let’s talk fertility a minute here. i have a few friends working on getting knocked up and i told them i’d give them my insights into hastening the process. and i thought i’d share it with all of you, too. if you have any advice to add or questions, leave a comment! (do try it, but i heard tell the comments aren’t working so hot lately, so if you’re having trouble, email/fb me about it).
1. patience sucks but is the name of the game when it comes to trying to get pg. if you’re like i was, once you’ve decided to pull your goalie and go for it, you want to be pregnant, like, yesterday. but it might not work that way. and a heads up- each cycle (28-32+ days) will feel like an eternity. you might start to define your life in terms of your cycle (we’re fertile until 5pm wednesday! i can take a test in 2 days! another negative- only 12 days until it’s game on again! i thought i saw a faint second line- perhaps if i take it into natural light?, etc, etc). this is normal. but it is also frustrating, so be aware and attempt to keep other parts of your life moving forward and not get too bogged down in this. it can be all-consuming. start a new hobby or plan a trip or something. again, you don’t know how long this will take. and it’s hard to stay sane while you’re waiting if you’re used to being in control and setting and achieving goals quickly. so be patient with yourself and the situation as best you can.
also, and i don’t mean to make anyone nervous, but i do want to mention right up front that some couples need more than just fertility tracking. some require medical interventions to get pregnant. and that’s ok. it might just mean hormones, or it might also involve procedures. this is totally doable and, though it will undoubtedly cause some angst and try your patience (and maybe your wallet), it might just be part of your journey. supplemental hormones were part of mine.
there are many issues for both males and females that can make getting pregnant difficult. everything from hormones to anatomy and beyond. we won’t go into that now (but touch base with me if you want to discuss further) but it is safe to say that these issues likely don’t show up until you start trying to get pregnant so you might not be aware of them until this time. if you have been off birth control and trying all the tactics described below for 6 months, i would talk to your ob/gyn. officially, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists say that healthy couples can take up to a year to get pregnant and that this is within the normal range. but you might get impatient at 6 months and it’s at least worth asking. but do give it at least that long.
and, lastly, we have several friends with amazing, wonderful children who they adopted when fertility interventions were unsuccessful. this is true for a small percentage of couples and i tell you this now not to worry you, but instead to reassure you that there are always more options, more solutions. some days it might seem like meeting your kid will never happen, but you can, in fact, be someone’s mommy/daddy someday.
now, all that being said…below are some tricks on how to hopefully not have to wait too long for THAT FREAKING DOUBLE LINE.
(and remember that everyone is different. some people ovulate like clockwork, some are all over the map, some go months without. the idea of tracking your cycle is to give you an idea of how your cycle works so that you can predict and plan ovulation and pregnancy efforts).
2. supplies you will need (your “Sex For a Good Cause” kit):
- 1 reliable and quick to display digital thermometer. a decent one, but doesn’t have to be a special ($$$) ovulation thermometer. this is for checking your morning temperature.
- 1 big bottle of good lubricant. your lady and boy bits will get shag fatigue (SF) if you don’t keep things oiled up. you both need to stay healthy and un-chafed to continue your efforts, so don’t mess around in this area. you can go with the old stand-by Astroglide, or, if you are really ready to pull out all the stops, pony up for the $$$ and possibly hard to find sperm-friendly lubricant, Pre-Seed. it comes with an applicator. i didn’t entirely read the directions, but i thought that was funny cuz i always thought the applicator of lube was, you know, the penis. but anyhoo…
- in the same vein, keeping the lady parts functional, i recommend using a feminine wash that is pH balanced specifically for them. fends off irritation, inflammation and infection. i use the store brand version of this. when you have 2 more days of open ovulation window, the last thing you want is a yeast infection, so do all the good vagine care stuff- no douching, white cotton panties/no thongs or fancy silky stuff, no baths just showers, and keep things clean and dry.
- ovulation predictor kit– you can buy these at any drug store. you will pee on a stick to see when you are ovulating. some kits are just 7 days or so, some span the whole cycle. either is fine, just read the directions carefully. unlike the pregnancy pee stick, the first AM pee is not the best time to check this, so you might be doing it mid day or in the evening or what not. and the darkness of the line is sort of subjective/fluid, so instead of relying on it exclusively, you’ll have use it in conjunction with everything else to determine when you’re ovulating.
- pregnancy tests– sigh. keep a couple on hand, i guess. if you’re like me, you will take a bajillion of these over time, even when you know it’s too early/there’s slim to no chance it could be positive. but there you go with the patience thing again (see #1). anyway, if you find you’re taking them inappropriately and all the time, a wise friend told me to buy them at the dollar store. if you’re genuinely positively pregnant, even those cheapies will pick it up. otherwise, arrange a second mortgage on your house cuz the name brand ones are ‘spensive.
- calendar– either a physical calendar or a shared email based one (we use gmail) that you and your spouse can both see that shows predicted ovulation, predicted period, etc. be on the same page.
- buy the book and with it will come a CD you can use to register to become a member and chart your cycles on-line instead of on paper of “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.” you will track your temperature each morning, your vaginal fluid changes, and the ovulation kit sticks. and if you’re REALLY motivated, your cervical height and openness (by self exam). it also tracks when you’re having intercourse, the length of your periods, etc. using it will, after a few cycles, give you a pretty good idea when you’re ovulating so that you can time sex appropriately. i would read the entire book once to really understand how it all works and then use it as a reference. there are a lot of similar available resources, but i liked this one and think it is reputable and easy to use.
- i’d like to say, “a nice bottle of wine and a weekend at a bed and breakfast” but, in truth, there are no superstitious tricks that will guarantee you success. sorry about that. people will give you all kinds of tips and they will get all up in your business (if you reveal that you are trying), but it will happen when it happens. drag.
so that’s the down and dirty of trying to get pregnant. there’s a lot more to be said, but i’ve already taken up too much of the intertubes with this post, so i’ll stop here. but do email or facebook message me if you want to talk privately or comment here for public consumption.
the gist of it? is it worth all the effort and energy and stress? oh, yes. but does it suck waiting and worrying and working on it? oh, yes.
good luck and God bless!