my monthly plan for MTHFR [infertility]

After writing my infertility sucks post and opening up about my current struggle, I wanted to follow up with what I’ve been doing and what doctors have found.  This should also provide an explanation to those who say, “Try not to focus on it or think about it.”  When you see what a month looks like for me, perhaps you’ll gain a bit of understanding of how that’s not really possible.  Also, this is the plan that my doctor and nurses have determined what’s best for me.  I will explain everything to the best of my ability, but please note: I am not a professional in the medical field and nothing I write today should be used as treatment.  It is the plan that I am following based on my doctor and nurses.

monthly plan for mthfr

The first month I began working with my current fertility specialist, I was ordered to get blood work done to test for a variety of issues.  After fifteen vials were taken, it was determined that I have MTHFR – a gene mutation.  The official name is methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, but MTHFR is much easier to remember and pronounce.  The MTHFR gene is responsible for making an enzyme that has a role in processing amino acids – the building blocks of protein.  Without this, there are a variety of medical conditions that can occur.  People that have this mutated gene are lacking in folic acid.  MTHFR is a fairly common condition and can be responsible for miscarriages or additional health risks in babies.  However, there is medicine that can be taken to prevent this from happening.  MTHFR can also lead to blood clotting.  Here is what a month looks like for me dealing with MTHFR.

Everyday, I take my prenatal vitamin.  When planning for a pregnancy, taking a daily prenatal with DHA is extremely important.  While this contains folic acid, itz not enough for me since I have MTHFR.  Therefor, I take an additional pill called Metanx.  To prevent blood clotting, I take a baby aspirin and inject myself with Lovenox on a daily basis.

MTHFR medicine

When I first found out I’d have to give myself a shot every single day, I was petrified.  My dad told me he would give it to me everyday, if needed, but just a few days after I found out, I was traveling to Utah for Blend Retreat, so I knew I’d have to learn to do it myself.  Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  Most women take it in their abdomen area, but since itz summertime and I wear a bikini, my doctor told me it was fine to give it in the butt.  (Jonny likes to remind me that there is plenty of room back there – ha!)  Usually the shot doesn’t hurt, but sometimes the emotional pain of my infertility struggle comes through as physical pain making the injections more difficult.  Also, many times these shots leave bruises, so my booty is often covered with deep shades of purples and blues.

Something that I have found to help is squeezing the area where I’m going to stick.  It lessens the pain.  In the beginning of my injections, the spot would bleed when I was done.  Now that I’m on blood thinners, I bruise more easily and when I do bleed, it takes longer to stop.  My dad (a pharmacist) suggested that I leave the shot in for a few seconds after I have finished the injection.  I have found that this decreases the chance for bleeding.

Alright, now that we’ve gotten the daily ordeal explained, here is my monthly plan:

Days 1 – 4:  This is when I get my period and my cycle officially begins.  During menstruation, I do get a few days of relief from giving myself the Lovenox, but I always take the three pills.

Day 5:  Doctor appointment where I get an internal ultrasound to see if my lining has thinned during my period and also to ensure there are no cysts on my ovaries.

Days 6 – 10:  I take a small pill called Clomid.  Clomid is a very common drug used when dealing with infertility as it stimulates the release of hormones necessary for ovulation to occur.  It basically pumps up the follicles (which eventually release an egg).

Based on previous blood work, my estrogen level is usually low, so around this time I begin rubbing a gel (Elestrin) on my forearm everyday for about a week to try and increase my estrogen level.

Day 7:  Begin giving Lovenox injections again.

Day 12:  Blood work to check estrogen level.

blood work

Day 13: Doctor appointment where I get another internal ultrasound to check my lining and make sure itz thickening up.  My follicles are also checked here and measured for size to see if they are about ready to release an egg.  At this doctor appointment, I also get an estrogen shot for a boost.

Day 14:  Get an HCG shot.  HCG is known as the “pregnancy hormone.”  Getting a shot right before I ovulate ensures that my mature eggs are released from my follicles.

Days 14 – 17:  Ovulation!  This is the part where we try to make a baby… 🙂

Day 20:  Blood work to check progesterone level.

Day 21:  My progesterone level is usually low, so I have to get a progesterone shot.  This is the largest shot in the whole process and always bruises my rear and leaves me sore for days.  Itz not pretty – the needle itzself is intimidating! .

progesterone shot

Days 21+:  Take a progesterone pill at bedtime.  Itz suggested to be taken at bedtime as it can make you feel drowsy and/or dizzy.

From this point on, itz a waiting game.  I either wait for my period or wait to find out if I’m pregnant.  Since I get the HCG shot, I can’t take the early detection home pregnancy tests until itz been at least ten days since the shot.  Otherwise it can cause a false positive which is obviously not fun for someone trying.

And that’s it!  That’s what a month looks like for me.  Well, that’s what a couple months have looked like, but we haven’t had success, so we’ll try and tweak a couple things.  Itz an intense process and full of emotions.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: infertility sucks.  Gotta believe… Gotta believe…

believe

Believe.

94 thoughts on “my monthly plan for MTHFR [infertility]

  1. Huge hugs to you!! I have a friend who also has MTHFR who just gave birth to her second baby <3

    People don't realize how much a person goes through with infertility. You're awesome for sharing your story.

    If this cycle doesn't work out, are you going to increase the Clomid?

    • Love hearing success stories – thanks for sharing! Yes, we’ve made a couple changes regarding the Clomid/other medications.

  2. Sending so much love Linz! You are so brave to share your story and I’m sure you are helping so many other women in the process! Stay strong. Sending hugs! XO

  3. Goodness, I had no idea just how much work, pain, and stress went into this! My heart goes out to you and I thank you for sharing your story. Your strength is amazing!! Sending loads of love your way!!

  4. Oh the joys of infertility! Fingers crossed for you girl! I don’t miss those days of pills, shots, tests, blood draws, etc. but if they are produce the desired result – it’s all worth it!!!!!

  5. You’re such a soldier and I applaud you for opening up about your situation. I love how the acronym looks like MTHFKR – that’s what it should be 😉 – you would make awesome parents easy or hard!

  6. I had to take baby aspirin with both pregnancies and I had to take blood thinners by injection with my first, so I know first hand how it stinks and you feel “sick” when it should not be this way. You have such a great attitude, you will get through this and then it will be a distant memory. I am sending you positive thoughts and prayers of strength, love and courage, and btw that bum is gorgeous even with all of the bruises, you couldn’t make it look bad if you tried 😉 xoxo

  7. I didn’t realize that you were dealing with this. Big hugs to you as I certainly can understand how you feel. I didn’t go through exactly what you are going through but I struggled with trying to get pregnant and ended up having my son through in vitro. It to involved a lot of drugs, injections and doctors visits that left me mentally and physically drained. I will tell you that in the end it is worth it! So keep on keeping on! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Thanks, Betsy. IVF is something that has definitely crossed my mind. If you don’t mind me asking, did it take more than one try with IVF?

  8. Lindz, thanks so much for opening up and sharing all this. My heart aches for you. If it’s meant to be though, you will be a mom, one way or another. I can just imagine how special your little one will feel when you’re able to share all this with him/her when they’re grown up…when they can see all their momma did for them to have life. 🙂

  9. You are so strong for trying everything you can and sharing your story so openly! Good thoughts your way 🙂 I’m sure everything will work out for the best, though maybe not how you pictured.

  10. It is such a big process! I have a friend who just went through this…she is happily pregnant now. I am sending you all the good vibes to get you there, too!

  11. Hugs Linz! The shots aren’t so bad once you get over the initial fear. Hoping this is the road to the family you deserve!

  12. You’re so strong & amazing, Linz! And incredibly honest for sharing this–it’s truly awe inspiring what you have to go through & that you’re willing to share it. We ALL believe & know this will come to an end soon. <3

    It's so sweet when Jared prays, he prays for you guys too <3 we BELIEVE. love you, girl!!! prayers & hugs. xo

  13. HUGS! This looks very similar to when I was going through infertility treatments. So much planning involved….and then everyone tell you to just “relax.” Sending you lots of love & positive thoughts through this process.

  14. Hey Linz. I can’t even imagine how hard something like this is, as I’m a single 22-year-old with no plans of getting pregnant in the near future. However, I have a family friend who went through a LONG infertility struggle. She went through several rounds of IVF with no luck. Eventually, her sister (who has had successful pregnancies) offered to be a surrogate. Both sisters were implanted with 2 embryos, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them took. Now, her and her sister are both pregnant with twins. In other words, she is having QUADRUPLETS! I’ve attached a video interview with them. It’s a beautiful story. Good luck 🙂

    • OH MY GOSH!!!!! Checking it out now!!!! Love hearing success stories and what an interesting one this is! And four beautiful babies?! Wow. Just wow! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  15. Hi, your sister took pictures of my son when he was born, I found your blog through her FB page. I am also dealing with infertility, secondary infertility and its heartbreaking. Your “month” looks similar to mine with meds, injections and blood work, phew! Anyway just wanted to say its nice reading your blog and I will keep you and you hubby in my prayers!

  16. Thank you for sharing this, Linz. I had my first infertility appointment last week where they drew my blood and my husband gave a sperm sample, and we have a consult with our doctor next week. I think I’l be starting clomid, but don’t know for sure, so I really appreciate you discussing your experience in detail; it makes the whole thing seem less scary just because it’s no longer totally unknown.

    • Best of luck to you, Meg! Please email me if you need my support or have any questions or anything at all! Keep me updated girl and stay strong!! xo

  17. Watching my sister go through this same routine, an IUI, and eventually IVF, my heart breaks for you. It is such a struggle of love and there are no words that can make you feel better or make it all go away or just place a sweet healthy baby in your arms when that’s all you really want. I admire your honesty, your perseverance, and your attitude. WHEN it finally comes down to it, you’ll be a wonderful mother 🙂

  18. Oh Linz! I don’t even know what to say. You should be a mom. You deserve to be a mom. You’re a beautiful person. I wish I could make the stork come down and deliver one right now!

  19. I had no idea that you had to go through so much!! Aaarrrggghh. You have the best attitude and I know there are many women out there who appreciate you sharing your story. You are strong and wonderful, and just know that we will all continue to believe with you, even in the moments when you are having trouble, we will believe on your behalf! xoxo

  20. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I was diagnosed with hetro MTHFR in January and my current regimen is Folic, Baby Asprin and a bunch of b vitamins. Are you hetro or homo MTHFR?

  21. THIS IS GOING TO WORK FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s GOING TO!! It has to! My mom is an OBGYN, if you ever have MORE ?s – feel free to message me and I can relay the question to her! I am sure you have plenty of doctors you can ask, but if you want a 2nd opinion!!! I am sorry you have to go through all of this but I know something amazing is coming your way very soon and it’s going to make everything worth it!!

  22. My kids are grown, and I’ve never had issues with infertility, the physical and emotional toll for you must be very high. I thought I’d share a couple of random things that might help (or might not). I’ve had two kids, and conceived each one at seemingly random times of the month. My first happened via being naughty the week of my period (towards the end of it); the second happened a full two, or slightly more, weeks after my period had ended. I’ve had women tell me you can’t get pregnant during the week of your period but I assure you, I did. I understand timing is very important for what you’re going through, but I thought I’d encourage you to be creative with the timing 🙂 Good luck to you.

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  24. You have such a strong spirit and hopeful attitude, I have faith that things will happen for you. Thank you for sharing your story, this must be extremely hard. I bet when we actually get together it will be to have a dinner and play date ;). Love and prayers for you and Jonny!

  25. My heart goes out to you. I loved your statement about the emotional pain making the physical that much more real. Infertility is something a woman should never have to go through. You will be blessed one day for your strength. There is always a plan for us. I struggled for almost 4 years before I finally conceived. Some I know have struggled for years longer. Thank you for sharing your struggles.

    • I’m sorry you struggled but am so happy you finally conceived! I love hearing success stories and helps me to stay hopefully that it will work for me, too! Thank you. xo

  26. Saw your blog from your sister’s photography page I follow. 🙂 I just wanted to send you hugs and hope. I have two MTHFR mutations and have had years of infertility and a number of miscarriages, but we found what works for me and I now have FIVE gorgeous kids! I can’t get enough of them so I homeschool them all while running a photography business out of my home studio. Praying that you find what your body needs to get you that take-home baby soon!

    • Thanks so much, Jen! Itz nice to hear that people can relate – especially ones that have been so successful. 5 kids?! WOW, you’re awesome!!

  27. I too have MTHFR. I take a different drug and baby aspirin regiment. I went to 3 infertility specialist and the last one told me my problem almost 24 hours after i walked in the office! I had tons of shots, bloodwork, pills, etc. After 4 years, we conceived without IVF and a smaller expense than you’d think. We have a beautiful 13 mos old daughter and another on thecway!

    • Thanks for sharing! Itz nice to be able to relate to people and especially ones who have had success! Did all your doctors know about the MTHFR or just the last one? Just wondering if I need to change my regimen. I am looking for an additional doctor just because it has been a few months of the same thing with no success. And congrats on baby #2!!!!!

  28. This second child i just had to start my oral meds only and in 2 mos, no big deal! Best wishes to you and your love! I can truly understan the pain. I remember it all just reading your blog! Many prayers

  29. Those progesterone shots ARE intimidating! The needles are ginormous, but I’m sure one gets used to them. 😉 Thanks for sharing all of this – a lot of people don’t know just how emotionally and physically taxing it is to go through this type of thing!

    • 😉 the first time i got one, my dad didn’t show me the needle until after so it was no big deal. but then i was dreading the second one because of the needle and was so scared! turned out not so bad. thanks for your constant support, chelsey!

  30. Keep your chin up girl. You’re such a strong, wonderful person….even before all of this. I’m hoping and praying that you can find success very soon! Hugs to you!

  31. Thank you for sharing about your journey! As someone also dealing with infertility, it sometimes helps knowing I’m not alone in the world.

  32. This is my life right now 🙂 and so appreciated finding ths post – annoyed when people say just don’t think about it – that helps …you HAVE TO, yoiu can’t go out to dinner if you won’t be home on time to give said injection, you have a daily reminder that you are ‘broken’ each time you get an injection, you have to go almost daily to the dr…i hear ya girl! and i pray our outcome this round (3rd trip) is successful as we are now choosing IUI 🙂 instead of good old fashion trying.

    • Thanks, Sarah! We got pregnant from an IUI in August! Do you happen to see my post about that? It just went up on Monday! Best of luck!!!!

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