From the time we are in the fourth grade we are told about the monthly cycle that as women we get to know and love. We are told that every 30 days, give or take, we will start our period and become bloated cranky she-beasts. I remember my teacher explaining to me that for the first year, maybe two that the cycles tend to be irregular but eventually work themselves out. When my cycles occurred every 60-75 days I thought my body was just adjusting. Several years later I just assumed that my cycles were normal and that my body was happy how it was. When I went to the store to buy an ovulation kit I was shocked to see that I… [more]
Throughout the course of my infertility struggles I felt as though I was constantly peeing on sticks! Whether a test for ovulation or a home pregnancy test, it seems that at every time of the month there was some reason that I would need to hold a little plastic stick in my urine stream and wait for results. The ovulation testing in particular, posed a number of problems. The recommended testing time is in the afternoon, right about the time I am at work with people all around and no real private bathroom time. I work in a unique environment with all employees in one room and a shared bathroom that everyone can see you going in and… [more]
I have mentioned in previous posts that the very first fertility treatment I tried was clomiphine citrate, more commonly called Clomid or Serophene. I was initially prescribed Clomid after my diagnosis of PCOS. Prior to starting the Clomid medication I had tracked my cycles and realized that I do not reliably ovulate each month - it was definitely hit or miss. The goal of Clomid is to induce ovulation and when I told my ob/gyn that I was not ovulating every month he assured me that Clomid had an excellent success rate and that he was confident that it would do the trick. He remarked that I would only be allowed to take the Clomid for six cycles, but told… [more]
It seems to me that a certain phenomena exists among those struggling with fertility that involves a "competition" of sorts among those having trouble conceiving. Those who are "just" trying clomid or similar medications to induce ovulation don't know true suffering. If you are successful with IUI or injectibles you haven't really had to endure the hard stuff. If one IVF cycle works you can't imagine the pain of multiple failed cycles. If you use donor eggs or donor sperm you are in a club of your own and so on. Same thing goes for age - if you are 24 and proclaim that you have been trying for sooo long, it is really hard for someone… [more]
Let's talk about S-E-X. When my husband and I first started trying to conceive we didn't give too much thought to timing and planning and the intricacies of human reproduction. When our "efforts" were not successful I began to really study my cycle and learn about peak days of fertility. At this point my husband was still excited about our venture, still thinking that this babymaking business worked out really well for him! Eventually, though, like a lot of couples, on-demand sex became very tiresome and our efforts dwindled to pretty much only when it was conceivable that a baby could result. Everyone I knew who was struggling with infertility were doing the same thing - tracking… [more]
To tell or not to tell, that is often the question when it comes to infertility struggles and treatment. When my husband and I first decided to try to have a child we adopted an "if it happens then great" attitude and didn't really think much about it beyond a general agreement that we thought we were ready and really hoped it "worked" soon. As the negative pregnancy tests piled up we began to realize that it might not be that easy and began to get a little more diligent in our efforts. We started tracking my cycles, taking basal body temperatures, and made sure that efforts to conceive were happening at the right time of the month… [more]
There are quite a few tactics and techniques swirling around out there in the "world" of infertility that are supposed to help you conceive. I'll admit that at first I was reluctant to try most of them, but after a couple of years I was game for pretty much any suggestion. I must say that I think that the reality is that if you have fertility issues your baby-making position, daily aspirin regime, or time of day won't make much difference. There are definitely some things you can do that will help - charting ovulation, learning your cycle and peak days, watching your diet and getting healthy to name a few. Almost as many times as I was advised to… [more]
While talking to a friend today I missed her obvious cues of discomfort and blindly just kept on blabbing away about the subject at hand. We were discussing her suspicion that she is facing infertility issues. She and her husband decided to start a family about a year ago and have had no success. She is getting tired of waiting and hoping each month and was discussing how she feels like she isn't doing anything to change her situation. So, as I asked her if she was tracking her ovulation, if she knew the physical signs of ovulation, etc., I was trying to help her think of ways to feel more like she is taking charge… [more]
Week Two was always a busy week for me during fertility treatments. By week two, I would have already completed a round of Clomid, and I would be suffering from the side effects. The migraines would blessedly have ended, but they would be replaced by hot flashes. (See Taking Clomid While Dining at a French Restaurant for an amusing tale about hot flashes.)
Because my cycle was erratic, I would need to begin ovulation testing early enough to ensure that I did not miss my ovulation that month. Because my shortest cycle was generally 29 days, I needed to start testing at around day 11 or 12.
Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs)
Early into fertility treatments, I tracked my ovulation… [more]
After a 3-month hiatus from intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), my husband was fully recovered from his surgery and had a new "crop" of sperm to work with. So, we started infertility treatments again.
By this time, we were approaching the two-year mark of trying to conceive. While I was frustrated that the process was taking so long, I was also hopeful that we had "fixed" our fertility issues and would soon become pregnant.
While we did not run another formal semen analysis, the nurse viewed the specimen under the microscope before our next IUI and confirmed that the surgery had worked. My husband's sperm count was now in the "normal" range, so the odds of our conceiving with an IUI were much… [more]