Monday, October 26, 2009

Dodging Questions

If you are like me, and hopefully you aren't, 30 of your closest friends know you are trying. Now since people know (in my case I had surgery and multiple miscarriages, so it became pretty public), they feel they can constantly ask you if you are pregnant.

I think this needs a well-crafted response. It is easy when you aren't to say, "no" or something more self-pitying, like "yeah, right, like that would ever happen to me?". But you need to tread more carefully, because when you are in fact pregnant and not wanting to share, you feel like either you will have to fess up or lie. And then a part of me feels like a lie will doom the pregnancy.

Here are some ideas.
"That would be nice"
"From your lips"
"Did my mom put you up to this?"

What do you have in your arsenal?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

H1N1=no fun

The media has done an outstanding job of scaring the bejesus out of any TTCer, expectant, or nursing mom. The controversy stems on an ingredient in the H1N1 vaccine-thimerosal. This ingredient contains a mercury preservative. While the medical community denounces that mercury leads to autism, Jenny McCarthy firmly believes it. Laughable right? But she managed to galvanize legions of paranoid women and frankly, it seems most of us will at least take pause before rolling up our sleeves.

I did a little investigation into this and the CDC and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists both strongly recommend vaccination. In fact, on the ACOG website, they actually wrote out a script for OBs to tell their patients. This bothered me. I was hoping for an honest response from my doctor, but I feel I will get a canned answer. I actually have a call into my doctor to hear her take on the the H1N1 vaccine.

Because of the Jenny McCarthy army, they are in development of a vaccine without thirmerosal, so it wouldn't contain mercury for doses given to expectant moms and children. I think this is interesting since researchers say mercury doesn't lead to autism.

Here is what the medical community is saying. Pregnant women are at an exponentially higher risk of dying or having serious complications once they contract H1N1 the the general population. Also, infants can't take the medicine until 6 months, so they can at least get in in utero or through breast milk. The medicine is supposedly created the same way the seasonal flu shout is made every year.

I am leaning towards getting it but want to know if I can get the version without thirmerosal. You know, since I get all my medical advice from former Playboy playmates.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back from Italy!

Italy was fantastic! I loved every single second of it and it was such a nice break from my constant TTC, over-active mind.

I completely abandoned my Atkins eating. What's a day without pizza and gelato? We walked so much I was able to justify it. In typical male fashion, my charming hubby lost 8 pounds. Who the heck goes to Italy, eats exclusively pizza and pasta and drinks way more than normal and loses 8 pounds? I didn't gain and thought I pulled off a major coup.

Venice was the most beautiful place I had ever seen in my whole life. We did a gondola ride which was the highlight of the trip for me.

What I always forget about when traveling abroad is the cigarette smoke. I have a theory that when a kid turns seven, they shove a cigarette in his mouth and give him a Vespa. I really want to do research on lung cancer rates in Italy, because if the research is true that cigarettes=lung cancer, and I have been raised to believe it is, their occurrence rates must be sky-high.

Even though a Furla store was directly across from my Florence hotel, taunting me with amazing handbags, I really didn't get anything but a belt at the leather mart. Greg bought a bunch of wine.

So what did I miss? Any BFPs?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Own Personal Babymoon?

Today is the big day - we are leaving for what is hopefully our babymoon! 10 days in Italy (Florence, Venice and Rome). I have gotten tons of great advice, everything from where to eat to walk on the perimeter on St. Marks Square to steer clear of the legions of pigeons. My cousin said she was literally in tears dealing with the birds.

I won't be able to post while overseas. Feel free to send me comments/emails about topics/products you are interested in having me blog about.

I hope I return to many BFPs from my readers and a bambino on board of my own.

Will keep you posted!



Saturday, October 3, 2009

Questions to Ask Your Fertility Doctor

I know when I first was told by my OB that I should see a Fertility Doctor, I felt like someone punched me in the gut. I thought I don't really have a fertility problem- I had a fibroid, had it out, and now I will be normal again. Regardless my mom and mother-in-law wear waiting with baited breath for me to see a specialist.

I am so happy I did, because I left with two things: hope and a plan.

There are generic questions that I think everyone should ask and then some more specific questions about your own situation.

When you meet, your doctor will take a very in depth history of your TTC struggle. Make sure to have you OB fax over or deliver a copy of all test results to date (everything from thyroid to blood clotting disorders).

Here are some things to discuss:
  1. Hours of operation: Let's face it, once you go down the assisted reproduction route, you will have lots of appointments. If you have a full-time job, this can be difficult to run out everyday during lunch to see if you sprouted follicles overnight. Many clinics offer testing at 7am and after work hours. Weekend hours are also critical because your ovaries don't take Saturday and Sunday off just because your doctor does. My doctor has morning and evening hours as well as limited weekend hours.

  2. Blood test results: My regular OB takes about 36 hours to get blood test results. As many of you know this is agonizing. At my Fertility Doctor, if you take a blood test by 9am, you get results by 3pm the same day. If you are like most TTCers, this is a huge benefit.

  3. Success Rates: How successful has your doctor been with IUI, IVF, etc. Also, make sure they are citing live births, not just BFPs.

  4. What tests will she run: My RE ran more thyroid tests than my OB had. She also did a genetic screening for diseases, she tested progesterone levels 6dpo and 12dpo, and a second HSG. This is particularly important if you have unexplained infertility.

  5. Accessibility: My doctor prides herself on speaking to you the day of your call. In fact, she asks that you leave her a message when you go in for blood tests, so she can call you as soon as results are in. It is also fairly easy to get a hold of her nursing staff.

  6. Costs: Like me, many people have no fertility insurance. Get an idea of what procedures cost. My doctor didn't let me get to far ahead of myself so we only talked about the costs of Clomid+trigger+IUI, which she thought with all the monitoring would be around $1000 with no insurance. Find out if you pay upfront if you get a discount or if they have payment plans.

  7. What's her plan for you: My doctor had a clear plan, try for four months, if not pregnant, we will get my husband tested, start clomid (IUI if I wanted) and if that didn't work after a couple months, we would do IUI. After the discovery of my Luteal Phase Defect last month, the plan has revised. We will try for a total of two more months naturally + progesterone after ovulation, and if that doesn't work, clomid+IUI+progesterone. You want to leave knowing how many times you will try each step until moving on to your next options.

  8. Does your doctor trust your gut: All along I felt I had a luteal phase problem and my OB attributed it to poor ovulation. My RE respectfully disagreed and I was proved right last month when I started off with a great progesterone number and it tanked. My OB would have forced me to take clomid while the RE said let's try supporting the Luteal Phase with progesterone before we put clomid in the mix.

  9. What else can I do to help me get pregnant: she might suggest baby aspirin, b-6 vitamins, progesterone, lose or gain weight, more exercise, less exercise, a specific diet

  10. At what point do I go back to my OB: For me, as soon as I get my blessed bfp, after calling the Chicago Tribune and my third grade social studies teacher, I will call my regular OB to let her know that I am pregnant and set up a 12 or 13 week appointment. My RE will keep me until 9 weeks when she can confirm my baby has a strong, healthy heartbeat.

  11. How do you treat recurrent miscarriages: If this has been an issue for you, find out if you will get additional screenings and what she does to try and sustain pregnancy.

  12. How does she feel about pregnancy reduction: This is a good question to ask yourself and discuss with your man. It is proven that carrying multiples increases the risk of health problems for mom and babies. Some doctors don't want a mom to carry more than twins while others will feel comfortable with you carrying many more. Discuss her stance. This is a reality you will have to discuss since many fertility drugs stimulate the creation of multiple follicles.
I will end with this bit of advice. A friend of mine who is about 12 years older than I am went through fertility hell to get her daughter. She told me to go to a fertility doctor about 4 months before I did. She said just do whatever it takes to get a baby and don't waste time. She said she wished someone would have told her that when she started. I didn't take her advice because I was hell-bent on doing it naturally. And now I am sitting her absolutely agreeing with her. I honestly don't know what I was trying to prove with my puritanical approached to trying to conceive.

This morning I was on the phone with my sister-in-law. She was two weeks behind me in pregnancy with her second. Obviously, mine didn't work out. I have a beautiful baby niece now. As we were talking, I could hear my niece making the cutest sounds enjoying cereal, her new found food. It is times like this where it just hits me. The baby I was pregnant with last year would have been 6 months old and in all this time, I am not even pregnant.

So if you are on the fence about going to the fertility doctor, I say what do you have to lose other than months of frustration. While it might be scary to hear there is something wrong with you or sometimes worse, we can't find anything wrong with you, it is important that you have this ally. A fertility doctor is dedicated to getting you and keeping you pregnant, simple as that.