More Gadgets to Try

IMG_0528Six weeks, that’s what the doctor told me. I was to wait 4-6 weeks to see if my body would kick in on its own to produce a period. I was skeptical since I didn’t really get a period, but I continued to pray, trust and rotate the little sticky patches of estrogen from my lower abdomen every 3-4 days.

I was introduced to an app called Kindara, and although it does track a woman’s cycle off of a period (which doesn’t help me), it also helps plot the month based off body temperature and mucus. I didn’t think I’d be one to try it, but figured ‘why not?’ and ordered my basal thermometer from Amazon. The trick with the temperature is that it’s important to take it first thing in the morning, before moving from the bed. So I began sticking it in my mouth blurry eyed and half asleep when my alarm goes off in the morning.

It’s interesting to learn more about myself as this process continues. I now know that I run a little colder than my husband, typically in the 96 degree range, where he is in the 97. May explain why I carry a jacket with me into restaurants even in the summer or like to drink hot water to warm up :-).

My body temperature has not ‘spiked’ over the past month as it is supposed to when a woman ovulates. So maybe… I don’t ovulate? At this point, I am not drawing any conclusions until I have used this app for at least 3 months.

So I add to my research, plotting and observing, gathering information and praying. The peace I continue to feel is surreal as I know God is in this, just like he is in everything. I know his timing is perfect and his plans for us is exactly what we want.

I did get to see how much stress can play a huge part in my body’s functioning. For 10 days in June, I was intensely studying for  the Certified PersonIMG_0485al Trainer certification through the National Academy for Sports Medicine (NASM). For hours each day, I was learning new concepts and memorizing various facts. Determined to pass the test before our summer trip, my body experienced stress which lead to a change in my bodies behaviors on Kindara. I saw how stress decreased my mucus production, which possibly indicates a change in my cycle. Thankfully I passed and have that behind me while also being more aware of how my body reacts to stress.

Here we sit, officially six weeks past that little blimp of spotting, and I am discouraged as I say nothing has come since. I will continue taking my body temperature at the start of each day, wearing the estrogen patch and will take one more round of progesterone to see how my body reacts.

My doctor believes the next step will be to see an infertility doctor and try Clomid. With the change in my job/insurance, we may have to wait a few months until the dust settles before we go to that next step. Either way, I know everything will happen in the way and timing it is supposed to.

So for today, I celebrate what I do have to enjoy, and embrace each moment of this life!

Open Hands

After 10 days of Progesterone and all the lovely side effects of consuming additional hormones (sleepy, moody, acne…), I am left with extra bacteria that I’m now on medication for and no withdraw bleed. I don’t think the bacteria has anything to do with the Progesterone, I just find it interesting to be experiencing so many “female problems” throughout this process. So, I will roll along through the next 3 weeks and try another round of Progesterone in March. How am I feeling? Well, surprisingly peace-filled.  I trust the expertise of my endocrinologist and know we have many options out there to try before I can rule anything out. Not to mention our faith is carrying us.

I went in for my scheduled Ultra-Sound and prayed before I entered the hospital. I don’t want to be negative or a ‘Debby-downer’ but it is difficult for m5876981450_bde15b9aaa_be to think they will find anything of substance. Last time I was in, they saw cysts in my ovaries and then after a string of medication ruled PCOS out… but I’ll remain with my hands open to receive whatever it is I am to see and know…

My Ultra-Sound tech was great, very supportive, and before I knew it, I could see a bit more of what is going on inside. She did confirm my uterus lining is ultra-thin which typically happens after a period, so with me without a recent period, is taking note. She also was surprised to see a difference in my uterus shape. It’s supposed to look like a triangle with a little hump, mine looks like a partial heart. She called it uterus septum. She’s not too worried since it didn’t look severe, but is checking with my doctor in the office. The kicker is… we counted 14 cysts in one ovary and 15 in the other! Maybe this time around the PCOS diagnosis will be confirmed.

The technician wanted to talk with my  doctor before any feedback was provided… but maybe we are getting closer to an actual… why?

I am waiting the call of explanation and next steps. Thankfully my OB-GYN and Endocrinologist know each other and will be talking (fingers-crossed). So in the meantime… I’ll keep praying.
God is good, all the time. I know we are growing in our relationship with the Lord. We pray to him for guidance and feel peace and calm thoughts about what our future holds. I know we will be parents. It may be through adoption, but I know my husband will be an incredible father and I pray I’ll be a loving mom. We desire to have a baby made with our own genes and I feel it’s incredibly possible. So I will continue to sit in this posture of faith and trust, knowing God is with me. He knows the bigger picture and as much as I desire a little one that is the mixture of us, I want to live in Gods will- progressing his kingdom.

Let the Experiment Begin

I received an email from my doctor providing me the results to my labs. I was shocked to know that my estrogen levels are normal (yahoo)! A year ago, they were in the single digits (when they are supposed to be over 50). My shock led to excitement and a boost of hope as there may actually be a chance for my body to be ‘normal‘.

The doctor also confirmed I am not pre-menopausal (yahoo, again)! So what is left is for me to try a huge boost of progesterone and see if after 10 days my body responds with a withdraw bleed (i.e. a forced period). I am to do this for the next 3 months to see if my body re-sets itself to do this on it’s own.

It was explained that my head (thyroid/pituitary) is not talking to my ovaries and that it may need a jump-start for the two to communicate about when I’m ovulating and then when I’m needing to shed the lining of my uterus (a period).

Is this too much information? Well, I guess that is how I roll… pretty honest and upfront about the facts of life.

I have done this twice before ( 4 years ago and 8 years ago- nothing happened) so I will admit I am skeptical, and still hopeful. This time I am married and sexually active (which some say helps because the hormone levels are raised)… so we will see. I began taking the progesterone pills 3 nights ago and man am I WIPED OUT! I remember last time having the WORST acne break outs and am just gearing up for the mood swings. I warned my husband and asked him not to take it personally when I snap at him.

I can’t say I am not frustrated that I have to go through this. I mean, there are plenty of other women who have a period naturally and don’t have to think twice about it. And yet, I must admit… not having a period for the past year has been really nice.

Hopefully Curious… that is my phrase for 2016. Fitting for my season of life.

Road to a Baby

I vividly remember the day I got my first period. I was in 7th grade and I entered the laundry room where my mom was completing the load of white. I whispered to her, “I think I started my period.” I was embarrassed and excited. Finally, I was a young women, joining my friends who talked about it at sleep overs and the sisterhood of the billions of women around the world. Not to mention, that having a period would mean that someday after meeting my prince charming, I would have the opportunity to carry and bring a baby into this life.

Ok I wasn’t thinking about a baby in the 7th grade, but I was excited to be a ‘WOMAN’. I would have a period every couple of months and my doctors told me that I would become more regular over time. When I was in high school, I was active in sports, playing competitive year-around volleyball. I was also exercising a fair amount in the off-season. My period was still pretty sporadic. Doctors told me it was because of my level of exercise and that once I stopped playing competitively, I would get it back. They also noted that I has Cysts in my ovaries and that I could have PCOS. I began preparing myself for the fact that I may not be able to have children once I married. They also mentioned in the meantime, it would be good for me to start on birth control to give myself a period. So I did. I was 16.

I entered into college and onto the college volleyball court to play 4 more years of competitive volleyball. I was still on birth control. The 3-hour practices each day were difficult on my body, but I had a love for the sport and I wanted to live out my college athletic opportunities. In the off season, I trained just as hard and fell into unhealthy behaviors with food and exercise. I began using exercise as a way to get rid of the food I consumed, so I could justify eating more food throughout the day. I now know this to be exercise bulimia.

Hoping to get my period back ‘naturally’, I went off of birth control at the age of 20, praying my body would ‘jump start’ itself into a healthy routine. Nothing.

I saw OBGYN’s, Endocrinologist, acupuncturist, massage therapists, and took herbal supplements… Nothing.

Moving to big city living to pursue my dream to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, I embraced the lack of a period. No monthly disruptions, no mood swings, no cramps… I’m IN! But my general practitioner saw a young women who may be entering early osteoporosis if I didn’t have enough estrogen in my body. That coupled with my need/desire to go onto Accutane which REQUIRED me to go onto birth control even though I was the FARTHEST person to be getting pregnant (unless I would be the modern day Mary). I was 23.

Every time I’m on birth control, I get a period. Every time I’m off.. I don’t. Labs conclude, my body doesn’t create estrogen. I am not a doctor (nor do I want to try to be one)- so I trust in their expertise and guidance (a bit ignorant, maybe).

I did go to UCSF PCOS clinic and they concluded that I don’t have PCOS. I was a bit bummed actually I was hoping for an answer. I think it was a mis-diagnosis really- I don’t have chin hair because I do laser hair removal and I’m no long over weight because of a food plan that helps me maintain my weight.

Fast forward to now- age 32 and married. When I met my husband, I was very open with him and shared that I may not be able to bare my own children. As much as it pains me, I have accepted this truth (with a flicker of hope). I have had 16 years to re-acclimate my idea of children to adoption and I am grateful to know my husband has the same heart. As we look into the process of adoption, our eyes are wide… 2+ years of paperwork and how much?! … Yikes! We are continuing to pray and leave our hands open to what God desires for us as parents.

I still hope to birth my own child. I have been off of birth control for a year and my body has not created a period. I know I still could be ovulating so haven’t ruled it out. Oh yes, I have been to all the specialists (again) and feel like I’m a broken record every time I am in to see another doctor. It feels as though I know my body better than they and I get frustrated at them for not having an answer. I feel as though my body is broken. What’s wrong with me? What did I do to cause this? Was it that I played sports at a young age? Was it because of my unhealthy eating or exercise? Why can others get pregnant and I can’t? God, I don’t understand! I have been living a healthy lifestyle for 10 years, balanced diet, exercise, down time, active time… I feel like I’m doing everything ‘right’.

I know it’s horrible to say this, but at times I wish for any answer (ANY answer) just to have one. I was in an MRI and CAT Scan recently and I found myself thinking, what if they do find something? Then I will have a reason for not having a period… not being normal (whatever that is). I’m married now, I can see the father of my children and we desire a family so it feels like I’m going through this experience for the first time, but now that the stakes really matter.

My recent appointment with the Endocrinologist concluded with another round of labs ordered, more blood to be drawn and more unknowns to try and answer. I feel as though my body is an ever changing science experiment. I long for a baby to call my own- to carry for 9 months, to lose sleep over, to see Gods creation between my husband and me in my arms… And still my hope remains in the Lord and his goodness. “He works all thing together for our good”-Romans 8:28.

So I will continue to hope, and write, as we journey on this road to a baby…