Tuesday, February 23, 2016

To IVF or Not to IVF

Making the decision to take the financial, physical, and emotional plunge into IVF can be a very difficult one to make. I have had many friends approach me and ask how I knew it was the right thing. Honestly, for my husband and I, we had a possible 1% chance of ever conceiving naturally and, while we could have first tried a few rounds of IUI, the chances of those succeeding were so minimal that we didn’t have a lot of options. Outside of IVF, one doctor did recommend my husband undergo surgery in an effort to increase his sperm count, because as the doctor put it, “do you really want your child to be conceived in a test tube?”
Ultimately, there were a number of things that went into our decision to move forward and to seek treatment through IVF.

1      1. I did A LOT of research on our potential treatment options, success rates, and other’s experiences. Upon doing my research, I discovered that even if my husband got the absolute BEST results from the surgery (which held only a 50/50 chance), his sperm count would still likely be too low to seek treatment through IUI. In short, the surgery was unlikely to change our course of treatment anyway.
   2. Talking with my husband and making sure we were on the same page was another important, and sometimes discouraging, step of the process. IVF really is difficult and it is really important that you and your spouse are on the same page with everything. Marital stress can already be high in this process; therefore, it is especially important to be able to lean on one another and grow together as you make your journey through infertility as it can quickly do just the opposite.
   3. Mapping out the finances. Can I just say YUCK! It was so frustrating for me to think that I may not be able to do something to increase our chances of having a child because of something so trivial as money. There are a million other things to worry about and money is just not one that I wanted to have to address. However, it is really important to look at and make sure that you and your spouse are comfortable with your financial plan, whether it be taking on extra jobs and saving as much as possible of the next year, pulling it out of your savings account, or considering a loan.
   4. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, I really believe that when it is time to pursue IVF, you just know. You get a gut feeling, a nudge from within, that it is time. You may still be scared and working through the finances, but you know that that is the next best step. The timing of this is different for everyone, which can be frustrating. But going through the first steps will help you to feel more prepared when that time arises.

Wherever you are in your infertility journey, I wish you luck and anxiously await the day that you get to make your big announcement.

-Shauni Holcomb
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Surviving the Two Week Wait

Anyone who has ever tried to conceive a baby knows that waiting those two weeks to test and hopefully get that big fat positive, can be a really miserable and LONG experience! When going through fertility treatments, this time can be especially stressful and raise a lot of anxiety. Sometimes a lot of money is on the line, maybe it’s your last month of treatments for several months, or maybe you’re just feeling emotionally exhausted and feel like you can’t possibly go through one more month of trying. That two week wait can be awful, and unfortunately, there is not a magic spell to speed up time and make those two weeks pass more quickly. However, I found, through more two week waits than I ever wanted to experience, that there are a few things that you can do to help yourself not completely loose your mind. Here are a few things that worked for me, or should I say made that two week wait a bit more bearable!
  • ·      Make a list of books you’ve been wanting read and slowly work your way down the list. I found that not only did this help keep me busy, but it also took my mind off of constantly trying to over-analyze what was happening with my body.
  • ·      Organize those places in your home that get neglected. We all have that one drawer in the kitchen where junk tends to gather. We call it the junk drawer. I organized that drawer during every two week wait that I went through.
  • ·      Make a list of events that will happen within those two weeks. Church events, family events, school events, whatever it is write it down in the order they will happen. When I did this, I found that it gave me something to look forward to other than testing day.
  • ·      This isn’t something you should do but something you should steer clear of. It’s called GOOGLE. Have you heard of it? Yes me to! Just stay away from it during those two weeks. If you don’t your going to read stories of women who tested 7 DPO and got a positive test and it’s going to make your crazy.
  • ·      This one is debatable… but I would like to recommend that you don’t test until it’s actually testing day. Despite everything your mind and heart is telling you, put off that desire to test and just be patient. Let me tell you why. If you test early, and you get a negative, you’re still going to experience those emotions of disappointment, but you’re also not going to believe it. You will think “Ah it must be to early! I will test again tomorrow” and this cycle will repeat itself over and over and over, until you either get a positive, or you hit testing day and realize that it was in fact a true negative. Don’t put yourself through those emotions over and over again.
  • ·     
    Go on dates with your husband! These might be the last two weeks before your whole world changes and you find out your having a baby! Enjoy that time together. And if you get a negative instead of a positive, I think having spent time with your husband will only make your relationship stronger. No harm in that!

I know those two weeks are always going to be difficult to make it through. Hopefully these suggestions will make it a bit easier for you and those two weeks will pass quickly!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016


After our first appointment with the OBGYN doctor, my husband and I took the next steps to determine why we weren’t getting pregnant. For me, that included getting a Hysterosalpingogram done. The purpose of this exam was to make sure that one of my tubes was not blocked. If a tube is blocked, this prevents the egg from being released, which prevents fertilization from being able to occur, which prevents one from being able to become pregnant. Our doctor also said that, often times, even when the test comes back normal, many couples become pregnant soon after the exam. This is believed to be due to there being a small blockage and the test clearing it without them even knowing it was there.
                  We had to wait until my next period started and then go in three to five days after for the exam. This was to ensure that there was no possible way that I was pregnant. Prior to the exam, I did some research, which of course freaked me out. People talk about it being pretty painful and causing a lot of bleeding, plus doctor stuff naturally terrifies me!
Here was my experience with the exam:
                  Upon arrival, I was very anxious and nervous. I couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down my face as I waited for them to begin. As it turned out, it really wasn’t worth stressing out that much over. For the exam, I had to remove my clothing from the waist down and lay on a flat table so that they could take an X-ray of my uterus and fallopian tubes. The most uncomfortable part was the dye as they had to clamp open the cervix and then run a small tube containing the dye into the uterus. The dye was then squirted into each tube to ensure that it could run freely through, indicating that there was no blockage on either side. I was able to watch as the dye moved through. During this time, there was a little bit of uncomfortable pressure, but nothing too intense. It was pretty quick and the doctor told me my results right away, which I was so grateful for. Fortunately, both of my tubes were open, although, one side was a little difficult at first. Overall, everything looked good and normal! Afterward, I had light bleeding for a couple of days, but no other major side effects.

                  Overall, the HSG exam wasn’t too bad. We later found out that we would have had to do it, or something similar, prior to being able to pursue IVF anyway so I’m glad we got it done and out of the way!
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

IUI Tips and Tricks

IUI Tips and Tricks

  •            Healthy eating! I feel like this one can’t be emphasized enough, and will probably be included in almost every blog I write.  Make sure you eat plenty of whole foods and minimize process foods as much as possible! Eat lots of veggies, fruits, proteins (beans, nuts, lean organic meats), drink lots of water, and make sure to take a multivitamin or prenatal every day so your body gets all of the nutrients it needs. 
  •            Manage stress.  Life is filled with stressful things, and investing time and money into infertility treatments is hardly stress-free.  It’s not always possible to just get rid of it all together, but try to find things that help you manage it.  Things like acupuncture, spending time outside, getting sun, going for walks, reading a book, going to the gym, meditating, whatever helps you de-stress. 
  •           Robutussin cough syrup for the male- who would have thought?  The idea is to help with sperm motility and to clear things up a bit! I have no idea if this made a difference or not, but it was one of the first things my OBGYN recommended to my husband when we found out he had low sperm count and slow motility.  He did it faithfully every morning, and things seemed to improve when we went in for our IUI.
  •         Wear some comfy pajamas/sweats to the procedure.  The IUI itself really isn’t very painful, but afterwards I experienced a little bit of mild cramping and bloating. 
  •         Eat a pineapple.  I haven’t actually tried this one, but I have friends that did it for IVF and swear by it. In fact, one friend told me she would force me to eat it even if she had to shove it in my mouth herself if I ever ended up having to do IVF! There’s no medical proof that it works, but it is definitely worth a shot! To find out more about the pineapple trick and all of the details, click here. 
  •         Sex after the IUI.  If nothing else, this helps keep the intimacy in trying to conceive, but many clinics actually highly recommend you do this anyway!
  •         Find things to fill your time during the two-week wait. 
  •        Make a bucket list with your spouse/partner.  Who knows, maybe this will be the last two-week wait you have in 9 months!  Find things that you’ve wanted to do or haven’t done before- it will make it go by faster and you will enjoy it so much more and have good memories to look back on. 
    •  Have a weekend getaway
    •   Come up with a project/craft to work on
    • Anything to keep you as busy and stress free as possible, and believe me, I know that is hard to do!

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