Friday, July 16, 2010

Bad Cycle

So apparently this is not my best cycle. Far from it. Figures. The first cycle I have after surgery, and it stinks.

My first clue that something was "up" was my follicle scan on Wednesday. I had a 15.3mm follicle on my left ovary. It was CD 8. I had several days of brown bleeding after my period, and was still staining (with no mucus). So why was my follicle already so large (and I didn't take any ovulation meds)?

Then today I was scheduled for a post-coital test in the morning, with an ultrasound and bloodwork. In the late afternoon I had a uterine biophysical profile (Dr Kwak's assessment of the uterine environment and bloodflow in the endometrium). We were supposed to have relations last night for the post-coital test, but I STILL did not have any mucus as of late last night. Plus, DH and I got in a tiff. So I was all prepared to cancel this morning, when I woke up to beautiful 10KL. Crystal clear, stretchy, lubricative. I decided to go ahead and keep the appointment, which meant early-morning nooky. I'm not a morning person.

So I get to the appointment and first they do an ultrasound (with WATER on the probe cover, NOT GEL) to find an 18.1mm follicle. I get whisked away to the next room for the post-coital (done by a nurse). She quickly takes the sample into the adjacent room and tells me to join her there after I'm dressed. (For those who don't know, a post-coital test checks a sample of the cervical mucus from the cervix after intercourse, to test for the presence of sperm and if they are living and moving or not.) When I got into the adjacent room, she had placed the slide of my sample under the microscope and there was a tiny television screen with the magnification for me to see. She told me she didn't see any that were living. Sure enough, as I watched on the screen, nothing but dead or dying sperm.

The nurse then looked up at me and said, "But you're not interested in IUI, right?" I shook my head, and she proceeded to list off some home remedies I could try to improve my cervical mucus. Nothing I haven't heard before, and nothing I'm not already doing. She also gave me instructions for a baking soda douche to help my vaginal environment neutralize. (I didn't bother telling her that just a couple months ago I had the pH tested in my vagina and it was so perfect that neither I nor the Dr could see ANY change in color on the litmus between my sample and the "control.")
So, I sulked off to the waiting room again to wait for my blood draw. And I reflected. Basically my thoughts centered around three words: WTH?????

How could I have passed this same test with FLYING colors last year, and this time I failed?? I didn't spend 13 months in a program studying all about cervical mucus to not know the difference between fertile and infertile mucus! So how could this be?? I clearly saw FERTILE mucus this morning.

The wheels began to spin, as I hastily texted LifeHopes and Sew all kinds of choice profanities (I was like the texting equivalent of Mel Gibson. On a tangent, wow, the devil certainly got to that poor guy ever since Passion...)

I honestly have not heard of ANYONE (aside from myself last year) who has passed the post-coital test. Everyone I know who had it done has failed. Is this due to poor timing in ALL cases or something else? I think it's something else.
I started to recall what I know about the cervical mucus. It is a crucial part of fertility because it allows for sperm transport, for sperm survival, ... AAAAAAND... as a filter for abnormal sperm. This third purpose of the cervical mucus is how our bodies ensure that any pregnancy that occurs is the most healthy pregnancy possible (with only the healthiest sperm). Add to this fact the fact that ALL of DH's semen analyses have revealed a high percentage of amorphous sperm, and now we're going places.

My conclusion is this: the sample of my cervical mucus from the external os had all of the FILTERED, amorphous sperm that did not get past the cervix. The healthy, living, swimming sperm were no longer IN the cervix, but were instead into my uterus already! (By golly, I think I'm really on to something here.) Dr. Toth had told us that the sperm will swim back and forth between the cervix and the fallopian tubes several times during their lifespan in the woman's body. So the reason I had such great results last year is simply this- my post-coital test last year was done at least 10 hours after intercourse. This year it was done 3 hours after intercourse. I caught a lucky break last year and just happened to see the still-living sperm as they were BACK in the cervix, while today I didn't have such luck.

And I truly feel that this is why MOST post-coital tests fail.

Furthermore, I will point out that In Shock and Gratitude conceived twins naturally on the same cycle in which she "failed" her post-coital test. (For the SAME DR in the same office, might I add.)

But that wasn't the end of my crummy news today.

This afternoon I had another uterine biophysical profile. Last time I scored an 18 out of 21 possible "points." This time, 14 out of 21. My bloodflow in the zone of implantation was sparse, even though I'm taking 60 mgs Lovenox 1 x day. I also had a "hazy" endometrial lining, not as distinct as it usually is. I'm wondering if estrogen is the culprit here- today it was 310, which would explain the lack of mucus up until this morning.

What irritates me is that all of these things were MORE than PERFECT before. I had awesome mucus, and a good number of days of it leading up to Peak (often scoring a perfect 16.0 or close to it for Mucus Cycle Score), and my follicles always grew at the appropriate times... so why would things be out of whack NOW that my adhesions are all gone?? Are they acting up on purpose so that I feel like an idiot in front of Dr Check? (I know that the next time I meet with him he'll say, "Well, here are some more answers for you- your estrogen is off, your mucus is nil, you're ovulating too early before your lining has a chance to really build up, etc. etc.") I've already told him that I am more than ok in all these areas :(

I'm just so frustrated. Why do I bother spending money, time, and energy on these cycles when I never know what's going to happen?

Jesus, I trust that you know what is best for me.


Sew said...

"I was like the texting equivalent of Mel Gibson. On a tangent, wow, the devil certainly got to that poor guy ever since Passion" I'm LMAO at this. I was pretty much like this on the phone with you today. I'm so sorry that I allowed my needs to cry get in the way of your own.

I'm not really sure why things like this seem to happen to us on the same day. I'm having the same type of day....But we have lined up like this before and it is rather odd. I'm still carrying part of that cross for you! ;) hahahaha Yes, you need to give me sympahty. Laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes...

I'm desperate for change, setbacks, misunderstood, gut feeling as I know my specific issues yet I can't even find help.

Here you are thinking these areas are fine and a big fat fail. WTH is going on? It's like we are both being attacked. Does this stuff change per cycle?

I actually have my CD 9 estrogen bw here and my estrogen on CD9 was 172.7. Why is 310 not good? It's double what I had to offer?

prayerfuljourney said...

You are quite the IF girl look at all angles to find the answers. I never had a post coital done...IF we should go back to the dr's...and have one done...I'll try to remember to do it later than earlier. Interesting how you figured it out though.

I do believe in God's timing...nothing else makes sense. We all know of someone who against all odds...conceived! And went on to have many children. God knows best....that is why (speaking for myself here) I gave up on the dr's. I give you a lot of credit for doing as much as you have been doing. Really. You are a woman of strength...and I still can't get over how you flew to Cancun the day after surgery. :)Praying for you!!!

Karey said...

Could it just be that things are still getting back to normal the first cycle after surgery? Sorry if that's over-simplifying it. I'm sure you've thought of that already.

I am one of those who failed the post-coital. Although technically one lone sperm was living which apparently meant I passed. But it didn't sound too promising to me.

I really like your last line. Even when it makes no sense, He can work it all out for good.

Nick and Kristi said...

so very frustrating...but its the first cycle and its maybe just not one of your month will be better....Just keep doing what your doing along with extra supplements and things will pan out...I know it doesnt seem like that now but you know what they say bad news comes in 3's so now you should get some good news:) Take care girlie

the misfit said...

I think your theories on cervical mucus are fascinating. (Please promise me that when you graduate from IF into some happier stage in life, you will pen a treatise, "Theories on cervical mucus.")

And I hesitate to contradict a woman with so much expertise on her reproductive health. But if you'll forgive me...this is your FIRST cycle post-surgery? I thought that one was supposed to be written off. I know my body was/is completely screwed up, but I had surgery in October, and didn't have a really normal cycle until May. And especially when the main things are still right (you have a period, you have fertile signs), and it's just some of the little things that are off...well, anyway, I am sure it will get back to normal soon! Cut your ovaries (and your cervix) some slack!

Anonymous said...

Your theory on the post-coital test is fascinating! And makes perfect sense. But...I know most doctors don't put much faith in that test anymore - maybe because it is just so unreliable?
LOL at the texting like Mel Gibson :). Although it is very sad at how he has been acting the last few years.
I'll add my vote to the "first cycle after surgery is always wonky" crowd. I've had three surgeries, and generally the cycle right after is always a bit strange. Your body is still healing, whether you feel it or not. Internally, healing goes on for 3-6 months (at least)!

[email protected] said...

I learn something new from you every time I read your posts! I am fascinated by the post-coital sperm travels, seriously. That makes sense.

I also have noticed that many of the IF girls have gotten pg during a cycle that seemed less than ideal. You are so fresh out of surgery so things should be out of whack, but you know what? Nothing would surprise me.... :)

Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

I think your post-coital analysis is dead on. It makes perfect sense to me! And you're also dead on about Mel Gibson-the devil meant serious business with him!

And I know you've heard it before, cycles were crazy for the first month after both of my surgeries. Pain worse than before, strange bleeding, mucus changes. I'm praying that's what it is for you too and will get back on track.

Danya @ He Adopted Me First said...

Oh Hon, you are so frustrated! I wish I could give you a hug...and a pat on the back for your ingenious theory on postcoital testing. I didn't even know about the filter mechanism (only the "channeling")of CM...learn something new everyday! I am so sorry that your numbers look bad, but anything is possible. Miracles do happen. Consecration to Mary is the most perfect thing you can do right now. Just give it all to her! She's your sure HELP in this time of need. My prayers are with you sweets.

mrsblondies said...

"The texting equivalent of Mel Gibson" is hilarious, although I'm sorry you were so frustrated.

I like your theory on post-coital analysis. It makes a lot of sense. I hope that the good ones were hanging out near your ovaries at the time of the test.

Do try to remember that you are still just on your first cycle after surgery, and I hope everything gets back on track quickly.

WheelbarrowRider said...

I think you are onto something about the post coital exam. Very interesting.
I am sorry that this cycle was all wonky. I am going to be praying that it has something to do with getting back on track after your surgery. I know I don't know all the medical stuff you do, but shock and gratitude had a recent post about being a "dummy" and I think it is true that sometimes the medical know how get in teh way and make us think things are impossible when really there is just information that we aren't privy too-medical or otherwise. So that is what I am praying for for you!