Sunday, August 7

Testing, testing....

So, we've officially entered the "Diagnosis and Testing" phase. You're supposed to get pregnant when you stop using birth control. You know--the usual story, sperm meets egg, egg says yes, baby ensues. But each passing cycle has made me realize--we may have a problem Houston. And the woman is usually the first to realize they may have a fertility problem. And usually the husband, and others around them, need convincing that medical intervention, or at least exploration, may be necessary. (Which was totally the case--you should have seen Greg's face when I asked him to do the semen analysis!! And even the consultation, he looks at me like I've lost my mind!) But, the thing is, exploring early, rather than putting it off, can increase the chances for a successful outcome. The earlier a problem is identified, the sooner you can fix it--and we can get on with our lives.

Anyhoo, I started Wednesday. Which means: tests, tests and more tests. And not just of the pee-on-a-stick variety. Though, I've gone down and forked over the monthly investment in LH and PG tests. I also bought a BBT thermometer. The Dr. wants me to track my temperature as well as use the LH/OPK tests, as an additional confirmation of ovulation. Great--so far I've taken three temperature readings, and they're all different--how is that supposed to work!?!? Whatever. But, yes, made the small fortune investment in the usual OTC pharmacy tests. This is getting pricey.

Wed was "Day 1" as they call it, the day which I was supposed to call and schedule my tests.

They want to run three tests this month--its your basic "entry level" infertility exams--apparently for those that aren't ready to commit to a full-blown work-up? I don't know. But this month will include (full details below): an FSH/Estradial test, an HSG and a Pooled Progesterone.

The FSH and Estradiol tests are two hormone tests run from a blood draw early in the cycle, which I went in for on day 2 (Thursday). Apparently, elevated levels of either can indicate poor egg quality/quantity. I was supposed to get the results from that on Friday, but didn't guess I'll call Monday.

The HSG is a dye test--they inject a dye into your uterus and track it as it travels through the uterus, fallopian tubes and out your tubes into your abdominal cavity. Essentially makes sure there's no blockages, etc. There's a description of it here. Warning: they use the term "frog leg position" (nice) and of course banty about words like "cervix" and "vagina"--not for the faint of heart. But they do have this very cool picture of someone's actual uterus:

Anyhoo--I've been trying to schedule that one for days. It needs to be done early--so it doesn't interfere with conception. I'm freaking out. When I went in on Thursday, they said to call Sunday for a Monday appointment. I called and they couldn't get me in until Tuesday--then they called back and Un-scheduled me, and said they'd call me tomorrow. I'm not happy, not happy at all.

The third test is a Pooled Progesterone test. Pooled because its actually three blood draws, three different days, three different progesterone levels, that are then averaged for one level. Progesterone apparently is supposed to prepare the uterine lining for implantation and support early pregnancy. I have, of course, in all my infinite medical knowledge, determined this is what is actually wrong with me. Well--related to fertility anyway. We won't talk about the rest.

Anyway, I am supposed to call the first day I get my LH surge. That is considered "Day 0" of the "Luteal Phase"--or the last two weeks before your period starts again. You take the three samples on any three days between day 5 and day 9 of the Luteal Phase. So, 5,7,9 or 5,6,8 or whatever.

So, there you have it, the testing schedule. Oh, I realized I never mentioned where I was going--I'm going to Seattle Reproductive Medicine seeing Dr. Lin, whom I like. Apparently he speaks at the local Resolve meetings--very cool. Thinking about checking out a meeting or something of theirs--great topics. Oooh, and a chance to volunteer--Greg will love that. He's never seen a volunteer opportunity he could resist.

In other news--the dog finally stopped puking or whatever it was she was doing. See, we were never around/awake to see the actual act--merely lucky enough to deal with the results. Whatever it was, it was absolutely disgusting. But, it was puzzling, as it was intermittent, some days she was fine, other days, not so great. Finally figured it out--I watched her closely the other day when I let her out to go to the bathroom, I wanted to see a)that she was peeing (so I knew she wasn't too dehydrated) and b) what else was coming out, specifically its state (lovely, can't look forward to doing this with a KID!). Well, instead of going potty, she guiltily meandered over to the shed, casting a few furtive glances back over her shoulder at me. Odd behavior, I thought--she never gives the shed a second look usually. She seemed to be checking something out--so I ambled over for a peek. Lo and behold, there, in all its glory, the bag of lawn fertilizer my precious hubby bought--and not just any lawn fertilizer, but a wonderful, smelly "Safe for Kids and Pets!!!!!!" fish-based fertilizer--who could resist!?!?!? And here was Diva, who had torn open a hole in the bag, and was snacking blissfully away, thinking in her little lab brain "Oh my god, I've found HEAVEN!". Until of course brought back to earth with a sharp butt whack and reprimand (note to self--can I get a sharp butt whack when discovered devouring my favorite Ben & Jerry's?).

Safe for Pets, yes, but perhaps not meant to be ingested by the Mouthful? Just a thought. And, god, no wonder it stank so bad!!! Called Poison Control (we're now on a first name basis--btw, did you know there's a Mister Yuk SONG?!?! I was so excited when I found out, I sang it all day!) Apparently, fertilizers in general aren't actually poisonous--they just cause significant gastrointestinal upset. So THAT'S what it was--gastrointestinal upset--ha, I'd say SERIOUS GASTROINTESTINAL PISSED-OFF-ED-NESS if you ask me!! Gross! She did placate me by saying Labs were their best Canine customers--though she was nicer and said it was because they were so curious. I think I would have maybe chosen different words.

Anyway, thank god that's over. Yuk.


Anonymous Liza said...

I don't want to scare you, but the HSG test was the most painful medical testing procedure I've ever had. Ugh!

Make sure you take someone whose hand you can squeeze the life out of, and find out what painkillers the docs will let you take after the fact, given that you're TTC.

I got so tense through the test that I had sore muscles throughout my torso for 2-3 days after, although it hurt so much the first day that I didn't realize until the second day that it was partially sore muscles I was feeling.

Good luck!

5:58 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you Liza for the info! But--ack!! I wish I had seen it sooner! Went in that am--and you were right, I wish I had had someone with me...I'll blog about it shortly, but wanted to say thanks!!

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually got up and left during my HSG test. My gynelcologist is on vacation so her associate was scheduled to do the test. First she did something that felt like a cut and I said ouch. She said "Oh sorry I didn't tell you I was going to do anything" Then I started to pronounce it was painful, then very painful she said "Well I have to try again it didn't work" Then I said what seems to be the problem? "She said well your cervix is just so tight" Then as she tried again and I exclaimed it was very painful she then said "Oh, and this isn't even the painful part". So, I abruptly said, well if that's the case I think we should stop. I left, called my gynecologists office and told them I was not pleased at all and when my Gynecologist returns from vacation I would like to talk to her.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have secondary infertility...that is, I have a three-year-old son, but can't seemed to get knocked up this time around. I was very concerned about this test. Terrified, in fact, because my sister had said it was dreadful. I put off doing it for a couple of months out of fear. But it was, in my case, totally painless. There I was--tensed up and teary on the table--and all the sudden it was done.

I suspect having already had a child (by c-section, but after dilating to 8 inches) made the difference. But I think it's worth it to let other women know that this procedure does vary from person to person, like so many things do.

The test also has some side benefits. One of my tubes apparently opened *during* the test, forced open by the dye. My OB is unsure whether there was a blockage or whether the tube just spasmed, but either way, those tubes are open.

12:17 PM  

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