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!  


4 thoughts on “An Insomniac and A Thermometer Walk Into A Bar…

  1. The whole BBT thing fascinates me! I’ve never heard of it before ttc and I can’t believe there are all these little things your body does without realising! I might hold off on the whole testing thing for now though. You’re right about the stress. Ttc is stressful enough, never mind having something else to worry about!


  2. […] So, not fully ovulating?  I’m constantly annoyed with the 12-month rule and refuse to wait while I get negative after negative only to be told later that I haven’t been ovulating and that I just wasted an entire year.  I wasn’t sure about how it works with requesting blood work for yourself though.  Don’t you need a doctor to agree that yes, that’s something you need?  I tried it out anyway and was volleyed between the receptionist and nurse while I explained yes, I get positives on LH tests, but I have what I assume are unreliable progesterone test strips and they’re always negative.  They seemed confused, which goes to show that these progesterone strips are definitely not well-known, and I had to play the ectopic card, “I think that I may have low progesterone levels and that could have caused my ectopic pregnancy back in September, so I just want to check to make sure I don’t need to be put on supplements.”  And I was in!  I was surprised when the nurse I spoke to asked the date of my last period and then counted to say the day I was calling was cycle day 21 and I could come in.  Um, no thank you, I just ovulated 3 days ago so I’d like to try to be slightly more accurate with this.  I broke it down for her and scheduled an appointment for about 8/9 days past ovulation (never 100% sure since you know I can’t handle temping!) […]


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