Hot mess. That would be the best way to describe me last week…
November 9th I took my last birth control pill and waited for my period to show. My doctor said that it should come 3 to 5 days after stopping the pill. My next medication, estridol, starts on November 14th, which is considered “cycle day 1 (CD1)” so in a perfect world, my period would come on November 14th.
I’m shocked by the amount of women (and men) who have no idea the magical things a female body does each month in the attempt to create new life … So, for those of you who never had to worry about these magical-hormonal changes or had to count cycle days, here is a brief overview of why it’s important for baby-makin’. Most women’s menstrual cycle lasts around 28 to 32 days and during this time, the body is constantly making important hormones to keep everything healthy for a pregnancy each month. CD1 starts with the onset of a period and your cycle ends with the start of your next period. A perfect circle of life… like the moon cycles.
The full cycle has 4 phases and I’m about to get all sciencey..
- The menstruation phase: Period party aka CD1, it usually last 3-7 days, the body is literally shedding the uterine lining that would be used to establish a nice soft home for an embryo to implant into…bye-bye lining, time to start creating the next round.
- The follicular phase: Also starts on CD1 and overlaps with the menstruation phase. Time to create egg(s)!! The ovaries are busy creating follicles which contain immature eggs, an average women’s body can create anywhere between 5-20 follicles in one month. The hormone FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) is cruising through the body trying to mature some of those immature eggs, cmon eggs, grow up. Only the healthiest of the immature follicles will create a mature egg, this mature egg is the only egg that can result in pregnancy. The body is usually in this phase for about 14 to 16-days.
- The ovulation phase: Boom, that mature egg decides to ditch the follicle and slides down the fallopian tube where it waits between 12 to 24 hours to be fertilized…it requires the male counterpart to complete the deed. Ovulation cannot occur until the follicular phase is complete, therefore that egg drops around CD14-CD16.
- The luteal phase: Once the egg drops from the follicle, the follicle is left behind and the follicle sac closes up and starts creating hormones- it is no longer called a follicle, it’s called a corpus luteum. The corpus luteum is responsible for producing estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are essential in making the uterine lining thick so the fertilized egg (embryo) can implant and a healthy pregnancy can occur. *Side note: Women undergoing fertility treatments get prescribed mega doses of estrogen and progesterone because the act of fertility treatments often times interrupts the natural luteal phase and the corpus luteum can’t do it’s given duty* If a woman gets pregnant, she won’t get her period, the estrogen and progesterone levels will remain higher and the uterine lining doesn’t need to shed. If there is no pregnancy, the corpus luteum shrinks, the hormones decrease, and the bleeding will begin, restarting at CD1.
The cycle days are very important, it’s what us infertile people study like a textbook. Without these phases, there is no pregnancy and there is no period.
Anyways, my period came 2 days after stopping birth control, not in the expected 3-5 day window that my entire cycle frozen embryo transfer was based upon. UGH STUPID BODY.
Some might not see this as a big deal, but I know that from my 5 years of infertility research that cycle days and hormone levels are incredible important. It didn’t even register in my brain until November 14th when I was set to start my estrogen pills and noticed that my FET protocol sheet has November 14th listed as CD1…when I was already on CD4. ☹
I posted my situation to my support board asking others if anyone started taking the estrogen on their CD4 instead of CD1… all the responses were that I should have started the medication at the start of my period on November 11th… shiiiiittttttttt.
I cried, I swore, I drank nearly an entire bottle of wine. I thought everything was screwed.
Since I’m incredibly dramatic and think I know everything, I emailed my coordinator to let her know I messed up my entire cycle by getting my period 3 days early. I received a nonchalant email back the Thursday morning that said:
Your embryo transfer is schedule on Monday 3rd December.
We will be in touch with the check ultrasound.
Have a lovely day
She clearly didn’t interpret my desperation in my first email… so I sent her a more detailed explanation of my concerns Thursday night because it still didn’t make sense to me:
Hey Michaela, I’m sorry to bug you again, but I need reassurance from Dr. Hana regarding my upcoming FET. I’m extremely concerned that I started my period on November 11th and that technically this would be considered cycle day 1. My protocol has cycle day 1 listed as November 14th, which is technically CD4 because my period started 3 days prior to that…therefore my transfer that is scheduled for December 3rd would be cycle day 23. I’m worried this is too late by a day or two.
Can Dr. Hana please explain to me why CD1 starts on November 14th even tho my period started on November 11th, I need the clarification on how this is measured and viewed.
My usual cycle is 28days… transferring on CD23 seems late..
Has she had others that transferred on CD23?
I’d like some clarification on why CD1 wouldn’t be the date my period started.
I received the following response from her on Friday morning:
Don’t worry Tessa,
Dr Hana told me that it’s ok.
But if you affraid and you will not be relax we can do the transfer before.
By Friday I just had to laugh about this email, not a single question answered and since our flights were booked, there was no going back now. I can only trust.…luckily by Friday morning my self-created insanity had dwindled, and I realized I was acting crazy, whatever happens here is completely out of my control. This is hard to accept when you’re a control freak like I am. After all, these doctors know what they are doing…they are a world-renowned fertility clinic and I’m just a panicky-scared woman who has never done a FET in her life so what do I know???
I sent her back an email that said:
Thank you Michaela, I needed you to tell me that. I think it’s the hormones. I’ll let you know how my scan goes on November 26th.
She definitely thinks I’m coo-coo for cocoa puffs… At this point, I just need to accept that I kinda am. Whatever.
In other news, we are starting to get super-duper excited for our trip! I’ve had a lot of people ask how long we are staying and if we get to explore while we are there. Of course we do, that’s about the only silver lining to this whole shitty ordeal!!
We get to spend a few days in Vienna, Brno and Prague. We’ve never been to any of these cities so if you’ve been- please shoot me a message with your recommendations and must-sees (and eats, I love food). I realized I hadn’t mentioned yet that my in-laws are coming with us, both for moral support and to see these two beautiful countries that have been on their bucket lists. We are super excited to have them as a welcomed distraction and to explore with us!
If this FET works, I would likely have a positive pregnancy test when we get home on December 9th since I would be 6dpt (6 days post transfer)…We haven’t decided when we are going to test yet but I’m fairly certain the anticipation would drive me nuts…ahhhhhhhhhhhhh it’s almost here!!
PS. Don’t forget to send us your fav’s if you’ve been to Vienna/Prague/Brno!!