Health Update – Hormones Suck!

Many of you are aware of our fertility struggles but it’s been awhile since I’ve done an update mainly because since my last miscarriage things have been pretty quiet around here.  For one because I needed a break from thinking about pregnancy, fertility, miscarriages etc.  For two because we had a gap of time between our most recent loss (in April) and our fertility specialist appointment.  Which I was admittedly very nervous and anxious about.  Nervous because I had an inclination that they were going to suggest hormones, spending $$$ and possibly being told we can’t have another baby.  Anxious because it’s a step in the direction of finally getting pregnant and hopefully carrying a baby again.  Hopefully…

Well, we had that appointment several weeks ago and I’ll admit that I left feeling better about my situation.  Better but also a little frustrated that taking hormones was of course recommended…  Just what I’ve been wanting to avoid.  However, I’m lucky in that I don’t have to take much AND the doctor that I met with is against using Clomid which I’ve been adement about avoiding from the beginning.  So that made me feel SO much better!

Since then I’ve began a journey with California IVF.  I’ll admit that so far it’s been better than I expected but has also had some downfalls.  The first thing I was told to do was to take provera which would kick start my cycle since I haven’t had a period since January.  This was especially important so that they could perform a saline/iodine ultrasound to better see in my uterus.   I started taking that and right away gained a few pounds but it wasn’t until 3 days after stopping that aunt flow came to visit.  It worked!  Although she didn’t stay long I was able to go in a few days later and have the ultrasound.

I was nervous because I thought maybe they would see something they weren’t seeing in a regular ultrasound that was hindering my ability to carry a baby.  Luckily I was all good!  Well, not all good.  My endometrium lining was pretty thin which he said is most likely the cause as to why I don’t have a period.  He said he didn’t see any signs of anything that would hinder my ability to get pregnant and that with some hormonal supplementation I should be able to carry to full term.  Yay!

So began the next step.  Hormones 🙁  I immediately started taking Estrace which is an estrogen supplement.  It hasn’t been all that great….  I’ve been crabby, have gained nearly 5 pounds, and feel bloated all the time.  Despite those things it did work.  The reasoning for taking it was to increase the lining in my uterus and hopefully allow me to have a normal period.  It worked!  Another check did indeed show that my uterine lining had thickened which means I’m ready for the next step.

More drugs…  As I mentioned above I luckily do not have to take clomid.  Instead my doctor has prescribed me Letrozole (generic for Femara)  which is actually a medicine used for breast cancer.  It’s been shown to have higher pregnancy rates higher live birthrates and less side effects than clomid.

A 750-women government-funded study, one of the largest to date looking at infertility and PCOS, found that the drug letrozole improves ovulation and results in higher pregnancy and live birthrates than clomiphene, sometimes known as Clomid, which is considered the first-line treatment. Letrozole is a generic drug and also marketed byNovartis PLC under the brand name Femara.

There was a study done in 2005 by some Canadian fertility doctors that found there to be higher risk of birth defects when using Letrozole.  Of course this scares me to death but after doing a lot of research on the drug, I have found that many sources that highly criticize this study for having improper design and research.  Femara is known to have a short half life in the bloodstream and is cleared from the system before the egg is fertilized.

So am I thrilled to be taking it?  No, not really.  However, my doctor felt confident that it would help me to conceive and carry to term.  Which after the past two years I’m 100% ready to do just about anything to make that happen.

I started Letrozole just yesterday and will take that for 5 days then go in for another ultrasound.  Once that clears we’ll either do an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) or timed conception.  Then because of my MTHF I’ll be put on a prescription of HCG, a higher dose of Folate and most likely low dose aspirin.

So that’s where we’re at.  Hopeful for the future and taking it one day at a time 🙂  I’ll keep you guys updated on our progress from here.  Fingers crossed I’ll be sharing some good news sometime soon!

QUESTIONS –   

  • Have you ever taken hormones?  
  • Do you have any experience with fertility treatments?  Clomid?  Letrozole?  

 

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Comments

  1. So glad you are getting positive results! My husband and I have been TTC our first child for 2. 5 years (we also had a missed miscarriage at 3.5 months and a very unexpected 9 month deployment thrown in there!). We didn’t conceive, but my body reacted very well to Femara compared to clomid.

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Thank you Kim! Hopefully you conceive as well soon! Sending happy baby thoughts 🙂

  2. I hope I don’t have to take clomid. My friend took one small treatment of it and is now pregnant with triplets. Whoops!

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Yikes! Definitely don’t want that! From what I understand the chances of multiples are lower with this drug. Hopefully!

  3. Emily Russell says:

    I also had to take Provera for several months and took Clomid (the lowest dose) which worked the first time!
    Wishing you the best on this new journey!

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Thank you Emily! I often think about you and your journey which gives me hope 🙂

  4. Fingers crossed that you can have success with this Giselle! Wishing you all the best and hoping it works out for your family 🙂

  5. I know you’re bummed about taking the drugs and the side effects that come with it, but it sounds like you’ve done everything you can naturally so don’t beat yourself up about it too much. I think all the new developments in medicines and drugs over the years is actually a huge blessing, as long as they aren’t overused and abused. In your case, you didn’t jump right into the drugs and have tried everything else, so this is your last resort, which I think is a great way to go about it. I’ve heard lots of positive stories about Femara. I hope this is it for you!

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Thank you Ashley! It’s hard reading all the side effects (and experiencing many) and negative accounts of drugs. I was really hoping to do this the natural way but after giving it my all I’m faithful in our doctor and the medicine. I feel like this will work!

  6. Sending my love, hope all goes very well for you soon!

  7. I’m so hopeful for you, Giselle. Sending positive vibes your way!

  8. Hi there,
    I’ve never commented but have been meaning to for awhile. I also have mthfr (heterozygous) and have needed fertility help to conceive both my girls. I’m fortunate that I live in colorado because we have CCRM which is one of the top fertility clinics in th country.
    Anyway, with my first I just did an IUI and for my newest baby (born 3/21) I did clomid/IUI. I’m fortunate that both iuis were successful on the first try. I HATED clomid and its side effects but given that I gave me my sweet Josephine, I’d do it again in an instant.

    Like you, I had to completely stop running and gain weight to get pregnant the first time. When I wanted to get pregnant the second time I was at a much healthier weight but my RE at CCRM was adamant that I quit orange theory and any workouts of that type. I also was taking the L methyl folate this time around (I didn’t know about the mthfr for my first pregnancy.) I also took a low dose aspirin with this pregnancy and progesterone suppositories with both pregnancies for the first trimester.

    One of the best websites for mthfr is mthfr.net. Dr Ben Lynch is one of the leading docs on mthfr and he has a podcast on what supplements to take when pregnant.

    Please feel free to email me at meghan dot colasanti at gmail dot com if you’d like to hear more. Although I’ve vice had any miscarriages, I feel we have many similarities with our fertility, exercise and mthfr issues.

    I’m sending you lots of good thoughts that you will have a healthy baby very soon!

    In kindness,
    Meghan Colasanti

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Thank you so much for commenting Meghan! I’ve heard Colorado is the place to be if you have fertility issues so yes, you are lucky 🙂 I love that you said even though you hated clomid you’d do it again in a heart beat. I’m struggling having to take drugs to assist our hopeful pregnancy but hearing that others have had such positive outcomes makes me feel better about everything.

      I frequent Dr. Lynch’s website often and listen to his podcast. Definitely helpful!

      Thank you so much for all the good thoughts!!!

  9. I took Clomid for way too many cycles. It was on an off cycle that I conceived. Then 2 years later we started trying again. Two years after that we gave up. I started running and getting healthy. Found out I was allergic to gluten so I quit eating it. We sold all of our baby stuff, deciding we were going to be a one kid family. Then I got pregnant. I am convinced it was the gluten. So much changed when I quit eating it. I’m a different person than I was. I’m grateful they diagnosed an allergy, not only for the sake of having another baby, but because my quality of life is so much better now. I hope you have success quickly with this drug-I’ve never heard of it. I’m sending happy baby thoughts to you 🙂

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      I’ve heard that from others about cutting out gluten and then getting pregnant. Luckily my diet is already pretty clean with little to no gluten all the time and limited dairy. I had an allergy test too that showed I’m not allergic but a little sensative as most people are. So I just avoid it completely 🙂 Thank you for the happy baby thoughts!

  10. ErikaMC says:

    I have taken both Clomid and Famara. The clomid worked for me. I was taking clomid when I got pregnant the first time. When trying for our second I started out on famara but I just didn’t/couldn’t ovulate with it so I went back to clomid. I got pregnant again with clomid (but ended up having a miscarriage). Both times I also got pregnant with an IUI but there have also been several unsuccessfull IUIs inbetween and since. I’m currently on clomid and we will be trying an IUI again this month. It can be frustrating and stressful but when it does work it’s all worth it.

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience! Keeping my fingers crossed for you this month 🙂

  11. Jennifer says:

    Best wishes to you, Giselle! Both my babies were conceived on the first round of clomid . While I know some people have terrible side effects from it, I had absolutely none, so you never know. Hoping your current meds work well for you.

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Thank you Jennifer! It’s so interesting to hear how everyone reacts differently to the hormones. Guess it just goes to show how all our bodies are so different 🙂

  12. Just jumping in without reading everything so I apologise if this has already been mentioned but before I got pregnant with my older daughter I had not had a period for a year. Long story short, I at clean and worked out and was not even super skinny but my body had developed hypothalamic amenorrhea. Even though I felt healthy my body needed more calories and good fats. Progesterone did not bring my period back but a round of Clomid worked first time. Hope everything works out, no – it definitely will!!

    • Giselle Schroer says:

      Thank you for sharing your journey! It’s been hard but I’ve definitely gained weight and cut back on my exercise level. Hoping this first round of hormones works for me and that I don’t have to go through another cycle. I’ll find out tomorrow so fingers crossed 🙂