Thursday, June 30, 2011

HSG Results

Apparently I have a "good cavity" and my tubes are nice and open :)

Kind of the best compliment I've gotten in a long time.

(From someone other than Devon, of course).

In other news, I asked our RE about doing a BBT chart, and he kind of laughed and said to do it "as an experiment, if [I] want". Not sure where that came from, but experiment I will.

The plan is to do the first insemination(s) without drugs and see how that goes. Has anyone had experience with doing an ultrasound to see when the best time to inseminate is? Sounds like this clinic does it all the time...

August or September - not too far away!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cycles of Conception

Thanks for weighing in on the basal thermometer. I'm actually excited to start to track, and hope that I can get in the groove and not feel too frustrated with the whole ordeal.

It's funny. My witch doctor has been able to tell me the most random things about me that are true (I was originally a twin and my mother lost the other baby, I used to have a synthetically sped-up thyroid. She knows when my partner is sick because she can feel my body fighting off whatever my partner has, she once addressed in insane detail a recurrent nightmare I have that I told nobody about). Last week I saw her, and she "tested" my body (however the hell she does it) and came up with the best days for me to conceive. Part of me wants to believe her, because she's been pretty much right at everything else, but part of me is a bit skeptical just because of the days she chose to tell me I'd ovulate.

Day 8, 10 and 12 are apparently my most fertile days. Which just seems too early. Is it even possible that early in one's cycle to be ready to "receive"? She specializes in fertility, and has been doing this for years. We have a family friend who went to her after 7 years of infertility with her husband; within two months, the woman was pregnant. Similarly, another patient of hers was going through IUI with her partner and was trying on the days predetermined by the clinic. My witch doctor told her two switch insemination days, and she got pregnant that month. Coincidental? Maybe. But enough to make me think.

Anyhow, I think I am looking forward to doing my own investigation into my cycle, and I think the tracking of my own cycle will help with that. As soon as this (awful) period is over, I will start. Maybe it'll be day 9 or 16... who knows!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Basal Thermometer - Advice?

I feel a wee bit daft about my last post, and I apologize for the bit of drama, but hey... it's all about learning, right? Thank you to Isa for pointing out that 1.68 times and 68% is the same number. I suppose it goes to show that, at least for me, the info can be confusing. Alas and anyway...

I have a question for everyone in the TTC world, and know how great you are at weighing in on things like this. As we have about 3 months before our first insemination, I want to start seriously tracking my cycle and ovulation. I have my period tracked for the last 2.5 years, but want to find out what days I tend to ovulate. My period is consistently 27 or 28 days.

Is using a basal thermometer the way to go? If used correctly, is it the most accurate? (I don't really want to spend money on ovulation strips unless I need them during the actual TTC time). If charting that way is the most tried method, is there a specific thermometer that is better than others? I want to go out an buy one for when my current period is finished, so we can start now. It's kind of exciting; it makes things feel more real.

Thanks, as always, for your input.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Miscarriage and Antidepressants

[Transparency: I have edited this post with updated info, so that I don't add to the strew of misinformation around this subject]

Some of my major fears about carrying a child while on antidepressants were dealt with directly when we had our last meeting with the reproductive psych.  Finally, everything I've read about congenital heart disease in newborns, tremors, developmental delays, addiction, major cleft palate and cleft lip, respiratory issues, etc etc etc., were addressed.

The doc said that there are three risks that have been well demonstrated, and therefore believed to be true. And tonight, I want to address just one. (Check back for others soon).

Pregnant women that are on antidepressants are more likely to miscarry than women that are not. But how much more likely?

And that's the thing that drives me nuts, and that I keep running into when it comes to the literature on antidepressants and pregnancy. An article in TIME and and article on CBC News both report on the same study in Quebec on the link between miscarriage and antidepressant use. Ready? Remember - this is the SAME study...

From TIME: "Researchers calculated that antidepressant users had a 68% higher risk of miscarriage than nonusers, after controlling for other influences that could potentially confound the association."

From CBC"A study of 5,124 women in Quebec who had lost fetuses in pregnancy showed a 1.68 times higher risk of miscarriage among those who were prescribed antidepressants."

I've edited this post since I originally wrote it, because a wonderful reader pointed out that 68 and 1.68 are the same numbers... which in my haste and excitement, went over my head. And I don't want to add to the misinformation out there in the cybersphere. It just makes me realize that however educated I feel I am, specifically when it comes to reading about research, I get overwhelmed and confused by the literature and tend to get lost. And I can't be the only one.

This study - which asserts that women taking antidepressants have a 68% higher risk of miscarriage - is cited in every single link but one in the first 15 pages of Google search results for "miscarriage and antidepressants". I'm not saying that is a bad thing or a good thing; it just goes to show that once media pick up a story like this, it lasts forever. This is the result that people see when they do their research online. Based on one study.

And this is why I get frustrated with medical literature and the media that follows. It's hard to know what's a true representation of the source AND a true representation of a researchers results. And almost every study I read (from medical journals, not media), the results are either inconclusive or there is not enough evidence to suggest a risk. There is a huge unknown - and part of me realizes that this is a good thing. I am trying to be as informed as I can be, but the lack of evidence and the crappy reporting and the stigma around the whole issue makes it hard. 

So yes, there is a risk of miscarriage. At least, out of just over 5,000 women in the study. But both articles mentioned that researchers still don't know whether it was the depression itself that caused the miscarriage or the antidepressants taken to treat depression. 

I think I might be driving myself crazy wanting to "be informed". The information is so flippin' convoluted that I don't even know what to think anymore. It just makes me scared. Scared that I'm going to lose child after child, and then finally when I have a live birth, the baby is going to be so sick and malformed.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

One Shrink, Two Shrink, Three Shrink, Four...

There is a 7-month wait to see a psychiatrist in this province. And I have three psychiatrists.

In 2001, I was brought to a downtown hospital to undergo a "difficult patient assessment". There were 21 psychiatrists sitting on creaky metal chairs placed in a circle in a salmon-coloured room. Most of them were middle-aged white men. My father came with me and stayed in the room until I asked him to leave the room so that I could speak freely about my illness. The purpose of the visit was to see whether any of the 21 psychiatrists had new ideas about how to treat me, as I'd been treated for 4 years without any improvement and nobody knew what to do with me anymore. I had been on almost every type of anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, anti-epileptic (which also serves as a mood stabilizer). I had received almost 4 years of on-and-off electro-convulsive therapy. I had been locked up in isolation. The psych ward was more of a home to me than any other I'd ever lived in.

Out of that three-hour assessment, I walked away with two new psychiatrists - one to focus on medication and one to focus on talk therapy. I had major psychosis and several other symptoms of schizophrenia, so the talk therapist that took me on specialized in schizophrenia. I don't know whether he was "disappointed" that I turned out not to have it (I hope not), but he has, for over a decade, seen me once a week and I owe him my life, many times over.

My med shrink was incredible. Though I had/have treatment-resistant depression, he got me on a cocktail that eventually helped some of my symptoms: He stopped my psychosis immediately, and put me on anti-depressants that had not yet been approved by Health Canada (our version of the FDA), which actually helped some of my symptoms too.

And now, I have a Reproductive Psychiatrist too. Who is fabulous and has a plan for me to wean off what I can... and who will see me until one year after the birth of my child.

There was a time where I really did need a "power team" of psychiatrists, but I feel as though this is not necessary anymore. I think about all of the people in this city and province who are waiting to see someone, and though my decision to stop seeing my med shrink won't directly affect that (he will not see anymore patients regardless), I feel like I did the right thing by transferring my full care to my talk shrink.

But the break-up was hard.

The med shrink is the best shrink in this city - no exaggeration. He is known as "the doctor's doctor," as he only sees patients who are doctors or their spouses (with the exception of a few patients, ie. me). He was the first psychiatrist in my life who ever listened to me, the first to treat me with the respect that I deserved, the first that didn't shove me back on an ECT bed to have my brains shocked out.

He's become a bit of a father figure to me, and to him, I will forever be grateful. There were a few reasons I decided to break up with him (and it really did feel like a breakup), and mostly, it had to do with becoming pregnant.

In his last email to me before I told him I would not be seeing him anymore (the only shrink I have ever dealt with who gives his personal email, home phone number, etc.), he warned me about lowering the medication I'm lowering now, saying that the last time I did so, I became incredibly ill. I appreciate his concern, but I need to do this. I need to do this for me, and for the health of my baby.

Am I scared? F*ck, yeah. Most people could never imagine leaving his care once they were able to get in with him, and though I'm nervous over my decision, I feel like it's the right one. I must now put my faith in my talk shrink, who I've been seeing for almost as long, who is a great doctor, and who knows how badly I want to have a baby. In all honesty, he seemed a bit nervous when I told him what I wanted, as the pregnancy adds another layer, but I'm sure he'll be great.

Even though I feel like I made the right decision, it's been incredibly hard. There have been some pangs of regret. There have been some anxious moments where I feel like I've given up so much.

I guess it's all part of this messed-up journey.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pregnant Dreams

Thank you all for your comments on my last post - I am forever amazed by y'all in this blogosphere... you are incredible, and I'm lucky. Thank you, thank you.

There are a lot of things to elaborate on from last time, but today I just want to keep it light and ask a question to the masses. When you were / while you are trying to conceive, did you dream about it ALL the time?

Literally every single night, I dream about having a baby. And I don't mean "literal" in the overused non-literal form of itself, but in the literal sense: Every. Single. Night.

Whether it's the getting ready to be pregnant part, the conception part, the being pregnant part, the almost-birthing part... I dream about it all, EXCEPT, I have yet to have a birthing dream (thank god). Last night I dreamed that we got pregnant with a girl, and then two months later, we got pregnant with a boy, and we were trying to figure out if we should raise them as twins or not. Go figure...

I imagine I am certainly not the only one with this "issue"...?

I have to say, if having a real baby inside a real tummy feels anywhere near as amazing as it does in my dreams... I can't frikkin' wait.

What do pregnancy dreams mean anyway? Check out the article where the above picture is from.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Honest Post

I was seriously considered shutting down this blog over the last few weeks, for reasons that I will explain, but before I go on, I have to say that within a week, everything feels like it has changed dramatically.

Every day I'd open Blogger and feel as though I was straining for content. I didn't feel like I had anything to say. My partner and I weren't on the same page, and the actual "trying" in this "trying to conceive" blog was getting pushed farther and farther away - almost a year away - and I've already been writing for a year, with, what I felt, was very little movement. I am not saying that the TTC journey does not and should not include years of planning, talking, and thinking before the actual insemination, but to me, it just felt like that was all it was.

On top of that, my illness is complex, and makes all of the little things about pregnancy planning all the more complex. It's painfully slow, and sometimes doesn't even feel like it could be possible. I did not have a job after next month, when my contract runs out. Pregnancy just seemed such a far away thought, even though it encompasses so much of my present thoughts. I felt that, as a blogger/writer, I had run out of things to say, and no-one wants to read a blog about nothing.

But nothing has suddenly turned into something, or some things - plural. I won't write about them all in one post, and there are a few things that I really want to elaborate on, so for now, here are a few bullet points in my life:
  •  I am covering a mat leave at work, which ends in August. This week, I found out that they have created a position for me and I will continue in my (wonderful) job permanently... meaning I can take my own damn mat leave whenever I want.
  • After much thought, I am breaking up with one of my psychiatrists (which is a huge deal for me), and will be working primarily with my "talk shrink" and my reproductive shrink to get ready for this baby.
  • As of last night, I am lowering one of the medications I've been on for 10 years. It will be a 12-week process, and once it is over, my repro psych feels that the medications I am on are relatively healthy for pregnancy (will expand more in other post).
  • Devon and I have decided that once those 12 weeks are up, we will be ready - like really, really ready - to start the actual insemination process.
  • On that note, Devon has been amazing and I finally feel like this is OUR journey and not just mine... and I really, really needed that. And she really, really needed that too.
  • Devon is potentially moving jobs and putting off going back to school until this babe is born.
  •  We have decided to sell our house and move into the city in the fall (we'd originally put it off until next year, for financial and time purposes, which didn't please either of us).
  • I'm making our next appointment with our RE to go over our HSG results, which hopefully came back clear.
Oh, and one more:
  • I'm ecstatic.
P.S. And thank you for not giving up on me when I started to give up on myself. Your own stories and support have always kept me going.