Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What makes for good eggs??

Here is a question that my brain has circled, poked and prodded, with little resolution, for a while.One RE's blog pointed out what seemed like basic common sense- your menstrual cycle is the best indicator of the quality of eggs you are producing in it. The more estrogen you make (indicator: egg-white cervical mucus or EWCM production) and the more progesterone you make (indicator: length of luteal phase), the better quality eggs you are likely to have. While this can obviously applied to natural (or medicated) normal cycles, it can also be extrapolated to IVF cycles, atleast the pre-ovulatory phase. If your estrogen goes up and you are making scads of EWCM, its a good sign.

Unless something changes in my physiology, my cycles never change, and are predictable to the hour, down to the time of the day that my surge begins. Its bloody spooky. This reliability makes for detecting any changes very easy.

When I was Vitamin D deficient, I had two patterns.

In the first, I ovulated at day 16- In these cycles, my surge would always start around noon on day 15. My OPT would be negative at 9 am, and be positive after 1 pm. I don't know if this regularity sounds remarkable to others, but it was to me.  In these cycles, I also seemed to have less EWCM, and my luteal phase was a short 11 day one.  This was the cycle pattern in which both my pregnancies were conceived.  Putting 2 and 2 together (in an unscientific, hand-wavy manner) I think my cycle pattern indicated that these may not have been the best quality eggs. And I lost both pregnancies.

The second pattern, was a day 20 ovulation, with more EWCM and a 13-14 day luteal phase.

After I began Vitamin D, mad coincidence or not, everything changed. 
  • For the first 6 months, Day 16 ovulation disappeared, almost all ovulations were at day 20 or 22, with good quality EWCM in almost all of them.
  • My luteal phase increased in length, with the minimum being 14 days, and the maximum being 16.
  • My antral follicle count reduced in half, going from 30 to around 16, which was a welcome (and somewhat anticipated) change.
  • 3 months ago, things shifted again- I now had a brand new day of ovulation, day 18.  The unwelcome part was, my EWCM almost disappeared completely. I felt like I had progesterone effects even in the pre-ovulatory phase, because my CM was very thick. This makes no sense, I know, but I still don't know what to make of it.
  • My luteal phase continued to be long, averaging 14-15 days.

One of my fellow bloggers, ThePortofIndecision had commented that after taking coenzyme Q10, she had good quality EWCM for the first time in years and she has what looks like a perfect, viable pregnancy finally (YAY!!) after multiple losses.  Based on that and what a few other people had said, and in a mad quest to find my lost EWCM (ha), I started taking Coenzyme Q10.  I'd taken this once  for a single cycle 2 years ago, but had stopped it after I found that it delayed day of ovulation by 2 days.

My first cycle back on CoQ10, I expected to O on day 18. Instead, just like the last time I'd taken it, my ovulation day got pushed back 2 more days (!!!!) and thank god, I got a good amount of EWCM.  So I'm sticking with it for the next cycle, and I'll be very interested to see if the changes repeat again. I'm praying the EWCM will stick around.

It is striking that both CoQ10 and Vitamin D have produced such changes in my cycle. I don't know what these changes mean (they look good, for the most part) but nobody can say what really indicates good eggs, though you can speculate away. So while I don't what to make of any of this, I figured faithfully cataloging all of this here cannot hurt. While we cannot take anecdotal findings seriously, we cannot dismiss it out of hand either.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Why hello 2012...or Que Sera Sera

From one angle, 2010 was possibly the worst year of my life thus far. I spent almost 5 months of that year pregnant, with nothing to show for it but two traumatic pregnancy losses.  From another angle, that year was actually not wholly negative. My losses changed me in positive ways. They showed me how much I could endure and still be ok, they made me realize that looking at the small picture only suffocates you, you have to take life in stride or you just end up floundering. I don't think any other sort of misfortune could have taught me these life lessons THAT effectively. It also bought discoveries that helped me and other people, such as the Vitamin D thing.

2011 was the year I healed and shed bad habits that had built up over the past decade, and was just wholly positive. I learned to just live life, and enjoy the simple things while NOT biting my nails to the quick trying to envision the end of this fertility odyssey.

2012 is the year I have to say, once more into the breach. Giant ULP. Its when , I sincerely hope, that I don't get tested on the lessons I learned in 2010. But if I do, I want to get through it with relatively well.   Being in contact with the ALI community has taught me so much- I've seen so many stories of horrific periods of infertility and  repeated pregnancy loss ultimately culminate in happy endings. It can take years. We have no effin idea whats around the bend, and trying to predict it is a fool's errand.

About the guy- that is a no go. I met him a 4th time after my week on the high seas (which was just heavenly by the way). I have no idea what his long term goals are, but in the short term, he, like the majority unattached guys in NYC I've met, just wants to jump my bones, and like the rest of them, after a point, can't seem to get past that item on the agenda. Seriously, moving here has not been good for my opinion of the opposite sex. I've met just TWO nice guys (who were sadly, unexciting) or interesting pigs, or just plain pigs. UGH. Anyway, coming back to this guy, he had a very good chance to tell me about the fact that he was still married, but did not take it. Its kind of sad to see a 37 year old guy with two babies at home chasing after women like that is going to solve every single problem he has. Anyway, that one evening extinguished any feelings I had very effectively. I was a bit sad the next day- not because I knew there was no chance I wanted anything with him, but because my respite from the frightening reality looming in front of me was up. Single motherhood has its own share of uphill battles, but you combine it with the possibility of recurrent pregnancy loss, it is quite a prospect to contend with. 

Anyway- this was not meant to be a negative post, but it ended up sounding like one.  But I'm neither negative nor nor positive. My attitude simply is--Que Sera, Sera. No matter what happens, I'll be ok. My IUI comes up early next month.

I have some sciency stuff to discuss- that can wait for another post! Happy 2012 everyone! I hope it only brings you all good things.

Also- its International Blog Delurking week. I see people from all over the world here, I'd LOVE to hear from you!