When 2015 ended, I was relieved. I was ready to start this new year off on a hopeful foot, with the thought that we should definitely be able to get pregnant within the next 12 months. If not, I might have a serious meltdown... In January (after round 4 of Clomid did not work), I sat with Dr. C and she said we should up my Clomid dose to 100mg. I told her that I was ready to talk to a specialist and didn't want to continue "trusting" that Clomid would just do the job. She, along with another friend, recommended Dr. L, a very respected IVF doctor that just so happened to be less than a mile away from my house. Dr. L, as it turned out, was also who Dr. C sent Sean to see to get tested before we even thought about starting Clomid. Of course, Sean was better than perfect :) On January 13, when I showed up to the office, it looked incredibly familiar and I realized that Dr. L was also one of the doctors I worked with when I did one of my egg donations years before. As soon as he saw me, he looked at my chart, looked back at me, and said "I remember you! We'll have no trouble getting you pregnant!" And I was so relieved. One, it made me feel good that this doctor remembered me and therefore I could tell he truly cared about his patients, and two, at least he was optimistic and he would know probably better than anyone at this point.
The first thing he told me after learning about the past year, with the inconsistent cycles and 4 unsuccessful rounds of Clomid, was that he did not want me to continue on Clomid. He suggested another fertility medication that was not FDA approved specifically for infertility, but used quite frequently for such cases, called Femara. His concern with Clomid was that the more you take it, the more it could potentially thin out the lining of your uterus which would make it very difficult for an embryo to attach to. He also mentioned that Clomid produces more potential eggs, while Femara typically works on one egg.. which meant a less likely chance of multiples for us. (At this point, I would totally be happy with twins.. at least I would know that I could have my two babies and not worry about going through this whole process again. Sean on the other hand, was a little more freaked out about the thought of twins, haha!).
Dr. L gave me a time table of what to expect. I was already much more excited about this process as it looked like he would be monitoring me throughout the month and I would have multiple sonograms to see how things were progressing. He also explained to me how stress affects this whole process. Basically, if you are stressed, your body sends out blockers that stop your body from doing what it is supposed to be doing naturally. Because of this tendency with infertility, I would also introduce Ovidrel, which is a shot to trigger ovulation if the stress blockers were keeping me from ovulating correctly. I had used Ovidrel before when I did the egg donations and was not concerned about having to layer on anything with Femara. I knew I was a stress ball and needed something to help if my naturally stressed out persona was keeping me from getting pregnant!
I was on board with this next step and ready to move forward with trying something different. Of course, I didn't want to immediately start that day, as I always feel better about starting fresh after I've had a period. For some reason, I feel like if I go too long without having one, whatever eggs are there are probably not good anyway and I don't want to try Clomid or Femara on old eggs. This is probably complete nonsense, but I always feel better and the doctors are always ok with waiting until the next cycle. One thing I did ask about while waiting for my next cycle was an HSG test. The HSG (hysterosalpingogram) is an X-Ray test that injects dye into your uterus to see if the Fallopian tubes are blocked in any way. I went in the last week of January, and to my relief, my tubes were not blocked and my uterus is perfectly shaped. I only had a mild feeling of discomfort during the test and spent the rest of that day in bed. Dr. L said after an HSG, the next 3 months give you a good chance of conceiving since the dye helps to "clean out the pipes." I was getting even more excited!
On February 24, I was able to start Femara. I went in on day 2 of my cycle, checked my follicles and I had 10 on my left and 12 on my right. Those 2 numbers are my favorite (12, 10, and 5 are my magic numbers remember?...) and I took that as a really good sign. I took Femara starting on day 3, twice a day for 5 days. On day 12, I went in for my mid-cycle sonogram and I had two strong follicles that had measured 18 and 22. I wasn't sure what that meant, but he said 20 was great. I was instructed to go ahead and take the Ovidrel shot and would ovulate in the next 24-48 hours. Sean and I opted out of the IUI, as we still wanted some romance in this crazy process, so Dr. L said to have sex every day for the next 4 days and then every other day until my period came (or not). OK!!! I had a really good feeling about this round and everything looked like it was finally lining up. But that two week wait is the longest two weeks ever known to woman... We did the best we could've done and then just waited. And waited. And waited.