I think the only time in my life when I waited for AF to spontaneously arrive was in the first few years after menarche. Once I started taking birth control pills, I soon discovered that not only was I protected against pregnancy if I ever did have sex, but I had the added convenience of knowing exactly when AF would visit. Even better, I could actually manipulate the pills to control my period. I felt so powerful! Then, I switched to the Mirena IUD and my period pretty much stopped all together. For ten years, I almost never thought about AF. I didn't have to worry about her punctuating a vacation or showing up unexpected on a race day. I didn't even stock any tampons at my house.
So it was actually unsettling when I had to start waiting for AF to arrive. Probably because of all the meaning that is associated with her now. When she was later than expected, I was teased with the possibility of pregnancy. Even when pregnancy wasn't possible, I still had to play the waiting game just to be able to try again, or to do the next diagnostic test or procedure. Early in the pursuit, when I tried to gain an upper hand with Clomid, I discovered that the smiley face ovulation predictor tests also gave me the advantage of being able to anticipate AF! I felt powerful again -my ovaries and uterus were in my command!
Unfortunately, this feeling of authority was short lived. During my first cycle off Clomid, I discovered that I am one of the 40% of women who cannot use simple ovulation predictor tests. I was feeling rather crushed, but the news of Husband's low sperm count and decreased potential for natural conception actually softened the blow. I had one more avenue to pursue before admitting defeat. The Clearblue Fertility monitor that promotes higher accuracy by measuring both estrogen and LH.
It would turn out to be the best $175 I spent on Amazon.com. I was meticulously noting when I was ovulating and was able to predict AF's arrival nearly to the hour. I was in command again, or so I thought. I was expecting AF to arrive over the weekend. I figured she'd pick Saturday, since I had a 10K race, but Saturday came and went without the slightest hint of a spot. Overnight -nothing. Sunday lunchtime -still nothing. 4:30 in the afternoon -yep, still nothing! This was starting to feel reminiscent of AF's absence during Thanksgiving weekend which yielded my BFP. Maybe we were one of those couples who just needed to schedule a procedure to magically conceive.
The was only one minor, insignificant detail that precluded any joy with AF's tardiness. Besides the limitations due to Husband's decreased sperm count, my age related poor egg quality and a uterine septum diverting the traffic flow to my Fallopian tubes; we were in fact on opposite coasts of the country on 'O' night. The first time Husband was away during ovulation, Co-worker asked in jest, "so are you going to try to find another dude?" I laughed and suggested that we could go to a bar in the City frequented by many ex-pat Aussies and NZers, joking that I could get away with it until the kid started talking and revealed a different accent. In all seriousness, I would never cheat on Husband and I promised that if we needed to use donor sperm, they would be English. However on this particular ovulating night, H and I went to the gay bar, which just seemed to perfectly emphasize how absolutely impossible conception could be.
Thus, the absence of AF could only represent one possibility: my monitor was no longer accurately detecting my ovulation. I felt let down by science. Although if I had ovulated later, such as on Tuesday night when Husband and I were in New York together, pregnancy could be possible. OMG, I would never hear the end of Myrtle telling me 'See, I was right! You never know!', but I could take it. I could accept this slight from science, if she delivered for me in the end. I didn't entertain this daydream too long, as I remembered that I live in the real world, not a fairy tale.
It was 9 PM and AF was still no where in sight. I sent a text to Co-worker, figuring that such an action could inspire her appearance. 'Just let me know if you want any labs done for you' she responded. Ah, she knows me too well. I figured I would do a pregnancy test on Tuesday and Wednesday and if negative, would check a progesterone level on Thursday to see if I had ovulated at all. Went to bed around 11:30. Still nothing.
5 AM Monday morning -no overnight guest. Even though I knew the answer, I took a pregnancy test. Total BFN. While technically still early, I knew if I had conceived two weeks ago on Tuesday, it could be faintly positive. Time to be realistic: I am way too impatient to wait until Thursday to get any answers. Our lab is funny, sometimes you can get a progesterone level back in a few hours, some times it takes days. I didn't want to wait four more days only to discover that I hadn't ovulated and would need Provera to start a period (thus delaying two more weeks). Besides, I was sure AF would arrive just after I had my blood drawn.
Well, apparently just thinking about the lab work was enough. I didn't even have to ask Co-worker to place the orders. AF finally arrived at 8:15 on Monday morning. Fashionably late, but still within range for my fertility monitor. My faith in science had been restored. Command was mine once again. I will not be jerked around by AF only to be misled. Quoting one of my favourite blogs, yeah, Science! .If AF is going to be late, it had better be for the real thing.