Let’s Get Luteal (Visit With The Spesh: Part III)

It’s been way too long since I’ve talked about my ovaries. I know you’ve been waiting in anticipation, so I won’t leave you hanging any longer.

First things first: this visit was not as awesome as the last two. The doctor was an hour behind and rushed and short with us. I know she doesn’t need to be our best friend or anything, but since fertility is such a sensitive and intimate subject, it’s upsetting to me when doctors are anything less than friendly and focused.

I showed the doc my data for the last three-and-a-half months and all looked well. Except: the luteal phase. The luteal phase is the time between when you ovulate and when you get your period. Ideally, it should be around 14 days, but no less than 10. Mine were about 8, on average. The theory is that if your luteal phase is too short, an embryo might not have enough time to implant, even if the egg is fertilized.

Thanks to this great book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility, I had suspected this luteal phase business was a problem way back when, long before I saw the specialist. But I was hoping that since I had recently stopped taking birth control pills at the time, my body would regulate itself after a few months. Obv, it didn’t happen.

The doc gave us three options:

1. Do nothing for three more months. I could still get pregnant despite my short luteal phase.

2. Have my cycle monitored for a month to provide the doctor with more accurate data. This would require an ultrasound every other day from day 12 ’til whenever I ovulate. Then take no further action for the next two months.

3. Have my cycle monitored for a month and take a progesterone suppository for three months. Not enough progesterone after ovulation often causes short luteal phases, so the suppositories would hopefully take care of that. This third choice is the one the doctor was leaning towards.

At the end of this three-month journey, if I’m still not pregnant, she wants us to try Clomid, which is a medication that makes you ovulate earlier. It also has many side effects, including a 5-10% rate of multiple births. 10%? Um, that’s one in 10. That’s kind of a lot. And sure, twins would be sweet. But twins also mean a potentially more complicated pregnancy and that is scary stuff.

She also emphatically said to not take the herbs my acupuncturist prescribed me. I am particularly bummed about this because I really wanted to try them. In the end, though, I don’t feel comfortable going against her super-strong recommendation. She says the herbs aren’t regulated or tested, and I see her point, of course. But Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years. It’s got to be doing something right, no?

So that about sums it up. I found myself crying in the car after this visit. Part of it was probably because of the rushed manner of the doctor, but I don’t think that’s enough to justify tears. Tim asked me if I could pinpoint why I was so upset, and at the time I really didn’t know. But now that I’ve had some time to think, I’ve arrived at this conclusion: short of doing nothing, either option we choose means I am officially starting down the scary road of fertility treatments. And even though I can get off that road whenever I want, it still feels like I’m choosing a path and I’m committing to following it.

Also, while Tim and I can talk to death about which option to choose, ultimately the final-final decision comes down to me. Because it’s my body. And right now that feels like a lonely place to be.

What will we do? I don’t know. They always say to listen to your gut on these things, but right now my gut is a jumble of confusion. They also say that doctors don’t know everything and you don’t need to listen to them all the time. And this is true, but doctors also have the benefit of knowledge and experience that I don’t, making it really tricky to know when not to follow their advice.

Should I do something or do nothing? Should I be patient or proactive? Am I starting down the road to fertility treatments too soon? And finally, do any of those other things matter if there’s a healthy baby at the end?

These are valid questions, but right now I have no answers.

11 thoughts on “Let’s Get Luteal (Visit With The Spesh: Part III)

  1. You know my story…a month before I started treatments…I got pregnant. The hardest parts of your journey is the waiting, the emotional roller coaster, and the not knowing if it will ever happen. The fact you are getting your period now says pregnancy can happen, even if it means more work. In the end after all the heart ache, awkward, embarassing, and frustrating things I went through it happened for me. Keep your eye on the prize, stay positive, and keep moving forward. It will happen for you! I say choose #3, it is what did it for me… It makes that baby stick! Go Ovaries, Go babies, Go You! :):):)

  2. My vote is to let this all settle in for a little and the answer will come to you. That is what works for me.

    I understand cold docs and what they can do to your head! Lots of hugs.

  3. Hey, You–

    Sending my love. I keep writing and erasing here, so I’ll have to call or email. These things still sound really promising, and I’m 100% behind you. xx

  4. I also have a biased perspective, but I can tell you what I did. I waited a long time before starting any fertility treatments – over a year. I did acupuncture (took herbs, too), fertility yoga, charting, etc. I’m still a strong believer in the benefits of those things, but I didn’t get pregnant doing just that. When the time came, I felt relieved and excited to start treatment (I started with Clomid). It puts you on the “fast track” which is where, at that point, I wanted to be. I think the progesterone supplements sound like a very good and easy first step. No risk of multiple birth – just helping out a little embryo if it’s in there. Just my two cents!

  5. My three cents are for you to do step III and wait and see what happens. No need to make any decisions just yet about fertility treatments. Remember that you have only had 4 months of periods. Sending you lots of love to you. Keep Smiling!

  6. Hi Tanya, This is your cousin Lisa. I would love to talk to you about many topics on your blog. Since Britt reads this from time to time I am very limited in what I can and could openly write. Lots of Love, Lisa P.S. Grandma U gave me advice in this area which pops in my head when I read about your fertility journey.

  7. Though not the visit you hoped it would be, the good news is you have options and steps you can take. You may feel bewildered right now, but in another day or so I bet you’ll feel more empowered. You’ll do what feels right to you. And try not to think beyond three months. I realize how hard that is to do. But as others have noted, just when you least expect it, bam!, there’s a bun in the oven. I have a really good feeling about you guys.

  8. I included a letter in your package that I hope will be a good response to some of your comments in this post- hope you got it today!!

    Trust your gut first and foremost and the only other thing I can say is be as prepared as you can for what comes with the world of clomid (personally I really suffered on it). at the end of the day you aren’t stuck on one path and you can continue to go different courses depending on where you are physically and emotionally.

    hugs 🙂

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