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Category Archives: Infertility

Don’t Ignore the Signs of Infertility: What to do if you think you’re infertile


What to do if you think you're infertile

If you’ve found this blog post through a search engine, then it’s likely you found me because you or someone close to you is having trouble getting pregnant. First let me express how sorry I am that you’re having these troubles. I’ve been there and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I hope that you’re able to conceive a healthy baby very soon 🙂 If you would like to learn more about my personal struggle with infertility and miscarriage you can read about it here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6

You’ve been trying to conceive and have so far been unsuccessful. You think that there might be a problem. Don’t ignore the signs of infertility. What should you do if you think you may be infertile?

Are you infertile?
Infertility:
*The couple has not conceived after 12 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is under the age of 34.
*The couple has not conceived after 6 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is over the age of 35.
(Some exceptions are made despite age if the woman has a history of irregular cycles or other issues.)

Sources:
Womenshealth.gov / Dr. Oz / Pregnancy etc / Moms Who Think

What to do if you think you’re infertile
If you’re very concerned and are really ready to take some action now, my advice would be:
1. Make an appointment with an urologist right away: Most urologists will do the Semen Analysis regardless of how long you’ve been trying and without any recommendation from an OB. Have your husband get a SA and maybe a Prostate Exam done. I recommend getting the SA through the urologist vs the OB as they’re much more experienced in handling the “man stuff”. My husband had the test done twice, once at the ob and once at the urologist, and we found the urologist to be much more helpful and informative regarding the SA.
2. Make an appointment with your regular OBGYN for 2-3 months from now. You can let them know ahead of time that you wish to discuss trying to conceive and potential infertility.
3. For the next 2-3 months do an ovulation predictor kit (they tell you to stop testing once you detect the LH Surge…but I say, keep taking the test until you run out of pee sticks!) and keep track of the beginning and end of your cycle and maybe your mucus ( 😉 fun, fun!)
4. Forget about charting your temperatures if you haven’t been charting them already. You need to chart temps for an extended period of time in order to detect a pattern. If you have already been charting temps but it’s stressing you out..stop. Many doctors aren’t concerned with your temp charts anyway (some won’t even look at them).
5. Familiarize yourself with the infertility tests that I’ve mentioned below. The more knowledgeable you are on the subject, the tests, and your options, the more likely it is that the doctor will take your concerns seriously and you won’t feel as overwhelmed when they’re explaining tests and options to you at your appointment.
6. Familiarize yourself with the forms of treatment that may be necessary if a problem is found (such as Clomid, IVF, etc.) and have a discussion with your husband. What are the two of you willing to do, how far are you willing to go, and how long are you willing to try? This way if you’re involved in treatment you know when to tell the doctor “no” to certain options and that you’d rather try something else. You and your husband need to be on the same page so that it doesn’t cause more stress if one of you has had enough.
7. Tell your OBGYN your concerns and request urine and blood tests (and a SA if you didn’t get it done at the urologist). After that you and your doctor can decide if you want to continue any further testing. If you want tests, I’m pretty sure that they can’t deny you if you ask for them. The tests can be done by a regular OBGYN. You shouldn’t need a fertility doctor unless you are undergoing certain kinds of treatment. Typically if a problem is found after one test, they’ll work on that issue before moving on to any other testing.

If you have not yet been trying to conceive for year and the doctors refuse to do anything until then, you have two options:
1. Wait until it’s been a year
2. Continue to seek out different doctors.
Starting the dialogue with your doctor and completing some of the less invasive testing can help get you a head start if you’re still experiencing problems at the one year mark.

Infertility Testing
I have personally had all of the below tests done except for #5 and #6 (and 2, of course, since that was hubby’s test). You can read more about that here

Here’s a list with links about different infertility testing
1. Blood and urine tests for you more here and here
(To see if you’re ovulating and check different hormone levels)
2. Semen Analysis (SA) and Prostate Exam for your husband
(An infected prostate can lower sperm count. This can be corrected with some antibiotics and may also require a slight change in diet.)
3. Endometrial Biopsy
(Where they scrape out a sample of uterine lining for testing)
4. Hysterosalpingogram
(An x-ray where they shoot dye through your fallopian tubes to see if there’s any blockage)
5. Post-coital Test (PCT)
(I recommend getting the SA results before the PCT as it won’t make much difference if you’re working with unhealthy sperm)
6. Laparoscopy
(Should be “last resort” testing after all others)

If someone close to you is struggling to conceive, I urge you to educate yourself on infertility, the tests, the problems, the treatments (What is infertility?) . This will make it easier to understand what your loved one is talking about and hopefully help you to relate to their situation a little better.
(About NIAW)

To learn more about my personal struggle with infertility read
the short version, or for the whole story read:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6

relatedposts01blk

*Infertility Myth Busted: Just Relax!
*Childless Mother: Infertility Poem
*Trying to Conceive: Take 1
*My First Pregnancy
*My Miscarriage
*Trying to Conceive: Take 2
*Trying to Conceive: Take 3 Secondary Infertility
*Spring Ahead: Reflections on Miscarriage
*Celebrate Your Name Week: Jordan:
Why we named the baby we miscarried
*My Mother’s Day Gift
*National Infertility Awareness Week 2011

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National Infertility Awareness Week


It’s National Infertility Awareness Week and Cesarean Awareness Month. Normally I try to keep things light-hearted and fun-focused around here but these are two issues that are important to me. I have personally struggled with primary and secondary infertility and have experienced both a cesarean birth and a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). Last year I shared my infertility story and this week I will be sharing a little more about infertility. I will also be sharing both of my children’s birth stories this week.

This week April 22-April 28 is National Infertility Awareness Week.
Why should you be aware of infertility? Because there’s at least one person that you know that has struggled with infertility or suffered a miscarriage or infant loss. It’s much more common than people think. People don’t know what to say when they hear that a couple “can’t get pregnant” and more often than not they say the wrong thing. “It’ll happen”, “Just be patient”, “Try to relax”, “You can have my kids ;)!”, “You have plenty of time”. Learning more about infertility can help you to be more sensitive to those who are struggling. If you educate yourself on the issue then you can possibly be a source of help and comfort to a hurting couple rather than another source of pain. Women (and men) struggling with infertility can feel very isolated and even embarrassed and it’s time that it’s brought out into the light where hopefully we’ll find compassion and support.

If someone close to you is struggling to conceive, I urge you to educate yourself on infertility, the tests, the problems, and the treatments. This will make it easier to understand what your loved one is talking about and hopefully help you to relate to their situation a little better. It’s time that we stop ignoring infertility!
What is infertility? / About NIAW

To learn more about my personal struggle with infertility read
the short version, or for the whole story read:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6

Related Posts:

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Trying to Conceive: Tracking Ovulation and Secondary Infertility


Trying to Conceive: Tracking Ovulation #infertility

Well, it’s “Trying to Conceive Tuesday” again…I’m just kidding. That’s not a thing. At least not that I’m aware of. Nonetheless I have ttc updates and it is Tuesday, so let’s just roll with it shall we…

Cool Daddy and I have actually been trying to conceive ever since I started blogging, but it just wasn’t anything I wrote about on the blog. But during my series of infertility posts that I wrote for National Infertility Awareness Week I kinda let the cat out of the bag so to speak. Now I feel obligated to let you know what’s going on. I mean, it’s totally cool, I don’t mind sharing.

On May 3 I had another appointment with the OBGYN to check our test results. Cool Daddy had to take in a *ahem* sample, and I had blood work done to check my thyroid and see if I’d be ovulating. So the doc said that according to the results hubby’s count is normal and I don’t have a thyroid problem and dun, dun, dun…I am NOT ovulating. Say what now? Yeah. Despite all of our struggles conceiving in the past I was still surprised to hear her say it. Prior to my first two pregnancies they weren’t able to find anything “wrong”…so we had unexplained infertility. Now we are struggling again, I assumed that there still wasn’t anything “wrong”. But there is.

I started taking 50mg of Clomid that day and finished up on Saturday. I can take Clomid for 6 months, which means until October, unless I get pregnant which would be, ya know, the point of taking it to begin with. This week hubby and I have some “business” to take care of. This weekend I start taking the Crinone again. Next week I must have more blood work done to see if the Clomid helped me to ovulate and the following week I have an exam to check and make sure I’m not forming a lot of cysts. So there will be a lot of poking and prodding the Jenn for the remainder of the month (pun intended, feel free to insert a creeped-out shiver here__).

When we left the doctor’s office, I cried. Not a lot, really. I’m not sure why I cried. We weren’t getting pregnant when I thought that I was ovulating…and even if I was she was going to put me on Clomid anyway. Still it was just a different thing to have to deal with going from, “We don’t know what’s wrong.” to “Yes, there’s a problem.”. I’m not really sure which one is worse. I’m fine. We’re going to try the Clomid and if it doesn’t work we’re going to close our ttc door and move on.

I’ve spent nearly 6 years of my life trying to get pregnant. We’ve always been serious about it but not overly “aggressive”. People always like to tell you to “relax” and that “you’re trying too hard”, but unless you’ve told them every little detail they really have no idea how “hard” you’re trying. Well, in the spirit of doing the exact opposite of what people like to say to me I’m actually going to “try harder”. In that I mean that I’m going to be trying to track my ovulation in ways that I’ve really never bothered to use before. Now that I know I’m not ovulating and because I know that if the Clomid works I may ovulate earlier or later than expected, I don’t want to miss the window. So I have a few ovulation calculating tricks up my sleeve. Tada…

1. Ovulation Predictor Kit:
I started taking an opt every day at 2pm to detect my LH surge. I have used an OPK before…about 4 or 5 times during the 6 years of ttc. Now I plan on using them every month while we’re on the Clomid.
2. Basal Digital Thermometer:
I have never charted my temps before. Now I’m going to take my temperature the same time every morning before I get out of bed.
3. Ovulation Microscope:
This is pretty cool. Apparently your saliva changes during your cycle. Every morning before I get out of bed I put a drop of spit (yum) on the lens of the microscope and let it dry for 5 minutes. Then I look into the lens to see if I can detect a “ferning pattern”. When my spit sample looks like a fern…I’m fertile 😉
4. Ovulation Calendar:
I’ve been using this online calendar for years to keep track of my cycle and get an idea of when to expect my period. I always use this to see when my estimated fertile days are according to my LMP. You can make notes on this calendar and that’s a feature that I’ve always liked.
5. Clomid Ovulation Calculator:
You enter the date that you started taking Clomid and it will calculate for you the expected date of ovulation.

I made a calendar on the computer and plugged in all of the dates when I should be fertile, the dates to start using the OPK, when to start using Crinone, my OBGYN appointments, etc. and I printed it out and put it next to the bed with a pen and my thermometer and microscope.

So now you are all caught up and you probably know way more about my personal reproductive system than you ever cared to know.
You can thank me later.

*** Update…the Clomid worked after one cycle! Jonathan Paul was born on February 08, 2012 🙂 ***

*Disclosure: This post contains amazon.com affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links I may get a small amount of money for it. I’ve only been using these products for one day and can not yet comment on how well they work. I paid for these products using my own money. All opinions expressed are my own.*

relatedposts01blk

+Our Infertility Story: The short version
But if you want the whole story read…
+Part 1: The first 4 ½ years of our infertility struggle
+Part 2: My first Pregnancy
+Part 3: My Miscarriage
+Part 4: Conceiving after miscarriage
+Part 5: Secondary infertility after the birth of our daughter
Other Related Posts:
*National Infertility Awareness Week
*Infertility Myth Busted: Just Relax
*Childless Mother: Infertility Poem
*Spring Ahead: Reflections on Miscarriage
*Celebrate Your Name Week: Jordan: Why we named the baby we miscarried

My Mother’s Day Gift


So some people might think that this is a little weird. That’s okay, I’m going to tell you anyway.

When my husband asked me last week what I wanted for Mother’s Day I told him, “Honestly the only thing I really want is a copy of Jordan’s ultrasound.” Jordan was my first pregnancy that I later miscarried. It was a blighted ovum, but we named the baby anyway.

During the miscarriage I had asked several times for a copy of the ultrasound they did the day they told me I was losing the baby. I asked clerks, I asked the OB directly…every time I got the run around. I don’t think they understood what I even wanted it for. To them it was just a picture of an empty sac…and a medical record. But to me, that sac represented my baby. My baby that we had tried 4 ½ years for. Yes, the sac was empty…but that ultrasound was the closest thing to a picture of my baby that I would ever get. I’d pretty much given up hope of getting a copy of it and the thought of asking for it again just stressed me out.

On Wednesday I went shopping with my sister for the day. When I got home hubby wanted to run out and deposit his paycheck. When he got back he handed me the receipt for the deposit and a small manila envelope with his name on it. “What is this?” I asked him. “I don’t know. Open it.” “But it has your name on it. Is this from the credit union?” I asked while I was opening it. “I don’t know, just open it.” I finally opened it up and in there were three copies of the ultrasound 🙂 I thanked him and I teared up and asked him several times “How did you get this?!” and he kept responding, “I’ve got connections.” And to spare you the details…he does have connections 😉

The first two images were during the regular abdominal ultrasound. The sac is the dark ovular hole on the left. The larger hole above it I believe is my bladder.

This image was during the transvaginal ultrasound, again the dark ovular hole in the center is the sac. I was supposed to be 11 weeks and 3 days along, but the sac was empty (blighted ovum 😦 ) and was measuring at only 6 weeks.

So that’s the story about how a 3 ½ year old ultrasound of an empty sac is the best Mother’s Day gift that I could get :).

Happy Mother’s Day!

Related Posts:
*My First Pregnancy
*My Miscarriage
*Spring Ahead: Reflections on Miscarriage
*Celebrate Your Name Week: Jordan: Why we named the baby we miscarried
*Our Infertility Story
*Childless Mother: Infertility Poem

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“Just relax!” What NOT to say to infertile couples!


April 24-April 30, 2011 is National Infertility Awareness Week and I’ll be busting the infertility myth: If you just relax, you will get pregnant!
(Find my submission link here.)

"Just relax" Infertility Myth BUSTED

You’re having trouble getting pregnant? That’s any easy one…just relax.

DO NOT SAY THIS TO A COUPLE TRYING TO CONCEIVE…UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Very few people are setting out to purposely offend or hurt the feelings of people who are having trouble conceiving, yet they don’t understand that this is one of the absolute most insensitive things that they can say. Whether a couple has been trying 3 months or 3 years…don’t tell them to relax! Even if they handle it with grace I can tell you with certainty that it hurt them, or at the very least, annoyed them.

Before we got pregnant the first time we had been “trying” for 4 ½ years. Although I was aware of the fact that we weren’t getting pregnant it wasn’t something that I continuously thought about or worried about. It wasn’t until about 2 years in that I really started to become concerned…and sad. When we conceived our first child and later that same year, our daughter, I can guarantee you that we were not anymore relaxed at the time than we had been previously. In fact we were certainly much more stressed out then we were at the beginning of the journey 4 ½ years prior. If all that I needed to do was to relax and not think about it…then we would’ve gotten pregnant right away. Everyone would, right? Because most people don’t start trying thinking, “This isn’t going to work. Something’s wrong.” It usually takes at least a few months of trying before you start to think something is wrong.

Stress certainly doesn’t help infertility and it’s true that it can make things worse. Even if you truly think they need to relax…don’t say it! Think about it. When has there ever been a situation where you told a person to relax or calm down and they said, “Gee, thanks, I never thought of that before. Wow, I feel better.” I would guess never. Infertility aside, whenever my husband tells me to relax or calm down he knows there’ll be a remote control hurling towards his head. It’s something he never says to me anymore. If you really think that relaxing will help…then show them, don’t tell them. Pay for them to have a massage, clean up their house, take them some nice meals, give them some relaxing music to listen to…but please, don’t ever tell them to “just relax”!

It’s hard to relax when you’re alone in the bathroom staring at the blood on your panties for yet another month. It’s hard to relax when you only see one line…again. It’s hard to relax when your feet are in stirrups for yet another test. It’s hard to relax when another Mother’s Day comes and goes. It’s hard to relax when you get another invitation to a baby shower. It’s hard to relax when everywhere you turn you’re met by a rounded belly or table of tiny onesies. It’s hard to relax when people younger than you and older than you and fatter than you and thinner than you and sicker than you and healthier than you are all getting pregnant and you’re not.

Do you know what else makes it difficult to relax? People that don’t understand what you’re going through. People that have the best intentions but say insensitive things in their ignorance. People that don’t know what to say, so they say the wrong thing. People that would rather hear themselves giving you unsolicited advice rather than listen to you try to explain your pain. People who don’t stop and think before they speak.

“Just relax” has a twin…“You’re trying too hard.”
What does that even mean? Exactly what is the definition of “trying too hard”?
Is it having ridiculous amounts of s-x? Because I guarantee you that there are many people out there (who aren’t even trying to get pregnant) that are having way more s-x than me! Is it charting basal body temperatures? I’ve never charted my temps. Not even once. Is it obsessively taking ovulation tests? In the 5 years of my life that I’ve spent trying to get pregnant I’ve probably only taken about 5 ovulation tests. That’s only one a year…hardly excessive. Is it tracking your cycle on a calendar? Many women track their periods…some for pregnancy prevention as much as the opposite. Even without it, it only takes a little math to figure out when you’re supposed to ovulate…so as long as you’re aware that you started your period (and come on…who isn’t?), then you can still track your ovulation.
So what exactly is it that we’re doing that is “trying to hard”?! Nothing. Yet it doesn’t stop people from telling me that.

So what can you say to someone who’s having trouble conceiving?
“I’m sorry that you’re going through this. I’ll be praying for you. I’ll be here for you if you need anything.”
That’s it. Simple, honest, to the point. No unsolicited advice, no “it’ll happen” promises, no insensitive remarks. Just let them know that you can see that they are hurting and that you are hurting with them.

If someone close to you is struggling to conceive, I urge you to educate yourself on infertility, the tests, the problems, the treatments (What is infertility?) . This will make it easier to understand what your loved one is talking about and hopefully help you to relate to their situation a little better.

If you are struggling to conceive and are being met with insensitive comments…just relax and take a deep breath and think twice before you haul off and hit them ;).

infertilityjustrelaxbtn

relatedposts01blk

Read The Short Version of our infertility story, or for the whole story read:
*Part 1: Trying to Conceive: Take 1
*Part 2: My First Pregnancy
*Part 3: My Miscarriage
*Part 4: Trying to Conceive: Take 2
*Part 5: Trying to Conceive: Take 3 Secondary Infertility
*National Infertility Awareness Week
*Childless Mother: Infertility Poem
*Spring Ahead: Reflections on Miscarriage
*Celebrate Your Name Week: Jordan: Why we named the baby we miscarried

Our Infertility Story: The Short Version


My Infertility Story: The Short Version
Here’s the short version of the story:
*January 2004:
I stopped taking the birth control pill after a year and three months of use.

*December 2007:
After 3 years 5 months of ttc, an endometrial biopsy, hysterosalpingogram, numerous blood tests, ultrasounds, and home ovulation tests for me and two semen analysis for my husband we’re diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”.

*June 2008:
Start using Crinone progesterone gel for a potential Luteal Phase Defect.

*June 2008:
Got pregnant.

*August 2008:
Miscarried the baby at 11 weeks 5 days.
(Blighted ovum)
*November 2008:
Got pregnant again two months later.

*August 2009:
Gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Adaline, via c-section.

The length of time from stopping birth control to the birth of our daughter:
5 years 8 months
*September 2009:
Adaline weaned at 13 months old and we begin trying to conceive again using the Crinone.
*April 2011:
We’re 8 months into trying for another child.

*May 2011:
A blood test reveals that I’m not ovulating.
Started 50mg of Clomid on cycle days 3-7.
Start Crinone 8% on cycle day 15.

*May 27, 2011:
Postive Pregnancy Test! Baby due February 5, 2012!
*February 08, 2012:
Gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Jonathan, via unmedicated vbac.
*PRESENTLY*
We are done adding to our family unless God sees fit to bless us with a child that we aren’t *trying* to have. Our “trying” days are over now. We currently have no plans to adopt because I find motherhood to be very challenging, but we’re open to adopting in the future if we feel God leading us down that path.

*But if you want the whole story read…
+Part 1: The first 4 ½ years of our infertility struggle
+Part 2: My first Pregnancy
+Part 3: My Miscarriage
+Part 4: Conceiving after miscarriage
+Part 5: Secondary infertility after the birth of our daughter
+Part 6: TTC and Treatment for Secondary Infertility
+Part 7: Pregnant after Secondary Infertility

Related Posts:
*National Infertility Awareness Week
*Infertility Myth Busted: Just Relax
*Childless Mother: Infertility Poem
*Spring Ahead: Reflections on Miscarriage
*Celebrate Your Name Week: Jordan: Why we named the baby I miscarried