Wow. All I am feeling right now is gratitude! Gratitude that I can omit taking some medication! Curious? Read on!
Well, as you know I wrapped up last week in more of a joyous state than I thought I'd be in. Our birthday celebration for Jacob was last Wednesday. Easter was Sunday. Family, Christ's Resurrection, remembering my sweet baby in Heaven...good times!
In the midst of all of that, I had some more good news. I don't remember if I wrote about it in an earlier blog? My news? My period FINALLY started and ON IT'S OWN! My last period had been Feb. 23. The Clomid from that cycle screwed things up so I didn't have a March cycle. Tests confirmed I had a lining but wasn't pregnant (unfortunately) so they gave me Provera to get my cycles going again. Unfortunately we ran into all sorts of timing issues--my husband being out of town, me being out of town during the possible time when my period would start (you have to see the RE on a certain day for an baseline ultrasound before they give you Femara), etc. So, they allowed me to delay starting the medication until the end of my Easter trip when timing issues would be better. I felt so relaxed this past month!
Well, on April 21, the very day after Jacob's birthday celebration, I woke up to my period! I was so shocked and happy that I didn't have to try to force it. It came when it was ready. I don't know, maybe it would have come eventually anyway but my nurse told me at the top of the month that it more than likely wouldn't--without help, that is. For me, I'd like to think that that help was God. He is stronger than any medications and can make it start when He wants. That's what I'm going with!
One more thing--I thought it was such neat timing that my period started the day after Jacob's birthday. How strangely wonderful, don't you think? I celebrated the day that I would have held my precious baby and then the next day, finally, my period comes...almost as if to signify a new start. Again, I just marvel at the timing of some things!
So here I am, happy that I don't have to mess with any more medication than necessary. I call my RE on Friday to inform them that my period started and find out that I have to make it in no later than Monday for a baseline ultrasound prior to taking Femara. Mind you, Easter Sunday is a big day in our family. We go to church, have my grandma's big dinner, then visit my dad in the evening. Lots and lots of visiting! Originally, we hadn't planned on leaving my mom's until Monday afternoon to return home which would allow us Monday morning for last minute packing and loading.
I decided to go for it and so Alex & I committed to making the 11:45 AM ultrasound appointment Monday morning. After a nice Easter celebration with my family, I jumped into finishing packing and then loaded the van all night long in the rain. It was a bit on the miserable side. I had lots to pack still--toys, candy, movies the boys watch, Easter basket goodies, etc. And I had everything in the back of the van to load. Despite only having 3 hours of sleep the night before (Mrs. Easter Bunny was up late helping her mom frost cookies, prepping my boys baskets, stuffing eggs, etc.), I sacrificed sleep for a second night in a row in order to make this appointment. I sent Alex to bed at midnight because I knew he needed rest coming off of his Army school. I worked until 4 AM and slept less than 2 hours that night. That put me at a grand total of 5 hours for two days in a row.
We made it home after a 3.5 hour drive and right on time for my appointment. I kept thinking that these were all positive signs that God wanted us to give it a go...that I shouldn't just waste a cycle and not try to make the appointment.
Well, then that all crashed...kind of. The nurse found a cyst on one of my ovaries. That means that I can't do Femara this round. If a cyst is bigger than 15 mm, it means the Femara probably won't work. Apparently big cysts can send out hormones of their own which can interrupt with ovulation. Either you don't ovulate or you don't have a 'good one.'
Now for the potential good news, hence my 'kind of' at the beginning of the previous paragraph. I also have two follicles on the other ovary which appear to be at the right size for this time of the month. Woohoo! Maybe? The trouble is, these things aren't "date stamped" (that's how I like to think of it!) so we can't tell if they are new or old follicles. They could be follicles left over from my last cycle or they could be new ones. If they are new, then they are growing maybe happy little eggs in there which could be released in ovulation...provided the big cyst doesn't block it somehow. Confusing, huh?
The nurse threw a prescription for birth control pills at me saying that it would shrink the cyst and that I should come back in 3 weeks to check it and then begin Femara when my next period starts. She also mentioned that it was up to me, there is a chance the follicles could grow on their own, despite the big cyst, and yield good eggs. She reminded me of what appears to be a motto in their office, "Never say never." But, taking the pill would shut all of that down and prevent any chance of me getting pregnant this month.
UGH! I hate to make decisions, have I ever mentioned that??? I truly hate it. I'm pretty good at it--I can analyze things backwards and forwards, I can make pros and cons lists, I can argue anything really. But that doesn't mean I like to make decisions--especially decisions like this. The nurse said I had to make up my mind and start the pill no later than Tuesday. I stuffed my prescription into my purse and in my sleepy and disappointed stupor took the wrong elevator down and ended up in the hospital side instead of the physicians office side. Eventually I found my way to the right parking lot where Alex & the boys were waiting for me in the van (remember we had just drove in from my mom's).
After giving him my news, picking up our dog from the kennel and leaving a message for my OB to get her advice, we all laid down for a nap around 2. By this time, after only 5 hours of sleep in two days, and after getting news like that at the appointment that I worked so hard to make, I was beat, drained and just worn out.
Don't ask me how, but somehow I heard my phone vibrating about 2 hours later. It was my OB calling back. I flew out of bed, jumped over our sleeping pooches on the floor and ran to the kitchen to talk--all the while hoping I could clear my head enough to communicate with her.
I'm sure the doctor thought I was totally loopy or something--I was babbling at first and probably not making much sense. I was so tired and still felt half asleep. I couldn't wake myself up fast enough. I guess I made as much sense as I could and my OB seemed to at first lean towards me waiting out the cyst without medical intervention, but then she changed her mind and went with my specialist's/nurse's advice to take the pills. I thanked her and jumped back into bed for a few more minutes of snooze time while the rest of my family was still dozing.
Later that night, I got the mail that had piled up in our box while we were out of town for a week. Wouldn't you know, I received three different baby things in the mail? How ironic that they come on the day that I find out I can't start the Femara and that I have to pretty much go into a holding pattern again this month by taking the birth control pills--to prevent pregnany. I found a sample box of Enfamil, one of Similac and a flyer/letter from a local photographer which read, "Did you just have a baby? If so, congratulations!" Great timing, folks! I guess they all got my name and due date from something that I had signed up for last fall. I kind of cringed at the timing and trudged back up my driveway with the boxes and flyer weighing heavy in my hands.
I wondered what I should do. Should I take the pills? Was that the message God was sending me? Why is it so hard to know what He wants you to do? Does anyone else have this problem? Some times I feel so dense. It's SO HARD knowing what course of action to take. I'd like to think I was following the signs right--we made it just in time to make the appointment in order to "not waste any cycles" and to try Femara this round. But, then I find out I have a cyst. So, they throw 'shrinking meds' at me. Is that what I'm to do then? Or perhaps, trust that maybe things can work on their own with the 2 follicles that just might be working?
I discussed it with my hubby, my mom and even a friend through facebook chat. In the end, I made up my mind. Perhaps God was putting this medical intervention in my way for a reason. Maybe it's good that we made it to the appointment so we could do something now about the cyst instead of finding out later. I decided I'd fill the prescription on Tuesday and start taking it. I even talked with two friends at my Tuesday night dance class and they said that they had heard of women taking the pill, getting off of it and getting pregnant the very next month. I guess it looked still like that was the right decision for me.
So after a late night supper Tuesday, I read through the pamphlet they give you with every medication--the one that lists the side effects and all of the warnings that half the time make you want to flush every pill down the toilet rather than take it! Despite all of the warnings and precautions which made me a bit uncomfortable, I tried not to think any more about it and popped the tiny pill into my mouth. I was frustrated as I talked to Alex before he went to bed. I was just a bit down that we were 'on hold' again this month. What did this mean for a woman like me who is getting close to menopause? I just hoped we were doing the right thing.
Then the first symptoms started. Dizziness. Yuck. I hate dizziness. I went back and re-read the pamphlet. Two things caught my attention which I might have overlooked before. The first was this: "Women over 35 are at a greater risk for heart problems." What did that mean? What was the greater risk? From 1% to 3%? Or were we talking about something like 50% risk?? Yikes. Then, I read the part about irregular heart beats. I have never been diagnosed with or treated for this, but I think at least once in my past I thought I detected something like that. When I asked my doctor about it, he told me not to worry about it unless I had certain other symptoms in addition to the beats, etc. So, was this something that could be exacerbated by the pill? And then I developed a stomachache Wednesday morning that lasted all day--ah yes, nausea was listed as another fun side effect of the pill.
I decided I'd call my nurse/RE back on Wednesday to pick their brain some more. I'm sure these nurses must just love me and all of my questions. A different nurse from the one I saw on Monday returned my call. Without really addressing my 'heart concerns' initially, she starts talking about how my cyst really wasn't that big...and not big enough to truly warrant taking the pill. She told me that it's only 23 mm and I need it to only shrink 9 mm in order to be able to take Femara. She also said that the other RE in the office doesn't even prescribe the pill for women with bigger cysts. He doesn't believe that there is enough proof in the research that shows that the pill really does work in this case. My RE apparently does, so he gives the medication.
Wow! Talk about a change of events! Bottom line--my nurse told me to stop taking the pill. She said if it was making me uncomfortable, it wasn't worth it, especially with the facts that she mentioned about the differing doctor opinions and my cyst being smaller. I was so grateful for her call. I can't tell you how good I feel about not having to take any more medication than really necessary!!
So, here I am. No more pills. Back to trying on our own this month. It's kind of like what would have happened had we not made Monday's appointment. So, did I sacrifice sleep and rush around like a crazy woman for nothing? I don't know. Should I really be taking that medication in order to try everything possible to shrink the cyst? Should I trust that it wouldn't do me any harm? Or should I go with what the nurse told me today...that is, to stop taking it and see how things go on their own this month? I tell you, I wish I knew exactly what message God was sending me. I guess all I can walk away with is this--yes, He helped us get back here just in time for Monday's appointment. Yes, I have a cyst that is preventing me from taking Femara. Yes, I was given the chance to take the pill to try to shrink it. But, it just didn't feel right to me. I didn't like the potential risks, no matter how small they are. So, with the nurse's advice today, I'd like to think that God is telling to just trust Him in this whole process. Maybe something good will happen this month and those 2 follicles will grow and release an egg. Maybe that's the part He wanted me to see..to get from my ultrasound. Trust Him. There are follicles in there and that's a good thing. That's what I'm going with.
What a roller coaster, huh? I still find myself a little scared that this cyst will grow and not shrink. I really hope it doesn't grow!! I have dance performances for the next 5 weekends straight and a painful cyst like the one I had in February would be pretty bad timing. I just keep telling myself that it will be alright--it's not as big as my other one and according to today's nurse, "Not that big at all, really." So maybe it's not that big to really cause a problem with my ovulation this month.
On the baby front, we're back to our own game now. At least we have a shot unlike if I'd be taking the pill this month and not having any chance of getting pregnant. So, who knows.
Are you dizzy yet? :) Normally, I love roller coasters. They are my favorite ride at the amusement park. This one, however, has been a little chaotic. Every time I tried to wrap my head around something, something else would change and make everything around it change...including what I thought about it--I can't make it back in time, I can make it back in time, can we make it back?, I'm so tired, I made it!, I have 2 follicles!, oh no, I have a cyst, I have to take meds, maybe I don't, okay I will, eh, I'm not so sure about it, now I don't, hooray I still have a chance this month!, man, I hope this is the right decision! WHEW! That's just a sneak peek into my brain in the last 5-6 days.
How do you listen to what God is telling you? What about when things get confusing or appear to be contradictory? Do you go with what feels right? Do you trust authority figures (i.e. medical professionals, etc.)? Do you look for signs? I'd really love to hear what you do or what helps you. Like I said before, it's always been an area in my life where I hope to improve and to better hear God and to understand what I'm to do.
And so I'm off...I'm on my own this month. Maybe my month off last month coupled with my sweet Baby Jacob's birthday celebration will have some positive impact on things. Maybe there's a happy little egg in there just waiting for Mommy to give him/her a "heart" sign like we love to do! Wouldn't that be the best part of this roller coaster journey?? :)
Until next time, I'm buckling up and going for a ride!