Tuesday, October 26, 2010

sad, but not very interesting

First of all, you still need to pray for Ann, please. (I felt guilty posting anything above that, and then I realized that I could link to it. Someday, I will truly master the internet.)

Ranting, Modified

I can't really claim, though, that I have anything interesting to say. I do need to respond to the many interesting responses to my recent rant about IF/mommy bloggers and the transition and so forth. I am going to do this (or at least intend to and feel guilty about failing to do so).

In brief, I will note now, as I remember a few things off the top of my head: Ann noted that she actually does not like "baby mentioned" warnings and labels. This possibility had not crossed my mind, and makes clear that there actually is not a please-everyone solution available. So, um, I need to ratchet it back a bit, apparently. AYWH chimed in to note that as an IF-only blogger, she didn't read mommy blogs at all and never expected childless IF bloggers to read hers. An eminently fair approach and entirely above criticism, I must say. And I truly appreciate the honesty.

Visit DC

You should also know that if you plan to be in DC in the next few weeks, Saturday, November 6 would be a great time for that. The DC (primarily) Catholic infertility support group will be meeting once again! If you're interested, drop me an email and I will give you the details. I am very excited.


I have scaled back my analysis of FF from "pure evil" to "highly objectionable." It now concedes that I have probably ovulated at least twice in the last few months, but refuses to commit itself to a date. Whatever. In any case, I believe that interested parties can view my chart here. Charting has been an education for me this month. First of all, I was so sure that my post-peak temps were not as much higher as they ought to be, and that the days of suppressed temperatures corresponded directly to the days I was sick with a cold (almost completely over it now). But fever increases your temperature, obviously, so I was confused. Dr. Google set me straight: if you breathe through your mouth all night, your temperature will drop a smidge. Sure enough, I had been unable to breathe through my nose. Mystery solved.

I don't know how much that helps with the other mystery, though. For the last handful of cycles, I've had 2-4 days of spotting before the start of a new cycle. That had never happened to me before. It's all light red (no brown at all), so I'm not sure it matches up with the dreaded TEBB about which I've heard so much. I believe I've heard spotting attributed to either pelvic infection or low progesterone. I don't think I have an infection (especially a new one), and my progesterone was low before I had this symptom, so I don't really know what to make of it. I will ask at my upcoming appointment (the one at which I request the depo); perhaps there is some test that will solve the mystery.

Anyway, a further wrinkle was added to the mystery this round. I maintain peak day was CD10 (you may disagree, but I note that I've always had a lag between peak day and a temperature spike). It could have been as late as CD12. Starting on CD15, I have had very slight true-red spotting. It hasn't really increased, but it's been there every day. I'm now on CD22. That's a lot of spotting, people. And it started WAY early. I think the earliest I've had it before is starting on CD19, with a peak day of CD12 that cycle, and only 3-4 days of spotting before a new CD1. This is eight running days. What the heck is up with that? I don't even really have an intelligent theory.

Here's the part that's no mystery at all. A sane, rational person exposed to the facts of my reproductive health would deduce (after concluding immediately that I should give up on having children and commit myself to a useful life of raising parakeets) that I am generally not fertile at all, and that in certain cycles when an unaccustomed phenomenon appears, I have zero chance of conception rather than just approaching zero. The stars are badly aligned for me in the first place; defects and irregularities are insuperable obstacles (whereas for the proverbial pregnant crack whore, they merely present a sort of sporting challenge).

I like to think of myself as a sane, rational person. The total inaccuracy of this notion is demonstrated by the fact that I do not draw these sane, rational, obvious conclusions. What do I think when I see a menstrual irregularity that indicates the total absence of a normal, healthy cycle? Say it with me, now: I must be pregnant. What else (other than endometriosis, adenomyosis, hydrosalpinx, ovarian cysts, massive scar tissue, hypothyroidism, low ovarian reserve, a retroverted uterus, and a progesterone deficiency, naturally) could possibly explain the sudden onset of a new symptom? Of course, I could be getting sicker in some new way, or this could just be an intermittent defect; something a sane, rational person would realize is almost inevitable in a system as broken as mine. Those possibilities are the only two realistic ones.

They haven't made a dent in my obsession. I am generally pretty good about this; at least, I try to make myself forget where I am in my cycle long enough to miss most of any 2ww, and that seems to keep me sane(r). I know our timing was pretty good this month. I also know that the spotting in the last few months is hardly a sign of improvement, but eventually I did decide that I was going to combat it with some topical progesterone I bought years ago and never used up. I've been using that since the spotting started this cycle, but the spotting hasn't stopped. Perhaps I'm just postponing the next cycle, and I would otherwise have had three days of spotting and an 18-day cycle?

I know this is possible, and that if it is true, I am more or less wasting my life by continuing to postpone CD1. However, I can't disassociate the spotting-as-sign-that-cycle-is-defective from spotting-as-sign-of-miscarriage in my head. I wasn't pregnant on CD15, and I sure as heck wasn't losing a pregnancy. There's no way. But it doesn't matter. Until a new cycle starts, I can maintain an irrational, baseless, and emotionally harmful hope of a pregnancy. If I were actually pregnant, it would be essential to supplement with progesterone, because while that can't cure a defective cycle, it actually could stave off a miscarriage (if I were lucky). So, to prevent the termination of my delusion of pregnancy, I have to keep it up with the progesterone. It all makes sense, right?

I feel I should get credit for trying to be sane. I haven't bought an HPT in months ("Doctor, I don't even keep alcohol in the house!"), and I am not planning to start now. But I know I don't get a lot of credit for that, because I'm on CD22. While my usual is around 25 days, it varies plenty, and I'd have to be on CD29 at least before I had any good reason to spent the $10. Plus I'm only 12 days post-peak; nothing is overdue.

Except, probably, therapy. Sigh.


  1. Madness - the only thing free in TTC.

  2. Oh don’t go by me! I’m crazy! You know, it annoys me, but I wouldn’t stop reading because of it. You follow a lot more blogs than I do so your observations may be different, but this is how I’ve seen it play out. A former IFer gets pregnant and for about the next 5-10 posts she opens with disclaimers. It’s well intentioned, if not redundant, so I get that. Then she slowly starts dropping the disclaimers even though she is still posting about pregnancy. The point: pregnancy is going to be what she posts about most of the time. Maybe this does make it a smoother transition for the reader and I’m fine with that. I really am a weird nut and you shouldn’t go by me at all. I get annoyed when things state the obvious and to me, most post titles spell it out. I can’t read warning labels without making sarcastic comments and Torts was pure hell for me because of my weird little quirk. ;)

    FF and I have a love-hate relationship. I haven’t used it in a while, but try to consistently enter temps & CM for about the 7 days surrounding when you think you are ovulating and FF will behave a bit better.

    Hmm. I would suspect low progesterone with the pre-CD1 spotting, too, but I can’t account for the 8 days of mid-cycle spotting at all. Have you ever had your P4 checked at 7DPO to see if it is low? Even if you have, I hope the doc will want to do that again.
    Will you get your latest thyroid results at this appointment? Did you ever get those and I missed it?

    On the cycle days, your peak was CD 10, but you probably ov’d on CD 12 and, if that’s the case, then I would be worried about the Progesterone and a short luteal phase you seem to have. I would think progesterone supps (prescription) would be necessary, but you are correct, they can postpone your CD1 (which is good in that it is lengthening your luteal phase, bad in that it tricks you into POAS). I’m not sure if you actually use a specific charting method, but I’ve seen the Creighton girls mention that OV can happen 2 days either side of your peak which, if accurate, that would be consistent. Anyway, my body does that (you know, when my ovaries are beaten into submission and actually release an egg). I have EW CM then less fertile CM (“Watery” on FF’s chart), the last day of which there is a temperature spike. I don’t think that’s unusual, but I would be honing in on that apparently short luteal phase. (Sorry for unsolicited advice & the novel).

    I'm very excited about your IF support group meeting!

  3. I agree with Ann, if you want FF to pinpoint ovulation accurately, you're going to have to give it more temps. I don't do temps anymore, only cm and it won't pinpoint ovulation solely on that (which is why I have to manually do it now). I've always had a day or so after peak day before my temp went up all the way - it always climbed gradually, and FF had a hard time pinpointing the ov date then, too.
    Any spotting before AF would not be considered TEBB or related to infection. It's pretty much low progesterone. With us endo girls, we can have normalish progesterone and still have spotting or other luteal phase issues because our estrogen/progesterone ratio is so off. I have finally stopped spotting before AF, but now I spot for 3 or 4 days after (red, not brown) and of course, that damn mid-cycle/ovulation bleeding that I don't understand. I think my doc's going to put me back on the progesterone though, so we'll see if that works. Sometimes even though it's not showing up in the luteal phase, low progesterone can have a cyclical effect (is that the right word?) in that low prog. can cause estrogen to be even higher, which in turn can cause extreme drop at ovulation which can cause bleeding, etc. Or at least, that's the best I can come up with...
    Anyway, is the progesterone you have a progestin or a nat'l progesterone? Progestin is synthetic and does have the side effect of staving off AF, but nat'l progesterone won't keep your period from coming (which is why they have you take it until your period actually starts).
    Oh, and I'm very excited about the meeting too! It's been so long!

  4. Ann, I think you have a hundred people from the blogs, if not more, thinking about you daily and praying their heart out for you. I am certainly one of them.
    Misfit, thank you for posting this. I went back and read the comments on the former post(and originally accidentally posted there first) and appreciate you drawing my attn to this. My thoughts, for what it is worth...
    I have to say, I really like how Ann said it, she articulated it much better than I ever could. If there was a consensus I would follow it, but there isn't and you can't please everyone, so it is best to just do what is comfortable and be yourself on your own blog, whatever that means. I tend to overthink and get neurotic and please no one including myself (in other areas). I haven't done that here intentionally with much effort. but, I sincerely hope I haven't gone so far the other way that I don't think of others at all...of course, never my intent.
    I consider myself IF because of my experiences; others may say formerly IF or whatever, and it does seem to depend on who you talk to. I tend to think if you think you are IF then you are b/c it is about the person’s perspective about themself that matters. In my case, I feel this is so ingrained in me (in some ways, not all, based on my personal experiences) and who I am. And who I have a special place in my heart for and would go to great lengths to help in any way I could. Also, I consider myself IF because I know I will never get preg without the magic combo of drugs and I would never stay pregnant without them either. I know that the combo can change at anytime, so that when we ttc #3 (yes, I never thought I would be able to say/type that and it is insanely surreal) there are zero guarantees and I will have fear and anxiety and have to really trust God again. Maybe that is a different topic alltogether, but it relates...
    I do talk about things IFers can relate to (I think) include needle sticks, insane appreciation for being/staying pregnant, etc, but I am sure as I get further into the pregnancy it is less relatable to some folks. But, as someone mentioned, it provides hope (I hope!) And I suppose IFers that are preg need blogs to read about others in similar situations or further in the process because there is a perspective and kinship there too that the avg preg lady just doesn’t get. And that is what most of us are surrounded by in real life. I still have my own view based on where I have been and where I am going. That is what I try to stick to on my blog. What you get is me. Always genuine. Sometimes clueless. Never intentionally hurtful, but sometimes I step in it. :) Just my thoughts.

  5. I spotted a lot like that. Turned out in my case it was polyps. Uterine, benign, but cruel polyps that someone finally saw on a saline ultrasound (not the same thing as the hsg, and a lot less painful). I can't recall for the life of me if you've had that particular (cheap, easy) test. I also have mild hypothyroid stuff, but treating my thyroid never had any impact on the spotting which went on for years.

    So it may not be progesterone or infection.

    Spotting certainly made me crazy. I still cringe at the thought of it.

  6. Sometimes I wish you could write about your state without being so amusing. Then I could have a clear analytical thought, but I am really behind on my sleep (just scheduling) and all I keep thinking of is those parakeets. On some level, I think the "delusion" is self-protective, part of not giving up, which can be positive. There's a reason why it's there and it's probably really useful in some other part of your life, just not here. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think there is a limit to how long the progesterone would hold off CD1 -I think it's ok to "waste" a week, unless dh's travelling is going to make timing impossible next cycle. Whatever your reproductive issues are, old eggs isn't one of them, don't add that pressure.
    Thinking of you!

  7. 'sigh' is right. i'm sorry your cycle is being so hard on you. how maddening.

  8. Yes this whole TTC thing is pure madness! Why!! although I was laughing at the thought of you with a house full of parakeets! lol
    Still praying for you! :)