Monday, April 7, 2014

Trying to Conceive

Not surprisingly, my cycle was very screwy after my surgery.  My hormones were still regulating and my body was still recovering.  Therefore, I needed to wait until I had a real menstrual cycle to begin trying to conceive.  The length between my surgery and that first menstrual cycle after was a very long thirty-nine days.  39!  Of course, it wasn’t as though I had never experienced a long cycle before.  I had gone weeks on end without getting a period.  However, I wasn’t waiting to try to conceive on those cycles.  So this time, thirty-nine days seemed like forever.

Happily, I started noticing something that had been absent from my previous cycles I had been charting: mucus!  Obviously, this is a strange thing to feel excitement over, but it was my little sign that things in my reproductive system were working and that my surgery was successful.  I made my mental notes throughout the day and eagerly awaited to put my “white baby” stickers in my chart before bed at night.  My cycle was finally looking like something.  I had days of bleeding, followed by a few dry days, followed by days of mucus.  Soon, once I was feeling a bit better, it would be time to try!

My long thirty-nine day cycle was followed by a much shorter eighteen day cycle.  Although it was certainly not long enough to allow for conception, it offered an opportunity for me to chart very fertile mucus and visit with Dr. Jean to get my final instructions for conception.  It was all so exciting, yet so scary!  This was my chance.  This was my perfect opportunity.  Together, we planned all of the medications and supplements I would take and at which point in my cycle.  Certain days were optimal for certain medications, so I diligently wrote in my chart the medications I would be taking. 

I would immediately start taking vitamin B6.  This would be a daily supplement, along with the prenatal vitamins I had started taking prior to my surgery.  Fertile CM was also part of my daily regimen and had been after I had my HSG.  On cycle day three I would take a dose of Femara.  This was the medication I was hoping was going to help my body do what it hadn’t been doing before: ovulate!

For those who have tried to conceive before, they have probably heard of the drug Clomid.  It is one of the most commonly prescribed medications to stimulate ovulation.  However, Clomid does pose some side effects that are often quite uncomfortable. It has also been known to cause the ovaries to become enlarged with multiple follicles, increasing the chances for multiple gestation.  Femara, or Letrozole, Is a medication that also stimulates ovulation, just without the adverse side effects and increased number of follicles.

Starting on cycle day ten I was to begin taking a mucus enhancer, which was simply Mucinex.  Once I started noticing mucus during my cycle, I would take an antibiotic through my peak, plus one day.  Post peak began my ten day dose of Prometrium.  There were a lot of pills, all on different days, which seemed terribly confusing.  However, I wrote down every pill that was to be taken each day, in order to make sure that I was doing everything correctly to allow for conception. 

Dr. Jean also wanted to be sure we were doing all that we could to conceive.  Therefore, she had me come in to the office to have ultrasounds of my ovaries.  This began on Thursday August 2, 2012, cycle day sixteen.  Along with her wonderful ultrasound technician Amy, Dr. Jean monitored and measured the growth of my follicles in each ovary.  At the time, I didn’t realize just how important this step was in conceiving.  I thought I was there for one visit to gauge how my body was responding to all of the medication.  Yet this was just the beginning.

I was supposed to come back the next day, Friday.  And then that next Monday.  We measured the growth of each follicle, trying to determine if ovulation was going to occur.  Amy and Dr. Jean were confident, as one of my follicles in the right ovary seemed to be growing beautifully.  So I went back on Tuesday.  Still growing.  And then Wednesday.  But it was gone. 

Gone?!  As Amy moved her wand around, exploring my ovary, she told me the follicle was no longer there.  I didn’t understand.  What did that mean?  She probably wanted to laugh at my stupidity, but she just smiled and said, “You ovulated!”  YAY!!!!!  Much like my excitement for mucus, I am sure my excitement for ovulation seemed unusual, but this was huge!  Ovulation meant the ability for conception.  And according to Dr. Jean, I couldn’t waste any time.  “You have a very small window.  We don’t know if you ovulated right after you left the office yesterday, or just twenty minutes ago.  So get to it!”

It was Wednesday August 8, 2012.  My first ovulation in possibly years.  Jonathan and I knew how momentous this was and how important it was on our journey.  I took out my prayer card to St. Gianna and prayed that this was our day, our chance for a family.  It was now or never.

The following Thursday I had an appointment to see Liz and review my chart.  I should have been excited about all that had happened with my chart and ovulation, but I was feeling doubtful.  I realized that I had not taken my medication correctly.  My dose of Femara, six pills, were all supposed to have been taken on cycle day three.  I took one each day for six days, starting at cycle day three.  Now, I knew I had ovulated, but I didn’t know if my mistake could have altered my chances.  Only time would tell.  Leaving Liz that evening, she encouraged me to visit the chapel next to her office.  I did.  I entered the dark, empty chapel nervously, anxiously.  I prayed with such passion.  Lord, please give me a baby.  Please let me be pregnant.  Please let the surgery have worked, let my body be free from endometriosis and let it be capable of carrying a child.  Amen.

Two my days later, Saturday morning, I woke up early.  I never wake up early.  Jonathan was still sleeping, so I quietly got out of bed and went in to our bathroom.  I had a stash of pregnancy tests in the drawer under the sink, leftover from my friend Andi who had recently found out she was expecting.  Even though it was only ten days after ovulating, I decided to take a test anyway, since I certainly had plenty of them on hand.  I gently placed the test on the counter, washed my hands, and went to let the dog out. 

I came back just a moment later, fully expecting a negative test.  Yet, I saw this:

(The first of three pregnancy tests I took)

I screamed, “OH MY GOSH!”  I couldn’t believe it.  I was actually pregnant!  It was Saturday August 18, 2012.  Ten days after ovulation, less than three months after my surgery, and I was pregnant.  Jubilation washed over me and I prayed a quiet prayer of thanksgiving.  This was my miracle.  My body was now free from endometriosis…..and a baby now filled its space.


Stay tuned for what happens after that miraculous moment of seeing a positive test.

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