Monday, June 21, 2010

Starting anew: My first NaPro Appointment!

 I've been away from the computer this week and it has been great!  We spent a week at my parent's house visiting, explored the Pisgah National Forest and some amazing waterfalls with Isabel, and celebrated both Father's Day and my birthday on Sunday with my family!  Not that I'm too happy about having turned the big three-oh...

So that explains why I've been MIA for the last week, now let me fill you in on my first NaPro appointment!

I initially came away from my first Natural Procreative Technology (NaPro) appointment feeling a bit disappointed, I'm sorry to say. But this was only because I had this completely unreasonable hope/expectation/dream that I would walk into this appointment and simply based on the information I gave the doctor, she would send me home with a baby in my arms.  (Yes!  I told you it was unreasonable!)   So after I got over that idea, I was extremely pleased with the way my new doc handled things.

I was going to march into her office and demand that she be aggressive with my care because I was sick of wasting my time trying things on my own that didn't work. But I didn't have to do that!  She immediately ordered all kinds of tests to get us started on figuring out what is not working in my fertility department.

This is what she ordered:
*Semen Analysis for Rob  (she was surprised this had never been ordered by even my regular OB)
*Follicle Ultrasound Series (measure length x width x height of dominant follicles and if possible the presence or absence of cumulus oophorus (no clue!).  Perform daily until follicle rupture completed.
*Estradiol levels checked every other day from cycle day 13 to P+2
*Estradiol and Progesterone levels checked on P+3, 5, 7, 9.
*TSH, Free T4, Free T3 (no clue)
*Free Testosterone, DHEAS

Anyway we talked about how my uterus is retroverted (what I was told at my ectopic level II ultrasound) and she noted that it is actually retroflexed.  She said that it would not make any difference in my conceiving.  She said that my uterus was "small"...which was kind of a strange thing for her to note (?) Anyway, the good news is that I can go and get all these things done here at home and she will call me once she gets all the results in and we will go from there.

She reviewed my charts and wanted to see one that was natural/med-free and of course I didn't have one except for back around my year of losses 2008-2009 (because I had simply been using to chart my temps and all the other details from about June 2009-January 2010.  When she looked at those old charts though, she noticed that I did not have alot of fertile cervical mucus and she said that can be a sign of endometriosis....also asked about pain during intercourse (probably too much info for a blog) and also about PMS, moodiness, irritability before my period.  And I certainly do get the irritability!  My dear husband can attest to that!  So apparently all those things can be signs of endometriosis.

I asked her who I would go to if I needed any kind of surgery and told her that I knew there was a difference between OBs who'd been surgically trained in NaPro and she gave me the name of a doctor Pat.rick at Duke, but she said sometimes it's hard to get in to him unless you already have an established case history of endo.  Apparently he is surgically NaPro trained but not CFCMC?  I think that's what she said.  I was super excited to have an option right here in my own backyard in case I need it!  That is awesome!

So then I get back to my parent's house (they live about 1 hr from this new doc's I drove to their house and let Grammy watch Isabel while I went to the OB on my own)....anyway I get back to their house and tell my mom about the appointment and then a little later she pulls out this article from the Catholic News & Herald....well guess what?  It's a talk about infertility with a panel discussion between my new OB and this Patr.ick Yeun.g guy!!!  My mom didn't even know my new doc's name!  The main talk is going to be by Sister Rene.e Mir.kes the director of the NaProEthics Center at Pope Paul VI Institute!  I was super excited, but of course it falls on a date that I will not be able to attend :(  But really cool that my OB is involved!  I told her flat out that we were Catholic at the beginning of the appointment and she did not volunteer any info about herself, so I wasn't 100% sure.

But I was very pleased that (as I expected) there was no talk/suggestion/pressure about IUI or IVF, and she even explained about the ethical/moral way to obtain a semen analysis!  It was just such a different I didn't have to be on the defensive about why I these other fertility procedures weren't an option for me...I didn't have to explain any of that!  Because her mindset wasn't "let's throw some pills at you or sign you right up for these procedures to get you pregnant", but "let's figure out why you aren't getting pregnant and treat it"!  What a difference...and I came out of the appointment feeling respected; like my beliefs not only mattered, but that she understood and agreed that we need to solve the problem, not just put a band-aid on it.

So overall, I am very pleased!  The only thing I am not pleased about is how my body DID NOT COOPERATE in the ovulation department for the first month ever!  I'll tell you what the problem is's the darn Fertilaid I took....oh I thought I'd just finish off the last couple of pills from last month's bottle.  Terrible idea!  It has completely screwed up my cycle and thrown it out of whack.  I still have not yet ovulated and I'm on's looking pretty annovulatory for me this month.  I'm just hoping my period will show up.  Turns out that because I had already had a recurrent m/c panel run by my regular OBGYN, my NaPro doc did not take any blood...she wants to see those results first.

It definitely feels like a fresh start; like I'm starting anew in this journey....instead of just trying to have another baby, we're now trying to figure out what's wrong and fix it!  And that feels like the right step!  And hopefully it will lead us to bringing home a baby one day.

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers!  I would have never known/learned about/ventured into this area of Natural Procreative Technology without many of you!  There are so many blogs that I read and just gather up so much information and learn so much from your shared experiences!  I just love it and wanted to let you know that I am so thankful for your sharing!  For so long, my own story has been about an intimate sharing of our loss of Mary Grace and our other babies, and while God has been working in me through that, it really feels like a new chapter has begun and a new "flower of my life" if you will, is I'm excited to see how it blossoms!


Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

THIS IS AWESOME!! I am so excited for you! The "workup" sounds perfect! It's pretty much the exact same protocol I had (minus the Free Testosterone, DHEAS-I don't know anything about that).

The cumulus oophorus is the egg inside of the follicles. Sometimes you can see it on an u/s and sometimes you can't. We never saw one with my study and didn't even see an egg in any of the follicles the month we conceived. So it's not an exact science, but can be helpful if they do find it to put you at ease a bit.

The TSH and T3 stuff all has to do with your thyroid. NaPro looks a lot at thyroid levels and has found a correlation between messed up levels and fertility. They will probably look at this a little more in depth than a regular OB.

It sounds like having surgery from that doctor would be awesome! I really hope that works out-as it has been key in diagnosing so many problems for many of us.

I'm so glad you are going down this road-keep us posted and let us know when you have questions! And Happy Birthday!

Hebrews 11:1 said...

Welcome back! Glad it went so well!

Leila said...

This is so wonderful!! I cannot wait to get updates on your treatments, and I think this route you are taking is full of HOPE!!!

Ann G. said...

Yay!!!! I had to clap for you while I was reading your post. I'm so happy for you Angela. God is working!!!

Michelle said...

God is with you in all this, as I'm sure you already know, just a gentle reminder by reading the article in the Catholic paper. God bless you and Robert on this journey! You will continue to be in my prayers Angela!

WheelbarrowRider said...

So glad it went well!

Karen said...

Yay! So glad things went well! I'm praying they find the answers you need.

Kerry said...

that's so awesome.
Sounds very similar to my first NaPro workup...actually thought we may have the same doc! (but I'm in CA, and I don't think you are)

The T3 and all that is the thyroid hormone.

Best of luck!

Ann - Building a Nest said...

Good luck! Glad it went so well. I've heard good things about surgeon PY.

Carol@simple_catholic said...

I found your blog through you leaving a comment on mine, and I'm so glad I did. :)

Your faith and trust in the Lord throughout your fertility struggles is inspiring! I have my own fertility issues, and although I am so grateful for my son, I do have days when I so wish I could have more.

I'm glad your NaPro appointment went well. My prayers and good thoughts are with you. :)

Grace in my Heart said...

Best wishes! I'm very excited for you and so glad the appt. went well! :)

Second Chances said...

So glad to have found your site! I'm so sorry that you're struggling with secondary infertility. I have a special place in my heart for you and women with secondary IF as I struggled with that too. Praying your beautiful little girl will be blessed with a sibling someday :)

This_Cross_I_Embrace said...

Wonderful appointment!! I think I was disappointed after my first one, too, that things didn't materialize immediately ;) And I was only 3 months into the journey (didn't go for "infertility," obviously, but for weird bleeding/mucus patterns... but we WERE TTC).
The cumulus oopherus as Kaitlin said is evidence of the egg - the egg itself it much too small to see with u/s, but around every egg a "cloud of cells" forms (latin: cumulus oopherus). But it is not always seen. Whenever it is seen on my u/ss I am literally giddy with excitement, though ;)

Sarah Harkins said...

Angela, thanks for stopping by my blog! Your blog is beautiful! It is kinda making me cry actually! Your heartfelt honesty and your story is very touching. I am glad you are trying NaPro! I've heard very good things about them and know a few ppl who have used them. We use the Creighton Model. God Bless you!

Jenny said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! I am so enjoying reading it! Sound like there was a lot of great testing ordered! That is wonderful! And I know Patrick Y.... not as a doctor, but as a friend... and he is GREAT!!! I've only heard the BEST about him as a surgeon. He would be a great doctor to have!!

BlessedBeLord said...
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