I googled for images for TTC and found this:

I googled for images for TTC and found this:

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I know I O’ed recently, but which day?

Here I am again – having ovulated recently but not being too sure of the day itself. With the positive ovulation predictor kit test (opk) last weekend I know I ovulated in the last week, but its unclear which day.

This is the second cycle where I have had a range of possible O dates instead of confidence in one particular interpretation. While its not critical to know exactly which day, I enjoy trying to solve the puzzle and better understand my body’s workings. So, here goes:

When I added my temperature yesterday morning, Fertility Friend finally suggested that ovulation had been confirmed by a third high temperature. But to my surprise it put ovulation on the same day as the positive opk.

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Depending on the detector analysis method used, Fertility Friend suggests O anywhere from cycle day (CD) 16 to CD19.

The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) detector, which follows the rules of the classic Taking Charge of Your Fertility book, puts it on CD 19. That method is purely based on temperature, but I’ve found scientific papers investigating the time between ovulation and temperature rise and it can be more than one day. So using temperature alone is really just an estimate. For the 2 cycles in which I used OPK’s, I had a longer than normal time between positive result and clear thermal shift. So a solely temperature-based detection method doesn’t seem adequate.

My LH surge appears to be short; I got a negative saturday night at 9:30, a positive sunday at 4, and a clearly negative by 8 pm sunday. So my LH surge was somewhere in the 22 or so hours from Saturday night to Sunday night. It usually starts while you are asleep so we could assume the surge started the night before CD 17 and peaked in late morning or so on that day. Ovulation is usually 12-36 hours after the LH surge, which would put it at anywhere from late CD 17 to CD 18.

I thought I felt ovulation on CD 18, but maybe it’s possible that the cyst-like pain could have been corpus luteum alone rather than the dominant follicle before the egg was released.

So the OPK based method suggests CD 18, the day after the positive OPK. That is also the strongest O pain with the feeling like a cyst in my left side, so I tend to lean towards that day.

So I don’t think that the FAM-based suggestion of CD 19 is right because my pains and OPK results suggest CD 18 at latest.

The advanced detector method which incorporates temps, CM, CP, and OPK, puts it on CD 17 (day of opk +), presumably because I had a slight temp rise the morning of CD18 and then not another until CD20.

Finally, the FF research detector puts it on on CD 16 (before opk +!), at the lowest temperature point before a stepwise rise.

All in all I’m leaning towards CD 18 with some possibility of CD 17, and am thinking its not likely to be CD 19 or CD 16.

If any readers are knowledgeable about charting, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

PS click on this ticker to see my current and past charts:

I think I felt ovulation today

Argh I just wrote a whole post about this and then lost it! Blerghhh!

Ok let’s try again.

So last week I started noticing my fertile signs increasing, with fertile CM showing earlier than in the first two cycles (this is my third cycle charting). So I started taking ovulation tests around a week ago. They test for luteinizing hormone (LH), which signals the dominant follicle to release the egg. I’ve felt for days now like I might ovulate at any point, but as I have so far been a bit late to ovulate I figured maybe the early fertile signs were just that – early. This is still a good thing though, because the more fertile cervical mucus you have, the more help the sperm get to surviving while they wait for the egg. From what I’ve read it’s not uncommon for hormonal birth control to dry up your cervical mucus (in one place I read “cervical crypts may atrophy” – Yikes!), and I’m glad that as more time passes since I’ve been off of the pill, I am getting more fertile mucus and for longer.

So I continue to watch and wait, checking my cervical fluid and cervix position and noting my other signs, the strongest of which is usually a skin breakout, which has gotten worse since I’ve been off the pill, and also an increased sex drive and mid cycle cramping. These all started to show as the week wore on and I figured I must be close to ovulation, so I continued testing and checking to see if the second line which indicates the presence of LH is getting any darker, which it wasn’t.

… Until yesterday, when I finally got a truly positive OPK (ovulation predictor kit). It was sort of exciting! I felt like I had won something – which I guess I sort of had, if you count the knowledge that this part of my reproductive system is apparently functioning normally.

Ever the data-hungry scientist, I took ovulation tests from two different brands. One was the drugstore brand that I had used last cycle, and one was from an Internet website where I had purchased a bunch in bulk. As it turns out, one of them was a positive. Can you guess which was which?

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Last cycle I tested once a day and only ever got an aaaaalmost positive, which I got on the 17th day of my cycle (CD 17). It seems this can happen because the LH surge can be short, so when you only test once a day, some women never see a positive. In fact, I looked around and found an article testing this that found that about 75% of cycles documented found a LH surge. This is most likely because with once a day testing, you may miss the surge.

So I decided to test again 4 hours later, curious about how long my surge lasted. So at 8 pm, I took the same two brands of tests:
 

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Both negative! Wow, that was fast!

Once you get a positive OPK, it’s supposed to be about 12-36 hours until you ovulate, which means I likely ovulated yesterday or today, or at latest early tomorrow. But I am pretty sure I ovulated today. Why? Because while I’d been feeling cramps for days, in the last day and a half I started feeling a pretty significant pain in my left side, very similar to the pain I’d had in the past when I had cysts. And cysts are basically ovulation gone wrong – when the dominant follicle either doesn’t release the egg or releases it but then doesn’t properly drain. For me, it feels like there is a something inside, and different positions make me feel like I’m hitting it or causing it to move, and there is a pressure there that is pushing back against being squeezed. So I felt like that last night and this morning, but by mid afternoon the feeling was fading, no longer sharp, and now it is a much duller sensation, without that feeling of there being something particular there. I think that was it – the egg being released!

Hopefully soon I will have a basal body temperature rise to confirm ovulation, and then I’ll be in my second two week wait. Fingers crossed!

Ready, Set, Wait!

So as I’ve been writing about lately, after considerable time in the pre-conception phase, we finally began trying to conceive last month. Getting to this point was such a long road for us, and I am still excited and thankful to be here now. But it feels a bit like it was ready, set, go – start your waiting!

There is so much waiting! I’m thinking I need to get accept that there will be still more. We waited throughout my intense baby fever, waited for a better time, waited for a better job, waited to pay down debt, waited for me to be on less medication, waited for husband to be ready for the lifestyle change, waited for me to be stable on my new medication.

Then we got the green light, and we waited for fertile cervical fluid, waited for ovulation, waited for ovulation to be confirmed, and waited to do an early pregnancy test.

In the beginning I told hubby when I was going to take a test, but then I began doing the tests without talking to hubby, who wanted to just take it easy until my period was late and was trying not to get his hopes up until we were really there. But I, with an unusually high amount of social engagements with alcohol involved planned during the second week of my two week wait, wanted regular reassurance that it was probably fine to drink because I probably wasn’t pregnant. So I tested every 2-3 days from the first test day until my period came. With each BFN (big fat negative), I waited for AF (Aunt Flo) to arrive, actually wishing she’d get here sooner so I could start the next cycle. Each day that she didn’t show, hope grew that maybe I was pregnant but just didn’t have enough hormone for a positive test. So I would take another test two mornings later, telling myself it was just to be sure that I wasn’t, to keep that hope from growing so high that it hurt for it to die.

By Friday I was still waiting, though I’d been expecting my period to start Tuesday. And oh the cramps! I’d been feeling cramps and backaches every day since just a few days after ovulation!

On Friday afternoon my period arrived, and I actually felt relieved. I was relieved to know what was going on. And that night we had plans with friends who love to drink, and so I drank, as much as I wanted, with no worries about effects on a possible early pregnancy.

Then Saturday came. Husband and I were tired and somewhat hung over, and I spent much of the day curled on the couch. That’s when I really felt disappointed. I had kept telling myself it was unlikely we’d conceive on the first try, but inside I hoped we would all the same. Though I know it’s normal, that in any given cycle you are less likely to conceive than to not, it’s hard not to worry. We had timed intercourse well, with several times in my most fertile days, and in one place I read that if you do time it properly, the odds are more like 70%. So I had my hopes up though I knew I probably shouldn’t.

If this happens one month, what’s to say it won’t happen for many months?

We have no more reason to believe it will take us a year than to believe we will get pregnant this cycle, but still the unknown nature of it is scary. It’s not something you can train for. There is no practicing. It’s not like when I would prepare for a competition, a job interview, or a test. One day you are ready and you go out and try it, and then you wait two weeks for your results.

And if you are lucky enough to get a positive, then you get to wait 9 months. I’d better get used to this waiting thing.

Can I keep my sanity during the two week wait? Episode 2

Well here I am, 15 days into my first two week wait. My temperature dropped a few days ago, so I assumed that Aunt Flo was on her way, but she hasn’t shown yet.

Yesterday just to be sure I took another pregnancy test, and it was negative. According to Fertility Friend, by 14 days after ovulation about 80% of pregnancies show on tests. Between that and the temp drop I’m 90% sure we didn’t conceive this cycle.

But then where is my period? I only have one month of data and in that month my luteal phase (the time between ovulation and period) was 12 days. They say an individual woman’s luteal phase doesn’t change much from cycle to cycle, yet here I am at 2 days longer and counting. That’s probably within the normal amount provided it appears soon, but of course I am not relaxed about it – instead I am regularly checking my charts against each other to see if I remembered something wrong, or if there’s a pattern. I am also now wondering if the other likely O day was the real one, and I’m actually at 13 instead of 15 days past ovulation. And if that’s the case, should I still be confident that the test was a true and final negative?

At this point I hope it shows up soon just to end my confusion!

Can I keep my sanity during the two week wait? Episode 1

In my last post I talked about my first cycle charting my fertility signs. At the end I felt more confident in my fertility than I ever have, knowing that I was lucky to ovulate and have a normal length cycle in my first cycle after birth control pills.

So that was last month. This month, after finishing my plan to transition to just one, more baby-friendly antidepressant (Zoloft), and after saying goodbye to the last symptoms from my most recent depression (which occurred fall/winter 2012), we decided we were ready to actually try to conceive, or TTC as it’s called by many.

After last cycle’s experience, I’d gained a better sense of how to classify my cervical fluid, so the waiting to ovulate part of the cycle wasn’t too stressful. If you’ve never done this, just imagine rubbing mucus from your hoo-ha between your fingers and trying to stretch it, and then asking yourself, is this more like lotion, raw egg whites, or overcooked rice? Or, when it doesn’t clearly fit any, searching the Internet for more examples, descriptions, or pictures. Oh, the things we do when we want a baby!

So I was excited this cycle to see my first days of fertile cervical fluid. My temps are still fluctuating so without that and an ovulation predictor test, it would have been harder to say which day I ovulated, but I was able to determine it was likely day 18 (with a chance of day 20).

After a number of raised temps confirmed ovulation, I found myself in my first two week wait (2WW) – the time between ovulation and either a positive pregnancy test or your period. We had very well timed intercourse and I had some fertile cervical fluid, so the possibility of conception was very excitingly real.

While some pregnancy symptoms can show up before a test would turn positive, they are mostly caused by progesterone, the same hormone that causes many PMS symptoms. It’s almost impossible to tell in any given cycle if what you are feeling is because you have a tiny little blastocyst in you or because you are about to menstruate in full force. And there-in lies the rub.

Basically, the two week wait is like PMS in a pressure cooker!

I have felt daily cramps and lower backaches all week, and I haven’t had a lower backache from PMS since I was a teenager. I’ve had headaches and some nausea and some serious irritability. Add to this the fact that I’ve wanted a baby for years and am ecstatic to finally try, and you get an over-sensitive woman who is somewhat in pain yet hoping that every little twinge is a sign of possible pregnancy rather than the return of unregulated menstruation.

I found myself looking at my chart multiple times a day, going back to note whenever I felt a new symptom, and talking with others online in the same situation.

These days, many tests turn positive before you would miss a period, so based on the advice in some books I read and having experienced these symptoms more strongly than I have in years, I tried to take a test on Saturday. That was ten days past ovulation (10 DPO) and 3 days after a temperature dip which if I was pregnant would be called an implantation dip. I say tried to test because I basically failed at peeing on a stick properly. I got no control line, because I had soaked it. Who knew it was so easy for one’s first TTC pregnancy test to end comically?!?!

I talked to husband about the situation in general – how crappy I was feeling and how while he’s trying to think of it in terms of months and cycles, I am feeling these things in my body every day. He suggested we take a more chill approach and assume always that I am not pregnant, until one day my period doesn’t come and we realize that I am. I am thinking that approach may be less of a roller coaster, so I want to aim for that, but I live in my body with my mind and I’m not sure how well I will achieve that state of mind.

So after Saturday’s invalid test, I tried again Sunday morning (11 DPO). It was negative. 11 DPO is during the time in a cycle when a positive always means a positive (though could become a very early miscarriage) and a negative sometimes means negative and sometimes means you tested too early. Still, I managed to change my thought patterns from “I hope I am” to “I’m probably not, but some day I will be” and that made it easier. But I held out hope for this cycle, because my temps were still rising and last cycle at this time they were falling already.

This morning, my temperature dropped .5 degrees, which usually signals menstruation is on its way. At this point I’m looking forward to the end of this cycle, this two week wait, and ready to try again next time, which is probably about 3 weeks away. Oh, and I’m shamelessly popping pills for the PMS. If I can’t escape it, I’m at least going to dull it!