Category Archives: Cycle Madness

News, unexpected

A couple of weeks ago I went back to my clinic.

I know, I know.

I wrote here about how we were done with the clinic. DONE. Never returning.

I meant every word of it too.

And then, right around the same time that I reached my conclusion, the Ontario government announced that they were going to honour their promise to fund one IVF cycle (for any woman under 43, regardless of family status).

I will admit, that gave me pause.

I thought about it. I really thought about it.

And then I decided that their announcement didn’t change things, even if they had everything in place to start funding before the end of the year (which is a big if).

I realized that I wouldn’t go back to the clinic even if they PAID me.

So what changed?

Well, remember that cycle where I cut out dairy before ovulation and promptly ovulated on day 18?

The luteal phase from that cycle felt weird. Different from the last two.

And when I hit 12 dpo, and my temperature still hadn’t dropped (which it had never done before) I got curious.

IMGP5560

At 17dpo, I went back into the clinic.

The betas followed:
17dpo: 594
19dpo: 1476 (doubling time 36 hours)
22dpo: 5851 (doubling time 36 hours)
25dpo: 13914 (doubling time 57 hours)

They never called me (at my request) with the fourth beta as by that point I had taken up residence in Crazytown over the prospect of multiples, because the betas were higher than either of my two previous pregnancies (including the one that started as a twin pregnancy) and they were doubling faster. You were spared all of this angst because one of my sisters was on vacation, and I needed to tell her before I posted on the blog as both my sisters read it. When I managed to link up with her via Skype (the day before the fourth beta) she helped me pack my bags to move out of Crazytown, as she’s a scientist and she can crunch the numbers properly and I trust her. I knew that another fast doubling time would send me back over the edge, so I opted not to know.

Yesterday was the ultrasound.

And we saw this:

IMG_41631

ONE baby. Measuring 6w2d. With a heartbeat of 114.

It is still early.

I have been here twice before, with only E. to show for it.

But it looks like we’re getting one more shot at this whole family of four thing.

We’ll take it.

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10 Comments

Filed under Cycle Madness, Me? Pregnant?!, PCOS, Second Thoughts

PCOS and Dairy: Just Say No

Readers, this is a game changer.

If you recall, after ovulating on day 21 in my third cycle, last cycle I didn’t ovulate until day 27. That was the cycle where I had been eating ice cream on a daily basis for well over a week (yes, I know that’s embarrassing).

So I set myself a goal: with cycle #5, I was not going to eat ANY dairy, other than Greek yoghurt at breakfast, until after I ovulated. I wanted to see if it would make a difference.

Oh, and I also eased back on the whole carb/protein ratio issue, because I was so convinced dairy was the major culprit.

Oh, and my metformin ran out right before I ovulated in cycle #4 and I didn’t go and get more because I couldn’t stand the thought of going into the clinic and possibly running into my new doctor (or, worse, my old doctor) and having to explain where I had been when we were supposed to have done an IVF cycle by now.

Not exactly perfect scientific conditions with no fewer than three variables at play. What can I say. I’m a historian.

So cycle #5 started, and I stuck to my plan. No butter. No cheese. No milk. No ice cream UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES even if it looked delicious.

I still ate Greek yoghurt at breakfast most mornings. And there was some milk used in cooking now and again.

And I ovulated on day 18.

DAY 18!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once I knew the high temperature wasn’t a fluke, I immediately tucked into the cheese.

I am still in my luteal phase (7dpo), so I’m still eating dairy occasionally. But I will cut it all out as soon as my temperature drops, and we’ll see if we can repeat this next month.

I cannot cut it out entirely, but cutting it out (except yoghurt) for half the month, and then only eating it when it’s something that I really love, that is a situation I can live with.

It boggles my mind that my “cereal and milk” breakfast habit (that has been a habit for my ENTIRE LIFE) could fundamentally be the problem behind my PCOS and my total lack of anything resembling (even remotely) a menstrual cycle before this summer.

Yes, I wish I had known about this earlier.

Yes, I wish I had made these dietary changes a couple of years ago.

Yes, I wish things could have been different with our family.

But right now, I am excited for the future, because for the first time in my life I have a way to manage my PCOS. Truly manage and live with it, not just hide it with birth control pills.

THAT is better than ice cream.

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Filed under Cycle Madness, Food, PCOS

Clarity (Part Two)

One of the books I read this month was Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision NOT to Have Kids.

I have quite a lot I’d like to say about the book, but right now I only want to look at one sentence. In her essay “Babes in the Woods”, Courtney Hodell describes the point in her life when she did attempt to get pregnant, only to discover that it wasn’t easy after all, and ultimately decides not to continue trying.

Of that moment, Hodell writes, “I wasn’t relieved, but I wasn’t sorry either.”

That sentence resonated with me. It has burrowed down into my soul.

The last two cycles, I have had moments where I thought I could be pregnant.

It is theoretically possible, after all. I am tracking my temperature. I know when I ovulated. I’m not in a sexless marriage.  I know when these events overlap.

I’m not very good at recognizing what my body normally feels like post-ovulation, because I am not yet used to this entire concept of having a luteal phase that isn’t supported by progesterone and Fragmin and prednisone and the rest of the chemical cocktail. (It still boggles my mind that I can just write the words “the last two cycles” because I now HAVE cycles.)

So I have had points where I’ve wondered.

And then my temperature takes a nose dive one morning, and I know I am not, and Hodell managed to so perfectly encapsulate how I feel in that moment.

I am not relieved.

But I am not sorry either.

I am content in my life.

I will always, in some way, miss the baby we lost, but it is harder and harder now to imagine any family that is not my current lived reality.

I think I would welcome that most unlikely of situations, a natural pregnancy. I think I would rearrange my head and my heart to make sense of such a world. I think I would be able to adjust my vision of our future.

But it would no longer be easy.

We are complete.

We are happy.

And I think I can say this now and really, truly mean it:

I don’t want a second child enough to ever go back to the clinic.

Acceptance.

I never thought I’d reach it.

But I’m here now.

5 Comments

Filed under Choose Happiness, Cycle Madness, Second Thoughts, Three's Company

Cycle #4 recap

38 days this time.

Fertility Friend and I are disagreeing about when I finally ovulated (which happened pretty much as soon as I stopped eating ice cream on a daily basis- coincidence, I think not). FF says Day 25, but I think it was Day 27.  My chart has three earlier points where my temperature plummeted one morning before popping back up to the normal range for a few more days. I think my body was trying to ovulate and just couldn’t quite manage it.

Luteal phase was somewhere between 11 and 13 days, depending on who was right about the ovulation. Spotting started late on the last day, just like last cycle, and af started in full force overnight.

Even if I’m right about the date I ovulated, that still makes my luteal phase one day longer than last time. And if FF is right, it’s practically textbook in length.

This cycle, I’m determined. I am NOT going to eat any dairy, other than my Greek yoghurt at breakfast, until I’ve ovulated and we’ll see what kind of results I get. I am more and more convinced dairy is the major factor. So we’ll see.

This is kind of fun. I like puzzles. I am intrigued by the possibility I could actually understand what is going on in my body and how to affect it.

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Filed under Cycle Madness, Food, PCOS

Random thoughts on a summer Thursday

Item: The second week of August is almost over. I am not sure how this happened.

Item: This means that school is less than a month away. REAL school. Five full days a week. We’ve found out that despite having nine other children from his nursery school going to his new school, only one of them is in E’s new class. A new class which is a split JK/SK, which means it could have upwards of thirty kids in it. I am trying not to freak out, but it is hard.

Item: I am freaking out about lunches instead. We are supposed to send two snacks and a lunch daily. Nut-free, but that seems light compared to the restrictions imposed on some of my friends who live in other cities (no homemade items being the most egregious). I am not sure what we will do about protein given a) we cannot send nut butter and b) I’ve found more than one study that suggests an insulated lunch bag and cold packs still doesn’t keep food cold enough to be safe. I am also utterly overwhelmed by the sea of lunch packing options and am trying to strike a balance between getting good stuff and not freaking out at the cost of replacing it if E. loses it all in the first week.

Item: As a result, I have yet to buy any sort of lunch packing equipment. I have a week to sort this out (E. will need a lunch packed for his week of full-day camp run by his nursery school, which we are hoping to use as a transition point to JK).

Item: At no point am I likely to turn into one of those Pinterest bento box mothers who constructs unique, adorable, and nutritiously balanced lunches, all cut into beautiful shapes and designs, each and every day. That way lies madness.

Item: Not that I am complaining, but my child is going to have to stop this “go to bed at 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. and sleep until 8:30 a.m. or later the next morning” phase before school starts. He slept until 9:45 a.m. the other day. School STARTS almost an hour earlier.

Item: Child is also eating like there is no tomorrow, so hopefully this is just a growth spurt and not some new need for thirteen hours of sleep a day.

Item: I had a Skype conversation with my supervisor this week where he wondered about my progress on getting a couple of articles ready to be sent to journals. Answer: none.

Item: The day before, E. spent twenty-five minutes of his hour-long quiet time singing (loudly) “When is quiet time going to be over?” to the tune of “Bumping up and down in my little red wagon”. And my supervisor wonders why I get nothing done.

Item: I heard back from the academic press where I sent my dissertation/book manuscript in March. Two very long, very detailed reader reports. One generally in favour of the book, one more on the fence. Editor wants the book again when I’ve made the revisions and seems very positive about it, so it’s a good result, as the two expert readers have basically given me a road map of what I need to do to make the book better. I could have tinkered with it for months without being able to reach the same conclusions.

Item: Supervisor wonders when I might get the revisions done. “By Christmas?” I laughed. “If I’m still unemployed, maybe.”

Item: I am still unemployed. Still putting out applications, still have irons in the fire, but nothing concrete as of yet. I just applied for a job that would be absolutely perfect- permanent, part-time doing interesting work involving research and writing for a non-profit organization that does a lot of good in the community. See? Perfect. I am just hoping I get an interview with them as I know I could do the job, but my background isn’t quite approaching it from the angle they wanted.

Item: Cycle day eleven today. This cycle’s experiment is apparently “let’s not follow the diet we have been and eat a lot of sugar and dairy products and see if we still ovulate”. Oh the ice cream.

Item: Out of the last seven weekends, we have had grandparents staying with us for six of them. That is too much. E. has forgotten how to play by himself.

Item: I read Station Eleven, The Bone Clocks, and Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood trilogy all in the last month. It turns out that is too much dystopian near-future fiction. I might have to go back to Guy Gavriel Kay for a bit. (I recommend them all most highly, just not all at once.)

Item: The sun is going down noticeably earlier in the evenings now. I’ve realized one of the things I miss most from my pre-kid life is going for long walks on summer evenings after dinner. E. was staying up later earlier in the summer, but he’s too tired at the end of the day to want to go on yet another walk (and I’m not really at a point where I can handle the constant barrage of questions as we walk).

Item: I had to take E.’s balance bike away from him for a week because he twice forgot to stop before rolling out into an intersection. This is a punishment for me as much as it is for him as running errands now takes four times as long.

Item: I had a birthday recently (post to come on that). E. dictated my birthday card to his father. It said: “Dear Mummy, I think you have had a good supper and a wonderful birthday. We’re about to give you lovely presents. I hope you’ve had a lovely birthday. Love, E.” (with his name signed). Heart exploded.

Item: E. is currently shouting the alphabet (alternating in English and French) from his room. There is not much quiet in quiet time these days.

Item: Really though, FOUR is awesome. Loud. But awesome.

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Filed under A (Good) Day's Work, Books, Brave New (School) World, Cycle Madness, E.- the fifth year, Food, JK, Life after the PhD, Who am I really? (Career Angst)

Masquerading as Normal

31 days this time.

And that, my friends, is within the doctor-approved normal range!

But before we get all excited, let’s look at what my chart showed (imagine you can see my chart here, because I’m too incompetent to figure out how to provide a web link. Not that you need to see that, but I’m rather proud of my temperature raise post-ovulation.).

Ovulation on Day 21. Late, but just squeaking into the normal range. I was ridiculously excited by this. Ridiculously excited.

I stayed excited right up until 9 dpo, when my temperature made a slight, but significant dip.

Surely, I thought, it’s not dropping already.

It was.

It dropped again, significantly, the next day, and I had a lot of spotting that afternoon. And AF was there in full force by the next morning.

I called it a 10 day luteal phase, but the tenth day wasn’t ideal, not least because Q. and I had gone away for a minibreak staycation while my parents looked after E. This would mark exactly the SECOND time Q. and I have left E. with my parents for a night. The last time was in November 2013 (when my mother famously locked herself and E. out of the house the following morning, which, if you know how the locks work in my house, you would know that’s quite a feat. Luckily we were still in the city and were on our way home when she called).

Anyway. Last weekend. Just us, a fantastic hotel room, some musical theatre, a great dinner, a bottle of wine, and my most unwelcome hanger-on.

SERIOUSLY, body. You choose THAT MOMENT to decide you couldn’t be bothered with a reasonable luteal phase? After YEARS of inaction?

Ahem.

It was still a great staycation, and even with all the fun of the previous day (musical theatre! tasty dinner!) I think the best part remains when we got to read the newspaper IN BED THE NEXT MORNING UNTIL 11:30!!!!!!!

I did all the puzzles.

I don’t think I’ve done that since E. was born.

Possibilities:

  1. My body is still figuring itself out and this time my LP could be longer.
  2. Something isn’t right with my progesterone levels (or the balance between estrogen and progesterone) and I have an LP defect that would send me to a fertility clinic if I weren’t already at one.

I’m going to withhold judgment until I see what happens this month, but you know I’m expecting more problems. Because that’s just how my body rolls when it comes to reproduction.

In the long run, a 31 day cycle with a 10 day LP is just fine and dandy. It’s only an issue if I want to get pregnant.

And maybe I still want to get pregnant. I’m not sure these days.

So I’m opting to stay off the birth control, delay returning to the clinic by at least one more cycle, and wait to see what happens.

But if my body repeats what it did last cycle, I won’t have to wait that long.

And that in itself is terribly exciting.

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Filed under Cycle Madness, Food, PCOS, Second Thoughts

44 Days

I have lots of things I’d like to post about on here but E. is out of nursery school now and we’ve had family visiting and we’ve been travelling and it’s just generally been a fantastic summer thus far, but not one that’s left a lot of room for blogging, especially since I’m still choosing sleep (or snuggles) over getting up early in the morning.

This post is brought to you by an unscheduled quiet time. E. and I went out West (or out Middle of the Country) to see relatives over the weekend and he obviously picked up some sort of bug on the plane coming home. Yesterday, right before lunch, he started complaining that his arms and legs hurt. He then proceeded not to eat any lunch, asked to go up and have a nap (!!!!!!), slept for three hours (!!!!!!!!!) and then woke up with a raging fever (39.8). The rest of the day was pretty rough, last night was not much better, and while he is clearly better this morning (no fever), he requested another nap after lunch and has been asleep for the last hour and a half.

So here I am. At least this post isn’t brought to you by vomit (knock wood).

Why the title?

Because, dear readers, I got my period AGAIN.

And while I can’t be certain of the exact length of the previous cycle, as I didn’t keep track of when my period started, not thinking this would be something worth tracking, I am relatively confident that it was a little bit longer. More likely to be 46 or 47 days.

Annoyingly, I can’t pinpoint when I ovulated this past cycle because I stopped temping in disgust on day 22 when it was clear no ovulation was happening. I knew my cycle needed to be 35 days or shorter to be what the doctors would call ‘normal’, so I threw a bit of a tantrum and then went away for a weekend and then couldn’t be bothered to start up again.

I am pretty sure I did ovulate because I took my temperature one morning on a lark because I felt like I did before my period started and it was sky high, then lower the next morning, then lower again on the third day, and that was the same day my period started.

So if you guessed that I’m back to temping, you’d be right. Today is day 21 and, once again, no sign of a successful ovulation. Lots of signs that my body is trying, which is what it was doing last cycle at about this time as well. So I’m going to show more confidence in it and keep charting and hopefully this cycle will be a couple of days shorter again.

Forward progress, no matter how small, is a good thing.

What I think I really need to do is cut out dairy entirely for a couple of months starting on Day 1 of a new cycle, because I have two friends with PCOS who cut out dairy and had their cycles regulate, but I can’t figure out how to do that unless we take IVF off the table because I need the Greek yoghurt for protein. And we’re not yet ready to decisively take IVF off the table, although I am very reluctant to go in at this point because I don’t want to fuck up whatever my body is trying to do by going back on birth control and then pumping it full of hormones.

I suppose that tells you something about my mindset, in that I am more interested in the option to possibly have a normal menstrual cycle for the next twenty years or so (or whenever menopause hits) than I am in the option where we get another baby. Probably because I don’t really believe that we will get another baby, so the option where we just establish that as a fact isn’t particularly enticing. The option to not have to stay on birth control pills until menopause, on the other hand, is ridiculously exciting.

So. Nothing from me for almost a month and then a long, rambling discussion about my menstrual cycle. I’m excited, but I’m not expecting you to be.

 

3 Comments

Filed under Cycle Madness, E.- the fifth year, Family, Food, PCOS, The Sick