Failed CCT & a Window of Opportunity

I failed the Clomid Challenge Test.

Day 3 FSH: 7.8

Day 10 FSH: 13.3 (Should be <10)

Day 21 Progesterone: 19.7

I couldn’t help but start crying right there in the doctor’s office.

However, contrary to what I had read on the internet about failing a Clomid Challenge Test, I quickly learned that failing for me was not complete gloom and doom for one simple reason.

My age.

Dr. L told me that a Clomid Challenge Test is an indirect measure of my egg quality and age is a far more important factor.

So basically, finding all this out could not have come at a more perfect time.

I am 27.

The endometriosis is gone.

The events of the past almost 18 months have been woven together into a window of opportunity that only the Hand of God could do.

If we are going to have biological children, NOW is our window of opportunity, given these newfound circumstances.

I believe this window of opportunity is a gift from God.

God’s Timing is always perfect and way better planned out than we can plan things out.

At first, I couldn’t help but be mad and angry that it was me who had to have the endometriosis and consequentially, fail the CCT.

But looking at things from God’s perspective always gives you the brighter side.

God is still at work bringing this journey to completion for His glory alone.

I still wait in great expectation of what God is going to do next.

Please pray with Dave and me, especially in the next few days, as we pray for God’s guidance and peace towards choosing the next path and moving towards it.

Thank you for your prayers today!

Beginning to ponder next step…

I came across this verse this morning:

What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Matthew 10:27

This verse serves as just one more reminder that all these truths that God is teaching me along the way while I am walking this dark road, I will one day be able to speak about as just one more testimony of God’s faithfulness towards me.

Bottom line is: One day darkness will be no more. God will shed His light on His Plan. From day one of this journey, I have known that it is just that – a journey. It will end. And I believe with all my heart that one day, victory will be won and on this road I will walk no more.

Somehow, someway, I believe with all my heart that God will one day bless us with children.

And then, the truths about God’s love and faithfulness that He has whispered in my ear along this journey, will be proclaimed for anyone listening to hear.

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I had the second blood draw today for this Clomid Challenge Test. As the new year approaches, it is time, once again, to be still and let God speak and direct us towards our next step.

Dave and I have briefly talked about another IUI cycle, but the discussion basically stopped when we both just were not ready to go through that again.

Three failures makes it kind of hard to head into a fourth with hope.

But then I think about the endometriosis being gone. It was so long ago that I talked with Dr. L, since we haven’t done anything fertility related since my surgery at the beginning of November, that what he told me about my chances of a successful IUI cycle post-surgery is in a fog somewhere in the back of my brain.

It seems he told me that since the endometriosis is gone, our success rates with IUI would greatly increase, as long as there isn’t an issue with the sperm being able to penetrate an egg.

If there is, then we are headed for two more failed IUIs at the cost of over 3,000 dollars and then back to square one of deciding what’s next! And to even start considering those options at this point would be silly.

It’s really all dependant on what Dr. L tells me on January 15th. He will go over my Clomid Challenge Test results and then he will lay out on the table the options best for us. I trust, like God has in the past, He will gently nudge us in the direction we are to take next.

Once decided, I will push forward, not looking back, rally my prayer warriors, feast on His Word and deal with things one day at a time. Those are my biggest coping mechanisms and how I survived the first three IUIs and how I will survive any future IUIs.

Clomid Challenge Test

Back in November, during my post-op appointment with Dr. L, he suggested I do a Clomid Challenge Test. Remember during that appointment he also informed me that having endometriosis declines a woman’s egg quality sooner. This test checks the hormone FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). A woman trying to conceive wants an FSH level of <10. Levels over 10 mean you have poor egg quality.

Back in March 2008, during my initial blood work, my FSH level was 4.5.

He said this test is not absolutely necessary for us to determine our next step in treatment post-surgery, but considering I like to be as informed as I can about what is going on with my fertility, he said I’d probably want to do the test. And he was right!

So I will do the Clomid Challenge Test this cycle for two simple reasons. 1) to find out my FSH levels and 2) Dr. L said he has seen women conceive from a Clomid Challenge Test since you take 100mg of Clomid for five days. The test will cost me 15 bucks out of pocket. If we conceive on this cycle and avoid another expensive IUI cycle or two … glory be to God!!! 🙂

So here’s the Clomid Challenge Test schedule for the next month:

Cycle Day 1: December 20

Cycle Day 3: December 22, Blood draw #1 (checking FSH level)

Cycle Day 5-9: December 24-28, take 100mg Clomid per day

Cycle Day 10: December 29, Blood draw #2 (checking FSH level)

Cycle Day 12: December 31, Ultrasound

Cycle Day 21: January 9, Blood draw #3 (checking progesterone level – to see if I ovulated the follicle(s) I had)

January 15, 2009 – Appointment with Dr. L to discuss results of Clomid Challenge Test and our next step.

Please pray with us as we are in another time of praying and then listening for God to lead us to our next step.

A Leap of Faith

I am pretty much recovered from the surgery. So the next thing is the month of December – the month we are praying it happens naturally.

There are several choices I must make concerning December’s cycle:

  1. Should I do the Clomid Challenge Test?
  2. Should I take my basal body temps and chart like I was doing over a year ago when we had just started trying to conceive?
  3. Should I use an Ovulation Predictor Kit?

I believe God is saying no to all three.

It’s taken me a few days to come to this conclusion because I have really wanted to at least do the Clomid Challenge Test for several really good reasons:

  1. Taking Clomid, there is a good chance for more than one follicle to ovulate. Doing a Clomid Challenge Test there is an 8-10% chance for twins and (thankfully) only a <1% chance for triplets or more.
  2. We could time things better because Clomid regulates your cycle.
  3. I would have one ultrasound and be able to see how ready the follicles are for ovulation which would help with timing.

This morning as I was praying and writing in my journal about all this I realized I hadn’t really stopped to consider those positive aspects of a Clomid Challenge Test.

Timing is crucial when trying to conceive and, for us, timing things just right is very tricky for reasons I won’t get into. So as I was writing in my journal about the positives of doing the Clomid Challenge Test it was very tempting to change my mind about not doing it during December’s cycle.

But here is why I can’t change my mind:

This morning I felt as if I was standing at a crossroad and God is calling me towards one direction and asking me, "Elaine, are you going to trust me?"

Nothing is impossible with God. And I knew this morning, that the real reason God had told me "no" is because if God indeed is going to perform a miracle in December for us, we need to take our hands off, let go and let God do His work. To sum it up, I need to take a leap of faith and trust Him.

This is scary. On one level, it makes no sense. We so want to have our hands in EVERYTHING! We are like the 2-year-old who likes to "help" Mommy with chores around the house. But in the end, there is more of a mess, and I’m sure, that mom thought something along the lines of, "I’m glad my little boy wants to help but I sure do wish he would go find something else to entertain himself with so I could just fold this laundry once and not have to keep refolding it!" I wonder how many times in my life God has thought that about me?

If only Elaine would just back off, let go and TRUST ME to get the job done!

This is hard, really hard. But I’ve said from the beginning that I desire God to receive the glory in everything we must go through on this road. If I get pregnant naturally next cycle, I want ALL the glory going to God and not even a tad bit of it going to me or to a Clomid Challenge Test.

So by packing up the prescription for Clomid, thermometers and the folder I keep all my charted temps in, I am saying to God, "If we conceive next month, this baby will truly be a miracle from You!"

And all the glory will be His.

Post-op Appointment

Where do I begin?

First, we discussed the surgery. He told me the surgery was very successful in that all the endometriosis was excised (cut out), instead of burned. Dr. L and his partner are the only REs in J that excise endometriosis compared to just burning it. The benefit in excising verses burning is that when endometriosis is excised, the chances of it returning are very slim. Which brings me to our discussion of the next step towards pregnancy.

Dr. L told me that once a patient has had endometriosis, the concern after the endometriosis is surgically removed, shifts to egg quality. This is because endometriosis tends to decline a woman’s egg quality sooner in someone who has or had endometriosis. The average woman’s (with no endometriosis) egg quality typically begins to decline at the age of 32. Throw endometriosis into the mix and egg quality begins to decline in the late-20’s.

One of the best qualities in Dr. L is that he doesn’t just throw a treatment plan (such as IVF) on the table and tell us this is our only option. The patient’s best interest is his ultimate goal. So he will sit there with you to the point that you feel you are a team working together to figure out the best possible treatment plan that is unique to you. Being a former teacher, the push in education philosophy was always individualized instruction. I believe it is no different for an RE prescribing a treatment plan to his/her patient – it should be individualized to meet the infertility needs of that particular couple.

And that is precisely what Dr. L does.

So, what’s next?

I’m going to do a Clomid Challenge Test to check my FSH levels, which will tell the quality of my eggs. Dr. L told me this test isn’t a must-do and he expects my levels to be just fine. (Back in March, when Dr. L did my initial blood work, my FSH level was 4.5. Anything less than 10 is a normal range for a pre-menopausal woman.) I chose to do the test because I like to be completely informed and know as much as I can about what is going on within my body!

The Clomid Challenge Test requires me to take Clomid on Cycle Days 5-9. My FSH levels would be tested through blood work on Cycle Days 3 and 10. I am not sure which cycle I will do this test. I need to pray and see what God tells me.

I told Dr. L of our plans to do no treatments until the New Year because God just may want to allow it to happen naturally.

So the plan is to see what happens from now until the end of the year. If needed, we will probably do another IUI in January 2009, regardless of the results from the Clomid Challenge Test. Dr. L told me that even if my levels are above 10, that will not automatically mean our only option will be IVF.

Please keep praying another treatment will not be necessary … if it be God’s Will.