Low hopes.

November 9, 2008 at 3:54 pm (Uncategorized)

So, Friday I was devastated, and I’ve bounced back from that to some extent, but my hopes are pretty low for this cycle.

What happened was this: on Friday morning I went in to get my estrogen and progesterone levels tested, per the doctor’s request. I was supposed to have ovulated four days earlier, on Monday. As you may recall, I once had this test done at my old doctor’s office, about seven days after I was supposed to have ovulated, and my progesterone was, I believe, 14. Even though the doctor at the the time thought a 14 was okay, she wanted it to be a little higher, so she had me start with one Endometrin (progesterone) suppository a day. I was sort of hoping that my progesterone would be higher this time around. That’s just a little background for you.

Friday afternoon, the nurse calls me. “Okay, let’s see,” she said. “Okay, your estrogen was 54, and your progesterone was .78…”

“Excuse me?” I said. “Did you say ‘POINT SEVEN EIGHT?'”

“Yes, 0.78. And so the doctor wants you to start on progesterone suppositories three times a day…”

“Point seven eight? Isn’t that, like, really low? Like, really really low? Like, really really REALLY low?”

“Yes, it is, it’s low…”

I was crying at this point. “Isn’t that, like, a problem? How could I have even ovulated with that low a progesterone level?”

“Well, he did a scan on Monday and that showed you ovulated…”

I was distraught. The nurse was unable to provide me with any helpful information, the doctor had left for the day, and I had nothing to go on. All I knew was that a 0.78 sounded so, so wrong to me, and I even wondered whether it might be a mistake. What’s more, I totally freaked out the nurse by crying on the phone to her. She had been my buddy, but I could tell now she was totally stiffening and turning cold when I got emotional. It made me feel horrible.

That evening, I called the office and left a message essentially saying that I was upset by some test results I had just gotten and I would really like to talk to the doctor over the weekend if possible, even though it wasn’t an emergency, but if I couldn’t talk to him I would really like someone else to call me. I just couldn’t imagine going through the entire weekend not knowing if it was even possible that I ovulated.

I explained to my mom and to my husband that I needed an explanation along the lines of one of the following:

1. Yes, you’re right, it is simply impossible that your progesterone level could be so low if you ovulated, so it looks like you didn’t ovulate.

2. Yes, you’re right, it is simply impossible that your progesterone level could be so low if you ovulated, but we conclusively saw that you ovulated on the ultrasound, so this blood test must have been wrong.

3. No, it is possible that your progesterone level could be that low even if you ovulated, and we saw that you did ovulate, and we are trying to correct your levels now. This is not unprecedented.

I was very, very pleased when I got a call shortly after 8 am on Saturday morning from a nurse who said the doctor was in and she wanted to clarify my question before getting an answer from him. I explained to her my concerns: is it possible I ovulated with this low progesterone level?, is this normal at all? is there any hope for this cycle, or for me in general? etc., and she got off the phone and then called me back with his response. He said that he was NOT SURPRISED by my low progesterone level, based on my follicles’ weird response to stimulation; basically he thinks they are also responding weirdly to the hCG, that’s all. We’re trying to correct it with the suppositories and we’re going to do another blood test on Tuesday to see if the suppositories corrected the problem. I asked if maybe it was too late, and she said no, of all the doctors in the office, if he believed there was no hope left for this cycle, he’d be the first to tell me to stop everything and wait for my period. She did say that perhaps it would have been better to know this sooner, but there’s no way we could have, so we’re doing the best we can.

Needless to say, the news sucked, but the response from the doctor was not terrible. I was at the very least happy to know that he was thinking about these issues. When I apologized for being a crazy patient, the nurse said my question was good and that she had learned something from it.

Still, I get the sense that this is extremely rare (none of the nurses I spoke to had ever seen anything like it before, obviously), and not a good sign. And this is why I do not have much hope left for this cycle. Something is clearly off–why would I be producing so little progesterone where I produced a basically normal amount in a previous cycle? I am also still not completely convinced that I ovulated. So, I’m carrying on in this 2ww, don’t worry, I won’t start boozing or anything, but I am not expecting much. Everything just seems off. It seems like something is wrong and we’re still not figuring out what it is.

So that’s that. But at least we’ve learned a few things for next time.



  1. Mel said,

    Huh. I am dumbfounded and honestly don’t know what to say? I have no understanding of this situation because it doesn’t make any sense to me. Thank God you have such a good and honest doctor you can trust to lead you down the right path.
    Can I just say how badly I want you to be pregnant? Everytime I see a new blog posted from you in my blog reader, my heart skips a beat. Even though I KNOW it isn’t time for you to test, I am still hoping that somehow I will open your blog to a big fat “I’m pregnant.”
    I am still holding out hope every day.

  2. Blue said,

    Urghh…I’m so sorry you’re having such a difficult time. You totally did the right thing calling to get an answer, like the nurse said, it was a really good (and important) question. I have everything crossed for you that the progesterone level has turned around at your next blood test and that this cycle does indeed work out. Hugs….

  3. Megan Reed said,

    I stumbled on this post through google. I’m confused now. I have been using clomid to conceive. First round I was tested at day 21 and my progesterone was about 5.3. They told me it is low and I didn’t ovulate. 2nd round my progesterone was tested at day 21 and it was still 5.3 ish. They said it was low and decided to refer me to a specialist which I declined since insurance won’t cover. All hopw are lost. I have had some early spotting, much like implantation bleeding. Could I be pregnant? Could I have ovulated? Do I need to take progesterone so i won’t loose a possible pregnancy? Now I’m questioning things!

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