So as we start this journey to TTC, the first thing I did was make an appointment with my new midwife. I think I mentioned in a previous post that I switched practices. In my city, there are two large hospitals and most doctor’s offices are associated with one or the other. The office that I have been going to since I was a teenager is associated with the hospital that does not have a dedicated L&D floor or a NICU. Anyways, so I asked around and after talking with my sister, she recommended the midwife who birthed her first child. I also have a doctor at the office as well because of my history of problems, but hopefully won’t have to see the doctor.
The first step was getting records transferred over and scheduling an appointment for April because that is when I am due for my annual exam and PAP smear, so we just made the appointment a bit longer to include I’m-about-to-TTC and have a bunch of questions. I know that some women now only get a PAP every 2-3 years, but I get one either every 6 months or every year because of my history. I had Stage 0 Cervical Cancer twice, once in 2006 and once in 2012. I had surgery both times and didn’t need any other treatment. So our first concern will be doing any testing and imaging that can be done to see if my cervix is actually intact. The other is testing all my hormones and doing a full panel of blood work to check all my vitamin/mineral levels.
I previously did LH testing using blood and urine, but it was hard because without knowing the exact date, it involved a lot of driving to the lab to drop off urine samples or getting my blood drawn. After doing some reading and talking to my office, I decided to do the LH testing at home. It is way more convenient and is so much cheaper. I kept a detailed record of everything, including taping the strips into a notebook, to take to my appointment. So here is a brief run down of how it went. I bought these test strips from Amazon because of the price and because I buy everything from Amazon. There are $11.45, come with 40 LH test strips and 10 pregnancy test strips. They have simple directions on each individually wrapped strip, had great reviews online and have enough to test for 2-3 months. You urinate in a cup, put the designated end of the test strip in the urine for 3 seconds and then lay the test strip flat for 5 minutes. I can tell you when I tested positive, it was almost immediate, though I did leave the test strip flat for 5 minutes.
My period stopped on the 9th, so cycle day 6 so I started testing twice a day on the 10th, cycle day 7. My LH levels tested in between negative and positive on the 16th, so cycle day 13 and then tested positive the next day, the 17th, cycle day 14. The following day, I again had a result in between negative and positive on the 18th, cycle day 15. I usually have about 12 hours of severe pain in one of my ovaries every month. It feels like my ovary is swollen, stretching and painful. My previous doctor wasn’t sure if this pain was from the follicle swelling prior to ovulation or from the egg actually releasing from the follicle. I can now tell that because that pain occurred on the day when my LH tested positive, that the pain is from the egg releasing from the follicle, so ovulation itself. I usually have more minor pain for a few days prior and after ovulation. I use a period tracker in my phone it has ovulation set for 2 days prior to when I actually ovulated, which is good to know. I also have fairly short cycles, usually around 23 days. So not only does this provide necessary information for my doctors (i.e. I am actually ovulating) but it also gives me a better understanding of my cycle. I have included pictures below of my record keeping so you can see.
I kept detailed notes so that I can explain everything at my appointment in April. I am going to test again next month, just to see if my ovulation and cycle are somewhat consistent from one month to the next. I am happy I have taken the first step and at least know that I don’t need to worry about ovulation. I am nervous to talk with my midwife about my cervix because I really want to have a natural childbirth, so I am hoping that my cervix doesn’t complicate that or cause any other problems. I would love to hear from anyone who has had LEEP procedures or similar surgeries on their cervix and whether they had to have cervical cerclage during their pregnancy, at what week they had it done, how they found out they needed it, etc. I would also be interested in hearing from anyone who had the opposite problem; scar tissue forming on the cervix after surgeries and the cervix not dilating properly during labor and delivery.