Tuesday, April 1, 2008

About Me

I'm so glad you stumbled on my website. I know what you're going through... I've been there too... it's a tough road, but there is hope! This blog is about our struggle to conceive, though I am grateful to be able to write that we DID eventually, and with twins after IVF. You are no doubt strong and smart, working hard to educate yourself on the road ahead. I encourage you to follow your heart, pray and trust that God will get you through this time in your life. For me, personally, it was a journey I wouldn't take back for anything. I learned so much about myself and what it means to "let go and let God". You always hear people say that, but until I experienced it for myself, I truly had no idea how much truth there was in that statement. It's hard. I won't lie, but stay strong and I know things will begin to look clearer for you before too long.

Lots of love,

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For a list view of my treatment history, go here

My husband and I, happy married for just a little over seven years at the time (April 2008), having finished completed our degrees, started our careers and moved into a more spacious home in a quiet neighborhood, were more than ready to start a family. As an Illinois transplant, we left most of our family and relocated to the suburbs of St. Louis nearly five years ago in the hopes that doing so would mean a better life for our children some day. As much as we planned, we never imagined on the economy to turn for the worse at the same time we were told that, most likely, the only way we would be able to conceive children of our own is to turn to the help of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), by way of In vitro Fertilization (IVF), in December of 2008.

At the young age of 12, I was rushed to the emergency room only to learn I had an unidentified mass in my abdomen that would need to be surgically removed via exploratory surgery. We would later learn that "mass" was an ovary that had twisted around my fallopian tube and formed a cyst the size of a grapefruit. For years I was told that I would be able to get pregnant "without a problem", but today I'm faced with quite the opposite. Following several months of visiting different OBGYN's, cycle after anovulatory cycle and failed attempts at clomid and metformin, we decided it was time to make an appointment with a specialist. Initial tests and blood work a few years ago revealed that I have PCOS, a condition where multiple cysts form on the ovary, causing a woman not to ovulate; new bloodwork done by my RE confirms this is still the case. My husband is also dealing with a mild male factor - low count and head abnormalities.

Most shocking of all, though, were the findings revealed through a sonohystogram. My reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Peter Ahlering of the SHER Institute for Reproductive Technologies who we LOVE, explained that my only remaining ovary has adhered to my uterus, most likely due to pelvic scarring caused by the surgery many years ago. This leads him to also believe that because of the severity of damage, the chances of my existing fallopian tube functioning properly is very slim and the chance of a tubal pregnancy, if an egg was picked up, is much higher. His ultimate recommendation: skip more mild forms of infertility treatment and move straight to IVF.

Given the fact that Missouri is not an infertility insurance mandated state, and that neither my husband nor I have infertility coverage through our employers health plan, we must find a way to pay for these treatments on our own. A single cycle of IVF, on average, is around $16,000 (with meds). Statistics show that you should prepare to undergo possibly 3-4 cyles before knowing if IVF will be successful, which means that we could be looking at an expense of over $45,000.

We are prepared to do what it takes to be able to see our family grow and feel like God is leading us in this direction. We have recently decided to do IVF in August of '09! These next few months will be a nice chance to prep for what lies ahead.

Thanks for reading :)

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Sites I Love

Here are some links I've found to be very helpful in our infertility journey.


Dr. Peter Ahlering, with SHER St. Louis, MO - My Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).

Dr. Geoffrey Sher - Founder of SHER Institutes for Reproductive Medicine (SIRM).

Find an RE in your area - Enter your Zipcode and get a list of clinics in your area.

Vitals - Find or research a doctor.

IVF Clinic Success Rates - Check out a success rates and compare before starting treatment!

General Trying to Conceive Resources

Fertility Friend - Keep track of your cycles online. Offers a basic complimentary membership.

Ovulation-Calendar - FREE, downloadable ovulation calendar program for Windows.

Paying for Infertility Treatments

FreedomDrug Online Pharmacy - Cheap(er) Infertility Meds

Early-pregnancy-tests - Cheap(er) OPK & pregnancy tests, if you buy in bulk. Fast shipping!

IVP Care - Pharmacy that my clinic in STL recommends

Education on Infertility

FertilityJourney - Podcasts, General "What-is" type info on fertility.

Dr. Licciardi's (RE) Blog - Ask questions and get general infertility info from a practicing RE.

FertilityFriend - Learn about your reproductive cycle and start FREE monthly online charts.

Tears & Hope Video - A short video designed to help explain infertility to family & friends.

Resolve's Infertility Etiquette for Family/Friends
- Helpful tips on what to say and what not to say to a couple who's dealing with infertility

Infertility Insurance Coverage

FertilityLifelines - Get FREE, confidential help on determining if you have infertility benefits.

Infertility Support & Forums

SoulCysters - A site specifically for people suffering with PCOS.

FertilityCommunity - A forum for all things TTC w/ infertility - lots of specialty forums as well.

IDreamofBaby - A forum for TTC, both w/ and w/o infertility issues, & pregnancy support.

Hannah's Prayer - A non-profit Christian support group for women dealing with infertility.

CafeMom - This is a TTC & Infertility Group. There are MANY more different groups available.

Infertility Blogs

Dr. Geoffrey Sher - Founder of SHER Institutes for Reproductive Medicine (SIRM).

Stirrup Queens - A wonderful resources for all-things infertility.

List of Infertility Blogs, by Category - Stirrup Queens well-organized list of infertility blogs.

Infertility Books I Recommend

Click any book in the navigation bar to the right to read more!

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Specific Resources

Due Date Calculator - Gives you a date based on your egg retrieval.

SIRM and/or Dr. Ahlering Success Story Blogs!

sefurlong.blogspot.com - Sara was a patient of Dr. Ahlering's at SIRM, St. Louis, MO

- Jenny was a patient of Dr. Schultz at SIRM in Peoria, IL


This is a guide to better understanding abbreviations that you might come across on my blog, or other infertility websites. Below are things which I find I mention somewhat frequently. Yes, some of them are pretty darn silly, but what can I say. They're commonly used in the online infertility community and have become a part of my lingo :-)

For additional abbreviations that are not mentioned below, please visit BabySnark's Abbreviations and Glossary List - one of the most extensive list's I've found so far.

AF - Aunt Flow (or menstrual cycle)

Baby Dust - Good luck wishes for a positive pregnancy test
BCP - Birth Control Pills
BFP - Big Fat Positive (as in, positive pregnancy test!)
BFN - Big Fat Negative (yep. you got it. a negative test)

CM - Cervical Mucus (also known as Cervical Fluid)

DH - Dear Husband
DPO - Days Past Ovulation (the countdown to testing for pregnancy)

Embabies or Embies - Otherwise known as Embryos

FWIW - For What it's Worth

GnRH - Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone

HPT - Home Pregnancy Test

ICSI - Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection
IF - Infertility
IM - Intra-Muscular (Infertility Shots)
IMO - In My Own Opinion
IUI - Intra Uterine Insemination
IVF - In Vitro Fertilization
IVM - In Vitro Maturation

LOL - Laugh Out Loud

O - Ovulation/Ovulate
OMG - Oh My Goodness!

PCOS - Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PIO - Progesterone in Oil
POAS - Peeing on a Stick (stick, as in an at-home pregnancy test)

RE - Reproductive Endocrinologist (or fertility specialist)

TTC - Trying to Conceive
TMI - Too Much Information

2WW - Two Week Wait (the time from ovulation to when you might get a positive pregnancy test)

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