IVF Diary Vol III begins!

Here we are again.  It’s like deja vu, right?  Seriously, Christmas seemed like ages ago, but somehow IVF round 2 only felt like a week or two ago.  It’s all come around again quickly for us.  I don’t feel quite so ready for it – mentally, my mind has been at work, physically, my body has been at work (hahaha!) what I really mean is – I need to do some exercise!!!

I started my Birth Control Pills on Thursday evening and phoned the nurse who is covering for my nurse whilst she is on leave to schedule in my IVF cycle.  She gave me the important dates and told me she would order my medications.  I put down the phone with dates in my hand, excited…then a little later realised that she hadn’t asked me what meds I had left over from my last cycle! Aghhh!  And it was very late friday afternoon so I knew there was no chance of catching her in time.  Also, I haven’t received notification from the Pharmacy yet that my prescription has arrived with them  and I need my Lupron by Thursday morning!  I am in Washington DC for two days next week, so my only real day to receive by FedEx my giant box of medication goodies in time would be Monday.   Aghhhhhh!!!!! I hate this last minute panic thing!!! I am sure it will all be fine and the script will be with the Pharmacy today.  Zen Dani……Zen.

I had my last alcoholic beverage last night – a wonderful glass or two or red wine. Bye bye alcohol!  Although this cycle has creeped up on me, I am feeling excited.  This is it.  It’s all or nothing now!!!! Wish us luck!!!!! Eeeeeeek….

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IVF cycle 3 Calendar

Chris told me I was too graphic in my last post about my period, so here is a Too Much Information Warning…….!!!! Don’t read past here if you don’t like reading about periods! I’ve been popping the painkillers for my period and surviving OK, the short sharp pains have gone, thankfully, it’s just the typical period pains now.  But I did have something happen to me that I’ve never had before.  I passed a ball of old thick dark black blood about the size of a large grape.  It wasn’t clotty, but thick and sticky, kind of like a truffle!  I got a little freaked out, but then remembered that putting a camera into your uterus and taking a biopsy from the the uterine lining 9 days before your period is probably not a normal every month occurrence; so I should not be surprised my body is doing some weird things.  I have a post-op appointment next week, so I will mention it just to be sure.  (Things I never thought I’d write about and share to the public world – my period!)

Period after HSG and miscarriage

If you are not into reading about periods and period blood you should stop reading this now and come back tomorrow when I will be talking about less gross things in life 🙂

This is my first period since my recent Hysterosalpingogram – HSG – test.  This is also (probably) my second period since my miscarriage.  And it’s a weird one!!  It is on schedule – for which I am truly grateful for (isn’t it funny how we celebrate the little wins on this journey!!).  But this period is weird so far.  The pains are different, I cannot explain what is different about them, they don’t hurt so much, but the pain ‘rumbles’ inside me rather than the typical’radiating’ and ‘sharp’ pains I get from my normal period.  The blood is a heavy watery-pinky-mucusy mix.  Normally I get dark brown or red, thick and clotty blood.

So I got onto my friend google (like you do in a situation when weird stuff happens to your body).  I extensively searched for possible causes and whether this is normal or something I should call the nurse about.  My biggest concern is that my uterus lining won’t be up to scratch in preparation for our next round of IVF.

The best and corroborated explanation for this unexpected weirdness is that it may be an indicator of anemia or low iron stores and/or unbalanced diet/suffer from poor digestion.  Both of these things are plausible in my case, but can be easily resolved with some supplements.

I was worried it could be associated with the HSG procedure or the miscarriage, but it seems to not be the case.  So nothing to  worry about or to call the nurse about specifically, but I will mention it when I speak to her next.

Crisis averted, thank you google!  Now….pass me the liver and spinach 🙂

Funny conversations you probably only have when suffering infertility #1

confusingThere are probably a few conversations we will only ever have as a direct result of suffering from infertility.  This particular conversation ended up to be completely random as I feel more comfortable talking about my period with my husband now, so here is how it went….

(Scene – In car on way home from Softball game)

Dani (nonchalantly and randomly not expecting a response from Chris) : “I hate my period, why does my period have to be so sucky?”

Chris: “Does your retroverted uterus effect your period?  If it wasn’t upside down, would that mean your period will happen faster?”

Dani: “Hmmmm well I already suffer from twice as much blood as the daily average, but in half the amount of time, so I don’t think gravity has much of an impact on my blood flow!  But it is a good point…I wonder if gravity impacts periods and whether an upside down uterus means that blood has to be squeezed out rather than gravitationally slowly falling out as it de-lines.  Is this potentially why my period is twice as heavy each day but over and done with in 2 or 3 days?”

Dani picks up iPhone and asks Siri: “Does gravity affect menses?”

Siri replies with several websites, mostly focusing on women in space travel.  It is FASCINATING!!!! So what do you think?  How does a woman have a period in space?

Here is an article from www.thestraightdope.com that fully answered our question and more…EVERY DAY IS A SCHOOL DAY!!!!!

Dear Cecil:

Without gravity, how do female astronauts menstruate while in space?

Cecil replies:

For a while there, Gayle, the question wasn’t how women would menstruate in space but whether it was too risky to find out.

Although the first female cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova, had flown inVostok 6 in 1963, women were excluded from the U.S. space program during its early years. The official reason for this was that, as a matter of policy, U.S. astronauts were drawn from the ranks of military test pilots, and all the test pilots were men. If you ask me, though, the real reason was American male panic about women and their mysterious inner workings. Several plane crashes in the 1930s had involved menstruating female pilots, and experts — male experts, of course — suggested that putting a woman with “menstrual disturbances” in the cockpit was an invitation to disaster. Eventually the more hysterical fears receded, but some space medics still harbored serious concerns about menstruation when NASA began planning to put women in space in the 1970s.

From a certain point of view, I suppose, these concerns weren’t completely crazy. When a woman has her period, normally the menstrual flow is forcibly expelled from the cervix. However, given the low-gravity environment of space, some scientists wondered about the possibility of “retrograde menstruation,” the backward flow of menstrual blood up into the fallopian tubes. This occurs sometimes on earth and is thought to lead to endometriosis, a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows where it shouldn’t. Prior to the 1983 space shuttle flight by Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman to exit our atmosphere, consultants told NASA that female astronauts should take hormones to manage their menstrual cycles to reduce flow volume and ideally avoid having a period while in space.

Unsurprisingly, to women anyway, most of the anticipated problems never materialized. There’s no evidence retrograde menstruation occurs in space, and even if it did, it probably wouldn’t cause endometriosis: reverse flow seems to trigger this condition only in those who experience it chronically. Returning women astronauts who’ve menstruated in space report that everything worked the way it usually does. The mechanics of a zero-G period haven’t been fully explicated in the scientific literature, but according toPrinciples of Clinical Medicine for Space Flight (2008), astronauts have “access to multiple sanitary products for menstruation, including pads, mini-pads, and tampons in plain and deodorant versions,” and presumably capillary attraction accomplishes what the lack of gravity can’t. (We might have predicted as much, since bedridden women usually menstruate OK.) Incidentally, for times when going to the bathroom is impossible for an extended period, such as launches, spacewalks, and landings, “crewmembers of both sexes have available a maximum absorbency garment (MAG) that can retain up to 2000 ml of urine, blood, or feces.” Not your ideal working conditions, but a small sacrifice to make for the world’s coolest job.

Female astronauts do face some challenges in space. Internal medicine specialist and space buff William Rowe notes that women are more likely to develop decompression sickness during their periods. That’s a problem mostly during space walks, so he suggests any excursion by a woman be timed for a different part of her cycle. Before you peg Rowe as a chauvinist scumbucket, note that he also thinks women are, on the whole, better suited than men to a low-gravity environment. In a 2004 article in the Journal of Men’s Health and Gender, he argues that for long-term space exploration an all-female crew might be the best bet. His reasons:

(1) Menstruation rids the body of iron. That’s a good thing, because space flight can reduce one’s production of a protein that normally sops up excess iron, and “increased free iron can be extremely toxic.”

(2) Women produce a lot more estrogen than men, and they also have lower epinephrine levels. For reasons we needn’t get into, these factors reduce the likelihood of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems while in space.

(3) Some of the Apollo 15 astronauts experienced pain and swelling of their fingertips while on the surface of the moon. Rowe hypothesizes that this is less likely to happen to women because “estrogen reduces vascular smooth muscle tone.”

It might also be pointed out that women on average take up less room in cramped spacecraft cabins, consume fewer resources, and are more inclined to ask for directions when lost. Finally, to be blunt, who would you rather have up there: female astronauts who, worst case, are hormonally challenged on a fairly predictable schedule once a month, or male astronauts subject to random testosterone attacks any time at all?