Of course my body is not cooperating. Why would she?
I shouldn’t say that. As of yesterday morning, my dominant follicle had grown to 20 mm. My uterine lining is picture perfect, demonstrating the revered “triple stripe” pattern that fertility doctors like to see (though it only measured 7 mm in thickness yesterday, at cycle day 10, with which the RE was happy but I was a little disappointed, because that’s my job in this business – being disappointed – it seems). I’m getting that telltale pinching feeling in my right ovary (housing the dominant follicle) that suggests the egg sheltered in that follicle should be bursting forth any moment now. But something critical is still missing.
You may have guessed what’s conspicuously absent (apart from ovulation). I am still, like Estragon and Vladimir, waiting. I am waiting for those little test strips to turn positive, indicating a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) that means my pituitary gland has gotten the message that said follicle is ready to explode and said egg is ready to travel along the fallopian tube highway. Until that happens (or until the RE gets concerned and gives me a shot of Ovidrel (choriogonadotropin alfa or recombinant hCG) to achieve the same purpose, namely, evicting ovum from follicle so we can accurately estimate when that eviction will happen, count forward 5 days and schedule the transfer of one of our frozen 5-day embryos.
In short, we need a positive LH pee test or a shot of Ovidrel (or other recombinant or urinary hCG, but this doc likes Ovidrel and I’ve had I before so we’ll roll with that) to get this show on the road.
So far, both the RE and I have wanted to “keep it natural”. The trouble with this, of course, is trusting my body to do what is expected of her, when it’s expected, more or less. I think she’s taking a very liberal interpretation of the “more or less” component of the equation.
I’m sure all of the anxiety I’m experiencing about the delay and my fear of this not working and my body never cooperating is not helping. But it’s hard to turn off or tune out. Impossible, sometimes. Case in point: despite my best efforts, I lay awake for 2.5 hours last night fretting, trying to relax, meditating in the hope it would make me sleeping, fretting some more, reading to make me sleeping, more meditation, and ultimately just turning off the lights and any electronics and willing my body back to sleep for a couple of hours (or less) with the white noise of a small table fan.
I have another monitoring appointment today. In about 5 hours, actually. Yes, I’m counting the hours. And a part of me wants to stick with my prior position, which is “trust me on this, I know my body. I will get an LH surge detectable on a pee stick and I will ovulate about 24 hours later.” To date, in my almost four collective years of practice, this has always been true. Not always in accordance with a schedule I wanted, but true nevertheless. Eventually.
Another part of me wants to agree to a shot of recombinant hCG. That part of me is afraid my body is going to let me down this one time when it really matters (not by being late – that’s life, but by not releasing the egg at all or by producing progesterone before releasing the egg or some other weirdness I can’t anticipate yet).
As a matter of curiosity, Ovidrel is the only shot that ever hurt from my past ART (assisted reproductive technology) experience. The injection doesn’t hurt me when administered, it hurts and remains tender around the injection site afterward. For days. This was true when I administered it myself and when a nurse did it. But I don’t care about that. I care about abandoning my desire to “keep this natural” in favour of Western Medicine’s penchant for certainty and my own desire to stop the anxiety train wreck in which I seem to have been swallowed up over the last 48 hours. And I care about the “what if” of my body not doing what we need it to do now.
I am also wrestling with my disappointment over the fact that today was the last day I could get a positive OPK (ovulation predictor kit – the LH pee stick) and still have the LP with me at the embryo transfer next week. The LP cannot get out of a two-day work commitment on Tuesday and Wednesday next week and if I ovulate naturally after tomorrow or accept the Ovidrel shot today, we will be looking at a transfer on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Today was the last shot at having a transfer on Monday, when the LP could be present. I’m grieving this and trying to accept that it will be okay, no matter how this plays out.
Yet, if I am honest with myself, I have been stressed the heck out about delayed ovulation and my body messing with my mind or vice versa. So much for all of the work I put into the mind-body connection to get to this point Where is my faith in my mind’s ability to direct my body? Darn it, this is very disheartening. I am so discouraged by my own shortcomings. Now isn’t this a teachable moment?
Speaking of teachable moments… One of the things I did when stressing out last night, unable to go back to sleep, was to draw a card from my Animal Spirit Guide deck (thank you, Dr. Steven D. Farmer). What card did I draw? The Ladybug!
The card, for me, is perfect (though I don’t think I appreciated this as fully last night in my sleep-deprived, stressed-out stupor).
First of all, I love ladybugs and always have. Our little Miracle Baby (now MT, miracle toddler) also loves ladybugs and I’m missing that little tyke and the LP something fierce right now.
Second, this is a lucky card. According to Dr. Steven D. Farmer’s guidebook to my deck, I should be finding that everything goes “very smoothly with little effort on [my] part” right now. Really? How did I miss that?
The Ladybug also guides us to express our gratitude for what we want in the present, as though we already have it. Thank you, Ladybug, for reminding me that I am already pregnant with a healthy second child. Yay! Technically, if this cycle works, I will be diagnosed as 4 weeks pregnant in about 3 weeks so from Western Medicine’s viewpoint, I truly am already pregnant. And some say Western Medicine lacks magic or imagination – not so!
I had so hoped that drawing this card in the middle of the night would mean that my pee stick test this morning would be positive. Not so fast. I guess Ladybug is talking about the big picture. Maybe that’s where my focus should be, too?
Thank you, Ladybug. I really needed to see you today.