Oh I want to take you home. I want to give you children.

First attempt: Timed intercourse (So romantic!)

Once we had the plan from Dr. Baker things moved pretty swiftly. I took a pregnancy test before beginning. I guess it’s a precaution before taking these drugs to make sure I’m not already preggers. It was negative and I started the Provera. My cycle began 10-13-2016. The ultrasound was good. They look for ovarian cysts with the baseline ultrasound and luckily I had none. I took Clomid for 11 days to stimulate ovulation. I came back in for my next ultrasound and it was working. My follicles responded well and we waited another day for them to grow more. On 10/25 I gave myself my first injection of Ovidrel. Ovidrel is a “trigger shot” that stimulates the release of an egg. It is Human chorionic gonadotropin (Hcg) although it does not come from humans, and it is not synthetic– it comes from genetically modified Chinese Hamster Ovary cells. So Not Vegan. I am sad to say I didn’t look up any of the drugs I took in this process to see what was vegan and what wasn’t. There is a long list of mixed emotions I have about this whole thing… but my desire to make a little jerk “mini me” and “mini Nick” beat all the other things. Later I’ll explain how I plan on trying to redeem myself.

The trigger shot is a crazy thing. Once administered we have 24-36 hours until ovulation occurs or when the insemination should occur. So we had sex right before the trigger shot, then again the next morning, then again later that night, then we were supposed to again the following morning but things didn’t work out. This gives new meaning to the term “spray and pray”. As exciting and fun as it sounds it’s a lot of work. There is an element of pressure that isn’t normally present. There is also the side effect of decreased cervical mucus from the Clomid, which makes things more difficult. I found that PreSeed, a popular lube for when you want to keep sperm ALIVE, is kinda gross. It’s VERY goopy and not slippery and fun. Also you use an applicator similar to the ones for Monistat and it deposits a blob of cold goo inside you, so I had to warn Nick to wait a minute or he’d get a “cold surprise!”. Laughing helps.

I couldn’t help but be upset with myself for getting sore, and with Nick for nothing really, but I was upset still. I can see how these treatments and this whole process can mess up marriages. This was just the beginning, we had to keep it together. We talked things out as always and Nick gave me a bunch or leeway for being jacked up on hormones… even though I felt mostly “normal” and not like I was all jacked up on homrones.

We waited for 2 weeks to find out if it worked. It’s hard to stay distracted during this time and not obsess about everything. Obviously drinking isn’t an option, so I worked and we went to a fun wedding for Nick’s friends, Ray and Tori. I got a supercute haircut from Lauren at Stag Hair Parlor (holla!!). On the morning of November 9th I woke up early to go take my blood test at Kaiser in Pasadena. I listened to Hillary Clinton’s concession speech on the way over and ugly cried in the parking lot before I could go in. I was not feeling super optimistic. Later that afternoon I got the test results and the message from the nurse saying that I was not pregnant and to call the office on the first day of my next cycle to come in for a baseline ultrasound.

Going back now and looking at my notes about everything, I was like John Snow…. I knew nothing. 😉 I mean, I knew a little, but I feel like it was child’s play.  I didn’t keep good records of dosages and times and explanations of what we were doing. Just the gist of things, enough to follow the Dr.’ s orders. Anyway it could have worked so it was worth a shot. This first attempt “fixed” all the real problems as to why we weren’t conceiving: it made my follicles grow and it made me ovulate. Each time we try it gets a little more complex and a little more invasive but we keep moving forward and we are learning more everyday.

Well… There’s a bathroom down the hall

While Nicole has had to deal with WAAAAAAAAAYYYY more testing and doctor visits than I did, there were still a couple of test that I had to go through as part of the Infertility diagnoses. First off we both had to take a full complement of STD tests. This was pretty standard, pee in a cup and have some blood drawn. This was no biggie and  after a few days, we heard back from the doctor that there are no secret STDs causing our infertility.

Now for the much more awkward test. I needed to provide a sperm sample so they could count how many I was producing as well as how good of swimmers they are (motility). To do this test you have to have the sample at the lab within 30-45 minutes of ejaculating. Because we live a fair distance from our doctor and LA traffic sucks, there is no way for me to drive between my house and the doctor in this amount of time. This means that I would have to provide my sample at the doctors office.

The first step is to get the empty sample container from the lab and make sure it has the right name (they are very concerned about mixing these up). Now, I’ve generally had problems at Kaiser before because while the offices are all housed in one building, the staff has no idea what other departments do. So when I go to the lab and the terrifying unattractive lab worker gives me my specially labeled container I ask, “So where do I go next?”

Her response, “I don’t know, but if you want there is a bathroom down the hall”.

I’m pretty sure this is wrong so I say, “I’m pretty sure there is a room specifically for this”.

“We’ll if there is I sure haven’t heard of it”. She says.

I leave, and wonder how many people she’s convinced to jerk off in the lobby bathroom.

I go up the stairs from the lab and into the office that our fertility doctor is in. There the nurses are much more helpful and tell me, yes, there is a room on this floor and where to go. I go into a room that is just a small office type room with a chair and and some magazines. There is also a DVD player that looks untouched for years. OK, time to get down to business. And then! Laughter! apparently the room door is not particularly sound proof and I can totally hear all the nurses talking in the hallway about someones birthday party. Once that dies down I “provide my sample” and go to the lab to hand it in. I hand it over to the terrifying unattractive lab worker and get the F out.

A few days later we get the results. It turns out they are a little low. Nothing terrible, but lower than average and not what our doctor wants to see. Our doctor then proceeds to tell me that its common that the first sample is low. Apparently our bodies can know masturbation vs sex and will not send out as much sperm when masturbating. Also, stress at time of ejaculation lowers your count. So masturbating combined with the terrifying unattractive lab worker and the nurses talking hurt my sperm count. Because of this I had to retest.

This next time I went in like a pro. I avoided looking directly at the terrifying unattractive lab worker. I brought some headphones. I was ready. And my count reflected that 40+ million sperm in a cup later. Our doctor was happy with how the second test went and I was done with my share of the testing.


Not typical waiting room material

Test Shoob Babies

Here we are, in the midst of our first cycle of IVF (in vitro fertilization). Nick and I have been TTC (“trying to conceive” as the fertility blogs say, and I swear that’s the last time I’LL say it) for a while. It’s been quite a journey. We’ve shared with some friends and coworkers but now we’re getting into some crazy sci-fi stuff, and we think it’s fascinating and cool. We want to tell people all about it all the time, but maybe not everyone cares and it’s hard to tell. So, if you wanna know keep reading, and if not–then please enjoy the rest of your day!

Let me warn you. I might be saying things about SEX and my PERIOD etc.  These are totally acceptable to me but for some reason on other fertility related blogs grown women feel the need to say things like “tonight me and DH (dear hubby) did the BD (baby dance)..” Please understand that I find that repulsive and would much prefer to say “Nick and I had sex.” or we “did it” but that could be confusing bc we didn’t DO IT, as  in make a baby. Anyhoo. You’ll get it I hope… but no Aunt Flo niceties here, so buckle up.

About 2.5 years ago Nick and I we looking at open houses because we think that’s a  fun thing to do. I kept looking at tiny places and Nick said something smart, bc he’s a smart guy… “You should probably think about if you ever want to have kids.” or something like that. I DID want to have kids and Nick said he wanted to have kids too! We went about our newish relationship and joked about him being a stay at home dad and stuff like that. In October 2015 I was ‘late’, but instead of it being scary it was super exciting. We both realized how much we wanted to be pregnant and I decided to go off my birth control. I ended up getting my period that month and I suspected it might take my body some time to adjust, when few months passed and we weren’t having any luck, we decided to look into things.

April 26th 2016 I saw my OB/GYN and she said because of my age and how long we had been trying, we could see a specialist. She referred us to a Reproductive Endocrinologist, Dr. Baker. The soonest appointment wasn’t until JULY 1st. So we went about on a great mini-moon and amazing honeymoon and when we got home we had our work cut out for us! Lots of Dr. appointments, lots of tests, and waiting.

In that first meeting we got some instruction. I had a full blood test to check my hormones and check for STDs etc. and they tested Nick’s blood and sperm. I was prescribed Provera to induce a bleed since my cycles are pretty irregular and as soon as that started I could come in for an ultrasound and a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test. I was told it’s a simple test that can show if my tubes are blocked by sending dye though my uterus and it will fill my fallopian tubes and spill out the ends if everything is working. The test also seems to clear blockages for some women… like Draino!

I got my period and went in to the Dr. Office on day 3 for an ultrasound, they looked at my ovaries and counted the follicles. I had a lot.

On day 10 of my cycle I was scheduled for the HSG. I started doxycycline 2 days before to prevent infection. The nurse was really nice and told me what was going to happen. The Dr. came in and began. The speculum went in, my cervix was cleaned w/ betadine and  the Dr. began to poke around. What typically happens is a catheter is inserted in the cervix and a small balloon inflates to hold the catheter in place while the liquid is pushed in. Poke poke poke… nothing, another Dr. came in and tried and couldn’t get it either. Apparently a smaller catheter was needed, they tried to call Dr. Baker but she was not available. They had to send me home w/ no HSG. The problem is that there is a specific window of time when the test can be done and we were at the close of that window. I finished out my antibiotics and waited until the next month.

We used Provera again to start, took the doxycycline again. This next attempt was a little cray. I was told to bring someone with me. Nick was busy with a school picture day and couldn’t be there with me. So I did what anyone would do, I asked my Bike Gang and Reverend Joe Borfo saved the day!  The reason Borfo needed to be there was to wheel me from the Kaiser office on the south side of Sunset, to the Kaiser office on the North side of Sunset. Apparently there’s a liability issue with a KAISER EMPLOYEE taking me across the street in a wheelchair with a catheter in my hooha. Hmph.

Dr. Baker even had a hard time getting the catheter in, I got scared she might give up, so I told her not to worry about hurting me (I’ve learned I have a pretty high tolerance for pain)  so she clamped something and used a shepherd catheter or something like that and got it in! They taped the tube of the catheter to my thigh and in my hospital gown were on our way across Sunset Blvd! The Dr. over there helped me onto the table and hooked up the dye and we watched it on the monitor as it flowed through my uterus and fallopian tubes and out the ends. It was really pretty. hsg.jpg

Anyway, this awkward and mildly crampy procedure was followed by Vegan Chilaquiles at Millie’s (where Pauley Shore goes for breakfast apparently!!) I was pretty happy with the way the day turned out. Having the support of a friend made it much easier!

After we completed all these crazy tests we met with Dr. Baker again and she gave us a diagnosis. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Nick’s tests all showed that he was fine and had normal healthy parts and made normal healthy sperm. There is not really a cure for PCOS, it usually doesn’t even get diagnosed unless someone is trying to get pregnant. Something like 10% of women in the U.S. have it. Some women have excess facial hair, or weight gain. The only symptoms I seem to have are acne and irregular periods.  PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in women, BUT there’s still hope for me, in the form of pills and injections and a patient and willing husband.

Next, I’ll tell you all about our treatments so far and where we’re at now!! :))