Birth Control Pill = No fertility for me
In honor of it being exactly one year since I found out I was pregnant I decided it's time to finally get around to blogging about how I defeated the evil birth control pill. "They" say the pill has no effect at all on the return of fertility. This seems to be based on studies of women who were on the pill and got their periods back quickly after. Who paid for the studies you might wonder? I wondered the same thing and I think we know. Also, I'm betting the women in these studies were on the pill for a year or less, not 5 years + like I was. I have a history of having totally regular monthly cycles up until the age of 21 when I got on the pill. Stayed on it for over 5 years, got off, and boom, my body did not know what the hell was going on. I didn't have a period for 6 months and went to see my doctor. I was told I had PCOS and it had been masked by the pill. I went home and googled it, and it was fairly obvious that I did not in fact have PCOS. Reading about PCOS revealed that it almost always shows up when menstruation begins, which didn't fit because I never had any problems up until I was 21 and got off the pill. There is also a very strong correlation between PCOS and obesity and insulin resistance. Skinny women apparently can get it, but it is uncommon, and the odds that I was one of them as well as had no symptoms until post pill are practically zero. I'm not saying the pill is going to screw every women up, but I am 99.9% sure it was to blame in my case. I also know during the time I was infertile I quizzed many a woman on how long she was on the pill and what happened when she got off if it had been long term. I was very surprised when my quizzing revealed this was actually a common problem. It also happened to a friend of mine who got off the pill shortly after I did. She was also told she has PCOS of course. Couldn't possibly be the pill. Regardless of the cause, I was not ovulating which is the same problem women with PCOS have. This meant treatment would be the same. Get on some sumbitchen drugs to make me ovulate or wait around for years and hope my body figures out how to kick itself back into gear. I waited a year and decided I was sick of waiting around. The two common drugs used to induce ovulation are Clomid and Femara. Clomid is by far the most common, but after reading up on the matter I decided Femara was actually superior. Clomid has been used to induce ovulation longer, but it has a much much longer half life, a much higher chance of twins, more side effects and is less effective. Odds of twins on Clomid are 10% vs odds on Femara are 2.5%. Clomid remains in your system for your whole cycle and when you take it again next cycle it builds on itself eventually causing a thinning uterine lining and problems getting pregnant as a result. It also causes hostile mucus on the cervix, which means that stuff is so thick that sperm have a tough time getting through. The half life issue with Clomid bothered me not only because after a few cycles it starts to cause counterproductivity (is that a word?) but also because I don't think having the drug in your system when you do get pregnant is that awesome of an idea. Cell division is so rapid at first and your baby is so vulnerable to issues in the beginning that I just didn't feel comfortable with Clomid. Femara has a half life of a couple days, so it is all wiped from your system by the time fertilization occurs. Femara is also known to cause less problems with mucus and also less other undesirable side effects like mood swings, hot flashes, and ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome. As far as I could tell the only reason doctors are even still prescribing Clomid as a first line of treatment is habit and fear because Femara and birth defect have been thrown around in the same sentence. However, research informed me that this is because Femara was actually created as a drug for breast cancer and women who got pregnant while taking it were still taking it after fertilization. Obviously you don't want to be on drugs after that egg has been fertilized, but ironically, Clomid would be much more likely to cause birth defects if it was taken the same way, and it is the drug still in your system after fertilization if you take it to induce ovulation as prescribed whereas Femara is not. This is the one area where my reproductive endocrinologist got it right. He prefers Femara and not Clomid, and it's easy to see why. I could only understand clomid it as a second line of treatment if a woman didn't respond to Femara. My doctor told me to take 5 mg of Femara each day cycle days 3-7. Here again, I researched it and discovered that 2.5 mg was often very effective. Why would I start out at 5 mg and risk overstimulating my ovaries if I didn't have to, especially considering I weighed only about 100 pounds? I only took 2.5 mg per day. It worked like a champ, finally after a whole year, my ovaries pumped out an egg. Tim took it from there and almost a week before my period was due, exactly a year ago today, my obsessive pregnancy test taking revealed the faintest of second lines. It was hard to believe because that line was so faint I thought I might have been imagining it, but one digital pregnancy test later, we knew Femara rocked the hizzle in one try. Or the ovary or whatever. By the by, anyone trying to get pregnant unable to resist the sirens call of taking frequent pregnancy tests who would like to NOT spend a million dollars on their habit can purchase cheapie tests here. They worked for me, and even showed a faint line only 9 days post ovulation. An extra trick for you, cut them in half length wise so you get twice as many tests. They work fine that way. I know this blog has been quite boring to anyone not ttc (that's trying to conceive you know), but to someone in the situation I was in, I hope it can be helpful.