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BFP Stories

Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Big Fat Positives

TTC 18 MONTHS, BFP, PCOS, POOR SPERM MORPHOLOGY & MOTILITY, IUI, Clomid vs. Femara

Writing this post to give hope to those that have both female and male infertility factors. :) This is a long story, so here is a a quick summary if you don't have time to read then entire post:

1. Do not wait a year to go to the doctor if you are having trouble TTC. I have always had irregular cycles, so I knew something was wrong. It was more stressful to not know if there was an issue than it was to know and start down the path to fix it.
2. Do not wait to get a semen analysis done for the same reason as I mentioned above. It's cheap, it's noninvasive, and for most guys, healthy habits can naturally solve this.
3. For better sperm quality, here is the list of vitamins that my doctor prescribed:
Vitamin C: 1000 mg/day
Vitamin D: 2000 IU/day
Vitamin E: 1000 IU/day
Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)- 1000 mg/day
Coenzyme Q10- 400 mg/day
4. I was only on Femara for one month and got pregnant. I was on Clomid for 7 months and had no luck.
5. Do your own research and do not be afraid to switch doctors! I honestly do not think we would have gotten pregnant if we had not switched.

Here is the full story:

We began TTC June 2016.

March 2017- After 9 months of BBT charting, ovulation strips, timed intercourse, I couldn't wait any longer to see a doctor, and it was time for my yearly PAP smear, anyways. After some tests, I was diagnosed with PCOS. I am 5'5 and 117 lbs, so weight was not a symptom for me. I have always had irregular cycles (35 days or more- I skip a cycle at least once a year). I do have mild acne (mostly on my back), some hair loss around my hairline, and I do feel that my legs/bikini area have more hair than normal. The OBGYN ordered an ultrasound, which did not show cysts, and blood work, which was normal, however my progesterone was on the low side. So the OBGYN diagnosed me with PCOS and started me on Metformin (500 mg starting 1 X day, build up tolerance to take 2 x day), and Clomid (50 mg). Metformin did give me headaches/nausea the first couple of months, but that did finally go away and I started taking it 2 x day without symptoms. My acne has gotten better, but that's the only difference I've noticed.

June 2017- After TTC on Metformin/Clomid for 3 months, DH had a semen analysis (SA). It showed that he had abnormal morphology- 0% of his sperm were normal shaped, and the motility was also low. He started taking FertilAid and did a repeat SA in a month, the morphology had improved to 1%, and his motility was in the normal range, but on the low end. There is no varicocele. It was very shocking because my husband is also slim, works out, has never has done a drug in his life, rarely drinks- just overall healthy. He is an autobody painter, so it is possible that a toxin is causing this issue- but he does take safety precautions (wearing masks, gloves, working in a well ventilated area), so not sure- it could be genetic? But after some research, we found out there is not much you can do to improve morphology, so at this point we were feeling very hopeless. It was our low point in this process.

August 2017- Our next step was an HSG to see if my tubes were open, and they were. This gave us hope that we could go the IUI route. (Side note: the HSG was painful for me, but the painful part only lasted like 30 seconds, so it is very manageable!) Also- I skipped my period this month, while taking Metformin/Clomid (this tells me that I may have been resistant to Clomid).

September 2017- After skipping a period, once I did start, I was bumped up to 100 mg Clomid. We had IUI #1, which did not work. The doctor told us that we should try the IUI 3 times, and if it didn't work, then we should move on to IVF.

October 2017- We had IUI #2, which also did not work, but this is when things start to get good!

My coworker had been TTC for 1 year and also was diagnosed with PCOS. She had been to another fertility specialist that had prescribed her with Femara instead of Clomid (previously she had taken Clomid & miscarried). She had just found out that she was pregnant after one month of being on the Femara! The fertility specialist that I was seeing would not prescribe Femara (since it is not FDA approved for use in treating infertility and because there was a study that showed an increase in birth defects- do you own research on this/ask your doctor). I decided to switch to the fertility specialist that my coworker was going to.

Also, I stopped taking Clomid at this point, so I was on it for a total of 7 months (April- October). My husband was also discouraged and stopped taking the FertilAid supplements (the doctor actually told him that the vitamins weren't helping in a very rude manner but that's another story!)

November 2017- I had my first appointment with the new fertility specialist, who I loved! Much better bedside manner than the other doctor. She reassured me about the risks of Femara, and said that she was confident that IUI would work for us, and that it would be reasonable for us to try the IUI 6 times while on Femara, if we wanted to do it that much. She ordered additional blood work that had not been checked with my previous doctor, which was normal, and then she prescribed me the Femara.

Also- maybe one of the most helpful things that she told us is that my husband needed to start taking vitamins again. She told him that he could take FertilAid, or take individual vitamins in specific amounts- we decided to go this route because it was cheaper and because FertilAid did not contain the same amounts as the individual items. She told him to take:
Vitamin C: 1000 mg/day
Vitamin D: 2000 IU/day
Vitamin E: 1000 IU/day
Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)- 1000 mg/day
Coenzyme Q10- 400 mg/day

December 2017- We were planning on doing IUI #3 with the new doctor. I took Femara CD 3-7. A few days later I called to schedule my sonogram for CD 12, but that fell on a weekend, and while talking to the nurse, we realized that I would be ovulating (CD 14) on Christmas Day! The doctor was willing to work us in, but we decided to wait to do IUI #3 the next month because of the inconvenience.

We still TTC this month because I had already taken the femara. We BD CD 12, 14, 16-18. We used olive oil for lubricant (as suggested by a nurse). According to my BBT chart (I used TempDrop for the first time this month- a wearable BBT device that is cheaper than the AVA bracelet), I actually ended up ovulating on CD 17. I had a BBT dip on DPO 5 (I had a wave of nausea that day, and felt something pinch near my ovary (I thought it may have been implantation), and I had a twinge of pain in my right breast near my armpit. I POAS DPO 10 and got a BFN. My temperature fluctuated quite a bit, including a drop below the baseline on DPO 13- so maybe this was implantation? This may be TMI, but I had a lot of diarrhea (I thought maybe I had caught a stomach bug), and I was having a lot of cramps/backache starting on DPO 12, but those are normal PMS symptoms for me. However, I began to notice that the cramps were worse when I would stand up. I thought maybe I had UTI. On DPO 15, I was going to make a doctors appointment to see if it was a UTI, but thought I should take a pregnancy test just in case. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the faint 2nd line!! I took two more tests, which were both positive! We were in such disbelief that we were able to get pregnant through intercourse (& Femara) alone! This was obviously a big ego boost for my husband :) but it also makes me think that maybe the Femara/my PCOS issues had a bigger part to play than his sperm quality. Either way, we are ecstatic!

Since my BFP, my beta tests were normal. They tested my progesterone and it was also normal. I had my first ultra sound at 6 weeks, 6 days and we saw the heartbeat- 170 bpm! I am scheduled for another ultrasound in a few days, which will be 8 weeks, 6 days. We could not be more excited!!!

I am sorry for the long post, but if you were as desperate as I was during our TTC journey, the more information the better! It was difficult to find other people in the same situation as us, so hopefully this will give hope to someone else out there! <3

Comments

I soaked up all of your information!! Congrats!! I feel your joy in your post as well as the determination you two have. Praying this lil bub does fantastic and is safely in your arms this year!! Have a happy rest of your 9!!

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