Today is my 31st birthday! To be perfectly honest, I have been more excited about my upcoming trip to Disney World than my birthday lately, and it’s not because I’m upset about turning 31… I really don’t even care. Turning 31 just means I’m officially “in my 30s” and that’s perfectly okay with me! I’m still a spring chicken and have plenty of inner youth to enjoy. Every day is a gift from God – and honestly, aside from the “boring adult things” we all have to do, I enjoy being an adult and making a life for myself.
That said, I felt like today would be a great day to share the specifics of my upcoming Follistim + IUI cycle!
I’m brand new to the world of injectibles and I am so excited to get started! I never thought I’d be so thrilled to inject myself in the stomach every day, but I am ready to just push through and do this. If you’re new to the world of injectibles and IUI, I wanted to share with you exactly what this cycle will look like for me and for my husband!
- He started taking 1,000mg of maca root daily and has increased it to 2,000 daily. Maca root balances testosterone (which helps with sperm production) and also increases sperm motility (one of his issues in the past). I believe that his consumption of maca root is why his last test results were better than expected, and we hope that increasing the dose will only make it better when it’s IUI time. It’s generally recommended that men take between 1,000-3,000mg, so we’ll have him right in the middle come IUI time.
- Water. Lots and lots of water. When a swimmer sample is collected for IUI, it starts out sluggish, but after 30 minutes, it’s supposed to thin out and relax. If it doesn’t, it can be a sign of dehydration or low testosterone. We’ve got the testosterone covered with the maca, so now we’re making sure his swimmers are perfectly hydrated!
- Consume healthy fats and foods that are beneficial to swimmer health and wait patiently for IUI day to arrive!
- Follow my research on ways to improve his swimmers!
- Cycle Day 2: Ultrasound to check my ovaries and uterine lining. Blood work to check my estrogen levels. If things look good, I’ll start injections that night!
- Daily: Injections of 75 IU of Follistim once per day, self administered at home. I have 600 IU at home to get me started, which will get me through 8 days on the 75 IU dose. I have another 600 IU on the way…
- Every 3 Days: Estrogen draw + ultrasound to check follicle growth. If I am over-responding, we’ll dial back the dose. If I’m under-responding, we’ll dial up the dose. Hopefully, I’ll be right where I’m supposed to be…
- For my uterine lining, I will closely follow the regimen that helped me get from a 5-6mm lining to a 9mm lining that I talked about in this post: How to Thicken Your Uterine Lining Naturally. I talked to my doctor more in depth about my lining issues and she feels the Follistim will show better results because it doesn’t have anti-estrogen properties that Clomid has. So, hopefully it works in my favor and the Follistim gets along nicely with my natural remedies.
- When my uterine lining is thick, estrogen is good, and follicles are ripe (we’re shooting for 2-3 good ones), I will stop using Follistim, and we will use Ovidrel or Novarel (an hCG trigger shot) to force ovulation to happen.
- 24 hours after trigger shot, we will do the IUI. This is the tricky part – timing is key…
- I will drink a ton of water, stay active, eat well, and pray a lot as I enter and forge through the two-week-wait.
- Starting at 2dpIUI (2 days past IUI) I will test to see if the trigger shot is still in my system. It generally takes one day per 1,000 units of hCG to leave your system. A trigger contains 10,000 units so I can expect it to take up to 10 days to leave my system, thus resulting in FALSE positive pregnancy tests for up to 10 days. If the tests turn negative in that time period, I’ll know the trigger has left my system and any positive after that will be (should be) the real deal.
- Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS), thus resulting in having to cancel the entire cycle and losing all of the medication used and money spent for nothing. My body hasn’t been subjected to fertility drugs in 10 months. It tends to respond the strongest on the first cycle I start back up, and decline in response each month from there… so whatever happens, this first cycle will be the worst one, by far. My doctor warned me that with PCOS, things could go fine, and then all of a suddenly very quickly backfire and OHSS can hit. I am prepared to accept this…
- Not ordering enough medication – we think we have enough, but we could be very wrong and need to order more later on. I am praying that my body is sensitive enough to respond properly to the Follistim we have.
- Ordering too much medication and having a lot leftover that we may or may not ever use.
- Testing out the trigger shot could backfire and I could get really sad or depressed by seeing the negative tests.
- Multiple pregnancy. Follistim + IUI has a higher risk of multiples (30%) compared to Clomid alone, so the chance of having twins is much higher. This is why it’s important that we only trigger 2-3 follicles. With Clomid and just timing our “baby making time”, the risk wasn’t as high, even when I had 3-4 follicles in a single cycle, mainly due to our male-factor infertility.
- No pregnancy. A cycle wasted. A heart broken. Money spent.
What I’m Not Going to Do:
- Chart my basal body temperature. If I do that, I will obsess… no really. Like, fully obsess in the worst way. Charting causes a lot of unnecessary stress because you end up documenting every symptom, which means FertilityFriend ends up giving you pregnancy points, which means you can end up with 80 points leading to a likelihood of pregnancy and guess what – not pregnant. It’s not worth the energy.
- Make plans that can’t be canceled. Sorry to say to those reading this who share weekly life with me – everything from mid-October onward, until I’m pregnant, can be and may be canceled. Fertility treatment is priority right now, and sometimes we won’t know until the last minute if it’s time for the IUI, or for another ultrasound, or for another test… I will drop everything to do it.
- Not make plans. As in, I’m not going to not make plans. Double negative! Don’t laugh at me – but I do plan to make plans with friends and family (obviously with an understanding) so that I can hopefully be distracted with some fun as we’re in the depths of fertility treatment. After all, the weekends leading to Halloween are right in the midst of treatment time, and we have some fun activities coming up with the church community outreach, with family, with friends, etc. So, I’ll be making those plans… with an understanding that they may be broken. It’s the thought that counts. I just won’t host anything.
- Stress. I’m not going to stress. Famous last words. Ultimately, I can do everything in my human ability to make a baby and to create a hospitable womb, but the Father above will be the one to put Psalm 139:13 into motion within me.
I plan to share as much as possible on this blog with how the cycle is going. Injectible cycles are so unpredictable, especially the first one. My doctor feels confident that we can conceive this way, but there is also a lot of unknowns along with it. I guess that can go for any fertility treatment, but for us specifically, we have no idea what to expect. The good news is we can control the dose of the medication as we go along, which really gives us a better chance of conception.
Here’s hoping I’m pregnant and miserable come Christmas…
Onward we go!