Tag Archives: Provera

She Says… The “I” Word

So, as I said yesterday, I have been playing phone tag with my doctor for the last few days. She told me to call her if I didn’t have a period in six weeks following the Provera Challenge. Since I am charting my temperatures every morning, I pretty much knew that I hadn’t ovulated, so I wasn’t surprised at all when I didn’t get my period. And now it’s the 5th week, so I decided to give her a call a few days early so I could get the appointment on my calendar. The early bird gets the worm (or the convenient appointment slot), right?

I was kind of surprised when, instead of setting up an appointment, she said, “I think the next step is for you to see an infertility specialist”. Uh oh. She said the “I” word. My stomach got tight. Wasn’t she the one telling me that anovulation following going off birth control was really very normal? Wasn’t she the one saying that ovulation can be easily restarted with Provera/Clomid? Wasn’t she the one who said my hormone levels and everything else were perfectly normal (“beautiful“, even?!) and that I was the picture of health? Why, then, was she seemingly washing her hands of me? Am I a lost cause?

No, of course not. She said she was happy to work with me, but that I might have a higher rate of success with an infertility specialist. But still, the idea of calling this “infertility” and needing to see a specialist hit me kind of hard. Frankly, I’m scared. I’m scared that maybe there is something wrong with me that can’t necessarily be fixed by a quick round of drugs and well-timed sex. I’m scared that I have just opened the door to something that will change Benjamin’s and my happy little life forever. I’m also a little scared that I’ll become one of those bitter women who are completely obsessed with getting pregnant and can’t talk about/do/think about anything else. I already have a blog about getting pregnant, for cryin’ out loud (although, to be fair, I thought the blog would be more about pregnancy and our family, and less about getting pregnant…)!

The reality is, though, that I’m only 26 years old. I’m in good health. I’ve never had any serious medical issues to speak of. There’s really no reason to believe that I won’t be able to get pregnant at some point. Not to mention that plenty of women have beautiful, healthy, wonderful babies after going to see infertility specialists. So, nothing to worry about, right?

Anyone out there seen one?

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She Says… Overdue

Just as I suspected; no period this weekend. Don’t get all excited — it’s not even the “Ohmigod I might be pregnant, I didn’t get my period!” kind of not-getting-my-period, it’s the “Well, that confirms it, I haven’t ovulated since February (or before?) so we have no chance at all of getting pregnant until we get that going” kind.

I pretty much knew (no temperature shifting around the supposed time of ovulation, no cramps/moodiness, and the most obvious indicator… that I haven’t had a real period for almost 5 months!), but I still had a little glimmer of hope that all of a sudden I’d start cycling on my own. Apparently that wasn’t in the cards.

No biggie — now I wait the requisite week before calling the doc, and ask her to start me on a lovely batch of Provera/Clomid to get those little eggies rolling down the tubes like they should be. On the upside, Benjamin and I stocked up on full fat dairy during our grocery shop this week. I enjoyed a glass of 2% milk yesterday as a snack, and on my cereal this morning. It was delicious! I packed a whole milk yogurt to eat with my lunch today, and will probably include cheese of some sort in my dinner tonight. Yum! This is an experiment I can get into 🙂

She Says… Nothing’s Happening

Well, here we are again in familiar territory. The excitement of having a Provera-induced “period” (aka withdrawal bleeding) 2 1/2 weeks ago has worn off, and I’m back to waiting not-so-patiently for something else to happen. If the week of ingesting little progesterone pills had magically put me back on a normal schedule, I should have ovulated last week. But, since I am obsessed, I’ve been charting my temps (a la Taking Charge of Your Fertility) and have not seen a thermal shift (or even a thermal pattern, for that  matter). So I’m fairly certain that ovulation has not happened — yet.

Since I was away from my darling husband in Vermont last week, it wasn’t great timing for the most important element of babymaking. Nevertheless, I’d really like to sleep soundly knowing that my body is cycling the way it needs to so that SOMEDAY we can time things correctly and procreate. But alas, it sounds like my body has other plans. And although I am generally a supporter of letting nature run its course, I’m getting a little frustrated by the lack of progress.

Last night Benjamin said to me, “I want you to get preggers so we can tell our friends and family about the blog”. You bet your sweet ass bottom dollar that’s not the only reason we want to get pregnant. Now that we’ve done so much talking and planning and hoping and trying, we want to get this little adventure started ASAP. We’re ready, ok? Bring on the baby! Or at least the normal periods so we can start “trying” like everyone else. Is that too much to ask?

Three more weeks to wait until I can call the doctor again. She said if I don’t get my period by then, we can discuss “other options” and “next steps”. The date is already marked on the calendar and the countdown has begun…

She Says… Finally!

Ok, the title may have given it away… but I FINALLY had a “period” for the first time since February! Wahoo! But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

I went off birth control at the end of February after a perfectly normal period (and a decade of perfectly normal periods before that, thanks to the wonders of birth control). Benjamin and I tried our best to make a baby. When I didn’t get my period 4 weeks later, I absolutely thought I was preggo. I entertained daydreams that I was one of those deliciously fertile women who get pregnant their first month trying. Not so. A few weeks later I thought I was knocked up again. I convinced myself I had miscalculated my cycle, and now I was really pregnant. Not so. Month #3, same deal (although, admittedly, by this time I had caught on to the fact that I wasn’t ovulating, and even though the chance was slim that I was miraculously pregnant, I considered it). So then my wonderfully proactive doctor did some blood tests (all normal) and prescribed Provera as a little “physical challenge”, so to speak.

I was supposed to take the Provera for 7 days, and then wait and see what happened. At Day 7, I wasn’t feeling any terrble symptoms (I had read the symptoms could be pretty nasty), and I was optimistic. On Day 8 I started to feel a bit crampy, irritable and fatigued… but, not one to blame things on medicine, I assumed it was just a long week at work. Day 9 assured me that the symptoms were definitely hormonal, and were definitely a result of the meds (as I hadn’t felt that tearful and agitated in, umm, 3 months!). This big, red beauty also appeared around this time:DSC05341

I felt a little sorry for myself, until IT happened. And all ill-will towards that little pimple went out the window — it was all worth it. Yes! I got my period! Well, I’m not sure if you can actually call it that because (without going into too much detail), it only lasted a day and didn’t exactly present itself like my period. However, the doc herself said, “that counts”, so I passed the test. I won the Provera Challenge 🙂  That means that a) I love Provera, b) I am producing enough estrogen to cycle on my own, but my body just hadn’t gotten there yet, and c) now I have to wait it out and see what happens next month to see if I start cycling normally.

So, the hubs and I are cleared to keep “trying” this month, and it’s quite possible that I could start ovulating/cycling normally. So, we’re back in the (proverbial?) saddle, folks! Doc says to call her in 6 weeks if I haven’t gotten another period, and we’ll discuss a cycle of drugs (Provera, and possible Clomid to stimulate ovulation) to get things going. We’re going to make a baby one way or another!

She Says… Day 7 of The Challenge

I popped the last of the Provera pills this morning. I haven’t noticed any of the unfortunate side effects that the medicine bottle warned me of. This morning I started to feel slightly crampy, and I can feel the beginning of a gigantic zit on my chin (lovely!), but nothing significant.

So… the clock starts now! I should experience withdrawal bleeding in the next week. From there, it’s possible that I could begin cycling normally and be on my way to babymaking! Yahoo!

I was chatting with my sister (who is a doctor) about all of this the other night, and she said that she was surprised that my doctor had given me blood tests and prescribed hormones after only three months. Apparently most doctors recommend that couples wait 6 months to a year before investigating fertility issues. Because I am young, healthy and physically fit, there is a very good chance that my body will sort everything out on its own without medical assistance, and many people (doctors and patients alike) would rather let nature run its course than intervene. However, I really appreciate my doctor taking a proactive approach. If I were cycling normally and just hadn’t gotten pregnant yet, I guess I could understand a doctor saying, “Try for a few more months before we do anything”. But the fact that I haven’t gotten a period at all since February indicates that something is not working properly. Maybe that is why she felt comfortable running some tests. In any case, I feel very fortunate to be figuring things out now, while I am still younger than most of my friends who are having  babies.

She Says… Day One of The Challenge

Lab tests came back: Perfectly normal. “Beautiful” was actually the word my doctor used to describe them. Apparently I am the picture of good health. Except for one thing… that pesky little period of mine that hasn’t come around since February.

So, on to step 2: The Progestational Challenge. During The Challenge I will take Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate) for 7 days. At that point, the dropoff or withdrawal of progesterone should signal to my body to have a period (which is actually withdrawal bleeding, and not a “real” period) within the next 7 days. What happens next is like the “choose your own adventure” books I used to read as a kid: 

  • If I do have withdrawal bleeding (go to page 54), that means that I have the right amount of estrogen in my system, but am not ovulating. Anovulation of this kind can be treated with drugs like Clomid, and chances are very good that I’ll be able to conceive as soon as I start ovulating (yay!).
  • If I do not have withdrawal bleeding (go to page 62), that means I am either not producing enough estrogen or have some physical abnormality with my “outflow tract” (a.k.a. the pipes are blocked). I’m thinking this will not be the case, since I was having periods perfectly normally while on birth control only a few short months ago.

So this morning I took the first of seven little, white Provera pills. I’m up for The Challenge. Let’s see what happens…

She Says… Blood Tests and Pills

I saw my doctor yesterday to discuss the fact that I haven’t had my period since February. She wanted me to wait until three full cycles had passed before seeing me, but I think I snuck in a week before that deadline. On paper I am perfectly healthy, and upon further examination (hardy har har), she couldn’t see any obvious reason why I wouldn’t be having my period.

– Healthy weight? Check.
– Healthy diet? Check.
– Prime child-bearing age? Check.
– No physical abnormalities that might cause fallopian tube blockage or other issues? Check.

At one point during my visit she asked me if I was having unprotected sex. Um, yes?! Isn’t unprotected sex the first step toward making a baby? I guess she was just checking 🙂  After establishing a clean bill of health, she did a pregnancy test (negative… duh!) and took some blood.

She’ll test the blood for hormone levels to check for thyroid or pituitary issues, and the levels of estrogen, progesterone and all that good stuff that babymamas are supposed to produce naturally. Results come back on Friday, but she doesn’t work on Fridays, so I should hear from her early next week. At this point, I am almost crossing my fingers that she finds a hormone deficiency, because they are quite often very easily fixable with supplements, and I could be on my way to natural conception.

She also gave me a prescription for Provera, to take THE PROVERA CHALLENGE. Doesn’t that sound like a game show or something? I will take Provera (which is essentially just progesterone) for a week, and then see what happens. If everything is connected and working properly, I’ll have a period within the following week or so after stopping the pills. If I have a period, that indicates that my estrogen levels are ok, and my anovulation is a result of my body not returning to normal hormone production after going off the pill. If I don’t have a period, that indicates that my body is not producing enough estrogen, and other tests are necessary to sort out what is causing that.

The drawbacks to the Provera challenge are that taking Provera can be very dangerous to a growing baby if you are pregnant, so you have to be absolutely certain you’re not pregnant before taking the pills. So I have to wait two weeks from the last time we had sex to start the pills. Also, there are some lovely side effects to the meds: bloating, cramps, irritability, acne, weight gain, water retention… essentially it’s like super PMS. Can’t wait!