Tuesday, 10 January 2012

You never know how strong you are...

Until being strong is the only choice you have...

     I met Chris, my husband,  in early 2006. We started dating November 2007 & were engaged by July 2008. Early in our relationship we knew what we wanted in life, from ourselves & from eachother.. He was going to school to become a computer technician, I was spending my days caring for my 4 nieces - who are the absolute center of my world. We dreamed of a sorta-big house, with a huge kitchen, a good piece of land, maybe a pool. He wanted an office with 10 computers & I wanted hardwood floors with modern decor. We wanted minimal debt, money in the bank, but most of all we wanted babies. 

     Before we got together my cycles were always very irregular. My irregularity started shortly after a miscarriage I suffered when I was 17 years old. I shrugged it off and it wasn't until two years of trying had passed that I started to wonder if we would ever get pregnant. We decided to give it a little more time after we married in January 2010, but still - nothing happened.

     By April 2010 I had my first appointment with Dr Wallace, OB/GYN. We went over my history, my miscarriage, my cycles, my family history, my physical & mental health. He reviewed the bloodwork I was sent for & noticed my blood sugar was a bit higher than normal and suggested that I was pre-diabetic. Dr Wallace stated that before we could go any further, I needed to lose weight which in turn should help us conceive. To aide, I was precribed Metformin which I started right away.

Side note: Metformin is used to reduce the amount of glucose made by the liver which makes it easier for glucose to enter tissue.. Metformin has been found to be especially useful in delaying problems associated with diabetes for overweight people with diabetes, it helps lower blood sugar & control insulin production. Having high blood sugar, even if the levels are only slightly elevated makes it harder for women to produce & release an egg, not to mention it reduces blood flow to the right places (aka uterus) so if fertilization does occur, implantation may not be successful, if it is, the risk of miscarriage is rather high.

     This appointment was a real eye opener for me. 

     The summer of 2010 my dad was hospitalized & had his left leg amputated. He suffered from diabetes. The circulation in his feet & legs was so poor that he developed an infection and the only option was to amputate. I remember sitting at home one night after work, getting the phone call that my dad had been transferred to Kingston General Hospital from Brockville & he was not coherent enough to give consent for the surgery. I was his emergency contact & next of kin, so it was up to me. The doctor informed me that there was more of a chance he wouldn`t make it through surgery than there was that he would. His body was shutting down, his organs were failing - he was in rough shape, all because of his diabetes. 

     My dad made it through surgery and had to be put on ventilators & feeding tubes. He was unconscious for a few days. Once he woke & was taken off the ventilators, he was delusional. He knew who I was, who Chris was, but he would talk to people that weren`t there, he would think hes smoking, try to get out of bed. It was a rough few months as his body slowly shut down, organ by organ. In October 2010 he had passed away. By that time I had lost 55lbs since our wedding day - 35 of that was throughout the 3 months my father was hospitalized. 

     To my dismay, my cycles never regulated even with the weightloss as expected. I went back to Dr Wallace in November & was promptly prescribed Provera to induce a cycle with Clomid to aid ovulation for two cycles. I started Provera right away. I took 20mg per day for 10 days.. without fail my cycle started 2 days after my last dose. I was instructed to take 2x 50mg of Clomid from days 2-6 of my cycle, so I did just that. The Clomid was a rollercoaster of emotions. I was sad, happy, angry, frustrated, tired, wired - it sucked. I had sore boobs, cramps, back pain, nausea - you name it, I had it. I used OPKs & ended up ovulating Day 18 of that cycle and day 22 of the 2nd. Unfortunately for us, neither cycle was successful.

Side note: For those of you who aren`t familiar with Provera (also known as prometrium) it is a progesterone supplement derrived from soybeans. The week before a cycle is started, our progesterone levels are supposed to increase which in turn trains the rest of the hormones to behave accordingly resulting in a successful shedding of the uterine linig & a visit from Great Aunt Flo. Clomid is clomiphene citrate & it is used to stimulate the two hormones required to stimulate ovaries & release an egg. 

     I went back to Dr Wallace who regretably informed me there was nothing else he could do. He referred me to Dr Paul Claman of the Ottawa Fertility Clinic. My heart sank. I`m 24! I shouldn`t be visiting a fertility specialist. I should be pregnant, or raising a baby, not facing infertility. That night I went for a run, I ran and ran and ran. I ran as fast, as hard, as far as I possibly could until I couldn`t run anymore. I sat in a park, in the middle of the field, and I cried. I cried until I made myself sick. 


And then I remembered...

     I met with Dr Claman just this past September. I had a full physical, a pap smear, Chris went for a sperm analysis, I got bloodwork and we talked. We talked about my history, my miscarriage, my cycles, my family history, my physical & mental health. We talked about my weight loss, my dads death, my moms history with early menopause. We talked about our options. Dr Claman requested that I lose atleast 80lbs before we proceed with further treatment.
     I stepped off the scale. And I cried, I cried until I couldn`t cry anymore. I cried until I was sick. I was frustrated, I was fed up. Most of all, I was scared. What if losing even more weight doesn`t help? What if suddenly I am facing early menopause like my mom did? I'll be 25 in just under a year - what if by the time I lose the 80lbs required & I haven't gotten pregnant on my own, what if its too late?

     Dr Claman explained that there is nothing to support that my weight is the reason we are not getting pregnant. He stated - as if I hadn't already done the research myself - that Fat cells produce estrogen. Overweight -> fat cells ->  too much estrogen = your body reacting poorly, almost as if it is on birth control. To ease my worry he agreed to send me for all tests necessary to determine where we are at and what the next step would be. I had viles upon viles of blood drawn, I was poked & prodded, I was back and forth. I had all the ultrasounds & scans you could think of. Everything came back just fine. My blood sugar was normal, so no more metformin. Not even close to diabetic. No cysts. No blockages. No abnormalities.

Unexplained infertility? Dang.

     So, here I am. On a journey to lose the last 80lbs in hopes it will help me to gain a life of fulfillment as the mother I long to be.