Elizabeth Petrucelli

Author, Blogger, Educator

Category: PCOS

The Urge

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

WARNING: SEXUALLY PERSONAL (TMI)

There is this intense urge that I experience every few months. Most women experience this urge once a month but as stated in previous posts, I do not have regular cycles. No one told me I would experience this. It’s not something I have read about in books either and of course, having no biological direction on fertility as a child, I never heard of this phenomenon back then. Everything that I have read talks about a subconscious desire or discusses a drop in oestrogen that leads to testosterone becoming the prominent hormone but I can tell you that what I feel, is NOT subconscious. Hormonal, maybe; subconscious no.

So what gives women an overwhelming urge to get pregnant while ovulating?

This could be considered a survival mechanism. I read a few websites that talk about how this is purely biological in nature in order for the species to survive. Other websites discuss how the cervical changes and fluids make a woman’s libido go into hyperdrive, but what I am experiencing doesn’t really fit into some of these categories.

My “drive” isn’t really sexual in nature. I don’t desire to be with my husband. It’s not about being “horny.” This is deep. This is purely, “I need your seed.” Maybe that seed turns into something? Maybe it doesn’t? But my body is SCREAMING and it only gets louder as we approach the big O day! The O is ovulation by the way!

So what do we do? We just buried Gus. I wasn’t even sure my fertility would return and as awesome as it is to know it’s still there, I secretly hoped it would not return because I am again faced with the “should we or shouldn’t we” question. So here we are…with the NFP challenge before us. This is what separates the practicing Catholics from the non-practicing.

It would be super easy for hubby to slip on a condom or for me to pop a pill. It would even be easier for me to alter my fertility through the use of an IUD or a surgical procedure but there is no way we could do it. The one time we used a condom was just awful emotionally. We both felt horrible and as if we “used” each other purely for pleasure.

Sure, sex is awesome but that’s not all that sex is about. It’s not merely for enjoyment much to society’s belief. And I am a Catholic which I know isn’t popular so I truly believe that sex is way more than enjoyment.

I am learning to embrace my fertility. I am learning to embrace something I have never experienced before. I am working my way through these challenges through faith and prayer. 22 years of infertility and I know my body well. I know when my body ovulates and that is freakin’ awesome but this urge. The urge that is SURGING throughout my body, through my arms, through my legs, through my head and into my heart is telling me…PROCREATE!

But I know, that in two days, when ovulation has passed, I will feel happy. I will be thankful that pregnancy and another baby is not a possibility. At least, not right now. This is my test right now. This is my test to see if I truly want another child or if this is merely a physiological process and God’s divine plan for our bodies.

Can hubby and I keep our hands off each other?

Big Fat Positive!

The anticipated blog is finally here! Yes. We are officially expecting! It’s been announced at many places and I feel pretty confident but it’s still early and I have had a loss so naturally, there is some anxiety over this pregnancy. I will say the anxiety is nothing like the anxiety I had during my pregnancy with Ruby. I would consider my anxiety level…NORMAL for someone who has had a loss.

I am both elated and nervous, more elated than anything. It’s been such a long journey to get here. This was such an unexpected surprise and I pray every day that this baby continues to grow strong, healthy, and to full-term!

How did we get here? Well, as many of you read, I opted for exploratory surgery in August. I was quite nervous and wasn’t sure if anything would be found. Nothing significant was found at all but I secretly felt like the surgeon may have “tickled” my ovaries enough to work. Recovery from the air bubble was difficult but otherwise my recovery was uneventful. The surgeon removed a bit of scar tissue from a mesh implant I had to repair a hernia when I was a teenager. Unbelievably, that took away the pain I had had for over seven years!

Then, about three weeks ago, I was talking with my husband and told him that it looked like I might be ovulating. After charting my fertility signs for years, I was pretty sure although I have been wrong in the past. With PCOS, your body can trick you into thinking it’s working. It had been four weeks since my last period so I was pretty shocked to see the signs of ovulation so late. Normally, my body remains dormant. We decided to take on the opportunity and did was “normal” people do in order to get pregnant. Yup. Sex!! It happened to be Joey’s birthday as well.

Even though I wasn’t sure that I was ovulating, I remained on the bed…post coitus, like anyone going through infertility treatments would. I joked with Jason about doing headstands and other silly things in order for the “deposit” to make its way to the correct location for the best outcome. Of course, we were laughing about it with no expectation that we would actually be successful. After all, we had tried for many months utilizing many methods (mostly in the doctor’s office) and we were never successful.

Needless to say, I felt the desire to test on the morning of The Walk to Remember. I thought it might be of some significance finding out I was pregnant on the same morning I was honoring the loss of Ruby. I had started charting my temperature following the signs of ovulation and confirmed that I ovulated based on my elevated temperatures. The morning of the walk, I counted back the days. I speculated I was approximately 12 days past ovulation. I have never had a positive pregnancy test that early before but I expected a negative anyway.

It was about 6:15am on a Saturday morning and I removed one of two, cheap pregnancy tests I bought on the internet. I grabbed a little pee cup I had and did my deed into the cup. As I finished up, I dipped the test into the little cup filled with yellow liquid. One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand and I removed the stick and set it on the wood stool that was somehow trapped in my bathroom.

I watched the liquid flow across the test and began to observe the control line turning dark. “Ugh! That figures! Another negative test.” I picked up the stick and held the stick in my right hand and proceeded to wait the full three minutes. “Just in case,” I thought. As I flushed the toilet I thought my eyes were deceiving me. “What?! Is that a second line appearing on the test?” My heartbeat began to beat fast. I stood up and began to pace in the bathroom, staring at the test, waiting to see how dark the line got. It had only been two minutes at minimum.

I began to scratch my head. How can this be? Is this an evaporation line? It can’t be an evaporation line, the test is still wet. It’s too early for this to be positive. I am only 12 days past ovulation…I think. It slowly started to sink in that the test I was holding was positive and I thought to myself, “I want to surprise Jason but I can’t hold this in. I have to tell him.”

So, instead of planning some elaborate scheme to tell him, I walked into his bathroom with the little stick in my hand. Jason was in the shower. I said, “Jay?” and waited for his reply. “Yeah?” he said. I replied, “This pregnancy test says I am pregnant.” He bolted out from behind the shower curtain and screamed, “Which one?!!!” I said, “The one that’s in my hand.” He said, “Are you serious?” I said, “it looks like it.”

He grabbed me and gave me a big hug. I could see how excited he was. I knew he wanted to pull me into the shower but I didn’t want to get wet. I am not sure why, as I still needed to shower myself but for some reason I told him not to pull me into the shower. He was jumping up and down like a little girl, all excited and quite frankly, that’s what my body was doing inside as well. I was totally excited! Shocked, but excited.

We had too much to do that morning. There was no telling anyone, we needed to get Joey up and ready, my stuff packed in the car and begin the 45 minute drive to the park while stopping for breakfast along the way. We talked about stopping at Walgreens for another test but I soon realized we wouldn’t have time. I didn’t feel nervous or anxious like last time, I was just excited. This was a new feeling. Well, not new, but just like when I was pregnant with Joey.

Later that night, I had stopped to get another test and double checked. I knew that if the test came back positive that late in the day, it was a sure thing. Sure enough, when I dipped the stick and watched the liquid move up the stick, both lines appeared instantly. There was no doubt. Two lines meant…PREGNANT!

Fertility Journey

I have come to a cross roads again on my journey to fertility. It’s now time to have my belly explored due to a pain near my ovary that I have had for years. So, Wednesday, I go under the knife. The laparoscopic knife that is.

Laparoscopy, is a type of surgical procedure in which a small incision is made, usually in the navel, through which a viewing tube (laparoscope) is inserted. Basically, the doctor is going to insert a tube through my belly button, stick a camera in there, puff up my belly using CO2, and look around for what is causing my pain. It could be nothing or it could be something.

I really hope they find something so I know what the pain is from but I don’t want anything serious to be in there. It could be a number of things and not all could be related to fertility.

  • Hernia
  • Endometriosis
  • Cancer
  • Adhesions/Scar Tissue

My worst fear is that NOTHING will be in there causing the pain. My hope is that the doctor finds something minor, corrects it, and we can move on to trying to conceive again. Jason and I have decided we will only try again for a few more months. Probably just until the end of the year. My eggs are getting old.

I have made this decision before and changed my mind so nothing is set in stone and we are always open to another child should God bless us with one but actively seeking fertility treatments and getting on that roller coaster ride is much different than hope and prayer.

We’ll see what happens but for now…I am heading to the operating room to see what my insides look like.

Big Fat Negative!

From http://joysofinfertility.com/2011/the-news.phpThose on the “TTC” Journey which means “Trying to Conceive” understand the Big Fat Negative or rather, BFN. Yes. That’s where we are at in our journey…AGAIN!

It doesn’t matter how you feel as you pee on the stick and anxiously await two lines. But when only one line appears…the control line, disappointment flows.

Expected = disappointment

Unexpected = shock + disappointment

Indifferent = disappointment

Ugh! Then the questions?

Why? Is it me? Is it my husband? Is it not our time? Is it not in our plan? Did I pray hard enough? Was it because I ran in the two week wait (2ww)? Should I try again? Will it work next time? Do I need to try different meds? Should I have exploratory surgery? Do we need to try herbs? Should we try insemination (IUI) again? Etc, etc, etc.

Doubt and pain fills your body. “It’s never going to work,” gets repeated in your head over and over again. Then, you have small wrays of hopefullness. “My period is coming and we can start over again. I’ll eat better, work out more, and focus on my body more. This time…it will happen!”

WHAT?!?!

So, you start the cycle all over again, desperate for those two lines to appear on the HCG stick after the two week wait. Yes. It’s not a pregnancy test, it’s an HCG stick. Pregnancy tests are too expensive so to save money, I get these internet sticks that come with no frills.

Either way, I am not even sure I want to attempt this again. My mind is full of other questions and concerns. I am getting too old. My eggs are getting bad. Jason’s sperm is getting older. Joey is getting older (what’s the benefit to a sibling at this point anyway). I don’t want to be 38 and having my second living child. Will I have a special needs child because I am so old? Ugh! The list goes on and on but then there is a whisper…it’s God but I don’t know what he is saying because I am either not hearing it, blocking it, or not understanding it and now I hit the crossroads of bargaining with God to give me some sign on which way to go.

The one constant is adoption but Jason won’t do it so the only other option is no child or continue with fertility treatments.

Oh, the nice fertility treatments. The one’s I said long ago had no side effects. Well, this last cycle…SIDE EFFECTS. None during the follicular phase (before ovulation) but once ovulation hits..BAAM!! Pain in the ovaries, pain in the uterus, fullness in the uterus, cramps in the uterus. Those last a few days, then BAAM!! Sore @ss breasts! Not just kind of sore, but REALLY sore.

Then there is the joint pain. The common side effect of inflammation from the fertility drugs. Then, the absolute WORST part…IRRITABILITY. Four – fourteen days of pure anger, craziness, and yelling at anything and everything and you don’t know why. You just do it, because that’s what your body does. You have NO control over it. It seeps through every fiber of your being. Your kid doesn’t understand, your husband has no clue and any other person you are around just thinks your being a b*tch!

So…are we going to try again? Maybe. Maybe until Christmas? Depends on how much I am willing to spend. It depends on alot. Good thing I have a phone conversation with my reproductive endocrinologist again. Laparoscopy is my next option due to the pain near my ovary. Hey…maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe I will get rid of something that’s been bothering me for years. I might not get a baby but maybe I will be pain free?

Oh well, we’ll see. Cycle Day 1 will begin soon.

Trying Again?

I ordered fertility meds again. Not sure what else to say about this fact but I DID order medications. This doesn’t mean I will take them, but they are there for me to use if I so choose. It’s not as simple as just taking them though. They have to be timed perfectly.

Everything with fertility medications needs to be timed perfectly. Last time I used these there was so much involved. Let me break it down for you so you can see what infertility is like.

No ovulation means no period or chance for pregnancy so you MUST start by inducing a period. How do you induce a period? Progesterone. Natural progesterone doesn’t work for me so I MUST start with synthetic. Take these for 10 days and wait.

I am too impatient, so I always cut them in half and take them for 5 days.

Progesterone for 5 days, wait…within 2-5 days, I will start a period.

Period starts….Check temperature every morning before waking.
Day 3 after full flow, begin fertility medication. Take this medication for 5 days.
Day 12, arrive at fertility clinic for ultrasound to determine egg size.
Day 14, arrive at fertility clinic for ultrasound to determine if eggs are 16-20mm.
Have sex
Day 16 (usually), take HCG shot in belly to force eggs to ovulate.
Have sex
Day 18 – OVULATION day! (hopefully) Have sex
Have sex
Wait 2 weeks and see if you are pregnant.
REPEAT!

Sounds VERY romantic doesn’t it.

There are many other signs that lead up to ovulation and I will spare you those details BUT, I can’t afford this type of a monitored cycle so I am not doing it this way.

What can I typically spend per monitored cycle?

Fertility Meds – $10
HCG shot – $100
Ultrasound – $250 x 2 = $500
Sex – Free!
Prayers – Free!
Pregnancy Test – Well, you don’t HAVE to take one but I always do. Good thing I got a bunch on ebay for $20.

So the typical cycle is $630/month. Not too shabby compared to IVF.

Unmedicated cycle?

Fertility Meds – $10
Sex – Free
Prayers – Free!

Who knows if my body will ovulate without the HCG shot. If it doesn’t, I will expect a hospital bill for a large cyst or two on my right ovary (which is the one that typically works). We’ll see.

I’ll know in a little over a month and a half if it worked on it’s own (Assuming I induce a period and try the meds).

I have used soy, acupuncture, chiropractic, mayan abdominal massage, herbs, chinese medicine, more herbs, massage, aromatherapy (oils), caster oil wraps, ALL the above together, ALL the above together WITH fertility meds. Ugh! How tiring and expensive!!

Ovulation on it’s own should result in a pregancy within 6 months. The average woman has a 20% chance of conception each cycle. Obviously, I am not average. I have to force ovulation and that doesn’t raise my chances one bit. I completed four cycles not too long ago. A little over $2500 spent and NO baby! That only meant I had an 80% chance of success. Does this mean if I try again one more time I should get pregnant? LOL!

If I choose to take the fertility meds, I’ll blog through the journey because I know many will be interested. So, for those who are following this journey… I am on day 62 of a cycle. 1st day of progesterone is today…

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Already July? A bit on infertility.

It’s July 1st!  We are over half way through the year. Where is the time going?

I didn’t blog last week. Work had me consumed. It is getting frustrating to be getting home so late and I continue to work on a way to be home for my son. He starts school in August and I look forward to being home when he gets off the bus. He loves it…still, and I know that won’t last much longer. He is growing up so fast.

Over the next two weeks, Joey will be in Oklahoma. He flew on the plane all by himself yesterday. I always worry, despite the fact that he has made this trip many times over the last few years, even at the young age of 5! He never ceases to amaze me. He can be such an adult sometimes.

I am still teetering on whether or not to have another baby. We tried for 5 months last year and part of this year with no results. I haven’t ovulated since I stopped the fertility medications. If I just ovulated, we could try whenever we wanted but I don’t, which is sad and hard to deal with especially when friends seem to get pregnant out of the blue.

Should we or shouldn’t we? Joey is almost 9. What’s the point?

Adoption? What age? Baby? Toddler? Someone close to Joey’s age?

I have been trying to listen hard to what God is calling me to do. I believe that if I was meant to have another child, He would bless me with ovulation. That hasn’t happened…but am I supposed to take medication to help with that? Is that what he is calling me to do?

Ugh! Why can’t it just be as easy as having sex?

What would Ruby want me to do? I cried during Mass last week. A little girl walked passed me and there was something about her that made me think about all the life experiences I would be missing out on by not having a daughter. The biggest? Her wedding day. Sounds so silly but I will not experience that kind of bonding.

Sure, Joey will get married but that’s not the same. I look forward to his wedding day. He talks about getting married and having lots of kids all the time and I can’t wait to live that life with him but I won’t have that with a daughter.

Is there anyone else out there in the same situation as me? Nearly 37, one child who is older, with infertility, preferably Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)? I would love to walk this journey with someone else in my situation.

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