Monday, January 30, 2012

The necessary obsession

+++ by Jane
So in October, this happened, and since then, things basically went like this:
October: depressedville!
November: snap out of it already, jeez!
December: embrace the gloom, take a deep breath, move on!  Try again!
January: try again, hey ho, that October business was a blip, December probably just wasn't timed absolutely perfectly, we'll be successful this time around!

The thing is though, no success.  And I'm not talking about just doing it a lot and hoping it pays off.  I'm talking about the fact that I've been waking up at 7AM sharp every morning for the past six months so that the first thing I can do is chart my basal body temperature.  I chart the hell out of that mofo.  Oh, and not to get all super TMI here, but neither of us has a super high sex drive, which makes things even worse, since you basically have to schedule these things juuuust so.  (Well, we have to schedule things.  Not to be bitter or anything, but apparently you don't need to try this hard if you're 16.)  And of course, the other main issue with charting is that by its very nature, you have to obsess.  I mean you really, really have to obsess.  Over all sorts of things, not just that first morning temperature either.  Things like mucus.  (I know, right?)  And of course, if you're obsessing (because you have to) every morning at 7AM sharp, it's hard to turn off the obsession.  It's simply not that easy to wake up, have the first thing you think about every day for six months be chart-temperature-maybe-babies soon how are things going body??!! , and then turn off the obsession for the rest of the day.

So you obsess and obsess and get no success which means you have to obsess even more.  And in obsessing over charts, I'm starting to wonder, is it me?  Is it because my luteal phase is shorter than average that this isn't working?  Because internets, let me tell you, everything was looking textbook-perfectly-triphasic this month, right up until ten days after ovulation, when BAM, luteal phase was over, temperature dropped, done.  What the hell, body?  Ten days is barely enough to get things rolling.  Apparently short luteal phases can cause miscarriages.

Okay, and before I go further, I know plenty of people will say well once we stopped obsessing, boom, babies happened!  That's wonderful for some people.  For others though, it's just not that easy; If I have a short luteal phase, ceasing the obsession won't exactly help me.  Doing nothing will, in fact, do the opposite of good.  Ignoring the possibly underlying maybe-infertility issue could, in fact, make things worse...

So now I have another thing to obsess about: do we continue trying, knowing that if it IS a short luteal phase issue any possible pregnancy success is super low and could just result in another miscarriage (cue more heartbreak, more waiting)?  Or do I just get in contact with the doctor now and look like I'm crazy, because I'm only 25 (Patrick is 27), and we have "plenty of time"?  Because the thing is, yes, we're young, but there are other factors to consider (professional ones and familial ones) that all in all make this something that would be so much better done sooner rather than later.  I realize we've only been trying for six months, but the miscarriage throws one wrench into things, the short luteal phase is another red flag for that, and all in all, it sure would be nice if having babies could just happen to us, like it seems to happen to plenty of people.  And I know that of all the infertility issues people could have that a short luteal phase defect (ugh, how does the word "defect" make you feel anything other than bad about yourself?) is at least fairly correctable.  Of course, if it is that, and I do get pregnant, now I'd just get to feel massively guilty and responsible if anything at all happened to cause another miscarriage.  All the while, of course, while other people are having babies, and asking us when we're going to have babies.

I tried shrugging off one comment by gently saying "We tried last month and it didn't work out..." and some people are really dense.  "Well you have to try more than once!  Har har!"

Yeah, when people deflect and defer such comments, take a hint and realize they really might be having issues.

So that's where I stand right now.  Frustrated and feeling a little more bitter each cycle.  Not towards anyone in particular.  Just towards my body, because it is failing me.  And like I said, I know on the fertility-issues scale, I have it pretty good.  If it's what I think it is, then it's not an instant this-won't-ever-work verdict.  But it doesn't mean I don't feel pretty rotten.


  1. Ah yes. I am in the exact same boat. Exact. Only we had two miscarriages last year, and I'm 31. I had a short luteal phase too and my doctor recommended that I take 600mg of B6 and 215 mg of vitex, also called Chaste Tree Berry, and last month my luteal phase was up to 14 days from 10 days. Also I'm on some obnoxious fat loss diet because fat holds a lot of estrogen which can make your luteal phase short, I don't drink coffee (bad for progesterone) or alcohol (also bad for progesterone) and I used to deeply enjoy both of those substances.

    So this is the cross our fingers month. I'm scared. yeah.

    But I think you should deff talk to your doctor I actually have long distance skype meetings with my ND back in Texas and she's great, I highly recommend here even though she's far away. She has really helped us a lot and shel goes for the least invasive healthiest options first, and she explains everything to you really well. Here is a link to her website. BAM:

    I hope that helps! But in the meantime lots of hugs.

  2. Man, and I even cut out most of the coffee, and was only having a few glasses of wine here or there. Although as soon as the luteal phase ended I had some beer to console myself. Gah, that's another downer -- having to cut out the comfort things in life, even when you're not pregnant! (I have this huge obsession -- the good kind! -- with Black Phoenix Alchemy essential oils, but am laying off of them, too. What a bummer.)

    I'm crossing my fingers for you! This sort of thing really does suck. :( Luckily I've got a doctor I like -- there's a separate women's center around here that takes my insurance, and she seems to be on the less-invasive track first (downplayed a D&C etc) so hopefully she continues to be helpful & stuff.

    Lots of hugs to you, too. This stuff is tough.

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  4. yeah the having to "act like you're pregnant" thing really sucks. It took me a year to fully cut out everything, I confess. I kept slipping up and having a beer or here and there. Life style changes are HARD. My Dr also says green tea is good, and if you get the good stuff than it can cut the cravings for other things. ugh.

  5. I honestly think it's harder for people like us because we're not even pregnant, so we don't even get the immediate payoff of "well, I'm not having a beer, but I'm having a baby!" Maybe it's a grass-is-greener thing, but still. I want to stomp and say it's simply not *fair*! Do you find yourself constantly checking everything you intake, making sure it doesn't have some side-effects to fertility? I heard about the green tea and researched it up!

    I feel like this is going to be soooo much worse once summer hits, because here in the South, about the only thing worth living for is a good mojito once it hits the unbearable 98% humidity+100-degrees outside time. I foresee a lot of virgin drinks in my summer future...

  6. yeah. I admit it's much easier now that I'm stuck in Aberdeen with no weddings and no travel and not a whole lot of friends yet (just moved a year a go). I'm from North Carolina so I know all about it, and I moved from Texas. I actually went back to Austin in October for a wedding & I gave myself a break from trying because I knew trying to go sober would be hopeless. But I didn't get my act together to start charting until November and as soon as I figured out the luteal phase thing & I knew I only had a short window when it would be a good idea for me to get pregnant (planning pregnancies around running your own business is a bi-atch) I was just like that's it - I'm going to give it my best shot - as long as I get to complain about the depravation.

    So actually also I think the B6, the vitex made a bigger difference than the booze. Kate (my ND) says that it's okay to have three nights of drinking per month, though she says not to drink after ovulation - and by nights of drinking you wouldn't want to have more than two or three I think. I just cut it all out because actually if I'm not drinking regularly then alcohol makes me totally wacky. Also it makes my temp go up & I have reoccurring nightmares about my fucking basil body temperature being wrong (which I find both hilarious and depressing), so-

    Also another good reason to go ahead and talk to your Dr, is Kate actually told me not to try again until my luteal phase was at least 13 days because she didn't want me to have another miscarriage. If the vitamins didn't work she would have recommended that I go on a progesterone cream.

    Anyhow I hope I'm not coming off all bossy and "this is what you should do" and "I know all the answers!" because I don't. I just live in the 'necessary obsession' world too, and there is so much that I wouldn't know about - and that doctors haven't told me about - that Kate has worked with me on, & I'm all about the knowledge sharing.

  7. Oh gosh you're not being bossy at all! Sharing information is super helpful! As far as drinking before/after ovulation, I heard the same goes for green tea -- I think it blocks folic acid absorption or something, but it's on my to-ask list for my doctor since some sites said simply taking a prenatal could offset that green tea side effect, so who knows! The Internet can be tricky to parse out sometimes. There are so many factors to everything!

    Yeah, the threat of another miscarriage due to a short luteal phase is what made me call my doctor's office a little while ago this morning...figured I'll see when I can get an appointment to check that B6 level -- at least those vitamins are cheap!

    And oh do I know about short windows. Basically, my father-in-law turns 70 this year, I finish grad school in the summer, and NEED to get a job that pays more once I have this degree, BUT I also have 8 weeks of sick time that I have earned (and have short-term disability benefits that I'm paying for), and I don't want to get a new job, then get pregnant, and not have as many benefits/job understanding about needing to take a ton of time off. Or get a new job, then get pregnant that week or something, and then have it be considered some pre-existing condition or something awful like that! Since I've been at this job since 2007, I feel like I have the "right" to take all that time off, whereas if I got a new job, I'd basically have to wait out of New Employee Low On the Totem Pole consideration. :-S Professional planning = a bitch indeed.