Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The 3rd Year TTC

2004 was to be the 3rd and final year TTC, not that we knew that at the start of the year or would ever have believed it if we had been told. It was a year of highs and lows. On one hand it was a collection of the hardest of moments causing unequaled heartache; and on the other there were the greatest of celebrations in all aspects of our lives; a year to remember and no mistake and somehow it needs to be summarised here in a few paragraphs.

The year started with our first visit to the fertility clinic. We must have looked like scared teenagers about to embark on their first date, but it felt more like I was heading to my own funeral. In reality however it was a massive let down and left me feeling angry at their lack of action and empowered to get a second (private) opinion and a course of action for the 3 months we were told to "continue trying"!! Don't get me wrong, it was sorely tempting to play the ostrich again and just wait our turn, but something in me snapped that day and within a fortnight we were in a private clinic speaking to a consultant who seemed to understand exactly how we felt. He undertook an ultrasound scan which was worth the stress since it confirmed that I had two ovaries, two fallopian tubes and a womb (this might seem like a small move forward but for me it removed one of my major concerns about a total lack of mechanics). He then reviewed my hormonal results and quickly determined that I have a typical case of Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) for which I knew there were many course of treatment and innumerable success stories. We left his clinic that evening with a 7 day supply of the birth control pill Norithrestone to induce my cycles and a 3 month supply of Clomid to get me ovulating. He told me that I was welcome back at any time but he didn't imagine there would be a need - I was floating on air.

I started the Norithrestone the very next day and within 2 weeks had started my first cycle of clomid (one little pill taken each morning for 5 days forcing ovulation and causing the most insane case of PMT possible! It seems funny now but I am sure Mike was ready to walk out on many a day). I started using Ovulation Prediction Kits (OPKs) at day 12 as directed by the packet and low and behold ovulated on day 16. Then started the godforsaken two week wait (2ww) to see if I was pregnant. Very quickly I realised that we were due to fly to Canada for a conference on the day I was due to test and so I scheduled for a Beta HCG blood test the day before to confirm whether or not I was pregnant. On the day of the flight I rang the clinic and was handed a double edged sword; we had fertilised the egg and I had even managed to implant it in my womb but unfortunately the pregnancy had got very little further and I had suffered a chemical pregnancy (miscarriage prior to 5 weeks pregnancy). I knew that the chances of getting pregnant on the first round of clomid were tiny and so I shouldn't have been disappointed but all I could focus on was the fact that for a few short days there had been the start of a baby and my body had failed me AGAIN. We busied ourselves with the final packing, ensuring that we had our 2nd round of clomid and headed for Canada for what was a fabulous trip to Montreal.

The 2nd round of clomid was actually much less stressful, probably because we were on holiday for most of its side effects. I started tracking my Basal Body Temperature (BBT) every morning that cycle to try and more accurately determine when I was ovulating and therefore empower myself in the process. A few days after we got home I noticed my temperature dropping and on day 22 I ovulated again (twice in 2 cycles, what a miracle) and this time the wait was worse for us both. We decided not to go through the bloodtesting and to wait and see what happened. Again we were going away at the end of the cycle, this time to Le Touquet for a weekend with my parents; and this time I got a positive home pregnancy test (HPT) the day before we travelled. We weren't going to say anything but it seemed crazy to try and hide our mix of excitement and fear so we told them before we left. The weekend was fabulous and I had to keep pinching myself that all seemed to be going well. We got home on the Monday night and I decided I would get a bloodtest confirmation on Tuesday but we never got that far because I lost the baby on Tuesday morning. We had got to 5weeks and 6days pregnant but our baby had left us and this time the grief hit me for the loss of them both.

The first days of the 3rd cycle were all about the difficult choice; do we take clomid or take a break? In the end Mike made the decision for us and we took the clomid but my heart wasn't in the cycle. I needed some time, I wasn't ready to face another pregnancy again yet and I just wanted to get some normalcy back in my life. Don't get me wrong, we did try, but I think my body needed a break and so I had the first normal cycle all documented with the BBT to take back to the fertility clinic after the 3 month wait.

Our 2nd appointment with the clinic was really proactive, they were ready to start investigating my problems in depth and I was ready to demand some answers. Together we put together a plan of action involving a series of ultrasound scans to track my cycle and the future reuse of clomid once they had a better picture of what my body was doing. That 4th cycle was the major rollercoaster of the year and starting to think about it now brings it all back.
The first step was a baseline scan on day 3 where the sonographer discovered a large mass on my left ovary; she was fantastic with me and explained that by its makeup they would assume it was a benign dermoid mass which although no risk to me would greatly impede the functioning of the ovary and hence cause ovulation problems. The clinic decided that we should monitor this mass through the cycle to see whether it was changing and so I returned every 3 days for the next 4 weeks and was relieved to see a very dormant mass each time. Towards the end of the cycle the clinic started talking about putting me back on clomid but I had done a lot of research about how women with histories of miscarriage normally require additional medication. Therefore I made the decision to talk to Mike about it whilst we were on holiday in South Africa and come back to the clinic on our return to discuss the options further.

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