Change of plan

I decided to stop taking my antibiotics. I’ve also stopped taking the Lovenox. Clearly, neither helped me keep a pregnancy, so what’s the point?

Since Saturday (the day of the stopped antibiotics) I’ve eaten all manner of sugar, bread, dairy and caffeine. It’s somewhat out of control, actually. But it’s been several months, so I’ll give myself a break on this one. It will even out after I see my herb guy tomorrow and admit to my failings…he’ll guilt me back into shape.

I saw a general internist-type doctor for the first time. My husband is convinced I need a captain of the ship, as it were…someone to oversee all the specialists. This Dr. spent a lot of time with me, reviewing my medical history, examining my reflexes, heart, etc. He ordered some blood tests and referred me to an allergist because, get this, he thinks my allergies to our cat (who I adopted just before marriage) is the source of my immune system problems and miscarriages. Interesting theory, but after a search on the interweb (which, as we all know, is the definitive medical source), I found no such link. Appointment isn’t until first week of January, so will have to wait to find out.

In the meantime, I’m in the middle of the two week wait, sans Lovenox :O

Here’s a question for anyone who feels qualified to answer it: How can you trust your doctors when they all give you different opinions?


I need a vacation from my vacation

My husband and I have never really had a vacation. We didn’t have a honeymoon after we got married. So this last weekend we scheduled a 4 day getaway to the beach. Nothing but relaxation and rest for 4 straight days.

Thursday was a great day, they upgraded us to a suite! It was literally bigger than our house. Unfortunately, it smelled like old lady perfume and moth balls. Thursday night my allergies started really bothering me so we asked for foam pillows and took the feather comforter off the bed.

By Friday my allergies were so bad we asked for a different room. They gave us a new suite that was just as big but no old people perfume. Unfortunately, by this time I realized my allergies weren’t allergies at all, but a cold…a bad cold.

Friday night we bought me some Nyquil, but because there was a small possibility I might be pregnant, we decided to get a pregnancy test and take it before I took the Nyquil. We were trying to forget about the wait, weren’t going to test at all, just let things unfold. But because I was sick and had to take the medicine, there really wasn’t a choice.

o I took the test. And it was positive! We couldn’t believe it. We were so excited. Finally, not thinking so much about it actually worked! I wasn’t going to do it, but I looked on my iphone app to see what the due date would be, what sign the baby would be. A Leo born August 6th.

We ordered up some room service and watched a movie. Every so often my husband would point to me and smile. High fives. I didn’t care so much that I was so sick.

Then I went to the bathroom and there was blood. My husband tried to convince me it was normal, that it was just spotting. But it wasn’t.

And then I got cramps.

I never would have known I was pregnant again if I hadn’t gotten sick. Such a cruel, cruel trick. We’re trying to figure out what to do now. I was taking the Lovenox, so it wasn’t a clot. Was it the Lyme? A co-infection? Should I start the other antibiotic? But that means taking 3 months off. Three months is a long time. And if the reason is just that I’m old, then continuing to try every month is the best thing to do, not take time off.

It’s getting harder and harder. And when I think it can’t get any harder than it is, it gets harder still.


At least I don’t have swine flu

Well, I woke up this morning 10 percentage points lighter on the “ability to conceive” scale. But I had some very nice birthday wishes from family and friends, so there’s the bright side.

Had my 2 month appointment with Lyme doctor Sunday. I saw Dr. Thoring this time instead of Dr. Harris. Dr. Thoring is putting me on some better Magnesium supplements (why I wasn’t given these before, I don’t know…two months of crappy supplements = wasted time). He said if my restless leg problems don’t resolve after a week on these, I probably have a co-infection. If I have a co-infection, I have to take three months off of baby-making to take another antibiotic that is not baby friendly. When you’re 41, the dog-years theory applies so three months is really actually like 5 years. I’m really hoping the new supplements make me better. I ordered them on Monday and they said it would be one or two days max but they’re still not here.

I also complained about my hair falling out (which it is doing again) and Dr. Thoring suggested I try Armour Thyroid instead of Synthroid. Any google search will reveal a massive controversy about this subject. I called Dr. Stricker’s office and first they said it’s not available so stick to Synthroid. Then I told them Dr. Thoring has some, so can I just get a prescription. They were very defensive, espousing danger and full of warnings. Look, if it might make my hair stop falling out, it’s worth a try. I’ve begun imagining myself like Little Edie in Gray Gardens, dancing around with a towel on my head.

The new supplements plug up the afternoon no pill-popping hole so I’ll have to update my regimen. I also have to set the alarm an hour before I get up just to take my thyroid medicine (whatever that ends up being) so that I can wait an hour to take the probiotic/saccharomycin/herbs and then wait another hour to take my antibiotics/olive leaf/fish oil with my breakfast. I’ve reached the point where there aren’t enough hours in my waking day to take all of the shit that I have to take.

I started the Lovenox shots this week and something happened two days ago that has never happened before: I pulled the needle out and I was bleeding where the needle came from. Then immediately there was this hard lump under my skin the size of a quarter. A call to the pharmacist and some online sleuthing put me at ease as evidently this is a known side-effect. Why it had never happened before, and why it was happening now, I haven’t a clue. But it’s normalish, I’m fine, and I hope it doesn’t happen again. Plus there’s the lovely accompanying big purple bruise.


Crap mood

I woke up in a crap mood this morning and it only got worse. I decided last night I have to start taking the Lovenox shots again because in the off chance that I do get pregnant and have not taken the Lovenox, I could lose it again…so I have to. P.S. I still have a bruise on my poor belly from the last shot I did over a MONTH ago.

I’ll be 41 next week which means I’ve lost another 10 percentage points on the ability to conceive graph. To make matters worse, the mail this morning gifted me an AARP membership card. I know I’m a few years away from 50, but it was still a shocker to see it. They shouldn’t do that to people.

I got to donate $20 to the receptionist’s baby shower which will be held on Tuesday. I usually avoid talking to her, but today I asked if she had gotten a flu shot. After a 10 minute conversation about baby size, movement, trimesters and due dates, she proclaimed that she was ready to be done with the pregnancy. Poor pregnant girl with my $20 and a party next week.

By the way, this morning before I left for work I noticed that the cat had pooped on the couch…and I just left it there.


Pass the tequila

My hip feels great. It’s not even three weeks since the surgery and I’m about 95% back to normal, except it’s better than normal because I don’t have the crazy hip pain anymore. I actually went grocery shopping today pain free. It’s absolutely amazing.

Went to my herb guy, Majid, on Wednesday. He said I’m 50% better overall than when I first went to see him a month and a half ago. He also said that my ph balance is good and the hormones look good and if we want to start trying to get pregnant again we can. I’m trying to decide what level of commitment I’m up for…do I start the lovenox? Do I go back to acupuncture? I have to say it was pretty great this month just knowing I was not pregnant. No tests, no wondering, no counting days, no contemplating due dates. I was simply not crazy this month. It was a nice respite.

I think this month we should not try to get pregnant, but at the same time not try not to. This is what my sister-in-law did and guess what, she’s pregnant. My friend with the new baby suggests drinking more. She, as well as many people she’s talked to, were evidently really drunk when they conceived. It sounds counter-intuitive (and somewhat harmful) but maybe it’s worth a try. I’ve tried everything else.

I have my next lyme dr. appointment next Sunday on November 8th. I recently read the most up-to-date information regarding lyme and pregnancy and the concensus is that I have to be on antibiotics the entire pregnancy or risk passing lyme to the baby which can cause several problems which include everything from heart, brain and lung damage to death. So I guess I’ll be on antibiotics either until I have a baby or reach meopause. Great.


Starting IUI

So today was the first appointment with USC Fertility to get the whole IUI process going. Exam, blood test, ultrasound, the whole nine yards. Everyone is very impressed with how I keep my medical records…everything is in a binder all tabbed and indexed. I guess that’s unusual.

We talked about clomid and injectables. Clomid is a pill that makes more than the usual one egg “drop” which increases the chances of pregnancy from about 6% to about 25%. Injectables are for people who just haven’t gotten pregnant and it REALLY increases your chances of pregnancy, and of multiple pregnancies. I had 17 folicles in my right ovary and 8 in my left. If I did the injectables I could end up Octomom, which is not ideal. So we decided to go with the Clomid…I take 2 tabs each night for 5 days. Then on cycle day 10 I start testing in the afternoon with the ovulation predictor kits. Once it’s positive we go in the next day for the “transfer.”

They tested my FSH which was 7.5. They get worried that the eggs are all dried up if the number is over 10, so this is good news for me. That plus the “above average” number of folicles gives me some better than average odds for my advanced maternal age.

Other than that, my legs have really been bothering me. They feel like they’re hooked up to an electrical outlet, especially if I walk any distance longer than 10 feet. Something to talk to the lyme doc about at my next appt. That and the fact that my belly is all big again from the antibiotics. Gotta lay off the sugar.

GOOD NEWS: My new insurance, Cigna Open Access, not only pre-approved another 6 months supply of Lovenox, they have already shipped me a 3 months supply and it only cost $40. Suck it Blue Shield.


Good News and Bad News

The good news is…I think my hair has stopped falling out since I switched to the brand name synthroid (instead of the generic).

The bad news is…after this first time back in the saddle, I’m not pregnant 🙁 Also, Blue Shield will only cover one month’s supply of Lovenox every three months. Which means I have to buy Lovenox at full price for two months. Which means about $400 per month. Also, my lyme doctor’s office took three weeks to get back to me about making a follow up appointment. They are only in Malibu one weekend a month, otherwise they are up North in Redwood City. I was supposed to have an appointment in August, but those are all full now. My appointment can’t be until September, and the weekend conflicts with the Avon Breast Cancer Walk which I have volunteered to crew. So do I leave the Walk early to go to my 4pm Sunday appointment? Or do I take two days off of work to drive all the way up to Redwood City? Or do I skip the appointment and see them in October, risking that they’ll refuse to refill my antibiotics unless I see them earlier? All crap choices.


Shooting Up

Had my second lyme appointment on Saturday (or first follow-up). It was with a different doctor. I discussed with him my concerns about baby-making at this stage of the lyme game. He suggested I wait six months to see how I do on the antibiotics. I suggested I not. He called in the expert who said it was ok for me to try to conceive now. I like the expert.

The expert changed my medication–took away the Ceftin and added amoxicillin in its place (more baby-friendly). I was told that I could breastfeed if I was not having symptoms.

News Flash: Husband does NOT have lyme! So that’s great news.

I started the Lovenox on Friday night. It was really hard to stick myself with that needle. It’s like the thing that prevents you from breathing under water was preventing me from jabbing a sharp needle into my belly. I eventually did it though. It went in slow and burned a little. Then after I took the needle out it hurt worse for about 15 minutes, like someone was pinching me really hard or something. Last night was a little easier. We’ll see how it goes.


The times are a-changin’

Dr. Stricker’s office said we can definitely start the process even on all these antibiotics.

I also found out Thursday that I got a job finally!

So I start shooting the Lovenox on Friday, and I have my follow-up appointment with lyme Dr. on Saturday. I am a little concerned because some stuff I’ve read on the internet says that pregnant women should be on IV antibiotics if they find out they have lyme while pregnant to make sure they kill it as fast as possible so it doesn’t spread to the baby. I will have only been on oral antibiotics for a month before I (hope to) get pregnant…is that enough? I’ll ask the Dr. on Saturday.

Things are looking up at last!


So Many Decisions

Dr. Danzer

Dr. Danzer was of the general opinion that there’s not enough evidence that any of the immunology stuff really does anything. He was most concerned about the Humira and said he would not recommend it. He used to give his patients IVIg but doesn’t anymore, his biggest complaint about it is that it is expensive and unproven. He is also concerned about LIT because there’s a small chance that I could contract a crazy disease from my husband that we don’t know to test for yet. He agreed with the Lovenox, baby aspirin, Dexamethasone (although he would prefer prednisone) treatment, as well as the Folgad. He said he also recommends the IVF with PGD, says I’m the perfect candidate.

Dr. Stein

Dr. Stein said she actually brought Dr. Beer to Los Angeles and was one of his biggest champions. She has attended countless seminars, etc. on Dr. Beer’s protocol. She used to include NK’s and all the other tests in her recurrent miscarriage workup. However, she is no longer a believer. She said the results proved to be too random. It would appear to help some, but not others, for no apparent reason. She believes fully that chromosomes are where the problems lie. She thinks that with PGD testing a great number of miscarriages have been prevented. She has concerns about Dr. Beer’s treatment protocol…she is concerned that LIT may cause me to have serious problems later if I need an organ transplant (it would be more difficult for me to find a match). She believes that my problems are the MTHFR / Factor XIII, APA….blood clotting issues. She strongly advises to stick to the problems we have discovered that are known, and leave the immune stuff out of it. She also said that the immune tests always reveal a problem, they are never totally clean for anyone.


Summary of opinions from four reputable doctors–Dr. Stricker, Dr. Stein, Dr. Chung. and Dr. Danzer:

IVIg – 1 for, 2 against, 1 no strong opinion either way
Humira – 1 for, 3 against
LIT – 1 for, 2 against, 1 no strong opinion either way
Lovenox/dex/aspirin – 4 for, 0 against
Folgard – 4 for, 0 against
IVF with PGD – 3 for, 1 against

Ultimately this is all our decision, as all the doctors said they would support us whatever we decided to do. We think we’re going to first try the Lov/dex/aspirin starting CD6 and wait on the rest. We are also struggling with whether to do IVF…we don’t like the idea of having to decide that some embryos are good and some are bad. We shouldn’t be making that decision. It’s so hard because I’ll be 41 in November and the clock is ticking, it would be so easy to do IVF, look at everything and weed out the embroys that will not make it. But what if one of the embryos tests positive for downs? I don’t want to have to decide not to have that baby. Plus there’s the whole question of when the soul attaches…having this type of power over life makes me very uncomfortable.

Well, we don’t have to make a final decision today. We’re waiting on the lyme results which will come back next week so this cycle is out (if I have Lyme, I’ll have to have antibiotics which I couldn’t do if I was pregnant). So we have a couple weeks to decide the IVF thing.