Karen Fuss is closer than ever to having a baby on her own, except she’s not sure how she’s feeling about it! Sound familiar? Here Karen explains the process of cycle monitoring as part of the fertility process for women considering having a child on their own and the journey to motherhood for single women.
Mixed Emotions About Getting Pregnant
Now that I am actually ready to try and get pregnant, I can’t say that I am feeling happy or excited. After trying to absorb the information and instructions that Doctor C gave me at our last appointment, the reality of my situation is really sinking in. I am trying to get pregnant on my own and the odds are completely stacked against me because of my age. It will require lots of drugs, a huge time commitment and now, I’m learning, a possible financial one too. It definitely will not be easy.
I think that anxious and completely freaked out would more accurately describe how I am feeling and knowing just how close I am to trying to have a baby on my own.
At my last appointment, Doctor C reviewed the ‘Patient’s Protocol for Cycle Monitoring’. It is basically one sheet of paper that will dictate my life for an undefined period of time. It contains the steps that I must follow in order to get pregnant.
I wished it said to have lots of sex with your husband or any man for that matter. But sadly it did not. No, my instructions were purely medical and practical in nature. There was not going to be any fun pumping myself up full of fertility drugs on my own and making frequent trips to the fertility clinic.
So What Exactly is Cycle Monitoring?
For most women who have never tried to have a baby or who just say one day ‘Honey, it’s time to start a family!’ and it happens, this will be a foreign concept to you. Cycle monitoring is a fertility term for mapping out or monitoring your menstrual cycle each month to determine when the optimal timing to conceive is. It may sound simple enough but it is not. As I have mentioned in a previous blog, you essentially have one day to get pregnant and it is not always the same day of your cycle every month. And it is now Doctor C’s job to determine the right day through this process.
Okay. So you may be thinking that is not so bad.
But here’s the tricky part and why it becomes all consuming. When it is a medicated cycle like mine, meaning you require fertility drugs, you have the biggest role in this process. Because not only do you have to be 100% certain of day one of your cycle, but you better not miss or skip a step. You see, certain drugs must be administered on specific days and sometimes even at a specific time. And then on exact days of your cycle you need to make a trip to the fertility clinic to get, well, monitored to see how your cycle is progressing. On those days that you go to the clinic, you have an ultrasound and blood test. The results are then sent to your doctor and by that afternoon you will receive a call from your doctor of how you are to proceed. Based on the information from the multiple visits to the clinic, the doctor is ‘mapping out’ your cycle or in other words (and in very simple terms) following your eggs during ovulation to determine the right day and time to conceive.
Why an Ultrasound and Blood Test?
Well, through the ultrasounds the doctor can actually see how many eggs or follicles you have produced in your ovaries during that cycle, follow their travels from the ovaries to the fallopian tubes and finally towards the uterus and how many actually survive the trip. The blood test measure the quality (remember learning about your FSH level?) and the ‘ripeness’ of the individual eggs. With this information, the doctor can evaluate if it is a viable cycle and exactly the day and timeframe that you can go for it.
So the onus is on you that you are doing it right every time. Forget about my normal life; I am entering the crazy and secret world of fertility treatments and soon-to-be my new home the fertility clinic.
So what did I do? How was I going to handle all of this?
Well, I did exactly what I was told to do. I took the next step.
As Doctor C recommended, I walked over to the drug store closest to the fertility clinic, as they are well stocked with these types of drugs and filled my prescriptions. And with approximately $1,000 worth of drugs in my bag, I went home.
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Have you heard of cycle monitoring? What do you think of Karen’s experience? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.