Argh I just wrote a whole post about this and then lost it! Blerghhh!
Ok let’s try again.
So last week I started noticing my fertile signs increasing, with fertile CM showing earlier than in the first two cycles (this is my third cycle charting). So I started taking ovulation tests around a week ago. They test for luteinizing hormone (LH), which signals the dominant follicle to release the egg. I’ve felt for days now like I might ovulate at any point, but as I have so far been a bit late to ovulate I figured maybe the early fertile signs were just that – early. This is still a good thing though, because the more fertile cervical mucus you have, the more help the sperm get to surviving while they wait for the egg. From what I’ve read it’s not uncommon for hormonal birth control to dry up your cervical mucus (in one place I read “cervical crypts may atrophy” – Yikes!), and I’m glad that as more time passes since I’ve been off of the pill, I am getting more fertile mucus and for longer.
So I continue to watch and wait, checking my cervical fluid and cervix position and noting my other signs, the strongest of which is usually a skin breakout, which has gotten worse since I’ve been off the pill, and also an increased sex drive and mid cycle cramping. These all started to show as the week wore on and I figured I must be close to ovulation, so I continued testing and checking to see if the second line which indicates the presence of LH is getting any darker, which it wasn’t.
… Until yesterday, when I finally got a truly positive OPK (ovulation predictor kit). It was sort of exciting! I felt like I had won something – which I guess I sort of had, if you count the knowledge that this part of my reproductive system is apparently functioning normally.
Ever the data-hungry scientist, I took ovulation tests from two different brands. One was the drugstore brand that I had used last cycle, and one was from an Internet website where I had purchased a bunch in bulk. As it turns out, one of them was a positive. Can you guess which was which?
Last cycle I tested once a day and only ever got an aaaaalmost positive, which I got on the 17th day of my cycle (CD 17). It seems this can happen because the LH surge can be short, so when you only test once a day, some women never see a positive. In fact, I looked around and found an article testing this that found that about 75% of cycles documented found a LH surge. This is most likely because with once a day testing, you may miss the surge.
So I decided to test again 4 hours later, curious about how long my surge lasted. So at 8 pm, I took the same two brands of tests:
Both negative! Wow, that was fast!
Once you get a positive OPK, it’s supposed to be about 12-36 hours until you ovulate, which means I likely ovulated yesterday or today, or at latest early tomorrow. But I am pretty sure I ovulated today. Why? Because while I’d been feeling cramps for days, in the last day and a half I started feeling a pretty significant pain in my left side, very similar to the pain I’d had in the past when I had cysts. And cysts are basically ovulation gone wrong – when the dominant follicle either doesn’t release the egg or releases it but then doesn’t properly drain. For me, it feels like there is a something inside, and different positions make me feel like I’m hitting it or causing it to move, and there is a pressure there that is pushing back against being squeezed. So I felt like that last night and this morning, but by mid afternoon the feeling was fading, no longer sharp, and now it is a much duller sensation, without that feeling of there being something particular there. I think that was it – the egg being released!
Hopefully soon I will have a basal body temperature rise to confirm ovulation, and then I’ll be in my second two week wait. Fingers crossed!