Monday, February 22, 2010

Fertility and General Health Issues

Last summer (2009), Vince and I decided we wanted to start our family. We chose our first anniversary (Oct 2009) as our start date.

A few months after our wedding I went off of birth control pills. I started to practice Natural Family Planning, which involves taking your temperature each morning and keeping track of your internal fluids. I was able to chart several normal months and get a feel for what day of the month I would ovulate and when I should expect my period. I found that I had a pretty normal cycle. My cycles ran around 35 days long, I was a late ovulator meaning that I did not ovulate until somewhere around cycle day 18, and my luteal phase was a typical 15 days.

As we got closer to the start date of our plan, I began to prepare myself. I knew that we would be out of the country for half of the month of October so I wanted to get things prepped well in advance. I made a pre-conception appointment with my new OB/GYN (who also happens to be a reproductive endocrinologist). My appointment was set for August 2009. I knew that she would want to run a full history on me and check my thyroid tumor for change.

I ovulated in July and had my period right on time. At my appointment in August, I should have been about a week away from ovulation so I wasn't worried yet. Dr. Fauzia took my history and checked my thyroid. She said it did not feel as though it had grown so no aspiration would be necessary at this point. She did an internal exam and remarked that I had "a lot of eggs" and she was sure we get pregnant soon. My body on the other hand, had other plans.

I did not ovulate or get a period in August. I took a couple of pregnancy tests and all were negative. I called the doctor and she said that sometimes it takes longer for some women to make enough of the HCG hormone to show up on a pregnancy test. She said to wait 2 weeks and test again. I did, and it was still negative. I did not ovulate or get my period in September. I made an appointment for the end of September to find out what was going on. I was leaving for Ireland in two weeks and needed to get this sorted out. The doctor did an internal exam. She found 2 sacks in my uterus. She said it looked as though I had 2 eggs descend to my uterus and attack as if they were fertilized. They began to grow but there were no embryos inside of them. This is commonly referred to as a blighted ovum. It is unusual to have 2 (this would have been twins) but not impossible. She said that the good news was that this is proof positive that I can ovulate on my own and get pregnant on my own. She also said that it looks as though I have a high probability of having multiples, based on how many mature eggs I have at one time and the fact that I had two blighted ovums at once. She gave me a prescription for Provera (synthetic Progesterone) to jump start my period. I had a period (although false because it was induced) by the first week of October. I was given a lab order to get blood work done on the 3rd day of my next real period.

At this point I am thinking that the blighted ovums were a fluke and my cycles should be back on track come November. I was wrong. I did not ovulate or have a period at all during October or November. I take a pregnancy test and it is negative. December begins and still no sign of ovulation or my period. Finally, around the middle of December my temperatures indicate that I have ovulated. I get my first real period on Christmas day. I had gone 83 days without a period. Typically you are supposed to call your doctor after no having a period for 60 days and get prescription for Progesterone. But I wanted my body to regulate itself so I waited it out. If I had not gotten a period in December I would have gotten the prescription. Unfortunately, I was out of state for Christmas so I was unable to get my blood work done. I had to hope that I would ovulate in January so I could get my tests done next month.

In January I decide to use Ovulation Predictor Tests (OPKs) to help me in determining if I am actually ovulating. On cycle day 24 I get a positive test. On cycle day 25 I get another positive test. On cycle day 26 I begin to see a thermal shift in my temperatures. (The progesterone that is released after ovulation releases heat that causes your body temperature to rise. Your temperature should stay high until a day or two before you start your period, when the hormone level drops off.) I believe I have ovulated! Yay! 14 days later I start my period. Finally a normal cycle. I have blood drawn on the third day of my period and wait for the results.

That brings us to this month, February. We have officially been trying to get pregnant for 5 months. I know that is not a long time but my weird cycles have made it seem like it is taking forever. I had positive OPKs and a clear thermal shift on cycle day 16. I'm fairly certain that I ovulated this month. I had a doctor's appointment at which we went over my blood test results.

She had everything under the sun checked. Here's a rundown of my results:
Blood pressure: down from 153/92 to 123/82. This is awesome!
Cholesterol: down from 199 to 111. It is still a little high (she would like it at 100) but not too bad.
T4: 1.1 (normal range)
TSH: 1.53 (normal range)
Thyroglobulin: 45.2 (normal is under 35)
Lutenizing Hormone (LH): 5.4 (normal is under 7)
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): 3.2 (normal is 3-20, under 6 is excellent)
Estradiol: 63 (normal is 25-75)

T4, TSH, and Thyroglobulin are thyroid test. The results of these test show that I do not have hypothyroidism but the tumor that I have on my thyroid is effecting my hormone levels in my blood stream.

My LH is higher than my FSH, which is an indication of PCOS. My Estradiol is on the high side, again an indication of PCOS and my thyroid interfering with my hormones.

Dr. Fauzia did an internal exam at my appointment today. She said that she could see the egg that I had ovulated this month. She did not want to do any further testing this month in case I am pregnant. I don't think that I am, but who knows at this point. The plan right now is to wait until I get my period. On the first day of my period, I will go in to see the doctor. I will go to have an HSG test to look for any possible blockages in my uterus and fallopian tubes. Once I get the all clear there, I will start clomid. Clomid is a synthetic hormone that will induce ovulation. I will also start glucophage to counteract my thyroid problem. The hope is that the glucophage will level out my hormones and increase my chances of having healthy mature eggs. The clomid will ensure that those eggs are properly released into my uterus for fertilization. The success rate with clomid is pretty high and the doctor seems to think that I will be pregnant within the next few months. Here's to hoping.

I'm kinda into the idea of having twins. :)

1 comment:

  1. Well, it's a good thing that you're a multi-tasker because you'll have to be if you end up sprouting twins!! :D

    Hi there! I JUST found your email with the blog link form waaaay back in December.

    Goodness Tara, kudos to your lower blood pressure! WOW 6 miles on the eliptical? I'm freaking out that I signed up for the 10,000 Steps starting on March 15! (Yikes) I just got in 2 walks this week as I dodged 4' and 5' hills of snow pushed up onto the sidewalks... We'll see. Well I'm excited for you! You've got a plan so you're on your way!

    Okay I've got to catch up on reading your other posts. Take care!