After the length of time it took for us to conceive John, Matt and I decided to try again fairly quickly after he was born. We made the decision in December 2012 for Matt to return to reenlist in the Army; upon arrival at our new duty station in January of 2014, we began the daunting task of TTC for baby #2!
That very first cycle I took no meds save one; I continued my daily dosage of 1000 mg of Metformin. Our OB had told us (and so had every other “Internet doctor” I had consulted) that a woman is most fertile in the 6 months following the birth of a child. I hoped that this would be the case for me and that I wouldn’t need any meds to “make” me ovulate. I should be able to get preggers all on my own since having a baby, right? Ha! I was forgetting (or maybe it was wishful thinking) that Mother Nature is a cruel wench who gets her kicks from watching me squirm! No BFP in store for me. Onto cycle #2 …
I decided that maybe what I needed was a little boost; I still had a few months leftover of my Pakistani Clomid (seriously, I ordered the Clomid from an online Canadian pharmacy and it for real came from Pakistan), so I added 50 mg of Clomid to the Metformin I was already taking. One month of that was all I needed last time, right? So I slammed the pills back on CD 2-6 just like last time, and peed on OPKs until I got a positive. Then it was “Bunny Time” for a couple days and off I went merrily into the TWW of my first medicated cycle. (Insert elevator music here…) Went to HEB (that’s what grocery stores are called in Texas) and picked up a box of FRER to use 6 days before AF was due, since I was certain that I would get that beautiful BFP just like last time. Stark white. Not even an indent line. Waited a few more days – nada. Waited yet a few more days and as I wiped after I peed in the cup I realized that AF was indeed here, and here with a vengeance. So onto cycle #3 …
A few cycles went on like that. Me, getting super excited when I got that perfect +OPK, BD-ing like Roger & Jessica Rabbit, and spending way too much on HPTs only to have each test laugh at me with its “only one line today, lady” attitude. I finally decided to go see a doctor about it at our local military hospital. I hadn’t heard good things about her bedside manner, but I figured that as long as she helped me to get pregnant I didn’t care what her bedside manner was like. So Matt takes the morning off from work and goes with me. We’re sitting in her office and this little tiny woman walks in. She asks us a million questions, one of which being the “You have a baby under 12 months old – why are you here, there’s obviously nothing wrong with your fertility?” My blood began to boil. I looked at her smug little face and very pointedly said, “Because it took us FIVE years to get pregnant with that one; I don’t want to wait another 5 years before having another one.” She just kinda half heartedly agreed and wrote me a script for Clomid (I didn’t tell her I’d already been taking it), placed an order in the computer for me to have my progesterone tested on CD 24 and told us that we needed to stop all caffeine, tobacco (Matt), herbal supplements, yada, yada, freakin’ yada. It isn’t that she has a bad bedside manner; this woman has the personality of a pencil sharpener! Oh, and she also put in an order to have my dearest husband’s semen tested. Ha! THAT was a pleasant ride home! Yeah – not so much. Why is it that men have no trouble believing that there could be something wrong with the female, but when you question the quality of their semen they go ape crap?? I don’t know, maybe it’s just MY husband.
Irregardless of his moans, groans, and constant belly-aching about the semen analysis, he DID do his business in the cup but told me that he would in no shape, form, or fashion be the one to drop it off at the lab. So I screwed the lid down tight, stuck it in my bra (ya have to keep that stuff body temperature or the little spermies begin to die fairly quickly), and made a mad dash for the hospital – all while carrying a cup of my husband’s precious “Baby Gravy” between mah boobs. I dropped it off and we waited for the call.
The dull little woman called the next afternoon with good and bad news. The good news was that said Baby Gravy was fine; motility, count, etc was all perfect. The bad news was that there wasn’t much of it. His volume was very low. Matt attributed it to the fact that he had to “go” in a cup; whether or not that had anything legitimately to it or not, I have no idea. But I couldn’t rule it out. She said that hydrating more would fix the issue, so that was at least a simple fix.
The months went on pretty much the same way. I increased my dose of Clomid from 50 mg – 100 mg – 150 mg, all with not even a shadow of a BFP. The tiny pencil sharpener eventually sent me to see a different doctor there in the hospital who had a GREAT bedside manner! Still not the best personality, but at least a little more willing to listen and take my wishes into consideration. He DID see the reason for my concern; I was 31, had a history of infertility, and developed gestational hypertension at the end of my first pregnancy. He ordered an HSG (a test used to check the functionality of your fallopian tubes) which came back normal and switched me from Clomid to Femara. Femara works very much the same way in that it produces a stronger O in women who O naturally, and can produce an O in women who don’t O normally at all. It is better than Clomid (in my opinion) in that the side effects are practically nil, and it doesn’t thin the lining of the uterus the way Clomid can.
So in August of last year, I tried Femara for the first time. My Dr had instructed me to take all 20 mg at once on CD 3, which I did. Aside from the migraine that came out of nowhere, I had very little side effects. I was extremely stressed that cycle; Matt was being deployed for 9 months to Korea, so it would be my last cycle to TTC for a while. I spent a small fortune on tests, used the Clearblue Advanced Digital OPK to give me my best shot – and sure enough, AF showed up right on schedule. Ugh.
While my husband was serving abroad (HATING Korea, I might add) I had the Mirena IUD inserted to “preserve my fertility” as it were. I loved it! After I got past the month long spotting that went along with it, it was a God send for me! I have PMDD in my LP, and the Mirena got rid of that completely! For 8 months while Matt was gone, I felt sane for the first time in years. Two months before he returned from Korea, I had the Mirena removed. I expected a heavy AF; the stories I read on the Internet painted a picture in my mind that resembled a murder scene from Jack the Ripper.) I had a 2 day light withdrawal bleed and that was it.
Matt returned home to John and I in the beginning of June this year. I met him at the parade field in a pair of knee high boots, jeans and a corset, with my hair and makeup all done. Several hours and some athletic BD-ing later, I was sleeping soundly in the arms of my love for the first time in 9 months! Two days later (and a full 4 days early), AF showed up. Perfect timing.
The next two cycles were awful. Got +OPKs both cycles and BD pretty often during my fertile periods. I started progesterone suppositories after O last cycle to hopefully help me hang onto any pregnancies we were able to achieve. 7 days after O, I started getting faint lines. I was excited beyond measure! But they never progressed. I must’ve taken 500 damn tests, and the vast majority of them had the same very faint line. I couldn’t get one to show up on my FRER though, as you can see; both the bottom blue dye tests have thick, faint blue lines. And they showed up as the urine crossed the strip, so they were NOT evaps.
Finally at 12 DPO I’d had enough. I’d wasted an obscene amount of money and still wasn’t any closer to finding out for sure if I was knocked up. I went to the lab to have my blood drawn. (I had a standing quantitative HcG order, so all I had to do was go in and have it done.) Got my results: HcG level was 0.6 which is most certainly NOT pregnant. Most GYN’s consider the results to be negative if they are below 5.0 on a qualitative test. I was heartbroken. AF showed up on 13 DPO, which is actually 2 days early. Onto my current cycle …