if and celiac disease…

A good friend of mine was diagnosed with celiac disease about a year and a half ago.  If you’ve never heard of it, I suggest clicking this link to read about it on WebMD.  A brief description of what it is: “Celiac disease is a digestive disorder characterized by intolerance to dietary gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Consumption of gluten leads to abnormal changes of the mucous membrane (mucosa) of the small intestine, impairing its ability to properly absorb fats and additional nutrients during digestion (intestinal malabsorption).”

It is a very serious disease and the only “cure” is to completely cut out all gluten from your diet.  As you may imagine, this severely limits ones food choices.  Although, a lot of G-free foods are very tasty!  I’ve had a lot since she was diagnosed and made many myself.  When it’s a matter of life or death (which it is for her…if she has gluten it could kill her) you find ways!

Why am I bringing this up here?  Well the very lovely and talented Stirrup Queen posted a link on her Twitter to this article linking celiac disease with infertility.  Celiac disease blocks your body for absorbing nutrients (such as Vitamin D, calcium and Folic Acid…seem important?), there by causing fertility issues and recurrent miscarriages.  The article points to a blogger, Waiting in Sunshine and her post about her celiac’s and infertility.

I think this is an important issue to look into for those of us still in the trenches.  In April I go in for some big blood work to see if there is any reason I continue to loose my babies.  The PCOS explains my difficulty getting pregnant (though with metformin now, we seem to have helped that problem out a lot) but now we’re looking into why I can’t stay pregnant.  The MFM doc I saw didn’t see any reason in my ultrasound and past testing to explain it.  What if all my tests come back okay?  What then?  I don’t think I have any of the celiac symptoms, but the blood test is so easy to check for it, and I know there are clinics that offer free testing for it all the time.  It would be something to look into if there is no other explanation.  I’m not putting this up here to make everyone think that there IF/miscarriage issues are caused by celiac disease.  I’m just saying it’s certainly something to consider if all else fails.

7w and questions…

Hello again!  Thank you so much to everyone for all of your love and support!  We’re still in the very early, very nervous stages of this pregnancy, but I’m trying to take it a day at a time.  My ticker on the side seems to be off a bit, but I’m about 7 weeks along today!  For the next week I’m going to have to keep myself busy and distracted.  This is about the time I lost our first baby, Declan.  Somewhere between 7 and 8 weeks.  I don’t go back to my doctor until about 11 weeks, so all I can do is hope that I get to that next appointment.  To borrow a phrase from K over at Waiting for Sunflower, “So far, so good.”

So of course, going into my first appointment I wrote down all of my questions in a little notebook that I always carry with me.  I always have it on me – except apparently when I go in for my first appointment with my doctor!  Bugger.  So, I tried to ask her all I could remember, but I missed most of the important ones!  I’ve spent the last 3 years focusing on GETTING pregnant that I really don’t know much at all about BEING pregnant, and staying that way!  I need some help.  I’m hoping there are some of you TTC ladies that have looked ahead to the pregnancy stage and no what to do, or that there are some of you that have made it out of IF land and can offer me your advice/experience.  I also know I have some good friends who read this who have been pregnant and may be able to help, too.  So, I give you the nervous IF pregnant ladies questions so far:

1) Exercise!  I know that this is good, and before the Xmas season and the BFP I was going in to a gym 3 times per week.  I kinda took December off since we were traveling so much.  Now I find myself in January with a little friend on board, and I’m scared to go back.  I know pregnant women can exercise, but I wonder how much?  Should I cut back the intensity?  Should I wait a few more weeks?  What do you all think?

2) BD-ing.  Yes, I’m nervous about this and my poor DH suffers for it.  When we went in to the ER when we lost Declan the OBGYN that examined me asked a bunch of questions and one of the first was “when was the last time you had sex?”  This of course has scared me into thinking maybe we did something wrong going ahead after the RE told us it was okay.  Now I find myself in this place again, and again nervous we could do something wrong.  I’m sorry, this is way TMI for my friends and family that read this, but I’m pretty nervous and I want to make sure everything is okay before we go ahead.

3) Pre-natals, my nemesis.  I’ve been taking the damn pills for 3 years now.  I’ve been taking some over the counter stuff, but now my doc has prescribed me some.  This was after I asked because I know a lot of my friends who have had babies took prescription pre-natals.  My doc said it doesn’t matter if it’s prescription or over the counter, as long as you are taking them.  She did however give me a bunch of samples and told me to “choose the one I like most.”  How am I supposed to choose?  By taste?  You just swallow the things!  So, I turned to my trusty friend, WebMD.  Here is what they have to say:

  • 400 mcg of folic acid
  • 400 IU of vitamin D
  • 200 to 300 mg of calcium
  • 70 mg of vitamin C
  • 3 mg of thiamine
  • 2 mg of riboflavin
  • 20 mg of niacine
  • 6 mcg of vitamin B12
  • 10 mg of vitamin E
  • 15 mg of zinc
  • 17 mg of iron

This is the list I followed when I chose my over the counter stuff (which by the way is the generic Target brand, exactly the same as the Stuart Pre-Natals if your familiar with that brand.)  I’ve been looking at the ingredients listed on the prescription ones my doc gave me, but none of them have all of these things or the right amounts suggested.  Also, my friend SusQ said her doctor suggested taking a vitamin with DHA in it, which 2 of them do, but they are missing so much of the rest of the list, I think I’d rather stick with my Target brand!  Some of them don’t even have Calcium or Vitamin C in them!  Or, way lower doses than listed above.  None of them have thiamine, riboflavin or niacine.  So, how important is the list above?  Do I need to make sure to get EVERYTHING on that list, or just most of them?  I’m perfectly fine just continuing to take the Target brand, but I’d appreciate some input if y’all have any!

4)  Diet – what am I supposed to eat or not eat?  I know that: hot dogs, lunch meat, caffeine,  alcohol and soft cheeses are out.  Anything else vitally important?  Anything that is really good to eat?  I was hoping for some sort of list from my doc, but I forgot to ask.  Again, help would be appreciated.  Or even a good website you know of that could help??

Okay, I think that’s all for now.  Back to my paranoia!

let’s get this party started…

Just called in to my gynecologist. Set up an appointment for November 5th for a consultation (I’m very happy she had an opening so soon, she’s usually pretty booked up). I’m intending to ask her to put me on Metformin. I’ve just recently discovered (as in, yesterday) that Metformin is a common treatment for women with PCOS. That would have been nice to know 3 YEARS AGO!! Not that I’m angry…it’s just that I’ve been going to a fertility clinic for almost 2 years now and this drug was never even MENTIONED to me! Forget the fact that it could have regulated my cycles, or had me ovulating on my own w/o shots, or even the fact that it seems every other woman diagnosed as PCOS has been prescribed Metformin…forget all that. What MOST upsets me is that this drug is also given to women with PCOS in their 1st trimester to guard against miscarriage. If I had been given this drug, if I had even KNOWN about this drug, my little Zippy may have been born this month, instead of dying in March. That’s what pisses me off the most!

Hopefully my OB/GYN will listen to me and agree that I should try Metformin. The hubby and I talked last night and seemed to agree that we could do the Metformin alone for a few months and if nothing happens naturally, try IUI on Metformin one more time at our fertility clinic. Either way, this is the first breath of hopeful air I’ve had all month and it feels good. Drowning in the darkness of depression is no fun. I much prefer the bobbing up and down in a sea of hopefulness – at least I’m not below water any more!

So – all you Metformin vets, I need your help! I’ve printed off the WebMD article that I linked to above, and also some articles that the blogger Birds and Squirrels linked to in her blog back in April (thanks again to Maybe Baby? for pointing that blog out).  This is all I have right now, but if there is any info you think would be helpful in pleading my case to my doctor, I’d very much appreciate it.  Even just your personal stories of using the drug and how it has helped you?  I’d take any advice/help you could offer!  Thanks!

An infertility success?

King George I?

King George I?

So I’m crusing on WebMD (like I do when I want to know what is going to happen in the future right now.  To date, no answers predicting my IF future have been found on WebMD) and I find an article called “When Plan A Fails” about infertility.  I decided to read it and came across this interesting tidbit:

“Unofficially…
“Medical historian Robert Marion, M.D., believes that George Washington’s fertility problems changed the course of American history. In an article that appeared in Newsday in 1994, Marion argued that Washington turned down the chance to become ‘King’ of the United States because of his lack of heirs to inherit the throne.”

I guess we of the infertile crowd can be proud of this one great success: We are a democracy rather than a monarchy!  Huzzah to us?  Huzzah to us!


PCOS

So, when my doctor told me I had PCOS, I really had no clue what that meant.  In all reality, I still don’t really know what that means.  And also, the diagnosis I feel was kind of a default one – they couldn’t find any other reason why I wasen’t getting pregnant, so I think they just chose that one.  I’m not saying I don’t have PCOS – from what I’ve read about it, it makes sense.  What I am saying is, I kinda feel like the doctor labeled me with this without any proof or testing for it.

That’s not the point though – I wanted to share what I’ve found out about PCOS, mostly from WebMD – the default source of medical info for those who don’t know anything!  If you’d like to read the whole article where I got my information, it can be found here.

PCOS stands for Polycystic ovary syndrome.  From what I can figure, PCOS basically means that my hormones don’t work the way they are supposed to.  I don’t produce the right amounts of hormones essential not just for making babies, but for having regular cycles and ovulating.  This is why I was given certain hormone shots during my IUI cycle, given a shot to make me ovulate, and then given progesterone suppliments to guard against miscarriage.

Symptoms of PCOS are (according to webmd):

  • Acne.
  • Weight gain and trouble losing weight.
  • Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back.
  • Thinning hair on the scalp.
  • Irregular periods. Often women with PCOS have fewer than nine periods a year. Some women have no periods. Others have very heavy bleeding.
  • Fertility problems. Many women with PCOS have trouble getting pregnant (infertility).
  • Depression

I’ve always had acne and weight problems.  My periods have also always been irregular.  I didn’t start my period until about was about 16 or 17 years old.  Since then, they come and go as they please.  I used to have very short periods – sometimes as little as 2 or 3 days, but never more than 5.  Over the past 4 or 5 years, they have pretty much settled into a rhythm of occuring every 3 months and lasting about 6 days.  However, there have been times where I would bleed for over a month.  I didn’t go to a gynocologist until about 3 years ago, and then decided to try to have a baby 1 year after that.  I was never on birth control.

Looking back on the history of my cycles, I should have known something was wrong and done something about it long ago.  I always had a fear in my heart, the “what if I can’t have kids?”  But I never took that thought seriously, until it actually happened.

So here I am now.  Waiting.  Waiting for that period to come, that I’ve always dreaded because of the cramping and the inconvienience.  I was always so happy that my periods were short and few.  I now no that’s not a good thing.  And even when this one does start, I’ll have to wait for the next one before we can try again.  Frustration is a word I understand well.