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Fertility Fact Friday

 

Fertility Medicines

For most of us on this infertility journey it will involve seeing a specialist, a reproductive endocrinologist. And, for most of us, he/she may prescribe fertility medicines.  Oh joy, Is what I say! As much as they are designed to  be beneficial for our infertility woes, they sure can wreak havoc on our emotions! Can any of you relate?

For today’s FFF I wanted to share RESOLVE’s page on fertility medicines, but I’d also like to get a comment thread running and hear from you. If you’d like, please leave a comment on your experience with fertility medicines. I feel if we can relate our experiences, either positive or negative, I believe we can help one another. I’ll start, see my comment below.

A word of advice. For any fertility drug recommended to you, please research, ASK questions, consult with others, acquire knowledge and most of all, pray, yes,  I said, pray. Be led by His peace before you pop one pill in your mouth or inject yourself with high doses of medicine. Not every drug suggested  by your doctor is for you. 

I’m not meaning to be a “Debbie Downer” here, I sincerely care. I know how much your heart aches for a child and you are willing to do and take anything to have a baby, but I encourage you…be wise. The Lord Jesus Christ has a perfect plan and He will lead you to the next step.

Have a great weekend everyone! Love ya’ll.
Lesli 

If you’ve taken fertility medicines, please leave a comment and share your experience.

Here’s some helpful information on fertility medicines from RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association of the U.S.

http://www.resolve.org/family-building-options/fertility-medicines.html

Leave a comment

Lesli Westfall

For me, I took Clomid for a few months. Prescribed by my regular OB/Gyn. It made me a witch with a capital ‘B’. I know, that doesn’t sound very Christian does it? But I didn’t like how it affected me emotionally, I just wasn’t myself. Also, at this time I was low on progesterone so I was place on vaginal suppositories. Uh, yuck is all I can say, it was messy.

After moving to a new RE, my second one, she prescribe Gonal-F injectables. I took one round of it, it didn’t have much of an affect, a few follicles, but none large enough. For this particular cycle my Estrogen or Estradol (sp?) was too high and they canceled the cycle on me before the IUI could be performed. It was heart-wrenching.

I then went another round of Gonal-F self-injectables, this time 1050 IU which I believe is one of the highest amounts you can take. We were good to go for the IUI, but it failed. This was devastating to me, because I was told, “There’s no hope for you to conceive.” due to my age and low ovarian reserve. But there was a healing of my emotions, my grief after that report and there was much processing to do, and it’s only by the grace of Jesus Christ. All I can say is ‘But God!’. He’s not finished with me yet and He is not finished WITH YOU!

Amazingly with Gonal-F I did not have any side effects or mood swings. I know my husband was sure glad!

Hey! Leave YOUR comment too! 🙂

Lesli

We just completed our first round of IVF and in the course of 6 weeks, I was on over a dozen different drugs, ugh! Before we began the cycle, I prayed that God would give me (and my husband) grace through all of the emotional side effects that could occur. And HE did! What I wasn’t prepared for though, were the physical side effects and I was very surprised by how terribly fatigued I became. There were days when all I could do was muster up the energy to pull myself out of bed and make it to the sofa. But in the end, every single dose and injection was worth it. We have seen God’s unbelievable provision in our journey to parenthood and he has taken our sorrow and grief and turned it into rejoicing, hallelujah!

Lesli Westfall

Thanks Katy for sharing. Wow! a dozen drugs, bless your heart. But I’m so glad to hear of the faithfulness of God through it all. Bless you!

Lesli

I have been taking a combination of clomid and dexamethoson (sp?) for three months now. The goal has been to lead to IUI, the first two months didn’t make it there due to my own ovulation and a vacation during the “prime time.” The third has been seen through to IUI yesterday. Side effects from the meds…not much. A little dryness (if you know what I mean?), maybe a little breast tenderness during ovulation time…but that’s about it. Emotionally, not much, thank God. I have been a little more fatigued than normal, but I’m not sure if that’s becasue of the season of life I’m in (a lot of other factors around us right now) or the medicine. All in all, its not been a bad experience at all. The worst part of it all for us is the waiting. Little moments of waiting, within larger moments of waiting. But He sustains us through it all! 🙂

We have been hoping to conceive for about 2 years, and so far we’ve only had the basic testing done (his sperm, my blood). We plan to have additional testing done this fall.

The first time my progesterone was tested, the OB/GYN said it was too low (~7.0) and wanted to put me on Clomid, but I did not feel peace about that or seeing that doctor again.

Then my PCP doctor prescribed a progesterone cream to apply topically (to the underside of my forearm). I noticed that my menstrual periods from that point on became much more pleasant (if that’s even possible!) because I used to have pretty painful cramps and large blood clots, but after using the cream, those symptoms diminished, thankfully.

I also changed to my current OB/GYN and she said ~7.0 isn’t something to be overly concerned about, but re-tested my progesterone anyway (after I had been using the cream for a while), and the results were higher, 8.5. She recommended I continue using it.

I haven’t noticed any negative side effects from using the cream, other than a slightly less cervical mucus production. To try to avoid that problem (gotta have all the CM I can get!), I decided to only use the cream during cycle days 15 until my period starts. It’s important to note that if you use a progesterone supplement of any kind, if you do become pregnant, you should be sure to continue using it through the first trimester, otherwise you may accidentally trigger a miscarriage with the sudden drop in progesterone. At least that’s what my doctor told me.

I’ve also been taking a supplement called Fertile CM, and I’ve noticed an increase in sex drive (which the hubby loves) and natural CM/lubrication, which is nice.

Those are all my experiences…thanks to all for sharing yours!

I took Clomid for 5 months and hated it. I hated it because it was a combination of what it did to my physically but also because we weren’t being monitored so I would obsessively stress about whether or not we got the timing right because I didn’t want a medicated cycle go to waste. To the point where I had a few panic attacks. I’m sure Clomid played a part in that.

Then when we did our IUIs, at different times I was on Ovidril, Estradiol, Follistim, Bravelle, and Gonal-F. And we can’t forget that my progesterone levels were always incredibly low so every cycle I was on a progesterone suppository 2 times a day. Fun.

The worst I have ever felt emotionally on medication was surprising; when we started the IVF process they put you on birth control for a few weeks to help regulate your ovaries and keep the follicles at the same size so when they give you your trigger shot, all the follicles grow at the same rate/size so you have a more likely chance for more eggs. Anywho, they put me on birth control and I don’t know what it was but it must have been military grade because I was an emotional monster! It wreaked havoc on my hormones; I was crying uncontrollably and depressed like I’ve never been before. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. All because of birth control? It was very strange. (that’s actually the month I started coming to HOPE). But that IVF round ended up not working out because that’s when we found out that I have a low ovarian reserve.

I try to keep a good attitude and a sense of humor about it all. I even wrote a blog post about the time my mail-order ovulation medication was almost confiscated by a man that lived in our old apartment. I think finding the irony has helped me make it through all the junk your body goes through on meds. And of course, relying on God’s strength. That’s the only way.

Tonya

My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for several years and have done several rounds of IUIs and just recently started on drugs. They put me on Letrozole and haven’t had many side effects (maybe a lil emotional, but not bad) Does anyone know anything about Letrozole? My dr. recommended it over Chlomid as it maybe doesn’t have as many side effects? Now, I’m in the waiting stage after our first IUI on this drug…hoping and praying!

Kaye

It’s been 5 years and 8 months since our journey began. We only began treatments a year ago this month after first having a laparotomy myomectomy surgery to remove fibroids that they thought was the issue. 9 months after the surgery nothing happened so we started treatments. It hasn’t been consistently every month as we know the effects of that on your mind, body, emotions, relationship and your finances. So over the past year, we took 6 treatments. Two IUIs including one this month. 4 with clomid. One without any meds (investigative month) and this current month with Letrazole. My lining was thinning with clomid and it was also causing me to experience a range of emotions, hot flashes and dryness. Letrazole only caused slight headaches and mild fatigue the first 5 or so days. According to my husband, I haven’t been emotional. I think he’s being nice. I have felt lethargic and that ‘just there’ blah feeling from time to time this month. So this Tuesday is my 35 birthday as well as THE day. I’m really praying that this iui was successful. The following week my hubby turns 40. Wouldn’t that be a great present!!

Kaye

I also got injections to cause ovulations (pregnyl). They just heighten whatever the previous med was causing me to experience but only for a day or two.

Anonymous

(Sorry for leaving an ‘anonymous’ comment. We’re still in a place of uncertainty about whether or not to publicly share our struggle to conceive. Thanks for understanding.)

Our journey has been several years long, after having a miscarriage and finding out my hormones were wacky. I know it’s not comparable to some who have been journeying much longer than us but as we all know, it doesn’t matter whether it’s 1 year of trying to conceive or 11 years; the pain of infertility is still the same. I’ve been on progesterone suppositories for 9 months now. Physical side effects are manageable. Being more tired than usual is better than side effects for Clomid, which I was on for 5 months. Clomid would give me hot flashes, dryness, moodiness and an upset stomach. Although we work with a wonderful Christian doctor, that is by no means a guarantee of achieving pregnancy. We simply continue to pray for God’s will in our infertility journey.

Praying for all of you hoping and waiting…

Lesli Westfall

Hi Anonymous,

I’m so glad you left a comment, please don’t apologize. I understand, and I’m sure others reading this do too. Whether it’s 1 day or 15 years, infertility still is heart-wrenching, “But God!”, He can comfort us and bring us healing for our grieving hearts.

We’ll continue to pray for you and thanks, for praying for us all. And glad you shared about your medicines too. This can help so many and make them feel not alone.

Take care, blessings to ya,
Lesli

Lesli Westfall

Traci, so true He sustains us all. Praying your IUI will be fruitful in more ways than one! Keep us posted!

God bless,
Lesli

Lesli Westfall

Kaye,

I’m still hanging with you on this journey. I know you have been through a lot, but God is not finished with you yet. Where one door seems to be slammed shut, I believe He’ll open the swing WIDE OPEN the window of new opportunity and a new season.

I’m here for you.

Love,
Lesli

Lesli Westfall

Tonya,

I’m hoping and praying with you too! Believing God for a fruitful outcome. Please keep us posted. No, I don’ know anything about Letrazole. There is so much out there.

Multiplied blessings to you,

Lesli

**I appreciate everyone giving their comments and experience. I believe it helps us all and all who read this blog.

Lesli Westfall

Sweet Hannah,

You’ve been through so much as such a young age. Bless your heart. I don’t know what God’s next step is for you in your fertility journey, but I know He’s got your number, all in due time, HIs time. {I know} easier to write than to receive, huh?

You should post your blog post about your fertility meds some day.

Love ya, my friend,
Lesli

Kaye

Thanks Lesli!! We are behind you in your journey as well!!

KM

I have a miracle child who is 2.5 years old after doctors told me I would never get pregnant without fertility medication. We did not expect him, plan for him, or even think to have him, but God knew what we needed and somehow, miraculously dropped this precious boy into our lives. When he was not quite a year old, we began trying for another child. We spent several months on birth control to attempt to jump start ovulation – didn’t work. I was placed on metformin a year ago now, which doesn’t have terrible side effects for me, though I know it does for many. In January of this year, I started Clomid at 50 mg. Clomid is what I call the crazy pills. It makes me have a terrible headache during the week I ovulate – which is not exactly conducive to being intimate. It makes me cry watching commercials or listening to the radio, makes me very grumpy and short and hateful to those I love. Hot flashes, significant bloating, and acne breakouts also make up several different weeks of my cycle. 50 mg did not work to make me ovulate, so I was placed on 100 mg. I did get pregnant, but miscarried at 6 weeks in March. My doctor advised a 3-cycle wait during which I had to use progesterone to induce a period each month, turning my cycles into 45-50 days each. I am now on the 2nd cycle of clomid 100 mg since then, with both having been “successful” meaning I ovulated, but neither has produced a pregnancy. Because I have low progesterone and history of miscarriage, I must start taking pregnancy tests very early in the cycle to catch if I am pregnant to begin progesterone supplements. It is so difficult to get up each morning and face the pregnancy test, knowing in your heart that it’s most likely negative. It’s hard to strike that balance between realistic and hopeful. I have lots of friends that have gotten pregnant, had a child, and are now pregnant with another since we have been on our fertility journey. I get people who say, well, at least you have one already. How insensitive and hateful! Having one child does not lessen the longing in my heart for another, and it most likely increases it! Ladies, thank you for all being so open and honest – God is still in control and He will still be honored through our journeys, regardless of the outcomes.

Thanks, Les. That post would be a good dose of humor. 🙂

I second Kaye. We are lifting you up on your journey as well!

Lesli Westfall

I agree KM. So sorry you’ve been through so much, and for your loss too, and still, have those challenges. Just know, you are not alone. There are many like you out there, like us, who are going through these challenges still with less sympathetic people cheering us on. Those who suffer from secondary infertility still feel the grief as one going through infertility without having any children. But my hope and heart is that you’ll find comfort and many others who are going through the same thing here on the website. Please keep in touch with me and let me know how things progress. I’ll place you on my prayer list. Hang in there, believing for fruitfulness in our womb and in your life!

Blessings,
Lesli