Saturday, January 30, 2010

The surge

So, my ovaries are screwing with me in a totally brand-new way this month. I realize I haven't been posting much on the whole greedy-infertile-resource-drainer-trying-for-third-child thing lately but I haven't had anything even remotely worth saying. I have dutifully and rather nostalgically peed on sticks, had sex at appropriate times and then peed on more expensive sticks, my period arriving with remarkable precision every 27 days. And then, this month, I peed on sticks (or, more accurately, dunked strips in pee), had sex at appropriate times, immediately dunked more strips in pee to see if we needed to continue said sex at appropariate times, only to have what has so far been a week-long LH surge. And not just any surge, but a darker-than-the-control-line, 30,000-troop surge.

I thought perhaps these newfangled inexpensive strip things were simply too sensitive (despite being unambiguously negative till day 13), so I bought some overpriced, traditional name-brand sticks for comparison: yup, still surging, and getting surgier with each passing hour. Even water-clear mid-day urine after a pint of Chinese green tea is still screaming, Surge! at me. (I picture the LH as an irate drill sergeant, kicking the prone ribs of a skinny, exhausted recruit who was ordered to drop and give twenty but whose arms started trembling around four.)

We have had sex six times in a week. And while this might sound like a nice, intimate thing to some of you who still have a libido, for me--for us--it is difficult. (Note to future self: step away from the artisanal salumi, next time you know you're going to need to Close Your Eyes and Think of England.)

I started googling the causes of multiple positive OPK readings and naturally depressed the shit out of myself, as one always does. The most reasonable answer is, no surprise, perimenopause; PCOS is also a very remote possibility, though I have none of the traditional symptoms. Were I a few months younger, premature ovarian failure would have been the clear winner, but apparently it's not premature once you turn forty--just failure.

I'm not quite sure what to do right now, and also what to do next. I've never had an anovulatory cycle before, as far as I know, and I don't know if this is one or if we should keep on keeping on, in hopes that an un-fried egg might yet ease on down the tube.

Beyond this cycle, I guess I should be thinking about getting Day 3 labs and facing whatever chilly reality awaits. (At 35, it took max stims and no suppression to get four decent embryos; who am I to imagine I'd be naturally fertile at forty? The hubris boggles even my own mind.) But I can't quite bring myself to do it. I can't even bring myself to try one of those over-the-counter FSH tests. Maybe once the pain of the trying and failing gets to be really bad, it might actually come as a relief to have the hard numbers extinguish our little morsels of hope. I'm not there yet--four negative natural cycles isn't exactly a soul-crushing slog--but I know I will be ready to stop at some point this year, ready to throw my arms around my two big kids and call myself incredibly lucky. Unlike before, the desire for another is not a white-hot need. I will definitely be OK, I know that, and I'm beyond grateful for that knowledge. Right now, however, I do still want, so we'll probably keep to our let-no-chance-escape-us battle plan and embrace the surge until it's clearly time to retreat, in victory or, more likely, defeat.


Anonymous Jen said...

Six times! You might just be my new hero. :)

Hoping that this isn't a signal of hard things to come, and instead the marker of a successful month for you.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Thalia said...

One month does not perimenopause make. Hang in there.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I've actually always had multiple days of dark positive readings on OPKs. And I have no infertility issues. Good luck!

3:31 PM  
Anonymous dee said...

Keep on keeping on. Hoping too that this is just a longer-than-usual cycle of surging for I think Thalia is on to something there.

And I've gotta say, as I stare down the barrel of 41 in two months, with two healthy, adorable (if I do say so myself) kids, I'm really really wavering on my previous statement that we were done with two. So--long story short--know that this 40 year old is here, quietly rooting you on.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Six times! You poor things :-) I can remember when that was fun- or even the norm- but yeah, now that I'm older? Not so much.
I wouldn't read all that much into the surge, given it's only the one month. Just maybe, if you're kinda dreading trying more b/c you're still surging, maybe it's ok to take a little break?

9:25 AM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

um, what over the counter FSH tests???
41 y.o. crazy woman w/2 kids, who would never again
do meds, but who would LOVE to take an FSH w/out having to see an RE,otherwise called
ps, what ovulation brand do you recommend?

8:44 PM  
Blogger DeadBug said...

Hi, Liza--

Yeah, I was totally shocked when I saw these one day on the shelf at my local Longs, next to the OPKs:

As for OPKs, I'm not sure it makes much difference. I usually go with whatever's cheapest, though the super-cheapo strips that you dunk in a cup of pee are not so convenient for when you have to test at work. I hate to admit it, but they all seem to give the same results, even when I'm desperately wanting them to show that I've stopped surging!

3:29 PM  

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