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Diagnosis & Treatment

Or, how I acquired a new vocabulary.

Here's the synopsis (if you haven't already heard, or if you want a review).

I've been diagnosed with a luteal phase defect (LPD). This means that my post-ovulatory progesterone levels are too low, and my luteal phase is generally too short. Progesterone is the hormone that a woman's body produces after ovulation to sustain any pregnancy that might occur. The luteal phase is the part of a woman's cycle between ovulation and menstruation. Since my progesterone levels are too low, my luteal phase does not last long enough for a fertilized egg to implant in my uterus. Therefore, no pregnancies.

The fertility specialist - let's call her Dr. Peppy - wants to try treating my LPD with Clomid. Clomid is a medication that is taken orally and that stimulates hormone production by acting as an estrogen receptor blocker. Crash course: In the first half of her cycle, a woman produces higher levels of estrogen and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) that gear the body up for ovulation. Follicles around the eggs start growing, and whichever one gets biggest fastest wins the prize of releasing the egg at ovulation time. After releasing the egg, the follicle turns into the corpus luteum, attaching to the fallopian tubes and telling the body to start progesterone at higher levels. Got it? (Isn't the intricacy of God's creation of the human body amazing?!) The theory behind treating LPD with Clomid is that, even though my estrogen and FSH levels check out fine, something is going wrong with my follicle/corpus luteum that is in turn producing insufficient progesterone. In my case, Clomid should have a kind of domino effect: Clomid boosts estrogen & FSH production, follicles grow bigger, ovulation is stronger, corpus luteum functions better, progesterone levels increase, luteal phase lengthens, and conception & implantation can actually occur. (We hope!)

So, now that preliminary testing and that throw-us-for-a-loop Rubella vaccine are complete, I am eagerly awaiting my next cycle to start so that I can begin Clomid. Here's the plan, for those of you who want the details:

Day 1
call Dr. Peppy's office to report start of new cycle (probably July 4/5)

Day 3
ultrasound & blood-work done to make sure all systems are go before giving the Clomid prescription

Days 3-7
take Clomid pills

Day 11/12
ultrasound to see if ovulation is about to occur (could have repeat ultrasounds a couple days later if ovulation is not impending); endometrial biopsy to make sure Clomid is not thinning my uterine lining

Day 21
progesterone blood-work, to see if Clomid has indeed boosted those levels

Please join with Aaron & me in praying for this cycle. Pray specifically that I will not experience some of the nastier side effects of Clomid, and pray that we will conceive! Pray also that my trust and hope will be in the Lord, and not in a doctor or a medication. I want to be optimistic that Clomid will help, but I also want to be realistic that we still may not get pregnant right away. I am so grateful for your prayers, and for how you share in our trials and hopes!

"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! ... May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans! May we should for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions! ... Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."
Psalm 20:1-2, 4-5, 7


Sealka said...

Unfortunately, I followed everything you explained with complete comprehension and understanding... *sigh*

And yes, new vocabulary is right!

Hope this is the month for you :)

mr. the durbin family said...

Andrea, in all silliness, I'm glad you skipped over days 13-20. Most of us know what "medical" procedures occur in nests and hives.

We will be praying with you this month, as always.