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My sub-fertility journey so far


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#26 kmrocks

Posted 26 May 2010 - 02:45 PM

QUOTE (EBeditor @ 11/05/2010, 11:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Please welcome our new blogger Prue who has kindly offered to share her conception journey. - Ed.

Hello and welcome to the intimate details of my life. I am Essential Baby's blogger-in-residence for the conception section, but the irony is, I won't be giving any advice on getting pregnant the old-fashioned way.

The problem is, my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for more than three years now, all to no avail save a positive pregnancy test last December that lasted all of three days before fading to nothing. The blood test at the end of the week showed I "did not achieve clinical pregnancy", according to my doctor's notes.

We are infertile. Actually I prefer the term sub-fertile. There is something so permanent about infertile and if I get to menopause without having a child then I will accept the infertile tag, but until then, I insist on sub-fertile.

Where to begin? In early 2006 I was editing a parenting magazine and knew absolutely bugger-all about kids, pregnancy, birth and babies. Despite having a midwife for a sister, I had no idea how to get pregnant, other than the basic logistics. I thought that all it took was a bottle of shiraz, a Dolce & Gabanna balconette bra and matching knickers and hey presto, nine months later, a bouncing baby boy or girl would emerge from my nether regions.

If only it was that easy. I started researching all things birth and baby related for my job and came upon Essential Baby, which provided me with many lightbulb moments. I was 29 and thought that I had loads of time to get knocked up. I was all about career, travel and good times. But the more I read, the more alarmed I became.

I decided to stop taking the pill and made an appointment with my GP who discovered I had a condition called polycystic ovaries (PCO) which can cause issues with ovulation and is one of the leading, but easily rectified causes of sub-fertility. I started to use a chart to plot the stages of my menstrual cycle by taking my temperature each day and marking it on a graph. It's a pretty accurate way of tracking ovulation and the good news was that the charts combined with blood tests ordered by my doctor showed I was ovulating normally. A perfect specimen and a great prospect for achieving a pregnancy.

About 8 months after stopping the pill, my partner and I took a long trip to Europe and having so far successfully avoided pregnancy by using the chart method, decided to go for gold. I invested in a bunch of little sticks that measure lutenising hormone in urine. If you get two strong lines on the sticks, ovulation is imminent, and the deed should be done.

So we threw caution to the wind, and I imagined telling our first-born they were conceived in a Munich backpacker hostel. But it didn't happen. No worries, we weren't in any rush. But the months dragged on and finally my GP referred me to a specialist who ordered a bunch of tests to check me out. Loads of blood was taken, I endured a form of torture called a HysteroSalpingoContrastSonography (HyCoSy) in which a contrast medium is pumped into the the fallopian tubes to test they are clear, and my partner was instructed to have his semen analysed more than once, but everything came back normal.

It was then the specialist decided to try me on what many women trying to conceive (or TTC as we call it in the community) believe to be a miracle drug. It was discovered when the contraceptive pill was being developed, but has the opposite effect. Rather than stopping ovulation, it encourages it, so in women with PCOS it can regulate ovulation and help them to conceive. I have a friend who has two gorgeous kids after successful Clomid cycles.

But four months on Clomid resulted in nothing but a couple of extra kilos. My specialist said there was nothing more he could do for us and referred us to a major IVF clinic in Sydney. By this stage it was almost two years since we had really started trying.

The first thing my new doctor did was order a complete workup on me, including a bunch of tests to check whether I had any auto-immune issues. This is a possible cause of recurrent miscarriage or failure for the embryo to implant in the uterine wall and as I have Crohn's Disease - an auto-immune condition - he thought it could be the cause for our lack of conception. More blood was taken - I counted 17 vials before passing out - and my partner was instructed to have another semen analysis, despite his previous good results, but I was convinced I was the one with the issues.

One month before we were due to get married we got the news. I had no problems. I was perfect. Ovulating regularly, a lovely looking uterus, clear fallopian tubes, no apparent auto-immune problems. I heard the same thing my GP originally said - I was a perfect specimen to achieve a pregnancy.

The news for my partner wasn't so good. His sperm count was fine, if a little sluggish, but the bad news was that he only had three percent normally shaped swimmers. 14 percent is considered normal, and with only three percent, the odds of us becoming pregnant naturally were exceptionally slim. And compounding the shape issue, he had something called anti-sperm antibodies, meaning the sperm were clumping together and couldn't move. It was like a rugby scrum in there. They were more interested in sticking together than swimming up to my lovely, fresh and fertile eggs. The good news was that the good sperm he had were of "high fertility potential" according to the Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA) which is used to measure DNA fragmentation. This meant that all wasn't completely lost.

Hopefully we can get there, we just need a bit of help. And hopefully, this will be the shortest lasting blog on Essential Baby!

- Prue


#27 kmrocks

Posted 26 May 2010 - 02:50 PM

Our stories are so similar it is uncanny, except my husband is the one with Chrohn's disease being the difference.

i wish you all the best in your journey



#28 harrison~at~last

Posted 29 May 2010 - 08:26 PM

Prue I also have Crohn's Disease, unable to conceive naturally (except for 1 natural pregnancy which resulted in miscarriage last year).  On both of my successful IVF cycles I have taken Prednisolone up until 12 weeks.  I don't know if that's what worked, but it certainly didn't hurt!

#29 Edwina1982

Posted 31 May 2010 - 03:15 PM

HI Prue,

Sounds like you and I are in the same boat - or similarish boats, anyway.  I have PCOS too, just diagnosed recently after the same torture tests you enjured. Hubby also has some issues with his little guys... Doctor said they were 99 percent abnormal, although we hope that's a dodgy test result as everything else checked out OK.

I'm halfway through my first Clomid cycle and trying to stay upbeat. Good luck to you...

Edwina

#30 Mel_Mac

Posted 01 June 2010 - 11:30 PM

Agreed with PP's - finally a blog worth reading original.gif


#31 Inkling

Posted 25 June 2010 - 08:10 PM

Good Luck on your mission!!!
I'm trying too...after one m/c and losing a lot of hope I have decided to think positive but I swear to god if one more person says "just don't think about it" or "it will happen when it's meant to"... I might just start getting punchy!!
so on that note Happy Baby Making hope it happens soon for you xo

#32 Aleshia

Posted 28 June 2010 - 07:10 PM

Hi there every one!!
This is my first blog after reading a lot of forums!
I am 26 yrs and too have PCOS just diagnosed in Feb of this year.
I agree that if one more person tells me it will happen when your ready I might just scream. I feel as though no one understands that if I don't ovulate then no its not just going to happen!!!
I am taking clomid and about to start our 4th round. It is hard to stay positive especially as I am a child carer and constantly reminded of my "sub-fertility" everywhere I look!
It's heart breaking but you have to keep hoping or you wouldn't get out of bed in the morning!

Edited by Aleshia, 28 June 2010 - 07:11 PM.


#33 aphraell

Posted 12 July 2010 - 01:17 PM

Best blog I've seen for along time!

My story is a bit different (different, not worse - not trying to compete in the infertility olympics) - I am potentially infertile due Ashermans Syndrome which resulted due to complications from a miscarriage. The really scary thing for me is if the corrective surgery and hormone therapy works and I am given the all clear to TTC again I'm back to not knowing what caused the MC, will it happen agan,  do I have other fetility problems etc. Sometimes it feels like time is slipping through my fingers...

wishing everyone all the best for their TTC journey

#34 MamaP

Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:42 PM

Hi Prue,

I enjoyed reading your blog.

My DH has the same issues with his swimmers as yours. We don't know how or why he has sperm antibodies - the dr said it was difficult but not impossible for us to fall pg, and we did manage to naturally after 2 yrs of TTC (and after the initial consultation at the IVF clinic)!

Now TTC #2 and onto the same battle again. I hope you are successful in your mission, sounds like you have a lot of support behind you.

All the best

#35 kel 72

Posted 19 December 2011 - 11:07 PM

QUOTE (EBeditor @ 11/05/2010, 11:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Please welcome our new blogger Prue who has kindly offered to share her conception journey. - Ed.

Hello and welcome to the intimate details of my life. I am Essential Baby's blogger-in-residence for the conception section, but the irony is, I won't be giving any advice on getting pregnant the old-fashioned way.

The problem is, my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for more than three years now, all to no avail save a positive pregnancy test last December that lasted all of three days before fading to nothing. The blood test at the end of the week showed I "did not achieve clinical pregnancy", according to my doctor's notes.

We are infertile. Actually I prefer the term sub-fertile. There is something so permanent about infertile and if I get to menopause without having a child then I will accept the infertile tag, but until then, I insist on sub-fertile.

Where to begin? In early 2006 I was editing a parenting magazine and knew absolutely bugger-all about kids, pregnancy, birth and babies. Despite having a midwife for a sister, I had no idea how to get pregnant, other than the basic logistics. I thought that all it took was a bottle of shiraz, a Dolce & Gabanna balconette bra and matching knickers and hey presto, nine months later, a bouncing baby boy or girl would emerge from my nether regions.

If only it was that easy. I started researching all things birth and baby related for my job and came upon Essential Baby, which provided me with many lightbulb moments. I was 29 and thought that I had loads of time to get knocked up. I was all about career, travel and good times. But the more I read, the more alarmed I became.

I decided to stop taking the pill and made an appointment with my GP who discovered I had a condition called polycystic ovaries (PCO) which can cause issues with ovulation and is one of the leading, but easily rectified causes of sub-fertility. I started to use a chart to plot the stages of my menstrual cycle by taking my temperature each day and marking it on a graph. It's a pretty accurate way of tracking ovulation and the good news was that the charts combined with blood tests ordered by my doctor showed I was ovulating normally. A perfect specimen and a great prospect for achieving a pregnancy.

About 8 months after stopping the pill, my partner and I took a long trip to Europe and having so far successfully avoided pregnancy by using the chart method, decided to go for gold. I invested in a bunch of little sticks that measure lutenising hormone in urine. If you get two strong lines on the sticks, ovulation is imminent, and the deed should be done.

So we threw caution to the wind, and I imagined telling our first-born they were conceived in a Munich backpacker hostel. But it didn't happen. No worries, we weren't in any rush. But the months dragged on and finally my GP referred me to a specialist who ordered a bunch of tests to check me out. Loads of blood was taken, I endured a form of torture called a HysteroSalpingoContrastSonography (HyCoSy) in which a contrast medium is pumped into the the fallopian tubes to test they are clear, and my partner was instructed to have his semen analysed more than once, but everything came back normal.

It was then the specialist decided to try me on what many women trying to conceive (or TTC as we call it in the community) believe to be a miracle drug. It was discovered when the contraceptive pill was being developed, but has the opposite effect. Rather than stopping ovulation, it encourages it, so in women with PCOS it can regulate ovulation and help them to conceive. I have a friend who has two gorgeous kids after successful Clomid cycles.

But four months on Clomid resulted in nothing but a couple of extra kilos. My specialist said there was nothing more he could do for us and referred us to a major IVF clinic in Sydney. By this stage it was almost two years since we had really started trying.

The first thing my new doctor did was order a complete workup on me, including a bunch of tests to check whether I had any auto-immune issues. This is a possible cause of recurrent miscarriage or failure for the embryo to implant in the uterine wall and as I have Crohn's Disease - an auto-immune condition - he thought it could be the cause for our lack of conception. More blood was taken - I counted 17 vials before passing out - and my partner was instructed to have another semen analysis, despite his previous good results, but I was convinced I was the one with the issues.

One month before we were due to get married we got the news. I had no problems. I was perfect. Ovulating regularly, a lovely looking uterus, clear fallopian tubes, no apparent auto-immune problems. I heard the same thing my GP originally said - I was a perfect specimen to achieve a pregnancy.

The news for my partner wasn't so good. His sperm count was fine, if a little sluggish, but the bad news was that he only had three percent normally shaped swimmers. 14 percent is considered normal, and with only three percent, the odds of us becoming pregnant naturally were exceptionally slim. And compounding the shape issue, he had something called anti-sperm antibodies, meaning the sperm were clumping together and couldn't move. It was like a rugby scrum in there. They were more interested in sticking together than swimming up to my lovely, fresh and fertile eggs. The good news was that the good sperm he had were of "high fertility potential" according to the Sperm Chromatin Structure Assay (SCSA) which is used to measure DNA fragmentation. This meant that all wasn't completely lost.

Hopefully we can get there, we just need a bit of help. And hopefully, this will be the shortest lasting blog on Essential Baby!

- Prue





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