Turns out, the spotting that I am having is definitely not my cycle. Fun, right?
So, after not experiencing my normal period, I became concerned and decided to call the RE’s office. I was concerned that I had missed my window of opportunity for the blood work to begin the birth control medication. They scheduled me first thing this morning, and told me they were going to do an ultrasound. Dr. Cass was not in today, so I was seen by a different Doctor. Hooray for another instance of, “Hi, nice to meet you! Here’s my vagina.”
I explained what I have been experiencing to this new Doctor before he performed the ultrasound, and he in turn explained a few things that happen to a woman’s body when she is under a great deal of stress.
Here’s the science: The pituitary gland controls all the necessary hormones that are needed to help you ovulate, have a period, and achieve a successful pregnancy. When you experience a great deal of trauma or stress, the pituitary doesn’t function the way that it is supposed to, and doesn’t release the proper amount of hormones which can delay ovulation – or cause it not to happen at all. Guess what my problem was? If you guessed that I didn’t ovulate this month, you are CORRECT and you get a gold star. Not from me, but some other jabroni that carries around gold star stickers. The doctor also confirmed that the spotting I have been experiencing is coming from a physiologic cyst as a result from not ovulating. This also made a lot of sense, because I had a cramp yesterday that took the breath right out of me and couldn’t figure out what it was from. Now, before anyone panics – these cysts are incredibly normal and happen all the time. This is my body operating (almost) the way it should. I dont have polycystic ovaries (PCOS), cancer, or anything scary. This article is tremendously helpful in explaining the difference in cysts if you are so inclined: http://www.cmdrc.com/womens-health/ovarian-cysts/. Basically, all follicles before they release an egg for ovulation are considered ‘cysts’. Once you’ve ovulated, they disappear. Since I did not ovulate, it is just hanging out in my ovary – having a lovely time. Starting the birth control is exactly what I would need to control the cyst. So, problem solved?
After the ultrasound, the Doctor advised that we should be able to proceed as normal with the IVF treatment plan. They took my blood and will be calling me around 2PM today to confirm that I am okay to start the two-week prescription of birth control pills. If I get the all clear, I will be filling that today and starting them tonight. I have another appointment on May 9th to assess our progress and if the cyst has dissipated, Dean and I will be taught how to do the injections, sign all the paperwork/actually pay for the IVF process. If they haven’t seen enough progress with the cyst, they may give me an additional two weeks of birth control.
I am feeling very reflective after this experience, and very thankful for how in tune I am with my body. Trying to conceive and dealing with infertility has really made me aware of what my ‘normal’ is. Being able to track that is extraordinarily helpful. That’s how I realized our pregnancy was ectopic in the first place – my body didn’t feel right. At the insistence of a few friends, I finally called the Doctor. Thankfully, that pregnancy didn’t rupture and I had medical care that same day. If it ruptured, I would have been bleeding internally.
Now with this recent cyst – if I hadn’t called the Doctor, we might have missed our window and had to wait until my next cycle to begin our treatment. When everything with infertility is ‘hurry up and wait’, being forced to endure another month is really a lot more difficult than one would think.
So, if anyone out there is currently trying to conceive, or dealing with infertility – some of the best advice I can give you is to learn and track what is normal for your body. There are plenty of ‘tracking’ apps for your period (I am loyal to Fertility Friend and Clue) and all your symptoms. When you see that data and can compare your charts, you begin to learn what is normal for your body and this way, you can be your best advocate. Trust yourself!