Post pregnancy periods

*Updated at the bottom*

My boy is now almost 13 months old and I’ve had 5 post pregnancy periods. Thankfully my periods are still much as they were before pregnancy, but there have been some changes in my post pregnancy periods (PPP).

Cycle Length:
I have almost always had “normal” 28 day cycles. Sometimes AF would stay away until 30 days, but rarely longer than that! Post pregnancy they are still holding out around this time frame for the most part. Between these 5 cycles, I’ve had a 31, 30, 29 & 25 day cycle. Yes, this last period came much earlier! Thankfully I noticed signs of it earlier in the day (pink/purple on TP) and thought to put on a panty liner before heading out and about downtown.

Pain:
When I first started getting my period around 14 years of age, I would have some of the worst lower back pain during the first day or two of my period. I remember sometimes pressing my lower back into the corner of a building or wall trying to find a trigger point that would alleviate some of the pain. Eventually my periods were not painful at all. I mean, sure I would get a bit of cramping or dull ache the first day or two. But that pain would be easily taken away by a Tylenol or ibuprofen, if I remembered to take them. My periods after pregnancy have gone back to their regular not-really painful selves, except for the occasional pain. A couple of periods ago, I had some pain that I can only describe what felt like late stage active labor, maybe when the head is crowning. This thankfully only lasted 30 seconds to a minute, but O.MGee! I just about called out to Mr Siili to come get Paxlet because I was in so much pain. Other than that one time, I don’t think I’ve had much in the way of pain during PPP.

Spotting:
I don’t think I’ve ever spotted mid-cycle (except the one time I had the Depo shot) and I only remember spotting just before AF would arrive these last few years, basically only when we were TTC.  Since my PPP have started back up, I haven’t noticed any spotting.

Flow:
Again, at the age of 14 when I first got my periods, my flow was quite heavy the first 3 or so days. Heavy enough to need super absorbancy tampons. Then, over the years I was able to get by with the normal and lite tampons. Now, PPP have required me to once again need super tampons. Thankfully tampons are enough and I don’t need pads. I hate pads!

Duration:
As long as I can remember, my periods have been roughly 6 days long. Maybe a day longer or shorter, but not often. And usually the last day or so is light enough that a panty liner is enough protection.

And that, folks, is my period history in a large nutshell. So far, things are pretty much like they were before pregnancy with only a few flashbacks from when I was younger.

*Update*
Olivia’s comment reminded me that adding when and why I think I started getting my period again might be useful.
My first PPP came when Paxlet was about 8,5 months old. (I felt what I thought were O pangs 2 weeks earlier, which was confirmed by AF showing up right on time.) I relate the arrive of my period to Paxlet not needing/getting nighttime feeds so much anymore. That, and he wasn’t drinking as much breast milk during the day, because he was getting much more of his food from solids.

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Firsts and other things

This coming Saturday will be one year since we got the keys to our new place. It’s a bit crazy how different things are this year. Last year we lived in an apartment on the 8th floor, now we live in a duplex/townhouse (paritalo) with two floors. Last year I was pregnant and this year we have a little guy who is almost 9 months old. Last year I couldn’t breath (it was very very bad) at this time of the year because of the highest birch pollen count in 30 years, general pregnancy stuffiness and dust from moving plus the fact that I couldn’t take the good stuff and this year it hasn’t been too bad (yet), although the birch hasn’t bloomed yet. Last year we had tons of boxes and nothing put away and this year we still have a few boxes, but the house is livable and feels like home.

AF has fully arrived for the first time since Paxlet was born. I had some light spotting when he was 12 weeks, but that’s all. Two weeks ago I felt what I was pretty sure were some O-twinges and now it has been confirmed. This coincides with Paxlet starting to sleep mostly through the night and not eating at night. Now he gets boob as he falls asleep, when he wakes up (or as he tries to wake up and I hope that by giving him boob he’ll sleep just a bit longer) and then as he wants during the day. But during the day, he doesn’t always want to the boob and some days he does. I offer and let him decide. So, now that AF is back, I am potentially fertile again. But there is no way we’ll even have a chance of getting miraculously pregnant if we don’t have sex (regularly). Besides, I’m not sure I am ready for a second one just yet and Mr Siili probably isn’t either, although we both know we aren’t getting any younger.

Related to the previous item, I really need to stop eating junk food and sweets (so much). Now that Paxlet isn’t drinking boob as much, I’m not loosing more weight. I basically stopped losing weight once I reached my pre-pregnancy weight, which is totally fine. But in the last week or so, I’ve noticed I’ve gone up a kilo or two. That could also be related to PMS and bloat. Ugh.

Sometimes, family feels like more pain, trouble and drama than they are worth*. The drama of last week continued on Monday, plus some. I emailed my stepmom and my brother’s bride to be asking if they had mailed the wedding invitations yet and and if they had been sent, when should we be concerned that ours hasn’t arrived yet. This caused my stepmom to Skype me and told me that we had not been sent an invitation because they were worried that if one was sent to our family that Mr Siili would come and they don’t want him at the wedding. I was/am horribly offended. Plus, my stepmom told me some other things my family feels about my husband (nothing very nice), yet they are too chicken shit to tell me. Or as my sister put it (in my stepmom’s words) she’s not women enough to tell me herself. One thing my stepmom did point out is that during that conversation and in previous times, she has only been the messenger, yet I have taken it out on her as if these were her words alone. True, looking back at things and even today, it is hard not to feel that she is the only one saying these things. She just happens to have the loudest mouth and the one who will say it. For me, it makes it all the more painful to hear from my stepmom the things my sister thinks about my husband and our relationship, yet she won’t say it to me. And that she said she had a great time while she was here visiting, talks as if she’d love for us (my family of 3) to come visit when in reality it’s not true. She told my stepmom that Mr Siili is never welcome to stay at her home again. W!T!F!!!! Also, my stepmom told me that I have changed since moving to Finland 13+ years ago (true) and that they don’t know me anymore. They don’t know the adult me, the married me and the mom me, which I guess I can understand. And based on some anecdotal history of my stepmom’s own life and relationship with my grandparents (my dad’s parents), she said that if I were to come there to visit (with Paxlet only) they would get to know me (and Paxlet) and via me they would get to learn to know Mr Siili and maybe in the future (because the future is long and unforeseeable) he might be welcome again as they would now know him better. W.T.F? Mr Siili says they have already made up their mind about him and are now just trying to justify what they feel and say to me. I am so offended in so many different ways it’s not funny. Family?! What family?! In short, I told my stepmom and dad that I won’t be coming to the wedding or to visit in the near future. And that just freaking breaks my heart!

 

On a lighter note, Paxlet and I are going to visit the in-laws tomorrow. MIL had surgery today and will be on strict bed rest for 5 weeks! So, we’ll go there for a few days now and maybe again before the 5 weeks is up to keep her company, do some cooking (I’ve already got some vegetarian dishes in mind) and just have a change of pace.

On an even lighter note, Midsummer is only a month away!! Ack! The days are getting longer! In fact, the sun is now above the horizon for 18 hours a day and it doesn’t get fully dark at night. Plus, it has been beautifully warm this last week. I know ~70F (In the low 20s C) isn’t all that hot, but it is gorgeous and lovely here! I’ve been in skirts and short sleeve shirts and not feeling cold. Summer, please stick around!

*I know that you are only getting my side of the story, but that’s all I have to offer. I know I haven’t been perfect nor spotless in this family drama, but it seems this time it was just brought up again so my stepmom could have some excitement and someone to blame.

Cycle #40, a day early

That’s right, CD1 of cycle #40 is today. I had signs of AF arriving last evening and knew she was here before I went to bed. Since it was so late, I’m calling today day one. I try to tell myself that I’m not at all sad about AF arriving this cycle, because there is no way in hell I could have gotten pregnant this cycle with me being in Shanghai before and after O, but know that she is here and I’m still not pregnant still makes me a bit sad. The good news is that I get to call my clinic on Monday and get the ball started on our 2nd and final FET from IVF #2.

Here’s to possibilities and hope.

Starting cycle #36

Spotting started yesterday evening, with more flow at night and AF is fully here today. This makes cycle #36 for us. I’ll call the clinic tomorrow to let them know and I’ll also ask about getting the lonely frozen embryo transferred during this natural cycle. It will all be up to timing (like always).

I’ve got cramps. I’ve taken some painkiller, but I’ve still got cramps! Normally I have very minimal cramps and they only last the first day. If these continue for much longer or stay this bad, they are definitely worse than what I normally have and I think it will be due to the Zumenon.

It’s cloudy, windy & rainy outside. It seems fitting for today.

IVF process (part 1)

I wrote on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago the following:
‎2.5 years ago my husband and I decided to try for a baby.
1.5 years ago the doctors suspected I have endometriosis.
1 year ago it was confirmed with surgery.
Now we are undergoing IVF in hopes of finally getting a baby.
It’s been a long, difficult road and we’re not there yet, but I am no longer worried about others knowing what is going on.

Having said that, here’s an account of my IVF journey so far (this too has been posted elsewhere).

Oct 11, 2010
This is going to be a long post…you might want to get a cup of tea/coffee.

I’m officially at the start of the IVF process. And I’m not feeling quite like I thought I’d feel. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to finally get to this point as nothing else has worked so far. Yet at the same time I am quite sad. It’s like “huh, so this is it. My body couldn’t do it on its own and now I have to fully rely on treatments to hopefully get me where I want to go.” As I drove DH home and then myself to work, I couldn’t help but get teary-eyed.

At the appointment first thing was to check how big/small the cyst on my left ovary is and if it looks like any more endo-tissue has formed. Thankfully the cyst is only about 2cm and there is only a tiny bit of blood/tissue.. I think that is how big the cyst has been for a few months now. She said it wouldn’t stop us from proceeding forward now. *big sigh of relief*

Next the doctor went through the overall IVF process and then got us started on what we need to do next. We’ll be going the “long” route with IVF since I have endo. And because I do have endometriosis (even if I have no outward symptoms at all), this can make IVF more risky than if I didn’t have it.

This cycle will play itself out on its own, except at day 21, I’ll give myself an inejction (Procren) to basically stop my body’s production of hormones for the next 4 weeks. AF should come like normal. She had better keep to her clockwork like schedule! I have my next appointment already set up for the beginning of next month. The doctor will check that the injection is doing its job. Then we’ll decide how long I’ll do injections of Puregon (stimulates folicles) and also the dosage. I’ve been using 50iu of Puregon for quite some time now, but this time the dosage will be upped to 150iu to start with. I’ll have an u/s every couple of days to see how things are progressing and to change any meds if needed. Then I’ll do a trigger injection for O (Pregnyl). Very soon after that will be my harvest date! The doctor said it looks as if week 45 (Nov 8-12) will probably be the week when it will happen. A fews days after my eggs are harvested and DH gives a sample (on the same day), the clinic will let us know when everything looks good and I can go back to have them put in me.

The doctor said that depending on the quality of the embryos, they might put 2 in me (AT MOST!). But they would prefer to only insert one. After that, it’ll just be a waiting game.

The doctor also went over the possible side effects. What fun! The first injection might make me mean/moody and possible hot flashes (esp at night) and not being able to sleep too well. The higher dosage of Puregon could give me thrombosis (clots), bloating, swelling, moodiness, among other things. And again, because I have endo and it making the risks a bit higher, there could also be a chance of bleeding from the harvesting procedure. And maybe even infection (because needles will be inserted into my body). So, I’ll be given some antibiotics via IV to hopefully prevent infection.

Oh, I can’t forget that I need to get some blood tests done before all of this starts. They have to check me for Hep C and whatever other blood born diseases and illnesses they check for before they can do IVF. DH has already had this done before his 1st SA.

So, I guess that is my appointment in a (big) nutshell.

Oct 18, 2010
I picked up my Procren* injection today. I will inject it one week from today (Oct 25th). It is supposed to stop the production of estrogen and testosterone.

*Procren isn’t sold in the USA, but I think Lupron is similar.

(In response to what someone said: I’m not so down on myself this week. Just looking forward to Monday…not necessarily the injection itself, but rather what it means. In a sort of twisted way, I can’t wait to see what sort of side effects I might get or not get. lol (Ask me that again if I can’t sleep or get hot flashes…))

Oct 26, 2010
Monday Oct 25th, I injected myself with 3.75mg of Procren.

I got home just after 9pm, talked to DH, played with the cats and then set about getting ready for the injection.

The plunger needed to be screwed into the syringe. Then I had to carefully push the plunger up part way until the liquid mixed with the powder and the stopper thing reached the blue line. Next I had to carefully and slowly roll the syring back and forth between my hands to mix the liquid and powder. No shaking because it could cause bubbles and no turning the syringe over as we don’t want anything to come out ahead of time.

Before getting the syringe ready, I cleaned the area below my bellybutton with the alcohol wipe that was included. Now that it was clean and dry, it was time to give myself the injection. This is always the most difficult part for me..sticking myself with the needle. It isn’t that it’s painful, the poking of the needle is really only a little prick. (Sometimes the liquid can sting a bit though.) It is more the idea of what I’m going to do..and how big the needle is! So, I stood there staring at the needle and making squirmy faces at it for a minute or so and then took a deep breath and got on with it.

I pinched an inch and then just slowly pressed the Procren into me. It was hard to see when the plunger made it all the way to the bottom. I then waited a few seconds before removing the needle. All done!

I’ve always given myself my own injections without anyone watching. I don’t know if DH would want to help or see what I’m doing. I’ve just always gone and done it on my own and then shown him the little wound afterward. LOL. I’ll have to ask him what he thinks.

I don’t know how fast the stuff is supposed to start working. But I do remember being told that the effects would last for about 4 weeks. I did wake up during the night feeling quite hot and sweaty a few times, but that could have just also been that I had cats on my feet and it was warm in the room. And I don’t think it effected my sleep..I’m just tired because I got to bed to late. I am a bit sore where I gave the injection, but that is quite normal for me.

Now we’re just waiting for AF to arrive and my next appointment on November 2nd (Tuesday). If AF doesn’t show by Monday, I need to call the clinic and reschedule the appt. Here’s hoping she plays nice and shows up on time (this weekend?!).

Nov 1, 2010
I was saved by my phone alarm! AF showed up just in the nick of time, seriously!
I had my phone alarm set to remind me to call the clinic today at 11:30 if AF hadn’t arrived. Alarm went off and I quickly went to the bathroom and she was there..so were her wicked stepsisters: The Cramps. Thankfully I keep pain killer at work.

On a slightly different topic, but still relating to infertility and my IVF process, I received a letter last week from Kela (Social Insurance Institution/Social Security) stating that I’d surpassed my co-pay amount for medicines this year. So, for the rest of the year any prescription meds I need, I’ll only have to pay 1.50€ per prescrip/fill.

Which is pretty cool because I’m going to be taking much higher doses of meds pretty soon and that means I’ll need more of it.

I know the prices I’m paying for treatments and meds here in Finland are not nearly as much as in the USA. And for that I am very thankful to be in Finland. But at the same time, we do pay higher taxes and what not in order to get cheaper health care. It’s just different.

I also am pretty sure that if we were in the USA, that my DH would not be willing to pay $12k plus for IVF. Or at least, it would have been much more difficult to get him to this point in treatments.

Nov 2, 2010
I had a good doctor’s appointment today. Not the exact results/timeline I was expecting, but doable.

The ultrasound showed that my right ovary is in great shape and clear/clean of any cysts. (That was the one I had the endometriomal cyst removed from a year ago this month.) The left ovary, on the other hand, has a blood filled cyst, most likely the same as what was removed a year ago, but they can’t tell for sure unless they operate. It is 2cm. So, the doctor is optimistic about the right side, but not so on the left.

The doctor asked if I would mind waiting one more week before starting the Pregnyl (ovary stimulator) in hopes that this extra time would allow the endometriosis and cyst to calm down. And since it was only a week ago that I took the Procen shot, there is time. It was totally my call whether to start now or wait the week, so I said I’d wait the week. Especially when the doctor said that in her opinion it would hopefully give better results.

So, I start taking Pregnyl next week’s Wednesday (10th). I take 200IU per day for 5 days. (That’s up from the 50IU I have been taking.) Then on the following Monday (15th), I go back for another u/s to see where things stand.

The doctor says that it looks like we’ll harvest the following week (wk 47 / week that starts on the 21st).

Nov 8, 2010
Quick update.
It’s been two weeks since my injection of Procen. I don’t think I’ve really had any specific side effects. At least not after my first night of sleeplessness, which I am sure was my own doing.
I have noticed though, that I’ve had some strange flutterings, cramps or just weirdnesses in my stomach/ovary area during the last two weeks. They haven’t been anything constant nor persistent. Although, the last few days, I’ve been getting a few stronger cramps that hurt quite badly for 30sec-1min, then go away. I’ve also had a bit of nausea or sick feelings. It’s never really any one sort of feeling that I can pinpoint other than I know it isn’t pleasant.
I am sure it is just the absence of hormones being produced, so I’m trying not to be concerned, but well, you know.

Tonight was my first injection of Puregon (200IU). I’ll be doing this until Sunday and then Monday, 15th, I go back for another u/s to see what my ovaries have produced.

Please send “pretty” and maturing egg thoughts my way.