Fair warning: This post and future posts will be following my adventures in babymaking--not from an R rated perspective, but from the advanced biology aspect. If you aren't comfortable with or interested in this topic, I totally understand and you should turn back now. Be aware that I might be using scary words like uterus and sperm--so consider yourself warned! I know that this won't be interesting to everyone--it wouldn't have been interesting to me a year ago--but I hope that by sharing my experiences here I will not only be documenting my experience for my own benefit, but that maybe I can help someone else who might be going through this as well.
This weekend was filled with so much amazingness. Colby came home early from a trip, so we were able to spend the whole weekend together before he left me for another week, the weather was stunningly beautiful and I took advantage of it by going to the farmer's market, the beach, and otherwise spending most of the weekend outside.
Then, Sunday night, I went to the bathroom and all of the happiness came crashing down around me when I saw that the dreaded spotting had begun. For the first time in this entire journey, I completely broke down. I've had teary moments, I've vented here on the blog, I've had days of intense sadness and disappointment, but that night I ugly cried into Colby's shirt for almost an hour, wailing by turns about how unfair it was and how discouraged I feel. He was amazing, saying all the right things, wiping my face, mostly just holding on and letting me cry until I ran out of sobs.
The one glimmer of optimism that still shines in the darkest recesses of my mind, is that we are beginning testing this cycle. The common thinking is that it can take a healthy couple up to a year to get pregnant, so many doctors won't begin testing until cycle/month twelve. However, when I went to the gynecologist for my annual exam last month, I explained my concerns (specifically my short cycles/short luteal phase) and that we've had perfect timing for 10 out of those 11 cycles (something of a miracle with Colby's trip schedule) and we still arent any closer to having our baby.
Fortunately for me, I got one of those great doctors who actually listens to your concerns, and makes decisions on a case by case basis rather than always going "by the book" regardless of the situation. Her take on it was that there was no reason to wait another two cycles to begin testing given our past history, and the fact that I am very knowledgeable about my cycles and we've been hitting ovulation on the nose since November.
This month, I'll be having blood work done on cycle day (CD) 3 (tomorrow) and CD 22. I'm also waiting on a referral from Tricare to have an HSG done. From what I've gathered through extensive internet research (I googled it and read the first result), CD 3 blood work checks your Follicle Stimulating Hormone (the hormone responsible for egg maturation), Estradiol (high levels can indicate an ovarian cyst or low egg reserve), and Luteinizing Hormone (levels can indicate PCOS). You want your FSH low, Estradiol low, and an LH:FSH ration of less than 2:1 or 3:1. The CD 22 blood work seems to mainly check progesterone levels and confirms ovulation. After charting for eight cycles, I'm reasonably certain I ovulate, but I'm very curious to learn what my progesterone levels are.
The HSG, or hysterosalpingogram, is a little bit more scary as from what I understand it's more painful/uncomfortable than just having a needle jabbed in my arm. In this procedure, dye will be injected into my uterus and fallopian tubes and the surrounding areas to make sure that nothing is blocked and all of the baby making ingredients are able to get where they need to go. And of course, Colby gets to endure the most awkward testing experience, I'm sure I don't need to go into much detail on that procedure, but it will give us information about his sperm quantity, motility and morphology.
So, that's where we are now. I don't know how long it will take to get the results back from each of these tests, but hopefully soon we'll have an explanation for why things aren't working out for us in the baby arena, and a plan for going forward. As for now, I'm just trying to find the bright side of things like the fact that I've got at least another month of wine-drinking in my future. Would I rather have a baby than a buzz? of course. But the the buzz sure doesn't hurt.