[edited to include information on acupuncture. it's a crying shame I forgot to write about it!]
From the bottom of my heart, I truly thank everyone for each of your wonderful comments and kind words. We are so appreciative for every moment of this pregnancy and treat it as a gift. To have you cheering us on gives great encouragement!
Being able to share about this exciting time helps take the edge off pregnancy after loss (PAL). It helps keep me in the high of this pregnancy instead of the anxious low that creeps in at times.
After our loss in late November, we vowed to find out why our losses kept occurring, what we could do to prevent it again, and what to do if pregnancy just didn’t happen.
Firstly, after many essential doctors appointments — including an initial consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) — I started
seeing cry-talking to my psychologist again. That step really helped, like loads – way more than I can convey. Eventually the cry-talking turned into less crying and more talking until one day we actually ran out of things to talk about and I left fifteen minutes early. Don’t worry, I still continue to go to this day because PAL is a scary world of mixed emotions.
Right around this time of feeling like my feet existed firmly under me again and my heart stopped hurting as much (but will never totally stop missing those angels of ours), my cycles resumed a usual and more predictable schedule.
Another important step including tracking my cycles. I’m not talking about simply writing down when my period started and stopped, I’m talking about taking my basal body temperature (BBT) with a special thermometer every morning at the exact same time, entering it in my Fertility Friend app, along with cervical mucus observations, cervical placement/texture, and various bodily symptoms. And yes, sometimes you need to get really friendly with your body (make sure to wash your hands first). But you also get really knowledgable and then are able to predict the best use and timing of your fertile window.
I also started peeing on sticks, like more than once a month – more like ten days in a row and at two different times a day. I highly recommend the Clear Blue Fertility Monitor and yes it is way worth the price. I received mine used from a friend (no, not weird) and the device comes with a reset protocol. I still feel incredibly indebted to this friend, as her generosity played a huge part in our success! Play by the rules of the CBFM and use it at the same time every day and when it asks you for a sample. The first cycle the CBFM may not give you a peak reading, as it is getting to know your body. The second cycle using the CBFM yielded our success. And I have to say, by reading my BBT chart I thought our fertile window closed – the CBFM told me otherwise and helped us catch that egg! The CBFM takes the guess work away and gives you a straight up low, medium, or peak reading to help you know when to get busy.
For reassurance I also used ovulation prediction kits (OPKs) from cycle day (CD) 11-18. Similar to the CBFM – OPKs measure the levels of your luteinizing hormone (LH), indicating if a LH surge has started indicating ovulation (O) is 12-48 hours away. This involved reducing hydration from 12:30-6pm and thus concentrating my urine until I test. I had it down to an art, and no I didn’t get thirsty. Important to note: the test line needs to be as dark if not darker than the control line. I kept all my test strips from a current cycle to compare the darkness of the line and watch the dye increase – indicating O on the horizon. No that is not weird because I trashed them as soon as I knew we failed that cycle. I also knew that I personally always ovulated between 36-48 hours after my LH surge, based on confirmation from a temperature spike on my BBT chart.
Then when we know that egg is about to escape, the scheduled coitus begins. Not to worry, we have fun. Pre-seed helps make sure I don’t develop a callous. Afterwards those legs are in the air and I’m not moving anywhere gravity won’t help me for 15 minutes. A Softcup goes in to make sure nothing of worth comes out.
See what I mean about getting to know your body?
Every single day I drank a cup of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, took 300mg of ubiquinol CoQ10 (for egg quality), horse-sized pills of Fish Oil, a bunch of vitamin D, and Prenatal vitamins (the only supplement I still take now preggers). My husband continues to take a multi-vite which includes Saw Palmetto, Lycopene, and Maca Root, and a CoQ10 too for good measure. I cannot recommend the the book It Starts with the Egg enough. It’s loaded with quality information about supplements and lifestyle, for every stage of your fertility journey.
Acupuncture serves as the icing on the cake. I go twice a week, and have been for about two years now. When times got tough, I went three times a week if not more. POCA clinics allow you to pay on a sliding scale and everyone needs to find one near them, like yesterday. My ‘acupunk’ is able to read my body’s pulse and help me know where exactly I am in my cycle. This helps with timing things, and keeps my body regular and blood circulating properly. Plus it’s nice to have someone on your side helping your body in ways you can only imagine. Lastly, acu-naps are wonderful.
Someone asked me if we conceived this baby naturally, or if we needed help. I laughed because while we were fortunate not to need medical fertility interventions such as prescriptions, we did need quite a bit of assistance. However all assistance is available to anyone and there’s no telling what combination worked or didn’t work. And for the love of everything, never tell someone to “just relax” because clearly over the 5 months to conception of this pregnancy (not to mention the other ones), if we had been wishy-washy whatever – we’d still be trying to this day.
Having said that, even after our losses we are so very lucky. The world of TTC and PAL often includes couples who are successful thanks to science. My heart goes out to anyone enduring hormone injections/supplements, numerous procedures, many doctors visits, and so much hope and meanwhile downfalls. Their strength is something immeasurable and very admirable.
Please reach out for help and support if you are struggling. No one and no couple, should have to brave this path alone!
*All products mentioned are personal suggestions, not sponsored. I offer these brands and this information out of experience and not because anyone paid me anything, although that would be nice!