09 March 2010

The First Six Months

I've had an idea of how to begin this blog for a long time. That beginning may yet appear, but for now we are going to start here. A second beginning is a bit oxymoronic, but there are no rules in your own space.

Today is day 27 of this menstrual cycle. It is also two days after I started expecting my period. I still have some waiting to go, but the more time goes by, the more odds are in my favor. Could I be. . . I can't bring myself to use the word. After so much time waiting, watching others experience it and seeing my body misbehave over and over, it's almost hard to believe it could actually happen. So easily. And so incredibly hard.
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This journey began about two years ago, when Ray and I started talking about the time to start a family. At that point I was not quite ready, but I was getting there. He wasn't, but the conversation was on the table. Then in late 2008 we both felt ready enough and agreed that I would cease birth control at the end of my cycle in January. I'd been on birth control for, well, years. We won't get specific. I definitely thought it would be great not having to worry about that anymore.

That last cycle ended and we weren't trying, just not not trying. The days when I would have had a period came. . . and went. I was a week late and ecstatic and terrified at the same time. That was quick!

I had just visited a new doctor in our town to replace my old one 30 minutes away; I made an appointment and took a pregnancy test in the office. Negative. Doc said it was too soon to tell, to come back in a week if I still didn't get my period.

Week later. No period. Visit #2. Negative again. Full blood work-up is ordered. Starting to get a little spooked.

Visit #3 holds the results of the blood work, which are, well, off. Very low estrogen levels, so low that my cycle wasn't triggering. My thyroid levels were also outside the normal range. I have a pre-existing thyroid condition, Hashimoto's thyroiditis. I've taken replacement since I was twelve years old but my dosage was no longer correct. Something had changed. Doc orders an MRI to see if there is something wrong with the pituitary gland in the brain. WHA???? I'm thoroughly upset and scared that something huge could be wrong.

MRI was highly uncomfortable but clean of course, I wasn't going to end up a candidate for a House episode. I don't return to that doctor, who ordered the expensive procedure prematurely considering my thyroid could have caused the chain of events that interrupted my cycle. Return to my previous OB who has treated me for several years and prescribes my thryoid meds. She agrees that from my blood work the thyroid could be the cause. The thyroid produces hormones that stimulate the pituitary which sends the signals to your ovaries to make follicles. If the levels of thyroid hormone are too low or too high, it can screw up the whole equation. My levels were really high. She also looked me up and down and said that weight could be an issue. The past two years I had slowly been losing weight with dedication to exercise and restrictive eating habits. Maybe a little too restrictive, but the high thyroid levels also create a speedier metabolism which could be a culprit. I loved how I looked and felt, but per the OB my body was probably not meant to be that thin.
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This was me at Christmas 2006. Still a tad heavy leftover from some serious binge eating my senior year of college. I was probably around 120 lbs here.




And Christmas 2007, five months after our wedding. I slimmed down the year before the wedding and it continued after. My new drivers license say 108 lbs, so probably around there here.

April 2008- more like 106

To April 2009, probably my thinnest, at 102

In late spring 2009 we started changing my thyroid medication to achieve the proper dose. I had to be on each dose for at least 6 weeks before taking blood work to see if it was right. I changed three levels before arriving at my present dose of 75 mcg. Meanwhile, still no period. No period means no ovulation. I no longer had any clue when to expect it. . .

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