Investigation into the Case of the Missing AF

Well folks, it has been quite the day!
DW and I both seem to have some kind of mild flu. I never get the flu. And this year, I actually got the flu shot!! Wtf? The last time I can remember having it was sometime in 2005, and it was complete with bedsheet-soaking fever and chills, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. It lasted about 3 days, and cost me about 7lbs of my already emaciated frame. Luckily, I am no longer this skinny, and this round has not come close to being that bad. For me, it’s still a mild fever and chills, body aches, and my favourite: the runs. Seriously, I tore into a new package of toilet paper recently, and stocked the bathroom with two extra rolls. Just in case.

Now, feeling like shit would be a whole lot nicer if I knew where the fuck AF has been hiding out. Yes, it has come to this. I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, or like your significant other nagging you about why it’s necessary to keep 13 bottles of supplements on the kitchen counter permanently, but I am seriously frustrated.

Let me put this into perspective for you.

This is what the Long Lupron Protocol for IVF is supposed to look like:
Day 21 Precycle: start Lupron and stay on it until near the end of IVF stims
Day 28 Precycle: get period –> this becomes Day 1 of Treatment Cycle
Day 3 Treatment Cycle: start stims (Gonal-F for me), lower Lupron dose
Day 13-15: HCG trigger
Day 15-17: egg retrieval

This is what it looks like so far for me:
Day 21 Precycle: start Lupron (and Provera because not yet ovulated)
Day 28: no period
Day 29: still no period
Day 30: still no period
Day 31: still no period
Day 32: still no period
Day 33: still no period
Day 34: still no period
Day 35: still no period
Day 36 (today): STILL NO PERIOD!!!

Notice how in an ideal cycle, you’re on the high dose Lupron for 7 days before your period, but I‘ve been on Lupron for over 15 days now. Lupron causes weight gain, headaches, and major irritability. So yeah. I’m kind of losing my mind.

Early this morning, I went to the fertility clinic for bloodwork, a full bladder pelvic ultrasound, and a transvaginal ultrasound to figure out what the hell is going on. This appointment went well.

The ultrasounds revealed that:
– my endometrial lining is 8.4mm thick
– I have no cysts (hallelujah! I was so worried about this)
– I have 14 antral follicles (6 on the R, 8 on the L) just chillin’, waiting to be stimmed

Last year, during our baseline for IVF#1, I had 16 antral follicles, so time does seem to be showing an influence here. I was reading a research paper on antral follicle numbers, and apparently they are grouped into three ranges: less than 3 (poor ovarian reserve) , less than 6 (average ovarian reserve), greater than 9 (high ovarian reserve). So with 14, I’m still looking really good.

I still had to wait for the bloodwork results, which would be available this afternoon.

By the early afternoon, I got a call from the head nurse.
Apparently, my blood results were in, and they were abnormal:
Estrogen 360 (way too high, should be less than 250)
Progesterone close to zero
She wanted me to keep on the 10 units of Lupron for another week, and then we would recheck my levels.

I thought this was really weird. It didn’t make sense because I was definitely feeling my classic progesterone signs- sore breasts, back ache, dairy cravings. So before she could hang up, I asked more questions, really nit-picking about the values, which required her to go back to her computer and consult my bloodwork results.

There was a pause. An extended silence.

And then she spoke.

She had planned my next steps based on the WRONG results!! Those results were from my pre-Lupron scan, not today!! My results from today had not yet be logged, so more waiting…

I took the dogs shopping, as Clementine needed a new winter coat. Then I took the dogs to the conservation lands for a hike. The paths were all iced over, and I was glad to have my grippy strap-ons (for my boots). When we got back to the car, I noticed that I had a voicemail from the fertility nurse (no missed call- she sent it straight to voicemail):

My levels for today were actually:
Estrogen 74 (nice and low- they want it to be less than 250 to be cleared to start)
Progesterone 1.71 (nice and low- period should be here soon)
My period looks to be due any day now, with my progesterone being so low, so they want me to just call when my period shows up, and then I guess I go in again for my baseline (I actually hope I don’t have to, since everything looks good today).

I found this online, and really liked how it presents estrogen and progesterone levels throughout a typical cycle:

2015/01/img_0577.png

Also, my BBT temp went down a bit today:

2015/01/img_0578.png

So all signs- blood, temperature, and ultrasound- point to AF coming soon. But I’m checking every chance I get, and soon can’t seem to come soon enough.

Rotisserie Chicken

So I spent the majority of the lit day at the hospital, waiting for my D&C. We arrived at noon, and didn’t leave until 7pm! I am tempted to write a really long, negative post about how ridiculous the scheduling is at this hospital, but I won’t.

Instead, I will rave about the amazing care I received from the nursing staff after the procedure. First of all, I got hot blankets. Not just blankets that would warm me with time, but blankets that were kept warm in an oven of sorts. And I got as many hot blankets as I wanted. At one point, I had three such blankets warming me.

Second of all, the nurses seemed just as frustrated as we were with the scheduling and whereabouts of the doctors. For example, my RE was booked from 1- 3, and no one knew where he was until he randomly showed up at 5:15 to check in with me pre-op. We suspect that he went for a late lunch/early dinner at the expense of making me wait even longer. The nurses exclaimed “Oh there he is!” when he finally appeared.

The anaesthesiologist didn’t believe me when I told him that I metabolize anaesthetic really quickly, and everyone was shocked when I woke up while being wheeled away to the recovery room. Usually they expect people to “come to” an hour after being moved to the recovery room. The OR nurse nearly jumped out of his skin when I started talking to him.

In the recovery room, the machine monitoring my vitals was beeping non-stop. The nurses kept having to switch off the alarm, but it kept going off because of how low my heart rate was. The machines are programmed to alert them when the heart rate becomes lower than 50 beats per minute (bpm), as the average normal resting heart rate is somewhere between 60 bpm to 100 bpm. I’ve worn my heart rate monitor to bed a few times, and know that my resting heart rate hits a minimum of 35 bpm, and averages at about 42 bpm over the course of the night. In recovery, my heart rate was steady at about 44 bpm, which drove the monitors crazy! The nurses asked me if I worked out or played sports, because abnormally low heart rates are common for athletes. Our hearts are healthy and don’t need to work as hard while at rest. But the beeping- it drove us all nuts!

It was also during my recovery room time that I got not one, but TWO popsicles, and got called “sweety” and “pretty girl” a ridiculous number of times, which also made me happy. They were also the first people to ask about our pregnancy, and to recognize how difficult it must be to go through this.

During my mandatory time in recovery, I had soaked through two pads, and was given oxycodone and Tylenol for the pain (rated 3/10). The pain went away soon after, and then I was wheeled off to the front of the hospital where my chariot awaited. DW whisked me away and since I was starving, we went out for dinner. (*I must also mention that DW deserves an award for staying with me the entire time that I was waiting for surgery and after my recovery.)

I was feeling nauseous during the car ride, but my hunger trumped all other discomfort.

What did we eat? Not congee, which would be my usual sick-person comfort food. Not even Vietnamese Pho noodle soup would satisfy my palate.

My body was craving crispy-skinned, salty rotisserie chicken. So we went to Swiss Chalet, which is a chain of restaurants usually frequented by senior citizens. Like many of the patrons there, I was dressed in comfy clothes, looking forward to the “2 quarter chicken meals + appetizer + dessert for 19.99”, and was wearing a diaper.

Oh and now my chariot is whisking me away to the cottage for the weekend. Just like the Real Housewives of [Wherever], I have the luxury of recovering from my surgery in privacy and amongst beauty.