Our story starts all the way back in August 2006, when Josh and I started dating. We were just a couple of high school kids and couldn’t have imagined then what our lives would be like today. Lets take a quick trip through our history: Fall 2007 Michelle went to Pitt State where Josh joined her in 2008, December 2010 we were engaged, May 2012 we graduated from Pitt State, and June 2012 we were married. Writing that all in one sentence makes it sound like it happened so fast, but it’s hard to believe that at that point we had been together for almost six years.
Let’s fast forward a little more to November 2013. This is where our current adventure starts. At this point we had adopted two fur babies: Charlie our yorkie and Gus our shitzu and thought maybe it was time we added a real baby to our family. Well I (Michelle) had a hunch that this was going to be a long adventure. At the age of 24 I had never had a regular period in my life and had been on birth control for over ten years. Prior to birth control I had heavy, extremely short, irregular cycles that could only be controlled by the pill. So we started this adventure knowing it might be long and we might not be going it alone.
Fast forward again to June 2014 and we still weren’t pregnant. My first period off of birth control was 35 days and from there they just kept getting longer, to the point of being 100+ days even with medication to start a new cycle. In our first six months of trying I had not ovulated once. At this point it was time to see my obgyn. So I went to see my obgyn and he recommended we try an oral medication called Clomid to stimulate ovulation. Well we tried this medication three times, each time it didn’t work so we upped the dosage until we hit a point we and the doctor did not feel comfortable going to a higher dosage. Clomid made my cycles shorter but I still was not ovulating. By this point my doctor and I were both thinking I may have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). You can read about that here- http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/medical-conditions/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome.html. Often people with PCOS respond better to a medication called Letrezole, so we gave that a try. First try did not work at all. It was now November 2014, we had been trying to get pregnant for a year now and nothing had worked. At this point my doctor referred me to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE- fertility specialist) for further testing and treatment. While we waited for an appointment with the RE, my obgyn gave me another round of the Letrezole at a higher dosage to try.
The beginning of December 2014 we had our first appointment at the RE’s office. What a strange place to find ourselves. We had to admit to ourselves that we really were dealing with infertility, we had no idea how long this adventure would be, or how this adventure would end. We also had a lot to learn; we were hearing acronyms like SA, IUI, IVF, HSG, etc. Almost sounded like another language. But the staff was kind, they listened, and they understood what we were going through. At our first appointment I had my first, of many, transvaginal ultrasounds to see how my ovaries looked. I didn’t have any cysts but I had a very large number of antral follicles just hanging out on my ovaries. These are follicles that are not growing, when follicles grow they release eggs. This high count of antral follicles can be a sign of PCOS. Josh and I were both scheduled for bloodwork, Josh was scheduled for a semen analysis (SA, and everything came back fine), and I was scheduled for an HSG (Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): An HSG is an x-ray procedure performed in the first half of the cycle, using water or oil based dye to identify any structural abnormalities in your uterus or fallopian tubes.) which came back clear. At this point I officially got my diagnosis of PCOS. Our plan for my next cycle was to do an Intrauterine Insemination (http://www.resolve.org/family-building-options/iui/) with Letrezole. Well if you remember my obgyn had given me a second round of Letrezole back in November to try while we waited. In December, after 13 months, I finally ovulated. However, this did not result in pregnancy.
It was now January 2015, I started a new cycle and we were nervously on our way to doing our first IUI, or so we had hoped. For this cycles we were doing the same dosage of the Letrezole because I had ovulated on it last month. Well sadly it didn’t work twice, I didn’t have any follicles grow and our first IUI cycle was cancelled. This was hard, we had thought we were finally going to get somewhere and now it felt like we’d hit another roadblock. They said wait for the next cycle to start and we will try again with a different plan. Well soon it was February and no cycle start. They gave me a medication I had taken previously to start a new cycle, only this time it didn’t work. Then it was a new medication combination to try to get a new cycle started so we could try again to do an IUI. It wasn’t until April 2015, that I finally started a new cycle. It was a really long three and a half months but we were finally ready to try again.
Now April 2015, we were setting up the plan for what would really be our first IUI. The plan was Letrezole plus injectables (yes- shots). Well the shots weren’t too bad, thank god Josh was willing to give them to me. I had to do shots every other day for seven days, a total of four shots, and then go back to see if I had any follicle growth. We had one lead follicle with two smaller ones. I then had to do shots for three days in a row and go back for another ultrasound. Our lead follicle was still growing and was big enough to schedule the IUI. But they wanted to schedule it the one day Josh would be out of town for a business trip, and he is never gone. Well luckily they could schedule it one day later, we were finally scheduled for our first IUI. I had to continue shots until then and two days before I had to do a trigger shot to tell my body to release the egg. All went well with the IUI, however, two weeks later we found out it was unsuccessful. We were sad it had not worked, however, we felt like we were in a good place. The medication had worked, my body had done was it was supposed to finally. I wasn’t pregnant but we felt like things were getting better.
Then it was May 2015 and we were ready to prepare for IUI number two. Same plan as last time and we were ready to go. This time instead of Josh having to go out of town, the craziness was me running back and forth to Columbia, MO to visit my grandma in the hospital. Wow it was a crazy cycle. I drove back late one night to do a shot at 1:00 a.m. The next shot was given to me by my cousin’s girlfriend in a hospital bathroom. I did my trigger shot in the parking lot at Kauffman Stadium after a game. Crazy really seems to sum it up; we said if we got pregnant this cycle we’d really have quite the story. The IUI went well but two weeks later we found out it too was unsuccessful.
Now here we are the end of June 2015, and getting ready for our third IUI cycle. We have now been on our adventure to start our family for 19 months. It’s been long and hard at times, but we’ve gotten this far. We know that someday, somehow we will have a child; we just don’t know when or how. So that’s our adventure so far. I plan to keep blogging to keep our friends and family updated on our adventure. If you’ve made it this far- thanks for reading.
**Update- June 2016 (Wow I should have updated this a long time ago!)**
In July 2015, we found out that our third IUI was unsuccessful. Prior to this we had already decided this would be our last IUI. If it didn’t work we would move on to adoption. For us it wasn’t important that we become pregnant, we just wanted a baby. Knowing we had a plan prior to the negative pregnancy test made it much easier to handle and move forward. We took some time to research the adoption process and agencies.
In September 2015 we found an agency in our area and had a meeting with them. We really liked them and felt like they would be a great fit for us. We decided we weren’t quite ready to start just yet, Josh just started a new job and after he is there a year he will get adoption benefits (money towards the adoption expenses and paid time off) and we also need to save some money.
Fast forward to January 2016, we’ve been doing a pretty good job of saving money and I got pretty impatient with starting the adoption process. So we decided we would get started on home study. My goodness was there a lot to do, but luckily we have a very organized agency. Their home study binder is super organized and made it easy to work through. In March 2016 we finished our binder and did our home interview. Next there was a little more paperwork and we made our profile book. I loved doing our profile book, although it’s a little strange writing about yourself.
Finally, on May 9, 2016, we became a waiting family! Now we are at the stage of just waiting. We are working on house projects and working on collecting the things we would need when we bring a baby home. Hopefully we won’t be waiting too much longer.
**Update November 2016**
We have unexpectedly made the decision to change our path to building our family. We have decided to try IVF. We never thought this would be a part of our journey. We never thought we could afford it and if it was unsuccessful we would be faced with saving for adoption, and we initially thought it would take us four years to save for adoption. A couple months ago we were considering other adoption options when I got the crazy idea that maybe IVF could be an option. I shared my idea with Josh and he didn’t think it was all that crazy. We started researching and found our fertility clinic we had worked with previoulsy was connected to a program where we could get a discount if we did a multicycle plan, and better yet we also qualified for a discount because I’m a teacher but we also qualified for their refund program- if we don’t bring home a baby then we get a 70% refund. We scheduled appointments with our RE to find out what they thought about IVF for us and found out they thought it was a great option for us. We are currently scheduled to start our first IVF retrieval cycle right around Christmas and our egg retrieval will be just after the New Year. Josh and I both know there is a chance this may not work for us and we may end up back at adoption, and we are okay with this. We will know that we have tried everything we can and our goal is still to bring a baby into our family. We are excited to get started on this new path of our adventure and can’t wait to see what happens next.