Let’s fast forward a little, because we all know how the bun ended up in the oven…and thankfully I have 15 + years to muster the courage for the whole birds and the beas discussion with anyone who doesn’t yet know about it. Even then I may pass the duty over to my Fiancé, there you go handsome!
As the blog says, I’m an unashamedly mega broody foodie. No really, I only have to walk past a newborn and my ovaries do the Mexican-Wave, and if you think that’s bad, a friend of mine once burst into tears at brunch when she saw a beautiful new-born at the next table! (Ok that friend was me and it was a REALLY cute baby).
Naturally, the time came when my nonchalant go-to quote of “haha, yes I love children, but only when I can hand them back at the end of the day” didn’t even work on myself anymore. I wanted my very own ‘bundle of joy’ and was willing to enter a magical new chapter of explosive poops, sleepless nights, tantrums, worries, the lot.
So here I am, 20 weeks deep in pregnancy telling myself “I’ve got this” as I google the shit out of symptoms, and ask my other half what washing pile this black and white top goes in because it might be more white than black. Laundry is NOT a pre-requisite of being a parent I know- however I’m at the half way mark now and should probably get to grips with how to do the washing.
The baking; it took us 5 months to conceive.
The first month is always a bit of a stab in the dark (come on guys we are 5 years in, who still has sex with the lights on?). I joke, but really when it came down to it and aunt flow reared her ugly face after our first month of trying we jumped back into our stirrups, metaphorically that is, no S&M involved…and we tried again. You could say when good old AF arrived again the following month we were a little dismayed, sex is sex but when you are trying to get a little bit more out of it, like say, a child and it doesn’t happen you do start to question “what is wrong?”. Especially when you hear of mishaps, oops moments and those incredibly fertile kind who only have to look at the opposite sex to impregnate them oh so very often!
This month I decided to turn to my good friend Science, think sex ed level 100 where instead of talking you out of it, they very much arm you with all that is needed…
Let’s call this; Fertility 101 and operate in layman’s terms.
Unbeknownst to me, there are really just a few days per month in which a woman can conceive and these happen around the time of ovulation. During this time the Egg decides she too, is mature enough for this next journey and makes herself available to the billions of sperm about to flood through the gates. These days are known as the Fertile Window, and believe me, it’s more of a door. It opens and closes before you know it and it’s translucency is questionable.
Finding the “window”
Firstly I downloaded Ovia, an app that tracks your monthly cycle and turns menstrual cycle information into an algorithm for your following month. This will begin to help you find your most fertile days and in fact pin-point an estimation of your ovulation day. Simple entries like your past period dates, how you are feeling each day and the consistency of your cervical mucus all send us in the right direction of when our Egg is ready to fertilised. Wow.
This is where it gets astonishing, the female Egg only lasts around 24 hours once she has decided she is ‘ready’, which is playing a little hard to get if you ask me! However the boys, and by this I mean your partners sperm, are more than happy to hang around for up to 5 days just to track down, and find their darling egg, aw. Which essentially, and thankfully increases the fertile window to up to 6 days per month. Thus giving us more chance per month of conception. It is these fertile days, usually falling roughly half way through your cycle, that it is of the upmost importance to baby dance (sexual intercourse according to ALL fertility forums, oh you will get used to these euphemisms!).
You guessed it, we baby danced and we baby danced and again it just didn’t happen for us.
This month we went through waves, “lets just make sure we enjoy sex, and not take the fun out of it”- our way of reassuring each other that it would happen, but a kind note that we also needed to reduce the pressure. So we incorporated some trusty friends (and I don’t mean other people):
1. Pre-Seed Lubricant- a friendly TTC (trying to conceive) lube which doesn’t harm sperm and can give them a bit of a slip n slide ride to reaching the egg.
2. Clearblue OPK sticks – A.K.A: Ovulation predictor kits, these look very similar to pregnancy tests and work in a very similar way by detecting the presence of a hormone. You pee on them, they pick up a hormone in your urine called Luteinizing Hormone (LH) which when released signals to your ovaries that it’s time to reveal her lady ship the Egg, effectively triggering ovulation. You could be expected to ovulate around 24 hours after a positive LH surge is detected!
I used Clearblue advanced OPKs as they give you a slightly larger window by picking up the presence of a second hormone and identifying 4 days each cycle where you could get pregnant. This month I reached “peak” immediately after testing, which means I was right at the cusp of the Egg being released, good and bad. The good news is this means that I can confirm that my body does gear up to ovulate however that I may have just missed the few days beforehand to also make an impact this month.
I learnt from using OPKs and tracking via an app that my cycle is not the average 28days, nor do I ovulate directly in the middle of the cycle either. I discovered that I have a 33 day cycle and usually ovulate a week after “average” cycles suggest. Which means that I also had to tailor my baby dancing just a little bit more if I wanted to fall pregnant.
I would recommend using OPKs if you are trying to conceive, as it is also a wonderful way of becoming in-tune with your body and knowing your cycle.
It didn’t happen for us, but we felt we were getting a lot closer. I downloaded a new app called “Glow” which is similar to Ovia but also a great forum for talking to other like-minded women. Just be warned- some ladies have a tendency to share, and over share, I’ve seen nips, vaginas, and even periods. Each to their own.
If anyone reading this is currently on their TTC journey, you will have no doubt tried the “legs in the air” straight after sex trick, ha ha! Yup, ladies, it has got to that. By this point I was trying anything to encourage those swimmers to make it to the Egg, including laying on my back, raising my hips and keeping my legs high. This apparently helps the sperm to ‘stay in’ and have a further chance of reaching her lady ship. Who knows, it’s worth the shot.
OPKS this month showed me a “HIGH” result for over 10 days! This means that LH was detected but perhaps an egg simply wasn’t ready in time (you know how long it can take us girls to get ready). Nope. Na-Da. Nothing. Hmmf.
Last month was discouraging, I felt like I was doing so much and started to feel like perhaps there was something up. After research I discovered that even the most healthy couples can take anywhere between 6-12 months to conceive so I wasn’t worried just yet. If you have been trying longer, it’s still not a reason to be alarmed however 12 months is the time that a Doctor will be able to offer thorough help and guidance.
This month we continued with Pre-Seed Lube, OPKS and I monitored my Cervical Mucus closely. Have a look online for a CM guide, it’ll help you to acknowledge your different types and what it means! CM that resembles uncooked egg whites is actually your most fertile, so keep your eyes out for it close to your fertile window. It’s stretchy and clear, and acts as a protective vehicle for the sperm to travel with.
HIGH, HIGH, HIGH, PEAK! Which on a clear blue is shown as a flashing smiley face followed by a static one during peak fertility. You would be amazed at how good it can feel to see that smiley pop up! Although, it should really be a wink face- a subtle hint for you to get to it…
*You better be ready when I get home, I am incredibly fertile and coming straight for you* – a text I sent to my fiancé after receiving my Peak OPK.
You know what happened next.
There is always this very slow and long wait after trying to conceive each month, it’s when you wake up each day hoping that your period doesn’t show. You will check the toilet paper religiously for any signs of red and take note of any and every cramp, niggle or ache you feel. It gets tiring…
Until that one magical month, when aunt flow books her 9 month holiday and hands you over to her much nicer sister Aunt Glow.
We did it!! After 5 months, we created a little life who is currently the size of a mango!
A list of everything I did to encourage conception:
• Reduced Caffeine intake
• Stopped drinking alcohol
• Took Conception Vitamins (seven seas or Pregnacare)
• Got more sleep!
• Tried hard to have a healthier diet
• Increased my water intake a lot (helps your body to produce more mucus and be a more hospitable environment)
• Monitoring Cervical Mucus
• Pre-seed Lube
• Ovia & Glow App
• Have sex often, every other day during a fertile window is ample.
• Have fun, and when it starts to become a chore try to make it exciting again.
I felt so inclined to share my journey because at the age of 25 I just assumed it would have happened with the click of a finger. There is so much I have learned on this journey and although I have done my best to share some helpful information, there are so many intricate events that must align when trying to conceive that it really is such a miracle! Whether it happens straight away or takes longer, try not to feel defeated if it doesn’t happen when expected. Stay open and honest about how you are feeling with your partner and although it can be quite stressful it is important to support each-other 10000000%. You’ve got this, and one day, no matter how long or which route it takes you to get there, you can and will be a parent. Xx