Our first steps to fertility

Sunday, August 28, 2016


I've blogged nearly every major story in my life.  I kept a blog through high school and college, which (probably for the better) no longer exists.  I blogged during my stint in Africa and my few weeks in India.  And, well, I guess that's it.  So I've had three major stories?  That doesn't feel quite accurate.  But now that I'm sitting here thinking about it, social media, specifically Instagram, has created a blackhole of my adventures since I've had it.

Back to the topic, I anticipate this "journey" being a very major story in our life and I want to document it.  And I know other people are going through the same challenge of not being able to conceive naturally, so I hope in some way it may serve as an encouragement or resource for those folks if they stumble upon this blog.

Since my last post, I've had blood work and a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) completed.  The blood work looked at my hormone levels, all of which came back normal.  The HSG is where a doctor fills your uterus and fallopian tubes with a contrast dye and takes an x-ray to make sure your tubes aren't blocked.  Mine were good!

After we completed those steps, my doctor recommended we start working with a fertility clinic.  She mentioned the Sher Institute and the Nashville Fertility Center.  For a story that will be saved until a later date (and for the proximity), we chose the Nashville Fertility Center.

On Thursday, we had our very first appointment with our doctor at NFC.  She was great, and they don't waste anytime.  It took about two hours.  A nurse took some basic vitals for me (weight, blood pressure, etc) and general information about our situation.  Next, we had a consultation with the doctor.  She went over the results of my tests or labs or whatever medical term I should be using and Ian's sperm analysis.  Then, I had a transvaginal ultrasound.  The HSG showed my tubes were open, but not much else.  The ultrasound allowed our doctor to look for any fibroids or cysts within my uterus as well as count the numbers of egg follicles in my ovaries, and probably some other things that I don't really know.  She essentially said "Everything looks good, but your ovaries are a little small."  And I replied "YOUR OVARIES ARE SMALL."  Just kidding, I didn't do that.  Finally, they did a round of blood work on us.  They'll look for antisperm antibodies in both of us, as well as my Anti-Müllerian hormone level to get an idea about my egg reserve.

We ended with talking about the next steps.  Without the results of our blood work, our doctor put us in the "unexplained infertility" group.  That diagnosis is both incredibly reassuring as it means we're pretty normal, but also a bit frustrating as we can't pinpoint exactly what the culprit is and so we'll just try whatever we can.

The first "whatever we can" consists of a couple fertility drugs and an intrauterine insemination.  I'm taking clomiphene citrate (generic version of Clomid) on days 3-7 of my cycle.  Because I normally have an LH surge around days 16/17, I'll go in for a follicular scan (another ultrasound to look at my egg development, I think) around day 15.  Then I'll take a shot of Ovidrel to trigger ovulation about 36 hours later.  Finally, we'll do the IUI when I ovulate.  

Even though I seem to ovulate regularly, these drugs will hopefully create more viable eggs and more clearly pinpoint my ovulation.

I took the first dose of clomiphene citrate today.  I know a few folks who have had IUIs without success.  To practice the power of positive thinking, I've been browsing the internet or Instagram for #iuisuccess stories, as the odds still won't really be in our favor.  But now, I'm encouraged at the number of babies who represent that hashtag.  

And that is where we stand today.  So as you read this, say a little prayer or send out a positive vibe for us if you wouldn't mind - we'll take all the help we can get.

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