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That Purple Box

I did a little research on that purple box which was displayed on my Ovacue Fertility Monitor this morning.  The not so handy user guide which was included with the device basically told me, well, nothing helpful.  It said that the purple box is displayed when vaginal readings dip and then subsequently rise after ovulation.  See?  Nothing helpful.  So take a look at these two pictures…

My BBT readings in Ovagraph showing my ovulation and then rise in temp from CD9


My oral and vaginal readings in Ovagraph showing purple for CD18
My oral and vaginal readings in Ovagraph showing purple for CD18

OvaCue’s website states this for the oral and vaginal reading explanations…

Oral – Green – “In a typical, 28-day cycle, the selection of the dominant follicle occurs approximately 5-7 days before ovulation.  By tracking the changes in the concentration of electrolytes in your saliva, the OvaCue® Fertility Monitor is able to detect the hormonal changes that coincide with the selection of the dominant follicle.  When the dominant follicle is selected, the OvaCue® will identify a Cue Peak in your oral readings, and can then predict out your fertile window for 5-7 days in the future.  The Cue Peak is defined as a high oral reading followed by two lower oral readings.

The Cue Peak on my chart is seen on 7/20/14, or CD7.  Technically though, the same pattern of one high and then two lower values is also seen on CD10, CD14, and CD16.  No idea what this means…

Vaginal – Purple – “With the vaginal sensor, the OvaCue® tracks changes in the electrolyte levels in the cervical mucus, which allows the monitor to detect the switch from estrogen to progesterone dominance that accompanies ovulation.  As you interpret your vaginal readings, it is important to remember that low vaginal readings indicate high levels of estrogen and/or low levels of progesterone and high vaginal readings indicate low levels of estrogen and/or high levels of progesterone. For women with typical hormone levels and trends, the vaginal readings will trend downward following the Cue Peak, reflecting the high estrogen levels that are present immediately before ovulation.  Remember that you are most fertile when your vaginal readings are low.  When ovulation occurs, your vaginal readings will rise sharply (called the Vaginal Rise), signaling the switch in your body from estrogen to progesterone dominance.”

My Vaginal Rise, switch from estrogen to progesterone, and confirmed ovulation and therefore end to my fertile period is seen on CD11.  This is 5-7 days after my Cue Peak on CD7.

“Under normal circumstances, the vaginal readings will remain elevated following ovulation until the end of the luteal phase of the cycle.  This indicates that progesterone levels are remaining high, which is necessary for successful implantation of the embryo if conception occurs.”

Typical Cycle – mine looks nothing like this!

So further reading on the company’s website told me there are two possibly reasons for the readings I received on my monitor this morning.

First is Secondary Fertility.  Note this is not the same as secondary infertility…

“Some women experience “multiple follicular stimulation”, a condition in which more than one follicle is selected during the course of a cycle.  Multiple follicular stimulation can occur if the dominant follicle does not mature or rupture as expected (perhaps due to a timing issue with the secretion of luteinizing hormone or some other hormone imbalance).  As a result, the egg is not released and fertilization cannot occur. The body will often recognize that there is a problem with the first follicle and will attempt to address the situation by selecting a second follicle 3-5 days later.  For trying-to-conceive women, recognizing the selection of this second follicle is important, as it will result in ovulation occurring later than expected. Multiple follicular stimulation occurs frequently in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), but can also occur in women with no particular fertility issue. In the case of secondary fertility, the vaginal readings dip after the initial Vaginal Rise, then rise sharply again.”

We’ve confirmed I don’t have PCOS, but I suppose this issue overall is possible for me.  It would explain the peak readings on OPKs which obviously would help me in no way if this is really my issue.  But, wouldn’t I have noticed something odd when tracking my BBT?  Those charts always seem to be right on for me…

Second possible cause is Luteal Phase Defect…

“During the luteal phase, the follicle cells that surrounded the egg before ovulation transform into the corpus luteum, a glandular structure that secretes large amounts of progesterone.  The large amount of progesterone that is secreted by the corpus luteum works to thicken the uterine lining, which prepares the uterus for successful implantation of an embryo in the event that the egg is fertilized.  The luteal phase typically lasts at least 10 days. If progesterone levels dip during the luteal phase, this will be reflected in a downward trend in your vaginal readings.”

So obviously I have this downward trend after ovulation according to my chart, which would explain a lot.  The first time I EVER saw a positive pregnancy test was after our IVF cycle when I was on progesterone supplements, and even then they said my levels were on the low side being I was supplementing.  Again though, my BBT charting gives a different impression, as my temperature always stays high after ovulation, which I understand to be a sign of high progesterone.  Is it possible my progesterone is high enough to keep my BBT up, but not high enough to facilitate implantation and support a pregnancy?

Having a baby was not supposed to be this difficult or confusing!!!

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