Friday, September 21, 2012

My sister, the Queen B, and her infertility journey

My youngest sister, technically only 13 months younger than me but still the youngest, is also undergoing infertility treatments. She also deals with PCOS and she also has the male factor in play. Her difference from me is that she also has a 17 1/2 year old she had when she was 19 by her ex-boyfriend.

The other major difference is that my sister is also a Queen B with a capital B and she's also a Drama Queen. She also treats her daughter like shit. The Queen B has routinely called me over the last few years and tells me the hundreds of reasons I am lucky I do not have kids. As you know this is the last thing women undergoing infertility treatments and have no children want to hear.

So I've asked the Queen B why in the world she would want to have another child. She says that the our Mom "ruined" her daughter and that the next one will be different. My sister did no wrong. Keep in mind that whenever I was around my sister when my niece was young my sister would ignore my niece while she watched TV or played around on the computer while she had either me or our mom take care of her. The Queen B only took care of her daughter when she felt like it and god fobird if my niece wasn't in the mood at that time. You always had to play along with the Queen B's wishes and demands. Otherwise the Queen B would stomp off in tears how you were ungrateful.

This is a woman who has told her daughter that she must attend  a good university so that she can snare a good husband so that my niece can stay home and not work. She has put my niece down time and time again and almost ruined her self-confidence.

I offered to take my niece during her spring break this past spring to give them both a break. My sister agreed and said that she would drive to the half way point where I could pick her up. Then the Queen B CHARGED my niece gas money and food money for the way up and back. Who charges their 16 year old daughter gas money to take her to her aunt especially when their daughter is still looking for her first job? So before my niece even found a job she had a several hundred dollar debt to my sister for her trip up to see me, her car (that her grandparents had given her), her car insurance and her cell phone.

So my sister telling me that she is trying for another child chills me to the bone. She had her iui this past Monday. The thought of her getting pregnant with a child that she will not truly appreciate pisses me off.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hungry Girl Recipes are a PCOS Women's Best Friend

For those of you with PCOS you know that one of the major battles we face is with our weight. The first thing that was told to me by both of the infertility clinics was to lose weight. The second and current one was more specific. They told me that by losing just 10% of my body weight I could stabilize my menstrual cycle and improve my chances of getting pregnant. At the time I hadn't had a period for over a year. It was actually the longest I had gone without one.

I had tried to lose weight by exercise and diet in the past but I only lost a tiny bit and at times I gained weight. As you know, PCOS can make your metabolism stall and I while I was eating less than everyone around me, eating healthier than them and exercising I was still gaining weight. So for awhile I thought what was the use. So I pigged out on potatoes, pasta and bread. (Why do the things that taste so good have to be so bad for us anyway?)

However a 10% weight loss was something that I thought I could accomplish. So I started doing several different things. I tried several diet recipes but they seemed either bland or so freaking small that I was still hungry afterwards. I tried to exercise and I would lose a pound or two but then gain it right back. Then I found Hungry Girl. You might have heard of her on the Cooking Channel.

This is her:

She has a TV show on both the Cooking Channel and Food Network. She also has written many cookbooks along with a Supermarket Survival Guide. Plus you can see her recipes, tips and ideas on her website at:

No, she's not a dietitian and no she doesn't create recipes for those of us with PCOS. She makes recipes for what she calls "Hungry Chicks." But the amazing thing about these recipes is that they are large volume and she tries to stick to whole grain whenever possible. There are also several recipes that try to reduce or eliminate potatoes in traditional recipes. So that means the many of her recipes are perfect for those of us with PCOS.

Some of my favorite recipes are:

S'mores Pancakes (using whole wheat flour)

Recipe can be found here:
Bake-Tastic Butternut Squash Fries (Substitute for french fries)
Recipe can be found here:
She also has 3 minute breakfast egg mugs that you can cook in your microwave even when you're running late. My favorite recipe for this is her All-American Egg Mug which has meatless or turkey sausage patty, egg substitute, sugar-free pancake syrup and cheese in it. It is so yummy and definitely worth a try.
Just in case you're wondering: I'm not affiliated with Hungry Girl nor do I get compensation in any way or form from her or her company. I just really enjoy her recipes and they've helped me to lose weight and feel full and happy eating them. So I wanted to share this with all of you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Progesterone Levels

I had my progesterone levels tested this Tuesday and I came out with a 41.6. Which according to a website I found is the levels found in a woman who is in her first trimester. I've posted the information and website I found for your information.

Progesterone levels during pregnancy1
1st trimester: 10–44 ng/mL or 32.6–140 nmol/L
2nd trimester:19.5–82.5 ng/mL or 62–262 nmol/L
3rd trimester:65–290 ng/mL or 206.7–728 nmol/L

I would be more excited except for the fact that last month I was at 44 and I obviously wasn't pregnant.  So my doctor has decided that since my last 2 months' numbers have been excellent that they will not continue with any treatment on me until my husband has completed his sperm analysis. My period is scheduled to start on 9/5 if I'm not pregnant. My husband's exam is Friday, 9/7.

Best case scenario is that I am pregnant and we still go for my husband's first sperm analysis (just in case of false readings, miscarriages, etc). Next best thing (far, far, far) down the list is that I'm not pregnant, but he can get his results quickly and that there is a simple solution that I can still go on Clomid next month and not have a month or more delay in our infertility treatment. Worst case scenario is that I'm not pregnant, his results come back late and/or it is something major that we'll need to take time to work on.

At this point, I will be thrilled when next Friday ends. It will be the end of the unknown worries. I'm not sure if I'll get bigger worries from the test, but at least we'll know what we're looking at for future treatments, options and possibilites.

I hate being sick!

     So you know how they say that you should refrain from taking any medicine when you're pregnant? Well, for women with infertility that can lead to some hard, hard times. We try so desperately to get pregnant and to do "everything right." We cut out alcohol, we cut out caffeine, we cut out chocolate (the second love of our lives), we take prenatal vitamins for months on end, take multiple doses of medicine that's supposed to help us; the list goes on and on. And we still don't get pregnant.
      So when we get sick we try to do the right thing by not taking any medicines that would harm the baby we want more than anything else in the world. We even try to limit the medicine that is "approved" by our infertility doctors just in case it makes a difference.
     And during all this time, we're not even sure if we're pregnant. For me, I should be able to find out in the next week if the latest treatments took or not. It's just far enough away that it was too early to take a pregnancy test.  And it was just far enough past my ovulation that I there is a possibility that I am pregnant.
     So I've had a sore throat and earache for 4 days now and I was nauseous yesterday morning. And even though I've read that it is too early to get morning sickness I can't help but hope that this is what it is. When more than likely it was just a side effect from my cold.  
     I've also had a stomach pains from Monday until Wednesday. The doctor said that this is probably caused by cysts rupturing. So needless to say it's been a crappy week and it's hard to keep positive. All I can think of is, am I even pregnant that I made a difference by abstaining from medicine or did I just suffer unnecessarily?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Our Meds / Vitamins

In order to get my body "ready" for the infertility treatments I've been on a couple of drugs for the last few months.

For my growth on my pituitary gland I am taking one Bromocriptine 2.5mg once a day. For my PCOS I am taking Metformin 500mg tablet once a day.

Besides these, I've also been taking Prenatal vitamins daily as my doctor said it would get my body ready in order to have a healthy child. I've now been taking Prenatal vitamins for close to a year. I am so over taking them. The only thing keeping me going with taking them is the fact that they are supposed to help prevent problems with the baby. So if you're thinking about starting infertility treatments and/or getting pregnant I strongly recommend them.

Then of course  I have the newly added hcg shot which I get once a month.

My Bromocriptine and Metformin cost between $10-20 a month and then the hcg shot costs $75/month.

My husband still has to get his sperm tested. We've arranged for him to go to a specialist but there is a 2 month delay to get the first appointment. He's scheduled to go in the beginning of September. He's had one test before, done about 3-4 years ago, where the result was: pretty good count, pretty good mobility but bad shape. We didn't even realize that "bad shape" was something that could occur. Therefore he has been taking Infertility Blend for Men vitamins that we got from GNC upon the recommendation of our doctor. He's been taking them for 2 months and is doing the max number per day which is 4 capsules per day (this is the max for the first 2 months for rapid improvement). We won't be able to tell if this is really working until the test in September. The only difference that I've noticed in him is that he wants to have sex more.

My husband's vitamins currently cost us $39.99/bottle. He goes through one bottle in a 2 week period as he's taking the max dosage for rapid improvement. This price will go down from next month when he'll switch to the regular dosage of 2 per day which will make it cost $39.99 / month then.

Am I Pregnant? (I.e. The 2 week wait)

I had my 2nd round of clomid from 8/13 and my 1st shot of hcg on 8/20. We've completed our 3 day intercourse marathon after the hcg shot. So that means that at this moment I could be pregnant....I could be pregnant with multiples...I may not be pregnant at all.  I am in my 2 week wait of hell to find out if I am or not. So any odd twitch, pain, appetite changes, imagined tenderness of my breasts will make me think "maybe." I don't feel pregnant. Yeah, yeah I know I wouldn't feel pregnant even if I was. But it's partly a protection mechanism to try not to get too positive. Because if I'm not pregnant the let down will be that much bigger.

The reason I'm a little worried about having multiples is due to the results of my ultrasound. They had done an ultrasound (one of the inside ones) on the morning of 8/20 to determine if I have any eggs, too many eggs, and/or too small eggs. They told me that we were looking for eggs to be 18 or so. I think they meant millimeters but I got distracted so I'm not exactly sure. They looked in my left and said that I have a couple 12s, and a 15. Then in my right they found a 17, 16, couple 15s and couple 12s. Then they had to go back to my right because they said that they didn't get the distance of the ultrasound tool right. They ended up seeing a couple of 16s and 15s. They just kept repeating "You have a lot of activity going on" and that  the doctor wouldn't want to give me the hcg shot with this much activity unless my hormone levels were low enough. Then after anxiously waiting 8 hours they finally called me back and said that my hormone levels look good and that they are in the mid 500s. So here I am thinking that I won't be getting the hcg shot after all when they then said that I get to get the shot after all.

Fast forward 5 days. 12 more days until my period is scheduled to start; while desperately hoping that I don't. And everyday this week when I've had a twinge, a pain or feeling of discomfort I can't help but think "Am I pregnant?" This is going to be a long 2 weeks. I'm scheduled to go in for my P-4 (Progesterone hormone level )test next Tuesday, Aug 28. Hopefully the level will be super high.

In the meantime I'm trying to stay busy so that I don't think about it more than 5 minutes at a time. Granted I think of it hundreds of times a day, but I try to keep the time of each down.

How does everyone stay busy and try to keep their minds off of this? I'd love to know. Please post comment below.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

About Me

My name is Tracy and I am a 39 year old woman who found out 5-6 years ago that I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).  My sister called me up one day and said "oh, by the way, if you're having menstrual problems you might want to see a doctor about PCOS, because I was just diagnosed with it and there's a strong possibility that you have it, too." In a way I was lucky, because I pretty much knew I had it and didn't have to wonder what was wrong with me. The difficulty I had was finding a doctor to be serious about treatment. Most of them tried to push it under the table saying it wasn't that big a deal.

I was born and raised in Florida and then moved to Japan for 14 years when I was 19 years old. I then met my husband (yes, he's Japanese) and when he got transferred to the States I went slightly unwillingly to New Jersey for 2 LONG years. I hate the cold so me and New Jersey didn't get along so well. We then moved to Alabama about 4 years ago. It's still a little too cold for me but still it's better than New Jersey or Tokyo was.

The first Infertility Clinic I went to was in New Jersey and my main purpose was to verify if I really had PCOS or not. Their response after several tests was that I have a benign tumor on my pituitary glands which causes an increase in prolactin and that it appears that I might have PCOS. For those that don't know prolactin is a hormone that is created by the body in abundance when you are already pregnant. So my body thought it was pregnant. I've had to tell multiple doctors many that "No, I do not have breast milk coming out of my breasts. Yes, yes I'm sure about that." Because that is one of the side effects of it. Unfortunately shortly after being diagnosed, my husband found a new job in Alabama and we packed up and left. So not that much was able to be done at the first clinic.

Upon arriving in Alabama I immediately searched for a new clinic. I found a new gyno and got a recommendation on where to go. The second infertility clinic was the one I hated the most. There was a lack of communication, a lack of support and a lack of genuine feeling from the staff. Part of having PCOS is having irregular periods. Around this time I was only having them every 3-4 months. So when I went to the clinic I explained that I needed help with my PCOS infertility issues and that I wasn't having many periods. They proceeded to just keep telling me to call in when I had my period for testing. This lead to long gaps between tests and depression on my part. I had found a job that paid less than before so money was getting tight and it's hard to take time off of a new job for sudden medical tests. I ended up giving up on infertility programs for a couple of years due to the lack of support, money issues and time difficulties.

Fast forward to 2011 to where I am now suddenly translating for a Japanese family who had infertility issues. Her gyno was excellent. They were caring, informative and quick to respond to questions and concerns. I fell in love with them and wanted them for myself. Unfortunately I had to postpone my start until I could save up enough vacation days to be able to take off for the multiple tests. One of the hardest things I've had to do was translate for that family and see them get pregnant after only 2 months of treatment. There were many tears during this time; wondering when it would be my turn... if it would EVER be my turn. My plan was to start going to the doctor from January. However this got derailed when my brother-in-law (husband's younger brother) announced that he was getting married in July in Japan. So my hard earned vacation days got used for this and my infertility program get delayed until June.

In June 2012 I had my first round of clomid and then had to go to Japan and stay with my in-laws during my ovulation period. Not much intercourse was going on over there due to the paper thin walls in their houses. So it was a total bust.

I took my second round of clomid in the beginning of August and am on my way to try again. Hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I HATE shots!!!

I hate shots. I always have and I always will. I hate seeing the needle and I could never look at the needle as it was entering someone's skin; either mine or some one else's. Which kind of sucks, since I'm a translator and I'm stuck in multiple doctor's rooms with the people I help while they are getting a shot or having blood taken. But I've learned to live through it.

However hearing that my husband would have to give me a hcg shot in the butt; would have to in fact make sure that the 2-3 inch needle went all the way in and oh by the way make sure that you don't hit an artery or he'll have to do it again; almost put me over the edge. So I IMMEDIATELY started thinking of a way around this. Yes, yes I knew I needed the shot and was actually was looking forward to the benefits to it. BUT I did NOT want my husband to give it to me. Can you blame me? Would you really want your husband to give you a shot that you have to worry about making sure that there are no air bubbles in the syringe, that it's injected into the right spot, that the needle goes all the way in quickly and that you haven't hit a vein or artery? Luckily my local after hours doc-in-a-box was more than willing to help me out. I did have my husband go with me so that he could see how it is done so just in case this doesn't work this month he might be able to give it to me next month.

So we go into the office and I hop up onto the table and pull down my pants and then get to proceed to hear the nurse teach my husband how to give me the shot. Oh my GOD!!! I thought getting the shot was going to be bad. Was I soooo wrong. What was bad was having to hear from the nurse the step-by-step instructions on how to give the shot. And no it wasn't a quick explanation (which I'm sure I'll be happy about later). It was an in-depth explanation with long pauses so that you can imagine the pain that was coming.

Finally it was time to get the shot. I'm covering my ears at this point because I could not sit there and listen to the explanation anymore. So the nurse is like "Are you ready? And do you want me to count down 1-3 or just do it?" I didn't think I could sit still through the countdown so I said just do it to get it done. By this point we had been in the doctor's office about 10 minutes and I was ready to bolt. I then proceed to wait and wait for the shot. I can hear the nurse saying something to my husband but I still have my ears covered. I'm starting to think she's never going to give me a shot when I realize the tiny pressure I feel on the outside of my butt is the shot. Who would have known that the shot that I had blown up and was deadly afraid of was going to be so easy to get and give? So much so, that my husband who before this said that he couldn't do it changed his mind and said from next month he will give it to me.

So if you're worried about the shot, don't be. At least for us it was pretty easy. I would recommend going to the after hours doc-in-a-box and asking if they can do it for you the first time if you're worried though.