Nope

Just got my progesterone levels back. On CD18, my progesterone level was 0.3! Really? 0.3? The results on my patient portal didn’t state what the normal range is, but I’m assuming this in NOT normal. Definitely no ovulation this cycle. I’m curious what will happen next…

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WTF ovaries?

So I’ve been taking my temp and peeing on a lot of OPKs this past week, but no signs of ovulation. Last week, Dr. H pointed out my thick lining and small follicles and guessed that maybe I had just ovulated. Which would be fine, except that it was only CD10. I hadn’t even started testing for ovulation yet this cycle. That would be way earlier than normal.

All the OPKs this week came back negative – the test line dark, but definitely not “positive dark.” I can usually see the line fade in and get progressively darker over a few days time. So when I saw the somewhat dark line the day after my appointment, I kept expecting to see it darken the next day. But alas, the last two days it actually lightened quite a bit.

Also, no temp spikes.

So this means either I didn’t ovulate at all this month or I released an egg really early and caught my LH on its downward journey. Oh yeah, except that my temperature didn’t spike. What the hell is going on down there ovaries??

I went in to have blood drawn today for a progesterone check. I should know tomorrow whether I released an egg or not this cycle. I’m not too concerned about it right now. I know we’re not inseminating next month, so we have some time to figure it all out.

In other news, we had a long discussion about becoming foster parents. It’s something I’ve thought about for a long time. A part of me feels guilty for putting so much effort and money into creating a tiny human when there are so many tiny (and less tiny) humans out there that need loving homes. We sat down the other day and realized this is something we both really want to do. S suggested we focus on TTC for now and start the foster parent certification process in 1 year. I’m not sure I want to wait that long but for now, that’s our plan. We’ll see how the TTC process goes and then this time next year, we’ll see if we can help out some other kiddos. It’s not our back-up plan either. This is something we’ll do regardless of whether we’re able to conceive a baby or not.

For some reason, I feel so much calmer about this whole process now. I do love the idea of being pregnant, growing a human, and raising a baby. But I’m also really excited about finding alternative ways to have a family.

A big ol’ bag of mixed emotions

So there were some good moments and some not-so-good moments at our appointment this morning.

First, props to S for going with me. She was so supportive and sweet, even when we were kept waiting in a tiny exam room for half an hour before the doctor showed up, which was pretty annoying. I mean, we both have very busy work schedules. S diligently took notes the entire time, thank goodness! I’m so glad she was there.

I was expecting to feel specific emotions when I left the fertility center today. When we walked out though, I wasn’t sure how I felt. Maybe a little overwhelmed? I went straight to work and dove into a busy day, which was a nice distraction. Now that I’ve had time to digest everything, I feel more positive about the whole experience.

First the good stuff. Dr. H was very happy with all my blood test results. She said I have excellent numbers and appear to have lots of eggs left!

We were all in a good mood and chatty until we started the ultrasound. The whole transvag thing actually wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. The only uncomfortable part was when she was looking at my right ovary. It kept flopping around and making it hard for her to get a good look. I finally had to press down hard on my right abdomen to help keep it one place. That was a little painful.

The results: It seems I have 2 pretty large polyps in my uterus. She was looking at the lining, which was triple striped, and we all saw the 2 big light colored blobs on either side of the interior. She inspected them for a long time before finally admitting that, yes, she was pretty certain those were polyps.

On to my ovaries! With me at CD10, she counted 15 follicles on each ovary, but the largest one was only 9mm. She said at this point in my cycle, she would expect to see one closer to 20mm. She said I might have already ovulated, since my lining was so thick. I have never ovulated before CD10 though and my temperature hasn’t spiked yet. Advice please, ladies! With those numbers, I asked her about PCOS, but she stepped around it and avoided suggesting it was a possibility. What do you think? I feel like the number of follicles was really high, but how does the size compare? I usually ovulate between CD12 -15 and I have no idea how quickly those things grow.

Last item from the ultrasound: it seems I might have Adenomyosis. I had to google it right after the appointment. For those that aren’t familiar with it, Adenomyosis occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. The displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — thickening, breaking down and bleeding — during each menstrual cycle. An enlarged uterus and painful, heavy periods can result. It’s localized in one spot, but we noticed it because one side of my uterine wall is noticeable thicker than the other side. Odd, because those most likely to have this condition are women who have given birth or had uterine surgery. Um, I’ve had neither of those. Weird.

So what the fuck does this all mean? Good question. Dr. H’s mood definitely became more serious during the ultrasound. I don’t think she was expecting to see those results. Well, that makes three of us. But she did lay out very specific next steps, which made me feel better.

Next steps! Next week I go have blood drawn to check my progesterone levels. That will tell us if I ovulated. I’ll start peeing on OPK sticks tomorrow and resume taking my temp to check for it as well.

I’ll call them on my next CD1 to schedule an HSG exam. Not looking forward to that, but this will allow them a better look inside my uterus to determine the true size of the polyps. She said I’ll probably need to have them removed because once they’re a certain size, they can interfere with implantation. If the HSG results in a definitive polyp diagnosis, we’ll schedule the removal of them for the following cycle (June).

For now, we’re ignoring the adenomyosis, as she said there’s not much we could do about it anyway, besides remove the uterus. Obviously not happening. There’s a small chance it could contribute to infertility, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

So it looks like we won’t be inseminating until July at the earliest. Honestly, I was heartbroken to hear that. Dr. H said, “Look, if you were 40, I’d suggest we do the HSG and then immediately remove the polyps in the same cycle. But you’re young and you have lots of eggs left, so we have time. Let’s not be impatient.”

I’m sad we’re postponing our tries, but I do like how thorough this clinic is. I feel like we’re in good hands and they’ll take care of us. Dr. H was so great about pointing everything out to us during the ultrasound and explaining it all in detail. She answered all of our questions and our scheduled 60 min. appointment ended up lasting an hour and half! (Apologies to whoever had the appointment after me!) I’m really happy with her.

So yeah, lots of feelings. Some good, some sad. The first step has been taken. Now the trick is to just stay patient and not freak out.

Mental Prep

I spent most of this weekend scrubbing. S had to go into work for a bit on Saturday, so I used that time to give our kitchen and bathroom a much needed deep clean. I opened up all our windows, put on some great dance music, and got to work. I did it under the guise of “spring cleaning”, but deep down I know it’s actually about control. Or lack of control, rather.

Any time we’re about to embark on a big endeavor, I kick it off with a cleaning session. When we go on vacation, I tend to frantically clean our place right before we leave, so we can come back to a nice clean home. Yep, I’m one of those women. There’s something really soothing about organizing your shit and coming home to a calm, decluttered space every day. Especially when you’re starting an adventure you have very little control over.

Tomorrow morning we have our first appointment with the RE. As much as I like to think I have control over the process – through diet, exercise, stress management, tracking my cycles – the truth is, I don’t. I have no idea how this story will end. Hell, I don’t even know how long this story will be. It’s not as if we have an infinite amount of tries in us. There are very real financial limitations and emotional/mental limitations. S and I have had general conversations about how long we want to try for a baby and I think we’ll have a more well-informed discussion after tomorrow, when we know what we’re dealing with physically. But the thought of giving my body over to this process makes me feel really helpless.

This whole adventure has been something we’ve discussed for years and actually started planning months ago. Now that we’re about to put it in motion, I feel…scared. What if it doesn’t work? What if it strains our marriage? We’ve been coasting on optimism all this time and I don’t want to lose that. Even if it seems naive of me to say this, I don’t want to become jaded over this process. It’s already medicinal and cold enough as it is, what with all the appointments and poking and prodding and perfect timing. I want to make sure we keep something light and airy and hopeful alive while going through this.

So while I can’t control this huge, life-changing adventure we’re starting tomorrow, I CAN control our living space and how clean it is. Whatever the results tomorrow, we will have a clean, bright, well organized kitchen and bathroom, damn it! It’s the little things that can make all the difference.

Back in action!

We’re back and somewhat over the jet lag.  Although I seem to have caught some kind of bug the second I stepped off the plane Saturday, so I’m still dragging quite a bit this week.

No words to describe this trip. Once in a lifetime. Amazing. Beautiful. These do it no justice. Here are a few photos, most from Vietnam where we helped build a home for a lovely family. It’s crazy how someone can live on the other side of the world, not speak your language or have a lifestyle that’s remotely similar to yours…and yet you find that you’re really not that different from each other. You laugh at the same things. You want the same things for your family. You have equal appreciation for a nice homemade rice wine. It’s a small world after all.

I also threw in a couple photos from Cambodia, where we spent a week after building in Vietnam.

Dragon bridge

The Dragon Bridge in Da Nang, Vietnam

rice fields

Where we built a home. Surrounded by rice fields

wife of homeowner

Hang, the matriarch of the family we worked alongside, with her daughter, Giang and Huong

spring rolls

Make your own spring rolls!

cambodia pants

The rad pants I bought in Cambodia

large buddha

Inside a temple near Siem Reap

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat at sunrise

ta prohm

Ta Prohm temple

We’ve almost finished unpacking and getting back into the swing of normal life. As sad as we were to end our trip, it’ll feel good to get back into a regular routine.

Speaking of routine, Ms. AF showed up literally 24 hours after we touched down in California. Right on time. Ok, actually 3 days early, but whatever. Even she is ready to get back to normal.

I’m kind of frantically trying to get back to my good eating habits. The vegetarianism went out the window the second day of the trip. it was just too hard. Everything had meat in it, I would have starved. I was still mostly vegetarian though, because my body freaked out the first time I ate meat. It hasn’t experienced chicken broth in about 13 years. Thankfully, it adjusted pretty quickly, but I find I just feel better when I don’t eat meat. I also drank more during this trip than I probably have in the past 12 months. I convinced myself that the alcohol was killing any bacteria I might have ingested that day. And when the whole table is doing shots of rice wine after dinner, it’s hard to resist. When in Rome and all that. But I’m now back to no alcohol…or maybe just a glass of wine every once in awhile, that’s ok, right? Oddly, I have had zero desire to drink coffee this week. I keep carrying my coffee travel mug to work and then realize it’s still full at the end of the day. It just doesn’t sound good to me. This is something I’ve never experienced before. Ever.

We have our first in-person consultation at the fertility center next Tuesday, the 14th! We’re so close to starting this thing, we can almost touch it. I’m excited and a little nervous. I hope it goes well. Right after the appointment, I’m supposed to give a lunchtime presentation to my office staff about my trip. I’m the events manager for a local non-profit that deals with affordable housing, so everyone wants to hear how the Habitat trip went. It would feel pretty shitty to give a presentation right after hearing bad news. Fingers crossed. I’ll be on CD10 for the appointment, so I’m curious to see where my eggs are at that point in my cycle. The RE will go over all my lab results in detail and then look at my ovaries. I’m really hoping she lays out a game plan before we leave so we can start trying in May. Any advice for the appointment? Certain questions I should ask? I’m making a list so I don’t forget anything.

So, yeah. We’re almost TTC. Whoop!