You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

I seriously cannot believe another month has passed since the last time I wrote a monthly report!  I’m not going to write a long report in the usual format since I am in the middle of a medicated fertility cycle and I cannot differentiate between actual progress and the possible effects of the medications.  What I will say is that I have remained true to the basic tenants of this experience –  I have eaten well, continued to exercise often, taken my daily supplements, and have seen my acupuncturist weekly with no changes or deviations.  My weight is slightly lower than last month and very stable.  I am not going to do body measurements because I am having some wavering abdominal bloating as I approach ovulation, but based on my appearance and how clothing fits, I would guess there has been very little change.  My acne is quite bad, but I am actively messing with my hormones by taking fertility drugs and this is a very common side effect for me while on them.  Emotionally, I am a little short of temper, but I have yet to feel any depression or major psychological upheaval, which is sometimes the case during a medicated fertility cycle.  My energy level has been a bit low the past week or so (again, normal for this point in a medicated cycle), and so I have started doing a Fertility Yoga DVD that I’ve owned for several years, but had only done a few times before.  Even though it’s a step down from the more ambitious exercise I usually do 3-4 times a week, I still feel like I get a decent strengthening and stretching work-out, and it’s better than simply doing nothing and letting my conditioning dissolve away.  I have also added a nightly abdominal and lower back massage using a blend of essential oils (mixed in apricot seed oil) that are beneficial for PCOS and infertility. The oils are Clary Sage, Geranium, and Rose – all with specific medicinal benefits for balancing hormones, increasing circulation and general stress reduction.  All in all, this has been the easiest medicated fertility cycle I have even gone through in terms of physical and emotional side effects.  I have also been able to achieve follicle growth without the use of Metformin, and that is a first for me.  All of this speaks volumes for what I have achieved in doing this PCOS experiment.  The proof is in the pudding though, as they say, and the proof for me will be to conceive a healthy baby.  I won’t know if I ovulated for a few days still and won’t know about pregnancy or not for two weeks after that, so lots of watching, waiting, and testing with baited breath to go, but I feel very positive about it all and that’s the best I can hope for.

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I broke the news of the Femara cycle to my acupuncturist last week, and, as usual, she was all for it and quickly switched gears to tailor my treatment plan accordingly.  The TCM herbs I’ve been taking for several weeks now are still the correct ones to be taking.  We also went down the list of my supplements to make sure that all of them were safe to take while trying to conceive.  We found nothing that needed to be changed for now.  So far nothing has changed in regards to this experiment either.  I am still eating and exercising as before.  I’m also trying to stay in a good place emotionally and take time out of my day to do some deep breathing or meditating.

As I mentioned before, I induced a period with Provera.  I’m currently on CD 4, and the period has been encouraging.  When I did the two Femara cycles this past summer (right before I started this experiment), the Provera induced period was so light, it was almost nonexistent.  I was only about 8 weeks past breastfeeding at that point and there were a lot of signs that my body and hormones had not recovered yet.  I was not 100% surprised when neither cycle worked.  Things are already starting off better with a normal period and a now fully recovered body from pregnancy and the hormonal suppression of lactation.  Obviously my hormones are not balanced and perfect, but at least they are present in enough quantity for the fertility meeds to actually do something with.  Today I take my second of five days of Femara.  I am taking 4 pills per day (10mg/day) this cycle.  I took 7.5 mg/day on my last 3 Femara cycles, including the one that I conceived my son on.  The goal is earlier ovulation this cycle.  I go in for my first ultrasound monitoring appointment a week from today on CD 11.

I realized that a lot of the anxiety I was having, just in general, and in regards to jumping on the TTC bandwagon again was about the great unknown.  Would my doc insist that I be on Metformin again?  Would my new insurance cover treatment again?  Can I continue my experiment while I undergo conventional fertility treatments?  Will I be able to stay sane enough to be functional and “present” for my 21 month old toddler?  I started this experiment because I was really having a hard time with the fertility medications and being a good Mom through it all.  I’m turning 34 next month and that only leaves one year between me and “AMA” or Advanced Maternal Age.  To make a long story short, the anxiety of not actively TTC is starting to override the anxiety of going through a medicated fertility cycle.

I decided to put a call in to my insurance company and it looks like they will pay for some monitored cycles.  I then called my fertility doctor’s office and told them that I wanted to do another Femara cycle, this time monitored.  I’m now taking Provera to induce a period so I can take the Femara.  There was no mention on Metformin, whether I was still taking it or if I should be, so that’s one worrisome question answered.  I see my acupuncturist tomorrow and we will form a new game plan for using acupuncture/herbs/supplements to compliment conventional fertility treatments.  This is my acupuncturist’s specialty.  What I am hoping is that all of my hard work with this experiment has created a hormonal profile that is mediated enough from PCOS that I won’t need Metformin.  I’m willing to take it again if absolutely necessary, but it will definitely be a last ditch effort.  Obviously I will continue with my eating plan and will exercise every other day, or 3-4 times a week.  I plan on taking all of my supplements and herbs until a pregnancy is confirmed (unless explicitly contraindicated while TTC or in the luteal phase of a TTC cycle)

I’m just a jumble of thoughts today, both positive and negative.  Starting with the positive, I managed to maintain my experiment during the holiday, for the most part.  I indulged in some chocolate and potatoes a few times and did not get as much exercise as I would have liked, but as of this morning, there has been no weight gain and my body still looks slim and toned.  I was able to wear special holiday clothes that I have saved and stored away from the last ten years.  This honestly feels better that buying and wearing something brand new to me.  In the very same breath, I am feeling excited to be looking towards pregnancy again.  I finally got my body back post pregnancy and I’m going to stretch it all back out again, but I know from experience that it’s worth it.

I asked for gifts this year that would help me with my health goals.  I got a very nice selection of essential oils, including expensive ones that I would not normally buy for myself.  I also got an electronic aromatherapy room diffuser and a great book about how to use essential oils for health and home.  It’s really a fascinating topic and something I’ve been wanting to know more about for many years.  I also got lots of tea making supplies and equipment.  I’ve been really getting into nice teas lately and I’m excited to take it to the next level considering I partake in a nice cup several times a day.  From the beginning, tea has been part of this experiment in regards to the medicinal benefits of green tea and spearmint for PCOS.  I also have a cup of tea with a little milk as a treat when I would normally be looking for something sweet to snack on.   The ritual of tea making and drinking is enough to satisfy these cravings most of the time.

As for the negative, considering going down the path to actually getting pregnant brings up a lot of anxiety for me considering my past traumas.  I’ve sort of lost faith that this experiment will end in a pregnancy for me.  I don’t even feel confident that I will ovulate naturally.  I’m still planning on completing the full 6 months and to continue many of the lifestyle changes, hopefully for life, but I’m having a hard time feeling the optimism that I had in the beginning.  Maybe it’s because it’s grey outside.  Maybe it’s because I have a cold.  Maybe it’s because my acne is HORRENDOUS.  Whatever it is, I’m hoping it’s just a phase and I can feel hopeful about my PCOS progress again.