Thursday, February 4, 2010

a possible snag in the plan

After getting my period last week, thereby marking the unsuccessful close of IUI cycle #2, I was once again heartbroken and disappointed. After crying most of the afternoon, I spent a lot of time that evening talking with Super Man about the whole situation.

What we've gone through so far, where we're at right now, and where we want to be, ideally. We talked about how we both feel like this process has become way more clinical than we wanted. After all, the way it's gone down the past two months is that Super Man has gone into the doctor's office early in the morning before work, done his part, and then driven the hour to work, while I would arrive 2 or 3 hours later, have the IUI procedure - alone - and then we'd spend the rest of the day apart, with him at work and me doing what I do. It might have been different - and felt more... I don't know... normal - if Super Man could've been with me for the IUI, but he couldn't.

In addition, the doctor doing my actual IUI procedures both months has been the one I don't care much for, and I think that's making me more tense during the procedures. One thing I know for sure is that I want to get my regular doctor for our final IUI procedures, even if it means that Super Man has to make some additional changes to his workday on those days.

So, we started talking about making some deviations from the original plan. And then I spoke with a nurse from the fertility specialist's office to see if we'd be okay to make our proposed changes for this month, and to ask a few other questions.

We got the go ahead we were seeking. Instead of doing IUI attempt #3 this month, we opted to skip the IUI but still use Clomid and just try the old fashioned way. After all, it's the Clomid that gives us the best shot of conceiving anyway: the IUI alone only increases the odds about 4%, whereas the Clomid increases our odds of getting pregnant by about 20%. The only consideration is that my doctor doesn't want me on more than 5 consecutive months of Clomid as a precaution, so that has to be factored into our future plans, as well.

HOWEVER....

After three days on Clomid for this cycle (Monday 2/1 - Wednesday 2/3), I woke up this morning with a brief sharp pain above my right eye and then had an incredibly bizarre visual problem. When I opened my eyes and went to get up, I had my eyes on my hands as they pushed the covers off my body, and as my hands moved, I saw a bunch of... "afterimages" of that movement. I stilled, blinked hard, and opened my eyes, passing my hand in front of my eyes. Same thing happened. It was like a weird psychedelic special effect, only I couldn't get it to stop. I instantly started breathing fast, panicking that something was SERIOUSLY wrong.

I squeezed my eyes shut and slowly lay back down, trying to breathe and relax. I left my eyes closed for a few minutes, and then slowly sat up and opened my eyes again. It was still happening, but not quite as dramatically as it had at first. I got up, walked across the room to my alarm clock and turned it off. As I walked around a bit more, it gradually stopped happening. I have no idea why, and I had no idea what it was or what caused it.

I waited for it to start up again as the day went on. It did not.

Instead, after putting in my contacts (brand new, in my new prescription following my annual eye exam last week) and wearing them for an hour, I felt like I couldn't see properly - my eyes felt really strained and my vision blurred, so I took the contacts out and wore my glasses instead.

And then, I ended up with yet another skull-crushing headache by late this afternoon, same as I've had every day since Sunday, with the sole exception of Tuesday (who knows why?).

And then I started thinking... maybe it's the Clomid.

I remembered reading that one of the possible, but rare, side effects of Clomid is "visual changes or disturbances." And I already know that when something's not working right between my eyes and my brain, I get horrible headaches. I learned that little tidbit the hard way after trying to repeatedly view 3-D videos at the Shedd Aquarium last August during a trip our family took with friends, only to end up with a raging headache and seriously upset stomach (like motion-sickness).

So I did some more research.

The blurred vision is fairly common, so that wasn't terribly disturbing, because wearing my glasses helps with that and that symptom usually stops after Clomid is stopped. On the other hand, the bizarro image-replicating side effect I had going on this morning - called palinopsia - is pretty rare. And it can be irreversible.

IRREVERSIBLE. In fact, I found several mentions online of people who developed it while taking Clomid - who still had it several YEARS after stopping treatment.

Can I just tell you how much that thought freaks me out? If it had me panicked and hyperventilating after only a few minutes, can you imagine how I'd function if it never went away???

Unfortunately, I had my little revelation after my fertility specialist's office was closed for the day today, so I left a message on the nurse line explaining what happened and letting them know that I was NOT taking today's dose (or tomorrow's!) until I can speak with them about this. It sounds like some patients who had this side effect were pulled off the medication by their doctors, and I'd rather play it safe, frankly. Heck, even if they try to tell me tomorrow that it's okay and to keep taking it, I'm not sure that I'm convinced that it's really okay. I'm definitely not okay with the possibility of having palinopsia for several years, in case that isn't abundantly apparent!

I just think it's bizarre that I didn't have this problem the past two months, or when I took Clomid in September, but now I have it this month. Why? WHY?? Is it due to a cumulative effect? Or... what?

So, then the question is: If I can't continue Clomid, then what else can I take, if anything, to help me get pregnant? I'm pretty sure the answer is "nothing." And if that's the case, then... what? What do we do?

I hate to even put this thought into words, but I can't help but wonder if the universe is trying to send me a message and I've just been too blind, deaf and unwilling to get it.

Maybe we're supposed to give up. Maybe it's not meant to be, us having a second baby together.

Think about it....

We've tried for four years now without a single pregnancy. It's not that I can't keep a pregnancy -- I can't even GET pregnant this time around. This after conceiving our son in 3 months without any assistance or intervention.

Last February, a mere few hours before I was supposed to have one of the BIG and more invasive fertility tests (the hysterosalpingogram, to check my tubes for blockages), and while my husband was halfway around the world in France for work, I fell down my back stairs and severely sprained my ankle/foot, leaving me unable to have the test done that day. I wasn't able to get in to have it done until June.

I've had almost every conceivable fertility test, and Super Man's been tested, too, and everything appears to be perfectly fine. And yet, I'm not getting pregnant again.

The only thing they've found that was even remotely "problematic" to us conceiving were the two benign uterine polyps, which I had to have surgery to remove in November. And this after thinking we'd be starting our IUI process in September.

I've had two IUI cycles now, where they've put the BEST swimmers RIGHT IN THERE with my extra eggs, and neither IUI attempt worked.

It seems like it's always something. Is it coincidental? Or is God literally slapping me upside the head trying to get me to pay attention and just STOP?

I don't know.

...

I don't know.

Hopefully I'll have at least a few more answers tomorrow.

With a troubled heart,
AESW