If you’ve been around since the beginning of the blog, you know that I’m kinda besties with Ashley from POAS Freak, and was an admin in her Facebook group for a while. On Facebook, just like on here, I am fairly open about our TTC journey. (I know, I’m kinda keeping secrets right now, but hopefully very soon that will change. I mean VERY soon! Like next Tuesday we’ll know the direction our journey is turning.) And even though I am no longer in the role of admin in Ashley’s group, I still find myself-on an almost daily basis-sharing information and answering questions as best I can about TTC. Those conversations are what helped to inspire this post.
So, first…let’s start off with some acronyms that I rattle off a lot, and confuse people with who are just starting their TTC journey.
Common Acronyms Used:
TTC – trying to conceive CD – cycle day OPK – ovulation predictor kit CM – cervical mucus CP – cervical position BBT – basal body temperature LH – luteinizing hormone EWCM – egg white cervical mucus LP – luteal phase (the time from ovulation to your period)
And now onto the 5 things that newbie TTC’ers should know.
- A healthy couple has a 20-25% chance of conceiving each cycle. And it can take up to a year to get pregnant. Do not get discouraged if it doesn’t happen for you the first month that you aren’t using protection.
- A fertility app, like Fertility Friend, is good to have. BUT, an app is only an app if you all you do with it is add the dates of your period. It is a guesstimate of when your fertile window is and when your period should start based on what is *average* for your cycle length. It becomes more accurate the more data you add to it. Such as your BBT, your CM, your CP, and your OPKs or monitors. And then, even with all of that information…it’s still just an app and can be less than accurate. But the more information you add to each day…including daily symptoms…will make it more accurate for you.
- A positive OPK does not guarantee ovulation! It’s a good sign, but it can not be relied upon as a certainty that you are ovulating. An OPK is used to detect a LH surges. And while you *should* ovulate 12-48, most likely 12-36, hours after your first positive OPK, it doesn’t always happen like that. You can gear up to ovulate, positive OPK & all the physical signs including fertile or EWCM, and still not ovulate. And it’s not uncommon to have several surges a cycle.
- Temping or charting your BBT is not meant to help you time ovulation. Temping is more to confirm ovulation. Sometimes there is a dip in your temp the day of ovulation, but not always. And you can have a dip in your temps that is completely and totally unrelated to ovulation. And even if you always have a temp dip the day of ovulation, there is always a chance that you won’t have it any given cycle. So what you’re looking for with temping is confirming that you have ovulated by seeing the temp shift associated with ovulation.
- A temp shift happens after ovulation because progesterone becomes the dominate hormone of the LP. The follicle that houses the egg becomes the corpus luteum once ovulation takes place, once the egg is released. It’s job is to release progesterone, which is a heat inducing hormone, to help prepare the body for pregnancy should fertilization take place. If there is no pregnancy, the corpus luteum dies off, which means it’s no longer releasing progesterone into your system, your temp will drop and your period will start. If a pregnancy is achieved, you lucky ducky, then the corpus luteum gets a reprieve…if you will, until the placenta is able to take over progesterone production.
I am a big temp pusher. I am not even gonna lie. I think that the smartest way to go is using OPKs along with temping every morning. The reason I believe so strongly in temping to confirm ovulation is based on personal experience. Now, for those of you who don’t know me very well, I am one of those chicks who when she decides to do something, doesn’t do it half ass. As evident by my test stash…
I do everything up big! I try to have as much control as possible. lol Ok, so back to my point. When you first start using OPKs and start doing research on them, you’ll most likely hear that once you get a positive OPK, you can stop testing. And in theory that works really well. In theory, anyways.
A few months back, long after I started temping and using OPKs, and just when I thought I knew my body perfectly, it proved me wrong. One cycle I got my positive OPK like normal, around CD16. I expected to confirm ovulation with a temp shift within the next couple of days. It didn’t happen. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. So, I started testing again. They slowly started to get darker again…since we always have some level of LH in our system throughout our cycle an OPK will almost always have a second line on the test, it’s very different from a pregnancy test-a positive OPK is when the test line is as dark or darker than the control line. So about 4 days after my first positive OPK, I got another one. And this one brought about a temp shift. Now, if I hadn’t been temping…I never would have known that I didn’t ovulate with that first positive OPK. I would have assumed that I had ovulated, especially since it was around the right time for me, and then been extremely hopeful when my period was “late”. But, because I was temping, I knew that I didn’t ovulate with that positive OPK, I knew when my actual fertile window was, because I started testing again, and was able to confirm ovulation with a temp shift…therefor, I knew that my period was actually right on time…even though I had a longer than normal cycle.
The very next cycle went even stranger. I got a positive OPK around CD17, I believe, and then went annovulatory. I never had a temp shift. I continued to test on my OPKs, but didn’t detect another surge. Now, when my period would have been expected, I spotted for 5 days. Had I not been temping, I would have believed with everything in me that I was pregnant and the spotting was either breakthrough bleeding or implantation bleeding. But, because I was temping…I was able to save myself that pain. Didn’t save myself any aggravation, but heartache yes. I continued to test with my OPKs and finally got another positive about 5 days after the spotting stopped, and confirmed ovulation the next day with a temp shift. So that is why I think temping along with OPKs is the best way to go.
I wish I could say that when it comes to wanting a family I’ve always been the laid back chick, when it happens-it happens. But that just isn’t me. I’ve always wanted babies.
Hell, on our first date I told the hubby, then some guy I thought was sweet, that I wanted babies. Not that I thought at that time he was the man I wanted to father the gaggle of kiddos I wanted. I just felt like he deserved to know that I was…let’s say, eccentric. That sounds good. lol
So fast forward 13 years and almost as many miscarriages, and here we are. A couple who use two apps, a BBT alarm & thermometer, and OPKs.
When I turned 35 last year my fear of never having a baby took on a whole new level of crazy. And I went from being ok with, “it’ll happen when it happens”, to this frantic “I have to have a baby NOW!” So I started using an app to track my cycles and guess when my fertile window was.
It didn’t take long for that to prove to be no help. So when it came time to upgrade my iPhone…I decided it was time to upgrade my TTC app. After finding and downloading 4, I settled on Glow & Ovia and pushed the others out of my life.
And then I discovered that it’s not tracking your cycle, that’s simply the beginning. Actually, it’s for rookies. lol There’s BBT charting…basal body temperature…to help with figuring out when you’re gonna ovulate. And then there’s OPKs…ovulation predicting kits…to really help pinpoint ovulation. Not to mention the teas, and vitamins, and foods-and don’t even get me started on what some are saying coconut oil can do if used as a, well you get the idea.
Now, here I am a couple months shy of my 36th birthday, and this is what a lot of pictures in my camera roll look like:
That’s right…a good 30% of the photos in my camera roll are pictures depicting my POAS life. (Pee On A Stick) I spend a week waiting for those lines to match in color and then stressing about timing sex. And trust me, there’s is nothing less sexy than scheduling sex. Nothing!
It’s so frustrating when trying to get pregnant is no longer about fun. Ya know?!