Just one person's tale to tell....

I am a 35-year-old journalist who has decided there is no better way to overcome difficult times than to write--feel free to post, comment or just read along. This is my blog about the struggles I endured of trying to conceive. For all those out there who are experiencing the same difficulties--sometimes it is nice to hear that you are not alone.
"I have not failed 10000 times; I have successfully found 10000 ways that do not work." ~ Thomas Edison

Friday, April 30, 2010

The waiting game *sigh*

I have to say the worst part of trying to conceive is the waiting game between your ovulation date and the date that you can take a HPT...an unbearable two weeks! I have one more week left before I can pee on a stick and two more weeks until we visit Dr. Powers. The only way I can describe it is a mixture between excitement, butterflies in your tummy and vomiting--the same feeling I got when I was 10, waiting to go on stage for my dance recital. I would be bouncing on my heels, clenching my sweaty hands but excited to see the lights go down so I could run on stage to take my position.  Less than five minutes later it would be over as I could see my parents enthusiastically clapping their hands. Except now I have that feeling for two WEEKS---and then when I do pass the 28 day mark, the fear to actually pee on the stick sets in....do I really want to see the results or hang onto hope for one (or two) more days. My husband prefers not to test and just wait and see if AF turns up--If I listened to his advice we would have saved a huge chunk on HPT! :)
Keeping the fingers crossed--like always---that this is our month.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Waiting for the pain...

Today is CD15 and still waiting for my positive OPK --probably going to happen this weekend as I can already feel the terrible pains starting. During my first cycle of Clomid I was floored with how painful my ovulation was--literally making me sit down while shopping and barely making it home on the subway. But after that first round I'm not sure whether I got better pain tolerance or my body just wasn't affected by it as much but I didn't seem to notice any cramps.
Now after taking a break its like I have to start all over again---bring on the cramps --it only means its working!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Robitussin...not just for that hacking cough!

Along with the number of side effects that comes with Clomid, one of the very unfortunate ones is the effect it can have on your cervical fluid. Especially after prolonged use, Clomid can start to thicken your cervical mucus--which we all know is not a good thing for those lil swimmers to get through. I was reading quite a bit on how to remedy this as I have found that my lack of cervical fluid makes it difficult for me to monitor what is going on--and what I came across, believe it or not, was Robitussin!
Primarily used for helping to loosen nasal and bronchial mucus, Robutussin also helps to "loosen" the mucus all over the body, including your cervical mucus! Crazy right? I know- but at this point I'm willing to try anything.
Many women who are not even on fertility drugs use this therapy and have reported success with it.
Robitussin is of course a brand name, the main ingredient you want to be looking for is guaifenesin--and usually a formula that has about 200mg. Robitussin or guaifenesin can be found in both liquid and in gel caps. While I searched for a "no-name" brand at a cheaper price, I did not find one that had guaifenesin listed as the ONLY ingredient. Be careful to check the ingredients and buy the brand that contains only guaifenesin as there are many other formulas on the shelf that include antihistamines, and/or pain relieve. (Note antihistamines can also have the effect of drying cervical fluid up). The amount to take varies depending on which sites you are on. I take 2 teaspoons/ 3X a day during my ovulation week--- Most women will start taking it after the menstrual bleeding has stopped. If you are taking Clomid start the Robustussin therapy the day AFTER your last pill.

*Of course you should always clarify this with your fertility doctor and/or pharmacist.*

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

To pee or not to pee

After my DH and I had been TTC for about five months I started to chart my BBT. I figured paying the $18.99 for a basal thermometer was cheaper than paying for the Ovulation Kits. After six months of charting (that shows I am obviously ovulating monthly around day 16-17) I decided I wanted to be sure of when exactly that lil 24 hour window was opening.
So I purchased my first OPK at a whopping $56.99 for seven sticks to pee on! My DH wasn't thrilled with the price but agreed it was our next step. I do not even want to calculate the amount of money I have spent over the last year and a half on OPKs and HPTs---ughhhh it will honestly make me sick---but the question out there is how many of us can afford these outrageous prices!
Luckily, after hearing my disgruntled comments a girlfriend of mine in Ottawa, who at the time was also on Clomid, knew of a place that sold both OPK and HPT at a discounted price (they are the same sticks that the hospitals would use and are extremely accurate)---about $0.50 a stick---NOW they don't come with your fancy pee-in-stream ability or tell you if you are 1 or 2 weeks pregnant--but it doesn't take much to pee in a cup and dip especially if it takes the financial burden off your mind a little. (see above photo--which shows a postive OPK)
Throughout my Clomid cycles I have chosen to keep on peeing on the sticks--from day 10 onward until ovulation. I can honestly say if I had to pay $50 on top of my already $90/month pills (that are not covered by insurance) I'm not sure if I would be peeing as frequently.
When it comes to HPT--I've been guilty of doing one or two (or three) just to confirm that I didn't miss that second line somewhere :)
Anyone that is looking for these sticks--let me know as I regularly buy large bundles of both tests. I am currently looking to see if any stores in Toronto are selling these and if so I will post a link. Also, some women on the fertiltiy forums have also found HPT at various dollar stores--although I have not tried them myself so I cannot comment on how well they work.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hot Hot Hot Mama-to-be

For all the ladies out there who are about to begin fertility drugs I feel the need to warn you about the terrible onset of Hot Flashes! While it certainly isn't the worst side effect--it can be the biggest pain in the butt. During my first round of Clomid I scoured the Internet reading many women's blogs and found many of them discussing hot flashes---I felt I got off lucky--no flames spewing on my body! Well Round 2 was a different story---from about the 3rd day of taking Clomid I experienced the burn. Being in the winter months it was even worse, as I was seen ripping my scarf, hat, coat and even sweater off--while standing on the sidewalk on my street. Yep! I was the crazy lady who looked like she just stepped on a mound of fire ants. WHile everyone is battling the storm--I was basking in the sleet. It's like an overwhelming claustraphobic power comes into me where if I don't get my layers off I will suffocate.
I have no idea how marines survive in scorching desert climates with all those layers and gear--all I can say is if that were me----I'd be one naked marine!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fertility Foods

Interesting article from gynob.com about the foods you should be looking at if TTC:

In addition to taking overall good care of yourself, there are certain foods that promote fertility - either in you or in your partner. None of these foods are foolproof, of course, and you shouldn't rely on them to become pregnant. However, eating well and incorporating certain foods into your diet certainly can't hurt your chances of becoming pregnant!

Eat Those Grains!
Whole grains should be a large part of your diet for staying healthy. Oats, brown rice, whole wheat and other complex carbohydrates give you energy and are full of vitamins B and E. These vitamins are essential for cellular reproduction, production of healthy eggs and sperm, and hormone balance.

Enjoy Your Protein
Diary products - primarily the full fat variety - are full of calcium which helps to develop your nervous system, your bones and your healthy blood. In addition, researchers have found that women who eat one or more portions of full fat dairy a day seem to have less fertility problems than do those who eat low fat or non dairy foods. So, enjoy some fat for a change! In addition, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines have omega 3 and omega 6 in them. These help to regulate reproductive health, improve blood flow and enhance the quality and speed of sperm. For those who don't like fish, flaxseed oil is a great alternative. Finally, enjoy your meat for a change! Lean red meat is full of iron which helps to prevent anemia, decrease the risk of ovulation issues and help with red blood cells.

Popeye Loves It!
Eat your spinach. Both spinach, and other leafy vegetables, provides your body with folic acid. Folic acid is an essential ingredient for healthy sperm and ovaries and for preventing neural tube defects during the early stages of pregnancy. It also has iron and vitamin C, two items that enhance the quality of sperm and keep you healthy.

Have Fun with Oysters
Everyone has heard that oysters are good for the libido - but for fertility? Oysters have a huge amount of zinc in them, a substance that is said to help with both healthy sperm and egg production. If you don't like to eat oysters, look for zinc in baked beans, eggs, nuts, pumpkin seeds and multi-vitamins.

A Few Additions
Both garlic and honey are two fertility items that are often overlooked. Garlic has selenium in it, a mineral that may help to reduce the chances of miscarriage in women and that is said to enhance male fertility. It also contains vitamin B6 which regulates hormones and builds your immune system. Perhaps tasting slightly better, honey has been used for centuries to boost fertility. It is rich in minerals and amino acids that are good for the reproductive system and that help with the function of the ovaries.

Time to start writing again...

Soon after my last blog I fell into my darkest hole yet when AF arrived. Although it was expected it hit me more than any time before. A day before New Year's Eve and I found myself unable to get out of bed feeling sorry for myself-- tears and all. My poor husband had to go to work and had no idea how to handle me being so low. He called throughout the day pushing me to get excited about a friend's NYE party or trying to get me to go out for lunch with my sister---I just couldn't and when my girlfriends starting calling I eventually stopped answering the phone altogether. I just wanted to be sad....I wanted for once to just be upset that yet again I could not get pregnant. I truly believe everyone needs that one day and after a year of being postive and constantly saying "Next month will be my time" I started to realize that maybe my time is farther away than I ever anticipated.
After a day in bed and a box of tissue I was able to bounce back to myself and look ahead. I am now on my fifth, and final Clomid cycle (after a break in March because my husand was traveling in Europe).
After four cycles of Clomid my monthly cycles were getting longer and longer (one of the terrible side effects of Clomid). After my 3rd cycle of Clomid I was at a 36 day cycle instead of 28. I am relieved to say that after taking a break last month my cycle has returned to 28 days--PHEW!-- but the other side effects are just as strong if not worse. I've had four straight days of insomnia putting me into a complete zombie state--not to mention two major breakdowns (one of which had to do with me dropping my favorite eye shadow to watch it shatter on the bathroom floor! --luckily my husband came in to pick me and my eyeshadow off the ground for a much needed hug) It's insane how touchy this drug as made me. Ask anyone around me --i have lost all patience and can feel the anxiety building over simple tasks--like waiting in traffic or sitting through a story meeting at work. I am grateful that my friends and family (especially my hubby) are so understanding.
So I am on day 12 and really keeping my fingers crossed.
I have my next doctors appointment on May 12--which will hopefully be for an ultrasound OR for our IVF consultation. For all you TTC you are in my thoughts and tons of Baby Dust your way!