Roid Monkey

So, on Monday I started rubbing Androgel on my upper arm each morning…and taking two Estrace (orally…phew!) each night. This is the hormone priming step of my IVF protocol. Add these to the Pulmicort inhaler that I use to keep my asthma under control and the progesterone that my corpus luteum is dutifully excreting, and you’ve got quite a steroid soup warming in my innards… I keep checking in the mirror for facial hair, bacne, or increased muscle mass. Aside from my pesky chin hair (excuse me while I find my tweezers…erm…got it!) I haven’t noticed anything.

ImageA sampling of roids in my system. You can read about progesterone, and what makes a steroid a steroid, here.


Speaking of progesterone, I’ve relapsed into another of my pre-IUI TTC habits, namely, charting. I keep track of each morning’s BBT (basal body temp) measurement, my CBFM (ClearBlue Fertilility Monitor) reading, any eggwhite sightings, and sexual encounters on a little paper chart on my nightstand. Recording it on the paper chart has a certain old-school charm about it, but can be a bit tricky to analyze and doesn’t quite satisfy my appetite for data.

Enter FertilityFriend. I type in my data to this website and it uses an algorithm that incorporates the data from my temperature, cervical fluid, fertility monitor, and OPK (when I use it) to determine when I ovulated. Actually, there’s a ridiculous amount of other data I could enter, but even a data junkie like me has to draw the line somewhere…

charts aMy paper chart for this month (left), and the FertilityFriend version, with est. ovulation shown as a red vertical line (right).

If you spring for the VIP membership (or if you are a new member, in which case you get a free ‘teaser’ VIP membership), the website will evaluate how well you timed intercourse. C and I apparently did ‘Good’ this month

ImageAnother feature of the VIP membership is that it will overlay up to 7 charts and show you the average BBT pattern. I’m not sure what this would be useful for, but it looks pretty cool:


The average line (in blue) eliminates some of the noise of individual monthly charts to reveal a general trend of low temps pre-ovulation, followed by progesterone-elevated temps post-ovulation, which drop off just before the next cycle start (bonus benefit of charting – no surprise visits from AF!)


And this brings me to my newest dilemma: when to pick up my meds. Obviously, I already have some of them (including the Androgel and Estrace), but there are still ~$1K-worth of meds that Kaiser pharmacy doesn’t carry, which I have to pick up. If it weren’t for traffic, I would have picked them up the day Dr. Y prescribed them. But now that there is a chance – however miniscule – that I might be pregnant, I can’t bring myself to shell out that $1K until I’m sure I’ll need it…

So it’s one more thing on my ‘to do’ list. If FertilityFriend is right about my ovulation date, and if I follow my usual luteal phase of 11 days, then AF should arrive on Monday, and I can swing by the pharmacy after that, with plenty of time before I need those particular stims… On the other hand, maybe I should wait longer – until my baseline ultrasound (next Thursday) to make sure there are any follicles to stimulate with those drugs…yes, I think that makes more sense.

It’s a plan! And thank you, bloggy friends, for inspiring me to think this through, and patiently reading while I do. 🙂 Yet another perk of blogging…it forces me to think before shelling out C’s hard-earned money!


p.s. Welcome ICLW visitors! You can read my TTC resume here, but in brief: I’m a 34-year-old chemistry professor with diminished ovarian reserve, who has been TTC for about 15 months, including one missed miscarriage at 9 weeks. After 1 unsuccessful round of IUI, we are moving ahead with our first IVF next month. I use this blog as a form of therapy, and as a repository for interesting chemistry (and biology) that I learn along the way!

Leave a comment


  1. I love Fertility Friend! Its helpful to compare charts month to month and it’s so nice not to have to guess when AF will arrive. I hope that your appointment goes well on Thursday and you have lots of follicles to stimulate!

  2. hi from iclw!! love fertility friend. Excited for the upcoming month for you!

  3. Ha, ha. I went through the exact same dilemma with the meds and left it right until the last minute. Although not quite as late as the baseline scan. I think my meds arrived the day before. Good luck with the scan on Thursday. It is so exciting to get going.

    • Thanks Ana! It is exciting. Hopefully this cycle will be _the_ cycle…for both of us!

  4. I keep reading about fertility friend and didn’t realize how much stuff it would do for you. I will have to look into it at some point.

    • Looks like you have awhile before you’ll need to worry about charting again! (Congrats BTW!) But I’ve enjoyed clicking lots of buttons and pretending to be scientific, while actually reading the tea leaves. 😉

  5. Hi from ICLW – what is the androgel for?

  6. Hello from ICLW! My ttc days are over, but I had a love/hate relationship with fertility friend for many years. I’m a bit obsessive (about EVERYTHING), and scrutinizing my chart just gave me something else to freak out about. I guess I would fall under the category of ‘information junkie’ as well!

    Best of luck with your IVF- so exciting!!!

    BTW- I loved, loved, LOVED chemistry when I was in school- I even took organic chemistry as an elective. That’s probably the career route I should have chosen, but somehow, got a degree in psych instead, then went in to healthcare… WTF was I thinking? Lol!

    • Welcome! And that’s awesome that you loved chemistry…that’s the opposite of the usual response I get when I tell people I’m a chem prof. 😉

  7. OH! I love that you too have to pluck those pesky chin hairs. All of my supplements, meds and roids had my friends asking how the hair on my head was growing so fast. I told them why and also told them it helps me grow facial hair as well. They decided not to adopt my regimen. LOL!

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