Friday, January 20, 2012

The Answer to Yesterday's "Hazard a Guess?" post...

Most of you had an idea what I was holding in yesterdays "Hazard a Guess?" post.  I ended up holding back most of the responses (and publishing them this morning) after the first ten minutes because they were so overwhelmingly right, which makes me imagine than more than one of you would understand the acronym: POAS (which was actually the hint I gave along with the post on my facebook page).

First I'll clarify one thing:  I was not announcing that I have cancer (I'm guessing that answer was because of the snood?  If you'd like to read about headcovering, click here).  If I did have a horrible announcement of that sort it certainly wouldn't be in a picture with a smile, with my husband sneaking in and flexing.  But I digress... back to the original post:

The answer to the question is... 100 pregnancy tests.

Yes, 100.  I buy them in bulk from Amazon.  I usually only order 50 at a time, but since I've gone through 50 since October (that would be about 16 a month?  Ugh.) I decided to double this order and hope that I didn't have to order again until summer (or better yet, for like 2 years).  And as I mentioned, I'm really hoping that I'll be giving away at least half, if not like 99 of them (which would be the dream).  50 tests are $9.41.  I bought two packs (and the book Saint Catherine of Sienna by Sigrid Undset, which I've been wanting to order for months) to get the free Super Saver Shipping.

I have a pack of the blue ovulation tests too, but they just depress me, originally because they were hard to understand (the bottom line has to be darker than the top line, not just "there" like a pregnancy test for them to be "positive") and then later because they're blank all. the. time.  Completely blank.  Like not a drop of luteinizing hormone showing up.  Ever.

I should really be thrilled about the LH tests (not the blank part) because the package I ordered before my D&C did really speed things along (if anything that happened during the entire experience could have been called "speedy").

You see I'd wondered if, through everything that was going on, I could be ovulating, so I took the test and it came back positive. The next day I took another, because I'd found out about the whole "tests have to be super dark to be counted as positive" thing and wasn't sure if it had been dark enough.  This time the bottom strip was definitely darker than the top.  For some reason (this is where my addiction to taking tests comes in handy) I took another one the next day.  Still positive.  For a couple weeks it was positive.

I knew that was not how LH tests were supposed to work.  Which is what took me back to retaking a pregnancy test (I'd had 1 negative and thought I was done) and finding out it was still positive (everyday for weeks while I tried to find a doctor who would listen), which was the giant red flag (okay, first I was excited and thought maybe I was pregnant).

As we all know I wasn't and along with everything else that happened, it led to finding an NFP OB,  who immediately did the right tests, found the problem and ordered a D&C.  I think knowing that LH tests can come back positive if your pregnant is very good to know!

But back to the pregnancy tests (and the reason for giant quantity).

These past two months I've learned the meaning of the word "anovulatory."  It's not a fun word.  It had me on the verge of tears sometimes.  This month looks anovulatory, and when I actually thought back on last month, I'm pretty sure it was too.  Blank LH tests and about 10 days of my body "trying" to ovulate (I'll avoid being too graphic with too many details).

This means super long cycles and lots of time to test because the amount of time from when I "might" have ovulated is so far from when the next cycle starts.  And basically what it means, if you've never had it happen, is that from your bodies signals you think you've ovulated.  And then it signals (think Creighton method) that you've ovulated again.  And again.  And again.  If you've had an anovulatory cycle you know what's happening.  If you don't you spend a month baffled, wondering if you're body released 10 eggs, until you talk to a friend whose taken the Creighton class and explains what's going on and tries to calm your near hysterics (thank goodness for Martha!).

For those of you who've gone through this for any extended period of time:  I am so, so sorry.  It makes me a little crazy and it's only been two months.

I do wonder if it's linked to the Prometrium, because I did find various sites where women who'd taken it had an anovulatory cycle the next month.  But no one mentioned two (which had me right back in panic mode after briefly calming down) and there was a doctor who wrote in saying that it absolutely does not affect ovulation.

I am going back to my general practitioner today for the follow up to my cardiologist visit (my heart is 100% okay, with the exception of a resting heart-rate the went between 97-120 during the visit, which could point to a thyroid problem, but is within the range of "normal").  So I'm hoping I can convince her to refer me to my own OB, so that our insurance will cover the visit.  I'm a little worried, because any time I mention knowing anything about my cycle, the doctors I've gone to usually look at me like I'm insane, for example a response of: "How could you possibly know when you ovulated?!?!?!" in an annoyed tone.

And that, in one rather long post, is what's been going on.  I know I'm stressing out way more than I should and that I just need to relax (and I didn't even write the post I'd intended to write, which is about how much I hate buying pregnancy tests in stores, where the clerk more often than not acts like they feel sooooooo sorry for me... and it wasn't even the other post I intended to write about my lack of formal NFP training...).  But relaxing is easier said than done!  I doubt I'll get any answers today, but hopefully I can get a referral that sends us in the right direction (to my NaPro/NFP OB!).

Because frankly, I'm really ready to host that giveaway.  I don't think I've ever been more excited about the idea.


  1. I feel your pain Cam! My daughter was born and died in May 2010. 20 Months later I don't have to worry about cycles anymore but for 14 months I didn't have an actual cycle and then they were off the wall when they did return. I'd pretty much given up and we were going to start looking into adoption (which we plan on doing eventually anyway)!
    I hope it doesn't take much longer for your body to figure things out. You'll be in my prayers.

  2. Hey Cam, I had one thought of what might be the reason for anovulatory cycles. I know you had the m/c at 14 weeks, but you didn't have the surgery until 3 months later, would would have been 20-something weeks and you were still getting + pregnancy tests until the surgery, is that right?

    Did you notice any sort of increased milk supply after the surgery? Anytime a women stops being pregnant after 20 weeks, her milk comes in, and I wonder if it's possible that your body thought you were 20+ weeks weeks pregnant at surgery and therefore, the decrease in hormones was similar to after giving birth and you might might have had milk "come in", and since you have a nursing toddler (even if she doesn't nurse that often), it's almost like your body is 'resetting' your fertility after birth (and Mae's nursing is affecting it) similar to the way it takes awhile for fertility to return after giving birth when a women is breastfeeding. I know that anovulatory cycles are not uncommon for breastfeeding mothers. Of course, since you have a toddler and not a newborn, I would expect full fertility to return much quicker than after a regular birth, but I think it is possible it could take a few months after a very late m/c before things return to normal and you become fully fertile.

    P.S.(Don't post this if you don't want to. I just wanted to throw that idea out, so you could maybe mention it to the OB and see what she says. It just seems possible to me that because you would have been pretty far along by the time everything was cleared out, that your body interpreted it almost as birth and it takes awhile for fertility to return after birth.

  3. Oh wow Amelia, I did notice my milk increase after the D&C (and yes the tests were positive until the surgery, 3 months later), and I just figured it was because it always decreases so much with the pregnancy hormones that it was just going back to normal. I didn't even think of that possibility! That is definitely something I'll mention when I go in. If it was that it would make me feel so much better. Because of course my big worry is that it's something from those three months that's wrong and so if it were something that were a natural result I'd feel a million times better about it. Mae's only nursing one to two times a day, so hopefully if that is it it won't be too long.

    Hannah- Hugs. Thank you for sharing (and I'm so sorry for your loss...). I keep telling myself that the moment I stop worrying it will probably just happen and go back to normal! But it's so hard not to worry!

  4. Maybe your body and your family are not ready to have another child. Your girls are still very, very young. YOU are still very young. Your husband is in school full-time and unemployed. It sounds like you're financially not in the best place. Your home is very small and you're having a hard time keeping up with the housework. You're not near any family. You've had some really serious, scary health problems lately. You've suffered the loss of a pregnancy. You've had multiple Cesareans. Do you even have health insurance? Your family has dealt with a lot of change and upheaval lately. Be patient. There are no medals given, on Earth or in Heaven, for having children as quickly as possible or having the largest family. Remember, Mary herself was the mother of only one! It sounds like there are a lot of good reasons God is asking you to wait and trust that your body will tell you when the time is right. My prayers are with you.

  5. That's a lot of judgment in one post anonymous. If you read the post it says we have insurance. I keep up just fine with my housework thank you very much. My home is not small. It's 1500 square feet. If you can't put your name to something, don't say it. You read a blog and you think you know someone. But you, very obviously, don't know me at all. Maybe you should move on to another blog, because I don't need the sort of "charitable advice" you're giving. Look to your own home.

    If there's a problem, we need to figure it out. After all if I'd listened to "trust your body" I'd still be retaining placenta.

  6. Hi Cam! We'll be hoping that you get to have that giveaway soon!! I'm sure your body will regulate soon, and don't let the negative people get you down in the meantime. I don't have personal experience with ovulation issues, but I do know that exercising on a regular basis can help regulate cycles after pregnancy. I know you walk a bunch with the girls and used to do a ton of sports, but it's the best idea I can come up with to supplement Amelia's great point!

  7. My Dearest Cams,
    I hope you get good news today! I really wish I was near you so you have some friend back up. I send my heart and a hug.

  8. There might be something to Amelia's post. I have no way of knowing, of course, but I've experienced quite a bit of anovulatory months since we ecologically breastfeed. Average time postpartum without a cycle for me is about 13 months. What I've learned about my own body is that hormones are very delicately balanced. It can be difficult sometimes to figure out what is going on and why. With everything that you have gone through, I wouldn't be surprised at all that you are having strange cycles. I remember that my body was pretty crazy after my miscarriage. I had pregnancy symptoms for quite a while and it just took time for things to adjust. The pregnancy that I had following the miscarriage was incredibly difficult and I still believe that my body had not fully recovered it's balance from the miscarriage. My SIL had a miscarriage and struggled with anovulatory cycles for 2 years until she found a NaPro doc who put her on progesterone. She was pregnant within a month! (Incidentally, it appears now that she has retained part of the placenta after birth one month ago. She has been sick and didn't know why. They finally discovered the problem and she will be at the hospital today. Since you have been through it... would you mind saying a prayer for her? I am grateful they have discovered the problem but medical intervention is always troubling.)

    Please be gentle with yourself about this. Your body is still healing... You have been through so much! I'll be praying for you to find a wonderful NaPro. :)

    Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You.

  9. Melody- You and Amelia both always have good advice!

    Prayers for your SIL! I'm so glad they figured out what the problem was. I remember how worried I was before the D&C. It seems like such a small surgery, but it's still scary.

    I'd find it much easier to accept this if it's natural. My cycles have returned both times, 6 months postpartum. I've never had actual anovulatory ones that I remember... there was always a clear date for ovulation once they started up again, which is part of what's been so confusing for me. The part that confuses me is the cycles without ovulation (although I'm learning more and more).

    I just really want to make sure it's not a hormonal inbalance, because I do think that's involved. The progesterone made me so off... and I'm wondering about the thyroid thing.

  10. My daughter had 27 months of no cycles after her daughter was born (still breastfeeding), for some moms (at least with some of their babies) fertility doesn't return for a very, very long time. Obviously this wasn't true for you, but things may have changed. The miscarriage and subsequent medication may well have triggered an additional period of infertility for you. My neighbor (this is many years ago) had a miscarriage after her first baby. The doctor gave her Depo-Prevara to try to prevent the miscarriage, but the end result was years of infertility. There are five years between her first and her second, but she then had a third less than two years later. The doctor did have her on Clomid for awhile, but she was no longer on the medication when she finally conceived. Sometimes the hormones that doctors hand out really can interfere with the body's own natural rhythms. Hopefully having a really good NFP type OB will help things get back on track quickly. Anovulatory cycles can happen if you're very thin, and sometimes they can happen for no apparent reason at all (it happened to me when I was in college, and there was never any explanation for it).

    Sometimes even when you cycle while breastfeeding you can ovulate, but have a very short luteal phase which prevents a viable pregnancy.

    For the moment, keep taking care of yourself, and getting good medical attention, but also know that God's plans are not always identical with ours. I know that your heart, and your family's hearts are ready for another baby. I'll pray that God blesses you soon.

  11. It is exceedingly difficult to not worry. If not downright impossible. Especially in matters so dear to one's heart and having to do with one's vocation. I had basically given up. I didn't even think I'd ovulated the cycles I in fact got pregnant! Just goes to show that God is in fact in charge! What Amelia said makes a lot of sense! I really hope you do find some normalcy in your cycles soon.

  12. I feel your pain. I do the Creighton model and after charting for 45+ days, we have used ONE green sticker. Meaning all my other stickers have been 'white baby' stickers- normally signaling fertility but obviously every single last one of them was infertile for me because no one has 45+ days of infertility. Ick! I'm praying for you. Your body may just be working on healing itself.

  13. Skipping all of the controversy going on, I will tell you that I thought I was having anovulatory cycles when we conceived our twins. :) You never know! God bless.

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