Of all the things I haven’t written

I haven’t written much this past year. I wrote a post nearly a year ago about returning to full time work (from the part time schedule I’d had since my daughter was born), and I think the strain the full time work has put on me is a large part of why I haven’t written much. It’s not only more time away from my daughter, but it’s also just a stressful job – without a doubt the hardest job I’ve ever had!

When I’m not working, I want to be with my daughter or vegging out or out with my husband. I just haven’t had the mental energy to write, which saddens me because I value writing as an outlet and a way to stay connected with others online. And there are things I could have written about, like how hard I find parenting a toddler to be, the horrible night terrors my daughter had, the 3 month long menstrual cycle I had after having my IUI removed, how that ended in the briefest of pregnancies that ended during a major product launch at said stressful job, or how I got to starting a 4 day/week schedule last week.

But of all the updates I could share, I’ve been nagged by not having written yet about one thing in particular – we have a baby boy due in late September!

image P)

This pregnancy has been more exhausting and trying than the first was, but it’s hard for me to say if that’s the pregnancy or the fact that I’ve already got a toddler who demands near constant attention from me. Now that I’m 18 weeks along, the exhaustion, emotion, and nausea of the first trimester have somewhat subsided and I feel the baby move sometimes, so I’m feeling more excited.

Our daughter has been pretty amazing with the news so far. Our nanny is pregnant too, due in July, so there’s a lot of pregnancy around her. She loves babies, whether real or pretend. She likes to care for them and tickle them and talk about them. She’ll be 2 years and 9 months when her brother is born, so we expect sharing the attention will still be tough on her, but she’s so into babies and learning about them that we think that will help a lot.

I can’t wait for our family to grow and to share some stories from the trenches as we raise 2 little ones in NYC!

2WW episode 5: Definitely pregnant!

Saturday after my super faint line, I went and bought some First Response Early Result and e.p.t. Digital tests. Took them yesterday morning with my first morning urine, and now I really know for sure – I’m pregnant!

The First Signal is the faintest. It’s definitely true that First Response Early Result is more sensitive! The digital one makes it super clear – I’m Pregnant!

Pretty clear result in the First Response Early Result test!

I tried to go back to sleep after but couldn’t. My mind was just racing!

I feel so lucky that this happened so quickly. This is only our 2nd cycle actively trying, and 3rd cycle since I went off BCP.

I am going to call the dr today to set up my first prenatal appointment! I’m a little bit worried as I’ve been having cramping very focused on one side which can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, but I think it’s probably within normal limits.

I’m convinced I know where the little seed is living, on the left side.

Husband and I decided to call it Blasty the blastocyst for now. It will probably be an embryo in a few days, but for now its a rapidly dividing and differentiating little poppy seed-sized blastocyst. I am scared it will be one of the 10-30% of pregnancies to miscarry and don’t want to get too attached until we’ve made it a little further together.

Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit. We’re maybe/kinda/hopefully going to have a baby in January 2014!

2WW episode 4: The Internets think I am pregnant…

Last night I fell asleep really early – couldn’t keep my eyes open while watching tv around 8 pm. I moved to the bed at 9ish for a “nap” and then never got up until this morning. Took my temp at 7:30 and 8:30 and it was still holding steady at 98 (after a minor dip yesterday, though I’d had to get up early so it wasn’t at the same time).

I don’t dream that often, but this past week I’d been having dreams that I remembered. Last night’s was particularly memorable. I dreamed that I took a pregnancy test, and got a very faint line. And then I told my husband, and a whole excited conversation ensued about how “a line is a line”.

I don’t believe dreams are anything more than random stories from neurons firing in your brain, but I did have this dream on my mind when I groggily fed the cats and then went to the bathroom to take a test with my first morning urine.

I had ordered some cheap First Signal home pregnancy tests on Amazon, so I peed in a cup and dropped 3 droplets of pee into the sample area, thinking how I missed chemistry. Then I looked at my clock and proceeded to weigh myself and do other things rather than stare at it. I looked at it at 4 minutes, saw a strong control line and some dye streaks, and thought “nope”.

So I marked negative in my chart and washed my hands or something. Then I looked at the test again, about 8 minutes from when it started, and there was a super faint line. The test said don’t look after 10 minutes, so this was still in the window. I thought, well, now, what is that. It’s so faint. Not wanting to get my hopes up, I said, this must be an evap line. I even wrote it in my chart notes.

Click on image to vote on whether it's a positive at countdowntopregnancy.com

Taken around 10 minutes.
Click on image to vote on whether it’s a positive at countdowntopregnancy.com

I took some pictures. I put them on Fertility Friend and a handful of people came by to say it looked positive. A squinter. But a BFP. Then more people said the same. Within 10 minutes, they asked? Then it’s not an evap, they said. A few said “hard to tell, test again tomorrow”.

Then I went to the bathroom, and looked at the test again. About 3 hours had passed since I took it. Now it looked like this:

About 3 hours after testing, CD 30, around 11 DPO

Around 3 hours after testing. Click on image to vote on whether it’s a positive at countdowntopregnancy.com

It got darker, and there was more color to the line! It’s faint, but I thought it might be real. My heart started beating fast as Hubby had just woken up and I decided what to say.

I went and gave him a big hug and a kiss. He laid back down in the better. So I went and sat on it. “I’m not sure what to say,” I started, a huge grin on my face. I think I might have gotten a positive pregnancy test this morning! It’s very faint, but there’s a line.” He started grinning like crazy, and I asked if he wanted to see it. He said yes, so I brought the test over and we looked at it together, commenting how it now had some color to it and there was definitely a line there. I explained about evaps, indents, and “a line is a line”. We both agreed it seemed likely it was really a line.

Then I put the updated photos on the polling service at countdowntopregnancy.com, and asked people there as well. Now in all the places I’ve posted, I’m up to about 50 responses, with 48 saying it’s a positive, and 2 saying, not sure! So, those more experienced at reading faint lines than I seem to agree it’s a BFP. One even said that’s exactly what hers looked like with this brand at 11 DPO.

A few minutes later, Hubby started happily laughing. “I just opened this game I was playing – The Simpsons Tapped Out, and guess what I saw? Something I’d told it to do in the game was completed and it gave me this message,” he said. And he handed me his phone, where I saw this:

I can’t believe it! We may have done it! I can’t wait for tomorrow to test again.

What do you guys think?

Your votes welcome:

10 minute pic

3 hour pic

2WW episode 3: In which I obsess over symptoms

I am doing better this month with taking it easy and just letting time pass, focusing on my days and what I can control.

But I am still me, and therefore I am still thinking frequently about what I am feeling in my body and what it might mean and how the physiological events of a hypothetical conception might manifest and be observed in one who is watching closely.

It started with alternating mild and sharp cyst like pains the day of and after positive opk that then faded and seemed like ovulation, and then around my temp drop during LP I had three days of cramps in the evening, on the same side as the cyst-like pain, that in my crazy wishful head could have been implantation, shortly followed by my first case of lots of watery CM during LP, and now a temp jump which has sustained for 4 days. I’ve been emotional and am crying when watching tv or movies, at embarrassingly mild things like The Croods. Yup, I bawled at The Croods last week.

Yesterday, somewhere between 8 and 11 DPO, I was feeling mild nausea, cramps, backaches, and headaches. I slept poorly, waking up often, and I felt fatigued.

Stupidly, I took a preg test, on the off chance that I was both really 11 DPO and also would get an early positive. Of course, it was negative. Somehow, it still calmed me a bit as I was getting anxious that I was getting my hopes up just to be crushed (almost like getting anxious about being too anxious!), and the BFN helped me moderate my hopes. I’m more successfully telling myself now that these symptoms are probably all just PMS.

This morning I actually feel better. No cramps or nausea. Very mild backache. And I slept well. I hope to stay more relaxed for this second week!

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.


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?


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:


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.