive and exciting thing about going through the infertility treatments is that you get more ultrasounds than others. How lucky are we to be able to see our baby and have so many pictures of her in the womb.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

April 2005

You are not supposed to test before your two week window is up if you take and HCG shot. This is because it is the very hormone that a pregnancy test picks up to test for pregnancy. I'm not known for my patience so I tested Sunday April 3rd, 2005. One day before I was supposed to take my test.


I cried. Phillp cried. We hugged and danced around the bathroom and then went to church. We were a bit nervous because I tested a day earlier than I was supposed to.

I called the Dr.'s office first thing Monday morning and told them that I had gotten a positive pregnancy result from a home test and they told me to come in right away so they could do a blood test to confirm the pregnancy. So I did just that and they called me back several hours later to confirm that in fact I WAS PREGNANT!!!

April 21 I had my first ultrasound at 6 weeks pregnant and we were able to hear the baby's heart beat! It was strong and healthy. Absolutely incredible and once you hear that you really know that life starts at conception and that it's a real live baby! We felt so blessed to be experiencing this. I was released to my OB/GYN and hopefully they would not see me hear again!

March 2005

We went back to Dr. Lucas in March and we went back to the Pregesterone to start my period, continue taking the Prednisone and we were going to start doing fertility shots. I thought this was so exciting! Every month it was getting closer and closer to getting pregnant and this just had to be the month. Month 3!

Day 3 of your period you are to go into the office and have an internal ultrasound and bloodwork. They do an ultrasound to take a picture of your ovaries and to make sure you do not have any cysts before you start the treatment.

Monday morning at 7am I was at the Dr.'s office waiting to have my ultrasound and bloodwork done. I had to be their first thing in the morning because I had to be at work by 8am and didn't want anyone there to know what I was going through. This was my first ultrasound and as soon as they saw my ovaries it confirmed that I was in fact a perfect PCOS patient. My ovaries looked like big chocolate chip cookies. All of the chocolate chips were little cysts on my ovaries waiting to be stimulated.

Seeing the results of my ultrasound and bloodwork Dr. Lucas started me on the Low and Slow schedule. Low dosage of medicine given slowly so we do not stimulate 40 follicles from both my left and right ovaries increasing the chances of multiple births and increasing the chances of overstimulating my ovaries which in turn could cancel this cycle of treatments.

Each cycle has a management fee of $250. This cost covers what the insurance does not pay of the ultrasounds and bloodwork and the Dr.'s reviewing my results and ultrasounds every two to three days.

Results from each day I went for my ultrasound and bloodwork:

Cycle Day 3
Monday 3-7-05
Left ovary- no follicles seen
Right ovary-
1- 0.4
2- 0.35
8 total follicles counted on right
Endometrium- 0.3
75iu's of Gonal F for 3 nights

I started my shots that night. I took 75iu's of Gonal F Pen for the next three nights. You take the medicine every night as instructed between 7-9pm. It was fairly easy to prepare the Pen to take the shot. You clean the end of the Pen with a cotton swab and then twist the needle onto the end. Then you "dial" up the dosage. After cleaning your skin with the cotton swab then you are to insert the needle and inject the medicine. We had planned on Phillip giving me the shot because I was so scared it would hurt. I prepared the Pen for him and handed it over. He wrapped his fingers around the pen and started laughing and joking around saying, "I am Dr. Martin here to give you your shot." This followed silly gestures which weren't very funny to me. I told him "thanks but no thanks. I can do this myself." I then sat on my bed for about 10 minutes trying to get up enough courage to inflict myself with pain. Once I did it it really wasn't that bad. I just had to do this for two more weeks. I can handle it.

Cycle Day 6
Thursday 3-10-07
Returned to the office at 7am for ultrasound and bloodwork.
Left ovary-
1. 0.5
2. 0.45
3. 0.45
4. 0.3
10 total follicles on the left side.

Right ovary-
1. 0.5
2. 0.3
10 total follicles on the right side.

Estrogen level- 60
Endometrium- 0.5
75iu's of Gonal F for 2 more nights

Cycle Day 8
Saturday 3-12-05
Return to office at 7am for ultrasound and bloodwork.
Left ovary-
1. 0.5
2. 0.6
16 total follicles on left side.

Right ovary-
1. 0.56
2. 0.59
20 total follicles on right side.

Estrogen- 84
Endometrium- .84
100iu's of Gonal F for 3 more nights.

Cycle Day 11
Tuesday 3-15-05
Return to office at 7am for ultrasound and bloodwork.
Left ovary-
1. 0.55
2. 0.35
20 total follicles on left side.

Right ovary-
1. 1.0
2. 0.6
10 total follicles on right side.

Estrogen- 93
Endometrium- .75
150iu's of Gonal F for 2 more nights.

Cycle Day 13
Thursday 3-17-05
Return to office at 7am for ultrasound and bloodwork.
Left ovary-
1. 0.55
2. 0.45
20 total follicles on left side.

Right ovary-
1. 1.45
2. 0.45
20 total follicles on right side.

Estrogen- 133
Endometrium- .8

150iu's of Gonal F for 2 more nights.

Cycle Day 15
Saturday 3-19-05
Return to office at 7am for ultrasound and bloodwork.
Left ovary-
1. 0.7
20 total follicles on left side.

Right ovary-
1. 1.45
2. 1.25
3. 0.95
4. 0.85
20+ total follicles on right side.

Estrogen- 478
Endometrium- 1.0

112iu's of Gonal F for 2 more nights.

Cycle Day 17
Saturday 3-21-05
Return to office at 7am for ultrasound and bloodwork.
Left ovary-
1. 0.9
2. 0.95
3. 0.7
4. 0.6
20 total follicles on left side.

Right ovary-
1. 1.7
2. 0.95
3. 0.8
4. 0.75
20 total follicles on right side.

Estrogen- 514
Endometrium- .95

HCG shot!

The HCG shot is the last shot given in the cycle. This is to trigger ovulation. Now starts the two week waiting period to take a pregnancy test.

February 2005

Back at Dr. Lucas's office we got great news! My hormones leveled out and the Prednisone had done it's job. Our next step was to continue taking the Prednisone and add Clomid to the mix. If I hadn't started then we would check for pregnancy.

No pregnancy.

January 2005

We met with Dr. Lucas to receive the results of my bloodwork. I don't have the exact results with me today but I did have high levels of testosterone in my system.

WebMd explains it further for us:

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition in which women produce a surplus of androgens. This causes irregular ovulation, or even a lack of ovulation.

Androgens are sometimes called "male hormones." Men have very high levels of androgens, which are responsible for male body changes like hair growth and muscle mass. In women, androgens are necessary to make estrogen. Women with PCOS have androgen levels in the "high normal" range (for women). The additional androgen in these women can cause excessive hair growth and acne.

Excess androgen production also leads to irregular or absent ovulation, which the women experience as irregular or absent menstrual periods. Because of the problems with ovulation, women with PCOS may have difficulty becoming pregnant.

Many women with PCOS are resistant to the action of the hormone insulin. This means that it takes larger than normal amounts of insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. These women are at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease. High insulin levels caused by insulin resistance can lead to excessive androgen production.

Well this explains a lot. Dr. Lucas started me on a course of steroids, Prednisone was my drug of choice, that would level out my hormones. He would see me back next month to see how my levels were and then we would go from there.

Monday, November 12, 2007

November 2004

Once again we started on my regular regimen of Prometrium to start and then 150mg of Clomid a night for 5 nights to stimulate ovulation in the middle of the cycle. Mood swings are swinging and I'm packing on the pounds.

No pregnancy

This time Dr. Fowlkes recommend that I go to the world reknowned UAB Kirklin Clinic to see the Reproductive Endocrinologist Richard Blackwell. I called and made my appoint for a week later.

This whole time Phillip and I felt that the Lord was in control. We put our faith in God and knew that if we trusted in him, followed His will for us that everything would work out.

October 2004

I started out on my regimen of Prometrium to make me start. Once I started I then took 100mg of Clomid to get me to ovulate in the middle of the cycle. Day 28 if I haven't started check for pregnancy.

No pregnancy.

August/September 2004

I went to my OB/GYN, Dr. Fowlkes and he said that he was going to help me out. Starting September 2004 I started out on a regimen of taking Prometrium (Progesterone) once a night for 5 days to make me start. Then the first five nights of my cycle I would take 50mg of Clomid the month of September. Clomid is to used to make your body ovulate. Taking this medicine increases your risk of multiple births, mood swings and weight gain. 28 days later if I didn't start I was to check for pregnancy and then call Dr. Fowlkes.

No pregnancy.

My journey...

As a young girl coming into puberty I wasn't thrilled when I had my first menstral cycle. I thought I was one of the "lucky" ones because not every month did I have a period. At the tender age of 18 my pediatrician recommended that I start having my yearly checkups. Yes, I was still seeing my pediatrician. Dr. Soho and I were fairly close. I even babysat her 6 boys for her! She said she could do my first exam and as we talked I told her about my irregularity. Sometimes I could go 3, 4, even 6 months without having a period. She told me that this is fairly common and that we could fix this easily. We discussed the option of putting me on birth control at such a young age but she said that as a woman we need to have a monthly menstral cycle so that we can shed the lining of our cervix which would decrease the long term risk of cervical cancer. The treatment would last only 6 months and after I stopped the birth control I should return to having a normal monthly cycle. If it was only that easy. The medicine stopped and I never got a normal period. I was now frightened that if I didn't have a cycle that I was increasing the chance for cervical cancer down the road so I continued taking the birth control. Every once in a while I would stop taking the pill just to see if I ever started having regular cycles but never did. Deep down I had this fear that one day I would have trouble conceiving since I wasn't ovulating every month.

Seven years later when Phillip and I decided that we wanted to start thinking about having a baby. This was May 2004. I stopped taking the pill and to see what would happen. This was goign to plan out very well since I had my yearly visit coming up in August. Knowing deep down in my heart that I wasn't ovulating I started to chart my temperature every day before I got out of the bed. This meant that before my feet touched the ground or I sat up in the bed I would have to pull out my thermometer. I then would take out my charts and place a dot on the specific day and what my temperature was creating three months of charts. I even ordered a lipstick ovulation test. This required me to run straight to the bathroom after taking my temperature and spitting on a lens in a lipstick looking tube and then checking to see if my spit turned into funny shaped meaning that I was ovulating. My spit never turned into funny shapes.

December 2004

What an adventure our first fertility appointment ended up being. We had an early appointment with Dr. Blackwell and found out that in 20 years he's only called in sick twice and today happened to be that second time! The nurse asked if we would like to see Dr. Lucas instead. We said sure and sat in the exam room for the next several hours waiting to see him. As each hour passed we kept saying to ourselves, "well we've stuck it out this long we might as well wait it out for him." He was in the middle of doing a surgery so we sat and waited some more.

Knock knock! He's arrived! Dr. Lucas took one look at me and my chart and said that I was a poster child for PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome.) Huh?

WebMd says this about PCOS:

Polycystic ovary syndrome (say “pah-lee-SIS-tik OH-vuh-ree SIN-drohm”) is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. It can cause upsetting changes in the way you look and problems with your periods. If it is not treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS) affects up to 1 in 10 women, and often the symptoms begin in the teen years. Treatment can help control the symptoms and prevent long-term problems.

How is it treated?
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and weight control are key treatments for PCOS. Medicines to balance hormones may also be used. Getting treatment can reduce unpleasant symptoms. But more important, it can help prevent possible long-term health problems.

The first step in managing PCOS is to get regular exercise and eat a heart-healthy diet. This can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It can also help you lose weight if you need to.

Try to get 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Walking is a great exercise that most people can do.

Eat a heart-healthy diet. In general, this diet has lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and whole grains. It also limits foods that are high in saturated fat, such as meats, cheeses, and fried foods. If you have blood sugar problems, try to eat about the same amount of carbohydrate at each meal. A registered dietitian can help you make a meal plan.

Most women with PCOS can benefit from losing weight. Even losing 10 lb may help get your hormones in balance and regulate your menstrual cycle. PCOS can make it hard to lose weight, so work with your doctor to make a plan that can help you succeed.

A doctor may also prescribe medicines, such as:

Birth control pills. They can help your periods be regular and can reduce symptoms such as excess facial hair and acne. An androgen-lowering medicine, spironolactone, may be used with birth control pills to help reduce symptoms even more. These medicines are not used if you are trying to get pregnant.

A diabetes medicine called metformin. It can help control insulin and blood sugar levels and reduce androgen levels. This lowers your risk for diabetes and heart disease and can help restore regular menstrual cycles and fertility.

Fertility medicines, if you are trying to get pregnant.

It is important to see your doctor for follow-up to make sure treatment is working and adjust it if needed. You may also need regular tests to check for diabetes, high blood pressure, and other possible problems.

It may take a while for treatments to help with symptoms such as facial hair or acne. In the meantime:

Over-the-counter or prescription acne medicines may help with skin problems.

Waxing, tweezing, and shaving are easy ways to get rid of unwanted hair. Electrolysis or laser treatments can permanently remove the hair but are more expensive. Your doctor can also prescribe a skin cream that slows hair growth for as long as you use it regularly.

It can be hard to deal with having PCOS. If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to other women who have PCOS. Ask your doctor about local support groups, or look for an online group. It can make a big difference to know that you are not alone.

As far as managing PCOS I have lived in the gym pretty regularly these days.

Our diet... that has some improving to do. I am a fairly new married girl and my list of things I know how to make and the things that I can make that are edible is pretty small.

Losing weight. Ok, here's the kicker for me. Since I was a young girl I was always on the super thin side. So thin my Grandparents would always worry about me not eating enough. My choices in food were not the greatest and that one day it would all catch up to me. When I went away to college I started gaining weight and have continued ever since. Throughout my different sizes I've never been regular.

Taking birth control pills is the only way I will have a period every month. At some point though you get sick of taking pills all the time. But knowing that you will have a period every month by taking the pill gives you a piece of mind and helps you to feel somewhat normal. Not being on the pill and not having a period only reinforces every month that you are not normal. You just don't feel right even though it's really nice not having to worry about "that time of the month" and everything else that comes with it.

Other medicines such as Metformin and fertility medicines will come into the picture further down the road and I will talk about those when we get there.

After explaining what PCOS is and what it means to me he looks at me and says, "we'll have you pregnant in 3 months." Three months! Woo hoo! Holy cow that's not long from now! It's all starting to sink in. Dr. Lucas wants to start by running some blood work to measure all of my hormone levels and then we will meet again.

We left feeling so confident and truely believed that God had placed Dr. Lucas in our lives. We were so excited to see where this journey was going to take us.

My prayer for you...

Going through the infertility process has been both physically and emotionally exhausting. I've prayed a lot and I feel that the Lord is calling me to journal my experiences. I pray that it will touch those who are going through infertility and find a place of comfort.

I pray for those that do not have infertility problems that it will allow you to see the process that we go through and may be able to help you relate to a friend or family member.

Please bare with me. I am starting from the beginning and journaling from 3 years ago. I'm writing from the heart and bearing my soul. Thank you for wanting to read our blog and listen. Sometimes that's the best medicine.

I may refer to "myself" a lot while I write but please know that Phillip and I are a team and we are going through it together. This is my way of releasing a lot of stress and emotion as he has a different way of channeling his stress and emotions. This effects him just as much as if effects me.