Stupid Temperature.

I woke up yesterday at the appointed time and popped the BBT thermometer in my mouth. When it beeped telling me it was complete, I squinted my eyes and peered at the reading – 97.4. I thought, “That’s not right! That’s not a post-O temperature!” So, I took my temperature again and it told me my temp was 97.1. What?! Not only not a post-O temperature, but not consistent. I grabbed my glasses and turned on the light and went for the third reading, and the thermometer gave me the battery signal. “Phew” I thought, “It is just the battery, nothing wrong here.

I went about my business yesterday, but for the sake of due diligence I checked my cervix (hard and closed much like Fort Knox) and the mucus (tacky like glue), and I bought another BBT thermometer. All signs said non-fertile so surely the temperature was a fluke. In fact, I was so confident that I cancelled my appointment with my RE to check and make sure I ovulated. I thought I would save myself the drive back to Orange County, as well as saving ourselves $175 dollars for the ultrasound and the bloodwork.

Surely you know where this is going.

This morning I woke up early at 5 am. Ninety minutes earlier than my usual morning call. Same drill. I popped my new thermometer in my mouth and waited for the beep. I pulled it out and it was 97.7. Too low. I took my temperature with the old thermometer and it gave my 97.7. My temperature was 97.7, for real.

As one can imagine, this was and is distressing. It actually was ugly-cry distressing. Not just the seeping eye cry, but the ugly sob cry. That cry only rears its ugly head every once and a while. So I cried. And then I spent some time thinking about why I did not have a thermal shift. It was 5 am. I had a lot of time to think about it.

Option One: I did not ovulate. Despite the two 21 mm follicles on my right ovary, despite the strongest LH surge I’ve ever had, despite the days of fertile cervical mucus, and despite the hCG trigger shot, I did not ovulate. My ovaries defied all odds and didn’t release the eggs.  Because the follicles dissolved or disappeared, there is no corpus luteum to produce the progesterone.  Without the progesterone there is no thermal shift.

Reaction to Option One: Utter disappointment. Things were looking so good. Why wouldn’t I ovulate? I ovulate on my own without either Metformin or Clomid. Metform ensures I ovulate regularly. Clomid was supposed to create a stronger ovulation. On top of this, I took a $75 trigger shot that ensured I would ovulate. Why would I NOT ovulate? If $435 worth of interventions only ensured I would NOT ovulate, what the fuck am I doing? Why don’t I just leave well enough alone?

Option Two: I ovulated, but my progesterone levels are ridiculously low.  So low that a thermal shift is not evident. On top of everything else, I also have some sort of luteal phase defect.  Alternatively, I am going to have a slow rise as described in an appendix of  TTCOYF, which may or may not be indicative of a luteal phase defect.

Reaction to Option Two: Well, at least it’s treatable.  What’s another shot of progesterone in the ass at this point? Not much.  But why did my miscarriage create an issue with my luteal phase?

Option Three: I called my naturopath.  She thinks Option Two occurred.  She also put it out there that in her practice she has seen women not experience a thermal shift when they have multiple follicles.  One follicle releases the egg, the others don’t release eggs but are still active, this suppresses the production of progesterone by the corpus luteum.

Reaction to Option Three: Skeptical.

What to do now? Not much.  I called my RE’s office and explained that I cancelled the appointment today because I am still in Palm Springs, however could I please submit some blood to the nearest lab? The receptionist was going to call me back when the lab order was submitted.  That was six hours ago.

I also double-checked my cervix.  Still locked down like the Alamo.  Definitely not fertile.

Here’s a question for the charting ladies.  I read in several sources that one should adjust the temperature depending on the time you wake up.  It should be adjusted .1 degree Fahrenheit for every half an hour.  I’ve practiced this since I started charting.  I’ve played with my charts, looking at whether or not it changed patterns or ovulation dates.  It never has.  Except today.  If I adjust the temperature for this morning, I get 98.0.  If I also throw out the low temperature yesterday because of the faulty battery, I get a biphasic chart, but only if I adjust the temperature.  That feels like a lot of IFs and BUTs. I’m not interested in deluding myself.

Has anyone heard of adjusting temps based upon the time?

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29 thoughts on “Stupid Temperature.

  1. Hello from ICLW!
    I’m definitely no expert, but I did chart cycles for quite some time and it is not fool proof. Even though I usually saw a thermal shift, my understanding is that for some people it takes a couple days before you see it and that can still be normal. The trigger induces ovulation in something like 95% of people, so I’m voting for option 2, but would give youreself a day or two more before you conclude that progesterone is too low. 2 cents given :)

  2. Hmm…is it possible that you had a dip and now you are rising again? Last month when I got my BFP I wasn’t up to my normal post o high temps till 4 dpo. Maybe your progesterone is just rising slowly?

      • Trust me I understand, I had a major panic attack when my temp was still low after I was SURE that I had O’d. Patience is good but incredibly hard to obtain lol

  3. I would also give it a few days. Remember, charting is more about seeing the “big picture”.

    I’m slightly confused about your timing. Did you trigger soon after you learned that your follicles were 21mm? While I read of a quite a few cases of triggering beginning at 18mm ect, my first RE told me that on Clomid they are looking for at least 24mm. My current RE didn’t trigger until I was 25.5mm. Hmm…

    As far as adjusting temps, I don’t. In all my years of charting I have discovered that temping earlier than normal hardly effects my temperature. Waking up late results in a temp maybe just a few tenths of a degree higher for me if at all. Definitely not as big of a difference as the adjusting rules recommend. I made a pact with myself to never fudge my temps again about a year ago and I have been successful :)

    • You know, that is a really good question. Based on my rate of growth between ultrasounds, the follicles were developing at a rate of 2.25 mm/day. So, at the time of trigger they would have been about 23.25. Based upon some pains that night, I think I ovulated about 12 hours later, which would have taken the follies to about 24ish. But, who knows, right?

  4. Hello from ICLW!!! Temp taking can be soo frustrated. I would give it another day. Sometimes it would take my temp a few days to rise…many cycles 3 days. My progesterone levels were always fine. Give it another day. Sounds like everything went well and you did feel right ovarian pain when you thought you were ovulating. Good signs!!! I finally had to give up temping. I would just wait and see what your 7 dpo progesterone is. That way you will know for sure! Good luck!

    • Thanks, Danielle! You were right, it just took a couple of days. I’ve thought about stopping the charting, but the scientist in me loves it so much. All the data! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Hello from ICLW, and thanks for dropping by!

    I’m going to add my voice to the “withhold judgment” camp … sometimes I’m not consistent, either. Fingers xx’d for you … and here with virtual chocolate if it really isn’t going to work this month. :(

  6. I agree that it often takes a day or two for temperatures to rise after ovulation. And trying to match everything up–your BBT, the trigger, follicle size, etc can be stressful! Your RE determined that your follicles were ready and you got your trigger shot. I think you can be sure that you did ovulate. I also think there is a reason that P4 bloodwork is done at 7dpo. It’s so hard giving up control, isn’t it? Hang in there, my fingers are crossed for you.

  7. I wish I had something helpful to say, but I feel like you are light years ahead of me with your knowledge already! I hear women talking about checking their cervix…I’m not even going to pretend to know how to do that!
    I hope you get some answers soon.

    • Thanks, Jennifer! It took me forever to figure the cervix bit out. It is really hard if you don’t cycle regularly because your cervix may not be doing what the books and websites say it supposed to do. This was frustrating for me, so I sporadically checked every once and a while. I didn’t really get down to business until I started cycling regularly. Even then I had to read up on where and what to feel for in order to find and assess the cervix. It was super hard for me!

  8. Thank you for stopping by my blog :) I’ve always found reading temps to be very difficult… b/c my temps never used to be very consistent either. FXd and thinking of you xoxo

  9. My temp would drop sometimes too – infact, I think the chart with my youngest did … and the DR could be very right – it makes sense if the second egg hadn’t burst into the wild yet…

    Perusing your blog via ICLW! (#86)

  10. This was me two cycles ago…I had 2 follicles ready to go (no trigger shot though) Lh surge right on cue, mucus, etc etc etc. The three days post lh surge I kept waking up 90 min early…anxious about temping to make sure I o’d. Temps were low…I’d adjust and it would make them “post o acceptable”. Cancelled my bloodwork then I started the progesterone which made them skyrocket. Looking back I don’t think I ever O’d. I think I gave myself a “period” when I stopped the progesterone after my BFN. I for sure will never temp adjust again.
    This month temps were normal and rose like every other month (still BFN)
    So frustrating…

  11. Not that what happens during my cycles should be considered as “normal” … but looking back at them, I see that my temperature does not consistently rise to a higher plateau until a few days after when I think I ovulate (as backed up by CBEFM).

    Regardless, I think it’s best to keep taking your temperature and then look back at the overall picture – it’s more of the pattern that matters than each individual day, I think (and as you probably know).

    Hang in there, it sounds so frustrating!

    • Here’s my final word – well, not really mine, from a medical book I was reading: “The thermogenic shift in BBT occurs when progesterone concentrations rise, 1 to 5 days after the midcycle LH surge and up to 4 days after ovulation.” So patience (if not the trailing uterine surveillance equipment) is the key.

      • What are these medical books you are reading?! I love medical books. I tried to get an embryology book when I was pregnant, but the OC library only had old and outdated texts. Lame.

        (I could have gone to UC Irvine, or CS Fullerton, or CS Long Beach, but I was tired and lazy.)

    • Because they are textbooks designed for med students, I had to go a medical school library to find them. Two good ones (with chapters on PCOS, too) are Speroff & Fritz, Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility and Adashi et al., Reproductive Endocrinology, Surgery, and Technology. If you poke around in the endocrinology and gynecology (and perhaps obstetrics) sections of a medical library, I’m sure you’ll find plenty. Happy reading!

  12. I have attempted to do the chart adjustment based on what time I wake up, but there are definitely times when I’ll wake up at 4AM and my temp is at 97.1. Then, I’ll fall back to sleep and temp again at my regularly scheduled time (6:30AM), and my temp will only be at 97.2. I know that Fertility Friend recommends that you don’t adjust your numbers .1 for every 30 minutes difference for this reason. Sorry that you’re going through all of this :( It SUCKS to temp. I gave up on it for a couple of months because it was ruining my day when it was clear that I wasn’t ovulating.

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