From the Founder
14 months after coming off the pill and after 8 months of actively “trying”, I went to a fancy fertility clinic to start follicular tracking to see what’s up, and whaddayaknow, it turns out I’ve got low progesterone.
Low progesterone is apparently a pretty common reason for infertility. But even though a lot of women experience it, when I Googled it, alas, I couldn’t find any real, interesting or inspiring information or stories about it online. So, to help spread the word, here’s mine…
What is follicular tracking?
It might mean slightly different things for different women, but for me, it means having to go for regular scans to monitor the growth of my follicles (where the eggs grow), use a kit to predict when I’m ovulating (hello pee sticks), time sex accordingly (oh joys!), and then have a blood test to check that I’ve actually ovulated. And on my first tracked cycle, my blood test showed that I have low progesterone.
What does low progesterone mean (in terms of conception)?
A lot, it turns out! Progesterone is a female sex hormone and if you don’t have enough of it, it’s simple: you may have trouble getting or staying pregnant. It’s produced mainly in the ovaries following ovulation each month, and helps to regulate your cycle; but its main job is to get your uterus ready for pregnancy and helps maintain the uterine lining throughout pregnancy.
How do I feel about it?
Honestly? Fucking relieved. Relieved to know that there’s a reason why, over a year later, we’re still not pregnant. Relieved to know that, whilst it’s my body that isn’t doing what it should (in terms of producing the right level of hormones), there’s really nothing I can do about it. Relieved to know that after months of planning and timing sex and stressing so much that it ended up being too difficult to have that perfectly timed sex, that my planing and timing wasn’t off – my hormones were. And, most of all, relieved to know that it’s treatable.
So what now?
We keep tracking, and this time during the second half of my cycle, I pop some progesterone pessaries to get their levels up to where they should be, and for the next few months try to conceive “naturally” as if I had a more “normal” cycle. Talk about levelling the playing field!
And who knows, maybe after a few months with a little extra suppository support, and a few rounds of acupuncture – I’ve just started to see the brilliant Mandy Brass to help balance my cycles, (and it was actually Mandy who spotted low progesterone well before the blood test, from previous BBT data I’d give her) – hopefully the mixture of Western and Chinese medicines will work their magic.
As anyone who has been trying for a while will know, (and I know that my length of trying is fractional compared to so many women) – trying to get pregnant has been a rollercoaster. And up till now, if I’m totally honest, I was more angry at my body for not getting pregnant, rather than actually wanting a baby. But now, for whatever reason – maybe it’s the new year, maybe it’s the new house, or maybe it’s because I finally have answers – for the first time in my life, I actually want a baby. I’m ready for it (or as ready as I’ll ever be).
So don’t you worry, I feel good about this. (It isn’t fucking easy, mind you, but I do feel good). There’s comfort knowing that I’m no longer out there “doing it on my own”. I have help. And answers. And a plan. And hope.
So wish us luck on this next chapter of our journey. And if you want to, I’m here to talk, always.