First Trigger Shot and What I’ve Learned Since Trying to Conceive

Tonight I will take my first trigger shot! I am both excited and nervous. I’m not exactly thrilled about sticking a needle into my stomach…but hey, it’s what I’ve got to do and there are worse things.

Of course this also means hubby and I will have to ‘do the deed’ tonight and according to my doctor, the next three nights. Not that hubby is complaining and honestly, I’m not either. My body is responding naturally to the growing follicles as if I’d ovulate on my own and so my fertile window is open and therefore my sexual appetite has increased over the last few days. Nope, no complaints!

Then we have the dreaded two week wait…something we all have to go through and something we all hate. Even if you’re hoping to NOT be pregnant, the two weeks drag on slower than sand in an hour glass. It’s like watching every tiny grain of sand drop to the bottom of the glass, and then the next, and then the next…each one falling slower than the last.

During this time we’re like mad women, driven crazy by the what-ifs. What if I am pregnant, what do I do then? (Call the doctor, of course but in that moment your brain is a haze and common sense just doesn’t exist). What if I’m not pregnant, what do I do then? What if I am pregnant but it isn’t viable or something is wrong?

All the while we’re also over analyzing everything our body is doing during this time. I have a headache today, could that mean I’m pregnant? I swear I can feel something happening down there, I must be pregnant! My nipples tingled, I felt dizzy or nauseous, I burped…it has to be a symptom!

Most of these thoughts happen only days after ovulation and of course it’s far too early to tell anything considering it takes seven to ten days for the fertilized egg to finally embed into the uterine lining…or for the unfertilized egg to drop into the uterus just to be expelled during menses. But that doesn’t matter right now – everything we feel just HAS to mean something!

In the meantime we spend hours upon hours googling everything we can, even if we’ve already done extensive research before. Everything from early pregnancy symptoms to watching videos of women in labor so we’re “prepared” for the big day.

We talk to women in groups on social media sites, have conversations in chat rooms, talk with every woman you know that is pregnant or had kids before to see what they went through, not to mention the apps we’ve downloaded onto our phones that keep us occupied indefinitely.

I have learned more about my body (and my husbands) during this time than I care to admit. Do you remember health class in school when they reviewed sex-ed? Yeah, things have changed since then…what your teachers taught you was black and grey compared to the vivid technicolor details you’re about to, if you haven’t already! Here are some examples, some of which you may already know but things I’ve learned since embarking on this journey.

In school I was taught the basics – you have sex, the sperm makes its way through the uterus and up to the Fallopian tubes where it meets the egg and BAM, you’re pregnant. Just like that. There was also a funny infrared video of a man getting an erection that made us all giggle, but that’s besides the point.

Sure, they went into more detail too.. I was taught that the strongest sperm would worm its way into the egg which would trigger the egg to harden so no other sperm could penetrate it (unless you have multiples of course). Now I’ve learned that the egg may have more involvement in this in that it could actually choose which sperm to fertilize with.

To add more power to women, I’ve also learned that we may be ‘growing’ eggs throughout our entire fertile age, up to menopause. It was once believed that we were born with a certain amount of eggs which would age along with us and die off as we get older, thus making our chances of conceiving harder the older we get.

Yes, age still plays a factor in our ability to get pregnant however, it is more due to hormones and such rather than the production of eggs, or lack there of.

I’ve also learned more about our menstrual cycles month to month. I wrote about freaking out when I had my period while on Femara…normally this wouldn’t be a big deal since women are usually put on Femara three days into their period but I started the medication without a period, so starting it mid way scared me. While I might be growing follicles as the medication intended, would my lining be thick enough for the egg to implant?

Apparently, yes! Just a few days after stopping my period, my lining was already beginning to thicken AND I also discovered that once a woman ovulates, the hormone progesterone is released which thickens the lining even more to prepare the body for the egg. If the egg isn’t fertilized, the lining is shed which is what our period is. The cycle then repeats – though for me it doesn’t always work out that way because of my PCOS.

The ‘string of pearls’ which is indicative to PCOS are actually tiny cysts left behind when immature eggs never fully develop. If there is no ovulation, there is no period. Although that isn’t necessarily true either because I’ve had periods before without ovulating which is due to hormones elevating and dropping.

As I wrote earlier, I’ve also discovered that once the egg is fertilized (or not) it takes around seven to ten days for it to reach the uterus – that is unless it becomes ectopic which is when the egg implants in the Fallopian tube. It is impossible to have symptoms of pregnancy until the egg implants (you’re not technically pregnant until that happens)and the hormone HCG is released into your system. It is this hormone that will be detected in pregnancy tests and is why we must wait at least two weeks from ovulation to test.

I’ve also found out that women with PCOS can have false positive ovulation tests. While they can work for some women, I am not one of them. I was getting positives each month while on Clomid and it turned out I wasn’t ovulating, but I was having a period at the end of the month. So confusing (and frustrating)!

I’m also not one of those women that can judge where I am in my cycle by checking cervical mucus (a topic I never thought I’d be okay with discussing and honestly, I still find the thought a little gross). I know what it should do though…early in your cycle it should be dry or break apart easily. Then it’ll get creamy and lotion like. The closer to ovulation the more it’ll thin out and get sticky and stretchy like egg whites, which is supposed to be most fertile but watery cervical mucus is also just as good. After ovulation it should dry up again.

I only remember one time I’ve experienced egg white consistency and it was years ago. I’ve never been really dry but I’ve had lotion like fluids and watery, which is what I’m experiencing now since I’m close to ovulation but I’ve had watery fluid before. I simply cannot tell just with cervical mucus alone. I envy women that can!

I’m more in tune to my body now, more so than ever before. Especially when it comes to my mood. Most women know (even if they don’t admit) that moods change during our cycles, most notably during PMS. I’ll admit that I can get irritable close to my period and since I want to be pregnant so bad, I get crabby and sometimes depressed when my period comes. But, do you notice the differences in your mood during the rest of the month?

The Femara has given me more hope than I’ve had in a long time and I’m sure that has played a part in my mood this cycle but with the help of one of my (many) apps, I can see changes in how I feel with correspondence to my cycle.

I knew I was going to start my period when I was put on the Provera because that’s what it does. It didn’t change the fact that I still became a bit bitchy when it started. Then I had to go through my tests before starting my Femara and you know by now that I started my period while taking that.

This period was a little different because my normal PMS symptoms are also physical. Usually my breasts become more soft and very sensitive and painful. I also get really bad cramps and a very heavy flow. While my flow was heavy this last time, I have very little cramping and absolutely no changes in my breasts. This might have made it easier on my mood, however the fear that my period could interfere with everything working, I would go from being fine to crying because I wanted this to work and I was sure it wouldn’t.

Then I found out that I could still get pregnant so fear alleviated. Of course I’m more at ease now and I can’t contain my excitement but aside from that, I’ve noticed that the more my follicles grow and the closer I get to ovulation, the happier I’ve become. In general I feel really good and for someone that has battled depression their whole lives, I tend to notice when I feel good.

I’ve also mentioned that my sex drive has increased. This is probably the bodies natural response, after all, you can’t get pregnant without sex and it must be timed with ovulation. Knowing that we are using the trigger shot today, I didn’t want to ‘have relations’ with hubby yesterday so we can “conserve” his supply. Easier said than done but I suffered through the night as tempted as I was.

I’m obviously hoping that I’ll get pregnant and not have to go through this again (until the next time at least) but if it isn’t our time yet, I’ll be curious to see if this pattern continues next month.

There’s much more that I’ve learned recently but I don’t intend on writing a book on the subject so I’ll end it here. I just find it so fascinating especially when comparing other women to myself and how diverse we all are. I also love discovering new things about myself and what my body is capable of. Anywho, wish me luck!

 

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