My First Surgery

I updated on my Facebook page a short post about what happened and how the baby and I were doing. Since our blog is sort of our pregnancy journal, we wanted to update here as well with the whole story. I will also share pictures at the bottom for anyone interested. (I didn’t want to share those on Facebook and make people that didn’t care to see them have to see them)

The past week, I have been feeling pretty great. I’ve done a lot of cleaning, and I’ve been out of bed a lot. I’m taking nausea medicine less and less and things seemed to be looking up! I even recently started back to my Yoga practice. (If any of my friends need guidance on Prenatal Yoga, go see Elan at Spiral Branch Yoga !) Monday morning, I woke up feeling great! I was going to meet Lee at school to take photos and videos of him and his class during live burns, and I was really excited! I met him at FETI, and he introduced me to the Chief who took care of me and got me all set up.  While the guys were getting their gear out of the trailer and starting to get ready for the day, I started having some pain in my lower right abdomen. I thought it was nothing and would pass.  As it persisted, I thought maybe my bladder was full and putting pressure on my ovary. At my last ultrasound, my ovaries were still larger, and I would still have some pains especially when on my feet a lot.  I emptied my bladder, and that didn’t help at all. The pain was steady getting worse, and I was really feeling it walking back from the bathroom.  Lee said he saw me, and he could tell something wasn’t right. He thought I was feeling hot, so when I sat in the truck for some air, he thought I was okay.  About an hour into the pain, I couldn’t stick it out anymore. I couldn’t put much pressure on my right leg, and the pain was intensifying a lot. I told the chief that I needed to go to the hospital, so he helped me pick up my equipment and went to get Lee.  When I told Lee, he tried to take all of his gear off at once. I think he momentarily forgot that he knew how to take gear off.  The chief brought us to my vehicle and let Lee drive me to the hospital.

When we arrived at Woman’s, Catherine met us there to let Lee go back to school. When he called his chief, they told him to stay with me. (which we were really grateful for in the end!!) I was worried about him missing too much because his certification tests are this week.  I told the nurses that this was an assisted pregnancy, and I had ovarian hyper stimulation following the treatments and IUI.  They seemed to brush me off, and they seemed set that it was my appendix.  They brought me a shot of demerol and phenergan to help the pain and nausea. When ultrasound called for me, they didn’t bring me right away because they wanted to give the demerol time to work– it never did! When they finally brought me, I had to sit up and get in a wheelchair, then I vomited A LOT on the ride there from the pain. When we got to ultrasound, they no longer had a room for me because the nurses took too long. So, back to my room we went! I opted to stay in the wheelchair because I didn’t want to keep moving.  They gave me more nausea meds through my IV this time. When ultrasound called again, they wanted to wait and let the meds kick in AGAIN.  Thankfully, Lee spoke up and asked them to go ahead and take me so we could get answers. The meds weren’t working anyway.

In ultrasound, I had to get out of the wheelchair and in their bed.  The pressure from the ultrasound on my belly did not do in favors for my already severely hurting abdomen.  The tech took a lot of pictures before going to show the doctor. Then, a doctor came in and looked for himself. He showed us the blood flow in my left ovary, and then showed us the right ovary which had absolutely none. He also couldn’t find my appendix. He said “my ovary booted my appendix out of it’s home because it was so large”.  He informed us that I would be having surgery, and they would call the doctor on call for my group.  We did see the baby in ultrasound too, and he or she was doing great!

Dr. Boudreaux came in to my room within minutes to discuss the surgery. She said she would try to remove the cyst and untwist my ovary to save it.  She answered our questions and concerns and went to get consent forms. When she came back with consent forms, she said we would be going within 20 minutes! My mom and dad made it there just in time to give me a hug and kiss as I was being wheeled back for surgery.  At the moment, I didn’t care what they did because I was in so much pain, but it was a little emotional to process it all so quickly.

When I got in the OR, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t sit up or move myself anymore. The nurses were very kind and used a board to move me, and then gave me more pain meds to help.  Shortly after that, I was out.  When I started waking up, I thought I heard someone say they had to remove the whole thing, but I wasn’t sure. I was still pretty out of it.  When I was fully awake, they let Lee come in to see me, and he told me they removed both my ovary and fallopian tube.  He showed me the pictures and explained everything the doctor told him.  She said that my ovary didn’t just twist that morning; it had been like that for about three weeks or so and it was twisted three times. She couldn’t believe that I didn’t come into the hospital before then in pain.  Monday morning, a small hole ruptured in my ovary, and it began leaking blood into my abdomen. This must have been where my severe pain was coming from.  Unfortunately, by the time I realized something was wrong and went to the hospital, my ovary and tube were already dead.

So far, recovery has been a little rough, but nothing like the pain I was feeling before surgery! We hope this is the end of complications, and we can enjoy the pregnancy as we enter the second trimester! I do still have my left ovary and tube, so we can still have more kids if we want too; although, I might be a little more cautious about fertility medicines in the future if we need them so that the same thing doesn’t happen to the only ovary I have left.

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers throughout our entire journey! We will certainly have a story to tell this baby!

 

See photos from surgery:

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A long awaited update….

Hi everyone! So sorry it’s taken so long for us to update. In my last post, I promised to update after our ultrasound looking for follicles, but I failed to do that.  At that ultrasound, we had no mature eggs, so I continued injections through the weekend and went for a re-check on Monday 4/3/17.  On Monday, I had FIVE mature eggs! The other doctor in the office talked with me and explained that my doctor may cancel the IUI this round due to the risk of so many eggs.  After reviewing my blood work and ultrasound, they called and said my doctor felt comfortable proceeding.  I did my trigger shot right way (and again, when I say “I”, I mean– sweet, neighbor nurse!), and we did the IUI the next morning on 4/4/17.  (Side note: I DID finally let Lee do some of my follistim injections!)

In the days after the IUI, I was miserable. I was far more bloated than after the first one and was in pain. The bloating and pain got worse and worse over the weekend, so I went in to be checked the next Monday (4/10/17).  I had Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome or OHSS.  (You can read more about OHSS here or here.) Basically, the follicles that hold the eggs kept growing and filling with fluid instead of being absorbed back into the ovary. My ovaries grew to be huge. I looked at least 6 months pregnant and gained about 15-20 lbs of fluid.  It was very difficult to breathe or move, very painful, and completely miserable. I spent a couple of weeks basically on bedrest. I luckily have a wonderful husband, mom and best friend who took great care of me!

My wonderful doctor even called me at home to check on me, and he warned me that if the IUI was successful, it would get worse.  Through the week, I started getting better (around 4/12-13/17). Then, I started getting worse, much worse and fast.  I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone! Unfortunately (& maybe fortunately?), the fluid did not leak into my abdomen. It was all contained in my ovaries.  I say unfortunately because I would have given anything for them to drain the fluid even for temporary relief.  Since I was getting worse, I decided to take a pregnancy test early, and I got a positive on Saturday, April 15.  On Monday 4/17, I went in to be re-checked and get blood work. They were still unable to drain fluid, my ovaries were massive, and they gave me 2 bags of fluids because at this point I was vomiting and dehydrated.  While I was still there receiving fluids, my doctor called me from Lafayette with my blood results. Through all the bad, there was good news– I’m pregnant!  They rechecked blood work and ultrasound on Wednesday, 4/19, and my numbers were progressing healthily. Although, they still could not drain fluid, and this was my worst point.  After that appointment, I did start to get better gradually. Unfortunately, the bloating and weight gain has not all resolved, so I do still already look like I’m showing. I’ve been in maternity pants since about 5 weeks.

Last week, on May 3rd, I woke up at 1 AM bleeding, and I panicked. Thank God for a best friend to be my personal nurse and calm me down. 🙂 I called the doctor first thing when they opened, and they recommended waiting for my appointment on the 11th.  I was still early, so nothing may show on the ultrasound to make me feel better anyway. Also, I did not have cramping or clots or any other worrisome signs.  I’ve talked to a lot of people who bled during pregnancy and had a totally normal pregnancy, so that helped me a lot. I think I was just freaked out because after everything we’ve gone through (which isn’t much compared to some!, but stressful and emotional, nonetheless), the last thing I wanted was for anything to harm the pregnancy.

We’re choosing not to wait until after the first trimester to announce the pregnancy because we’ve shared our journey with everyone so far. So it only feels right to share the joy, too and not just the emotional, stressful, and sad times, too.  We’ve gotten so much support and love through this journey, and we can’t imagine not sharing with everyone! We did choose to wait until after the first ultrasound because of everything we’ve been going through in the last few weeks.

Fast Forward!:

Today, we had our first ultrasound! Everything was fine! My ovaries are still massive, and the bleeding is from a subchorionic bleed.  I have to continue taking it easy, but the baby is healthy! 🙂 AND I graduate with my Master’s in Business Administration on Sunday!

Round 2…

Yesterday was rough. Home alone, waiting for FEMA to come for our inspection in the next few minutes, Aunt Flo decided to visit.  Unfortunately, that meant that our first IUI was not successful.  All in all, yesterday was overwhelming. We have a lot of changes going on right now, a lot of good!, but overwhelming, nonetheless.

Today, we started round 2. The baseline ultrasound looked good, and I am set to start meds on Saturday. This round, we will use Femara and Follistim. Our next ultrasound to check on how things are going will be next Friday.  We will update then!

A Man’s View

Written by: Lee

It is awesome. Throughout the whole process, all I have heard is how supportive, “how supportive your husband is being.”  That is crazy to me that I am there more than other men. Those who know me, know that I have issues with noticing when people are not okay.  So, to all the guys that hide in the corner, behind the curtain, or will not even go into the room, stop it! Your wife is under enough stress with things that are out of both of your control, so be there for her.  Throughout this whole process of me getting check and only having 2% strong sperm, the rest have ADHD (actually, they’re deformed) ,Amanda not ovulating, all the doctor visits, all the meds, even the crazy 30 day diet, we are entering the last phase of the process.

Amanda & Catherine went to the doctor on Wednesday to see if we had a mature egg. We did not. I was kind of crushed, looking into Amanda’s eyes, she looked like she thought she was a failure. I tried to be strong for her, tell her Friday at our next appointment, all would be okay.  It was. We had 2 eggs. One just over 16 mm and one around 14 mm.  The rest were all small, so that is a good thing. Too many eggs would mean the procedure couldn’t be done due to the chances of them all being fertilized or splitting, so again another bullet dodged.  By the way, the nurses are awesome at answering all my crazy questions.

On our way back to the car after the good news, I told Amanda I was kind of nervous for a little while about the appointment that morning.  She said, “you never showed me even the slightest bit of nervousness this whole time.” I said “I have to stay strong for you”, and she asked, “why”? If you look up anxiety in the dictionary, it would be a one word definition– women, and under that it would be a picture of Amanda, so I have to be your rock. You have enough to worry about.

Tonight, Catherine will give Amanda the trigger shot to induce ovulation, and we will go in for the IUI on Monday!! Wish us luck! We may be quiet on the blog for a little while, so we can let family know the results first before we post.

Post-Femora Quick Update

This morning, I had an ultrasound and blood work to see how Femara is working and set a plan for moving forward with the trigger shot and IUI. Lee was unable to attend the appointment, so my wonderful bestie was my stand-in hubby today! 🙂 Unfortunately, we do not have a mature egg yet, but there has been growth since the last ultrasound.  My left ovary has 2 follicles measuring at 11.86 and 10.48, and my right ovary has 2 follicles measuring at 10.19 and 9.29.  They were looking for a measurement of around 16 to indicate a mature egg.  In the left ovary, you can see the largest follicle in the picture. We will go for another ultrasound and bloodwork on Friday to re-check and see if the eggs have matured.

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Here We Go!….

This week has been very exciting and tough all at the same time! I’m a little late updating the blog because we’ve been dealing with a sick dog all week.  On Sunday, we came home to a murder scene of blood in our house, and a very sick dog.  We took her to the ER vet, and they diagnosed her with hemorrhagic gastroenteritis–basically, inflammation in her intestines that was causing bleeding.

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On Monday, we did not think she was going to make it. She was trying to become septic (sugars dropping, almost hypothermic, WBC dropping, RBC dangerously high).  Tuesday, she started to turn around, and she got better and better each day. We were finally able to bring her home yesterday afternoon! (on LOTS of meds, but she’s home!)

 

After our morning visit with Benelli on Monday, we headed straight for the fertility clinic to begin treatment.  We did an ultrasound to check and make sure everything looked good to start treatments, and it all looked great.  Lee was fascinated! He made the tech explain everything she was looking at on the ultrasound. She happily did! She said most men hide in the corner and want nothing to do with what is going on.

After the ultrasound, we met with the nurse to discuss the plan.  They decided to use the medicine Femara, and they prescribed me 10 2.5mg pills to be taken all at once that night! So far, I’ve only had a few hot flashes, cried once or twice, a headache, and a little achy-ness.  Next Wednesday, I will go for another ultrasound and blood work. If one of those little dots turns into a big dot, I will give myself a trigger shot that night! (When I say “I will give myself”, I mean my nurse best friend will give me a shot- what would I do without Catherine!?)  (Side Note: Fertility meds are expensive! The Femara and HCG shot were not covered by my insurance.) If all goes well and there is an egg on the ultrasound next week, we will schedule the IUI 36-48 hours after the trigger shot.

Don’t forget we have the Infertility Awareness Fun Run coming up on April 8th in Metairie! If our first IUI is successful, we will donate our tickets to another couple.  We get 1 ticket for every person that joins our team and 10 tickets for every $250 raised! The grand prizes include IVF cycles and a $10,000 family building grant.

Join our team here

(**If you join our team, let one of us know, so we can make sure you were correctly added to our team! Also, let one of us know your shirt size for a team shirt!)

Donate Here

Read More about the Fun Run here!

For anyone interested, here are my ultrasound images:

 

All of the black dots are undeveloped follicles, or cysts. On next week’s ultrasound, we will be looking for one of those dots to have grown to a mature egg.

Here are some comparisons of a normal ovary to a polycystic ovary:

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PCOS Awareness Symposium 2016

The start of the next phase

Happy Tuesday Everyone!!

Today, I had oral surgery. This surgery was the last thing we needed to happen before beginning treatments.  I’m in quite a bit of pain, but I’m happy to have it complete.  However, sticking to my whole30 diet while on soft foods and hurting is a challenge! We are on day 9 of Whole30  currently! It is super important to us to be as healthy as we can possibly be right now. I have also re-joined the local yoga studio (shout out: http://www.spiralbranchyoga.com – If you are in the Denham Springs, LA area and you haven’t checked them out, you are missing out!) Both the Whole30 and Yoga have helped me tremendously already! I feel my mind is in a much clearer place, my spirit is uplifted, and I’m sleeping so much better!

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I will begin my 10 days of progesterone tomorrow! It feels surreal that we are actually beginning treatments.  While I am excited about the process, I’m taking it one day at a time.  I don’t want to get my hopes up too much (and add to the devastation if it doesn’t work), but I also don’t want to be a pessimist.  One day at a time. One step a time.  While this isn’t exactly how I imagined myself having children, I am grateful for options, and I am even more grateful for a supportive husband by my side through it all.  I couldn’t ask for a better person on my team!

For all of my friends going through the same things, figuring out their next steps, and waiting for/receiving IVF and IUI results, you are all in my prayers! We are all in this together!

PS: Join us for the Baby Steps Infertility Awareness Fun Run in Metarie on April 8th! Our team name is: “Not Foolin’ Around”  Sign up for our team here! or Donate if you can’t join us!

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The Road to Baby Walker

I was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago, and I have never been the girl with a normal cycle.  I always knew that difficult conception was a very real possibility for me, but that truly did not prepare me for what it was really going to be like. When we started trying for a baby 8 months ago, I still had hopes and expectations that it would happen fairly quickly.   With my known problems in play, my gyn suggested continuous birth control until we were ready to try.  (continuous= new pack every 3 weeks, no off week) She hoped that the break for my system would result in an egg when I quit taking it.  I also began taking Metformin daily (500 mg) for my PCOS and Insulin Resistance.

Last May, we were ready to start trying! We set a plan for me to finish the pack I was on, and then I would discontinue birth control.  I asked family members and did research to figure out how to track my cycle through temperatures and test kits, and we just knew that we would be pregnant in the next few months.  I downloaded and app to help me track my cycle and learned all that I could. 70 days into this cycle, I realized I wasn’t going to produce an egg.  I called my doctor, and she gave me a prescription for progesterone to trigger a new cycle. She said, “If we can trigger another cycle, maybe you’ll produce an egg.” Great! My body just needs a little help; this should work! 70 days into this cycle, I again realized– no egg.  Again, I called the doctor. She called in another prescription for progesterone and suggested increasing my Metformin to 2000 mg per day.  (the nurse also warned me that the high doses of Metformin may make me sick. I didn’t care– if it produced an egg, it was worth it). 50 days into this cycle, still, no egg, and yes, Metformin does make you very sick.  This time, I went for a visit with my doctor to discuss what was going on. She did blood work and tests and decided I should follow up with a reproductive endocrinologist.

Last Wednesday, Lee and I went to the specialist and set a plan to move forward with fertility treatments.  In the coming weeks, we will trigger another cycle with progesterone. On day 3, I will begin taking Clomid. (I hear the mood swings and hot flashes are intense– I hope Lee is ready!) If the medication produces an egg, I will be given a shot of hCG to trigger a release of the egg.  Then, we will do an IUI (inter-uterine insemination) followed by another round of progesterone.

The emotions of infertility along with a flooded house are intense, but we are hopeful for what this year will hold for us! We pray that this works, but until God blesses us with a little one, we will keep loving our fur babies!