Yesterday was the beginning of my 4th month of “monitoring” which means on day 2 or 3 of your menstrual cycle you go in for blood-work where they check your E2, and your FSH. And an ultrasound. A vaginal ultrasound. That’s right, inside, while you are bleeding. No one buys you lunch or dinner before it either.
Here’s where we lose the pants. Lets be honest, you spend a good deal of time not wearing pants during this process. All you get is a thin little paper sheet to cover your bits. “Now scooch your butt down to the end of the table, all the way to the end. Open your knees please.. all the way open”
If you’re lucky it will just be you and the woman who does the ultrasound, if you’re not lucky the (male) Dr will walk in and watch. They will check your uterine lining and will see if there are any follicles in either ovary. Assuming they can see them both. My right one has a history of wandering off for a walk, like those live paintings in the Harry Potter movies, when they are trying to see it. They will also know if you’ve drunk enough water and will show you how your bladder has bursts of urine flowing into it. Are you wincing? Because you should be. Once they have checked everything, the remove the probe and leave the room so you can clean up the crime scene and put your clothes back on.
Usually you will be given whatever your protocol/meds are with instructions, and you will schedule an appointment to do it again on day 8. Not 8 days later, day 8 of your cycle. Just enough time to almost forget how embarrassing the last appointment was, but not quite. And in all likelihood, you will never again be able to look that poor ultrasound woman in the eye.
You will have at least 2 monitoring appointments in 10 days, sometimes 3, meanwhile you do what is termed as “stimming” or stimulating your ovaries into making more follicles from which come the eggs you need to then retrieve. Well, not you. a Dr/RE does it.
“Stimming” sounds like drugs right? It is, drugs i mean, but not the fun kind. You don’t get sleepy or feel dizzy or out of it. You get moody, cranky, PMSish, emotional, your logic sometimes abandons you while you are standing there watching it leave. Like a bad boyfriend.
It’s not just pills either, it can be injections, in your stomach, in your butt. Often large and painful injections. In my case my husband took one look at the kit I was given by the Dr. and said “I will throw up if I have to do that to you” and walked out of the room. See, sometimes the man’s logic just gets up and walks away too. Like a bad boyfriend.
Yesterday, the new “surprise” was that during my day 2 appointment there were no follicles. Zero. Which could be something, or it could be a complete fluke. My e2 and FSH were in the normal range but higher than usual so a little alarming. Either way, it was new, terrifying and anxiety inducing. My options were to continue to monitor on day 8, and possibly come up with nothing or cancel the cycle completely. My first instinct was the cancel the cycle. And it’s what I told them I wanted to do, but now, after sleeping on it, or not really sleeping in my case, for peace of mind, I think I will go back on day 8 to see if anything has happened.