Clear Blue Digital · OPKs · Ovulation Predictor Kits · Trying to Conceive

Your OPKs and You: Part Deux

Previously on Unintentionally Not Conceiving: yours truly was drooling over smilies on digital OPKs and boasting about my stick aim (humble brag).  During Month 7, I wanted to update my TTC Resume with some “internet cheapies” experience (fitting since I’m a cheapie woman, which I now realized is probably something I shouldn’t refer to myself as).  Internet cheapies is a generic name for the basic ovulation test strips that you usually find on Amazon – at least, that’s what I use to stock up on most of my TTC necessities (#notanad, I just love to name drop).  These are usually dip-strips, and they follow the “if the test line is as dark or darker than the control line, IT’S GAME TIME!” rule.  

I had planned to avoid the pee-in-a-cup club considering my schedule was already filled with enough extracurriculars (member of POASA , Ectopic Social Chair, constantly being consumed by own anxiety, etc.), but the possibility of finding my new favorite CHEAP tests was too good to pass up.  I went with the easy@home brand because I’d seen that enough women use that brand without any problems AND I was able to get a box that included pregnancy and progesterone tests – combo pack, YEAH!  I had already tried out one OPK and HPT during the Ectopic Time, both of which produced positive results and caused me to find out I was supposedly around 7 weeks along with Little Sac, so had a smidgen of faith in them.  Still, I thought of my plain OPK strips the same way that I feel about my Xanax – nice to know it’s available, prooobably not going to use it unless I really have to.  And yet – didn’t really have to use them, but joined the club anyway because it’s not a true TTC month unless I’m trying something new!

I’ve found the instructions for all OPKs to be pretty straight forward, including when it comes to determining when you should start testing.  This time around, I decided to ignore the instructions (poor choice) and started testing earlier since I had an (incorrect) theory that I was ovulating early ever since my body decided to betray me.  Per usual, my theory was pure nonsense, and instead of catching an earlier than expected surge, I freaked myself out and entered “AM I NOT EVEN OVULATING?!” mode.  Cue more searches on progression lines.  

Fun little fact: the picture below is included on Amazon for the easy@home Product Overview.  

2143a2a7-a498-4a66-bcf6-3f84ddf5b24e.jpg._CB273442922_

Are you REALLY trying to tell me that this chick got her Big Fat Positive on 5DPO?!  With a cheapie?!  I’m in the process of penning a letter of complaint to the company for false advertising.  “Excuse me but…no way in hell is this a BFP at 5DPO, AND I did not get pregnant with the use of these strips* so I would like for you to cover all of my potential future fertility treatments.  Please and thank you.”

*Disclaimer: The use of OPKS does not guarantee pregnancy.  They should be used only to detect a surge in your Luteinizing Hormone which increases around the time of ovulation.  If you want to confirm ovulation, you will need to track your BBT or test your progesterone levels 7 days after you get a positive OPK.  If you want to get pregnant, you will need to find a different blog to assist you with that, as I have not found a magical way to make this happen.

Anywho.  Beyond testing too early, I began to wonder if I was also testing at the wrong time, or if I didn’t have a long enough “hold”.  All things that caused the little voice inside my head to repeatedly tell me that I was going to miss my surge, I was never going to get pregnant, and it was all going to be because I just HAD to give in to my frugal side.  Enter: testing twice a day.  

You know how sometimes you think to yourself, “I’m simply not peeing on enough sticks throughout the day”?  That was where I was at.  I already nailed down my process of digital testing during the day – the worst part being trying to sneak an applicator into the bathroom, but the whole urine-harvesting with the dip strips was really throwing me off.  Before I started wasting my digitals on double testing, I tried to come up with ways that I could use the strips during the day without heading to the bathroom with a Dixie cup in hand.  A purse would be the obvious solution (which now makes me wonder how many women who bring their purses to the bathroom are stashing cups and ovulation strips in there), but that’s just not me, and I wanted to keep what I thought was my dignity in tact.  Dignity means secretive which equals digitals up my sleeve during the day (hey, it works!) and a cup o’ pee in the evening.

Getting an empty circle in the morning and a light line in the evening didn’t ease my mind (though, to be fair, not much does), BUT I have a little trick up my sleeve (no, it’s not another applicator hiding up there):  there’s an aaapp for thaaat!  There’s an easy@home app where you can upload pictures of your ovulation strips and it’ll tell you if it’s a low, high, or peak result!  I don’t see any reason why you would need to use those specific strips with the app, it should be able to read any of the internet cheapies out there, but I felt more confident in the fact that I was using THE strips for THE app.  Plus, by uploading pictures of your tests you avoid the OPK scrapbook!  (Okay…I kept the scrapbook too!  Who knew the warm and fuzzies you could get from looking back at your line progression taped up all nice-like?!)  Looking at my taped up tests, it’s pretty obvious when I was getting close to the peak, and the peak itself was unmistakable, but with being new to the strips it’s easy to wonder what it should look like when you’re about to get your surge.  Everyone’s progressions look different though (per usual).  I’ve seen some women who have DAYS of positives, or others (like me) who shoot up to peak and then right back down (I count my first ‘low’ result as the day I ovulated, which is what the app says to go with).  Check out my comparison pics below!

The best part of all this: I got triple confirmation on peak day!!  I easily recognized the positive on the strip (yes, I am counting my own eyes as one form of confirmation), my app screamed “peak!” and (my favorite part of all) my digital gave me my smiley!  Since it was a Saturday, I was able to test with my strips and digital at the same time, so I do wonder if my strip peak would’ve looked different in the evening, but that didn’t matter at the time.  Instead, I bounced out of the bathroom while waving my tests in my husband’s face saying, “LOOK AT THESE LIIIIIIINES!”

img_4969.jpg

Per my last post on OPKs (and their instructions), you’re really not supposed to look at the lines on the digitals, but that’s like not looking in your tissue when you blow your nose (no? just me? I want to make sure it’s not an infection, guys!)  I’ve always noticed the lines getting more prominent when I’m near my peak on the digitals, but I’ve never gotten such beautiful strong blue lines!  Course, not wanting to divert from my usual schedule, that did not result in a pregnancy, BUT – the lines!!!!   

Here’s where I’m at on the cheapies vs. digital debate: If you’re going to use the digitals, just use the digitals!  I’ve now tried out both versions of the Clearblue digital tests and confirmed with cheapies that everything lines up.  If you want to save money and don’t mind dipping or (potentially) confusing lines, go with the cheapies!  OR – go with the cheapies and the app combo!  You can even find cheaper midstream tests where you don’t have to dip or pay the premium for digital results, but I won’t be trying those out – I am doooone with ovulation test experiments, I swear!  If price doesn’t matter, I would always use the Clearblue digital advanced just for the added perk of FMU (first morning urine) and it also lines up with your “Fertile Week” if you’re not using an app to help you track those days (I have read reviews where women get too many ‘high’ days, but that wasn’t part of my experience).

OPKs don’t have to add to the confusion and frustration that is TTC – find what works best for you and stick with it (and be sure to follow the instructions, they’re there for a reason)!  

OPKs · Ovulation Predictor Kits · Pineapple Core · Trying to Conceive · TTC

My TTC Arsenal: I’M BACK!

Oh.My.GOODNESS!  I had no intention of going almost an entire month without posting, but my anxiety has manifested itself into a tension headache that has lasted for nearly four weeks now.  Before you think I’m ignoring something serious again – I’ve been to the doctor, TWICE!  Once, I was given a large dose of Ibuprofen to “kill” the headache, which only felt like it was killing my stomach (I still believe it left me with a lovely little ulcer), and the second time I was told to get my eyes checked and to “avoid looking at screens”.  So…no texting, no e-reader, no Teen Mom, no blogging!  (Because we’re just going to ignore the mac daddy of all screen time: WORK!)  I wasn’t given a doctor’s note stating that I needed three weeks of PTO due to my headaches and reduced screen time, so I continued on with texting and reading on my Kindle and finishing the newest season of Teen Mom 2, and I cut out the extra stare-at-your-screen work of writing.  I did get my eyes checked and they claim I need a pair of low prescription glasses (I am quite skeptical about how they figured that out just by asking me if 1 or 2 was better for thirty minutes.  Just because one is slightly sharper than the other shouldn’t necessarily mean I need glasses, where’s the control group of my own (old?) 20/20 in this?!), but I won’t see my glasses until sometime in December, and I’m not totally sure slightly poor vision would cause my temples to burn for weeks on end.  Husband thinks the headaches are caused by black mold in our apartment, I think it’s just anxiety (and Dr. Google told me that there’s an antidepressant out there that can get rid of chronic tension headaches – why I have not been given this yet?!), but knowing our luck – we’ll both be wrong and it’ll be bot flies.  Lord help me if it’s BOT FLIES!  

Anyway, I’m trying my hardest to pretend that I’m making up the restless legs, shortness of breath, and dizziness that I’ve noticed sporadically throughout the month, and focus on more important matters: TWELVE WEEKS!  Phew, that wasn’t so bad!  

PreviewInstanceData

With lefty being on deck this month (or maybe not, I don’t really know if that’s how this is working, please don’t punish my ignorance with another ectopic!) I wanted to pull out all of the tricks.  Not trying to put all my eggs in one basket (literally…), and I’m sure righty deserves a chance to redeem itself, but just saying that I wouldn’t be upset if we turned into first-triers this time around (knock on wood, salt over shoulder, other things that cause jinxing to not occur).  I decided to risk it and use the same itinerary as I had the month we conceived, regardless of that outcome.  So, either I could’ve figured out what works for us, or I could be in possession of the recipe for ectopics.  Guess we’ll find out, eh?!  Below is my trusty-but-terrifying (and very TMI) combo:

  • SMEP: If you enjoy timing everything out to a T then the SMEP is for you!  It stands for: Sperm Meets Egg Plan and is supposed to be a “proven technique” for ensuring that…well, the S has all the possible opportunities to meet with the E.  Hence the name.  A fairly simple process, you BD (baby dance) or DTD (do the deed) or BMS (basic married sex) every other day starting on CD 8, and then once you get a positive OPK, you up it to three days in a row, take a day off (THANK GOD), and then have super planned baby dancing one more day until you can go back to your normal lives.  I’ve read lots of great reviews on successful pregnancies using this method, but obviously we never really know what works when we finally get a BFP.
  • Pre-Seed: I’ve heard mixed reviews on the sperm-friendly lube (bleh), but it “helped” us that dreaded month so it’s back on the table!  If you’ve been in the TTC world long enough, you’ve probably heard about the miracle that is Pre-Seed.  If you’re new – it’s supposed to mimic your own fluids and assist the little guys in their journey upwards.  Less is more when it comes to how much to use – most women use under the recommended dosage, so follow instructions at your own risk (unless you’re really, really into water parks)!  They don’t provide you with nearly enough of the applicators and you’ll probably find yourself with half a tube left, which you can use for external use going forward if you don’t want to feel wasteful.  (Some women even “sterilize” the applicators in boiling water so that they can reuse them but I just….I just can’t bring myself to take things quite that far.)

IMG_4978

  • Pineapple Core: Truthfully?  I wondered if this is what caused my whole debacle to begin with, but considering there are lots of women that try this and don’t end up with an ectopic pregnancy, and after being told by my sister that my whole situation was “just one of the mysteries of life, and not caused by a pineapple” I had to wipe that from my mind.  I already did a whole thing about pineapple core in this post, so check it out if you haven’t already, and get implanting!  (Note: this round, I did learn that using a bread knife makes it a lot easier to cut through the skin of the pineapple!  My husband’s idea, of course.)

FullSizeRender_7

  • FertilAid – This is a touchy subject for me, only because I feel like I’m calling out my husband, but I’m not!  This became a part of our TTC regime once Month 3 was unsuccessful (let that sink in for a second – MONTH. THREE.)  We didn’t do any sort of testing to make us decide to introduce FertilAid into our lives, just figured “the more the merrier!” and brought the pills on board.  The bottles (should) do exactly what they say – increase count and motility.  I’ve read stories where men used this after poor analysis results, and after a few months their numbers vastly improved, so that was reason enough for me.  Why wait twelve months to find out that all you needed was a couple of pills a day?  I’ve had my husband go through the ingredients numerous times to make sure there wasn’t anything funky in there, so we’re both comfortable with our decision.  I just can’t quite fully endorse this only because I don’t know what his levels were to begin with.

IMG_4977

  • Ovulation Predictor Kits – I wasn’t going to mention this one because I felt like it was too obvious, but just in case you wondered: YES, I’m still using these!  Especially because I lost my mind the past few months since I didn’t know exactly what was going on (but, do I ever???).  Knowing when your surge is (and estimated ovulation – unless you’re temping, then you’re lucky enough to have CONFIRMED ovulation!) matters for several of these items: SMEP, Pineapple Core, best days to utilize Pre-Seed, and for your basic sanity of seeing a positive somewhere!  A friend of mine keeps insisting that my OPKS are causing me unnecessary stress, and I’ll agree that almost every month there’s a moment when I think a positive isn’t going to happen and I enter panic mode, but getting that confirmation calms me and helps me to better understand each cycle.  

Where do we find all these goodies?  Amazon.  Or, Walgreens if I’m feeling particularly panicked about low levels of anything.  All of these items are pretty pricey (at least, according to my standards), but I can’t bring myself to remove any of them from our monthly routine just yet.  I should mention that raspberry tea has been sitting in my pantry for months now, but I honestly can’t figure out how/when exactly I’m supposed to use that.  Most of my searches result in pregnant women asking if it’ll jump start labor, while I’m over here like, “MUST BE NICE!”.  So, maybe that’ll make it’s way into my kit soon.  What’s a must-have in your TTC routine?!

Ectopic Pregnancy · OPKs · Trying to Conceive · TTC · Two Week Wait · TWW

Feeding the Monster

Stomach aches.  Ovary pings.  An extra day of spotting.  These are a few of my biggest fears (bonus points if you sung that to the tune of ‘my favorite things’ in your head).  Ovaries are supposed to take turns each month on who releases the egg, and according to the cramping and pressure on my right side, it must be righty’s time to shine.  And it doesn’t feel great.  There is no manual on What To Expect When You’re No Longer Expecting: A Guide to Surviving Ectopic Pregnancies, so I was blindsided when it felt like something was actually shifting.  Ovulation, yeah?  I figured I was being thrown a bone – now I get an extra sign that I’m actually working!  Except when I took an ovulation test (expecting to see a shining positive and smile in triumph that I’m beating the system) it was negative.  I crinkled my forehead as I stared at the strip daring to tell me that I was not currently fertile.  Do I ovulate earlier because of the ectopic now?  Later?  NOT AT ALL?!  I’m back to my anovulatory cycle theory, completely disregarding the stress and anxiety and total wrongness this caused me in August.  So much for succumbing to the process.  I tried to pull the same stunt last month – had all these symptoms that I thought meant I was ovulating like crazy and then…negative.  Took an at-home progesterone test in an attempt to put my mind at ease – negative.  Pregnancy test (I knooow….) – negative.  Can’t catch a break with the BFNs.

Why couldn’t I just let it be?  

onabreak

I will admit, I felt more (dare I say) calm during my days when I was completely free of the TTC mindset.  There was a tickle of pleasure when I first realized I had no idea what cycle day I was on, but that realization lit a fire inside me and drove me to start counting dates and making notes of my symptoms.  It’s like my anxiety synced up with my Two Week Wait and symptom spotting is inevitable.  After I caved and tested, I looked up progression lines and tried to determine if it’s possible I just ovulated, which caused the negative tests, or maybe it was going to be positive soon?  (The additional super negative test the next day said that was not the case.)  This is a prime example of why you start testing a few days before expected ovulation.  Or, why if you’re supposed to not get pregnant for twelve weeks, that you don’t test at all.  I couldn’t outsmart the toxic combination of curiosity and fear – the movement in my right side (and, I’ll be honest, an evening before when we were a little “forgetful”), left me unable to ride out the rest of these weeks in peace.  A day later my left ovary decided to speak up – a small lightning bolt of fury at what I can only assume is directed at picking up righty’s slack.  I started imagining an assembly line of eggs struggling to push through a web of scar tissue on my right side, and instead being shot over like a pinball to my left in an attempt to keep up with the timeline.

When is a pinch in my ovaries, or a simple stomach ache, going to go back to being just an annoyance rather than a paralyzing fear that an egg is trying to burst through my tube?  How do I train myself to avoid that gut-punch thought of: Am I ectopicing again?!   There are moments where I have a sharp pain and turn to my husband, wide-eyed, demanding that he remind me I would have known by now if I was bleeding internally.  On a bad day, my thoughts get reduced to two simple words: why me?  And then the parrot-like reminder chimes in, “Could be worse! Could be worse!”  Am I supposed to be glad that this is all that happened to me?  The best of the worse case scenario, yes, but grateful I am not.  It’s like a scab I keep picking.  One blip in all these months and I’m left walking through an exhibit of this moment forever.  

Ectopic Tour Guide: On your left, you can see the spot where she told her husband this could be an ectopic pregnancy, and can you believe it – they laughed.  Ah, straight ahead is the hallway where she continuously called her doctor’s office in a panic.  And if you squeeze in here, you can be in the actual stall where she confirmed both that she was pregnant, and that there was something seriously wrong happening.

Can’t I go back to being just plain ol’ bitter, instead of ectopic-bitter?

This is my fear talking.  Cycle #2 is fast approaching and through my weekly, “Happy (insert number here) weeks!” greeting to my husband, there’s a hint of dread.  Because if we aren’t successful next month, I no longer have my crutch of an excuse that we weren’t allowed to be trying.  Not to mention that if anything seems off, I’ll have the dreaded E-word looming over me, threatening to make it’s 15% chance of appearing again.  Doesn’t seem fair considering I only have a 20% chance of becoming “regular” pregnant, but I’ll let that one go for now.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready to jump back into TTC, I just don’t know if I’m ready for the familiar stench of disappointment that has latched onto it.  You never do know though, maybe – just maybe, I have two pink lines in my future.  Optimism, where are you?

Fear-vs.-Excitement.jpg

BFN · Pregnancy Test · Trying to Conceive · TTC

Trick or Treat Yo Self

Coping with a negative pregnancy test, or a “monthly visit” is one of the trickiest parts of trying to conceive.  Originally, I was in “treat yo self” mode when it came to starting another cycle.

77300-treat-yo-self-meme-bc7h

My BFNs were complemented with empty-uterus wine, flat-stomach jeans, and no-baby surgery (okay, this one is a stretch, but I did finally get my nose cauterised after Month 4 – had to stop the bleeding from somewhere, amiright?!)  I should probably apologize for that last joke, but I just couldn’t help myself!  Basically, instead of eating my feelings – I was drinking them, or buying them new booties.  This was all my attempt to have something to look forward to if I was facing another negative – at least my pant size is going to stay the same!  When we all really know that we’d trade all the margaritas and skinny jeans in the world to be pregnant (just don’t take away my carbs)!  There are plenty of other ways to cope with the loss of another month though, and there’s one that particularly caught my interest.

One woman mentioned that for every month that she’s not pregnant, she buys a new item for her unconceived baby.  That way, when she does get pregnant and eventually give birth, she’ll have all these adorable little gifts to give them.  She feeds her hope.  Doesn’t that seem healthier than having vices fill your void?  The idea of buying something baby-related with each negative does sound sweet, until you think about the possibility of devoting an entire linen closet to items for an imaginary baby.  A few months ago I read a book that centered around a woman who lived in Chicago (okay…) and wasn’t able to have anymore children (yikes…) so she kept a box of baby clothes for the child she would never have (hmm…) which eventually drove her to kidnap someone else’s baby to raise as her own (a decent plan, but even from where I’m sitting I can see some flaws in it).  I’m not saying that’ll be my future if I start hoarding wubbanubs (trust me, we want our own baby free and clear), I’m just trying to point out that, for my own sanity, this might not be the best route for me.  Plus, there’s the fact that styles change and maybe I’ll find an even cuter headband for a newborn girl once we’re actually, possibly, pregnant.  

My own question has been answered by myself, but it’s not the answer I want.  I wish I could be that woman who was able to find positivity at the end of each month and feel hopeful with the accumulation of impossibly small socks – instead, I find comfort in new clothes and boozy dinners and manicures.  Not sure what that says about me.  Selfish, perhaps?  I just can’t crush the thought that each onesie bought would continue to fill up my jinx jar (still regretting making that last spontaneous onesie purchase during my TWW months ago).  My husband had the same thought when I pitched this idea to him over dinner – I’m slowly bringing him over to the dark side!  Sure, there’s always the option to regift the items to family or donate them if we aren’t able to conceive, but that would still mean I’d have to face an extremely difficult situation of not only giving up, but giving up my box (or tub) of remaining hope.  Clearly I’m getting ahead of myself, but I didn’t get this far in life by just taking things one day at a time!

Curious to hear other BFN coping mechanisms out there (for research purposes, of course – I know I still have FIVE weeks to go).  I think for now, the only place that I’ll be storing my baby-ware is on Pinterest.

Trying to Conceive · TTC

Ghost in the Graveyard

The sun has set and all you have to light your way is the moon and street lamps sprinkled down the block.  You’re crouched in anticipation, waiting for the moment that someone will spot you and shout, “ghost in the graveyard!”; then you’ll pump your legs in the hopes that your fingers will graze one of your neighbors before they make it to base, and then they will be ‘it’.  Have you played this game?  What about The Witch Ain’t Out Tonight, or Bloody Murder?  In my neighborhood, it was just Ghost in the Graveyard, and I was never ‘it’.  In fact, I was reduced to sulking on my front porch as I whined to my mom about how I wanted to play and it wasn’t fair (girl, you don’t know what ‘not fair’ is).    

Being the youngest of my two siblings, exclusion wasn’t anything new to me, but that didn’t mean I accepted the reasons for why I wasn’t allowed to partake in the evening game: It was getting dark.  Bedtime was approaching.  I was too young.  (Ah, to be “too young” again!)  This may be a bit of a stretch – but TTC is kind of like playing Ghost in the Graveyard (or, at least it is for my current situation).  Trade out young kids for a bunch of women in their twenties and thirties, swap the ‘ghost’ for a BFP, and you have a group bubbling with nervous excitement searching for a way to become it.  Not being able to TTC  is like watching everyone play a game that you can’t be a part of.  I’m stuck on a mental front porch, wishing that I could join in.  

I do it to myself really.  I snoop around on my app, zooming in on faint lines on pregnancy tests and distributing advice like a card dealer (it always comes with a parting line of “…but it was ectopic so now I’m in a three month wait.”)  I’m further developing my youngest-child-syndrome and working on sharing issues now (but I want a BFP!) and pondering over the unfairness that is life.  I want to squint my eyes at OPKs, I want to symptom spot, I want I want I want.  Deleting the app is too dramatic of a step for me, so I hid it on the second page of a folder in my phone, hoping that having to tap, swipe, tap (exhausting!) will keep me from going straight to it.  Out of sight, out of mind, right?  And shockingly enough…it’s actually working.  There’s nothing there for me anymore – at least, not at this time.  I’m trying to embrace this break (I did say I wanted Month 7 to be my “let’s not try, try” month – I just wasn’t aware the universe would take me so seriously) and enjoy not getting worked up over symptoms or tests.  Sometimes my fingers twitch and I get the desire to see what’s going on in the TTC world, but I worry that if I go back into the threads I’ll start making mildly inappropriate comments on every post I come across.  

Poster: I’m one day late – could this be our month?!

Me: Rude.

Poster: ???

Me: …jealous.

How nice would it be to “forget” about TTC for these next six weeks?  Constantly counting days and entering data has caused me more harm than good, and I have to remind myself that I won’t be able to mentally handle keeping up with all this tracking if it ends up being a long journey.  I started blogging in the hopes that other women wouldn’t feel so alone, but maybe alone is exactly what I need at this moment.  Otherwise, all I have left is to not-so-patiently wait for November to roll around and keep my fingers crossed that I’ll finally be it!

Trying to Conceive · TTC

It’s Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus

Almost five weeks post-ectopic diagnosis and I had to fight the urge to test.  I know I cannot be and, more importantly, SHOULD NOT be (and then realistically: was not) pregnant, but it’s pure instinct now.  Cycle Day 30?!  TEST. TEST. TEST!!!  I feel so lost without my half-year hobby.  You can take the girl out of TTC but you can’t take TTC out of the girl! (or something like that).  Now that it’s the month of All Hallow’s Eve, I can pretend to be distracted by scary movies and spiced cider (I personally recommend heating apple cider with cinnamon sticks and then mixing in caramel swirl vodka – DE.LISH!)  I have to face the fact that all the glitter pumpkins and orange and purple lights around my apartment can’t distract me from my continual countdown: SEVEN more weeks.  Not so bad, but zero more weeks is my preferred amount.  I’m aware that I’ve been horrible about keeping up with this blog – it’s so hard when all your spare time is spent devoted to re-reading every possible thread about if you really have to wait three months before TTC again (you do).  Also, what’s a TTC blog sans TTConceiver?  

I suppose I do have one other thing on my mind: WITCHCRAFT.  Nope, that came off crazier than I intended.  It’s really just a party trick plus a psychic reading that is making me severely over think life  (I shouldn’t be allowed to do things like this), but I was attempting to stick with the Halloween theme a bit.  There is no way to phrase this to make it sound magical: a ring on a string told me how many kids I’m going to have and what their genders will be.

Mhm.  Read it again if you’d like.

My coworker told me about this little trick pre-ectopic (I really need to stop determining time that way) and at the moment it felt like I had nothing to lose and everything to gain!  My husband groaned when I told him I would be partaking in this activity, “Do you REALLY need something else to think about?”  You mean besides our future children?!  Even my coworker refused to ‘run the test’ until I repeatedly lied to her face and promised that I would not read too much into it (aaand here we are..).  It’s simple really.  You loop a gold ring through a string and hold it over the flat of your hand, like so:

FullSizeRender-5

(Note: apparently you need to find a ring that’s pure gold and doesn’t have diamonds because it “might interfere with your baby gender energy” or something like that, but this is all I have!)

Once the ring is stationary, it will start to move either in a circular motion, or side to side like a pendulum.  Circular = girl.  Pendulum = boy.  After I crossed my fingers behind my back and swore for the final time I am fully aware this “doesn’t mean anything” I got to view my future!  When she first held the string-ring (or, ring-string?) over my hand, it slowly started swirling and then picked up such momentum that my first child was deemed to be a “strong girl”.  Not in a stubborn kind of way (well, let’s be honest…) but in a you’re-definitely-having-a-girl-first kind of way.  Okay, play it cool, don’t act like you’re not insanely excited but OMG the hubs DID recently say he wanted to be a Dad to a little girl!  After that decision was clear, she ‘cleaned’ the line.  (You have to run your hand down the string to make it still again before getting the next result.)  This was the moment of truth.  One baby right now sounds amazing, but isn’t exactly what we have planned for our family.  The ring began to move again, this time sashaying side to side.  A boy!  A boy!  A girl and then a boy just like we’ve always wanted!  We did it, all our dreams are coming true!  Stilled the string.  Then…a second pendulum swing.  …another boy?  How’d he sneak in there?!  It appears that, according to our current (because OH do I know how plans can change!) family goals, we will end up with a third little surprise!  

This is ludicrous, right?  And yet, after four separate run-throughs, my results remained the same.  Have I double checked this with my husband?  Of course not!  I don’t want to destroy this fantasy!  Not to mention, I’m trying to avoid the potential awkward moment when the ring-string tells us that he’s going to have four kids and we have to get into an argument about the “other woman” who doesn’t exist.  The results of my other coworkers made me a bit more wary (that’s right, not the whole fact of it simply being a ring on a string though…that’s totally legit) – one who doesn’t want children will have two, one that wants many will have one.  Sure, I know that anything could happen and what we plan for usually isn’t what we get, but it still made me question this super reliable test.  

Clinging onto this absurd seed of hope, I began to worry for that first girl of mine.  Was that my embryo that we lost last month?  My coworker, without knowing any of my background (or did the ring tell her that somehow too?!) told me a story about her sister-in-law who had a miscarriage.  Apparently, the ring swung and then stopped abruptly – that represented her loss.  My Little Sac was never going to have a gender, so it wouldn’t have shown up on the string, and therefore I did not lose out on my future baby girl – or so I keep telling myself.  What is probably even more likely is that this is simply a ring on a string and not indicative of my future.  Somehow, that thought doesn’t keep me from pondering about the three babies I’m supposed to have.  Surely that means a BFP soon cause I’m not getting any younger over here!

In a second instance of desperation (I do NOT like the unknown), I may have downloaded an app where your first text to a psychic is free….yes, for all of you cringing at what you know I’m about to say next – I asked when I’m going to be pregnant.  If they’re right – you should all expect to hear some good news from me “early next year”!  When I first received that response, I began calculating the time and thinking…months 11 and 12 are still early of next year..we could still make it!  Well, they used to be.  My months are all out of whack with the ectopic and Three Month Wait – what do I count?  Do I start back at Month 7?  Is it a new Month 1?  OH PLEASE NO.

Now I can’t help but appreciate the fact that I won’t be able to conceive until the end of November or December of this year anyway – which could result in finding out I’m pregnant in early 2018.  Would you look at that – the psychic could be right after all!  Is now a good time for me to bring up that I went to a palm reader in college and was told that I’m going to have two children in my late twenties?  DID YOU HEAR THAT UTERUS?!  I’d say we’re pretty behind schedule then!

These are the things I’m stuck thinking about as I’m trying to be hopeful for the upcoming months.  Three (or two? who’s right?!) babies – must be getting pregnant soon!  Early next year?!  That’ll be here before I know it!  Simple, unrealistic thoughts in an attempt to bat away the terrifying, “What if all of this was just the beginning?  What if I have even more months ahead of me?”  Who knew the peeing-on-a-stick days were going to be some of my more sane moments…

Ectopic Pregnancy · Methotrexate · Two Week Wait

Two Week Wait Version 2.0

In a mere two weeks, my hCG levels went back to normal (my doctor’s choice of words – I would’ve preferred a concrete number – am I at 5, or 0?!) and I’ve been given the green light to pick back up on all the can’t-dos that came along with the Methotrexate.  And honestly?  I’m finally starting to feel more than just “okay”.  Not a watch-My-Baby-Is-Gone-on-Lifetime kind of okay, but good enough for now.  Regardless of the lingering pressure in my ovaries, I’m pretending this is my ectopic-closure.  It’s over(ish).

During this two week wait, I missed TTC enough that I spent my time Side Effect Spotting, which isn’t hard to do when your ovaries are gurgling like a digesting stomach (the memory of that sound, and simultaneous feeling, still makes me shudder).  The first few days it was easy to blame everything on the Methotrexate: nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, the gurgles.  Even walking provided new challenges as going too far, or too fast, left me gripping at what felt like a runner’s-cramp in my side. I went from religiously going to the gym, to laying on an air mattress in my living room – self soothing with carbs and cookie dough.  My physical and emotional pain had to battle for my attention.  It was hard to feel so utterly…not me.  Eventually, worse side effects moved in: cracking wrists, aching bones, what felt like a bubble sitting in my tube…and bubbles BURST.  Was this just my body being weird, or something more sinister?  Is this the Dry Socket Fiasco all over again?

The Dry Socket Fiasco (formerly known as The Worst Thing Ever – until now): When I got my wisdom teeth taken out, the nurse that I had claimed as my new best friend (thanks, anesthesia) sent me away with nothing more than a wave and what I assume was a hefty bill for my parents.  I spent the first week of my sophomore year winter break lying in bed, dependent on perfectly timed painkillers, none of which actually killed my pain.  My mouth had the most unbearable ache, but I continued to tell myself this is how it’s supposed to feel.  Except it wasn’t.  When I went for my follow-up visit a week later, I discovered that I had dry socket and that I “should’ve came in a lot sooner” (sound familiar?).  I was beyond frustrated.  They pulled out two of my teeth – how was I supposed to determine what was abnormal and what wasn’t?

The results of my negligence (which is irritating to say even all these years later, because I didn’t know) were that I had to rework my jaw open to a “normal” size”…by myself…using my knuckles.  Apparently, if you’re wondering, most people can fit two to three knuckles between their teeth – after only a week of barely speaking and eating due to the pain, I could only fit one.  It was a miserable personal rehab, and to this day my jaw still clicks.

This memory left me feeling haunted, not ignoring the fact that I had already ignored all the symptoms pre-ectopic discovery.  The stars completely misaligned for me last month (believing I didn’t ovulate…negative pregnancy test…weird spotting that I thought was because of not ovulating); I didn’t want to fall into that same trap.  The day after I whimpered in the middle of the night due to my creaky bones (which I firmly believed was caused by me taking Ibuprofen without realizing I wasn’t supposed to be taking Ibuprofen because the handout they gave me did not follow the pharmacy’s instructions that specifically state NOT TO TAKE IBUPROFEN) – I decided to call my doctor’s office.  “Hi, um…my bones hurt.  I just want to know if like, this is normal, or if I should be concerned, or if I’m making this up.” *nervous laughter*  My social anxiety is always pushed to the limit when I make phone calls.  Or order at drive-thrus.  Or speak to people.  Turns out, like I already knew, Methotrexate is akin to chemo and therefore you’re expected to feel achy (though it felt more like my bones were slowly disintegrating), and I should “just take some Ibuprofen.”  

So I stopped calling.

There was another sleepless night where I was stuck in my own head and convinced myself that the pressure I was feeling meant that my tube was about to burst.  Is this it?  What’s it going to feel like?  Am I going to just get overwhelmed with pain and have to go to the ER?  Am I supposed to go there now?  But this really doesn’t feel THAT bad…  And it wasn’t.  Either I have an incredibly high pain tolerance, or everything I felt was as I described – pressure. discomfort. achy. bearable.  Daily I reminded myself of a favorite saying of my Mom’s, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”  She usually said that when I had a cold and would probably be horrified to realize I was applying that to what could’ve potentially been a ruptured tube, but here I am: better.  Heck, I can even walk without getting a cramp now!  

Surreal doesn’t do this experience justice.  Even when my doctor called to give me my final results, I sounded skeptical.  “So – this is it?  No followup ultrasound?  No HSG?  We’re all good here?  …I was seriously pregnant?”  She mostly wanted to remind me about not trying to conceive for the next three months – as if I could possibly forget about the time she added to my already long sentence.  At least being able to take my prenatal vitamins today felt like a small achievement.  Funny how something that once irritated me and made me feel ridiculous on AF days, now fills me with excitement and dare I say…hope.

Like with my clicking jaw though, I can’t help but wonder: what mark is this ectopic pregnancy going to leave behind?

Ectopic Pregnancy · Methotrexate

Ectopic Pregnancy

Raw.  That’s how I felt after my diagnosis – as if someone had cracked me open, scooped out all of my insides, and sewed me back up haphazardly.  I had officially been broken.

The morning of my appointment, I was greeted with red, and clots.  I again felt the fear that this was all some sort of grandiose delusion and at any moment someone would tell me that none of this was real.  Was I currently losing our baby?

The ultrasound room felt strangely dark and ominous, not a place where I expected to hear a baby’s heartbeat.  Our technician assured us that she would let us know if she saw anything, and then proceeded to remain tight lipped throughout the procedure as she paused to draw lines or circles and print pictures.  My eyes were glued to the screen as I tried to make out what she was noticing that I so clearly could not pick up on, but I had seen enough ultrasound pictures to know what I didn’t see: a sac.  After shuffling around for about ten minutes, she ended the exam and broke her silence.  “There isn’t an embryo in your uterus, but you do have a lot of fluid which is odd; and there is something on your right ovary which makes me believe that this could be an ectopic pregnancy.”  And then she left.  

The resulting silence pierced my ears as I pulled on my bottoms and repeated to myself what would become my mantra for the day: Don’t cry.  Don’t cry.  Don’t cry.  I chewed on the inside of my cheek as a nurse led us into a room to wait for my doctor, double checking that I was sure I hadn’t been experiencing any pain for those eighteen days.  “No…nothing.”  I let the staff marvel at my body’s reaction, or lack thereof, while denial flared through my veins.  It could be a cyst, my mom has cysts, everyone has cysts!  It’s probably just a cyst.  …And a chemical pregnancy.  Once we were alone, I felt cracks beginning to form inside of me.  “I’m upset,” I explained to my husband, as hot tears began to roll down my face, “because this usually means you need surgery.”  Earlier in the week, post-diagnosis-hunting, I told my husband that I stumbled upon something saying that my symptoms could be from an ectopic pregnancy.  Once I explained what exactly that entailed, he responded with, “What?  That’s not a thing.” and now we were left facing that very real thing.  

I fell into a catatonic state while my husband played with the Mirena samples on the table and pointed out the most outrageous pamphlets on the wall (the one with a sperm meeting an egg at her front door with flowers was the winner).  My condition didn’t even earn a pamphlet – guess when you’re part of the 2% it’s not worth the paper.  For all my focus on pregnancy statistics, I was really beating the odds on this one.  I was walking a fine line between denial and devastation: How silly were we all going to feel once we realized this was one big misunderstanding?  Turns out, the only misunderstanding was between me and my body.  

Finally, my doctor breezed into the room with a handful of my ultrasound pictures, and asked to hear the story from my point of view.  It was me versus the ultrasound and my recollection of “not ovulating”, endless spotting, and lack of pain still brought her to the same conclusion: it was an ectopic pregnancy.  When I mentioned my cyst theory, she quickly dismissed it by saying that due to my positive pregnancy test and my empty (typical) uterus – there was no other feasible option.  She drew a picture to help us visualize what was happening, and then proceeded to explain what was going to happen.

IMG_4772

She provided two options and, considering I thought my only option was surgery, I felt a surge of hope for the first time that morning.

Option One: Methotrexate – a drug that they would inject via two shots to my butt which would then act as a sort of chemo and, she cringed as she said, “kill the cells”.  The shot came with its own set of conditions.

  • I’d have to stop taking my prenatal vitamins (doable)
  • Weekly blood tests would need to be performed until my hCG levels were below 5
  • We would not be able to try to conceive for another three months

Wasn’t I supposed to be laying down while she kicked me?  Three months sounds like a small price to pay in exchange for two viable tubes, but the hits wouldn’t stop coming.  She seemed optimistic and said that, though there may be scar tissue, we shouldn’t have any problem conceiving in the future and that this “didn’t take that long” to begin with (ignoring the fact that I wouldn’t call this a successful pregnancy in any way) .  

Option Two: Surgery – this one is more self explanatory, but there are still specific qualifications to require surgery (which she revealed would occur that very day if I was unable to receive the Methotrexate – talk about a change in plans).  

  • Unstable condition (I was stable physically at least)
  • Heartbeat – we did not have a heartbeat, and the next day we talked about how that was for the best as it would’ve made this entire process that much harder
  • Size – the larger the mass, the greater the odds of it bursting, the more likely that you’ll need immediate surgery.  Our little sac was measuring in at 3.4 cm, which was a mere 0.2 cm away from requiring surgery
  • HCG levels – high levels may not respond as well to Option 1

All in all, I was a stellar candidate for the medication and just needed the results of my blood test to further confirm the next step.  After examining my abdomen to triple-check my nonexistent pain (eventually I would recall that I felt the ectopic-related pain once: it seared through my abdomen while I laid in bed, leaving me incapable of doing something as simple as rolling over – my own internal straight jacket – and then swiftly released it’s hold on me), she said, “I cannot emphasize to you enough that this is no way your fault.  There’s nothing you could’ve done to prevent this.”  One giant glitch in my system.  This was all some sort of cruel joke where I finally got the pregnancy I’ve been hoping for – just not in the right place.  Like being granted a wish from a Genie, I wasn’t quite specific enough about what I wanted.  “I wish I was pregnant.” “Aha!  But you did not say where you wanted the pregnancy to be!”  Fool me once.

Her parting words were to avoid any food or drink in anticipation of potentially needing surgery.  Being a creature of habit, and not knowing what else to do with myself, I headed off to work.  This continued my ever-changing mantra:

Don’t cry on the street.

Don’t cry on the bus.

Don’t cry in the elevator.

Don’t cry at work.

Seriously, don’t cry on the bus.

My results were “positive” in the sense that I was eligible for the shots (hCG was at 480 and progesterone was lingering at a low 1).  For reasons I don’t deem worthy of investigating, they had to send the prescription to the pharmacy where I would then pick it up, bring it back to their office, and get injected with a drug that had the power to kill off my cells.  Cheery.  I felt irrevocably broken, emotionally exhausted, and just plain hungry as I waited at the pharmacy.  This gave me time to revert back to my misunderstanding theory and ponder if I even needed something so horrible injected into my body.  Wasn’t I working this out on my own?  How were my low hormone levels and spotting not indicative of my body flushing everything out?  I sent my husband a series of texts while waiting.

Me: I don’t need to do this!!! Come on – it’s healing on its own!

Now I’m reading all these things saying that I don’t need it!

Husband: But you are bleeding in your abdomen…she said you were

Me: NO no I was not!

She said in my uterus!

You’re allowed to have blood there

Husband: nooo she for sure said there was a little on the outside but mainly in your uterus

Me: Barely. She said barely.

I don’t want to to put myself through some treatment I don’t need! I don’t want to wait for three months when it could’ve worked out on its own!

Husband: Babe I don’t think this is something you can really just ride out….or should

This is the first time I’ve looked back at those texts – it’s like reading something sent by a stranger.  I was so driven by my emotions, I completely ignored all the facts – and facts are usually all I hold onto.

Right before I received the prescription, the pharmacist said that they needed to conduct an “interview” with me to confirm that I’m not pregnant.  With a deadpan manner I replied, “Well.  I am pregnant, that’s technically the problem.”  And I hated everything in that moment.  

The final visit to my doctor’s office was a numbing experience.  I was a dam waiting to burst and absolutely everything nearly set me off.  I was outraged when the receptionist greeted me with a huge smile and enthusiastic, “You’re back!” as if we were old friends and she was thrilled to see me again so soon.  I was furious when, post shots, I noticed that the nurses had gotten the liquid on what I had decided that morning was my new favorite sweater.  And I nearly lost my mind when, after applying two ridiculous-looking bandaids to my bum, one of the nurses said, “And no alcohol for two weeks.”

Wound: meet salt.

No alcohol, no intercourse, no sun, no working out – no coping mechanisms.  Everything had officially been taken from me.  Once the entire ordeal was over (and after the receptionist sent me away with a peppy, “Have a great weekend!”) I had to check my list to see if coffee was allowed, and I wandered into a Starbucks.  Yes, I want an extra shot.  Yes, I want whip cream.  …Was that woman in line flaunting her baby in front of me?  I was fueled only by caffeine and misery; my pre-breakdown time was running short.  The final bus ride on the way home was excruciatingly long.  Small hiccups of sobs escaped as I reminded myself that crying wasn’t allowed on the bus.  Why didn’t I just splurge on the damn Uber home?  

Finally, after a cruel seven hours, I was back in the safety of my own apartment.  I barely closed the door before the sobs wracked my body.  The events of the entire day slammed into me all at once and left me heaving – trying to grab quick bursts of air.  Suddenly, both my hands went numb and I dropped down to all fours while gasping,, “I can’t…I can’t…”.  If that was a bizarre side effect of the Methotrexate, I did not have the emotional capacity to address it.  I just couldn’t.  


We had the best of the worst situation.  Though I generally try to avoid playing the “it could’ve been worse” (surgery) game, because it’s equally as simple to play the “it could’ve been better” (normal pregnancy) game.  It’s a matter of trying to accept what happened and move forward as best as I can.  There have been days when I’m consumed by anger, that I feel completely betrayed by my own body, but then I try to remind myself that in a way, my body saved me.  Whether it’s true or not, I like to believe that my body was breaking down the cells well before their discovery and that’s what caused me to have minimal pain and also, for it to not rupture at 7 weeks and 2 days.  I have completely succumbed to this process – never again will I make assumptions about my cycle or ignore symptoms that are out of the ordinary.  Now, I can spend the next three months perfecting my Pregnancy Wish for our next TTC cycle. 

I wish I was pregnant…and that it implants in my uterus…and that it’s a healthy baby…and while we’re at it might as well give them my eyes and my husband’s smile and…

Pregnancy Test

24 Hours

That’s how long I knew I was pregnant for.  I hate to spoil the ending for you all but: it’s not a happy one.  And it all started with a twinge in my right ovary.

The Day Before: I didn’t ovulate.  At least, that’s what I kept telling myself throughout my seventeen long days of light-heavy spotting.  It was a simple solution for my body freaking out – I figured we were both equally confused about what was going on, but I still wanted answers.  I was Google-hungry and spent my evenings self-diagnosing and searching for similar situations.  I wanted to find out that this was normal, expected, and most importantly: would end soon.  Nothing gave me any clarity.  I had resigned myself to just waiting it out (I refused to make a doctor appointment for fear that they’d tell me that exact same thing for a lot more money), when my ovary gave me an I’m-working-over-here pain.  Was I somehow ovulating through all this?  There was a new box of ovulation strips sitting in my apartment, screaming to be used.  No time like the present, right?  Except at the moment I was sitting at work, so I made a mental note to test once I got home.

Suddenly, mid-Bachelor In Paradise episode, I jumped off the couch and told my husband that I needed to take an ovulation test immediately.  He seemed wary at the idea of it showing I was ovulating, but let me entertain myself regardless.  It was BLAZING positive.  I assumed I was reading it wrong since this was my first time using the strips rather than a digital, but the results were staring me in the face.  I was…ovulating?  My husband and I looked at each other, debating if we wanted to try.  I still didn’t have any ovulation symptoms, so in the end we chalked it up to my body being wonky.  Another urge began to form inside me though – I wanted to find out what other hormones might be flaring up, so a plan unfolded.  A very basic plan that involved me taking a pregnancy test the next morning.  

The Day Of: I quietly slid open the linen closet door, as if the mere sound of the wood creaking would cause my husband to run out of the bedroom and exclaim, “Are you taking a pregnancy test?!”  I felt ridiculous sneaking around my own apartment as I pulled out the thin pink package.  “So, we’re just going to pretend it wasn’t severely negative when you tested the day you expected your period to be?  Okay…”  I called myself ridiculous and warned about the disappointment I was about to experience while gazing at the slightly-fogged strip.  Was it faulty?  Did that even matter?  It was going to be negative after all.  Once I dipped it and the fog began moving across the strip, I nodded to myself when a second line didn’t pop up.  See, you mad woman, you’re still not pregnant.  

But then the three minutes were up and….there was another line.  I muttered out loud, “Wait.  But, that’s not supposed to be there.”  Now I was imagining lines on pregnancy tests?!  Confusion and excitement and fear hit me all at once as I tried to make sense of what was surely a false positive.

IMG_4769

I mentally ran through all the symptoms (or lack thereof) that I had experienced, along with the neverending spotting, and couldn’t make sense of what was happening.  But I didn’t ovulate!!  I was so sure I had an anovulatory cycle (which, when I later brought this up to my doctor, she said, “You mean an ovulatory cycle?” which blew my mind and I still can’t figure out if I’ve been either pronouncing it wrong or if I somehow completely made up that term).  During several of my internet-perusing sessions I had read that, eventually, your body will try to ovulate again – had I just missed it and unknowingly became pregnant?  And then…if I was pregnant, why was the second line so light?  My next mental checklist ran through everything I had done the past few weeks: Ambien. Wine. Xanax. Advil. Advil. Advil. (I had been experiencing back pain almost the entire time that I had been spotting – yes, I realize that was probably a sign that I had thoroughly ignored, but you forget that I believed I didn’t ovulate) I ate deli meat and did everything that you shouldn’t do while pregnant, short of riding on a rollercoaster (not including the emotional rollercoaster I was currently on).  I had been treating my body like a tomb, not a temple, and feared that my possible unborn child was facing the consequences of my actions.

Where is my husband during all this, you ask?  Just living in blissful ignorance as I didn’t want him to witness what was surely a mental breakdown – besides, this wasn’t how I had planned to announce to him (number one lesson learned while TTC: life doesn’t care about your plans).  I threw out the test and told myself I’d check with a First Response the next morning.  Before even leaving for work I decided I’d test again in the evening, or…should I just put a test in my bag to check later today?  I managed to convince myself that I have some form of self control and went to work pregnancy test-less.  

I made it through an hour and a half at work before I decided I needed to call my doctor’s office – surely they’d tell me that this wasn’t real and that they know the trying to conceive process can be difficult but that I needed to stop pretending I was pregnant.  I stood in the hallway outside my office and attempted to discreetly describe the faint (I over-enunciated the word) positive I saw today, what my spotting was like, and that my last confirmed period was in July, waiting for them to say, “But, didn’t you not ovulate?”  Instead, they asked me to come in that afternoon for an ultrasound and blood test.  I began to mumble about insurance and not being totally sure and again, faint line, and must’ve sounded so erratic that the nurse eventually asked, “Was this a planned pregnancy?”  Planned, sure.  Expected?  Absolutely not.  

The call ended with me booking an appointment for the next day at 8:00 AM, but not before I confirmed that I could cancel it if I took another test and it was negative, and also without incurring the “late cancellation” fee.  Priorities.  

Are you angry with me yet?  Can you believe I waited those seventeen (now eighteen) days and wasn’t rushing over to get checked out?  It all seemed so surreal – I’m still struggling to mentally digest everything that happened.  What I do know is that if I had made an appointment that same day, I would’ve gone alone, and I don’t think I would have been able to emotionally process everything without my husband by my side.

A new plan.  I needed confirmation and I needed it now.  Digital results don’t lie and I needed the comfort of words spelling out exactly what was going on with me.  So, I ended up buying a test during my lunch hour to end things once and for all.  Doesn’t every woman dream of finding out she’s pregnant while in the bathroom stall at work?  No?  Not the ideal situation for me either.  It didn’t matter though – I had started to see the bright red spotting that they warn you about (apparently spotting can be totally normal, albeit confusing and scary when you’re pregnant, as long as it’s not pink/red) and convinced myself that my morning test had been wrong and I wasn’t pregnant.  

Instead, the digital test told me that I was wrong about being wrong.  Well, actually, it just said: Pregnant

IMG_4771

Pregnant?  Pregnant.  PREGNANT?!  

Dread rushed through me.  Something wasn’t right.

A half hour later, I was back on the phone with my doctor’s office.  “I just confirmed with a digital – should I come in today after all?  I’m now spotting red.  This is all a very bad sign, yes?  Is there anything I can even do right now if there is something wrong?”  The nurse calmly explained that at this point, I wouldn’t get all of my results back until tomorrow regardless, so it was best to keep my appointment the next morning and to “just relax”.  

The hours that followed were anything but relaxing – they were filled with internal questions (Am I losing this baby?  Is it all my fault?  How could I be so wrong about everything?) and the cruel hope that this little bean would be safe.  Once we were both at home, I finally told my husband.  I simply said, “You know how I’ve been really confused about what’s been going on with me?  Well, things just got a lot more confusing” as I showed him the digital test (which is now forever sealed in my nightstand – at least until I’m sure the battery has run out so that I don’t have to see the word ‘pregnant’).  I used words like possibly and maybe and this isn’t for sure, but his eyes still shone with happy tears and he couldn’t stop smiling.  His happiness was contagious and I asked, “How did we even pull this off?!” as we laughed and hugged and tried to remain cautiously optimistic.  I was as honest as I possibly could have been about everything that I was going through, and how I was more sure that it could be a chemical pregnancy if anything, but he’s impossible to strip of hope so I let him hang onto the thought that maybe we were going to have a baby.  

Sleep was impossible as I thought about the next day’s appointment.  Were we going to see our baby for the first time?  Was it going to have a heartbeat?  Were they going to give me creams or medicines to help me to thicken my uterine lining or increase progesterone or anything to help this little bean stick?

It wasn’t a chemical pregnancy though.  It turned out to be, in my mind, something much worse.

Basal Body Temperature · BBT · Trying to Conceive · TTC

An Insomniac and A Thermometer Walk Into A Bar…

Tracking your BBT (Basal Body Temperature) is no joke.  I felt like I was Basically Being Tortured (see what I did there?) while I was charting my lowest body temperature each morning.  The goal was to have official confirmation that I am (usually) ovulating, and I was going to achieve that by trying to catch a temperature rise the days following my next positive OPK.  I honestly had zero interest in introducing a new way to monitor ovulation into my life, but after the persistent comments of, “You have to track your BBT!  There’s no other way to know that you definitely ovulated!”, and my never-ending anovulatory cycle, I decided to give it a shot.

I stumbled upon a bluetooth BBT thermometer (keep in mind – you can’t use just any ole thermometer) that happened to come with a BOGO box of LH/hCG strips – score!  I would’ve gladly gotten an Ava bracelet instead so that it could track my temps throughout the night, but from how many times my husband said, “Two hundred dollars?????” I got the impression that an Ava bracelet was not in my future.  So, I settled for a slightly-less-expensive thermometer instead.  I thought I’d be able to exclaim, “AHA!” once he got annoyed of it beeping every single morning, but since this comes with an app, my phone vibrated once my temp was taken and he was none the wiser.  (Thank goodness, because I’d hate to wake my sleeping-like-the-dead husband.)  Another perk of charting via bluetooth was that I didn’t have to make any sort of effort to track my results – which is my favorite kind of tracking.  I could do the entire process without opening my eyes – turn on thermometer, unlock phone (where app was already up and waiting), lay still until phone buzzes in 3 minutes, turn off thermometer, “go back to sleep”.  It seemed luxurious and totally doable…and then I immediately regretted everything.

I was already turned off by the BBT number one rule: take your temperature at the same time everyday after at least four hours of sleep.  It sounds easy, it should be easy (like TTC, right?!) but my insomnia and I are lifelong friends and it was not about to let a thermometer get between us.  I told myself I was going to take things slow – there was no need to pressure myself to temp at times that I didn’t feel comfortable temping, but then my OCD chimed in and reminded me that there’s no point in doing something if you’re not going to do it right.  Casually tracking my BBT the minute that my alarm went off in the morning was no longer an option.  Most days I’m up before my alarm even is, and there are usually only a few hours of sleep preceding my final wakeup .  I needed to find a way to make this work with my already sleepless nights, so I searched for answers.

The advice that I found online for all the temping insomniacs out there: Set an alarm for 3:30 AM when you are most likely to have gotten four hours of sleep.

Uh, what?  Hard pass on that…but my mind already locked in on the time.  I didn’t need to set an alarm.  Every morning between 2:00 and 3:00 AM I snapped awake with my own internal alarm blaring, “You have to temp right this second or everything will be ruined forever!”  The anxiety of temping each morning rooted itself firmly into my system and no matter how many times I told myself, “It’s not a big deal, you’re just trying to see a pattern, if this doesn’t work it’s okay” I still ended up jolting awake as if from a nightmare.  I even made a deal with myself that I only had to do this for three weeks – that as soon as I confirmed ovulation, I’d never have to put myself through this again; but remember the last time I tried to do something for “only” three weeks?  (I’m looking at you 21-turned-3-day sugar detox.)  

I lasted one week.

I was left with headaches and fatigue from forcing myself awake, and it was my husband who finally told me I had to stop.  The risk of getting another BFN and thinking it could’ve been from all the stress of temping far outweighed my desire to confirm ovulation.  This wasn’t my shortest relationship by any means, but it was still harder than I expected to break up with my thermometer.  I’m currently sitting here gazing at it – wondering if we can pick up where we left off, but knowing it’s too late.  Things will never change between us.  Now it’s back to it being just me, myself, and Insomnia.

Contrary to what you may think – I’m not totally anti-temping.  If you’re a heavy sleeper and don’t normally wake up until your alarm goes off, I’d say give it a try!  I think it’s a great way to gain additional insight into what your body’s doing, but keep in mind there are still other things that can affect your readings.  If you decide to temp – be aware that you’ll need to avoid the following:

  • Drinking – well, I’m out (again)!  I started worrying about drinks with friends while I was temping, didn’t they realize how selfish they were being by inviting me out?!
  • Breathing With Your Mouth Open – I use a mouthguard (very attractive) most nights because clenching my teeth is another favorite stress reliever of mine.  I ended up getting stressed about being stressed because I didn’t want to use my mouthguard for fear of it popping my mouth open.  Vicious cycle.  
  • Being Too Hot – Anyone else wake up with the sweats in the middle of the night?  No?  Maybe it’s just me because I’m SO FREAKED OUT ABOUT MISSING MY TEMP TIME!
  • Being Too Cold – …was that fan always blowing directly on me?  Uuuugggghhhh.
  • Movement – Seriously?  So, should I have been sleeping with the thermometer propped in my mouth and my phone slipped under my pillow for immediate access?
  • Stress – I feel like this one’s an oxymoron.

Like all things in TTC – temping comes with rules, and even though rules are my favorite, I couldn’t follow them.  I suppose peeing on sticks really must be my strong suit after all!  Good luck to all you tempers out there – I hope you’re having a much easier go with charting your results than I was!

PS – here’s the thermometer that managed to wreak havoc on my sleep in one measly week.  It doesn’t look like the Destroyer of Dreams, but don’t let its size fool you!  

FullSizeRender-2