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Hi. Welcome to my "taboo" blog. My name is Steph, and when I first started this, I was still in my thirties. In 2017, I switch decades! I am a Christian, so underlying everything I do and say is the Word of God, and the foundational truths I have learnt over the years. This doesn't mean I'm perfect - I am human. It just means I recognise I need God's help to live this life and try to live out His way, as best I can. So that's me in a nutshell. Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog, I hope you draw strength, hope or encouragement from what you read.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Decision About My Next Step: Option 3 - Fertility Drug

My third option, in an attempt to try and have a baby with this blocked Tube, is through a course of Clomifene - a fertility drug. In some weird way, in my head, this feels like the more "natural" option... Because there is no surgery, not injections, no removal of eggs etc, I can almost convince myself that taking the Fertility Drugs is as close to conceiving natural as I could possibly hope.

The tablets are to be taken between days 2-6 of my cycle and increase the production of eggs in my ovaries each month, encouraging more than one egg at a time to be released.

As this is a lot less precise, it is advised, according to the handout I received, to buy one of those ovulation kits, so Hubby and I can ensure we are hitting the right time (I am so glad I have more than one relative who works for Boots!! Love their discount benefit!!). The other thing the consultant advises is for us to have intercourse every other day after each cycle of the Clomifene, for 5-6 days, just to make sure! This can be quite demanding, I would imagine, because regardless of how ill / tired / annoyed / upset etc... either of us are. I'm hoping Hubby will begin to understand the enormity of the situation, but I'm fearful about out times of intimacy becoming a chore. I've heard stories about women who have become mechanical about making sure they have intercourse when they ovulate... I don't want to become like that. 

The hardest thing for me about this, would be regularly taking the tablets - even just for the five days. I'm so rubbish at routine. When Hubby and I first married I went on the contraceptive patch, to avoid the daily routine of taking the pill, because I have forgotten to take them in the past (when I was younger, I was prescribed the pill for the severe cramps I had during my period).

The other thing to take into consideration are the side effects, the biggest one being the increased risk of having a multiple birth; but I think this seems a better risk than the increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy, which faces me with the option 2. I know there are added complications for women who are expecting more than one baby, including higher risk of miscarriage, but the way I see it is that there are risks involved in every decision. 

Other side effects include hot flushes, breast discomfort, skin rashes, tummy bloating (I get that anyway!), nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision - this last one is so severe, I would have to stop the treatment immediately.

There is also a slight risk of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Sydrome, where the ovaries are stimulated too much, producing excess fluid which can leak into the body, and accumulate around some of the vital organs around the body. This can only be treated by hospitalisation.

Although not physically demanding, in the same was as the laparascopic surgery would be, there are still demands on the body in the regular checks, blood tests, etc which would need to be carried out. But it is also emotionally demanding, and can be quite discouraging, month-after-month. Unlike previous months, there is the added pressure because of taking Clomifene, there is an increased expectation each month that I will be pregnant. 

When I asked the consultant about the rate of success for the fertility drugs, he wasn't really able to answer, as he said there are too many factors surrounding the condition of the woman and the condition of her her tubes, etc, the age of the woman, the condition and quality of the sperm, and so many other factors, that he was unable to give me a rate of success for using the drug alone, as a fertility treatment. researching online, I can understand why he wasn't able to give me a figure, as the rates offered range between 30% - 60% of women who take Clomifene end up having a baby.  

The other downside is that the Consultant can only give a six month course of Clomifene. If I don't become pregnant after six months, then the treatment stops. 

In some of the stuff I have read, there is no mention of it being used as a successful way to help a woman with blocked tubes to conceive. The problem is not so much that I am not ovulating, the problem is more to do with the egg successfully travelling down my Fallopian Tube each month to meet Hubby's swimmers. I'm not sure how this would work on the "off" month - when the Tube which is blocked is supposed to release the eggs - whether Clomifene stimulates the healthy side each month anyway. Need to check that out.

I did try to speak to my Consultant, to find out if I were to take option 3, whether I can go back to option 2 if the Fertility Drugs don't work, or whether the drugs should be the final step. For myself, I would rater have the surgery as a back-up option, purely because of the physical trauma of surgery, and try taking the Fertility Drugs first. 

So now I have to wait for the Consultant to come back to me after the Christmas break. How he answers my question will determine how I work out what my next step will be. Till then... more waiting!