Any success stories and ideas for secondary infertility?

(725 Posts)
Annabellaboo Wed 06-Jan-16 11:29:58

Hello ladies.
I am hoping to get some ideas and support on here.
I am 35 years old, very healthy with a 3 year DS. We have been trying to conceive our second child for 2 years now. I became pregnant very easily with my first and had an easy pregnancy.
This time nothing.
I have had all the tests the nhs provides. Progesterone normal, I ovulate, DH sperm count is normal, no blockages etc etc. I have tried charting, ov sticks, changed my already pretty healthy diet (cut out refined sugars and have lots more greens etc, and alkalised my body). I take advised supplements and have even tried acupuncture.
I do however have short cycles, sometimes as short as 21 days but averaging 24. This is a little shorter than I had before my DS.
We cannot afford IVF and I am not sure I can face that anyway.
My consultant last month has prescribed me a half dose (25mg) of clomid, which a scan showed on the first round it definitely boosted things even more with a good few mature follicles. I already ovulate but she thought as my cycles are quite short and a little irregular it may give me a boost.
I have been convinced several times I was pregnant (oh how cruel our bodies and brains can be!) but AF always turns up.
I guess what I am asking is does anyone have any other suggestions of things I could try or why I can't conceive time. I am open to theories and alternative methods.
Any experience in this subject and success stories please share.
I try not to stress about it all, but some months it just really gets you down as there is no real 'reason'. The hard thing is watching other mums around get pregnant multiple times so easily.
Thank you for listening!
Anna

closephine85 Wed 06-Jan-16 12:09:37

Hi Anna

I am in a similar situation to you - 4 year old DS conceived naturally, been ttc a second for 2.5 years now. The only thing our tests so far have shown is that DH had a varying low sperm count (the first 2 results were 15 million so borderline normal, but the last 2 have come back at just 2 and 3 million - AFTER he started taking all the fertility vitamins which is very confusing). I am currently on a waiting list for a laparoscopy although I have no symptoms of endometriosis.

Have you had a HSG scan where they put dye through your tubes to check for blockages? Also, you mention you cycle is very short but you don't say whether you ovulate early or if you have a short luteal phase? If you simply ovulate early then it's probably not an issue, but if you have a luteal phase under 12 days the egg may not have time to implant, you could ask for some progesterone to extend it.

Hark at me, preaching like a fertility expert! I often think it's ironic that I must know far more about how to have a baby than people who actually have them easily!!

I have also been convinced I was pregnant a few times, so much so, that when I felt that way in November, I did a test AFTER AF had arrived and it was a very faint positive. I'm now wondering if I have had a number of chemical pregnancies. My Dr has put me on progesterone, as I had been having 4-5 days of spotting before I got AF (altho I have long cycles and I think my luteal phase length was still ok). It made the spotting disappear last month, so starting to get my hopes up for that miracle again! If not, we are looking into having IVF after my laparoscopy.

Can I ask how you 'alkanise' your body? (I'll try anything at this point!

Annabellaboo Wed 06-Jan-16 13:19:06

Hi closephine85,

Thank you so much for your reply and also pointing out that I did miss a couple of facts!
I ovulate fairly early, around day 11-12, so maybe just enough time to implant.
I did have an HSG and it showed no blockages.
I should also mention that I used to spot before my period, sometimes as early as day 18 which I know is not a great sign. But this hasn't really happened for several months now since I have become healthier (last winter I had constant colds and ailments) and since I changed my diet.
In regards to the alkalising of my body, I choose to do this after researching about increasing fertility and finding lots of claims that if your body is too acidic it can cause issues with conceiving. I ticked several boxes of symptoms for an acidic system. Basically there are many foods to avoid as they turn acidic in the body, and many food that can help alkalise. I am not too strict with it I confess, but a massive help with it has been powdered greens by Power One. I take 1-2 scoops first thing in the morning. There are other brands out there too but I seem to get on well with this one so am sticking to it (tastes very earthy and green though!) I would say have a google about it and give it a try. If nothing else it can only improve your health in general.
I also suspect I may have had just a couple of chemical pregnancies but I didn't think to test after AF arrived so can't be sure.
It's nice to be able to share with someone in a similar boat 😊

Annabellaboo Wed 06-Jan-16 13:22:07

Sorry meant the brand 'nutrition one' -power greens.

closephine85 Thu 07-Jan-16 11:25:59

Hi Anna

Had a quick google of acidic system and I don't think I have any of the symptoms. I try to be healthy although I do have a sweet tooth! Fell off the chocolate wagon pretty badly over Christmas but trying to get back on track now.

Have you had a laparoscopy? I'm currently on the waiting list for one at my hospital, I think that's the last thing to be checked pretty much! Have you had your AMH and FSH levels checked? I had to ask for those as I don't think they are done as standard.

I only tested after AF arrived out of curiosity really - i'd suspected them a few times but as tests had always been negative before spotting began I hadn't bothered continuing to test.

Annabellaboo Thu 07-Jan-16 22:26:32

Hi! No I haven't had a laparoscopy, it's not been mentioned and I have no symptoms of endometriosis.
Not sure what AMH and FSH levels are? They don't ring a bell so i assume I wasn't tested for them.
Have you been on clomid? This is my first month and I just got my blood results back and it was progesterone level 127 which apparently is very high! It's a sure sure sign I ovulated this month and the Dr has gotten my hopes up by saying that is a very good sign for pregnancy. Now I have a torturous wait as I am due on this weekend but I have read that clomid can mimic pregnancy symptoms and extend your cycle so I am trying not to get my hopes up! 😖

closephine85 Fri 08-Jan-16 07:16:14

Oh wow, fingers crossed for you! No, clomid hasn't been mentioned to me as I ovulate naturally. I thought it was just to help you ovulate but does it do something else too? Literally the only thing I have been given so far is progesterone pessaries and that took over a year of telling them I thought I needed them for them to be prescribed!

You AMH is an indicator of how many eggs are left in your ovaries. FSH I think stands for follicle stimulating hormone. Mine both came back ok, but AMH was at the lower end of satisfactory for my age (30).

Are you tempted to test early?

Annabellaboo Fri 08-Jan-16 22:16:41

Hello again. Thanks for that info on those tests. No I definitively haven't had anything like that. I will enquire at my next consultant appointment in March.
I ovulate naturally too, but because my cycles are short I was given a half dose of clomid to hopefully boost things. although the tests all come back normal, the short cycles and spotting could indicate that I don't ovulate that strongly or maybe not every month. I am not holding my breath for a pregnancy this month despite my high pregesterone levels. I just don't want to set my self up too much for a fall. All it really means is I definitively ovulated this cycle and probably judging by those levels produced more than one egg.
I keep being reassured that all the tests are a positive sign as nothing is wrong. But that makes is more frustrating because there really is no technical reason. It can't be fixed, it is just unknown and that is hard to live with at times,
Do you have shirt cycles and are they regular?
Yes I am tempted to test early but I am determined not to this month. I have been doing that for months now and it is not good for my mental state! Trying to stay strong here! 😖😓

closephine85 Sat 09-Jan-16 20:41:48

I agree. I hate the 'unexplained' diagnosis. Now we are sandwiched somewhere between unexplained and 'male factor' - initially we were told DHs results shouldn't be making a difference, but then we were told it 'probably' is by a couple of other consultants. Unfortunately there seems to be nothing he can do to boost his count.

My cycles are slightly on the long side, altho I had always counted day 1 as the day I started spotting, however my clinic told me that I should be from the day AF properly arrives. I think I roughly ovulate between day 15 and day 19 and then I always have spotting for about 4-5 days before AF arrives properly. However I was prescribed progesterone last month and this got rid of the spotting. So therefore I have been hoping for a miracle again as we are pretty much headed for the Ivf route if this fails.

Do all your ds's friends have siblings? That's what I'm finding so hard. He's now the only one in his pre-school with no brothers or sisters. Feel like such a flipping failure sometimes!

Annabellaboo Sat 09-Jan-16 22:11:19

Yes I know that feeling of all the other mums you know having more children. Infact it is really extreme at the moment around me, one friend is on her 4th without even trying! (Not that I want 4 kids but 2 would be nice please!)
That is frustrating about the mixed opinions on dh's sperm count. Is he under a lot of stress? And does he consume a lot of caffeine and sugar? The reason I ask is my husband and I went to see a Nutrituonist several months back to see if there were additions and things to avoid to help us get pregnant. She explained the impact stress can have on a mans sperm and told us a great example about a man who drank lots of coffee and had a fairly high sugar intake who was stressed and has slightly low sperm count. He cut back on them and tried to manage his stress and his wife fell pregnant a few months later after trying for years. My husband didn't have that problem but she did still recommend quite a high dose of zinc for him and me before you go to bed. Apparently very good for stress and conceiving.
Could be the progresterone is helpful to you. If it's stops the spotting that can only be a good thing. I always knew each month when I spotted there was no chance of pregnancy. I never had spotting before I had my son-you?

closephine85 Mon 11-Jan-16 16:48:35

I'm trying to remember if I had the spotting before my son, I think I must have, because I can remember that after I came off the pill I didn't have the spotting for the first few months. Everything felt 'better' if that makes any sense? Sometimes I'm tempted to go back on the pill for a few months to see if it would regulate me again somehow but the thought really depresses me!

Have you tested yet? Fingers crossed for you!

My DH says that his job is stressful, however he doesn't come across as a particularly stressed out person - quite replaced overall really. So it's hard to know as I don't see him at work?! He's perfectly healthy though, a good weight, eats well, hardly any sugar or caffeine, cycles to work... It's all a bit of a mystery sad

closephine85 Mon 11-Jan-16 16:49:38

Replaced should say relaxed!

Annabellaboo Mon 11-Jan-16 21:55:54

Hello. Well it sounds like your husband is pretty healthy so prob not to do with his lifestyle.
I really wouldn't imagine going back on the pill would be a good idea but I understand your reasoning. I never spotted before I had my DS and my cycles were definitely a little longer. I was also on the pill for 10 years but had been off it a few years before we tried for a baby. Nothing much changed for me on or off the pill.
I am still in limbo and a bit confused. I tested this morn (1 day late) and it was negative, I threw the test away but then couldn't resist a sneaky look about 45 mins later. I saw a very faint positive line! But as it was after the test recommended window I can't really trust it. Then I did another one this eve and the same thing happened. I am still looking at the tests and they both have faint but definite lines, but they were way over the time frame. Feel like a crazy lady! confused
Going to try again in the morn. Fingers crossed. I am trying not to get hopes up but you know how difficult it is!

Shellster52 Tue 12-Jan-16 09:11:18

Hope you don't mind if I join in and say hi. I conceived my DS naturally, then went through 4 years of secondary infertility before finally conceiving my second on my 11th IVF attempt. Will have a proper read of all your posts tomorrow when I have more time, but after just skimming through now, I notice that you have no diagnosis Annabellaboo, but that you ovulate early and that your cycles are short. Having done all the mad woman research in my 4 years of infertility, I know that early ovulation and shorter cycles generally happen as our fertility ages. You probably know that when we are young and fertile, there are lots of eggs bursting from each ovary at the start of each cycle, and our FSH is low on day 2/3 of our cycle. But as our fertility winds up, our FSH is high at the start of each cycle because there isn't much activity on the ovaries and your body has to really pump out the FSH to get them going at the start of a cycle. This higher FSH results in quicker growing follicles and early ovulation. Shorter luteal phases and pre-menstraul spotting also occur as our fertility ages.

So while I don't have the perfect solution for these things, you started this thread asking for suggestions, so perhaps this is something you could look into researching to see if there is something that can strengthen your cycles.

Did the NHS give you a day 2/3 FSH/LH and/or an AMH check as part of their tests?

Annabellaboo Tue 12-Jan-16 10:47:52

Thanks for joinin in shelster. Yes that makes a lot of sense to me, I sense it is something like that. I took action to try and strengthen my cycles. I have a few months had accupuncture with did add a couple days onto my cycle and mostly got rid of spotting. I changed my diet and stated taking various recommended supplements. I definitely feel all these things have helped and I went from about a 22-23 day cycle with spotting days before to now averaging 25 days rarely with any spotting. It makes me feel more hopeful but then I have been on this better cycle path for about 6 months now and still nothing.
So happy it finally had success worn conceiving your 2nd, but wow that must have been difficult to go through so many round of ivf?! You have amazing will power and determination. I am not sure I could face that long road to be honest, I feel I would go a little crazy and we couldn't afford it anyway even if I could. I am trying to stay positive and believe it will happen naturally, but of course I know that may not be.
I will research some other ways of strengthening my cycle. I am currently on a low dose of clomid and I have to say my body seems to have responded strongly to it. Hopefully this will be a good thing for me. Currently a few days late on period, but I know clomid can do that and I haven't had a Clear positive test yet so not holding my breath.
Thanks for your advice.

Annabellaboo Tue 12-Jan-16 10:49:32

Sorry for the huge amount of typos in that last message! Writing quickly on phone!

Annabellaboo Tue 12-Jan-16 14:23:08

And no the NHS didn't give me those particular tests that I recall.

Shellster52 Tue 12-Jan-16 21:59:07

Yes, as I read your stories, I can recall the feeling you mention so vividly... getting your hopes up on the one hand because the acupuncture, supplements, diet changes etc have lengthened your cycle and stopped your spotting, yet to then feel deflated and despair because there is still no success cycle after cycle.

Yep, was definitely difficult going through so many rounds of IVF. But after each failure, the option was give up or try again. The thought of giving up hurt more than my desperation to try again, so it was option two for me. I know exactly what you both mean when you talk about all of DS's friends at kinder having siblings (and all his cousins) and DS being the only child.

I am in Australia so not familiar with your system. Is this consultant you are seeing who prescribed you the Clomid funded by the NHS? At least the Clomid seems to have done something positive as you say your period was due last weekend which I assume was day 24/25 of your cycle, and still no period in sight? So it has definitely strengthened your cycle... although obviously a stronger cycle doesn't help with the despair of secondary infertility if it doesn't lead to a BFP!

Annabellaboo Tue 12-Jan-16 22:25:25

Hi again. Thanks for your reply. You know exactly how it is! It's a comfort to know others have been or are going through the same thing. I can talk to my husband and friends to a certain degree, but they don't really understand. Only a woman in the same position gets it.
Yes my NHS consultant prescribed me the clomid. I have a follow up appointment (if not pregnant by then) in March and will at least enquire about the other tests to see if they are an option for me.
I do feel I stand a better chance now than I did a year ago as my general health and cycles are under control. Staying hopeful (most of the time!) 😁

Shellster52 Wed 13-Jan-16 04:27:38

So true Annabellaboo, even our husbands who are partners in this don't seem to feel the same way us women going through it do.

So do you have Clomid for your following cycles too, to last you until your next follow up appointment, or was it just the one cycle?

Annabellaboo Wed 13-Jan-16 08:50:31

Hi shellster. Yes I have clomid until the next appointment, 3 months supply just a half dose. Really glad my consultant did just the half dose as according to my latest progresterone levels of 127 this was more than enough!
I am currently 3 days late for period but only a bfn so far. I know clomid can delay period so I am not getting my hopes up this month but am glad the drug seems to be doing some good.
How old are your children now? I bet all that heartache seems more than worth it now 😊

closephine85 Wed 13-Jan-16 16:34:56

Hi ladies

Sorry for the slow response, sorry to hear you haven't had a positive test Anna, but I guess as long as AF stays away there's still a chance.

Shellster, I think I may have spoken to you before on another thread - hi again! Lovely to hear you had success in the end. The thought of 11 cycles of Ivf fills me with despair, we will only be able to afford a max of 3.

I also agree that my DH doesn't fully understand. Yes he does want another child, but I think he follows my lead. If I said tomorrow I wanted to stop all this I think he'd find it pretty easy, whereas deep down I know I'll never be able to stop trying, hoping, thinking about it. It's rubbish!

I've also convinced myself that the suspected chemical pregnancy I had in November was probably our one chance of getting 'lucky' with DHs low count and that if I'd been on progesterone then, I'd probably be 3 months pregnant by now. Of course I'll never know and am just torturing myself so it's really not worth agonizing over but i can't help it!

Shellster52 Thu 14-Jan-16 00:58:54

My son is 4y 8m old and my IVF miracle is due 26th March. Yes, the heartache is definitely worth it now. My son used to complain when we would leave his cousins and I felt so guilty because he wanted to play but instead I was forced to bring him to a house where he will grow up alone. I looked out the kitchen window the other day and saw my son on the trampoline. Before this IVF success, that image would have killed me - him out there all alone, having to play by himself. But this time I was able to smile, so it will certainly give me a real appreciation for simple things like this that other mothers who have not been what we've been through just couldn't comprehend.

Glad you have Clomid until your next appointment Annabellaboo. At least it helps to feel as though you are doing something practical until March instead of just waiting and worrying.

Yes, your name sounds familiar closephine. I hope I didn't worry you with my 11 IVF attempts. I was a poor responder and only produced 3-4 eggs each cycle, so I think that the average woman would probably produce as many eggs as I did in 3 IVF cycles. You are right that beating yourself up about your suspected November pregnancy won't help, but when it takes that long to get a glimpse of a change, I can totally understand that it would be impossible not to wonder 'what if'. Must be so frustrating with that sperm diagnosis - my husband had 100% abnormal sperm but he ate like absolute crap. Wonder if the cycling doesn't help with the sperm production?

Hi 😄
I am new here but have been a thread stalker for years lol. Anyway I was like you I have/had secondary infertility. I had my last daughter when I was 21 I am now 32. I re married 4 years ago and have been trying for a baby ever since. I tried everything you can imagine to try and have a baby naturally and NOTHING worked it was heart breaking. Jan 2015 after a evil 36 day cycle I went to see my doctor who ran all tests and referred me too the fertility specialist. They could find nothing wrong with me or my hubby. In the end the fertility consultant sent me away with 3 months worth of clomid, 3 rounds 50mg to take days 2-6 but told me not to expect anything as I already ovulate on my own. The first cycle was a bust I didn't ovulate at all 😥 the second went well, i had a super ovulation but ended in bfn on cd 29. I was gutted i felt hopeless I wasn't even going to bother with the 3rd as it didn't feel worth it. After a lot of tears and mega sulking lol I started round 3. It was a "easier" cycle however I didn't believe it would end in a pregnancy How wrong was I !!! I got my BFP on Monday at 20 days post ovulation because I didn't dare hope I could possibly be blessed with a lil bean in my belly.After 4 years to the month trying. ( praying my little one sticks ) Am writing this so you know there is light at the end of the tunnel and there is always hope. Stick with keeping as healthy as you and your Mr can, stick with the clomid it really can work for people like you and me. I am proof of that. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you hun. Just don't loose hope. Good luck 😄

Annabellaboo Thu 14-Jan-16 16:42:13

Hi ladies!
Shellster, didn't realise you haven't had number 2 yet- you must be super excited the meet little one and introduce them to big bother.
Closephine- I fell for you about the chemical pregnancy but you have to try and let it from your brain. I know it's hard but it ended so soon for a reason and it's really amazing that our bodies actually do this. I am also convinced I have had 2, about a year apart as both times I had unusually long cycles and all the symptons of pregnancy. It's so frustrating but I am also grateful it didn't go on and then lost it later.
Thanks for joining the thread Sarahbooboo- that is fantastic news many congrats! And that is very positive and encouraging to hear. I know it's not a guarantee clomid will work but I do feel I stand a good chance. My progesterone was very high after taking it and even if I don't have a sticky bean in there this time it means it had lengthened my cycle and this for me has to be a good thing.

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