Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Major Anxiety

Major Anxiety

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Today is my first doctor appointment since Chris (the hubby) and I decided to continue actively trying to conceive. There is so much that is going through my head at this point it is hard to keep it all straight and to keep a lid on my emotions about it. Yesterday I had a break-down of sorts and the day seemed to have gotten away from me. I was having a PCOS mood swing induced panic attack. At least that is what I call it. Those of you with PCOS can surely understand where I am coming from. It is like I, my well-balanced calm and level headed person, is hovering outside of my physical body watching what is going on in disgust and amazement. Not two hours before the incident I was fine, happy, productive; then bam I am a completely different person. At least my husband can see it happening by now, and realizes that it isn’t me. I know that might sound overly dramatic but when you are in the moment that is what it feels like; and when I look back on it I am embarrassed and ashamed. 

During the incident I broke down. I was crying and pretty much rambling incoherently about hating PCOS and how much it affected my everyday life, hating infertility and the internal pain it causes, and hating the emotions that came with it all (jealousy, shame, embarrassment, hate, etc.). By the end of my rant I took a breath and somehow the underlying reason that triggered the whole ordeal just came out. Tears running down my face I told Chris I was worried and scared about my upcoming doctor appointment. He asked me why and said “you’ve got this” (his pep-talk go-to phrase) which somehow always makes me feel better.

The truth is there are so many reasons that this doctor appointment gives me major anxiety. First I hate doctors; not the person but the position. I think it stems from the fact that I didn’t go a lot as a kid unless there was something major going on. Like my eye surgery in the 2nd or 3rd grade. So I think I tend to associate them with the negative. There is also the factor of knowing this is the beginning of more fertility drugs and the side effects that come along with them. I am pretty sure, if not positive, that I will be put back on Metformin. This medication is horrible to me. *TMI moment coming* It takes a toll on my whole digestive system. Some of the side effects that I experience are; horrid gas pains, gas, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. I can’t keep pretty much anything down accept broth and water for pretty much the first few weeks.  My husband hates it because he says I look ghost white pale and can hardly get out of bed unless it is to run to the restroom. I have tried everything to make this work for me; things like eating then taking it and vice versa, as well as not eating any carbohydrates, and taking it with milk to coat the stomach. Nothing worked.  So I know that if given this medication I will take it because if will bring a baby into my life the suffering will be completely and totally worth it.

There is also the fact that the doctor could possible tell us that there are other things besides my PCOS that could be causing the infertility issues as well. The unknown aspects make me worry. I don’t want to be told that the chances are lower than I expect or that there is no chance at all for us to conceive. That is what it all comes down to. I know there is that chance. I know the reality of it. I just don’t want the doctor to say it. The last thing that I am nervous about is that I have to go to this first appointment on my own. This is partly by choice and partly because Chris couldn’t get out of work today to go with me. Our doctor isn’t local. Over all I think that my major anxiety about the appointment stems from all the things I know are coming because of it, and all the things that are unknown. I do know that no matter what comes from all of this I have a husband who has been nothing but supportive toward me. He is going through all of the disappointment with me but he is always focused on protecting me and supporting me. I love him for being there for me!

Well that is all I have for today. I will be sure to update you all about how the appointment goes and which course of treatment is decided upon. This is the beginning of, hopefully, the making of our miracle. Comments are always welcome in the comment section down below but for now…

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Doctor Visit Prep

Doctor Visit Preparation

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

If you are like me you find doctor appointments to be stressful and sometimes confusing or overwhelming. I feel like there are two scenarios of how a doctor appointment can go. I am either overwhelmed with information or I am underwhelmed by the doctor’s willingness to explain or inform me on the situation at hand. Finding the right doctor for you is the key and I believe the only way to do that is to research the doctor, and the practice he/she belongs, to before setting up a visit. For most of you this process is also linked to your personal health insurance and the options of doctors in your area that coincide with your policy network. So my first suggestion would be research your options before setting up an appointment.
With that said there are some online resources that you could benefit from for researching your choices. We have BCBS and they provide a doctor finder for our in-network doctors. We are part of an HMO, which means that we have to have a primary care physician (PCP) and that physician provides us with a referral to see specialist. But the good thing about this is a woman may choose an OB-GYN as their PCP which allows them to skip the referral step when they need to see their OB-GYN. So, I went to the BCBS website and used their doctor finder to look for OB-GYN PCP’s in my area, and there weren’t any in-network. Ewww! So I expanded my search to a larger area around me and a few popped up. After I found my options I entered the doctors’ information into the website search box. On the physicians page you can view things like; patient rating, experience, specialties, back ground information (malpractice suits, education/training, Board actions, etc.), hospital affiliation (and that hospitals grading), etc. From there you can rate your options and find one that seems right for you. Another good research tool is , it is very similar to the Health Grades website but gives you another set of information.
Once you have found a doctor you think might fit with you and your significant other, be sure to call to make an appointment ASAP. OB-GYN’s seem to fill appointments fast and you want to get in as soon as you can so that you can get your TTCing under way. Once your appointment is made it is now time to do more research. As couples with infertility, research becomes our lives. Before your appointment you want to make sure that you have a list of questions that you want to ask. Make sure to write your questions down on a note pad you can bring with you. Also make sure to leave space after each question on your note pad so you can write down the doctor’s answers as you go. I would also suggest to start a physical folder for all hand-outs, Rx print outs, and paper work from your doctor. The further along in your journey the more you will need it. For some lists of questions to ask your physician you can check out these websites; and

Another thing you might also want to consider in your preparation for a doctor appointment is that you will be asked questions about your health history and infertility history. The doctor is going to ask you some very personal questions and you should be prepared to answer them honestly. It is important not to keep anything from your doctor, as well as, you should not excaudate any symptoms. These question might include things like what medications (if any) you are taking or have taken in the past, personal questions about your sexual intercourse habits, your medical history, and things having to do with your past infertility journey.
The most important thing to remember when preparing for a visit is your doctor work for you. You or your insurance company pays them to perform a service. You should be sure to get your money’s worth. By that I mean, make sure you keep the doctor in your exam room as long as you need in order to ask as many question, and get as much information as you need. Don’t be afraid to take up some time. Do not leave your visit confused. If you do not understand anything that has been explained don’t be afraid to ask the doctor to repeat the information in another way. This is your time to get as much information as possible.

Well that is all for now. I hope that this post was helpful or encouraging in some way. If you have any questions or comments please leave those in the comment section down below. Be sure to follow this blog in the top left “Followers” section of the page. Until next time!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Infertility and TTC Abbreviation Guide

Infertility and TTC Abbreviation Guide

Monday, March 2, 2015 

My DH and I have been TTC for 2 years. We are currently on CD 14 and our FC and OPK both indicate that we are in our OV period. So we will BD and hope for the best. We are not looking forward to the TWW and it will be hard for me not to want to POAS in the hopes of the BFP and not a BFN.
If you can read that passage with all of the crazy abbreviations then you might be part of a couple suffering from infertility. If you have no clue what that passage reads then maybe this will help. Bellow I have listed some of the abbreviations most commonly used by message boards, blogs, Facebook support groups, infertility applications, some doctors, etc. I hope you find it informative and a little fun. So here we go…

2WW = 2 Week Wait (time from ovulation till you can get an accurate HPT response)
AF = Aunt Flo (AKA- Your period)(Double edged sword for those with PCOS)
BBT = Basal Body Temperature
BD = Baby Dancing
BCP = Birth Control Pills
BFP = Big Fat Positive
BFN = Big Fat Negative
BT = Blood Pregnancy Test (HCG Levels)
C = Cycle
CB = Cycle Buddy (someone with the same cycle as you)
CD = Cycle Day
CF = Cervical Fluid
CH = Crosshairs (lines on the chart to indicate ovulation)
CM = Cervical Mucus
CP = Cervical Position
DH = Dear Husband
DI = Donor Insemination
DPO = Days Post-ovulation
Dx = Diagnosis
Endo = Endometriosis
EC = Embryo Cyro – or Embryo freezing
EDD = Estimated Due Date
EPT = Early Pregnancy Test
ET = Embryo Transfer
EWCM = Egg White Cervical Mucus
FC = Fertility Chart
FF = Fertility Friend
FMU = First Morning Urine
FSH = Follicle Stimulating Hormone
FX = Fingers Crossed
GnRH = Gonadotropin-releasing hormone
GP = General Practitioner
HCG = Human Chorionic Gonadotropin – used to detect pregnancy
HPT = Home Pregnancy Test
HRT = Hormone Replacement Therapy
HX = History
IF = Infertility
IPS = Imaginary Pregnancy Symptoms
IUI = Intrauterine Insemination
IVF = In Vitro Fertilization
LH = Luteinizing Hormone detected by OPKs
LMP = Last Menstrual Period (Usually refers to the start date)
LP = Luteal Phase
MC = Miscarriage
MS = Morning Sickness
NP = Nurse Practitioner
OV (O) = Ovulation. Variants: Oed, Oing
OB /OB-GYN = Obstetrician/Gynecologist
OPK = Ovulation Predictor Kit
PG = Pregnant
PI = Primary Infertility
PMS = Pre-menstrual Syndrome
POF = Premature Ovarian Failure
POAS = Pee On a Stick
PCOS = Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PUTB = Pillow under the Butt (self-explanatory I think)
RE = Reproductive Endocrinologist (Fertility Specialist)
RPL = Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
RPS = Real Pregnancy Symptoms
RSA = Recurrent Spontaneous Abortion
Rx = Prescription
SA = Semen Analysis
SI = Secondary Infertility
SO = Significant Other
SX = symptoms
TR =Tubal Reversal
TTC = Trying To Conceive
TPQ = Time Pass Quickly
TWW = Two Week Wait
U/S = Ultrasound

Craziness! I was so overwhelmed the first time I tried to find support on any of the infertility and trying to conceive forums. It was like everyone was speaking in a different language. I was always asking what things meant, which got a little embarrassing at times. So hopefully this will help you to navigate those sometimes confusing waters with confidence and knowledge. If this helped or if you have any additions you think should be added please feel free to comment down below. I am always open to feedback and I would love to hear your abbreviation stories!  Also I have added a follow button near the top left of the page, please follow if you find these post interesting or entertaining!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Fast Facts

Five Fertility Fast Facts
Friday, February 27, 2015
I thought it would be fun and informative to have the Friday blog be a “Fast Facts” day, and keeping with the “F” party we have going on, I will do five of them every Friday. If this is something you would like to see every Friday let me know. If you are just not into it let me know. Feedback is always welcome in the comment section down below or catch me on Facebook or tweet me! So here we go…..

1.      You (and by you I mean you and your significant other) are not technically infertile until you have been trying for at least a year with no success.

Many reproductive endocrinologists will not even officially see you until you and your significant other have been trying to conceive for over a year. This is because pregnancy is actually kind of rare. Completely normal healthy couples only have a 20%-25% chance of becoming pregnant. So in order to weed out the “just not pregnant yet” couples from the “we have an issue” couples they require couples to try to conceive for at least a year or 6 months for those over the age of 35.

2.       Contortionist need not apply. *Warning TMI Ahead*

Sexual positions are not a factor when trying to conceive. Sure, if a certain position helps you and your significant other achieve maximum penetration and pleasure that is obviously helpful. However every woman’s anatomy is different and every couple will be different. There are no specific positions that promote conception more than others. So tying yourself into a pretzel is not necessary, unless you are into that.

3.       Infertility affects men and women equally.

Surprised? I sure was, but it is true. A couple is equally likely to be infertile because of male factor infertility as woman factor infertility. So why is there this stigma about infertility being a woman’s issue? Not sure, but in our society it is true, we look at infertility as a woman’s issue on the most basic level. She is the one who is either getting pregnant or not getting pregnant. We all need to keep in mind that whichever factor is affecting your own personal journey, support should be your number one priority! When you are a couple it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, matter who is technically at fault. With that said….

4.       A quarter of all couples who are infertile have more than one causing factor.
This was news to me. This just goes to show that seeing a specialist is so important. In my experience most MDs find a cause and stop looking, so who knows, this percentage could be much higher. I think it is important to keep asking questions, and get more than one MDs opinion on your particular situation. Ask questions about other factors and if they could also be included in your diagnosis.

5.       Some states are passing laws requiring insurance companies to cover infertility treatments.

According to “Fifteen states have passed laws requiring that insurance policies cover some level of infertility treatment: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia.” I am super proud of my state, Texas, for being part of the list. In every state the level of coverage will be different so please take the time and research your state if it is on the list. Also if your state is not included, take a few moments of your time to write your state representatives about this important issue. In future post I will be going further into detail about this subject, as well as other insurance concerns, so stay tuned!

Well there are your first set of Friday Fast Facts. I hope you found this post informative, helpful, or entertaining, etc. Please let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions. You can contact me using one of the links in the Connect with me section to the right or commenting down below!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

One Year Closer

One year closer to the dreaded 35th

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Today is my birthday. This year, just like last year and the year before, I am not looking forward to it at all. Every birthday celebrated without children seems like a waste. I feel like my life is frozen, except the years keep going by, I keep getting older but my life stays the same. I keep encroaching on that dreaded infertility threshold of being 35 or older. Hell, even Google knows I am getting older.

When did birthdays become a dread? I remember when I was growing up; birthdays were always fun, family events that celebrated me and the family around me. My birthdays consisted of birthday dinner requests, special homemade cakes, family, gifts, and love. One year I received the most wonderful present ever; my little sister Margie was born on March 1st. I spent my 16th birthday on my first trip outside of the United States. I was on a school group trip to London, England. I have always loved my birthday. So when did it become something I wish would just never come?

I think the answer to that question is; when I started to realize that my age, and getting older, could become a major factor in whether or not I would ever have a family of my own. It became a factor in whether I would ever get to shower my own child with love on their birthday. For those of you who are curious as to what I am talking about; after women reach the age of 35, or older, it becomes increasingly more difficult for them to conceive and further exacerbates infertility issues. Not to mention that increased age in pregnancy comes with its own set of concerns and issues.

So what do I do? How do I keep myself from slipping into a mood and ruining my birthday for myself? I lean on my husband. Although he is on this journey with me, he tends not to get so upset by the age factor. Let’s face it; men don’t always understand what we go through and our emotions on all the different factors about woman factor infertility. Although my hubby seems to do a wonderful job at helping me stay grounded and he helps me control my doubt. He doesn't like to see me upset and uses humor often to keep my spirits lifted and my hopes high! I really don’t know what I would do without him.

For more information about age and infertility check out these links:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Blogger in the House (2/25/15)

New Blogger in the House

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Where to begin? I guess I will start with a personal introduction and some thoughts about what in the world I was thinking when I decided to start this whole blogging thing.
I’m Courtney, tomorrow is my birthday and I will be 31 years old. I am supremely happily married now for 2 years and 3 months.

We have two fur-babies; Felix and Sandy.
Felix is an adorable and feisty male grey kitty cat. He is a rescue my sister-in-law found in a box on the side of the road. He came to live with us and is now part of the family.

Sandy is a beautiful and loveable 2lb Chiweenie (Chihuahua and Dachshund mix). She was a rescue of sorts as well. She was a gift to me last year for my birthday.

I come from a large family with 3 sister and 2 brothers and I grew up on the east coast of Florida. We now live in east Texas. *Warning TMI ahead* When I was 17 I noticed that my periods had stopped. I had not had one for around 3 or 4 months. My mother was not one you could talk to about these things so I was very nervous to tell her I thought something was wrong. She took me to her OB-GYN. I had never seen an OB-GYN before so they had to do a normal check up on me, and ran some blood tests. She came to the conclusion that she thought I had something called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

As teenager I didn’t quite know what that meant. As a woman my mother didn’t know what it meant. As a doctor the OB-GYN was new to the syndrome as well. At that point in the syndromes history there were very few things known about it. The only treatment option that was given to me was birth control. Being a Catholic I was very upset by this news. I mean, I wasn’t planning on becoming pregnant anytime soon. I was still a virgin and was going to keep it that way until I was married (at least at that point in my life). But, birth control was very much a no-no in my religion. However it was explained to me that if needed for medical reasons, and not for the prevention of pregnancy, it was perfectly ok.

I was prescribed a medication to induce my period as well as a prescription for birth control. It worked for the time being and I didn’t know any better to be worried about the future of my fertility. I didn’t realize it then but that was the beginning of what would be the hardest road I have yet to travel. I didn’t know it would cause so much pain, doubt, shame, embarrassment, jealousy and so much more.

My husband and I have been trying to conceive (TTC) now for 2 years and 2 months, both actively and through inactivity. Through the course of this blog I will be going into detail about our journey so far and the path that has yet to be traveled. I will be open and honest with the hopes that this becomes therapeutic for me. This is something that is very much out of my comfort zone. To be completely honest it frightens me to death.  However, my hope for this blog is that I can reach others suffering with infertility, even if it is just one person.