This is pretty much every phone conversation I have had with the nurses at my IVF clinic over the past two weeks.

Scenario A

Me: “Can I get my progesterone levels checked?”

Nurse: “No. Why would you need them checked? Your hcg numbers look good.”

Scenario B

Me: “Can I get my progesterone levels checked? I have bad cramping.”

Nurse.”Cramping is common. We don’t need to check your levels.”

Me: “Can I have them checked anyway?”

Nurse: “….no.”

Scenario C

Me: “I know you’re probably aware of this, but this is my eighth cycle of IVF. Eight is a lot of cycles, particularly for someone my age. I’d really prefer not to have to do a ninth cycle. Can I have my progesterone levels checked?”

Nurse: “We don’t routinely check progesterone, it’s not necessary for you unless you’re bleeding. Are you bleeding?”

Me: “No.”

Nurse: “Then we don’t need to check your progesterone.”

Look honestly all I want to know is my damn progesterone level. Why is this such a terrible thing? Why can’t I get the damn blood test? The fact the nurses won’t let me get the test done just makes me want it even more. I think about it constantly. I’m almost more obsessed with my progesterone levels than I am with the concept that I’m pregnant.

As if I haven’t been stressing about this enough, yesterday my temperature (yes I constantly take my temperature with a BBT thermometer. I am a long-term IVF crazy lady and I don’t care if you judge me) suddenly dropped a whole degree. My normal non-pregnant temperature is on the low side of average (around 36.1 degrees celcius) but my entire pregnancy so far my temperature has been consistently 37 to 37.2 degrees. But yesterday without warning it plummeted to 36.2. In the evening it crawled up to about 36.7, but then fell to 36.1 this morning. Cue panic.

Doctor Google tells me that a drop in temperature can be linked to falling progesterone levels. That word – progesterone  – is taunting me. It’s everywhere. It’s feeding my hysteria.

It’s as I feared! I think to myself. My progesterone levels are dropping! This is all over because these nurses don’t listen to me! Why won’t they listen to me? What is the world coming to? Won’t somebody think of the children?

And then something occurred to me. Something genius that I hadn’t realised before this morning. The nurses only seemed concerned about progesterone when bleeding was involved.

And then I phoned the clinic, and told a tiny white lie

Me: “I have cramping and I also have spotting. Can I get my progesterone checked?”

Nurse: “Spotting? What colour is the spotting?”  

Me: “Well it’s not quite brown but it’s not quite red. It’s somewhere in between.” (yes I actually said that…)

Nurse: “Okay just monitor yourself closely for today. Maybe bed rest would be a good idea.”

Me: “Can I get my progesterone levels checked now?”

Nurse: “If you have any more spotting I’ll get you to come back in and we’ll repeat your hcg blood test.”

Me: “But my temperature dropped a whole degree.”

Nurse: “Errrr what?”

Me: “My temperature! It dropped!”

Nurse: “I’m sure it’s fine. Just call me if you get more spotting and we’ll repeat the bhcg test.”

WHAT ON EARTH?! BHCG? I don’t want another bhcg test! What does a girl have to do around here to get a friggen progesterone check?? Not even lying to medical professionals seems to work! I am shocked!

Is it just me? Is my clinic the only clinic that won’t check progesterone? Is it true that progesterone tests aren’t necessary if the hcg is normal? Does falling temperature actually mean my progesterone is dropping? I currently use crinone twice a day. Is this enough progesterone to hold off a miscarriage due to low progesterone levels? Are you getting sick of me typing the word progesterone over and over?

I think I’m done with this post now. Wait, just once more for good measure…


p.s My white lie wasn’t actually a very big lie at all – I did have some brownish stuff this morning when I went to the bathroom but I’m thinking it might have been old crinone. I mainly just exaggerated, rather than lied. Still…a moment I am not proud of. And still can’t believe they wouldn’t check my progesterone!

p.p.s While I wrote this blog post someone ate my entire bag of popcorn. And I’m pretty sure it was me.


10 thoughts on “Progesterone

  1. The whole post I was thinking “An IVF cycle without progesterone support…no way!” And then you said Crinone and I breathed a sigh of relief. I bet you are fine but understand your anxiety! XO

  2. Is there any way to skip the nurse and request it from the doc or office manager. I get that they think it isn’t necessary but holy hell really ?! What do they care if you’d like to know this number?! I can not believe how many times you have been told “no”… After all the cycles you have been through I think peace of mind is just as important.

  3. I don’t like the treatment they are giving. I usually feel the same about the attitude doctors have. BUT we have also knowledge, and the RIGHT to know what’s going on in our bodies, right? I hope you are ok. I would call the doctor directly, if there is this option. Good luck!

  4. My RE explained that when you take vaginal progesterone, it goes directly to your uterus and not your blood, so the blood level isn’t anywhere near accurate. Besides, the blood level fluctuates a lot anyway, even throughout the day. As for temps, I’ve read that pregnancy can cause erratic BBT, which is why you should stop once you get a BFP. I get why you haven’t stopped yet, and why you want to know your progesterone level, but I’m not sure either will give you any helpful information at this point, and both may in fact make things worse. I know you know all of this, and that you’re going to worry anyway. I just wish there was something I could say to make the worry go away. ((hugs))

    • Oh my gosh what! If a nurse had explained this to me I wouldn’t have kept asking to have my progesterone levels checked! Thank you so much for actually saying something that makes sense to me!

  5. I.have.been.there! I got so mad because my RE wouldn’t check my estrogen and I could tell that it was low. I was feeling awful. So he put me on estrogen patches without testing first. I kept thinking, how hard can it be to check? They do every other blood test in the book when it suits them! But do they ever just give us something for our peace of mind? NOPE!!

  6. I totally get your worry after everything you’ve been through. I really can’t imagine. My RE insists on PIO shots, thinks they are better, and thankfully, I’m getting used to them. I’m also taking estradiol supplements. Not sure this will make you feel any better, but my levels were only checked with my first beta. Not since. I found this a little odd, but maybe they just know the levels of the supplements will be enough… Just a thought. Good luck to you!

  7. Pingback: The story of how my baby ended up in my fridge | Young yet infertile

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