Ovulation

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2000
Ovulation
6
Fri, 01-28-2005 - 11:29am

Okay I've been on various TTC or on hold boards and I have a question. I've seen references to the fact that a woman can have an AF - but still not ovulate. I don't mean to be ignorant, but is that true? I thought AF was due to an unfertilized egg - that made it's way via ovulation. Am I missing something?

We've not decided to TTC for sure. Weighing the pros and cons. We both want another baby. . . I'm nearing 42 - had my last children at 40 (twins). I guess I'm wondering how you know when you get periomenapausal, etc.

TIA for any light anyone can share.

Deb

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2004
In reply to: debrat_77095
Fri, 01-28-2005 - 2:37pm

Hi Deb. I am not an HCP, but from what I have read, it is true that af can occur independently of ovulation. AF is the lining of the uterus that builds up in preparation for ovulation and fertilization ... and that can happen whether or not ovulation actually occurs. It's like the stage is set whether or not the actors hit their marks.

I think the different parts of the cycle are regulated by different hormones and the whole process is orchestrated by your endocrine system (thus the specialty Reproductive Endocrinologist, a doctor who treats fertility issues)... it is a very complex and delicate balance of things interacting. There are a variety of things that can interfere or go wrong with the various organs and their functions. Some say the endocrine system is particularly sensitive to your emotions and state of mind. Which is why you hear a lot of discussion about fertility and the mind-body-connection.

Cycles where you get af but do not ovulate are called, "anovulatory cycles." A woman can have anovulatory cycles for many different reasons. It is common in adolescence and perimenopause ... but it can happen to anyone at any time. Coming off of BCP, weight loss or gain, stress, illness, travel, exercise and medical conditions are some of the other things that can affect ovulation. It can be a chronic issue or it can occur occasionally. Women only discover the issue of course once they ttc. That is why charting can be so great. It's really empowering to have some insight into what really going on with your body. And if you are charting and you have a problem, the info you've already gathered is a nice head start toward diagnosis and solution for your hcps.

Menopause can take many years to complete. The time leading up to the actual cessation of periods is called pre or peri menopause. This varies from woman to woman and I have read that it can begin as long as ten years before you actually stop having periods. I have read that there is a hereditary component to the pattern and your mother’s (or aunt’s) experience can be a predictor for how it will go for you. Premenopause can begin before you realize it, which is unfortunate if you are ttc. But it does not rule out pregnancy. In fact, women in this stage have almost the highest incidence of unplanned pregnancies because they have a hard time understanding what their bodies are up to. Ovulation may not occur regularly, but it can still occur. In books like Taking Charge of your Fertility, you learn how to recognize whether or not you are actually ovulating by observing cervical mucus, tracking basal body temp and other clinical signs. CM is one of the most reliable predictors of ovulation or lack there of. These observations can be used to either achieve or avoid pregnancy.

If you want more info about premenopause/menopause, I recommend the following book (I haven’t read it, but I hear it’s great):

The Wisdom of Menopause by CHRISTIANE MD NORTHRUP
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/055338080X/qid=1106940578/sr=8-3/ref=pd_bbs_3/104-2351285-1051962?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2000
In reply to: debrat_77095
Fri, 01-28-2005 - 2:43pm

Thank you! I just read an article on pp on the subject, but actually understood it better reading your words.

Again, we've not decided to TTC yet, still talking about it. Our hands are rather full with our twins (14 months old) but at 42 I feel if we're going to try we need to do so sooner rather than later. I know my mother had a baby at 41. .. no clue when she or her sister went through menapause though.

I've seen advertised on tv a test - rather like a HPT - to check hormone levels. Has anyone tried them or know if they are reasonably accurate? Or is it best to have a blood test at the dr? Last time around the ob/gyn told me to TTC for 6 months, come back if I wasn't pregnant. . .we were fortunate that we conceived quickly - so never had any testing done.

deb

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2004
In reply to: debrat_77095
Fri, 01-28-2005 - 6:20pm

You're welcome!

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I hear you. We have many sets of twins among our family and friends ... and having been through one colicky baby myself (who took months to settle down) and two cat-nappers (who never slept more than 20 min at a time during the day until they were about a year old), all with a dh who travels a lot for his work and not a lot of support in our area ... and having witnessed the challenges that parents of twins have ... I think any sane mom in your postition would want to weigh the considerations carefully. And of course, I relate to the pressures of your bio clock. It's a devil's dilemma; from many angles, it's darned if you do, darned if you don't. Best of luck to you, whatever you decide. Somedays I think ... well it WOULD be awfully nice to get back into my career sooner rather than later ... and other days, I can't stand the thought of putting that crib away for good ....

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I don't know about my mom either, and I don't want to ask because I am afraid that when I calculate a 'forecast' of premenopause based her answer ... if it doesn't bode well for me ttc #3, I will freak out!! LOL! I'd rather just chart and be optimistic for a while (we have only just started ttc. I am 38, but I lurk here because the Over 35 board isn't that active. And everyone here seems to have good info.) Though perhaps I am being overly pessimistic. I keep reminding myself that my grandmothers were both from LARGE families (oldest of 13 and youngest of seven) so hopefully I have long biological clocks and resilient fertility (like your 41 yo mom!) in my genes somewhere. LOL.

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I don't know about that. My first thought would be ... call your ob and ask the office nurse or ask a pharmacist. My guess is that the over-the-counter tests are probably expensive ... but if you have the test done by your Dr, your insurance might pay for it instead. My best suggestion would be to look into charting (I'll post two links to a couple good books at the end ... everyone here knows them) ... because charting will tell you if you are ovulating and ... then if you decide to try, it will be a great tool for helping you to time BD for quick conception ... and older moms need every advantage in that game. Charting is cheaper than OPK ... though it's not for everyone and some people may have fertility signs that are hard to interpret ...

I guess the bottom line is ... If you want to have another baby, the critical first question is, "Are you ovulating?" more than "am I pre-menopausal?" ... and there is a great chance that you will be able answer the ovulation question without a test or a trip to the dr. The signs are probably there, you just have to be able to read them.

Good luck, Deb! I'm around these boards if you have other questions that I MIGHT be able to answer and for support. :) Let us know what you decide!

Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom
by Christiane Northrup
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553382098/qid=1106858884/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/104-2351285-1051962

The charting "bible", as one poster put it:

Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health (Revised Edition)
by Toni Weschler
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060937645/qid=1106858948/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/104-2351285-1051962

Oh ... and this is just a great general women's health reference. My mom gave it to me when I was a teenager and it and its revised editions have served me very, very well since then:

Our Bodies Ourselves For The New Century (A Touchstone book)
by Boston Women's Health Book Collective
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0684842319/qid=1106858812/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-2351285-1051962?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2000
In reply to: debrat_77095
Fri, 01-28-2005 - 7:14pm

From what I've read I'm pretty sure I'm ovulating still. My cycles are on the dot - 28 days, CM, cramps, etc. So, the info I read makes me feel confidant I am ovulating. I know when I was 39 (almost 40) the ob said it could take years for me to conceive. . it took 1 1/2 months - and we got twins. So, I'm hoping that means we have some time to decide.

I didn't think anyone would understand - but sounds like you have similiar feelings. A baby would be so much work on top of twins. . .but I just don't feel ready to say I'm done. I still have such a desire for a baby. . ..a longing. I know all the risks, all the negatives - heaven knows I got grief last time around . . ..but, I just don't feel "complete" yet if that makes sense. It makes me sad to think I might not ever have another baby. . .

Thanks for all the tips & information. . .as well as listening to me open-mindedly. My friends my age thought I was nuts for having a baby at my age with the twins. . ..I already have children & even grandchildren.. .but my DH had never had children of his own, and we both desired a family together.

Deb

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2004
In reply to: debrat_77095
Fri, 02-04-2005 - 11:32pm

Hi Deb
Twins! How wonderful! Do you mind if I ask if it was on a non-medicated cycle?
I did hear that older women have a higher rate of multiples not just because of fertility treatment but also because our bodies start to behave a little different as we get older and sometimes they kick out more than 1 egg.

Earlier in this post chain you asked about the test to detect if you're nearing menopause. That test is qualitative not quantitative similar to an at home pregnancy test. The test (Menocheck) is set to turn positive at a certain FSH level. This level is pretty high, I can't remember the actual number but I think it was in the 30's. If it's below that, it's negative. The test that your RE would do would be quantitative so you'd get an actual number. My first RE always had me go in for a cd3 bloodtest because it can vary from cycle to cycle. Mine has been bouncing around alot, it's varied from 6.6 to 14.4 in the past 13 months.
best of luck
~Ann

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2000
In reply to: debrat_77095
Mon, 02-07-2005 - 12:11pm

Hi Ann,

We were not on any medication at all - so yes, it was a non-medicated cycle. From what they explained to me, when we get older we do start to drop more eggs and have a higher rate of fraternal twins. However, my twins are identical twins. My doctor said that sometimes if you take folic acid for a few months before trying to conceive (and I did) that often the outside of the egg can get harder - so when it starts it's cell breakdown a piece will break off and become independent. Although everything I've read says no one really knows what causes the egg to split.

We did some things recommended on this site - I used Robitussin and had John on selinium(sp?). .but other than that, it was just the right egg at the right time. We refer to Makayla (our B twin) as our bonus baby.

I am nervous about TTC about the chances of another set of twins. Since mine were not fraternal I've no reason to believe I'm dropping more than one egg a cycle. And, the doctor swears the chances of another set of identical twins is very rare.

Thank you for the information on cycles. I think the doctor I went to first in 2003 was just not the right one. . .she basically said go home, have sex, if no baby in 6 months come back. It would be nice to know ahead of time if you are still ovulating. I appreciate the clarification - it may help me understand what to ask if we do decide to TTC.

Deb