So I wrestled with the idea of keeping a blog to write down my thoughts/feelings during our TTC (trying to conceive) period of life. I decided, why not. It couldn’t hurt to get them out on paper… so here we go.
Before I get started, a little background first. My name is Jessica and I am 28 years old (I’ll be 29 next month). I am a control systems engineer. For those of you who do not understand what that means, it means that I basically program, design, and build the brains of the plant I work at. I have been doing this for about 10 years now. I am also a photographer. I own my own business, Rosebud Photography (rosebudphotographywv.com ß just have to plug it ha-ha), and target many different portrait sessions and events (like weddings). I love getting to take photos of people, especially getting a window into a couple’s wedding day. Getting to go backstage and capture the action as it happens. I love it and I hope it shows in my work. I also like to scrapbook, read, and play music (piano, clarinet, flute, & mandolin – learning violin soon!). I am really involved at church, working in the women’s, children’s, and music ministries.
My husband, Derek, and I met in high school. I moved to WV my junior year, and we started dating that February. We have been together 12 years next month (February is a busy month for us!). He is a civil engineer. We have been married for six years, and our anniversary is June 17. He is 29 years old and likes to ride road and mountain bikes and plays guitar.
I had been on BC (birth control) pills since I was 17, for reasons other than sex. My hormones were out of whack and I needed some regularity. My doctor originally suspected PCOS, but I had no symptoms or evidence of cysts and my ultrasound images were clear. Once I started BC, my acne cleared up, my extra hair diminished, and I started having a regular menstrual cycle. My BC of choice was Yasmin. I took it for about 10 years, before I decided to get off of it in July 2011. Reason was it seemed to be doing more harm than good, since it could no longer regulate my cycles. Since I’ve been off of it, my acne has returned, the extra hair has come back, and I’ve gained weight (approx. 15 lbs.). But the good news is that my cycles have stayed pretty regular – for the most part. They are usually between 27-29 days, unless I’m taking medication that messes with it (steroids, antibiotics, etc.).
Since it was a while between the time we decided to start TTC and the time I got off BC, we had to find other ways to not get pregnant. We said that “we weren’t trying, but we weren’t trying not to either”. It was mostly condoms & “pulling out” for that year or so. We decided on our anniversary, June 17 2012 to begin TTC. It was already after the suspected ovulation point, but it was nice to have that burden lifted.
Here is a summary of what happened over the next few months of TTC:
JULY 2012 – Cycle #1
I was so excited that we were going to finally try to have a baby. I started reading all the blogs and tips. I wasn’t sure when my ovulation was, since I hadn’t been paying attention, so we had sex a lot. Unfortunately, the tip I read on laying down afterwards for 20 minutes interfered with remembering another tip – to use the bathroom afterwards – and caused me to get a UTI (urinary tract infection). That was painful! And that happened in the week I was “supposed” to ovulate. I was on antibiotics for the infection, and I started bleeding, but AF (Aunt Flo) wasn’t due for a visit for another week. I went back to the doctor to make sure that #1) I was cured of my UTI; and #2) I was not pregnant, since it was pretty heavy and painful (but not more than a usual period). They did a urine pregnancy test and I got a pelvic exam to see where the bleeding was coming from, but the test was negative and the bleeding was consistent with menstrual. So AF came to visit a week early.
AUGUST 2012 – Cycle #2
OK, so now I have learned my lesson from last month. I can lie down for a while, and then go use the restroom. I have no idea what effect this will have on things, but I will not go through that again (though I seem to get amnesia regarding this in the future…more on that later). We just tried to have fun and probably did it every other day all month long. On the day AF was due, I took my very first pregnancy test, the Clear Blue Easy digital one. It was negative. AF came that afternoon. I was starting to wonder if I was “normal” or not.
SEPTEMBER 2012 – Cycle #3
I had remembered a conversation with my friend about OPK’s (ovulation prediction kits), and how they worked for her after four months of trying for their first child. I started doing research on message boards about the success of the kits, and which to buy. I settled on the digital ones from Clear Blue Easy. A happy face or blank circle seemed easy enough to read. I was almost convinced that this was not going to work before I started using them. With all the trouble I had with my hormones back in the day, I am probably barren or don’t ovulate at all. Mostly this was a test to see if I was “normal”, rather than a tool to TTC. But I was so excited when I saw the smiley face, 14 days after AF visited. I even took a picture of the test window! I did everything I could to try to have sex with my husband, it just didn’t work out. We did every other day for a week after that though. On the day after AF was due, I took another pregnancy test. It was negative. AF came the next day.
OCTOBER 2012 – Cycle #4
My sister had told me about a friend of hers that had been TTC, but had no luck until she began charting. Charting is where you take your BBT (basal body temperature – your waking temperature, so to speak), cervical fluid, OPK results, symptoms, and intercourse frequency and log it onto a chart. Chances are if you are reading this, you already know what “charting” is. Anyways, I started charting after AF was through. Again, this was a normalcy test, so I can get the negative thoughts out of my head. After all, the research that I read says that the only way to truly predict ovulation was by charting BBT. You can have a positive OPK and still not ovulate, apparently. I had a “textbook” chart, but had two spikes in BBT, which is consistent with pregnancy. I decided to take an “early” pregnancy test three days before AF was due, but it was negative. But my BBT took a nosedive the day AF came. I got a positive OPK one day before my temperature spiked, but unfortunately that wasn’t the right time for making love. We did do it the 2nd day of the smiley face and just about every day after that until AF arrived.
NOVEMBER 2012 – Cycle #5
I took my chart to my doctor during my regular appointment and discussed it with him. He said it looked perfectly normal and that I shouldn’t worry too much. If we were not successful by May 2013 (almost one year of TTC), to make an appointment – he happens to be one of the top fertility specialists in the state. But we are both healthy and young, so not to worry since it usually takes 4-8 months to conceive successfully. Charting is a LOT of work. I decided not to do it this month. I sort of took a break from TTC and stressing over it this month. I was fighting a sinus and upper respiratory infection that required most of my energy anyways. AF arrived right on schedule. But one thing I will note about this month in particular is that it is the first time I noticed my growing resentment over those who are expecting – especially those who don’t deserve it in my opinion. Let me explain before you get too defensive. I’m not one to have the “it’s not fair” complex, usually, but this is a special case. I had a conversation over the Thanksgiving holiday about a distant family member (not related by blood) who was in a situation, and expecting a third child. The father was into drugs and was abusive towards his wife and little children. I had a feeling about all that. What I didn’t know was that the mother was on meth and was pregnant with #3. The baby was born with a meth addiction. That really set me off. How dare they treat themselves and their children that way? I would be a much better mother, yet they have no problems apparently conceiving children. I have the means to provide them a safe and loving home environment…it’s not fair (yeah I know…life isn’t fair). Now let me also say that I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that God has a purpose for our lives that is bigger and better than anything I can imagine for myself. I trust him completely, even though I have moments of weakness and get disappointed from time to time when the answer to prayer is “no”. But he always answers prayers. I have relied heavily on that strength he provides during these past few months. Also, my husband has been great too whenever I’ve shared with him, but it hasn’t been very often because I tend to keep a lot of this stuff bottled up inside. That’s just how I am. Hopefully this blog will help with that. I’m terrible with words, but usually do a lot better when it is in writing.
DECEMBER 2012 – Cycle #6
This month, apparently I forgot what happened in July, because I got another UTI. Doctor prescribed some antibiotics. I was also still fighting the upper respiratory infection from the month before, but it had gotten a lot worse. The doctor gave me antibiotics (I had two rounds total with the UTI) and prednisone, which caused AF to be a week late this month. I took a pregnancy test (actually two), but they were both negative. There were lots of people on Facebook making pregnancy announcements this month for Christmas. Yay. My grandpa died this month, too, 10 days before Christmas. Well, he’s my dad’s stepdad. But he and my grandmother were married 40 years and my real grandfather died when I was five years old. So he’s been like my grandfather…but we were not close at all, really. It still sucked though.
JANUARY 2013 – Cycle #7
This is the first month we have actually had sex once every day before, during, and after ovulation (8 days total). I happened to take an OPK on New Year’s Eve (negative) and New Year’s Day (positive). It was the first month we did it on the first positive OPK. My breasts are extremely swollen and tender, not my usual PMS boobs. I am also really tired and hungry all the time. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night on several nights just famished. According to my countdown ticker, I have 7 days until testing. Hoping for my first positive test this cycle – prayers are appreciated!