Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
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April 1st, 2013, 12:32 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Nebraska, USA
After one cycle of actively TTC and seeing two BFNs, I think it’s time to share my whole story. I feel completely ridiculous that after seeing my first BFN, I cried in bed for a few hours. I mean shoot… it’s not the first time I’ve taken a pregnancy test… and obviously not the first time that it’s been a negative, but it was the first time that I ever really thought there was even a slight chance it could have been positive.
So… here’s my (LONG) story:
DH & I met during our freshman year of college. He was shy and quiet and I wasn’t… I tried to get him to open up as much as I could. One night we finally got him to agree to come hang out with a bunch of us… it was great! From that moment on, we were inseparable. Once we started dating, we knew it was serious. The first time he saw me stuck in bed from debilitating cramps, I could see the pain that it caused him. Then I started getting horrible migraines that caused me to black out and convulse – we spent months trying to figure out what was happening before the neurologist finally realized that everything was hormonal – although official testing was never done. At the time, I was seeking health services at the women’s clinic (because it was mega cheap!) and they said “Oh, just go on the pill… then the migraines AND cramps will go away!” Since we weren’t thinking long-term and I was getting behind in classes, it seemed like the logical solution. And it worked.
I went through 3 different brands before finally settling on one that calmed the cramps a little bit and got rid of the migraines. It was also recommended that instead of just having a 28 day cycle (like I had before going on BCP), I should try a 7 week cycle. I LOVED it!
Once DH & I got married, we thought about going off the pill, but since DH was finishing up student teaching and I was subbing, we wanted to wait until at least one of us had a full-time job, steady income, and our own insurance plan. And not knowing whether or not the migraines would come back delayed our decision, too.
Fast forward 17 months… we go off the pill. We just knew that the time was right. I can’t really describe why we knew, but we both had the same thought at the same time. I took my last pill on November 24, 2012. I had a normal period the next week and thought all was well. I started temping to see if I was even ovulating… I don’t think I did the first two months. My temps were all over the place!
On December 2, I had a nagging headache that I attributed to being up way too late the night before and being dehydrated. The only problem was that it didn’t go away. I continued to have a headache for 18 days straight before going to the Dr. She said that with my history, it was probably just a side effect of going off the pill and to just monitor the headaches. She was pretty sure they would subside as soon as AF came back. (Which it did 31 days after AF showed up the first time off BC! I was surprised that my body reverted from 49 day cycles back so quickly! I guess I was lucky.) The only problem was that the headaches did not go away. They just got worse.
The first week of January, I went back in with the worst headache of my life. No amount of pills would make it go away – I was adjusting my diet, taking a cocktail of ibuprofen, Tylenol, and Benadryl around the clock, and keeping well hydrated – nothing worked. The Dr. shipped me right over to get a CT that came back completely normal. She recommended that I see a neurologist. The earliest appointment I could make was 3 weeks from the time we set it up. I was miserable. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t think straight. All I could do was lie in the dark and sleep for three weeks. On good days, I would go sub, but I was cranky and just not myself.
I was a wreck the day of my appointment. We went through a crap ton of neurological tests and medical history. He concluded that I needed to have a Lumbar Puncture – he suspected that I had a buildup of spinal fluid in my brain. I did. Normal range is less than 20. My pressure peaked at 25, settled at 23. They removed 20 cc’s. I IMMEDIATELY felt 100% better. (Of course, a few days later, I was leaking spinal fluid and had to go back in for an epidural blood patch, but that fixed it…)
Anyway, when we went back for my follow up appointment, I was formally diagnosed with IIH: Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension. I’ll break that down: Idiopathic = no known cause, Intracranial = in my brain, Hypertension = too much spinal fluid. Essentially, the medical community knows that this exists, just not what causes it. They’ve speculated that it’s more common in over-weight women of child-bearing age – of which I am both. But my neurologist assured me that it’s not my fault… he really doesn’t think my weight is a huge factor. He’s seen this condition in men and women of all ages and weights. But he acknowledged that the only way I’ll get off medication for this disease is by losing 30-50 pounds.
I hate talking about this, ladies. I hate telling you that I’m overweight and have this much to lose. It makes me feel insecure and embarrassed. But, I’m accepting it.
I’m currently taking Topamax, which is a class D prescription – meaning it causes birth defects. Maybe people will think we shouldn’t even be TTC until the weight is off and I’m off the pills, but TTC is what is motivating me to make healthy choices and really work at losing weight. One of the side effects of Topamax is that most of the time, I’m not that hungry. And I’m already losing weight. Now that it’s lovely outside, DH and I will start walking more. In addition to my eating habits that I’m changing, I think slowly I will make the progress necessary.
Also, when I do get that BFP, if I’m still on topamax, my neurologist isn’t worried – it’ll take a week to wean me off, and then it will be out of my system. Since I am charting so diligently, I’m sure we’ll catch it early enough. Also, my dosage is still really low (only 50 mg/day instead of the normal 200 mg/day). And we’ll stay low as long as the headaches stay away.
So, that brings us to this week: AF will show up probably tomorrow or Wednesday and I will start taking brown seaweed to boost my metabolism. This cycle, we’ll focus more on making me healthy than on TTC… we’ll monitor all the signs and try only if we’re feeling “in the mood”. But I think that after seeing two BFN’s this week, I just need to make my body a better vessel for carrying a baby.
I don’t know… I don’t know if we’re doing this right or not. But, we’ll keep on trying because I know I’m meant to be a mommy. And if I don’t keep trying, I’ll lose the motivation to keep trying to make myself a healthier version of me.
I don't know how long this will take, I don't know if we'll struggle from actual "fertility" issues, but I know that these headaches will make any pregnancy scary -- especially because with IIH, you never know if you're "cured" or in "remission" of sorts... ugh.
But, now you know my whole story. And it felt therapeutic to write it all out.
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