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ImALittleTeaPot April 1st, 2013 01:32 PM

Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
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.

momology April 1st, 2013 02:46 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
I am so glad you started a journal!!!! It really does feel amazing to vent it all out on here!!!

I am so sorry that you have been going through all that :( Those headaches sound so miserable! I hope you are able to figure all that out and get to feeling better as soon as possible!!! And you have nothing to be embarrassed about at all!! We all have our own things and this is a safe place to talk about anything and everything. :hug:

SmilingSam April 1st, 2013 06:39 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
I've never had headaches like you have described. It must be miserable. And frustrating that the docs can't pinpoint a solution.

You sound like you are on your way to a new phase of life. Take it step by step and the weight will work it's way off.

Glad to have you journaling!

butterfly721 April 1st, 2013 08:18 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
I'm really glad that you started a journal. I liked reading your first entry and getting to know more about you. This is a very safe, supportive place, so I hope that you feel as though you can tell us anything.

Nicholle ttc April 2nd, 2013 06:55 AM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
Hi Jeralynn!

:welcome: to journaling! :D

I'm so sorry about your headaches! Wow, they sound horrible! :( I'm glad that the topamax is helping!

Don't feel embarrassed about your weight! I joined weight watchers several months before I started ttcing. I have lost over 45 lbs (and at one point, I was even heavier). I still want to lose another 5 lbs, as I'm about a lb shy of being in the "normal" bmi weight range for my height. I'm guessing by your JM name that you are short like me, I'm a little under 5' 2". I'm glad that the topamax is providing some assistance with the weight loss, though that's not it's intended purpose. If you ever need someone to bounce ideas off of, let me know. :)

ImALittleTeaPot April 2nd, 2013 12:38 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
I am overwhelmed with emotion at all of the support from you wonderful ladies! :)

I have been on the Topamax for 1.5 months. I weighed myself this morning and was amazed to see that I've already lost 10 pounds! I have no idea how, I definitely don't feel like I have... but the numbers don't lie.

Today is CD1 of cycle 5 off BCP. Last month we did everything: CM, OPK's, temp, but didn't BD a whole lot -- it really caused some marital stress. This month is crazy for DH with state standardized testing -- so I think we're just going to do what comes naturally... maybe take some pressure off.

Today, I started taking brown seaweed. It's completely natural and is supposed to boost metabolism. So we'll see...

butterfly721 April 2nd, 2013 01:58 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
Congratulations on the weight loss! I'm very proud of you! :hearts:

Isn't losing weight a great feeling???

ImALittleTeaPot April 2nd, 2013 02:09 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
I'm kind of mixed on these 10 lbs. I have a feeling most of it is because the topamax makes me not want to eat anything -- ever. Not really a healthy way to lose the weight, ya know? But I'm starting to adjust and I know that sometimes, I have to force myself to have 3 well-balanced meals a day. That way, I'll keep losing weight, but I'll still be taking in nutrients!

It IS nice to not constantly want to be snacking, though!!! Except for today... I just want crackers and pasta and bagels!

[email protected] April 2nd, 2013 03:51 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
Welcome to journalling! Thats one heck of a story to share and I'm glad it helped you to get it all out!

I'm sorry about the headaches, I'm glad that the doctors figured out the cause though and even if the 'treatment' might not be permanent - at least its a problem with a fix right?! (I hope that makes sense lol)

Not sure if you've seen my journal but I too, have had to loose weight during the TTC process. As I live in the UK, my BMI has to be within a certain range in order for me to qualify for fertility treatment on the NHS. When I started out last July I needed to loose just over 30lbs to get my BMI where it needed to be for an appointment in November. I joined weight watchers and the weight came off slowly but I lost what I needed to for the november appiontment, I was and am really pleased I achieved that! I have since put on 3lbs which I need to loose (plus i'd maybe like to loose another 7lbs on top of that) but i found the biggest changes were to my eating habits and made a massive difference.

Anyway...this is long enough :giggle: please feel free to message me anytime to need to vent about weight though, I've been there! As have a few other ladies on the board too - they were very supportive of me whilst I was seriously dieting!

BabyBirdies April 2nd, 2013 06:17 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
Welcome to journaling! What a story! I'm glad they were able to diagnose you with something - and I'm glad that there is at least a hope of treating it permanently with losing weight. I have a history of migraines, as well as a good friend who was out of graduate school for a semester because of migraines, and we have both tried a variety of non-doctor approaches. Her method of choice is the chiropractor - it has really helped her to manage her headaches, and she only goes in occasionally for maintenance. I personally am a huge fan of acupuncture. I was having a lot of migraines in the fall, and the acupuncture really moved me from having three or four a week to one or two a month. It had been recommended by my doctor after we determined that it did not seem to be from a clear medical cause and that I wasn't interested in drugs because of TTC.

Of course, neither of these might be up your alley (and they probably wouldn't replace the drug!) but they might be something for you to look into.

Good luck with your journey and I look forward to getting to know you!

ImALittleTeaPot April 2nd, 2013 07:59 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
Ahhh!!! SO much to say! (If you haven't noticed through my normal forum posts and my journal entries thus far, I'm rather wordy...)

1) Jen -- I appreciate your support. It feels good to know that there are others who've been down this road before! And I'm sure that those 3 (+the extra 7) will find their way off!! :)

2)Jessica -- I honestly hope and pray every night that losing weight will be the permanent solution. I hate to think about what my life will be like if my body just keeps on producing extra spinal fluid for no apparent reason and I have to stay medicated forever... ugh. Nasty thought!

I hope you don't mind me asking, but is acupuncture expensive?? And does it hurt? I looked more closely at our insurance plan and acupuncture isn't covered, and only a limited amount of chiropractic appointments are covered. If the headaches come back, alternative treatments are going to be my first go-to before upping my dose.

3) I'm bloated, cramping, and feel on the verge of an emotional breakdown... for no apparent reason other than my stupid period. ergh. And i just realized, AF will be here for my 2 yr anniversary. That's just splendid, huh?!?!

Nicholle ttc April 3rd, 2013 06:23 AM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
:hug: So sorry about AF and it's nasty side effects. :( Hope it doesn't completely ruin your 2 year anniversary plans.

butterfly721 April 3rd, 2013 09:52 AM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
I hope that you feel better soon. :heart:

SmilingSam April 3rd, 2013 06:42 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
AF sucks. Sorry she's wreaking havoc on your emotions. She was at it with mine a couple of days ago.

momology April 4th, 2013 08:56 AM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
:hug: AF usually seems to visit at the worst times - I hope you feel better soon!!!

ImALittleTeaPot April 4th, 2013 12:14 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
Last month was worse with emotional swings, so I'm sure DH is thankful that this cycle has been a bit better! These cramps are absolutely killing me though... A very common side effect of topamax is that it causes tingling in your fingers/toes. Yesterday and today, I've had tingling from the tips of my toes all the way to my knees. Then the cramps have caused pain to radiate down the front of my thighs. Needless to say, my legs are miserable and it hurts to move. It's getting a bit better today. Hopefully it'll be gone by tomorrow, as I'm subbing.

In TTC news: DH pointed out that if we catch the egg this month, we'd have a Jan baby. January is the start of the speech season and a very busy time for us. While we're not going to NOT try, we both agreed that if we don't conceive until after June, it would be okay. Since the speech season lasts from Jan-March, it would be OK to not have to deal with a newborn during those three months! Of course, a baby is a blessing and we won't complain if we do get knocked up! We'll make it work... :)

It was just nice to know that for the next three cycles, we have a good reason to not lose hope if we see negatives.

In unrelated news: We're still going to Chicago for our 2 yr anniversary, but we were able to get tickets for the megabus cheaper if we go the week after our actual anniversary, and by then AF will be gone! So, no worries there!

Weight loss news: I've been up a few pounds the last two days... but I KNOW I'm mega bloated and I've been eating everything I can see. I vow to make better choices as soon as AF starts to subside. I'm still trying to decide if I want to try couch to 5K or the 30 day shred. I know both get results... both allow me to move at my own pace... one can be done inside, the other for me will have to be done outside or at school.

I just wish we still lived close to a gym. The nearest one is 50 miles away and it's just not worth the price of a membership, gas, and traveling time! Small town problems, huh?

Nicholle ttc April 4th, 2013 12:47 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
:bighug: So sorry about the pain you experience. That must be horrible. :(

Yay about your anniversary plans! :)

Glad that you and DH are taking a rather mellow approach to ttcing for the next couple months. It makes ttcing less stressful!

Good luck with your exercise routine decision. I'm sure that you'll do great at either one! :)

SmilingSam April 4th, 2013 03:22 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
I hope you start feeling better soon! I think it's so cute that you and your husband work in the same school. :)

ImALittleTeaPot April 4th, 2013 04:25 PM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
We do too, Sam. We had always thought it would be cool to work for the same district, but to work in the same building is so wonderful!!!

We worked for a call-center during college... they didn't realize until we had worked there for 6 months (and had asked for matching schedules so we could car pool) that we were dating... They always knew that we were a packaged deal to go home early, come in early, or pick up extra shifts. We've always loved being able to work with each other because we're besties...

momology April 5th, 2013 07:38 AM

Re: Jeralynn's TTC #1 Journal
So sorry you are in pain!!! That sounds awful :hug:

I think that is such a great approach to TTC :smile:

That is really nice that you and your DH work in the same building and super sweet that yall enjoy working together :wub:

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