Saturday, 12 June 2010

Taking charge of my fertility.

OK. I finally have my copy of the excellent Taking Charge of Your Fertility (it's been buried somewhere I couldn't get to it since mid November, back when I thought I wouldn't be needing it for quite some time) and I've spent the last few days rereading it.

This afternoon I went back over my charts and wrote the ones since November out neater and looked for the patterns properly, rather than just looking for the overall pattern. (I haven't actually charted every month, although I've been taking my temperature to make sure I've been ovulating, because I was getting too obsessive and needed to step back - so I only have three complete cycles to look at and the current one. Which is really frustrating, but there's nothing I can do about it now I suppose.) Then I dug out the ones from last year and looked at them properly too.

This is what I have learned.

1) I thought I had short luteal phases that might actually cause problems in getting pregnant. Turns out I, errm, don't. My first cycle after coming off the pill isn't actually clear - the luteal phase could have been either eight or ten days as my temp did a weird drop thing - but of the other three, two were 11 days and one was ten. I was thinking it was nine or ten every time. And since the miscarriage I've had two cycles with a LP of thirteen days (THIRTEEN!!!!!) and one that might have been ten or might have been twelve as again it wasn't clear when I ovulated.

I can't believe I've been so daft as to not count properly. One less thing to worry about. Also, is it weird that my LPs have got longer since my pregnancy? Were they just artificially short before because my pill exposure was more recent? I guess I'll never know for sure.

2) I'm not surprised it took us a while to get pregnant the first time. We were timing it terribly.

3) Last cycle I had a temp that dipped way back down below the coverline at 7DPO, and there are a few where it dips back to about the coverline level. They were mainly before my pregnancy, so hopefully last cycle was just a one-off and not something to worry about - but if not I think that might be something fairly simple to treat (low progesterone levels).

4) I really wish I'd taken temps every day when we were first trying. I'm not a morning person and I'm lazy. Once my temp had jumped I just stopped taking it for a few days most cycles, so if there were more consistent drops in my temp I wouldn't know about them.

5) The cycle I got pregnant my temps were an absolute mess. Jumped around a lot before ovulation. Dropped way back down again after ovulation (not anything that looked like an implantation dip either) after a rise of only one day - I thought I was still fertile a full four days after I actually ovulated. Even knowing what I know now, I still can't make myself see a rise in my temp that matches when I actually ovulated. It's crazy. And after ovulation my temps rose for nine days and then started a decline, steadily going down for five days. On the fourth of those days, I did a positive pregnancy test. After that I had four really high days, but then they dropped from a high of 37.10 to 36.8 for another three days. I kept expecting to miscarry those days. I stopped taking my temperature at that stage because it scared me too much.

I really wish now that I'd carried on. I might have realised something was wrong a long time before I did. Ah well.

6) I think my key problem is my lack of fertile cervical mucous. Well, I'm sure of it now. I've never spotted the egg white stuff since we started TTC. I've only very rarely noticed creamy, and even then only in tiny quantities. The most fertile I usually get is sticky. And that's not good.

I've tried:
-(decaf) green tea (still drinking it as apparently green tea is associated with raised fertility anyway, but it doesn't make any difference to my cm)
-fresh pineapple core (trying again this cycle)
-robitussin (one cycle only, i got nervous about the abuse of behind-the-counter medication)
-evening primrose oil. One cycle of 1500/day, currently taking 3000/day; still doesn't seem to have made any difference. If it doesn't work this cycle I'll stop taking this again.

None of these have made the slightest bit of difference.

According to appendix J of TCOYF the two other things that might make a difference are potassium iodide and estrogens. I have no idea if GPs in the UK would consider either of these things. All I can do is ask I guess. Is there anything else anyone knows of that might help? I already drink lots of water.

7) A friend of mine also suggested Agnus Castus. If this isn't the month I might try that. Also considering trying soy supplements.

8) I'm seeing my doc again on Tuesday, when I'm due to be 1DPO. I'm going back and forth about whether to get her to refer us for fertility testing at that point or whether to wait to see if this cycle works. I think I've decided that I might as well wait - ten days or so won't make much difference will it? But if this cycle isn't it, then we are going for testing. Seven cycles on and nothing. (We weren't officially trying the first cycle after the miscarriage but timed inadvertently well.) I'm 34. I don't want to wait till 35 when my fertility starts to go into terminal decline.


I think that's it. But I actually feel a bit better about it all. At least I have a couple of ideas about things to try, and some reassurance that I don't actually have a short LP.

Anyone got any other pointers?


Catherine W said...

As you know, I'm new to all this! But this all sounds good, like you got some insights by looking back through all your cycles.

I will have to look into all this green tea (which I drink anyway!), pineapple core (which I don't), robitussin (?) and evening primrose oil.

I've also heard of Agnus Castus, it is on my list of 'might try's!

I'm in the process of having my bloods done. My doctor tells me that usually, in the event of past successful pregnancies, he would usually advise trying for two years. But I think my head might explode before then!

I think I always feel better when I have a plan. x

B said...

yes, i feel a bit better about it all now. at least i have a better idea where i stand.

i heard pineapple core from a friend, but have never seen it anywhere else. it's fruit though, i'm sure it can't do any harm.... (although apparently don't have too much after ovulation as it can cause uterine contractions - although i suspect that you'd have to eat four or five to have an effect).

robitussin is a cough medicine you can get in boots that contains Guaifenesin which thins mucous in the lungs. supposedly it also thins cervical mucous, but it had no effect on me.

two years!!!! that sounds like an awfully long time. fertility declines steadily from 27 to 35 and then goes into freefall - i would try and push your doc (or get a second opinion). good luck with the blood tests. also, if you do start charting, that's good evidence to take to either your GP or to whatever specialist you get referred to.

good luck honey. i am hoping for you so much.

Catherine W said...

Well, my previous comment seems to be implying some kind of surprise that I don't drink pineapple core!

Thank you for the tips on the robitussin.

I was going to argue the toss with my GP over his definition of 'successful' but thought better of it. Hoping to persuade him that another year of this may not be good for my state of mind! x

B said...

yes i wouldn't advise *drinking* the pineapple core either!

i did wonder about your doctor's definition of successful too. i'm sure he meant it well, although it sounds very dubious to me. good luck with the persuasion!

Francisca said...

I think I also have a CM problem (it is funny because I also thought I had a short LP before starting to chart). Have you tried Preseed?