What’s New on the Fertility Front

FINAL UPDATE:

Yes, some people actually do lose the war on infertility.

Have you ever pictured your future at a young age and clung to certain aspects of that picture that you KNEW in your heart to be true and essential to your being? I did. I pictured having a large family where my kids were my world and everything else was secondary (money, career…). For as long as I can remember, I wanted babies and lots of them. When I met my husband, he wanted two children. I wanted a minimum of three and knew that with his giving heart, he’d eventually consent to having three even if they do not fit at a square table (this is a joke between us because he is one of three children and his reasoning for only having two children revolved around ridiculous observations about symmetry). All I ever wanted was to be a mom to many. Had I known when I had my son over nine years ago that I would never have that experience again, I think I would have approached things differently. There would’ve been more pictures, journaling, capturing every moment that at that time didn’t seem quite as significant. It all went too fast. He is half way to becoming an adult, and when I gave birth to my very premature son, I mourned not having a third trimester. It seemed so stupid, but I was so sad not to experience pregnancy to the fullest. My last three weeks of pregnancy were terrifying as I was in labor that the doctors were desperately trying to stop. When I had my little miracle boy, I would visit him daily in the NICU and I consoled myself when passing all of the heavily pregnant women going to labor and delivery, thinking that the worst was over and we would have another chance to have all of those experiences. I focused on appreciating my delicate gift that would eventually grow into an incredibly healthy, active, and downright goofy little man. I didn’t realize then what a true miracle he was and that he would forever be the only child to call me “Mom”. How do you redraw a picture of your future that you’ve held onto since childhood?

I have a friend, Jolie, who I have seen every two months for my usual haircut and highlights. Without fail, she has asked me every two months for the last seven years how I’m doing, and what’s new. This has included my fertility struggles for the greater part of those seven years. I have sat there with my very non-heroic haircut cape (or drape?) crying while all of the other ladies working there pretended not to notice. She has always been a great listener and offered me hugs. She never said some of the ridiculous shit that people put out there to those who do not conceive easily. There was no advice to “relax” or “if it was meant to be”… She always just listened and consoled, when necessary. This past February, I was again pregnant and it wasn’t looking good. This had become my normal. I was past the point of sharing with anyone including my closest friends. My husband was deployed, and I was determined to be a hard ass and get through it on my own. As I’m sitting in the chair getting my usual beauty treatment on, Jolie says, “Now let’s talk about this surrogacy thing…” As you can probably tell from what I have written so far, my story does not end with a baby, but her words and actions have changed my life regardless.

What I didn’t realize was that this was something that Jolie had thought about for a while, and she had even garnered support from family and friends before making the offer. I sat speechless. I had nothing. What do you say to someone who is willing to go through the process of having a child for someone else? The selflessness is mind boggling to me. She didn’t want money or attention, she simply wanted to help me fill a void that had created so much pain and hardship for so long.

Once my husband and I got past the disbelief that someone would do this for us, we gratefully and enthusiastically accepted her offer. My husband was deployed at this time, so I was on my own seeking out attorneys, notaries, medical files, FDA required pathogen screenings, health insurance for Jolie (since her insurance would not cover a surrogate pregnancy), and the list goes on. It was A LOT of work, and I could not have done it if it weren’t for the help of some fellow infertiles that went through the surrogacy process before me.

Once we sorted out all of the logistics, I would come to find out that not only was Jolie an amazing person to be volunteering for this venture, but she was also deathly afraid of needles. I’m not joking here; we are talking some serious depth of your soul fear. On our first trip to the RE, she had to lay down for her simple blood draw. It would’ve been funny had I not felt sooooo guilty for putting her through it. After all, this would be the first blood draw of MANY. Jolie did all of the things that women go through during IVF cycles (with the exception of egg retrieval and stimulation). She went through the birth control pills that make you mean, the daily Lupron injections that throw you into menopause and make you crazy, the estrogen patches that make you cry all of the time at stupid shit, and the intramuscular injections that make you want to run away and hide (because let’s just admit it, nobody wants a 1.5 inch needle in their ass on a daily basis), and of course, the wonderful intravaginal ultrasound that after years almost seems normal to me. She went through it all both physically and emotionally without a SINGLE complaint.

When the first embryo transfer failed, she cried with her whole heart. She was just as devastated as I. It was sad to me that she had lost the innocence that goes with natural conception easily achieved. My innocence was long gone, but I don’t wish it on others. I feel as though tears form when a well of hope overflows. I have learned not to hope, thus sometimes there are no tears. I think a lot of people believe that IVF works for everyone, but Jolie got to experience firsthand that success is not guaranteed, and it’s not fair. She gave herself fully to this process, and truly puts the passion in compassionate.

This past Friday, we found out that our second and final transfer failed. There are no more embryos, and there will be no more created. There is a lot of sadness. Through all of the heartache over the years, I truly believed that there was a baby at the end of it, and that the road to get there was just going to be long and painful. In my heart of hearts, I never believed that it would end without success. It has been very hard to accept that at the end of the road there is no baby. I need to find a way to redraw the picture of what my future should be. I have no illusions about how difficult this next step will be. In truth, my picture is an etching not so easily redrawn. There comes a time when enough is enough. The financial toll, and most importantly, the emotional toll after seven years has been heavy. It is time to move on. It is difficult to do after 36 years. I feel like the nine years that I have left with my child in my home is too short, and I need to embrace and hang onto every single minute of it. I am sad, but I am also so, so fortunate. I know that there are some who are struggling to have a single child. I am lucky. I have a son who is truly amazing. If I only get to have one, I sure got an amazing one.

To Jolie: What you did for us was not for nothing. You have forever given us a gift. If you had not undertaken this incredible responsibility of trying to carry our child, we would always have wondered if I should’ve done something different with my own body; A different drug, a different doctor, a different protocol. I don’t think that I would have truly gotten closure. Because of you, I know that we did everything. We gave those embryos the best possible chance to survive. There is a definite peace in that fact. It is invaluable. As it was when we started this joint venture, I am without the appropriate words to truly express my feelings for you.

Thank you not only to Jolie (who I can actually never fully thank enough), but also my amazing husband. He has been stoic through every inch of this. He has watched me self-destruct and helped me to rebuild after every painful setback of this journey. I picked a wonderful man, and I hope that we find peace together moving forward with our family of three.

To our family and friends that are reading this and learning of all of this for the first time; please understand that it is not for lack of love or desire to include you. It simply becomes difficult to watch others go through the emotional roller coaster with us. Having to share bad news is sometimes very hard when the bad news is bad enough. We know absolutely that we would have had love and support, but it was really for our own emotional preservation. Thank you for all of the prayers and kindness over these last seven years. They have been invaluable and we always knew we had a cheering team even when we weren’t sharing every little detail.

I think that this will be my final post on the blog relating to my personal infertility. The story is over, and there’s nothing left to write in that regard. I will still continue with the paleo posts as I feel it changed my life in a lot of positive ways. I also know how much it has benefitted others both in my infertility circles and otherwise. Since the miscarriage last July and the one again in February, my thyroid has decided that it hates me and I have become a weekday paleo eater. There has been a weight gain that is nothing short of “impressive” given such a short amount of time. I need to heal my body and hope that my mind follows in short order. So…expect a truly spectacular and unattractive “before” picture that I took this morning as I am jumping back into my health with both feet.

To my sisters in infertility: take comfort in the fact that I am in the minority, and that you can fight and win. I will always support you to the best of my ability, and I am cheering you on.

And finally, to Infertility: you truly are a heartless bitch. I relish every single success story of every woman who ever beats the shit out of you.

3/24/15

Well, I’ve been avoiding this post for quite awhile, but after checking out my stats, I see that lots of people have been clicking on the “fertility front” tab. I don’t want to keep people hanging, so here goes..

I miscarried again on my last embryo transfer (January), and we are done using my body as an experimental pin cushion. I was getting IVIG infusions every few weeks, doing constant blood tests and monitoring, using experimental Neupogen injection, blood thinners, shitty steroids that made me fat again in short order, and the list goes on…  I’m done. Almost seven years of trying, and I am done trying to get my body to do what seems to be impossible.

I miscarried like a champ.  I even went on vacation while it was happening, and managed to catch the products of conception in the bathroom at ‘In N Out’ burger on the drive home. I had a moment where I just realized that I was handling it like it was any other moment. My “normal” was now traveling with a miscarriage in my purse while on vacation. It’s time to be done. The fantasy of being pregnant needs to be put to rest. I’m tired. Coming up on seven years of trying to get pregnant, and I am done.

Right now, I am focusing on my husband coming home from deployment, our big plans for my son’s 9th birthday gift (trip to Disney World) when his dad is back home, and amazing friends who have been unbelievably supportive.  I have always said that I have the best cheerleaders, and once again they were right there for me even though I didn’t let them in on what was going on until after the miscarriage.  This time around, I chose to tell almost no one about the cycle. Not my best friend, not my family, basically only my husband (who was overseas on deployment) and a couple of people who are currently in similar situations. It’s not that I had a problem with anyone else, but I was just SO sick of talking about it.  When I found out I was pregnant again, there was no point in sharing it. There is no joy in telling someone, “I’m pregnant…for now.”  The disclaimer would always be implied for anyone who knows me. I just got sick and tired of talking about it.  My infertility has totally consumed and defined me, and I’m putting it to rest. My body is now artificial hormone free, and that is how it will stay.  I will still envy pregnant women and those who joyfully announce a pregnancy without fear of loss, but I will get through it.  I will find ways to be happy for them as I have always done.

I will still tout the benefits of paleo, as I have seen what it not only can do for me (weight loss and marked improvement in blood work), but so many others in my infertility paleo group. Many of them are seeing improvements with weight, autoimmune disease, and general well-being. It’s great to see people who thought it would be impossible to actually get out there, do the “impossible”, and love it.

To my amazing infertile warriors, your strength knows no bounds, and I will continue to be a cheerleader for you.

12/19/14

So, I had an IVIG infusion about a week ago. In the past, I have done IVIG for my natural killer cell levels. Historically, my cytokines have always stayed consistent before and during treatment with IVIG. They used to hang out between 12-20 before, during, and after the pregnancy. My cytokines after stopping the strict paleo jumped to 38.5. After two weeks of strict paleo and the IVIG, my cytokines went to 8.8 (they want it below 30 for the purposes of reproduction). Since IVIG never lowered my cytokines in the past, I’m leaning towards the strict paleo making the difference for me. I’m pretty close to saying that this is definitive proof that the paleo does actually lower my inflammation.  There was really no “evidence” before other than how I felt, so it is good to really have more concrete blood results to make this assertion.  So…after totally messing my body up by going off paleo, it seems that my body responded really quickly to the dietary changes. Yay!

12/5/14

Well, the fact that I have been slacking has officially paid off. Sarcasm all around, here. I did bloodwork this week to determine next steps. I started paleo in August 2013. I started the immune testing in March 2014. At that time, I had elevated natural killer cells, but was proud as punch that I was one of the few reproductive immunology girls with cytokines that were low.  These cytokines are normally involved in cellular toxicity directed at cancerous cells and viruses. If increased in early pregnancy, the presence of NK cells and their cytokines can disrupt the growth and development of the embryo. Between March and August, the cytokines remained low despite the miscarriage. They are an indicator for inflammation (an immune response) in the body. It was always a good thing that mine were low. Since the miscarriage in August, I have definitely not been committed to the paleo. I lost faith on many days, and pulled myself up to make something new and interesting only once in awhile. To be honest, for the first time I am actually accepting that we may never have another child. Accepting it doesn’t mean I don’t want to eat a bagel and cream cheese to ease my pain though.  I can ALMOST say it without crying.

Anyway…the point is that the only thing that has changed since my last cytokine blood draw days before the miscarriage is my commitment to the paleo. Now, my cytokines are “high”.  I have just now created a problem on top of those that already existed.  Awesome. Guess I need to seriously recommit if I want to get back on the wagon for my last three embies. I’m just SO, SO tired. I want to fast forward to a time when I know whether or not this journey will ultimately end in failure. I want to move on.  I’m sick of allowing myself to hope only to have it smashed to pieces. I’m seriously running on fumes.

8/25/14

Well, as suspected, the (substitute) OB totally screwed up the sample that was to go for the immune testing.  That sample had NO fetal or placental remains to test.  Basically, she sent a blood clot (sorry, I don’t mean to be gross). The chromosome testing came back yesterday, and once again, it was a chromosomally normal boy. Same as last year at the exact same gestation. I have no clue where we go from here. We will make an appointment to consult with the immunologist and the reproductive endocrinologist, but I’m not sure if we really have options left. We tried the immune protocol, and had the exact same result as when we did not.  My labs don’t really give a reason for why this occurred as my natural killer cell levels and activity were low. Anyway…no clue where to go from here. Surrogacy may be our only option, but obviously that is a hugely costly endeavor with a lot of variables when it comes to total cost. If we hadn’t spent the last few years paying out of pocket for all of our other cycles, I could see having the money to spend on this. Unfortunately, there was no way to know that tens of thousands of dollars would be wasted these last few years. We still have three frozen embryos, but I’m really not sure that trying to transfer them to me wouldn’t mean certain heartbreak. Feeling defeated today.

8/10/14

Where to begin…my single frozen embryo transfer went great, and I had a positive pregnancy test only six days later with beta hcg levels (pregnancy hormone) rising steadily and rivaling one having quadruplets. We had a great heartbeat at 6 weeks, went on a road trip with friends, and had a 9week ultrasound yesterday showing no heartbeat and growth stopping somewhere in the days prior. It is déjà vu all over again. The lovenox, synthroid, and three rounds of IVIG infusions yielded the exact same outcome as last year when I was taking none of the medications and was forty lbs heavier. Nothing that I have done has mattered. I am deeper into advanced maternal age (36), spent more money on a fruitless endeavor, and now I wait to miscarry and hope that there is a genetic abnormality that caused all of it. Sounds crazy to hope for a genetic issue with my baby doesn’t it? At least if that is the case, then my body did not attack the embryo and everything I have done over the last year wasn’t all for nothing. If my body is responsible for the demise of the embryo, yet again, then I think that we are out of options. I don’t think that I can take my three remaining embryos and put them into a body that is destined to destroy.

Clearly, I’m not in a great place, but I’m trying to keep it together. At least this time, my eight year old was unaware of the pregnancy. At least it is one less heart broken. I am currently plunging myself into anti paleo foods, and of course it makes me feel like shit though that seems apropos. My mind and body are now on the same page.

My hope is to miscarry at home (with the help of some prescribed medication and narcotics) and we will have the remains tested again. Now I wait. At some point, I have to put the big girl panties on, but right now I am just mad. I want to burn the fucking big girl panties. They are a symbol of devastation to me. Whenever I have to put them on, it means that a dream has died, and those fucking big girl panties are what is left in the aftermath. I wish I was like my husband. I swear he has those panties tattooed to his ass because he never has to put them “back on”. They are always on. He is way tougher than I, though I suspect that he holds it together not only for his own survival but for my own as well. I am convinced that he is not dead inside (I tease…he has a heart bigger than most). One thing that I have felt from both miscarriages is all of the love from so many people. We have so many cheerleaders around us that put their hearts into our journey. One thing that I definitely do not feel is alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of our cheerleaders. We really have felt all of the prayers and well-wishes. It really does make it suck just a little less.

Some may think that it is too soon to be writing about this. I really don’t give a crap what someone else would think at this point, but I will explain my motivation anyway. This blog is part for my emotional growth, and part for helping others. Writing this helps me to work through what I am feeling (not to mention it saves me from having to tell people face to face, which is usually accompanied by the dreaded ugly cry). The blog is also for others out there who are going through infertility and loss. I am a member of enough infertility support groups (IUI, IVF, PCOS, reproductive immunology…) to know that there are so many people out there going through this who truly do feel alone. I’m not the first to miscarry and am far from the last, but not everyone is lucky enough to have the support that I have. Sometimes you need to hear from someone else that it SUCKS. I’m not going to blow sunshine up anyone’s ass and tell them that it will all be fine and the next pregnancy will go the distance. Sometimes it doesn’t, it’s a bitch, and it fucking hurts!

I will probably update after the miscarriage. Some people really do want to know about that experience. I have several friends who have found themselves in my position of carrying a baby without a heartbeat and not knowing what is to come next. Most people do not discuss what a miscarriage at this gestation at home truly involves. 9 weeks is the “cutoff” for miscarrying at home (according to my doctor) as opposed to a D&C, and though it is no walk in the park, I don’t want others to have to face it with fear of the unknown. I’m nothing if not blunt, so there are many who may want to skip that next post.

Until then…

6/18/14

It’s official!  Transfer scheduled for Monday!!! We have an IVIG infusion scheduled for Friday, and a Neupogen wash scheduled for Sunday.  Pulling out all the stops with Lovenox on board as well. We’re all in, though still only putting in one embryo. Twins are way too high risk for our situation. The fingers (and toes) are crossed!

5/22/14

A lot has happened in the last two months, and we are in the midst of our FET cycle with protocol from the reproductive endocrinologist AND reproductive immunologist.  Basically, the RE feels that my tubes are not open in their natural state (they have to be forced open for procedures that test whether or not they are patent).  Obviously, this makes natural conception unlikely and beyond the scope of PCOS or the Paleo lifestyle.  The really interesting news is from the reproductive immunologist. Basically, my body is beating the crap out of my husband’s DNA and sees the embryo as “foreign”.  The cells to protect an embryo are low, and the cells to attack are high. My natural killer cells are mad and sending reinforcements every time we try to put an embryo in.  As a result of our workup, I will be taking Synthroid, Lovenox, and having IVIG injections (they felt that intralipids were not yet backed up by enough research).  The IVIG injections are supposed to beat back the natural killer cell activity so that I can get implantation well established. Given that my son was premature (labor at 25 weeks and born at 28), my natural killer cell activity would be monitored throughout the hoped-for pregnancy and IVIG would be given based on those results.  The reproductive immunologist feels that this explains my son’s previously unexplained preterm labor and delivery.  My body just kept trying to get rid of him (hence the three week labor that they couldn’t stop with ridiculous amounts of Mag and other meds).  It is like an allergic reaction; the first exposure is milder than subsequent exposures. I am incredibly lucky that my body was not successful in ejecting him earlier in the pregnancy.  We were fortunate with the outcome of having a baby at 28 weeks, and earlier may have told a totally different story.

We are nervous, but we are also very happy to be moving forward.  I think that a lot of people want to know if this means I will not be living a Paleo lifestyle anymore (several people have asked).  I have to give that a firm NO.  I have benefitted so much from changing my relationship with food, that I don’t think that I will ever go back.  I will have cheat days (or even weekends), but it is just too obvious that my body doesn’t want me to do what I had been doing to it.  Inflammation in my breasts is gone, inflammation in my gums is gone, I no longer have headaches, I have short, painless, and predictable periods, and I also have more energy, better skin, and less “brain-fog” than ever before.  Oh yeah, and I also lost a ton of weight without trying. The benefits of Paleo go far beyond my issues with infertility, so it is here to stay. Regardless of what happens on the fertility journey, this is now my lifestyle.  I’m still going to blog because even if I do get a baby, infertility is always going to be a heartless bitch. Nothing will ever be able to make that statement an untruth. I cannot tell you how many in my PCOS support group have gotten their babies and other health benefits from making the switch, and I hope that my blog will help anyone who wants to continue with the Paleo lifestyle no matter what their goals.

I will update when I can about what is new on the fertility front.  Don’t expect an update when it comes time for pregnancy tests.  If I don’t update, it could mean that it failed and I am once again in a pit of despair and isolating.  If I don’t update, it could also mean that I am cautiously pregnant and don’t want to announce anything to anyone because of my history of devastation that comes with that. I also would not want friends and family to find out by reading it on the internet.  Expect NOT to have an update between embryo transfer (end of June) and probably August.  I will still post about other things, just not the results of our FET.

Thanks for the support that everyone has given me though all of this. The success of this blog has been a shock, but also a breath of fresh air.  I’m glad to help others on this journey, and I feel that nobody should have to do it alone. We are so excited to be moving forward.  Please, send us some good vibes!!!

4/29/14

Wow, I’m actually updating exactly a month later.  No success on the IUI from last month.  I just did my endometrial biopsy (evil doctor that did it and horrible pain even with a couple of Vicodin pills on board), so that was the last in the myriad of tests for the reproductive immunologist.  I have an appointment next week to go over the results.  When I hit cycle day 1, we will be starting our FET (as long as the reproductive immunologist doesn’t say that things are hopeless or too expensive to fix). This should lead us to a June embryo transfer. Fingers Crossed!

3/29/14

So this is not exactly a “fertility” update.  It is an update on the way my body is responding to paleo.  I’m a little shocked and it has renewed a bit of my faith in the whole thing.

Prospects of success from unexpected places…my boobs.  My boobs have quite the checkered past.  I have a ridiculous family history of breast cancer (though I don’t have the known gene for it) and so I have to be monitored every six months.  Just for fun, they are incredibly lumpy and full of ridges (don’t I sound sexy!). With my first mammogram, it looked like a whiteout on the scan.  The doctor couldn’t see a damned thing.  I always had to follow up with an MRI or ultrasound.  This pattern continued for the last 6-7 years.  Instead of just doing an MRI or ultrasound, they always insist on doing a mammogram first.  It is “procedure”.  Every single mammogram yields the same result: Whiteout! I had my customary mammogram last June with the usual result.  They said my breast tissue was too dense, as it always had been (even in my years weighing in the 120-130s). I was then sent to do breast MRI (no fun, especially if you get remotely claustrophobic and don’t want your boobs smashed through two holes while you’re lying face down). Yesterday, I had to get an ultrasound to check out a new lump. Of course, they insist on doing a mammogram knowing that images are white every time. I am used to this, so of course I went right along with it thinking it was a total waste.  Well to my surprise, as well as the tech and doctor’s, you could totally see breast tissue, variation, black, grey, white…EVERYTHING! No solid white for me! They were totally shocked. Apparently, the fact that my boobs haven’t hurt since starting paleo is because they were totally inflamed before! I used to constantly have breast pain of varying degrees, and they always seemed swollen (this got much worse after having my son eight years ago).  The only time I have felt this since starting the paleo in August was after my three week cheat during the holidays when I abandoned paleo. So… my doctor’s theory about me having systemic inflammation and the possibility of paleo helping seems to be true! In nine months, my breasts have gone from stark white on a mammogram to actually looking normal!!! The mammogram that I had yesterday was also done post ovulation, when my breasts have always had the most pain and swelling in the past.  The June mammogram was done during the first week of my cycle when I was least likely to have inflammation and pain. This also cannot be due to weight loss (as I mentioned, I have had mammograms done when I weighed less than I do now).  Fat is easier to see on a mammogram, and denser breasts with difficult to read ultrasounds are usually present in women with less body fat.  Fingers are crossed that this is helping inflammation elsewhere.  Now if only I could be sure my tubes were open…. I will take this sign of progress either way!  Yay for titties!!!

2/24/14 

So…no I’m not pregnant.  Let’s just get that out of the way right now.  Sorry to disappoint, but such is life (mine anyways).

After my three week gorge around the holidays, I noticed that I was lactating.  Yes, you read that right. I was producing milk.  Awesome.  No baby.  Just milk.  And breast pain and swelling and random lumps in the mammaries.  I’m so sexy, I know!

After getting blood work done, my doctor tells me that I am in the “high normal” range for prolactin (which apparently is enough to make you produce milk) and I was in the “normal” but not preferred range for thyroid as a person trying to conceive.  It was recommended that I start taking Synthroid minimum dosage.  I really did not want to be on another med.  I asked my doctor if he thought there were alternatives. He said that I could try diet and exercise and do another blood draw in six weeks.  After the first of the year, I jumped back into the paleo, and I also incorporated exercise into my regimen.  Last week was my blood draw, and I’m happy to say that my prolactin went down 30% and my thyroid went down 14%!  Yay for paleo and exercise.

Anyway, we will probably proceed soon with IUIs, and then on to our frozen embryos hopefully in June.  Since my RE thinks that my tubes are not really open unless they are forced open during testing, he feels that I’m ready to go with the frozen embryos.  My other doc disagrees, and really wants to try IUI.  I guess it makes sense to give it a shot first.  After trying to conceive for almost six years, what is another 2-3 months?

1/11/14 So I was checking out the blog stats and saw that HUNDREDS of people were clicking this link in the last couple of weeks in the hopes of getting an update.  First of all, wow.  Thank you so much for caring that much.  I’m shocked that my little blog that I started four months ago already has almost 40,000 views!  I have dreaded doing my update because it is just disappointing and discouraging.  On the one hand, I have to own my partial failure over this last month because of choices I have made with the foods I have eaten.  On the other hand, it is discouraging that a week or a few days of indulgence can so derail my reproductive goals.  December had a lot of parties, events, and of course holiday celebrations. I also moved into a new home and had sketchy access to my kitchen for awhile.  I had many “cheat” meals and days, and staying faithful to the paleo the rest of the time just wasn’t good enough.  Within days of cheating on my lifestyle change, I had horrible pain in my breasts, my skin threw a fit, I had a resurgence of headaches, and my cycle got totally thrown off.  I was working with perfect 28 day cycles since the beginning of starting paleo, and then had a longer 33 day cycle with a particularly long luteal phase without a pregnancy.  With the temping, there was not strong evidence of ovulation this cycle, though there was a slight shift.  This period has been painful, heavy, and hormonally/emotionally ridiculous.  I miss kind of periods that I had the three previous months.  They were easy, light, and barely noticeable.  I have been very faithful with the paleo for the last week, and my skin still has not recovered.  I learned that cheating “here or there” doesn’t work for me.  I’m not going to lie, I loved all of the foods that I got to eat, but it wasn’t necessarily worth it.  I am glad to be back on track.  I am enjoying putting some new ideas into play in the kitchen, and hope that I can stay inspired. Thank you for being my cheerleaders.  I appreciate all of the comments and people following the blog.  Hoping for some good news in the new year!

11/19/13 No great news today.  I am still not pregnant, and today would have been my due date.  It sucks, I’m being a baby about it, and the big girl panties will be back on tomorrow.  For those who don’t know, after almost five years of never having a positive pregnancy test, I FINALLY got pregnant after my third embryo transfer.  We saw a heartbeat at six weeks, then eight weeks we saw it again and that was when the doctor said that our chances of miscarriage was only 2%.  We decided to tell our 7yo son (and many others).  I regret that decision every day.  He still will randomly mention that the saddest day of his life was “the day our baby died”.  For years I just kept thinking, “If I could just GET PREGNANT” it would all work out.  I was wrong, and it was a new level  of infertility acceptance.  In my online support group, there are 70-80 members.  It’s an amazing group, and I couldn’t have handled a lot of things over the last year without them. At this point, I am one of only about 5 people who are still without a successful pregnancy.  It sucks being left behind by the fertile people, and it’s an entirely different level of sucking when you’re left behind by the infertile people.

Yep, clearly I am throwing a big ass pity party today.  Forgive me.

I am still loving the paleo.  I feel way better eating this way, I do not feel hungry or deprived, I have zero headaches (down from about one per week), my periods are very short and painless (HUGE difference as they were 7-8 days, heavy, and very painful in the past), my skin is no longer oily, I sleep like a log, I have had perfect 28 day cycles the last two months, and I have lost 34 lbs without trying in the least.  Even if this lifestyle doesn’t make my dream of another child come true, it is very clear to me that it is better for my body and mind.  I do not plan on abandoning it regardless of the fertility outcome.  We will be trying naturally for the next couple of months and may resume IUI’s in January.

Big girl panties will be back tomorrow.

10/10/13 So it seems that I have made a “Dent” in my infertility.  Unfortunately it is only a dent.  I would’ve much preferred to shatter it, crack it, fracture it…you get the point.  Yesterday I had a faint, but distinct pink line on my FRER.  For those of you who have been dealing with infertility, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  You also know that pink lines don’t come along if there isn’t something going on.  I’ve seen the grey evaporation lines, but never in five years, have I seen a second pink line on a natural cycle. NEVER.  This is both a good and a bad thing today.  It’s good because it means that after only two months, something that I am doing is making a difference.  It is bad because today the FRER was back to the usual stark white.  Nothing to see here folks!  Just like that, it’s done.

For a day, I got to live the dream of a person dealing with long-term infertility who finally had their miracle.  We’ve all heard of them.  Every fertile person seems to “know someone who got pregnant by accident” after going through infertility treatments.  I hate to say that it’s par for the course, but it is.  There are a lot of us who don’t get to treat conception casually.  We test before we miss periods, we stare at pregnancy tests in any kind of light in the hopes that we will see SOMETHING, we are ridiculously in-tune with our reproductive organs and we make note of every twinge that comes when we think implantation could occur .  And we do this for years.  It was great for just one day to think that I might have broken the mold.  Silly me.

Anyway, I will try to focus on the silver lining, which is the dent in my infertility.  I will keep doing what I am doing in the hopes that next time I shatter this bullshit and have my happy ending.  Onward!

My beautiful and evil little ray of hope.  I keep wondering if I'm nuts and there was never anything there to begin with, but every time I look at this, I know I'm not out of my tree.  That evil thin pink line.
My beautiful and evil little ray of hope. I keep wondering if I’m nuts and there was never anything there to begin with, but every time I look at this, I know I’m not out of my tree. That evil thin pink line. (yesterday)
The bastard that tells me that my dream was short-lived.
The bastard that tells me that my dream was short-lived. (today)

9/12/13 Well, our first natural paleo cycle ends with the customary failure.  I know that it working on the first try was a long shot, but one cannot help but hope for a miracle.  On to cycle number two .

I am really enjoying the Paleo lifestyle and have never enjoyed being in the kitchen so much.  I am going to set about purging my pantry and freezers today in the hopes of creating more space for my new gadgets and ingredients.  There are cans of things that I have found which expired years ago.  CANS that have expired!  It’s time to get rid of all of that processed JUNK!

I am also finding that I have to take days off from cooking because I have so many leftovers.  I have never looked forward to leftovers until this last month.  It also makes it so easy to take food to work so that I don’t find myself starving and resorting to either convenience foods or eating out.

I know that I post many recipes for baked goods. This is because they are one of the most difficult non-paleo things to replicate (aside from pasta).  If you are doing Paleo for PCOS, you need to keep the sugars to a minimum (even if they come from natural sources such as maple syrup or honey).  It is the insulin issues that help to alleviate the PCOS or inflame it, so we want to avoid messing with it.  Stevia does not affect insulin levels, so it is more acceptable in this situation.  Try to only eat a muffin or piece of banana bread per day.  Don’t start thinking “Hey it’s Paleo!” and go for one per meal (or worse).

Thanks for reading. If you think you have any recipes to share, I’d love to try them out.  You can link to them or  copy and paste them into the comments section.

We are on orders to try naturally for a few months with Letrozole and Paleo diet, supplements, and Metformin.  Fingers crossed…again…

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10 thoughts on “What’s New on the Fertility Front

  1. My fingers and toes are crossed for you guys! I’m curious about this Paleo diet – however, not sure how long I could go without alcohol! ;). I love seeing your food pics on Pinterest!!! And this is a great blog! Keep it up!

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  2. Hello..My name is Dawnielle. I also have PCOS and tried for years to get pregnant. My husband and I were married for almost 9 years when we finally got pregnant. I got introduced to the Paleo diet in 2010 but didn’t really follow it. I also started taking a vitamin called Fertility Blend.(i’m not a spokesperson for this product.) In Jan 2011 I decided I wanted to follow the Paleo diet more strictly. In April 2011 we found out we were pregnant! 🙂 That was one of the happiest days of my life. For me, I believe it was the Paleo diet and the Fertility Blend together that helped us get pregnant. I wish you the best of luck on your journey to conceive. 🙂

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    1. Dawnielle,
      I am so happy that you took the time to comment. I LOVE hearing about people having success with the Paleo. It gives me hope. Can I copy it into a post on the main page? I would love to spread the hope to others. I know so many women that have lost hope of ever conceiving naturally, and I think this would benefit them.
      Thank you again!

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      1. This is the first time I have commented on anything. I know what it feels like to just want to give up.
        Of course you can post it on the main page..I hope it helps other women out there to continue on.

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  3. New blog follower here! I found you through the Baby Center forums. I have PCOS and my husband and I have just started TTC. I look forward to putting some of your recipes to use – they look delicious. I’m currently researching different diet plans, etc. Paleo definitely looks doable (even though carbs are my weakness!!).

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  4. Just came across your blog through a friend. A little history on me, my husband and I TTC#1 with PCOS. It took us 3 years and two IUIs. After our son was born, we never prevented but nothing happened either. In the fall of 2012, I switched to paleo after being introduced to Crossfit. I experienced many of the same changes as you. My cycles regulated and overall felt better. I was a “thin cyster” without insulin resistance. I’m now 11wks pregnant with a surprise pregnancy. I know not to give false hope as every case is different but it’s possible. Keep your head up!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing this! It really helps me to hear about success stories. It is hard to keep feeling hope over and over and have it crushed. I’m trying to stay strong and committed to this lifestyle change. If nothing else, I feel better physically and emotionally. I hope that you find my blog helpful with the paleo recipes etc. Coming up with new things helps me to stay motivated and content with what I can have as opposed to what I can’t. Thank you again!

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  5. I am not PCOS but do suffer from recurrent miscarriage. Thank you for your blog and all the information about the paleo lifestyle. I will be praying for your FET and for you to enjoy your summer whichever way it goes. Peace.

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