Friday, January 28, 2011

Blood Drawn at Home for Immune Testing.

I got my blood taken for the immune testing. It was a very easy process. The dr's office put it the order. Then reprosource mailed me the test tube kit pictured on the left. When I first saw all those tubes, I thought I would pass out. A nurse from exam one came to my house to draw the blood. It was easier than I thought. Each one filled up quickly and I did not faint. She took the tubes and shipped them over night to the The Rosalind Franklin lab in Illinois. They said it would take about two week to get results back. They are running the following tests RIP, TH1/TH2, NK, and CBC.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Google Search Words experiment

When I was first told that IVF was my only option, I could not find any help. I searched the internet and found nothing. So maybe I did not know the exact words to search.
Today I decided to do a little experiment on google and type in the search terms that I used in the past to see what would come up. I also thought that if I included them on this blog post maybe it would help others searching the same terms to find about about napro etc. If you are reading this and you think of any other good search terms let me know. The internet changes all the time, so if you repeat this experiment you may find different results.
Here is what I found out. It is really hard to randomly find a direct link to Dr. Hilgers / PPVI. You have to know exactly what you are looking for. Most of the hits go to articles or blogs and then you have to click them and read to maybe find napro mentioned. There are not enough direct hits to doctors that provide this service. You have to find a page with a separate search engine such as which is not very visible if you do not know to look for it. If you are lucky enought to find Dr. Hilgers you may see that he is in Omaha and may not want to travel. There are many napro doctors across the world but it is hard to find a link to them. Here is a link to catholic doctors who provide infertility treatment.
                         Search Results: I reviewed the first 5 pages of each search term

IVF 6 million hits
Alternative to ivf:  1 million hits.  Not all links led to approved alternatives.
catholic alternative to ivf: only got 190,000 hits. Most of the sites  mention napro. There are a few that sneak in non catholic links.
catholic infertility 590,000   mixed emotions about this one.  There are some good sites listed that give support. yahoo support group is listed.  There are a bunch of sites that are not helpful and they sometimes criticize Catholics.
catholic infertility support 64,600 hits yahoo support group is listed 3rd. A lot of good links to personal blogs and local support groups. Only a few non catholic sites.  The Gianna Center is listed.

infertility treatment over 5 million
catholic infertility treatment only 350,000 hits  This one is mixed becuase there are some good sites and some that are actually criticizing the catholic church's position on no ivf. There are no obvious links to Dr. Hilgers but there was one article I clicked on that mentioned him. I think all I saw were articles. I saw a lot of guidelines, but I did not see any obvious doctors or clinics. This is where we have a big problem. If someone is searching for treatment, you would expect a link to pop up for a doctor who would provide this service.
catholic fertility treatment 150,000 hits mostly the same as above except the Gianna Center shows up on the 5th search page.
pro life infertility treatment 270,000 hits   The third link goes to an article about Dr. Hilgers. On the 5th page I saw napro in a title.

infertility doctors over one million hits 
catholic doctors over 10 million hits
pro life infertility doctors 430,000  **Page two had an ad for an IVF clinic as its first link.**  Dr Hilgers is mentioned on Page 5

catholic infertility doctors 2 million Here it is.... So far this is the only search term that has given me a direct hit to Dr. Hilgers PPVI institute. The Gianna Center is listed on page 4. I did not see any other links for Drs. Mostly articles and blogs.
Catholic Fertility Center 126,000 Another good search term. 
Dr. Hilgers PPVI institute. is the number one link. The Gianna Center is also listed.

napro patient experience 1,210 
napro patient success 124,000 shows the graph with all different issues and napro success rates which are higher than IVF. You can also read the book Women Healed which has lots of success stories.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Supplements, upcoming blood tests, and I finally told my napro Dr.

My shipment of supplements came in the mail today. I got a 5 month supply bc of the great sale with bogo. I got three antioxidants to help deal with my endo. Pycnogenol, Resveratrol, and CoQ10. They came in pretty bottles so I had to take some photos.

 It is always exciting to try something new. In general I have a phobia about pills getting stuck in my throat. When I started taking biaxin I had no choice. Those pills were huge. Now I take them like a champ. So when I saw how large one of the pills was, I had a moment of panic and then told myself you can do it.I was not thinking about pill size when I ordered. Next time I refill I may get a smaller mg and take them twice a day....who knows they are pricey and I may end up being ok after 5 months....=)

I also got my prescription cd3  bloodwork in the mail. Most of the usual suspects, FSH, LH, etc but there were two new ones, inhibinB and AMH, so I thought that was cool to have some new things tested.

Then I got a call from the immune testing lab. She was so nice and she was so excited to tell me that they are in my network so she is going to bill the insurance. Yeah! She said the tests costs 2,000 without it... YIKES. She said worst case scenario I would have to pay 400 if the insurance denied the claim....phew...They are going to mail me a kit and then they send someone to my house to draw the blood. I will get results in about two weeks. The kit is coming on Wed so I will be getting the tests done next week. It is a great feeling to have hope and some new ideas/tests to look forward to.

I also spoke to my napro Dr. I was worried about telling him that I consulted with another Dr. He was fine. He said he values second opinions and new ideas. Ok, so that was a huge relief. He brought up the G-csf again. I asked him 3 times in the past and he has always stalled. This time I told him that Dr. JB is willing to prescribe it to me bc he uses it. I asked my napro dr to double check with the Japanese Dr to get a protocol together. We are going to regroup and do a cycle review in two weeks. Hopefully he has the info ready about the G-csf bc I am so ready to try it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

1 week follow up with the new dr

So I spoke to my new dr last week for the first time. He said he would send me a plan and that S would contact me about meds and tests etc. So when a week went by and I had nothing, I emailed the Dr to check my status. He emailed me from his blackberry to say that S was now on emergency maternity leave and to call L. ugh, so I spoke to L today. She was very nice. I told her that I was not the usual type of patient at her office bc I am not doing IVF. She was very calm considering she got thrown into taking over for S. She asked me what I was doing and I was honest and said that I was not sure bc the Dr never sent me a plan. So she spoke to him and then she put him on the phone with me. He was very apologetic and kind of embarrassed he said that S went out unexpected and she had my file and he needs to call her to get it etc....He went over the plan. I had some things mixed up. Then he told me that the immune tests have to be done a special way and may cost a lot.......yikes... he did not mention that last time. I guess the service will call me to go over everything and then they come to your house to take the blood. I have no idea how much the tests will cost and if my insurance will cover it. My insurance covers everything IF related but if this is a special lab it may not be covered.........ugh..... thank goodness I followed up bc who knows how long it would have been before they noticed.
I also ordered my supplements. He wants me to take 3 antioxidants and omega3. I was lucky to get a screaming deal on the antioxidants. They were having  a bogo sale. I got 5 months for about 237 which is awesome. I still have not gotten the omega3 bc he wants me to take 4,000 and the highest they go up to is 1,000 so I would have to take 4  a day..blech ugh so I may have to start with one and work my way up.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

4 New Articles

Today I am home due to a snow day, so I had time to search the Internet and look for more napro articles. I have found  4 article that are all new to me and this blog. My collection of articles is growing. Check the articles tab on the top to see them all.

Hope for infertility: ‘Infertile’ couple gives birth thanks to cutting edge natural treatment 
Was just written yesterday January 17, 2011 This story follows a couple living in Canada who were told IVF was their only option. They started Napro in Canada and came down to Nebraska to see Dr. Hilgers for surgery. She conceived her son only one month after surgery.

The cross of infertility: Napro Technology brings hope. This was written July of 2010. It is a nice story that follows Angela who had repeated miscarriages. She wanted to follow church teaching but did not have many options.  She started a blog and then a reader suggested  the Pope Paul VI Institute and NaPro Technology.  She is now 29 weeks pregnant.

Landmark Study Demonstrates Natural IVF Alternative Effective in Helping Infertile Couples Conceive Researchers from the International Institute of Restorative Reproductive Medicine have published a study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine which confirms thatNaProTechnology provided live birth rates comparable or superior to more invasive treatments, including assisted reproductive technology (ART) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). The full study can be found here.

Fertility Treatment is Hugely Successful but Largely Ignored by Medicine  This article discusses how Napro has been proved to be sucessful yet it is still not recognized. I found this to be interesting. "The American Society for Reproductive Medicine  (ASRM), which maintains a fully staffed Office of Public Affairs in Washington D.C., and a web site that contains a vast amount of information on reproductive matters, does not have any information on NPT posted on its website." I just checked it and when you use their search box, nothing comes up.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Catholic Infertility Support Group

I met Laura on the yahoo catholic infertility forum. She started a support group for women with Infertility and recurrent miscarriage in Florida. She also created a website with information. Hannah's
Are you struggling with infertility?
By Laura Flaherty

As women, especially Catholic women, bringing new life into this world is at the very core of who we are. Not being able to do this can be very painful and isolating. Hannah's Heart is here to help. Women who share this journey offer fellowship, spiritual and emotional support, friendship and education about the Catholic Church’s teaching and options for treatment.
Infertility and recurrent miscarriage (and many women’s health issues in general), are often not talked about. Many women suffer in silence. It led me to start Hannah's Heart. I was looking for a place to turn to share my struggles with infertility, so I knew there must be other women out there struggling in a similar way. It is particularly difficult being a Catholic woman and couple struggling with infertility because the church teaches against treatments offered by conventional reproductive specialists.
By God’s grace, my husband and I have never deliberated over whether to abide by the church’s teachings. We have always known that the church holds the fullness of truth. However, many couples do struggle with this.
Babies are gifts from God, not something we are to go out and obtain for ourselves no matter the cost. Infertility is such a difficult struggle. But, difficult as it is, sometimes so much good comes of it. My husband and I have a closer relationship and a deeper respect for life; I’ve made some really close friends that I wouldn't have known. And, more importantly, when the time comes, we will be very different parents than we would have been without the struggle. And whether it’s by conception or adoption, we will love and appreciate our child (ran) in a way that wasn’t possible otherwise.

For more about Hannah’s Heart, please email Laura Flaherty at or call (904) 625-2572 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (904) 625-2572      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.   or visit  Hannah's

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Article: Birth of a Miracle

 One of the members from my Yahoo Catholic Infertility support group is mentioned in this article. She also runs a support group called Hannah's Heart which I will make separate post about. I love hearing about new articles and posting them on here. It is great to keep getting the word out. I posted most of  the article  below. Click here to read the whole article
Birth of A Miracle
By Kay Johnson

“Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you,” the email said. “I’ve been delivering babies.”
The email could have said, “I’ve been delivering miracles.” 
Because Dr. Robert Raspa has helped nearly 100 infertile women give birth.

Which begs the question, how? How does a Catholic physician, who honors the Catholic Church’s position against artificial procreation, have such a high success rate among childless couples?  

“I had a conversion,” says Dr. Raspa. “Before I joined the family medical practice at St Vincent’s Hospital, I did what all doctors are taught to do for infertility. Start your patient on birth control pills to regulate her cycles, and go from there.”

But physicians at St. Vincent’s sign a pledge stating they will not prescribe birth control pills. That left Dr. Raspa with a problem in need of a solution. Or, perhaps, a miracle.

Is Omaha the new Nazareth?
Infertility has plagued humans since the beginning of time.
Yet, when Hannah, Sarah and Elizabeth prayed for a child, God answered.  
Conception was God’s miracle until man decided to create his own – in test tubes. The Vatican immediately condemned the artificial method of procreation.
Look at the statistics.

In 1987, U.S. doctors were performing fertilization procedures on 172,000 women per year, and achieving only about 65,000 births. Twenty years later the live birth rate through artificial methods was still less than 50 percent for women under the age of 35, and decreasing with age.

In his textbook, The Medical and Surgical Practice of NaPro Technology, Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers states, six in-vitro babies die (at some stage of development) for every live birth. And a recent study out of the United Kingdom reported a rate of 19 deaths for every live birth.”

Demoralizing odds and devastating costs, yet the cause of infertility remained largely unobserved, leaving no scientific alternative for childless couples until Pope Paul VI  took up their cause. His 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, famously challenged mainstream medicine to advance reproductive health care that respects life.

Dr. Hilgers 
responded. He dedicated 30 years to the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System, the charting of natural biological markers that identifies a woman’s fertility cycle; and the women’s health science of Natural Procreative Technology (NaPro) that detects certain physical conditions and diseases that prevent conception. The procedures created a true lifetime monitor of female reproductive health.

Dr. Hilgers also founded the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Neb.
There, Dr. Raspa found his solution and his miracle: infertile women could conceive naturally, normally and remain true to the teachings of the church.

“When I returned from Omaha, I was blessed to meet Jacksonville people who could teach couples to read the body’s natural fertility indicators. Suddenly I had more patients than I could handle.”
That was 2003. Since then, all but five of his patients have conceived.
(There are stories listed here in the article that I did not copy)

The Lesson“The main thing is to know there are options,” urges Dr. Raspa, “Things can be done that are natural, normal and legitimate. Don’t lose hope because even though we have the greatest medical science and most advanced medical technology in the world, God is so much further ahead. Just have faith. 


This site has links to audio interviews with Dr. Thomas Hilgers from his personal history and the development of NaPro, to specifics about various disease treatments and processes., an online Catholic Infertility Support group.
Recommended ReadingIn Their Own Words: Women Healed – Stories from women treated by NaPro.
Jean Packerd, editor

The NaProTechnology Revolution:  Unleashing the Power in a Woman's Cycle by
Dr. Thomas Hilgers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Comparing Napro and RI ( LUFS and Endometriosis)

I had some time to digest all that information and I started to think about how napro and reproductive immunology are different and how I can merge them in regards to endometriosis and LUFS.
Endometriosis: Dr Hilgers believes that endo is a surgical disease and he has had great success after removing it.  The RI thinks that Endo is an immune disease and causes problems even after you remove the visible endo. His treatment is to take high dose antioxidants
My thoughts: I am still glad that I had the endo removed and still recommend to others they also get it out. There are some women out there myself included who are still TTC after it is all removed.There are two types of endo and they are starting to do research and found there are two different  genes for endo. One type is the what everyone expects: pain and/or heavy bleeding etc. The other type, which most people are unaware of, is the silent type. You will have it pain free and won't even know you have it except for IF. I have the silent type and my endo was extensive. So maybe some people also need to deal with endo as immune issue and some only need to do surgery? Makes logical sense.
LUFS: My napro dr belives I have lufs. The RI said that it is very rare and does not think I have it. He thinks my follicle is rupturing and resealing itself..
My thoughts: I am not going to agree with a dr who does IVF because they ultimatley think everything can be solved by passing your problem and do not spend a lot of time researching actual causes of IF. He only spent a short time talking to me etc. Based on my p+7 levels, the US, and my LPD I still agree with LUFS.  I have read many times that most REs do not even think it exists, so at least he acknowledged it.
Working together: I still have to speak to my wonderful napro Dr, but I still trust him and want him to be the lead here. I got some good ideas to try that are in line with napro. The RI said  I could try the G-csf in the future. My narpo dr never told me no, but 3 times he said he was unsure, so I am so exited to finally have found a dr who will prescribe it for me. I bet my napro dr will be happy to be off the hook..  I am going to give the suppplements a few months and see if I can get my numbers down. (haven't been tested yet so I don't even know where they are yet) then I will move onto the G-csf which is the last chance I really have. At the moment I am feeling optimistic and have to remember to have patience and let the supplements work.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My head is spinning

I just got off the phone with Dr#4 and my head is spinning. He is from Long Island and he talks very fast. He said a lot of things and I tried to take good notes. He said he is going to email me a summary so it will be interesting to see what he emails me compared to my notes.

Cysts He said to run estrogen on day3 to see if the cyst is active or not. He said E<60 it is a simple wimpy cyst and will do no harm. >100 and it is active. Hmmm never had that done before. He said that women with endo usually have low levels of inhibin. This is the stuff that stops your ovaries from making new follicles before you get your period. I often will have a cyst at the start of my cycle which has always been a mystery. So this will be interesting to see. I always thought progesterone stopped new follicles so I learned something new. He said if my inhibin levels are low then I will have to take something to correct this. Then I will have to take stims bc I will have turned off my natural ability to make new follicles that month....ergh
Ovulation: Everyone has a different opinion. He said it is hard to tell if it is lufs or if the follicle sealed itself back up after. This makes sense bc my P levels are very low without the trigger, so maybe they were working all along?????? My estrogen levels fluctuate so that may also be an indicator that I may sometimes ovulate?? not really sure, I emailed him and asked for clarification.
Trigger shots: I think he said to try lupron. He said that when you take it for a few days it actually boosts your ovulation, but when you take it long time it will then suppress I asked for clarification on that too.
Blood tests: Not sure exactly what will be tested. He mentioned some things that could be high due to my endo and suggested supplements, asked for clarification. He did say day3 estrogen to evaluate cysts.
Main issue: He thinks that my problem is ultimately due to my endo. This is tricky bc Napro believes it is surgical and this guys believes that endo causes ROS and TNK to go high. He said that this could cause poor egg quality and interfere with sperm interaction. ugh....So he suggested a bunch of supplements to correct them. I asked for clarification of having blood tests first.
Supplements: He suggested a lot of supplements. I am not a pill person and I have a sensitive GI system, so I am not happy about taking all these pills. I asked for clarification on how long  I have to take them before I seen any results. (Pycnogenol, Omega-3,  Resveratrol, CoQ-10) I am also concerned about dumping 3 new drugs into my system at once.. Most of them are antioxidants. He said they will reduce the ROS. He wants me on a high dose of fish oil, and I am not sure about that with regards to my gi tract. I may have to start low and work my way up.....who knows? I am going to check the internet and forums.
So there are some things to test and some new things to try. My head is spinning and I am not sure what to think. I am glad to have new ideas, but it seems like a shot in the dark and I am not sure how much of that I can endure...He seemed confident that the antioxidants would be of great importance, but I am not a pill person....I am also still a little confused about whether or not I am taking any triggers or  meds.  I am going to wait for him to email my summary before I make any decisions. I also have to talk to my napro Dr about all this and get his opinion.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Excited about Monday's Consultation / Insurance Drama

 My consultation with a new dr. (dr #4) is on Monday. He is a reproductive immunologist. I ordered a book about  reproductive immunology from amazon. It is called Is Your Body Baby Friendly. by Dr. Alan Beer.  I am not one who likes to read, but I could not put this one down. I read the whole book in two days. It was a great book and easy to read and follow. One of the women involved with the book runs a yahoo forum about this topic. Immunology support group It has over 3,000 members. It was so great to read about all the ways the immune system can counteract your reproductive system.
I originally contacted this Dr to get the G-csf treatment for my Lufs. He said in an email that we could use that treatment. After reading this book, I am wondering if he is going to run tests first. This book mentioned endometriosis, which I have, and says that 60% of women with endo have immune issues that need to be treated. Now, G-csf is an immune treatment so that may be the key to this whole thing. I think this philosophy of RI compliments Napro very well. I would like to post someday about how they can work together, probably after I get into it more.

I am having a stupid insurance battle. It reminds me of Dr. Seuss with the north going zax and the south going zax who won't budge. It seems that if I can get a code, the phone consult will be a copay, if I cannot it will cost a lot of Benjamins. So the insurance company said it was covered but the Dr has to provide the code. The Dr's billing office said they do not have a code and I have to get it from the insurance company... Really?
OY VEY. The issue is that the Dr has a code for office visit but won't use it becuase I am not going into the office. The insurance company said it did not matter. So I am stuck trying to find a code for consultation.

At this point I don't really care, I just want to talk to the Dr and get going with this.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Hope and an Article about Catholic Blogs

Today I am filled with hope. I got an appointment for a phone consult on Monday with a Reproductive immunologist. I cannot believe that I got one so soon. I had to fill out a ten page questionnaire about all my history. Thank goodness I have kept great records on this blog and on excel. I am an old pro and was able to fill it out in 5 min.There were tons of questions about things I had never been tested for and some things I had never heard of, so I was happy to know that there are still some things out there to test for. I also printed out a copy of what I call my TTC resume. It lists all the medicines, cycle data, and outcomes for the past 3.5 years. I had to fax all 18 pages today. The only downside was that my DH was crabby about the outrageous consult fee.  There is a huge difference in the cost of living expenses from upstate NY to NYC. Let's say that the fee was almost as much as my mortgage payment. UGH  But my DH does not understand the value of hope. I would gladly pay anything to have hope. I checked out this Dr on the internet and all of his patients had great things to say about him.This sounds very promising and I am so happy right now to be able to get started with him soon. I do not know if he is going to just let me try the G-csf right away or if he will want to run some tests first. It is great to have a fresh pair of eyes look at my data and hopefully come up with a treatment plan. If this does not work out then I will have to accept defeat and move on. I cannot continue to play this game.

I also found out today that Our Sunday Visitor wrote an article about Catholic Blogs. It is great becuase I already follow some of them.