Infertility + Trying to Conceive Procedure Results
by Anna Victoria in Lifestyle
*Please note: My journey with fertility treatments are specific to my body, genetics, and lifestyle. Please do not look to my experience for medical guidance during your own fertility journey. If you need advice, please speak with your OBGYN, a fertility specialist, and endocrinologist. Thank you 🙂
First Appointment at a Fertility Clinic
NOVEMBER 30, 2018
Today was our first official appointment at a fertility clinic. When it comes to TTC (trying to conceive), it is pretty typical to see a specialist if it hasn’t happened naturally in a year. At this point, I have already been to the OB to check things out and everything looked great. Luca also got checked out and, again, they said everything was great. But obviously we haven’t been able to get pregnant. Today we saw doctors at SCRC (Southern California Reproductive Center) for the first step, which was a consultation. They did an ultrasound and blood work and said that everything looked perfect. They did, however, tell me not to work out for 4 to 5 days after ovulation. Up to this point, I’ve been working out every single day, aside from my rest days. But the uterus needs to have oxygen flow and blood flow and, when you work out, your body says, “Screw the uterus! The muscles are what need the blood and oxygen.” Essentially, when you work out and when your heart rate goes over 140, your body is taking away resources and energy from your uterus and instead focuses on giving it to your muscles. I was also told to keep my heart rate below 140 even on the days that I do work out. To be honest, it’s something that I suspected the entire time. I often wondered, “Should I really be doing intense workouts like this after ovulation considering what needs to happen for implantation and fertilization to occur?” It was a really informative appointment.
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Preparing for our First IUI
DECEMBER 20th, 2018
I had my first appointment to check my eggs to see if the medicine Letrozole (a prescription medication to help increase the size of a woman’s eggs) actually increased their size. They also want to figure out the best time to induce ovulation and plan for when I need to inject myself with Ovidrel, which is the hormone that will make me ovulate.
DECEMBER 23rd, 2018
We had our second check up appointment today to check my eggs. There is one at 23 millimeters, which is a really good size. I had two other eggs that were about 14 millimeters each, which is small. So the 23 millimeter one is the “golden egg,” as they call it. A few hours after the appointment I heard back from the doctor with the results from the checkup. They said that everything looks good and instructed me do the trigger shot of Ovidrel tomorrow night, which is Christmas Eve. The IUI is going to be on the 26th at 10am so we are flying up to Sacramento in about an hour and then we have to fly back at 6am on the 26th for the procedure. The other thing that they told me was that my thyroid levels are a bit high. It was at a 4.3 and the last time I got it tested about 2 weeks ago it was at a 3.2. Not only did it go up, but they want it at like a 2.5. So they are putting me on medication for my thyroid. I confirmed that I have a family history – both of my grandmothers have thyroid issues and one of them has been on medication for years so it’s definitely a genetic thing, but I also feel like it’s stress related. To be honest, I haven’t really looked into it yet because this was literally the first I heard of it being a problem.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a little bummed that I have to take medication just because I am not a fan of taking prescription medication. I really try to lead a healthy life that is both proactive and preventative. I certainly don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world and I would never shun prescription medication under a doctor’s order for something serious but I am curious to see how I can help improve/reduce my thyroid levels on my own. I’m going to take the medication but I’m also going to see what else I can do to help.
DECEMBER 24th, 2018
We did the trigger shot (Ovidrel) tonight and Luca did it for me (I really do not like needles!). We just ate Christmas dinner so I have a serious food baby – now I just need a real baby! I’m hoping we don’t have to do any more of these. Tomorrow is Christmas and then the procedure is at 10:30 in the morning the day after Christmas.
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Our First IUI
DECEMBER 26th, 2018
We just did the IUI and it was quick! From the actual injection until they were done, it was probably like 45 seconds but it was a LONG 45 seconds. It felt really similar to a pap smear but more of a sharp pain. After the procedure, I had to lay there for 15 to 20 minutes and that is when I started having pretty severe cramps. So next is the waiting game – the DREADED “2 week wait,” which is seriously the bane of my existence.
First Acupuncture Appointment
JANUARY 7th, 2019
I had my first acupuncture treatment for fertility today. My endocrinologist recommended that I get acupuncture as a form of reducing stress and it was good! I really, really liked the woman I saw at Golden Egg Acupuncture, her name is Linda Fields, and the approach there is all very natural and very holistic which I appreciate; I’m going to go back every week. I was also given a book called Feed Your Fertility which I’m really excited to read. I am on cycle day 27 today which means I’m going to get my period (though I hope I don’t!) any day now. I expected it to start today and it didn’t so I’m keeping my fingers crossed but we’ll see. I’m really not getting my hopes up.
Our First IUI Results
JANUARY 19, 2019
So I got my period and now it’s onto cycle number 2 of an IUI. I started taking Letrozole again and not only have the cramps have been crazy from it but I have just been so fatigued. It’s definitely not an easy process taking all of these hormones and prescriptions. Today is Saturday and cycle day 11. I am ovulating early – I was supposed to go in on Monday for my ultrasound to check to see the egg development but I got a peak day today (a “peak” day means you are going to ovulate within 24 hours, more or less). The doctor decided to have me do the trigger shot tonight and the IUI on Monday. They didn’t really tell me many details this time. I have one egg on the left that is 23 millimeters which is good but they didn’t tell me about any other ones since that was the main one they were focusing on. Fingers crossed! This will be the second trigger shot so hopefully Luca is better at this one because last time I had a bruise for like 2 weeks that turned yellow! On top of all of this, I have not been working out which has been hard. When I don’t workout as much, my eating tends to go by the wayside and then Luca follows so we’ve been a little off track. I don’t mind though because no amount of retaining lowered body fat or visible abs is worth forfeiting a baby.
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Our Second IUI
JANUARY 21st, 2019
Alright, IUI number 2. The only thing they told me to do differently this time was to go with a full bladder and, you guys, after the procedure you have to lay there for 15-20 minutes so not did I have a full bladder for at least 30 minutes leading up to the appointment, I had to have a full bladder for 20 minutes after the appointment. I feel like there’s nothing worse than really needing to pee and not being able to! I have to be bedridden for the next 4 days and after that I do want to actually work out a little bit. Last month I didn’t because I didn’t want to mess anything up but I think getting my body moving a little bit after around 4 DPO (days post ovulation) should be ok.
During the “2 Week Wait”
JANUARY 31st, 2019
I am 11 DPO. This month has been very different because I pretty much have NO symptoms…nothing. In the last few months I’ve had really intense cramps, really heavy and swollen breasts, and other symptoms that made me think, “Oh yeah, I have to be pregnant,” and I wasn’t. So when I started comparing symptoms from this month to last month, it was at about 7 DPO that I was realizing, “Hey, the last few months I was already getting sore breasts by now and they’re not sore at all” and every single day it was just like…nothing is happening. No symptoms and any cramps have been very light and not that severe. So of course I Googled it and it seems like that’s a good sign.
Last night, at 10 DPO, I really got my hopes up. Luca and I just talked for like an hour as if I was pregnant. Then I woke up this morning and I don’t know why, I think it’s because I started getting some cramps, but I was like “Ugghh, this feels like I’m getting my period” and I went from being on a really high high to a really low low. I felt really down today and kept thinking, “Why did I get my hopes up so much?” I did take a pregnancy test and it was negative but it’s early and, even though I knew that, it got me down even more.
I think that after this month, if I’m not pregnant, I might share this publicly because it’s getting to be a lot to hide. I’m so close with all of you girls and I’m so open and honest about my journey and this has just really, really thrown me completely for a loop not just with my fitness journey but with my life! Literally everything revolves around whether I’m in my follicular phase or whether I’m ovulating or whether I’m in my luteal phase in the 2 week wait and, right now, what hormones I need to take and it just consumes me. I hate having to feel like I’m living a completely different life on social media because my instagram page has always been very real and raw about my life. I’ve never strived to be, and I never want to be, the person that has the “perfect life” on instagram. I’m used to sharing what’s going on and where my thoughts are and sharing my struggles so for me to not do that has just really been hard. I think it will be so much easier if I can loop you girls in with what’s really going on. So we will see…who knows when I’m going to share this. I will find out in the next 4 days if I am pregnant.
Results of Our Second IUI
FEBRUARY 4, 2019
My second IUI was not successful – I am not pregnant. It’s hard because during that 2 week wait, you go through a mental battle of not wanting to get your hopes up because you’ve been “let down” so many times. But it’s hard because each month you think, “What if this is it?” I really, really was convinced that this month was it but it’s not. Luca actually took it harder than I thought he would. I went to brunch yesterday and on my way back, I stopped by the Dollar Tree because I’ve been told that they have really sensitive tests that can detect very early pregnancy (and they’re only a dollar!). Luca knew about this and (this is very typical of Luca) it was raining while I was driving home and he was worried so he was following me on Find My Friends, which is pretty normal for us. If I don’t know where he is I’ll check Find My Friends and he’ll do the same to me. So apparently he was following me on the way home on Find My Friends and saw me stop at the Dollar Tree and said that he created this dialogue in his head, thinking, “She must have gotten a positive this morning and she’s stopping to get more to confirm it.” So when I got home, I noticed that he was like, “Hey! Did you test this morning?? Did you test??” And I was like, “Hold on, I did but it wasn’t positive. I am going to take another test to double check…” And I still had some little bit of hope left. I went to the bathroom but I didn’t even need to take a test because I had gotten my period. When I walked out I said, “Nope, got my period” and his jaw just dropped open for like 5 whole seconds because he had convinced himself that I was pregnant and I was getting an extra test to confirm. It broke my heart to see him take it so hard. Last night, before we were going to bed, we were just chatting about the whole thing and he was like, “Also I didn’t tell you this but earlier in the week I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a cartoon of a woman who was struggling to conceive and it was saying something about how hard the ‘2 week wait’ is and I just started bawling.”
The worst part of this for me is that, even though it’s very devastating for me each month, I can handle it. But to see Luca be affected by it so much – that’s the worst part for me. With that being said, we’re not really sure what to do next because we’re pretty sure that we don’t want to do a third IUI and we just want to go straight to IVF. However, we might also take 2 months off because there’s a lot of work stuff that I could get done in the next 2 months
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Possible Third IUI Appointment
FEBRUARY 7th, 2019
I had an appointment yesterday at SCRC which was on Day 3 of a new cycle. We wanted to ask about IVF and start seeing what the next steps were to figure out where we want to go next. Once we were there we decided to do a third IUI just because… why not? That way we know that we really tried and if it isn’t successful, we will take a break in March and then we will probably do IVF in April. But after the appointment yesterday, I got a call. During my appointment I had done blood work to check my hormone levels and then they did an ultrasound to check my eggs and both came back great. They said my FSH (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone) was an 8 which is really good and she said that I have over 20 eggs so that’s good too. But because it this would be my third IUI, she wants me to do an HSG Procedure (Hysterosalpingogram) which is where they shoot a black dye through my fallopian tubes to see if there are any blockages. A blockage can happen from a woman who might have had multiple pregnancy losses or polyps or things like that. So what they do is they shoot the black dye in your fallopian tubes and they take an x-ray. However, when you do an x-ray, it pretty much “ruins” all of your eggs, so I will not be able to do an IUI with the eggs that I have right now. So they are going to have me go on birth control (!!) for 10 days, which is the most bizarre thing to think about. They said I will be on it for 7-10 days because they need to force me to start a new cycle. So I’m going to be on birth control for 7-10 days, then I’m going to go off of it which is going to trigger a new cycle, meaning I’m going to have 2 periods this month. Once that new cycle is over, I’m going to start taking Letrozole again and I will pretty much be back to business as usual, preparing for the next IUI. I also have to take antibiotics because of the dyes so I’m just waiting for them to let me know when the HSG procedure is going to be and then I’m going to be taking the antibiotics a few days before that procedure.
Day of HSG Procedure
FEBRUARY 15th, 2019
So the HSG is done and it was perfect! The doctor had a trainee in with him so he was talking out loud and explaining things more than he normally would have. When they shoot the black dye into your fallopian tubes, the goal is to see if it gets stopped anywhere or if anything has trouble moving through and it didn’t! He was like, “Look at that! It flew through perfectly!” which, to be honest, is getting frustrating to hear. I mean it’s good to hear, don’t get me wrong, I would much rather hear that than the opposite but at the same time I want to say, “So what’s going on??” There is NOTHING physically wrong with us. It’s stress, I’m positive. After the procedure we talked to my doctor (she didn’t do the procedure) and she went over the results with us. And we told her, because there is literally nothing wrong and this whole process is very heavy and stressful, that we’ve already been leaning towards just taking a break. She agreed and told us to take a few months off. She also said that after this procedure, a lot of times people end up getting pregnant because it clears things out. So fingers crossed that happens but if it doesn’t, we’re ok with that. We’re going to set a date for June to do IVF and not do the third IUI; we’re just going to relax these next few months. Well… as much relaxing as you can do when you’re the CEO of a growing company.
Honestly, all of this stuff with the Fit Body app exploding is a huge learning process for me and for us. We’re working together (Luca is the CFO – Chief Financial Officer) and growing and building a team and we’re learning more and more about how to manage and how to improve. I feel like we’re in a good spot. We moved to WeWork which is great – that takes a lot of stress off of me because I have a working space now so I’m hopeful. And if not, that’s ok. What I don’t want to do is go through these next few months just waiting, waiting, waiting and always thinking, “Am I going to get my period?? What DPO am I??” I don’t want to do that. I just want to be a normal human being! I want to enjoy my life with my husband and see what happens.
I Publicly Share About My Infertility and Trying To Conceive
FEBRUARY 24th, 2019
If you haven’t already, you can click here to read the blog (and watch the YouTube video) I shared to announce that I’m struggling with infertility and trying to conceive.
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MARCH 4th, 2019
First of all, if you are still reading this, you deserve a gold star! There has been a lot in this blog so I appreciate you sticking with me all the way through. After the HSG procedure, we just wanted to forget everything if possible for a few months and not “try,” which is still what we’re doing. I deleted all of my fertility apps and I stopped tracking my cycle, my ovulation, everything. I also stopped taking Letrozole and Progesterone as well as the thyroid medication. We’ve TRIED to stop talking about it but it’s hard. I think it’s going to take another month or two to completely release and let go of everything. We’re just trying to live life and enjoy our time together (we’re going to Disneyland on Thursday!).
We also want to give a huge thank you to everyone for your outpouring of love and support. It’s really made all the difference in the world. And for those of you that have shared similar stories or are going through the same thing, our heart goes out to you. I think we probably are not going to be doing another update until we have news about either going forward with IVF or HOPEFULLY, when the day comes, an actual pregnancy announcement! We just want to give ourselves time to just live and be in the moment and try to forget about everything. We hope you enjoyed this blog and, as always, I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments on what we’ve shared. Thank you guys again so much for all of your love and support.