DISCLAIMER: I am not a fertility expert and am only telling the story of how I got pregnant and what helped me jump start this journey to mother hood. If you have questions about your particular situation please contact a doctor.
In the months before Stephen and I were trying to conceive I read every single piece of information I could on this subject. I wanted to know EXACTLY what people did to get pregnant and why. Obviously the easy answer is that they simply decided to have a baby, did the horizontal Macarena a few times, and voila! You are with child!
It is, unfortunately, not as simple as that for a lot of people. I had read some horror stories on blogs and other outlets about people experiencing infertility and trouble conceiving after having been on the pill for years. Since I, like them, had been on the pill for the better part of a decade, I decided to take action.
I went off my birth control pill in January 2011, over a year before we would be trying to put the bun in the oven. And I am really thankful that I did. It took my body a very long time to get itself into a regular cycle. My doctor told me it could take up to 6 months for your body to regulate after being on a hormonal form of birth control for so long. However, my body took closer to a year to find its natural rhythm.
After going off the pill I did not get my period for close to 4 months and experienced some crazy withdrawal symptoms. My skin went crazy and my hormones were like being on a not fun roller coaster ride that never stopped. I finally got a period 4 months after I took my last pill, but it only lasted two days. 2 more months went by and I got another period, that only last 2 days again. 3 more months, another short period. 2 more months, another short period. Right as I was convincing myself that something MUST be wrong with me, my body settled into a pretty regular 40 day cycle.
But wait! 40 days!? That seems so long! Ever since the girls were pulled aside in elementary school to have the special talk about our special bodies I had believed that a normal cycle was 28 days, with ovulation happening around day 10-14. 40 days was ridiculous!
At this point I wanted to know what was up, and really wanted to know if I was ovulating. I turned to the most awesome book for a young woman on the brink of trying to conceive, “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”
My data loving, accountant, uber-nerd, “I can excel the shit out of this” brain LOVED this book. I started to take my temperature every morning and kept track of it on an iphone app (yes there is an app for that). I saw that I was clearly ovulating, it was just a very late ovulation in an already long cycle. I was so happy I had this information. Otherwise, I would have possibly spent years trying to conceive by knocking boots (how many other ways can I say “having sex” without actually saying it?) on days 10-14 of a cycle.
In May 2012, the time came for us to throw caution and condoms to the wind and start trying for a baby. My doctor (who knows me very well) advised me to not take my temperature and try to pinpoint ovulation for that first month. She was worried (with good reason) that I would become too invested in the numbers and that hiding the snake in the bush (ZING! another one!) would become a chore for both of us. So I took her advice and put my thermometer and iPhone app away for the month. We did what people who are in love do and decided to hope for the best that first cycle. However, I would be lying if I said that I did not push for nookie a little harder on the days that I knew I was probably ovulating. Because I did. But I am married to a typical red blooded man and when I say I “pushed a little harder” I mean all I had to say was “do you want to…?” and it happened. But I digress.
And the rest, as they say, is history. We conceived in that very first cycle and 37 weeks later we find ourselves anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby girl.
I tell this story not to rub in the fact that I was able to get pregnant the first cycle of trying, but to show you that knowledge truly is power. Going off a hormonal form of birth control early enough that your body has plenty of time to regulate, and really getting to know your body and its cycle is really important in my opinion. I gathered all the information I could, really took the time to get to know the in’s and out’s of my body, lit a few candles around our bed, and got busy.