Monday, September 22, 2014

Fun at The Walk of Hope

Well, I did it! On Saturday, I went to the Nor Cal Walk of Hope and it was an awesome experience. I had a little bit of a hard time leaving the house Saturday morning, as I have been having a bit of agoraphobia/anxiety lately as a result of the massive fire near our home. Knowing that DH would be home to take care of our animals and that I would be meeting my sister and a new friend at the walk got me moving though.

***pregnancies, babies, loss and children mentioned***

I got to the State Capitol at 9am and met up with my sister and niece, checked in and then walked around a bit. There were booths for the local IF clinics and they were giving out all kinds of free gifts; water bottles, t-shirts, pens and paper, reusable grocery bags with their logos on them and Resolve was giving away free FRERs and OPKs! (I may have taken more than just one of each, not gonna lie) There were also booths for support groups, a raffle for an IVF cycle and acupuncture (sadly I didn't win) and a booth for The Art of IF.



Then, a new friend Janell, met up with us. Janell is an acquaintance of my sister, who happened to see all of the posts of mine that my sister shared on FB. Janell contacted me about a month ago, through my sister, to offer up her extra meds from her first IVF cycle. Unfortunately, although her first beta was ok, her numbers never doubled and she got the call Saturday morning that they were back to zero. It was really nice to meet someone in real life who is going through all this crap!

Around 10am the Resolve staff and MC for the event started the rally and the Sac State cheerleaders got everyone warmed up for the walk. There were prizes awarded to the team with the most people, best dressed fur baby and the team that raised the most money for the Resolve. Then it was time for the walk to begin. Everyone lined up with their teams and walked through a big group of cheerleaders cheering us on. It was like at a football game, when they announce the players and they run through the double lines of cheerleaders - pretty cool!

One of the cool things was that there were women with babies and pregnant women there as well. When I saw the first pregnant woman, I thought it was kind of weird but then I saw her shirt that read: "5 Years and 4 Cycles of IVF" it was written across her baby bump. The back of her shirt read: "Don't ever give up." I love to see that those who have struggled with IF don't just leave the rest of us behind. We are still supported and cheered on by those who have finally had success.

It was a really cool experience and a well attended event and I am so glad I was able to be a part of it. While I did expect that maybe the organizers would have petitions for changing IF coverage laws, there weren't, so I passed out all of my little cards for my own petition and people seemed genuinely interested in signing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Resolve, Walk of Hope

I am so excited to be participating in Resolve's Walk of Hope on Saturday! At first, DH was going to go with me but with the massive fire close to our home on Saturday and another huge one that started on Sunday that still isn't out, we have concerns about leaving our home and animals and have both of us two hours away from home. Instead, I asked one of my sister's to go with me and my niece also jumped at the opportunity. I had business cards made up to pass out to get people to sign my petition to change the infertility coverage laws here in California. It feels good to be able to do something, besides blog and post on facebook! I will be posting an update and pictures next Monday. :) 

Also, my clinic is doing a raffle for a free IVF cycle and you have to participate in the walk to be included in the drawing, so that will be a huge plus too! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lots of studies and Info for Pregnitude, DHEA, PCOS and Androgen Levels

A while back, my friend Kate had asked me to share with her the research I had done regarding elevated androgen levels, DHEA, PCOS and Pregnitude. I put this together for her and since the topic keeps coming up in a lot of groups and discussion boards, I thought I would include all my research here too. Some of the studies also include information on increasing your AMH which I have heard from a few doctors isn't possible but since it happened to me and a few other ladies I know, I tend to defer to the study, rather than the doctors.

Read it all now or bookmark it in case you need it later. Either way, I just wanted to share my findings in case someone else out there finds themselves in need of the info!

It was actually my PCP who tested my androgen levels. He had just been to a conference about PCOS and excess androgens so with all of his patients with IF, he was running those labs prior to sending them to an RE, because he learned at the conference that RE’s don’t usually run those tests. I was his first patient to come back with elevated androgens. What my PCP told me was that my elevated androgen levels were affecting egg maturation. He said that since my temping was confirming ovulation, he suspected that I was O-ing but the eggs weren’t mature because my excess androgens were messing with maturation and were causing the eggs to release too early. My PCP had directed me to this study: to explain what he suspected. It has info about excess androgens and DHEA. When I went to the RE, and told him what my PCP said, he confirmed that excess androgens of a certain type can cause that to happen but said the other possibility is that the excess androgen is actually a result of improper ovulation ( ). My RE commended my PCP for running those tests, he said they wouldn’t have normally looked for that. At that time, my RE also confirmed my PCP’s PCOS diagnosis. When researching PCOS and excess androgens, I came across this: Which mentions the use of Inositol in polycystic women and spearmint for reducing hair growth and balancing hormones (I ignored the cinnamon part because I have hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, not diabetes) When I did a search for Inositol, I found Pregnitude. Info on Pregnitude: (European version of Pregnitude and studies) While researching the use of spearmint for excess hair growth and hormone balance, I came across this: This resource says that it is not proven to balance testosterone, but does have anitandrogen effects, it helps with LH, FSH and oestridiol levels, which can combat excessive androgens. (Here is another resource about spearmint that also mentions DHEA I do not take DHEA due to the fact that I also heard it can cause excess androgens and I have enough already, so I figured the best route would be to try and reduce androgen levels naturally while also trying to improve egg quality. Also, when I brought DHEA up to my RE, he said his concern with my taking it was that it would counteract the effect of the Femara, which blocks estrogen production since some studies have shown that DHEA increases estrogen. My RE wasn’t too supportive of my use of Pregnitude, but the cycle after I started it, I had the best follicles of any cycle and during my break cycles, I was O-ing around cd 14 when I have always O’d around cd 10 or 12 at the latest, which pretty much convinced him that it was working for me. This last cycle that got cancelled, I ran out of Pregnitude and Walgreens was backordered so I went a whole week without taking it. I either O’d on cd11 prior to my monitoring appointment or the follicle just plain collapsed with no O and I was cancelled. I think it has everything to do with stopping the Pregnitude for a little while. Mr. Idon’tthinkitwillhelpbutitcan’thurt RE scolded me for stopping it for a week!

Nothin Doin in my Barren Ute

My life as far as IF goes has been pretty boring (hence my posts being few and far between). I am currently cd 32, haven't gotten a confirmed O date on FF and am crampy. Beyond that, there's just not much going on IF wise.

In other news, I am sure I've mentioned on her before that my DH and I breed Labs (purebred hunters and family dogs), and on Saturday, we mated our dog Dakota and her boyfriend! We are hopeful it worked (she's had a litter before so at least she doesn't struggle with IF) and should be having an adorable litter of puppies in the beginning of November! Woot woot!

Dakota with a pup

I've been trying really hard to come up with some good ideas for posts on my public blog. I like to post to raise awareness as well as to keep people reading and possibly donating. So far, I am having a hard time coming up with new ideas, so if anyone out there on the interwebz has one they wouldn't mind me using, lay it on me!

Would you like to tell your story? I also like to spotlight others who struggle with infertility and their stories. I have a list of questions to guide you but you can also just give a little blurb. If you would like to remain anonymous but would like to be spotlighted, that works for me too! I would be happy to use only your first name or change your name entirely. Interested? Comment below or email me at