Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Twin Tuesday: Our Journey to Pregnancy.

I want to start this post by saying that when I was going through what I'm about to talk about, I was always searching online for bloggers who had gone through or were going through similar situations. The truth is, infertility (defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex, six months if the woman is over the age of 35, or the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth) is much more common than you would think! One in eight women experience it and I don't think anyone should be ashamed to talk about it! This is also a way for me to remember all of the details about our journey years from now. 

So here's our story...

It started on Christmas night 2014. Once our heads finally hit our pillows after a day of driving back and forth to spend time with our families, we started to say goodnight. It was at that time that Cameron told me that he was ready to start a family. He could not have given me a more special Christmas present! We daydreamed about what our family would be like and decided to keep this special secret to ourselves. I kissed him goodnight and turned over to go to sleep. But not before Googling something like "Ready to start a family. What to do now??" 

I had my regular OBGYN appointment in January and my doctor knew that we had been married for almost two years at this point. Of course she asked THE question (Are you thinking of starting a family?" I immediately said yes and she suggested that I start taking prenatal vitamins right away, stop taking my birth control, and said it would be a good idea to go ahead and get my genetic screening test taken care of. This test is performed with a simple blood draw and tells you whether you are a carrier for a genetic condition or disorder and your chances of passing it along to your future children. Cameron was also tested at a later date and even though we were both carriers for some serious conditions, those conditions were not matches. If we were both carriers for the same conditions, there would have been a 1 in 4 chance it would be passed along to our children. Genetic testing could take up a whole post on it's own, so if you'd like to read more, check it out on Wikipedia or Counsyl, the company who performed our testing. 

After around 7 or 8 months of no luck getting pregnant, I began talking to my OB about preliminary options and she suggested I get a prescription for Clomid. I started with 50 mg for the first month, 100 mg the second month, and 150 mg the third month. All three months resulted in Aunt Flo. 

Right around the year mark of trying to get pregnant with no success, my OB suggested I speak to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE for short). I scheduled an appointment at Coastal Fertility and we had our first meeting with Dr. Slowey on December 2, 2015. He reviewed my chart from my OB, including our genetic testing results, and discussed our options. He talked in detail about IUI vs. IVF. After some preliminary tests, for both myself and Cameron, we met again to discuss the results. All of our tests came back "normal" and therefore we were diagnosed with "unexplained infertility." 

Due to all of the information we found out, we decided to move forward with IUI. To learn exactly what IUI is, go here. I then had to wait for my next menstrual cycle to begin the meds. On January 21, 2016 I started taking Letrozole (also known as Femara) for three days. On the second day, I also began giving myself 33mg of Follistim injections (also known as Gonal-F). I gave these injections to myself in the stomach for 5 nights. The first time was really scary, but once I finally did it, it was no biggie at all! The needle is SO small and you can barely feel it. On day four of giving myself the shots, I went in for an ultrasound to monitor how my ovaries were reacting to the medicine. Success! I had two eggs starting to form from my right fallopian tube (14mm and 11mm in size) and two eggs starting to form from my left fallopian tube (13mm and 11mm in size). I continued my meds and went back two days later for another ultrasound. My uterine lining was 10mm (they want this to be nice and thick) and my eggs had grown to 16mm and 17mm (right side) and 18mm and 14mm. I believe they are considered mature when they are between 16-20mm. We waited two more days for the eggs to grow just a little more and then that night, I gave myself the "trigger shot" of HCG. The IUI procedure was scheduled for Sunday, January 31 at 9am. They time the procedure for a specific amount of time after the trigger shot to make sure you are most fertile. The procedure itself took about 5 minutes and was not painful at all. And now we wait the dreaded two week wait. I tried not to get my hopes up because the chances of success after the first round are pretty slim. On Valentine's Day of all days, I found out that it didn't work. I called the doctor's office Monday morning to get the process started over again..

Baseline ultrasound on February 19, which is when I also started taking the Letrozole again. Shots began February 23. Ultrasound on February 26 to make sure meds were working. Right fallopian tube had two eggs measuring 15mm and 11mm and left had three measuring at 11mm, 12mm, and 13mm. Follow up ultrasound on February 28. One right side egg grew to 17mm and one decreased to 9mm. Left side now had four eggs measuring 14mm, 12mm, 11mm and 10mm. I was somewhat disappointed that they weren't as big as they were last time (but obviously looking back now it didn't matter!). Trigger shot the night of February 29 and our second IUI was scheduled for the morning of March 2. 

I was supposed to wait until Wednesday, March 16 to take a pregnancy test, because it's possible that the HCG medicine could have still been in my system and given me a false positive, but I am the most impatient person ever and decided to test on Friday, the 11. I saw the slightest line and only let myself get a little excited. Didn't want to get my hopes up just to be let down again. Then, the next two days I took a test in the morning and at night. The lines were still there! On the third day I took a digital test that would either say "pregnant" or "not pregnant," and it said PREGNANT! 

I called my nurse on Monday, March 14 and said "I know I wasn't supposed to test yet, but I did and it was positive!" She scheduled me to come in on Wednesday, March 16 to have my blood drawn to confirm the pregnancy. My first beta number came back at 565 and when I went back two days later, it was 1400 (they want your first beta number to atleast double when you come back two days later). I couldn't believe I was actually pregnant! My first pregnancy ultrasound was March 25, which is when we found out that there was not only one baby, but two! 

Kudos to you if you made it this far! 

While our journey was not as quick and easy as others, I'm very grateful that we were successful with our second IUI procedure. So many more women have to go through so much more to get pregnant. 

If you have any questions at all and don't feel comfortable commenting below, please email me at megan.lindley33@gmail.com! I'm definitely no expert, but even if you want to vent, shoot me an email! 

For those in the Charleston or surrounding area, we went to Coastal Fertility Specialists and could not have been happier with our experience! Each doctor, nurse, and staff member made us feel so comfortable and really cared about our success in having a baby (or two!).

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  1. I'm so glad that you're sharing this story "out loud" after everything that we've talked about. And I'm SO happy that this worked out for you guys--infertility is no laughing matter, and it takes strong people to make it through. You're just going to love those babies even more than you would have before!

  2. So for you all that it worked out! Those boys are going to be so lucky to have you. I have not struggled with infertility but so many of my close friends have and I know it can be a long lonely road. I think sharing your story will help out so many women who feel alone and don't really know where to turn. I know so many of my friends looked for bloggers, friends, online forums, anywhere they could find someone to relate to them.

  3. My husband and I had to do IVF. We started our journey in November and didn't have our placement until the end of May...it felt like years since our first visit at Coastal. We were so blessed to have a success after our first IVF because so many people don't. I feel the same way as you...don't be ashamed to talk about it! It's so common now. Thanks for sharing!

  4. So glad you shared this as I have a few friends that are struggling to conceive and about to start IVF. Prayers for a smooth and healthy pregnancy friend!

  5. What I love about posts like these is that one day, your sweet little babes will be able to read them and know just how hard you worked to meet them!

  6. Its so great you are sharing your experience! It sounds like you handled the shots so well! So happy for you and your husband, hope you're still feeling good!!

  7. This is such a great post and I know it will help someone else! Loving these Twin Tuesday posts! ;)

  8. I am loving Twin Tuesday :) Thank you for sharing about the IUI, my husband and I aren't there yet, but some of our closest friends are on their third round.

  9. What a journey - and what an amazing ending! I can't wait to follow along as your babes grow! Genetic testing was so scary - I really wish I would have done that BEFORE I was pregnant. I was a carrier for a scary disease too, and the wait to find out if Joel was as well as painful! It's a nice thing to get done before you've got pregnancy hormones to combat too!

  10. I have many of friends who have been through this same struggle and I know how much support they need from others and how much it helps to hear similar stories. I am so excited for you and your growing family. Those are some lucky boys!!

  11. You are so right, infertility is so common! I know a handful of girls who had babies with using IVF/IUI. It's so great there are wonderful doctors out there to help! And also, was that normal for your dr to recommend you do genetic testing before you got pregnant? Mine didn't but I think that's great that some do!

  12. Keep posting about the twin journey! I just had twin boys 5 weeks ago and I've been searching for bloggers going through this experience. Congratulations, and good for you for sharing these details!

  13. Thank you so much for posting about this! Congratulations on those sweet baby boys! xo, Champagne&Suburbs

  14. Reading this brought back so many memories for me. It's not talked about enough for as many of us that go through it! My baby boy is 6 months old now but we went through 4 failed IUIs and 1 failed IVF until finally the 2nd IVF procedure was a success. Even still, I feel lucky to have gotten pregnant as "quickly" as I did, knowing so many other women are going through this process much longer than I had to.

    1. I am with you! I feel sooo grateful to have gotten pregnant so quickly. We had 3 failed IUIs and then had a successful first IVF cycle. I know so many people who it takes years to get pregnant.

  15. I just stumbled on your blog and saw this post. As a Twin Momma (my twins are 6 weeks old), and a couple who had fertility issues (I have PCOS and my husband has male factor infertility), it is very common and makes me SOOO happy that people are talking about infertility. It is so often the big elephant in the room and affects every aspect of life- nothing like the roller coaster of infertility! My husband and I both said from the get go that it was something we would share and something we would hope that our journey to fertilty would be used to help someone, even just one. We did several failed IUIs before making the leap to IVF. We feel so blessed that we were able to get pregnant with twins on our first cycle and we still have 2 frozen embryos left if we decide we want to try again. Good luck as you get closer to welcoming your little bundles of joy! There is nothing like it!!!