33 37 years old. I was a smart, fat, extremely sensitive yet precocious kid. I was diagnosed with PCOS at age 18, but I started eating healthy and exercising so I’ve been having regular periods and ovulating for most of my adult life. However, I still have to shave my face every day (and my chest/stomach/inner thighs have dark coarse hair too). I’ve had lots of laser therapy and it slows down the hair but it always comes back (I’ve heard electrolysis gets rid of it permanently but it makes me gag to think of the smell of burning hair). For this reason alone (PCOS) I figured I would have trouble getting pregnant.
Then when I was 24, I became deathly ill and was hospitalized and diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, which is an autoimmune disease. I had just really started getting into bodybuilding because I lived on an island and I wanted to look hot in a bikini for once in my life. I continued a bodybuilding diet of protein and complex carbs with absolutely NO sugar but a sh*t-ton of splenda for about 6 years. Then I met my Mr. MLACS and I kind of relaxed about my diet and training…I was tired of trying to look like a barbie doll. Is it a coincidence that after I started eating some dairy and sugar and (gasp) BREAD that I started to have big probs with my colitis again? Well, I was on prednisone for 1/2 of 2011 and barely managed to get back in shape for my wedding in 2012.
Then we moved and the fun started. My menses went cray-cray in Oct. ’12. I was having 7 days no flow and 7 days of full flow and this lasted for a couple months. I went to my OBGYN and they offered me….birth control (BC) pills and a B12 shot. I was so clueless I just accepted it but I still felt like sh*t (even after two B12 shots). I only lasted 4 days on BC pills before I got my period again and trashed them. I also had something wrong “down there”…bacterial vaginosis (BV)? yeast? It was slimy and smelly and itchy. I was treated for both, and the flagyl they gave me for the BV apparently made my colitis “flare” (bleeding from the colon). By December I was still itching and I was bone dry “down there” so I went back to the OBGYN asking if it was perimenopause?? They tested my AMH and it was 4.57, so it wasn’t early menopause. Then, I decided to try this SCD diet which eliminated ALL grains and most dairy from the diet, thinking it would help my colitis because I thought maybe my diet was causing all this inflammation.
Due to my issues, me and Mr. MLACS only had sex ONCE in January–January 19th. I took a perfunctory HPT on February 4th…and about died when I saw two lines. I hadn’t intended to try until I was better (he was supposed to pull out) and I really didn’t think my body was in any shape to get pregnant…I really figured it wouldn’t happen because NOTHING comes easily to me. I thought “this may well end badly”. And wouldn’t you know, I was wrong about everything else but I was right about that: I had my first miscarriage on February 25th at 7w2d. I was also diagnosed with Lichen Sclerosus–a degenerative autoimmune disease of my genitalia that was causing my itching/dryness–thank God there’s an answer! But then I wanted to know why I had my miscarriage. OBGYN said don’t bother collecting “the products” because it was most likely a chromosomal issue, and so I didn’t. I really thought maybe this was just normal and my body would get it right next time. OBGYN ran some tests, and the results f*cked my life up from then until now….
Results came back:
Elevated ALT/AST (liver enzymes)
Positive for Anti-nuclear Antibodies (ANA’s)
My OBGYN referred me to a GP (since I didn’t have one–hadn’t needed one). The GP ran more tests–my TSH fell to 3.65 and she said it’s ok because it’s under 4 and didn’t need to be treated. She referred me to a Rheumatologist for my elevated ANA’s and told me I might have LUPUS….and that’s when I lost my sh*t and started researching like it’s my job. I found out I had ALL the symptoms of hypothyroid but I had no freakin’ clue because I blamed everything on my ulcerative colitis. I found out that my TSH was a lovely 1.7 in early 2012 and that it catapulted to 3.25 by Oct. 2012 (when my periods went wonky) but my OBGYN didn’t consider hypothyroid because it was under 4–she didn’t even look at it because it wasn’t “flagged” on my lab results. Revelation: you can’t trust doctors. So I sought out an RE to get my thyroid treated…not because I thought I would ever need reproductive assistance after I miraculously conceived in January…but because all the regular Endocrinologists took 3 months to get into and I wanted answers NOW. Little did I know, I would need an RE.
I started Synthroid in April 2013 and began trying to conceive. In the meantime, I had an autoimmune panel done, and it didn’t show Lupus or Sjogren’s Syndrome or APS or anything. All it showed was elevated ANA’s. My colitis was flaring constantly, so I saw my GI and low-and-behold he sucked and tried to say I have tuberculosis (I don’t) and I found a new and better GI. By this time, I’m paranoid. I’m starting to think that my dysfunctional immune system may have killed my baby, and that it is either preventing a pregnancy or it will kill the next one. I’m not talking to doctors who don’t listen to me anymore. I got serious and started a 3-ring binder with all my test results and medical records….it’s thick.
I was tested for anti-thyroid antibodies (ATA’s) and natural killer (NK) cells–I figured since my thyroid is defunct I would test postitive for ATA’s….I didn’t, BUT I tested positive for NK cells, but only slightly elevated. My husband and I also had DQ Alpha match testing done, and that was a big fat waste of money (thanks for nothing SIRM). My original RE left the practice and since I didn’t like Dr. Sher and his nurse trying to stampede me towards IVF, I left and went to my original SIRM RE’s new office.
I was very, very sick with my colitis and my GI referred me to the IBD clinic at Cedars Sinai. I was using suppositories and enemas day and night and I was still sick. I was resistant to trying Remicade because I was afraid of it–plus it would officially mean that my disease was taking over my life. BUT when I realized I had NK cells…and NK cells can hurt implantation…and Remicade kills/regulates NK cells….well, then I was SOLD on the Remicade.
I had my remicade on July 19th, the day I ovulated, and I got my 2nd BFP on July 29th! In addition to the BFP, the Remicade had stopped ALL my colitis symptoms–no more enemas! Omg I was so full of hope, even though it was a very faint positive. And I had to go in for my 2nd Remicade infusion on July 30th, and I insisted I get it because I was convinced it was going to help my baby grow….but I had my betas taken on August 1, 2013….my beta was 5….that is the lowest you can have and be considered pregnant….it was a chemical pregnancy. And I had to wonder….what is it? Was it the Remicade? WTH? I had treated my thyroid, my ulcerative colitis, and by proxy my NK cells….so what the f*ck is wrong with me? Or with Mr. MLACS? Well, his SA came back BRILLIANT: volume=4, sperm count=312 million, motility=80%, normal forms=67%
My colitis started “flaring” again due to my chemical pregnancy…talk about insult to injury. Now I’m using nightly enemas again even with the Remicade.
Plus I should mention that I’ve been eating plenty of carbs and sugars (albeit 95% gluten free) for this past year (save for 6 weeks on the SCD diet) and due to this indiscretionary eating (totally my fault) combined with inadequate physical activity (not my fault cuz I was sidelined from chronic illness) I totally feel like crap about the way I look and I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to get my sh*t together. I feel ‘broken’ and can’t figure out how to ‘fix’ myself and reclaim my life as it was. I keep trying and then getting tripped up (by hypothyroid…miscarriage(s)…bleeding angry colon and general inflammation…depression and anxiety…etc.) I also take Wellbutrin and I tried to quit it after my first miscarriage and couldn’t–I got sick and my colon started bleeding and I basically wanted to die–epic fail–and I feel guilty about taking it. I feel guilty about taking all my prescriptions. I seriously want to have my colon removed so I can stop taking all these meds.
So now I’m back to wondering about my hormones. My RE prescribed me 50mg Clomid and I took it in August after my chemical pregnancy. I took baby aspirin. I even insisted upon progesterone suppositories after ovulation. I was SO hopeful…maybe it would be twins! But no, it was a big fat negative. I have to wonder if I need metformin to curb my androgens. What about my prolactin levels? It seems like my egg quality might be bad. This being the case, IUI won’t do much for me. I need to make better eggs. What’s it gonna take? Clomid? Injectables? IVF? What if my eggs are all bad?!
I failed two cycles of Clomid with TI. I have now also failed 3 cycles of IUI with injectables. My prolactin and testosterone levels are well within range. My thyroid is currently ‘wonky’ and needs to be looked into. I quit the (above mentioned) Remicade and my last infusion was 10/24/13. This last IUI cycle I added Prednisone to potentially quiet my immune system (who knows?). I still want to do a 4th and possibly 5th IUI, but I feel like something is wrong and I can’t put my finger on it. Before I pursue further treatment, I would like to “put my finger on it”.
My 6th IUI was a success! And oddly enough it was unmedicated and poorly planned. I conceived my baby girl (BG) in June 2014 and she was born in March 2015, and she is perfect! I did have extremely low progesterone from the beginning and I used A LOT of suppositories to sustain the pregnancy. I also used Heparin (a blood thinner) and gave myself injections 2x per day throughout my entire pregnancy. I was super nauseous and took zofran throughout the pregnancy. Other than that, I had a very “normal” pregnancy and for that I am thankful! I am so incredibly grateful to be on the other side of infertility. If you found my blog because you are struggling with infertility and loss, then my heart goes out to you ❤ You’ve probably heard this before but let me tell you–it was all worth it. All those times that I sobbed from the depths of my soul…the thousands of dollars…thousands of needle pricks…thousands of hours of obsessively researching and desperately searching for answers…all the pain… it’s all worth it. I’d do it again, to infinity, to have this baby in my arms.