When I was younger, I thought it was so easy to get pregnant. Once, I agonized for weeks over a penis that touched my thigh! Then my period came and I thought, close call bitch!
Fast forward to 35 years old, when I was actually trying to get pregnant, and found out that I missed out on being fast! Because as it turns out, getting knocked up is a complex science. It’s not an easy as:
P +V = B!
Nope. I mean, not unless you’re a 16 year old, in the backseat of a car, with someone who is 100% not going anywhere in life… then your chances of getting knocked up are like 99.9%. But, if you actually want a baby and are trying to get pregnant, that equation is more like:
P (boxers only – heat * folic acid) + V (only 6 days out of the month * lots of sex during those 6 days – stress ) / P, V < 40yrs old = B… (maybe).
Sure, at first its fun trying to have a baby, but if you’ve been trying for over 6 months without any results, the fun factor quickly diminishes and you turn into a mad scientist trying to perfect the equation each month.
If you watched my First Trimester TTC + Pregnancy Q&A periscope chat, then you know I did a variety of things while we were TTC (trying to conceive), but I boiled the lofty list down to 4 tangible things that made my experience less maddening and hopefully it will do the same for yours!
1. A Fertility App
Remember those 6 days a month I mentioned? That is the period in which you are fertile and long gone are the days of charting your bbt (basal body temperature) to close in on your ovulation date. An app will do all the work for you! It will take the dates of your last cycle and calculate the approximate week in which you are fertile and ovulating. And if you get a good app, like Ovia, it will not only calculate your fertile week, but it will adjust that week’s accuracy with the more data you feed it, such as: basal temperature, cervical fluid, and cervical position.
In addition to telling you when it’s Go Time!, Ovia also helps you track your cycle, moods, symptoms, sleep cycle, weight, diet, and workouts, which are all things that can impact your fertility. It offers tips to increase your fertility, a breakdown on TTC lingo, health tips, and quick reading selections related to fertility and conception.
There are lots of apps out there, designed specifically to help you conceive and FitPregnancy makes it easy to choose one, by breaking down the top 10. No matter the app you choose, the important thing is to choose one that is easy for you to use, fits your needs, and reassures you that you are not alone on this journey. There is a whole scientific community working to simplify the complex equation of conception, so you don’t have to.
2. Ovulation Strips
If you are anything like me, you are all in… for like the first month, and then you’re done.
Checking my cervical fluid and position was old after 2 days. I convinced myself that I had no idea what I was doing, so it probably wasn’t helping anyways… right?! So, I moved onto tracking my bbt. I Amazon Primed the special thermometer, because I was all in! Well, I was only able to take my bbt maybe 5 times because in order to get an accurate reading, you need to take it before getting out of the bed and moving. Listen, Linda, honey… if I’m in the bed, chances are I’m still sleeping and I can’t promise anything I do is accurate. I’m sorry, I can’t!
Remember that scientific community I was raving about, well they created a very quick and efficient way to find out if you are ovulating or not. Ovulation strips! They work just like a pregnancy test: you pee on a stick and wait 5-10 minutes for the results. You can begin testing the first day your handy app says that you’re fertile; or if you have irregular or short cycles, it may be beneficial to start testing for ovulation right as your period ends.
You can get “ovulation kits” almost anywhere that you can buy a pregnancy test, but they can be expensive and only come with a couple tests. For much cheaper, you can hop on Amazon and buy in bulk, for the low! I purchased the ClinicalGuard ovulation + pregnancy strip combo, which included 40 ovulation test strips and 10 pregnancy test strips, for only $12.
3. A Hobby
If you have been following my journey for a while, my reference to Mama Day will be familiar. If you’ve never read the book Mama Day, by Gloria Naylor, you really should. It’s a beautiful story about finding your way home. In the book, Mama Day is helping a friend, Bernice, get pregnant. Bernice is taking fertility pills and is still struggling to conceive. Mama Day has her stop taking the pills and gives her painted pumpkin seeds to carry with her. She is to bury the black seeds on bad days and bury the gold seeds during her cycle. Mama Day then gives her several things to do while trying to get pregnant, including cooking from scratch, deep cleaning, and consistent exercise. After following all of Mama Day’s instructions, Bernice gets pregnant.
Is Mama Day responsible for Bernice’s pregnancy, maybe! She gave Bernice distractions to relieve the pressure and stress of the situation, while keeping her mind and body busy. Mama Day gives Bernice what modern science cannot, time. When you’re trying to get pregnant, the days seem long waiting for the next ovulation, the next cycle, the next test; but the months go by fast without results. Before you know it, 3 months, 6 months, a year passes, and you feel further from your goal but don’t know where the time went.
I picked up Yoga as soon as we started TTC in August. I found a new studio and allowed myself to sink deep into my practice. I made going to class a priority, I went 3-4 times a week, and I even began to practice at home.
In November, I bought a plant. I love plants, but I was notorious for killing them! I researched the best plant for my work space, and visited nursery after nursery to find the right one. I named her Agatha and when Agatha tried to kill herself on my dining room table, I did more research. I learned how to repot her, I began to rotate her in the sun, and I began to water her more. The more she flourished, so did I.
Right before Christmas, we found out we were pregnant. I know that my time TTC was short, but the days that trickled into months seemed long, and they were hard. Having activities to occupy my mind and body, while keeping my heart open, made all the difference. You can plant a garden, learn how to code, take up tennis, or start brewing beer in your basement. But, you should do something to buy you some time.
4. A TTC Fairy Godmother
Stay with me! TTC can drive you crazy. Your mind and body play all kinds of tricks on you. Once, I was convinced that I was pregnant a day after sex! I was tired, hungry, my period hadn’t come (it wasn’t supposed, but still!), and you couldn’t tell me I didn’t have a bump.
This is the exact point when you need a TTC fairy godmother to say, Girl, you are crazy. But, you’re not alone! Partners are obviously great, I mean you are trying to procreate with them after all, and they should be your main source of support, but let’s be honest… sometimes, they just don’t get it. And, it’s not hard to understand why they don’t get it because everything is going on in your body. A TTC fairy godmother is someone who gets it. She has been where you are. She knows how exhausting, stressful, and disheartening trying, month after month, can be. She understands that you are no longer yourself, but a crazy baby-making machine who is constantly checking her temperature, peeing on sticks daily, and besties with an app. She is a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on & rage to when the world doesn’t get it, and she is one of your biggest cheerleaders.
You can find a TTC fairy godmother in your personal circle of friends and family, or you could find her in a support group of other women who are also TTC. Your TTC fairy godmother could even be someone you meet online! Most fertility apps have built-in communities filled with women who are TTC. See how useful that app is proving to be!
So, now you understand why a TTC fairy godmother is a must. And just like me, she is going to remind you: don’t be so hard on yourself, take breaks, and drink while you can!
Good luck luvvhers!
*you should consult your physician before TTC and if you are over 35 years old and have not conceived after 6 months of purposeful intercourse.