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.

New Dr.: Same Routine

How many times do I have to go through my entire health history with another doctor? I attended my annual appointment with my OB-GYN and came to find out that the person I saw the last time… has left. I was re-assigned to another person in the clinic and I could tell I was starting to boil up with frustration; I have been through this before. When I set up the appointment, I also called my General Practitioner (GP) and my Endocrinologist to have them send over my latest labs and exam notes.

When I checked in, I asked if they had all my up-to-date records… they didn’t. I could see where this visit was going and I started praying. “God, help me be patient, loving, tolerant and kind. “ No need to take my frustrations of past experiences out on someone who I didn’t even know.

I was taken back to the exam room and after the routine questions from the nurse; I waited for the assigned PA to enter the room. “God, I am grateful for the story you have given me to live and experience and for how it is continuing to unravel… please be with me now and with the lady you have assigned me to.”

In walks Nancy*. Chipper, comical… lovely. We small chat and then jump into the reason for my visit. She had some of the notes from my last visit, but wanted me to loop her in… so I took a deep breath and began to regurgitate all that I have learned about myself. Feeling as though I’m the expert on my own body… with no answers.

As we talked, I felt a calm come over me though. It’s not her fault she doesn’t know about me and maybe she will have a different perspective on my situation. I shared about my recent re-trial of progesterone and she offered the same thoughts as the other doctor—a lot of “maybes” and “let’s try’s”. She completed the exam and scheduled me for an Ultra Sound in a few weeks to see a few things (no, not a baby) and we concluded.

I know that I could be acting on the mixture of recommendations of herbals, acupuncture, pink drinks, stopping all exercise, gaining weight, medications, infertility specialists… many I have tried. I just know for me, it will be the process of checking each thing off the list (again) will refining what will work with me and my body. I can’t help believe that God is in control of all of this. I know God provides science for us to progress and I will continue to pray. As of now, I feel confident in his leading me to trust him and keep talking about my journey. Using my story to help others, sharing all the things I don’t know. There is a purpose in all of this. I have a purpose in this journey.

What I do know is that God is working. I know that my story is not uncommon and I am not alone in the path to a baby. I do ask a lot of questions I will never know the answers to. How is it that people who don’t want to get pregnant, DO and those who do want to get pregnant, DON’T? It’s baffling to me. If God is all-mighty, all-powerful and all-knowing, how would this disconnect happen?

Why would there be children across the world that needs families. Some of these situations are hard to stomach- like the orphans whose parents died; others are orphans because their parents didn’t want them. How tragic. This life, this human being… with a heart… a brain… a soul… a future. Thankfully there are people who have the desire to adopt. I do believe God redeems and provides and I will continue to put my faith and trust in Him— God who knows all, “there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him.” Hebrews 4:13.

He knows. He sees. I trust. I believe.

*Name changed.

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…