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!!!

OvaCue has arrived…

I was finally able to slip out of work early today to pick up my OvaCue Fertility Monitor at the post office before they closed.  And as soon as I arrived home I ripped into the box, much like a six-year-old on Christmas morning.

I read the tiny owners manual first, but only because I couldn’t figure out how to turn the darn thing on…  The directions didn’t seem all that great, but I guess what do you want for a fertility monitor, maybe they figured it was self-explanatory.  The oral sensor goes in your mouth, the vaginal in your vagina.  Okay, got it.  I collected the sensors and headed to the bathroom.

Using both of the sensors was easy and very fast, a few seconds and readings appears on the screen.  I have to say though, I’m a little disappointed with the  interface of the system.  The actual handheld monitor only holds 120 days of data, but the company recommends you use their online charting tools found on a sister site called OvaGraph.  This interface is even clunkier, but I will deal I suppose…  Or so I thought, until I realized there is no way to auto-upload the data from the handheld device to the online site, which also has an iPhone app.  The readings will go into the monitor, but then I’ll need to type them into either the app or the website to truly see the analysis, or so it seems.  I already track my data with Fertility Friend, so adding another tracking website feels a little excessive.  Do I make a point to keep tracking with both?  This is becoming a full-time job!

For the time being, I’ve posted both my charts to the right on my homepage.  You can click on the Fertility Friend chart to see more information, whereas the OveCue Graph is just a picture of my data from their website, so not an item that provides any more detail.

I’m anxious to see my readings over time, although I’m trying to keep in mind that this cycle might be ‘messed up’ for lack of a better term, considering this will be my first cycle after my miscarriage.

More to come on this…  Stay tuned..

<2

Beta this morning was <2 which means I am officially no longer pregnant!!!  No more weekly betas!  You’d think I’d be in a great mood…  And I am happy about the test results, but I have so many other things weighing on my mind, hard to focus on the good right now.  It really doesn’t help that it’s year-end and work is crazy busy!

The nurse who passed along my results today assured me my case will be discussed tomorrow at the RE group’s weekly team meeting.  And then Wednesday afternoon is my appointment to set a plan for our next IVF cycle!!!  Which reminds me, how am I going to sneak away from work for that, since we’re so busy right now??!!  A huge part of me is seriously excited to move on, or at least have a plan in place to move on.  But the other part of me is terribly overwhelmed and anxious.  I remember the difficulty, but physically and emotionally, of our previous IVF cycle, not to mention the time off work required.  So much to organize, the waiting, the hoping…  It takes a lot out of a person.

My OvaCue Fertility Monitor arrived on Saturday, but I wasn’t home to sign for it.  I really feel like the USPS needs a new system.  If I’d known I had to sign for the darn thing, I would have been home! Who even sends packages through the USPS anymore anyway???  I’ll get to that later, but for the time being, let me piss off all of you infertiles….

I was googling reviews of this monitor and of course, it’s all over the most popular baby making sites.  For the most part, the reviews are all really good.  The only real complaint I’ve come across is the price, but heck, I’ve wasted more on a purse.  Anyway, the reviews were all similar, you know, people claiming to have been trying to get pregnant FOREVER and then they buy this monitor and all the sudden they find themselves pregnant.  Here’s what I think about that…

SINCE YOU HAD ONLY BEEN TRYING FOR 4 MONTHS, YOU’RE NOT INFERTILE, THE MONITOR ISN’T THAT MAGICAL!!

Okay, glad I got that off my chest…  I’d like to point out though, that I don’t except this monitor to get me pregnant, I’m actually just more curious about the readings it provides, maybe I can discover something about my cycles that has been missed in the past.

Speaking of the monitor, I need a personal assistant.  Or perhaps I need to quit my job, either one really.  I seriously don’t understand how people who work full-time, me included, get anything done!  I mean, really, I leave for work at 7am, and arrive home around 6pm, which didn’t include a workout today.  Don’t even get me started, I know I suck, and I had pokey stix for dinner, deal with it.  Here are just a few of the tasks I currently need my non-existent personal attendant to manage…

  • Pick up fertility monitor @ post office – Yes, someone has to sign for it, therefore it’s sitting at the post office for the time being, and for God only knows how long, as their hours are M-F 9am-4:30pm and S 9am-11am.  So I guess it’ll be next Saturday, although I already have other plans that day.  Do people really take off work to get their mail???
  • Arrange and give entry access for property cleaning – I listed some rental property for sale with a realtor, but it needs to be thoroughly cleaned and I’m not up for that, so planning to hire someone.  Last I checked, though, cleaning services don’t work on Saturday or Sundays, and they won’t even come without first providing me an in-person estimate.  That’s two days off work!  Ugh.
  • Replace/repair garbage disposal @ rental property – Again, I don’t even know who can do this, much less when I’m free for them to do it!
  • Order, arrange, and give entry access for screen door install on personal property – I’ll probably just give up on this one, as it’s another day I’d have to take off work, but I have wanted a screen door on our home since we moved in several years ago.
  • Plan our August vacation – It’s almost August and I still haven’t found the time to sit down and actually plan something with Eric.  He and I so rarely have free time which coincides with one another….
  • Make arrangements with realtor to visit and place offer on new personal residence – this one seems self-explanatory, but here goes….  Our realtor claims the owners of the home in Cedar Falls Eric and I like are willing to close next May, so we need to get our butt in gear and make an offer.

Making this list reminds me, I didn’t make a list of my questions for our appointment on Wednesday….  I best go do that now!

No Judging… I Know I’m Crazy

Okay ladies, and any gentlemen also reading…  No judging, I know I’m crazy…

My beta to confirm I really and truly am no longer pregnant is Monday morning at 7:30am.  Convenient since I work at the hospital, so I’ll just pop up to the lab before I head to my office.  Since I know we are looking for a 0 level of HCG, I decided I needed to test on my own first.  Yes, this is where the crazy part comes in.  Three weeks ago I was testing to get a positive, now I’m desperately testing to get a negative.  Life, I tell ya!

I purchased the ClearBlue with weeks estimator, as I figured that would at least estimate a higher or lower level of HCG still coursing through my body.  I searched the internet, wondering what level of sensitivity each of the responses from these tests provide, but couldn’t find much…  Does anyone know?

Okay, so I took the test earlier this afternoon, and dammit, 1-2 weeks pregnant.

Image

Yeah, clearly my level isn’t 0, and who knows if it will be Monday morning.  I fear I’ll be having an ultrasound, and what is that gonna show??  I’ll test again Monday morning, but I highly doubt it’s going to display Not Pregnant…

Realizing I’ve spent a small fortune on HPTs, I went online in search of a less expensive option.  But I came across an interesting ovulation monitor instead.  I already own the ClearBlue Fertility Monitor and it seems to work as it should, displaying peak shortly before my temperature would rise.  Well, back when I was tracking everything closely.  I got bored with that after the first year of no luck, although recently started taking my temperature again each morning.  Anyway, the interesting monitor I came across is the OvaCue Fertility Monitor.  It’s a bit more pricy than the ClearBlue variety, but appears to offer a few extra features.  It comes with a sensor for saliva and cervical fluid, so measures different sources to predict ovulation.  Has anyone used one of these, and if so, thoughts?  It’s not cheap, but I’m not so concerned with the cost, as my FSA will reimburse me in full.  Do we see any point in me purchasing this?  Eric is all about trying on our own the next couple months before we can start the next IVF cycle…  Frankly, I don’t see us getting pregnant on our own, but who knows I guess, since technically they still haven’t found anything wrong with either of us.  Wishful thinking?  I feel like at this point I’m willing to try anything, even another crazy monitor…  Do I have anything to lose?

Off the subject, but…  My vehicle, a Nissan Rogue, will be off-lease in about two months, so in-between rental showings today (don’t even get me started on those) I decided to stop by the Nissan dealership and see what they had to offer.  Honestly, I wasn’t all that fond of my Rogue, but I’m over on miles and figure they’ll be more forgiving on penalties if I stick with the same brand for my next vehicle.  So, I drove around the lot, three times, getting out of my vehicle four times before someone finally approached me.  How is that even possible???  I was eyeing the Armada when the sales guy approached and I asked if they only had one of those on the lot.  They did…  Interesting I thought.  So I inquired anyway, as I’d already told Eric I want something larger than the Rogue, but certainly not going to a mini-van.  The guy asked what color I wanted, and I was like, um, that is the least of my concerns!  I explained mine is off-lease soon and then he asked if I’m trading in.  Um, did he not know how a lease worked???  I was like, no, I’m giving back my lease and re-leasing.  I asked how much to lease the Armada and he asked how much equity I had in the Rogue.  Um, hello, none, it was a lease.  I’m fairly savvy when it comes to finance, and I’ve never heard of having equity in a lease…  How does that work???  Anyway, I must have looked seriously poor in my University of Iowa Hawkeye t-shirt, jeans, and flip-flops, as he clearly gave me this, you can’t afford this vehicle look…  I told him to forget it and I left.  He really pissed me off though, as technically I could have paid cash for the darn thing.  Ugh… how rude of him to judge me!