This is yet another page I set up for myself to keep track of what I’ve taken, for how long, and why.
Feel free to poke around, and if you have any questions, I’m always happy to answer!
- Rx Prenatal Vitamin – 2009 to present
- Evening Primrose Oil, B6, baby aspirin – several months in 2010, with no success (obviously)
I don’t know why I took these, honestly. I think I read online somewhere that these supplements helped to lengthen a luteal phase, and I had just started charting and discovered that mine was a bit short.
- February & March 2011 – Clomid – 50mg CD3-7
After completing a semen analysis, HSG, and hormone labs, my OB saw fit to prescribe Clomid for two cycles to see if it helped. As these were both unsuccessful cycles, she then referred me to an RE for further treatment options.
- July & August 2011 – Femara – 5mg CD3-7, Ovidrel trigger
The RE thought that since I had felt such strong side-effects from Clomid (hot flashes, night sweats, nausea, disturbing dreams), that Femara would be a better option for me. These were also my first cycles monitored by blood work and ultrasound, and my first cycles triggering ovulation with HCG (Ovidrel). Both cycles were unsuccessful, but I responded well.
After this August 2011, the husband and I moved over an hour away from the RE, so it became increasingly difficult to commute for monitoring; subsequently, I had a few more monitored cycles with the trigger that year, and a few unmonitored cycles where we did not trigger. All were unsuccessful, and the RE recommended moving onto injectable meds in the future.
- February through May 2012 – Clomid (possibly – blind medication through clinical study) – 100mg CD5-9, 150mg CD5-9, Pregnyl trigger, IUI
In late January 2012, I was accepted into the AMIGOS clinical study through Wayne State University. I had four rounds of IUI on a blind medication for which I was selected. The study included Clomid, Femara, and Menopur, and I was selected for one of the pills; based on the side-effects, I feel confident that I was taking Clomid during the study.
I responded well to the meds, as usual, but had to take one cycle off in March 2012 due to elevated Estradiol. That cycle only lasted 18 days. None of the cycles were successful, and I completed the study in early June 2012. I made an appointment to see a new RE in Toledo for the following month.
- July 2012 – Femara – 5mg CD3-7, Menopur – 75IU CD7-17, Ovidrel trigger
This was my first cycle with the new RE in Toledo, which started literally the day I met with him. I was only supposed to need the 75IU Menopur for 5 days, but at my CD12 monitoring ultrasound, my follicles were not where they needed to be. Five additional shots, and two ultrasounds later, and I had ripe follies. I triggered on CD18, and had the most beautiful triphasic BBT chart you’ve ever seen, complete with an implantation dip on 7DPO, and a BFP three days later.
This was my first and only successful cycle, and sadly we miscarried in late September 2012 at 9 weeks. There was little growth, and we never saw a heartbeat, so the consensus was that our little Gummy Bear had some chromosomal abnormalities that prevented he or she from developing as usual.
- September 2012 – Cytotec – taken to induce miscarriage
- November 2012 – Femara – 5mg CD3-7, Menopur – 75IU CD7-11, Ovidrel trigger
Unsuccessful cycle, though I responded well.
- January 2013 – Femara – 5mg CD3-7, Menopur – 75IU CD7-9, 150IU CD10-11, Ovidrel trigger
I wasn’t responding quickly enough for the doctor’s taste, so he increased my Menopur intake the last two days before triggering to help bolster my follicles and encourage them to grow faster. I responded well, yet still an unsuccessful cycle.
- February 2013 – Vitamin D3 – 5000IU
I asked for a great deal of diagnostic testing in February 2013, and one of the results I was interested to see was a low Vitamin D. Since my level was only slightly below the low end of normal, but far below what is considered “optimum”, I started taking 5000IU once per day to increase my levels. I will have this tested again in 12 weeks to see if there has been improvement.
Update: I was able to improve my D3 level with supplementation and by spending more time outside; once it reached the mid-fifties, I stopped the supplement at the urging of my TCM doctor, who said that there is plenty of vitamin D in the high-quality fish oil supplement I’m taking. He also recommends spending at least 20 minutes outside between 10am and 2pm each day, with as much skin as possible exposed to the sun.
- March 2013 – Acupuncture and TCM
I started acupuncture in late February 2013, and was started on Chinese herbs shortly thereafter. I started having acu treatments once per week, and was taking a weekly TCM concoction from Evergreen Collection herbs, called Blossom. These are herbs in four phases, and one phase is taken each “week” of your cycle.
Phase 1 is taken while Aunt Flo is in town. Phase 2 is for the week after bleeding has ended. Phase 3 is for the pre-ovulation, ovulatory, and post-ovulation phase. Phase 4 is taken about a week before Aunt Flo is scheduled to arrive.
To supplement, I was also given Notoginseng, an herbal concoction that helps slow down bleeding, as I have extremely heavy periods. I also have taken Mense Ease, also by Evergreen Collection, which helps with pain attributed to Aunt Flo.
Update: I only spent two months with acupuncture and herbs at this time.
- March 2013 – Pregnitude
Pregnitude is a combination of Myo-inositol and Folic Acid, both B vitamins that the body needs, and that have been proven to help reproductive health, especially in women with PCOS. I haven’t seen this stuff in my local pharmacy, but I’ve heard that the pharmacist will order it for you if you ask.
Pregnitude comes in boxes of 60 packets of powder – one for the morning, and one for the evening. You mix the powder in a glass of water, and once it dissolves, I swear to you there is no taste whatsoever. I haven’t been taking this long enough to have seen much of a difference, but per my doctor, “It can’t hurt!”
- March 2013 – Metformin (original formula, not XR) – 1500mg, taken 500mg with lunch/1000mg with dinner
Update: After several months of taking the Met and feeling like crap for every single one (not to mention an unhealthy weight loss), I finally stopped taking it in late July 2013.
- March 2013 – Dietary Changes – Low Glycemic Index Diet
In March 2013, my new RE soft-diagnosed me with Lean (thin) PCOS. I have some slightly elevated androgens (testosterone), mild hirsutism (hair growth), and a slightly increased number of follicles per ovary, but do not appear to have insulin resistance. Prior to that diagnosis, I had begun to eat more cleanly, eliminating processed foods, excess sugars and carbs from my diet.
Upon receiving the sort-of diagnosis, I transitioned to a low glycemic index diet. I mainly eat lean meats, vegetables and fruits, and whole grains. I stay away from sugar, processed food items, soy, caffeine, and alcohol. I’m also keeping dairy intake to a minimum because of the hormone and antibiotic scares of late.
- May 2013 – B-12
Because Metformin can kill your body’s B-12 levels, I started taking a supplement to prevent mine from dropping too low. I’m currently taking a Solgar 1000mcg sublingual “nugget” each evening with dinner.
- May 2013 – Fish Oil
Fish oil is one of those supplements recommended by many doctors who prescribe an “egg quality cocktail”, and I figured it couldn’t hurt for me to take this along with everything else. I’m currently taking Carlson’s Very Finest Lemon Fish Oil softgels, 2000mg (2 softgels) each evening with dinner. I was skeptical about taking fish oil again, because each time I’ve done it in the past, I’ve ended up with that nasty “fish burp” thing going on. These are wonderful. High quality, and no fish-burps! No taste at all – not even lemon – though I’m told you can chew these softgels like candy… Uhh… no thanks.
- July 2013 – Maca Root
As sort of a last-ditch effort to try something that might help in more of a natural way, I started taking Femmenessece MacaHarmony. I only took the “superfood supplement” for less than a month, however, so I can’t speak to its efficacy with regards to fertility.
There are several interesting studies available about Maca, and many have reported having good luck with regulating cycles and improving ovulation with it.
- July 2013 – Royal Jelly
As with the Maca, I only took royal jelly for less than a month, and therefore cannot speak to its efficacy with regards to fertility.
Like Maca, there are many studies showing that the “superfood” royal jelly can be a helpful supplement for those trying to conceive.
- July 2013 – Vitex (chaste tree berry)
The same as with Maca and royal jelly, I only took Vitex for less than a month, and cannot speak personally on its efficacy with regards to fertility. I took a liquid capsule, as the herb itself is said to be very bitter.
There are many studies on this herb, and it has reportedly been used for thousands of years to increase fertility in women.
- August 2013 – Acupuncture and TCM, Dr. Randine Lewis’ The Infertility Cure
After a couple of months and a series of events (a failed Gonal F IUI cycle, cancellation of my diagnostic lap by my doctor, and recommendations to move directly to IVF), I picked up Dr. Lewis’ book The Infertility Cure again, this time with fresh eyes.
I did my research both online, and in other books, like Making Babies, by Jill Blakeway and Sami David, and came to the realization that my unexplained infertility was more than likely due to a very slight imbalance somewhere in my body, that Western medicine thus far had not been able to correct; if anything, Western medicine had probably thrown my body into even more imbalance by forcing synthetic hormones to recreate processes that were supposed to function naturally.
I narrowed down what I thought to be the source(s) of my imbalances in the Eastern medicine philosophies, and changed my entire lifestyle. I also began researching acupuncturists and TCM practitioners in the Midwest, and found one who had studied with both Dr. Lewis, and Sami David, just over an hour from my home. I began seeing him and am now having acu-treatment once per week, as well as taking Wen Jing Tang, and herbal decoction that is brewed into a (really disgusting tasting) tea, to be taken twice per day; he also has me taking a few select supplements along with my prenatal. This is being done in the hopes of first getting my body back to a “zero point” after many years on and off of medications, supplements and other treatments.
- August 2013 – Dietary Changes – Spleen Qi Diet
When reading Dr. Lewis’ book, and based on information received from my new Acu-Doc, I have adopted the Spleen Qi diet/lifestyle to help correct a Spleen Qi deficiency, which is part of my Eastern diagnosis.
This diet consists of including more root vegetables and “warm foods” like lamb, sweet potatoes, quinoa and brown rice, cinnamon and ginger, cooked fruits and leafy greens, and warm or room temperature drinks. The diet urges you away from “cold foods” like tomatoes, salads, many fruits, and iced or cold drinks. With this diet, I’m avoiding caffeine, soy, sugar, dairy (except small amounts of butter), and gluten (wheat).
Part of the Spleen Qi lifestyle is keeping your body warm to aid in digestion and circulation. In my follicular phase, I sit with a heating pad over my abdomen for a half hour each night, I drink tea often, drink my water at room temperature, and I also practice femoral massage, a technique discussed in The Infertility Cure that is said to help aid blood flow to the pelvic organs.
- August 2013 – Fish Oil
I am still taking the same 1000mg Carlson fish oil supplement discussed above, but may change over to another brand at the urging of the new Acu-Doc. He highly recommends fish oil to his patients, but is very aware of nature of the fish the oil is coming from.
He recommends fish oils by Green Pastures because they are organic and the batches are very small, making the quality better. This supplement is being taken once per day, with dinner.
- August 2013 – CoQ10
The Acu-Doc recommends CoQ10 to both the husband and me. We are both currently taking a 400mg supplement by Solgar once per day with dinner to aid in cell turnover. For me, this will mean better egg health, and for the husband, better sperm health.
- August 2013 – L-arginine
Another of Acu-Doc’s recommendations, the husband and I are both also taking an l-arginine supplement. We are taking 500mg twice per day (1000mg total daily) of the Solgar brand supplement. This is another amino acid that is said to help with both egg and sperm health.