Tag Archives: mucus

Peak +7 Bloodwork

I just scheduled my lab appointment for Wednesday to get my peak +7 bloodwork drawn. Last month, I never took the time to look up what exactly the doctor was testing. All I knew was that his office called with the results and told me, “the numbers are okay, but next month Dr. G would like you to raise your Clomid dosage.” It was a little discouraging to hear the doctor talk about next month when I hadn’t even had my period yet. Could he tell from my progesterone and estradiol levels seven days after ovulation that I would not be pregnant? Anyone know? I’d love to hear what you other IF ladies have come to know about these two hormones in your journeys – I hope you’ll leave comments!

Last month, I had been taking half a Clomid pill for a dosage of 25mg. This month I was instructed to take 3/4 of a pill for a dosage of 37.5mg. I have troubles with diminishing mucus and a side effect of Clomid is mucus reduction. So the doctor is trying to find the balance of just enough Clomid with the least effect to my mucus. To help the mucus, I’ve been taking 1200mg of Mucinex 2x a day and have been using Preseed lubricant.

My peak +7 numbers last cycle were:
Progesterone – 11.8 ng/ml
Estradiol – 224 pg/ml

I’ve spent a little google time checking out what functions these two hormones play since I had never even heard of Estradiol before seeing the lab order.

PROGESTERONE
(info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progesterone)

Progesterone is sometimes called the “hormone of pregnancy”, and it has many roles relating to the development of the fetus:
-Progesterone converts the endometrium to its secretory stage to prepare the uterus for implantation. At the same time progesterone affects the vaginal epithelium and cervical mucus, making it thick and impenetrable to sperm. If pregnancy does not occur, progesterone levels will decrease, leading, in the human, to menstruation. Normal menstrual bleeding is progesterone-withdrawal bleeding. If ovulation does not occur and the corpus luteum does not develop, levels of progesterone may be low, leading to anovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding.
-During implantation and gestation, progesterone appears to decrease the maternal immune response to allow for the acceptance of the pregnancy.
-Progesterone decreases contractility of the uterine smooth muscle.

In women, progesterone levels are relatively low during the preovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle, rise after ovulation, and are elevated during the luteal phase. Progesterone levels tend to be 5 ng/ml after ovulation. If pregnancy occurs, progesterone levels are initially maintained at luteal levels. With the onset of the luteal-placental shift in progesterone support of the pregnancy, levels start to rise further and may reach 100-200 ng/ml at term

ESTRADIOL
(info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estradiol)

In the female, estradiol acts as a growth hormone for tissue of the reproductive organs, supporting the lining of the vagina, the cervical glands, the endometrium, and the lining of the fallopian tubes. It enhances growth of the myometrium. Estradiol appears necessary to maintain oocytes in the ovary. During the menstrual cycle, estradiol produced by the growing follicle triggers, via a positive feedback system, the hypothalamic-pituitary events that lead to the luteinizing hormone surge, inducing ovulation. In the luteal phase, estradiol, in conjunction with progesterone, prepares the endometrium for implantation. During pregnancy, estradiol increases due to placental production. In baboons, blocking of estrogen production leads to pregnancy loss, suggesting estradiol has a role in the maintenance of pregnancy. Actions of estradiol are required before prior exposure of progesterone in the luteal phase.

In the normal menstrual cycle, estradiol levels measure typically <50 pg/ml at menstruation, rise with follicular development (peak: 200 pg/ml), drop briefly at ovulation, and rise again during the luteal phase for a second peak. At the end of the luteal phase, estradiol levels drop to their menstrual levels unless there is a pregnancy.
During pregnancy, estrogen levels, including estradiol, rise steadily toward term. The source of these estrogens is the placenta, which aromatizes prohormones produced in the fetal adrenal gland.

Serum estradiol measurement in women reflects primarily the activity of the ovaries.

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Birthday Blues

Today is my birthday and I can’t help but feel a little glum today. It is depressing to know that my eggs are now a year older. I know that I am still young-ish for this IF game, but I worry about how even more difficult conceiving a second and third child will be in the future. My DH and I have always wanted a larger family of 3-4, but now we just need to worry about conceiving the first one. I feel like not only am I disappointed we are still trying to conceive, but that I am grieving the loss of the family we had always pictured. I know I am getting ahead of myself a bit, but it feels true. In my head I thought that if we could easily get pregnant post-lap that there was a chance that we could have easy conceptions in the future. But every month that goes by could mean there are other issues at work too. I really do need to cut myself a break and breathe and give it some more time.

This last cycle, I had so much hope. It was my first full cycle after the endo laproscopy and using Clomid. I had been religious about taking all my pills. Plus we had discovered Preseed to help with my mucus issues. It felt like so much was different than past tries and surely these changes would tip the scale in our favor. It also seemed so perfect that we could get a BFP for our birthdays. My DH’s 30th birthday was on Friday and my 29th today. Plus the baby would have been due on April 24th, AFTER tax season. This is a big deal to us as my husband works in public accounting. It just felt like the stars were aligning.

Early BFNs were followed by the arrival of my period on Wednesday. I cried all the way to work two days in a row. Recently, my car has become my crying safe place. I must have too much time to think in there, because I know I am always at a higher risk of becoming a blabbering mess when driving alone.

So today I am blue about not being pregnant. Instead of going to the pool or doing anything social, fun and distracting, I’ve been moping around the house. The DH has been napping for the last few hours as he had a 24 visit to Chicago for a bachelor party yesterday. So he hasn’t had a chance to curb the pity party taking place on the couch.

Anyone else notice today, that despite the heat it is starting to feel like Indian Summer? I love summer and I am annoyed at myself for wasting one of the last good pool weekends. It is time to peel myself off the couch and get moving. Laying here is not going to make ANYTHING better. Today I took my first Clomid dose for the month, so it is time to look forward again and stop dwelling in what hasn’t happened!

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Clomid Side Effects… Twin Nuggets?

Today was my third daily dosage of Clomid… So far so good. I haven’t noticed any side effects. Some quick reading on message boards had me bracing for some MAJOR mood swings. Turns out though that less than 1% of woman report mood swings. It appears that the side effect with the highest risk is twins. I’ve read statistics up to 10%, but my doctor quoted 5% and pointed out the typical pregnancy results in twins 2% of the time already.

My husband and I were intrigued with the idea of someday having twins before we even started trying to conceive and now it feels like a pretty efficient scenario. My father-in-law has twin brothers and my mom’s father was a twin, so it already runs in the family. We get pretty excited about the idea of twin nuggets (although I did just read up on the risks if multiples which is a bit sobering).

A side effect of the Clomid that I am concerned about is vaginal dryness. I already have been taking 1200 mg of Mucinex twice daily starting when my period stops through ovulation. It is suppose to help with my diminishing mucus patterns, but I can’t say that I’ve noticed much of a difference. A friend was just telling me that the book, “Taking Control of Your Fertility,” suggests using egg whites as a homeopathic remedy to supplement your natural mucus. I am interested in finding how that exactly works?!?

If you are interested in finding out more about Clomid side effects, check out this link…
http://infertility.about.com/od/clomid/tp/clomid_side_effects.htm

I’m glad to not be experiencing any side effects, but I also don’t have a gut feeling that this will work. I just need to give it more time – I’m sure I will follow my typical emotional trajectory. I start the month slightly depressed, come out of my period feeling very realistic and accepting of our situation, then the hope slowly builds until it reaches illogical peaks where the three negative pregnancy tests are wrong! (Sigh)… another month of hoping and suspense – maybe this will be the month the two week wait doesn’t end with disappointment again.

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Well, Hello Egg!

Today is a peak day! Day 17 and that little egg icon made an appearance on my fertility monitor!

I haven’t ovulated the last two months and endlessly peed on sticks for weeks with that annoying second, high bar blinking day after day! There was never a peak day (my temps also backed up this observation). I didn’t have much hope for this month either, but shockingly today after only two high days the egg showed up!

After my last doctor’s appointment, where both of my next step options didn’t start until next month – taking Clomid or doing the endometriosis surgery – I had dismissed this month already before it had really even begun. I guess I should have bought some more Mucinex to help with my diminishing mucus. I just hate that pill the worst! It is so big and chalky. Hopefully my body will have produced enough to keep the swimmers alive.

So when that little guy appeared on the screen, my second thought after the initial giddiness was, I hope this won’t mess up the timing of the endometriosis surgery I just finalized yesterday! But after some compulsive calendar counting, with a 13 day cycle back end I will finish my period the day before the surgery or a 14 day back end will bring the end of my period on the day of surgery. Luckily, I had asked about just this situation and the nurse confirmed it would be okay. So hopefully everything will work out!

This means the beginning of my period or hopefully, positive pregnancy test will occur in the days directly prior to a group trip to NY for a wedding. Good timing in the sense that if I am pregnant, I will know and can abstain from drinking and be jumping for joy on the inside. Bad timing, in the sense that if I am not pregnant, I might want to throw myself off the Brooklyn Bridge. It never fails that I have fun trips planned directly after starting my period, which is the time I usually like to mope and have private pity parties. It is hard to force fun. This trip would be extra difficult as the new mom-to-be and new momma will both be in attendance – guaranteeing excessive baby talk.

Time to be positive though! The peonies in our backyard starting blooming this week – maybe it is a sign =)

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Hello world!

I have decided to start a blog to chronicle my journey to motherhood – and secretly hoping that quickly this blog will turn into a mommy blog!  My husband and I decided to start trying to get pregnant last October.  We had talked hypothetically about it for many months, but then one day just decided that it was time.  We had just celebrated our first anniversary and I had just taken the last exam (out of 7) to  become a licensed architect.  We realized all of a sudden that we were ready – but apparently my body was not.

We are both Catholic and had been intrigued with Natural Family Planning – for both the religious and natural aspects.   I had stopped using the Nuva Ring birth control that spring and had started charting using the Marquette method – temps, mucus and some more modern help from the Clearblue Easy fertility monitor.  So that first month, we were already equipped with the knowledge of when exactly to do it and a pretty good understanding of how it all worked.  So as the months ticked off and my period kept making it’s appearance, we had this feeling that maybe things weren’t working quite right.

After 5 months of trying, I scanned in my charts and emailed them to the nurse who had taught our NFP class who suggested an OBGYN who specialized in NFP.  I made my first appointment and sat in the waiting room nervously wondering if he’d think I was totally overly anxious and wound too tight about the whole thing.  It had only been 5 months!  Medically you aren’t reproductively challenged until it has been a year.  Thankfully he was amazingly patient and caring.

After some blood work, we discovered that I had one copy of the C677T mutation of the MTHFR gene.  Just a little road bump that requires a cocktail of over the counter vitamins (Folic Acid, B12, B6) and baby aspirin.  Because I have some limited mucus, he also suggested adding Mucinex.  We checked my husbands boys and he was very relieved to find out that everything was perfect in that area.

The latest development the past two months is my fertility monitor has not picked up a peak day.  Meaning quite likely that I did not ovulate.  I may have Endometriosis.  I am currently pondering the choices the doctor laid out – a) try Clomid for a few months to encourage ovulation or b) a laparoscopic surgery to check for and remove the Endometriosis.  I’m not keen on surgery – even if it is out-patient, but don’t really want to waste any time.  Decisions, decisions!

Through it all – I try to keep a sense of humor about the current circumstances and hope for the future!  I look forward to sharing my journey with you!

best,

Kelly

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