Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Initial Medical Update

I promised it, so here it is. I recognize that this may be too much information for some, and if that's true, that's totally fine. Just consider this your disclaimer. I promise to post about chocolate or sunshine or unicorns sometime soon.

So, the history: I know very little about my family history except that my mom had a hard time getting pregnant with us. She had one miscarriage, my twin was stillborn, and my brother was critically ill and they didn't think he was going to make it after he was born. Obviously he pulled through, but I know it weighed heavily on my parents, my mom especially who said the only thing she ever wanted to be in life was a mommy. I remember as a child asking her if she ever wanted more kids. Not in terms of "why don't I have a little sister" or anything like that, but just a curiosity question of what she wanted and why. She was very honest that, at one point she thought she did, but she had such a hard time and she thought that two was the perfect number because she only had two hands. Think that was a nice way of saying we were both a hand-full? Either way, knowing that is an important part of my story.

I started taking birth control while I was in college. Not because I was sexually active, but to regulate my periods and because I was having some issues we thought could be hormonal balance things like getting dizzy or passing out during my period. At one point I had one little cyst that apparently just went away on its own.

You may recall that I stopped taking birth control shortly after Jeff and I got married. At one point before we were trying (summer 2010) there was a period where I pretty much skipped a period and although the home pregnancy test was negative, we both kind of held our breaths until my period came. Not because we didn't want a child, but because I kept running through the "what ifs" in my mind. I realize now that I probably just didn't ovulate that month.

After that, we decided to keep an eye on things. I was relatively consistent in terms of cycles but didn't start officially charting things until about January of 2011. I didn't always run like clockwork, but was usually pretty consistent. I didn't go to the doctor at all between about January 2010 and October 2011, mostly because I didn't have insurance to pay for it! I knew starting a family was a priority so I didn't want to see just anybody, but wanted to begin establishing a relationship with a doctor who I wanted to care for me long-term. So at the point I saw him in October, I had been "officially trying" for 9-10 months. I appreciate that he took me seriously and went ahead and did some basic lab work to see if anything jumped out. He was very honest about what the diagnosis of infertility meant and that he hoped I'd show back up in his office in a couple of months pregnant. Unfortunately that didn't happen.

Instead, I headed off to summer camp. And while I was there, I started feeling some unusual cramping before the start of my period. Instead of in my uterus, which is what I was used to (and what you would intellectually expect) it was on my left side. I asked the camp nurse and when I showed him where it was hurting, he said it was an ovary or tube. At first it was just sort of twinges so I didn't think much about it. The second day I came into his office after lunch (as I generally did) but instead of sitting down to talk, I curled up in a ball and laid on the futon. Having known me for the better part of 15 years, he didn't ask how bad it hurt. Instead he took one look at me, got up and pulled out two aleve and told me to take them, go take a nap, and if I was still hurting in about 90 minutes to come find him. Thankfully the aleve and nap helped and at the end of the 90 minutes, I wasn't in pain anymore. Before bed I got two more aleve to take back to my room in case I needed them in the middle of the night, but I didn't. However, the next morning (about 10am) I was in severe pain, so I took my two aleve and soldiered through the day. By lunch around 12 noon, I was almost in tears I was still hurting so badly. He told me there really wasn't much else he could give me and I opted to go take a long nap where I was lucky enough to pass out for a while. When I woke up, I was still hurting, but not as badly and I went about my business. Thankfully this was the next to last day and there was enough going on to keep me somewhat distracted but not so busy I was miserable. Upon Nurse Buck's command, since I was still feeling some pain (although not nearly as much) after I returned home, I called my doctor's office the next week. Well, wouldn't you know it, he was on vacation, so I had to wait to get an appointment. When I finally was able to get in, the first thing they did was a transvaginal ultrasound, which to be perfectly honest wasn't the worst experience I've ever had! I get that it's not exactly fun, but it wasn't horrid either, but that is probably due in large part to the person who was doing it! The ultrasound revealed that everything was normal. The best guess of both nurse and doctor was that I'd had an ovarian cyst that ruptured, but my body had responded as it should and gotten rid of everything. There was no obvious reason for the lingering pain I felt, but it eventually went away completely. My next cycle was normal and there was no cause for alarm.

Not much else of consequence happened between then and my doctor's appointment in early November. At that appointment I was informed that I was in fact not pregnant (since I was late I was hoping) and my physical exam was normal. More bloodwork was ordered, and this showed that I hadn't ovulated the previous month, just as the doctor suspected and I probably wasn't ovulating regularly which is why things had been a bit off and slightly more unpredictable than in the past. I was told to get an ovulation predictor kit and use it. Then, when I got a positive test result, to #1 "do the baby dance" and #2 call the doctor so they can schedule more blood work to check hormone levels and see if that is where it's supposed to be. I can start using that kit next week and hopefully get some answers before the end of the month.

The doctor also told me to schedule an HSG or dye test to check my tubes, but that couldn't be scheduled until I got my period because it can only be done on certain cycle days. I was advised that I could schedule it right away or I could wait a few months and see what was going on with the ovulation thing. It's kind of a chicken and egg problem - if it's the ovulation, then the HSG won't show anything or be helpful until we get that fixed, but if I have a blocked tube I can ovulate all day long and it's never going to get me anywhere! I'm still not entirely sure what I want to do. At least some of the decision-making this cycle was handled by mother nature. The days of my cycle when they could do the test were Thanksgiving and the day after so I will have to wait at least another month. I should get my hormone results before I could schedule for next month, so that information should help me decide whether or not sooner is better than later.

So yeah, that's the current status of my reproductive system. You're welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Sandy - Reading through to get ready for the Wednesday Festival. I have polycystic ovarian disease - two successful pregnancies after LOTS of fertility treatments. You are now on my daily prayer list as you go through all of the testing and questions. I hope Advent has been kind to you - it was always the hardest time of the year for me when we were trying to conceive.