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.
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.
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.
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! .
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…