Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Turning a New Leaf with Femara

Well, I have a pretty good idea that there will be no pregnancy this time around. My temperature dropped this morning and I've been craving sweets all day, so I know I can expect another temperature drop tomorrow and Aunt Flo in a day or two. Another failed cycle I'm afraid. It just sucks pun intended.

However, last week's encounter with the guy who bought my car has had me in deep thought ever since. Not only was it a reminder that everything is going to work out, but it's made me re-visit the if, when, and how of possibly needing a little extra help. The message I heard was that God is watching over us and preparing us for the time when it's just right. Outside of that though, it also helped me remember that it's o.k. to ask for help if you need it. That is something I've been struggling with. I've wanted to believe really badly that I can do this on my own, but I am finally coming to terms with getting extra help in the form of fertility meds...again.

Being diagnosed with unexplained infertility is frustrating, because even with all the invasive testing, there is not much they can find anatomically that's causing an issue or warrants any other type of diagnosis. I know my thin lining has always been an issue, as have my low levels of hormones and possibly my subclinical hypothyroid issue. However, even knowing those things, I'm still classified as "unexplained."

I feel like it's been somewhat of a full time job trying to tackle all of these problems individually, and achieve some sort of harmony between everything. For the past 13 months,  I've done plenty of things to help my chances:

-2 rounds of Clomid (1 with ovulation, 1 without), 1 round of Femara (washed cycle), Estrace to bolster estrogen and thicken lining

-Weekly acupuncture for fertility

-Chinese herbs taken to promote processes during each phase of my cycle: follicular herbs and luteal phase herbs

-Meetings with Applied Clinical Nutritionist, Chinese Medical Practitioners, and Reproductive Endocrinologist

-Charting Basal Body Temperature and other fertility signs and symptoms

-Protocol of whole foods based organic supplements to re-balance my body

-Changing daily diet to include more cholesterol, maintain a build-up state, increase conception friendly foods (building foods during follicular phase & warming foods during luteal phase) and going ALL organic

-Supplements and foods to help correct my subclinical hypothyroid issue (iodized sea salt, B complex, brazil nuts daily, Vit D3)...these are intended to improve my thyroid function and avoid medication

-Drinking red raspberry leaf tea daily

-Warm castor oil packs on my abdomen post-menstruation up until ovulation to improve blood flow to reproductive organs and reduce or eliminate any ovarian cysts

-Eliminating ALL vigorous exercise from my life. Limiting cardio to only 30 minutes 3-4 times per week. Bringing down the weightlifting on the other days about 10 notches.

-Gaining 15-20 lbs and enough body fat % to re-start my monthly cycle after 3 years of being anovulatory.

-Cutting back on drinking, and having alcohol only on very rare occasion

-Eliminating all caffeine, diet sodas, artificial sweeteners and other endocrine disruptors from my life

-Phasing in all natural beauty products to reduce endocrine disruption

-Fertility Yoga DVD's series for each phase of my cycle

-Circle + Bloom guided meditations

-Keeping a journal where I write to my future child

-Creating a vision board of my future "dream" family and looking at it often

-Daily breathing and prayers

-Plenty of relaxing, couples time, spa days, me time

-Writing letters to God, yelling AT God, crying out on my hands and knees to God

I'm sure there's something I'm leaving out here, but you get the picture. Looking at this list, it really makes it hit home how much effort I've been putting into correcting things, 90% of them all natural and all while still trying to "relax" as best I can; Not only me, but also my husband. He has been supportive of whatever I want to do, even if it changes from time to time. He just goes with the flow and has been amazing. God, I love this man!

I really DO think it's all helped. I mean, just over 1 year ago I wasn't ovulating at all. I hadn't had a period in almost 3 years and didn't know how I was ever going to fix my body.  Now, I'm ovulating on my own, but there's no denying that problems still exist. I'm ovulating late in my cycle, am having low progesterone responses post-ovulation as tested through bloodwork (pointing to poor ovulation) and obviously I'm still not pregnant. My temperatures are still running low (pointing to low progesterone) and I'm still having symptoms of hypothyroid, which can absolutely affect our chances of conceiving.

We have to be realistic about how long we're willing to wait to bring in other measures. I know now that my chances of having a child before the age of 35 (Advanced Maternal Age) are very slim. I will be 35 June 2, 2013. Along with the age of 35 comes reduced chances of success to achieving motherhood and also increased risks. As the months tick by, I think hubby and I are both hearing the clock tick a little louder, especially because we want more than 1 kiddo. Neither of us are getting any younger!

We made the decision this morning that I would talk to my OB/GYN and see if she could give me the prescription for Femara that I know my RE would give me anyways if I went to her. I am not ready to become thrust back into the whirlwind of my RE and the bazillion ultrasounds and lofty fertility medicine bills that will undoubtedly occur once I walk back through those doors. I'm just not ready for that yet.

However, I do think that I could benefit from just a little boost from an ovulation medicine if nothing else, and this is the easiest and least invasive course of action. Ovulation meds can work well for people like me with long cycles and weak ovulation. There are minimal side effects compared with many other fertility protocols, and Femara is nothing terrible like CloMAD. I did take Femara for one month before I swore off the RE, so I know my body reacts well to it and will produce a mature follicle sooner in my cycle and increase my chances statistically. It will also help bolster my low progesterone levels (which have most likely been a hindrance to me this whole time).

So, here I hold a prescription for 5 mg of Femara in my hands. I'll get it filled tomorrow and take it on CD3-CD7. The goal is to produce an ovulation that is sooner, stronger, and hopefully results with a successful pregnancy....a super ovulation if you will.

This has all been kind of a last minute decision to incorporate a Western medicine back into the picture, but I feel in my heart for our future family's sake, that it's time to use more means to make this happen. When I took meds a year ago, I feel like the meds were doing ALL the work and my body was doing NOTHING on it's own. Now, I feel like my body is finally working on it's own as much as it can and it can do half the work....if that makes sense. It won't just be the meds hauling all the weight this time around, because my body's in a better place to help things along where it can do it's fair share.

While I do believe God has a plan and things will happen with His timing, I also believe He has put people on this Earth to discover things that can help us. I've seen plenty of people have happy healthy babies by simply incorporating this medicine into the mix, and that is my hope for us as well.  I've also made an appointment with an endocrinologist that specializes in thyroid disorders to do more extensive testing to see if my thyroid could actually be posing real issues in conceiving.

We are excited to turn a new leaf and use what we have at our disposal this next cycle. I will keep you posted on what's unfolding. Please keep us in your prayers. :)


  1. Good luck Emily! I also was (is) on Femara and while I did have a CP, it let me finally achieve the one thing I have been praying for, to know that my body actually CAN get pregnant. You are so devoted to this process and I have complete faith in telling you that it will work for you!

    1. Thank you so much Darcy. I am sorry for your loss. I understand how bitter sweet that feeling know that at least you CAN conceive, but to still have no baby. I really hope I can achieve pregnancy again, hopefully soon. Prayers for both of us to have the miracles we want so badly!

  2. You know I am praying for you girl!!!! KMFX for you every step of the way this cycle!

  3. I too waited to get help. I kept thinking that my body was meant to get pregnant and that it would do so on its own. But my cycles were crazy...ovulating anywhere from CD15-33 or not at all for 2-3 months. At first I thought natural was the way to go and tried Vitex to even out my cycles, but that seems to make them even more wonky than before. I finally gave it and went to my OB, which lifted an enormous weight of my already heavy shoulders! Getting ready to O on my first Femara cycle on CD18 (tomorrow, hopefully) and I couldn't feel more hopeful for the future. I've come to terms that asking for help is the way to a take home baby and I'm ready to do whatever it takes to make that happen :)

  4. Well, I have a pretty good idea that there will be no pregnancy this time around. My temperature dropped this morning and I've been craving sweets all day,

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