Following the doctor's orders, I started using my OPK's on CD 10 to track my ovulation. OPK's measure the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine, which surges just before ovulation. Now, OPK's are tricky. In fact, until a few months ago, I had never been able to get a positive reading because I was taking them at the wrong time. I find that each woman is different, but for me, I usually can detect the surge between 11am and 2pm. Here is where it gets awkward. I work Monday through Friday, which means that surge definitely happens when I am working. This means I have to take my little digital test at work, while hiding in a stall, trying not to draw attention to myself. The test part is not difficult, but the waiting is. It takes 3 minutes for that little window to either give me an empty circle or a smiley face (guess which one we want to see). Then I have to slyly wrap the test in toilet paper and carry it out to throw it in the trash. Seriously glamorous, I know.
Anyway, the tests at work were a bit of a waste (if you know how much those digital tests cost, you know what I mean). On Saturday, I had to drink limited fluids and hold it for at least 3 hours to make sure I would have an undiluted sample for the daily OPK. The husband and I were headed out to see a movie, so I just took the test and kind of forgot about it in my hurry to finish getting ready (I am always late). As I was fixing my hair, the husband yells out from the bathroom asking if a smiley face is good. Yes, I left the test sitting out. There is no mystery left when you are TTC and have an involved husband. I happily told him that yes, a smiley face is good! And then I had my doctor paged so that I could schedule a post-coital test for the next day as planned. He called me right back (on a Saturday night) and told me to come in the next morning at 10am. Yes, I have a doctor that actually cares enough about his patients to come in on a Sunday morning when necessary. After spending the last year at a clinic that only believed in operating Monday through Friday from 8 to 4, this is shocking to me.
This brings us to today, Sunday. CD 13. After waking up extra early to *cough* have "relations" *cough*, off we went to the doctor for the lovely post-coital test. Just saying that makes me feel a little icky, to be honest. So the husband got to meet the socially-awkward, but super-smart doctor at last. We then had the test (including an especially awkward moment in which the doctor asked the new girl at the office to come over and see my cervix. "Can you see her cervix, Katie? See, there it is." Great.) Basically, it was like a pap smear: the doctor just took a sample and asked us to wait in his office while he tested the sample. After a brief wait, he came in to go over his findings. They were not unexpected, but that doesn't mean it was great to hear. He said that my cervical mucus was scant. The quality was not horrible, but there wasn't much of it. Cervical mucus is an important part of the fertilization process. Fertile cervical mucus should imitate semen, which means it should provide an environment in which sperm can survive and help facilitate their travel to the promise land. I knew that this was a problem of mine, but Dr. M is the first person to actually check it and notice the problem. I am thankful for this. On another note, the doctor also mentioned a possible male factor problem. Apparently, there weren't that many little guys in the sample he took. And of those that did survive, some were misshapen and others were kinked. He wants the husband to go in for a new semen analysis, since apparently the Army is known for not always producing accurate results of this test.
Based on these results, the doctor would like me to start Menopur next cycle if this one is unsuccessful. He said that this particular shot will help with the cervical mucus problem, and will help produce more follicles to give us a better chance. As of right now, it will be a semi-natural cycle, but may need to switch to IUI or IVF depending on how I react to the meds and what the husband's test comes back with. Next Saturday, I will have to get a serum progesterone test to make sure I actually did ovulate this time on my own, and then we will proceed from there.
Sorry for all the TMI. Here's to many more awkward moments in the future :)