This week was a blur. Lots of stuff going on lately. I’m a little behind posting this but better late than never. Last week I mentioned I wanted to stop my prescription medicine and my supplements for a few days to see if it would help with my headaches and migraines. Well, sure enough my daily headache disappeared and I only had one migraine this week. I started back up with my supplements and have not had any issues. This last week I have been drinking non-caffeinated herbal teas. The week prior I was drinking regular black tea which is caffeinated, and the week before that I was still trying to break my coffee addiction. So it was a step-by-step process of finding something to replace the one habit. I’m glad I’m doing this now as opposed to scrambling to break the addiction once I’m pregnant. I imagine my transition off of caffeine probably was a factor with the headaches.
Catch-up on Previous FET Prep Posts
Countdown Until FET: 41 days (as of 3-14-2020)
I got in touch with my nurse from my out-of-state clinic to let her know my cycle started. She said I needed to start my BCP (birth control pill) on Day 2. It’s official! This lady is down-regging! And in less than two weeks I’ll be starting all the shots. I’m in the process of putting in my order for all of my medicine including Leuprolide, Endometrin, Progesterone, and Estradiol.
I imagine my headaches will probably return due to starting BCP. In the past I’ve had a low-grade headache with BCPs. I’m taking one that is a progesterone-only pill that does not increase blood pressure. I recommend talking with your doctor about taking a progesterone-only BCP or other alternative if you have blood pressure issues. Years ago I was on a BCP that increased my blood pressure to “stroke levels” my doctor told me. It’s kind of freaky to think that you are feeling completely normal but inside your body is freaking the hell out.
For this upcoming FET I declined taking the BCP when they originally wanted me to start, which was months back. I instead asked them, “What is the least amount of time necessary to be on birth control prior to the FET?” They ended up having me start the pill one month before my FET. If you are about to do your FET or IVF cycle and you don’t like being on birth control, consider asking your doctor what the minimum amount of time is to be on BCP. I’ve also heard some women do IVF without any birth control. I think it all depends on your diagnosis and IVF protocol, which varies from person to person.
Years ago I went to a miscarriage and infant loss support group. I only went to one or two meetings and it was just the group leader and myself. The group leader was dealing with a deep depression after the loss of her infant. I had just experienced an early pregnancy loss. I was trying to be supportive to the group leader because I felt like her loss was so much greater than my own. It was a very sad experience and I tried my best to be supportive of her. I decided to take a break of a month or two from that group because I didn’t feel I was emotionally able to handle it. I found out that group had ended due to low turnout. That experience made me nervous to return to whatever new group would start in the future. But a new group didn’t start for a long time.
Now there is only one infertility support group where I live, and it’s fairly new. I was really nervous to go in. I find it easier to write about it and ask questions in online infertility groups. So it was a big step for me to do an in-person group with people I have never met before.
So this last Thursday as I sat in my car, about to go into an infertility group I had never been to before, I could feel my heart racing. I’ve been able to open up to friends and family about my struggles, but could I do it with strangers? I went in and as soon as I walked into the room with the three other women I immediately felt welcomed. I’d describe the energy in the room as light-hearted, kind, and open. Each of them were interested in my story and how I was doing. I felt like I needed this support to help me before my upcoming FET. I am so happy I went and not only did I feel incredibly supported but I also learned some new things to help me.
Over the years I have opened up with family and friends about my miscarriages and infertility issues. It was a very slow process at first. I had kept my miscarriages mostly to myself in the beginning. I felt like I was the only one dealing with it, while everyone else seemed to have babies so easily. I hadn’t even told some of my friends yet. Years ago my coworker had mentioned the reason she hadn’t had any kids yet was due to a miscarriage. I listened to her and gave her support, and then I told her that I had several miscarriages too. This was the first time I had talked with anyone other than my husband and Mom about my miscarriages. She was so brave to have gone through that and even braver to talk about it. She doesn’t know it, but she was the first person to help me feel more comfortable about sharing my story with others.
That moment, with the two of us sharing our story created a whole domino effect. I started talking about it more easily in time and had no idea how many women in my life had been dealing with exactly what I was going through. It was as if each of us was waiting for someone else to talk about it, and when one person did we all started talking about it. Even the women who hadn’t experienced it themselves always knew someone else who did, and therefore had an idea of what I was going through. Soon enough I had built up a very strong support system of friends, family, coworkers, doctors, nurses, and an online community that was all rooting for me.
There are so many layers to the COVID-19 virus. I admit, I vacillate between being concerned and actively trying to avoid the news in order not to get overly concerned. I think the best thing we can all do is to follow the guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I’m not going to pretend to be an authority on the subject, so please seek out information from reputable sources.
As far as its impact up here in Alaska. We just had our first case of COVID-19 announced in the news March 12. From what I hear, many people did panic-buying and decided to clean the shelves of toilet paper of all things. Thankfully we did our shopping before it all went down and have a big Costco-sized thing of toilet paper at home. Facebook is flooded with funny toilet paper memes. Other things I’ve heard we are low on are sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer. The other day at work our maintenance guy came in with sanitizing wipes and I heard our contracted painter ask him with intense interest, “Where did you manage to find that?” I get the impression there is a lot of panic-buying going on, but I haven’t gone shopping in about a week, and it didn’t seem bad at all when I did.
I’d say for me personally, my biggest concern is when I have to fly to Seattle for my FET in April. As of March 12, 2020 there have been 270 cases with 27 deaths in Washington state. I’m worried about possibly contracting it and it affecting my chances of conceiving and I’m also worried about passing it on to those in my life with immunity and health issues. I’ve heard that if you plan on traveling to do a self-quarantine period of 14 days. So essentially I’m taking the traditional 2WW to an extreme. I planned on being off work for two weeks after my FET anyway, so it hasn’t changed my plans.
I’ve been checking my email from my Seattle clinic for updates. I’m wondering if they will send out an email cancelling any procedures. If they do it’s not the end of the world. I just hope I don’t get pumped up with all these hormone injectables, costing hundreds of dollars, only to find out it has to be cancelled. They did send out an email saying that they are being vigilant about cleaning and telling patients to follow CDC guidelines. I’m sure some women have opted to postpone their IVF cycles.
In 2016 Kurtis and I had decided to try to conceive right after we got married. But we had to change our plans when we found out our wedding and honeymoon locations had cases of Zika. If you don’t remember, Zika is an “Infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects” (CDC, 2020). After we learned about the awful effects of Zika, we decided to wait six months to try to conceive after our trip, as the CDC suggested. In a way I feel like COVID-19 is yet again another issue that may potentially delay our plans.
But so far we are still good to go. My husband and I are both healthy and plan on follow CDC guidelines in order to avoid this. We only planned to be in Seattle for a couple nights anyway and weren’t planning on doing anything while we were there other than be lazy in the hotel, so I feel like we won’t be missing much anyway. I feel for the people and their families who have been affected by COVID-19 and hopefully we will find a way to control this virus soon.
Mini Victories for the Week
Went to a new infertility group and shared my story.
Started my BCP.
Work in Progress
Order my FET meds this week.
Plan to work less hours in April to prep for FET.
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Want to find out how fertile you are?
The Modern Fertility test is an affordable test that shows your hormone levels and gives you an overall picture of where you stand with your fertility. I recommend taking this test at least every 9-12 months to keep track of your hormone levels. What hormones will be tested? Depending on the type of birth control you are on they can test up to eight different hormone levels which may include:
AMH (Anti-mullerian hormone)
FSH (Follicle stimulating hormone)
LH (Luteinizing hormone)
TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone)
FT4 (Free thyroxine)