Yesterday afternoon I was sitting at my desk at work, minding my own business, when I was hit with the most intense cramping in my abdomen, predominantly on my left side. It was bad enough that I had to double over.
Can I just say, I know a little something about cramps? My first ever period at the age of 13 was heavy for 18 days straight and so painful I experienced fainting and vomiting. By the time of my first fertility surgery, just after my 24th birthday, I already had stage four endometriosis in every possible place. It was particularly bad in my bladder and bowels, where it is rarest. Needless to say, pain and I are pretty tight.
So when I say I had bad cramping yesterday, I had bad cramping yesterday.
And this panicked me for a couple of reasons….
Firstly, the cup and syringe job the night before hadn’t exactly been successful. I have huge amounts of admiration for the gals who inseminate themselves, but it wasn’t something I’d ever considered doing myself so it wasn’t something I’d ever researched or thought about.
Doug did his part just fine, patted me on the head, laughed at me, then went to cook dinner. I ended up being so nervous I inseminated myself a little too quickly, and even though I had my hips under two pillows a fair bit spilled back out almost immediately.
To cut a really icky story short, I had absolutely no confidence that enough sperm was sitting there waiting for our egg and if I was indeed ovulating we would almost certainly miss our chance. Given it takes around 40 hours for a male to restock sperm, and Doug already has some morphology problems, even if we had sex last night (24 hours after the syringe debacle) fertilization almost certainly wouldn’t have happened.
And secondly, our one dominant follicle wasn’t 18mm in size yet, and if I was indeed ovulating there was a good change the egg wouldn’t be pregnancy viable.
I dashed outside where my colleagues couldn’t hear me and phoned Flo the nurse at the clinic for advice. Thankfully, she was very kind and sympathetic. She understood that I’ve never gone through ovulation before, so I don’t know what to expect.
She checked the computer to see if the results of the blood test I had first thing yesterday morning were available, and luckily they were. Flo put my mind at ease, telling me that my results showed my LH was not surging in the morning. Even if I’d begun to surge in the afternoon it meant I would still be ok for the following 24 hours and we could catch the egg. She advised I keep my appointment with Doctor B, which was scheduled for 8.45am this morning, and go from there.
Despite Flo’s kind assurances, last night was extremely tense for me and I didn’t sleep very well. I was completely paranoid and also really weepy. I don’t know how women go through this every month. There’s no way that level of pain and discomfort was normal. I can’t imagine ever wanting to have sex while I was feeling so awful. If that’s what all women go through every month I’m surprised the human race is surviving.
This morning when I arrived at the clinic at 8.30 Doctor B was already waiting for me in the waiting room. I really, really like her. She’s so sweet and puts me at ease. I honestly believe she has my best interests at heart when she makes decisions. My previous fertility specialist had his cheque book at heart when he made decisions….
Straight away we went through to the back room and started my scan. Sure enough, my follicle was still sitting there completely in tact in my left ovary. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. All the panic yesterday had been for nothing.
“Ok let’s see,” Doctor B said, measuring the follicle. “We have a little way to go still Sadie. The follicle is 15.1mm.”
A small scrap of hope and joy, then suddenly it was all snatched away from me. My stomach dropped.
“15.1??” I gasped.
The follicle was shrinking. It was all over.
Doctor B read the emotion on my face and grimaced. “What was it the other day?”
“15.5!” I said. “It’s a bad follicle!”
“Ok,” Doctor B said calmly. “Let’s check again.”
Once more she measured the follicle. Left and right, up and down. 16.9mm. Just to be sure, she repeated the process twice more. 16.9mm. 16.9mm.
“It’s ok Sadie you don’t have a bad follicle, just a bad doctor.” she laughed.
Once again, I breathed a massive sigh of relief. The follicle had grown. It was just growing at a glacial pace.
“Your blood work actually shows your hormones are all over the place. Hopefully you should have your LH surge tomorrow or Friday.” Doctor B said as we finished up the scan. “Get another blood test tomorrow, and if you’re not surging then we’ll scan you again Friday then maybe trigger ovulation for you.”
“Ok.” I agreed. “Sounds like a plan.”
“Now let’s hope your unblocked tube picks up the egg and not your blocked tube.” she said. “If your blocked tube swings around to meet the egg that will be unfortunate.”
What in the what?!
So today I learned that fallopian tubes aren’t solidly attached to ovaries. They are attracted to eggs and can flip around to pick up from either ovary, though the right tube will pick up from the right ovary approximately 95% of the time and the same goes for the left ovary and left tube. I had no idea about this. Did you girls all know about this?! Just one more thing for me to worry about…..
After I left the doctor’s office I was waiting out the front for the receptionist to total up my bill for the morning’s visit when Flo appeared. She came and sat down next to me on the bench and asked to see my blood results.
“My goodness you know you’re a very unique young lady.” she said. “We’ve never seen anyone react quite like you have. To go from 34 eggs at pick up last time, to mimicking a normal cycle this time and ovulating for the first time ever? You’re just so unpredictable!”
I felt like there was a glitch in the Matrix or somthing. These were almost the exact words the head nurse at my last clinic had told me, right before I left. You’re so unique Sadie and we’ve learned so much from you.
I don’t want to be unique. I want to be text book. I want to be wham, bam, thank you ma’am pregnant and having babies.
At least I feel supported at this new clinic. I’m getting the blood tests I need, they’re monitoring my dodgy hormones, they’re scanning me every second day, they’re paying attention. This is what I so desperately needed at my last clinic.
Do you know that from before I started my first cycle of IVF, right through to egg pick up, OHSS and then an FET the only time I ever had a blood test at my old clinic was on my beta day? And even then they only checked for pregnancy they didn’t check my hormones. I feel so strongly that had I had even ONE proper blood test they would have seen my estrogen and progesterone levels were all wrong, and they could have corrected those problems before I lost my last pregnancy. Maybe I’d still be pregnant.
“You know what I think?” Flo said, placing a comforting hand on my knee. “This is your one perfect moment. The first time you’ve ever had a proper, normal cycle. This will be your miracle, one in a million ovulation and you’ll get pregnant.”
Then, my brain exploded.
THANK YOU FLO. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SAYING THIS TO ME. I ASSURE YOU THIS THOUGHT HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY CROSSED MY MIND. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEED A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL TO TELL ME. DON’T WORRY I WON’T HOLD ONTO YOUR WORDS AT ALL. I WON’T LIVE OFF THEM FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS.
Ok I’m only kidding (…or am I??). I know she meant well, but honestly a fertility nurse should know better than to give that kind of hope to an infertile.
Tonight we have sex on the menu again. Real sex this time. I’m not going to risk syringe failure again. Then I’ll just have to wait until my blood test tomorrow to find out if my LH is surging, or if we’re staying on this merry-go-round for another few days.
As always, I’ll keep you updated…..