If you've been following along our story about loss, and then our redemption story, you know we've gone through quite the journey to get where we are. Also, if you're one of those people who gets pregnant from kissing your husband, let me tell you - you're lucky. I was that person with my first pregnancy. And I'm sure I shared more than once "we got pregnant the first month we tried!" So, if that's your story, be kind and mindful of what others might be going through. For some reason, that was not our story when trying for number two. I wanted to share a little bit about what we did leading up to our pregnancy. If you are struggling with fertility at all, I've been there. I know the late nights laying in bed and the google searches you grab and punch into your phone at 1am...
- "how to get pregnant"
- "early pregnancy signs"
- "earliest I can test for pregnancy"
- "late ovulation"
- "fertility prayers"
- "best sex positions to get pregnant"
And this is just the beginning. These searches ranged from sensible questions to absolute ludacrous ones. These questions are completely normal. I also want to say to go ahead and google away! I know every doctor out there will tell you to stay off google. Not me (who do you trust, me or a doctor...haha!). The internet is FULL of stories, support, facts and myths. I am actually the one who discovered what might be going on with me. Through GOOGLE.
After my second miscarriage, I saw a fertility doctor who did the standard checklist. My husband and I were tested for everything. No abnormalities. I was put on a progesterone insert because "some women who miscarry do so because of a lack of progesterone." While on a progesterone insert, you need to take ovulation tests so that you can start the insert within the proper timing after ovulation. I noticed I was ovulating around day 21 or 22 and still getting my period around day 28.
After many google searches, I discovered "short luteal phase." I didn't even KNOW what a luteal phase was before this. In short, I figured out that I was ovulating around day 21 and was still getting my period on day 28. The time between ovulation and menstruation is called your luteal phase. A short luteal phase (10 days or less), is one cause of infertility. If you do become pregnant, a short luteal phase can result in early miscarriage. To sustain a healthy pregnancy, the uterine lining must be thick enough for an embryo to attach and develop into a baby. Without enough progesterone, your uterine lining may shed before a fertilized egg implants on the uterus. I was certain I had discovered exactly what the issue was.
At the time, I was angry.
Why was I finding this out? Why hadn't my DOCTOR figured this out?! After more research, and more google searches, I came to the conclusion that fertility is a tricky thing. Unfortunately, it can be a big game of trial and error. There's no one solution that works on everyone. I was put on Clomid for four months. In short, Clomid is a drug that is used commonly for women with PCOS to force them to ovulate. In my case, we tried to use Clomid to force me to ovulate when I was supposed to, rather than later in my cycle. Fail.
After my months on Clomid, I had another appointment to meet with my doctor. We had one last thing we would try before he recommended IVF. BUT, my insurance didn't cover IVF. So began my internal struggle about whether I spend the money out of pocket to TRY IVF, or, do I just consider starting the process of adoption? The next month I was set up with my prescription to try a different drug. I had the prescription in hand, which was basically a lesser form of Clomid that I forget the name of now. I waited for my period to come. And waited. And waited.
It wasn't until my period was about 2 weeks late that I finally decided to take a test. Positive. DARK positive. I was in absolute shock.
So, what finally worked?
The short answer is, I have no idea. I don't have an answer on "how to get pregnant" if you are struggling with fertility. But what I can tell you is some of the steps I took in my journey. When you're struggling with fertility, a lot of times you feel as though things are out of your hands. That feeling didn't settle well with me. I did SO much research and did everything I could to be sure if there WAS something I was able to do that would help out my chances, that I was doing it.
- Figure out when you are ovulating. This is one of THE MOST important things. I have read stories of women trying for a year before they go to a fertility doctor only to find out they weren't ovulating at all! Or in my case, I had three miscarriages and was on progesterone suppositories for four months before I figured out I was ovulating late and had a short luteal phase. Ovulation kits are cheap. Go on amazon and buy a 50 pack. You don't need the expensive ones.
- Keep a healthy diet. I read a lot about foods that can help with your fertility. I ultimately decided to try a Whole30 to reset my body and fill it with whole, good foods. I LOVED this diet. It helped me realize what types of food my body might not respond the best to, and also gave me an arsenal of healthy meals to turn to when cooking at home. Even now, I stick to a "whole" diet about 80% of the time. If I'm out to eat, or craving a sweet treat, I'll give myself a little grace and allow it. However, for the most part we stick to "whole" meals in our home.
- Toss the toxins. The average woman applies over 300 chemicals daily to her body through four types of products: makeup, hair care, skin care and soap. And that doesn't include the chemicals we are exposed to through products such as air fresheners, candles, cleaning products, and laundry products. Do a favor for yourself, your hormones, and the environment you put yourself in. Toss the toxins. Another plus, I had so much fun learning about toxins in our home and replacing them with natural alternatives. I experimented with lots of DIY's at home and finding ways to make things knowing exactly what I was putting into them. I did most of this using essential oils, and simple products you can purchase off amazon or at your local grocery store.
Essential oils are used for SO much more than making your house smell good, and can offer support for your immune system, hormones, respiratory system, emotions, and more. I initially found so many oils that helped get me through the emotional struggles of miscarriages. A few favorites were Stress Away, Frankincense, Joy, White Angelica and Peace & Calming. I also did a lot of research on the effects of essential oils on your hormones (since mine were clearly off with my luteal phase being off). I used Clary Sage for the first half of the month to support estrogen levels, then used Progessense Plus for the second half of the month to support progesterone levels. I also used Endoflex daily to help support the Endocrine system, which is made up of a number of hormones and related glands, including your ovaries. Ideally, your hormones and glands work together to keep your reproductive system in top health. The Essential Oils Pocket Reference is a great place to get information regarding essential oils and their uses.