Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Charting once you hit the two-year mark

Everything Is A Cycle by Teagan White

Me: [filling out forms, writing down meticulously averaged length of cycles, thinks, makes a note after the weirdly precice decimal-included number]  *This range is averaged from 25 cycle/715 days of data.
OBGYN later: I thought it sounded like you might be having some trouble when I saw that note.
Me: Yep.

Hitting the two-year mark of charting (ok, I'm a few days shy, but who's counting?) (that was a joke) is kind of nuts, in my opinion.  So let's talk about it.  (AKA, hold on while I pontificate!)

The trouble with charting is that it is helpful and crazy-making, but for people who are drawn to charts & graphs like me, it's not something one can just...give up. Seriously, if you've been charting for what feels like forever -- your mileage will vary, for me hitting 2 years feels like forever, but I'm impatient -- and feel like you're going a little crazybonkers, then this article about how to track your cycles and chart your fertility without going super insane is a nice one. So there's that.

But then, it's not really the charting that's making me feel crazy.  I feel like I'm pointing at the charting because it's an obvious crazy-maker, but it's not really the culprit.  For my particular situation, the charting only tells me that everything looks like it should WORK.  It's really not telling me much I don't already know.  The charting isn't what drives me nuts, it's just an easy target when the larger things are much more complicated.  Saying 'This stupid charting, omg trying to wake up every morning at the same time without being ~disturbed~ prior is insane-making when it's not bringing any tangible result' is easier sometimes than admitting that this entire process makes me feel incredibly defeated.

BUT: Someday, all of this will be a memory, no matter how life ends up.  Everything is a cycle.  And just to be clear, it's not that I *want* to obsess over this issue constantly, but the nature of the issue practically prescribes obsession; there seems to be no happy middle ground.  Either you get the data and start trippin' trying different things, or you don't and you don't ever get a family (because with our batting average the magical mystery miracle seems far-fetched).  Or you go a little batty and still lose, there's that.  But the way the options stack up, choosing the crazy path wins every time.

And of course, the obsessive data-tracking means every time it's like, maybe-maybe-maybe, a sort of amnesia, a forgetting.  Sometimes I'll Google some random "cd 26 [symptom]" and find I've searched that term before in my history.  I'm brilliant.  I catch on quick.  Uh-huh.  But, everything is a cycle, and someday this cycle will end.  (Preferably the way I want it to, because that's how life totally works, ha ha.)

I sound really cynical and I'm sorry if this blog is a total Cirque du Sads, but I'm mostly just treading water, whistling along and humming randomly and trying to figure and think it all out in this strange ocean.  Blogging is my pair of inflatable floaties.  As my Spanish teacher used to say incessantly over and over, sink or swim, you sink or swim.  I like to think I haven't sunk yet.

(stupid data-collecting)


  1. Who's counting indeed.

    Firstly, you don't sound cynical and really, it's your blog anyway so you shouldn't have to apologize for whatever you wanna put out there. The crazy making is one of the reasons I never started charting, not that I think it's worked. That is, I am probably just as crazy. Having said that, I did return to using OPKs recently (after some wierd hormonal shifts), and found it kinda reassuring and sanity-preserving to have that feedback, even if it never gets me the result I'm looking for. So there's that.

    This comment is walking in circles, but I guess I'd say that I'm sure you haven't sunk and I'm somehow glad that we can all float alongside each other. That also stops the crazy.

    1. I did end up using a digital OPK (so much easier, so worth the extra money) this last cycle after skipping them for several due to living apart from my husband as I moved for my new career...but I'm hesitant to buy another one for this cycle because it just seems like it's not getting me anywhere. :( But when I do use them I DO find it really reassuring, so I totally, totally hear you there.

      I am so, so thankful for the online infertility community. As with other hard times in my life, the Internet has been a wonderful, wonderful lifeboat.

  2. *Hugs* .
    As Sadie, I have also never charted, mostly because I *know* my super regular cycle. It is always, always 26 days. And anyway, I have read that by the time you notice the temperature change, ovulation *already* happened, so I never saw the use, by the time you get that info it's kind of too late since you want to know before.
    I knew I would become crazy with the data, and I am already going crazy with all this biology knowledge (that sounds arrogant but I don't mean it that way, it's just, we do this stuff to cows, and we had several subjects on fertility matters). Moreover, from what I have read, it is better to have intercourse BEFORE ovulation. Since sperm can live from 48-72 hrs we calculated that starting day 7, and skipping a day should have us covered. Of course it did not work so feel free to ignore all of the above.
    But, now that we have been through 5 IUIs my theories have been proven. On all these cycles we have seen with echography monitoring that I have systematically ovulated every single time on day 11 as predicted by me (26 - 15), also taking into account other factors (CM for which I do check). I thought I had a short luteal phase, but my progesterone levels are fine, and now I get supplementation anyway. It is just a mystery.
    I just got some mineral pills (Copper, Zinc, Manganese and B complex)it's my new thing. This is just gambling, I read a new thing, I try it, if you tell me eating mud helpw I will do it. I think I am crazy already.

    1. Yeah, I pretty much just use charting these as my way to prove hey, it's not xyz, look my charts prove it! rather than a way to aid any sort of conception. I only temp after ovulation and that's really to keep myself from buying any expensive pregnancy tests -- if I see my temperature dropping and dropping I know exactly when to expect my period. On one hand I know I could in theory stop and the outcome would probably be the same, but it's actually less crazy-making for me because it ends up shortening the two-week-wait if I can see nope, no high temps, everything's shooting down after ovulation, no need to even hope. Which sounds....really depressing, typing it out, but when I wasn't charting I was WAY more tempted to buy tests, and that's just money down the drain that two-week-wait me wanted to burn. So, temping! Charting! AHHHHHH.

      But it's nice to have SO MANY perfect charts to show doctors that no, it's not that I'm not ovulating, no, my charts are quite regular thankyou, look see we bang it out on all these days, give me a gold star dammit!

      I'm mostly just fussy because the doctor who was willing to look into HSG testing for me is on vacation all this week so I'm stuck missing the test this cycle. I'm a fussbudget right now so I'm taking it out on charting!

    2. Sorry you're having to wait on the doctor and the scheduling of your HSG (it's never fun to feel like you're 'wasting' a cycle when they all seem precious). But I will say that I know two women who got pregnant the cycle following their HSGs; apparently there's something about the procedure that increases your fertility briefly, so fingers crossed it might work that way for you too once you get it!