First of all I want to say, that I in no way claim to be an expert in fertility or that any of the methods I used actually work – I believe they did for me. I cannot however, guarantee that the will work for you. I sincerely hope that they do, because one thing I can guarantee you is that I truly understand the pain that infertility brings to your life, I understand how your heart aches, I understand your tears, I’ve cried them with you.
Before I tell you what I did, I should say that if you have been trying for a while and haven’t yet spoken to your doctor, then you should. Try to persuade them to do some initial tests on both of you. You need to be certain that you do ovulate and that your partners sperm is healthy. There seems to be no hard and fast rule as to when a Doctor will do the tests, for me it was 2 years of trying. If they find nothing (don’t be surprised if this happens) or discover you don’t ovulate regularly, chances are that you will prescribed Clomid. It’s a tablet designed to stimulate you ovaries and make ovulation occur. You can read more about it here http://infertility.about.com/od/infertilitytreatments/a/clomid101.htm
I had 12 very long years of trying, hoping, praying. I did everything I absolutely could to conceive, even buying fertility charms and amulets! After enduring 3 failed IVF attempts (which is a tremendously hard process) I just gave up and considered myself a failure.
As the years passed, the yearning didn’t. I wanted so desperately to be a mum to our own baby, to a little person that we created. People often ask me why we didn’t adopt. The truthful answer is, I don’t know. We did research it, we did talk to people, but there was always something that held me back.
Finally we decided that we had to try again, ourselves, without doctors and IVF. Just give it another go. I was another 8 years older, maybe it would work and if it didn’t at least I’d know we’d tried our best.
So what did I do.
1. I signed up free of charge to the website fertility friend http://www.fertilityfriend.com/ This site helps you to track ovulation, through using basal body temperature.
2. I bought a basal body thermometer, some very cheap ovulation test sticks and a mountain (literally) of cheap pregnancy tests. You can buy these all online through sources like ebay and Amazon. I used a company called Home Health http://www.homehealth-uk.com/, mainly because the information on their site was brilliant, their prices were excellent and their dispatch times were super fast. I never waited more than 2 days to get my stuff.
I have read negative stories about Internet cheapy tests, as they are called in forum world, but I can honestly say hand on heart. For me they were superb, I never got false positives, false negatives, evaporation lines or any of the other complaints that some users say they have experienced. They are certainly a much more affordable way of doing this than buying expensive branded monitors and sticks. Buy whatever you feel comfortable using.
3. Having bought the kit, I began to chart my temps and read the signs my body was giving me. After about 3 months there were definite patterns emerging, but I still couldn’t pinpoint ovulation. So I then bought a saliva tester. This is a little gadget that looks a bit like a lipstick, or a handbag size vibrator (depending on how your mind works)
Basically you put moisture from your tongue onto the glass and let it dry, you then examine it through the magnifying end. If your saliva has ferning – which is like it sounds, your dried saliva looks like fern fronds, then you are in a fertile period. Every day the ferns will increase up to ovulation.
4. I took folic acid and vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is supposed to lengthen the luteal phase of your cycle, increasing your chances of implantation after ovulation and fertilisation. Once you get a positive test, stop taking the B6 straight away.
5. Drink pink grapefruit juice. 1 glass a day from the start of your cycle, until ovulation. Pink grapefruit juice is supposed to increase your cervical mucus and as ovulation approaches your cervical mucus begins to look a bit like egg white. This can be hard to distinguish, but I found with the pink grapefruit juice it was very very obvious. The juice must be pink, not the regular yellow grapefruit juice. The reason for this, is that there is a slightly different enzyme in the pink grapefruit and this is what increases your cervical mucus. I really do swear by this stuff, I noticed a difference from the first month of drinking it. I have passed this tip onto other women and they have all told me it worked for them in that way too. So it’s worth a shot, you are only out of pocket by the price of a few cartons of juice.
6. I also looked at my diet and I realised that after eating starchy food like white bread, potatoes etc. I suffered from awful heartburn and felt bloated. So I eliminated white foods from my diet. I swapped pasta and rice to wholemeal and brown. I ate brown bread and virtually no potatoes at all, or just very small amounts. A few weeks later there was a fertility type test in a Sunday magazine. I took it, it was a stack of questions about me in general, my health, what I ate etc and the end result advised me to cut the amount of starch in my diet – weird eh! I am trying to find that test as I’m pretty certain I’ve kept it somewhere, so anyone that wants it I’ll be happy to pass it to you.
Those are pretty much the things that I did, with one exception. I relaxed at bit. I know, I know, everybody says that to you. Yes they all said it to me too and there is nothing more infuriating than someone with a brood of children telling you to relax and you’ll get pregnant! You want to punch them in the nose and tell them where to go.
There is some truth in it though. However, here’s the secret, here’s what they don’t tell you. You don’t have to go to the land of the chilled (because I know you can’t) How can you when your every waking thought is of having a baby – it’s impossible. So send your partner to the land of the chilled.
The pressure when you are trying to conceive is immense for both of you. I know you are both in it together and therefore you should both be as anxious as each other. I firmly believe though, that every month when you “demand” sex on the day that you ovulate and tell him he must oblige because today is the day, that has some kind of an effect on him and the sperm he produces – if he actually manages to do either!
So what I’m suggesting is this. You carry on as normal, charting, temping, checking ovulation (if that is the route you choose), when ovulation approaches just initiate sex, no pressure sex. Do NOT mention babies the O word or thrust a pee stick under his nose. Just make him believe his luck is in and you just want to have sex. Then do just that. Tell him nothing. You are not being deceitful, you are both still trying to have a baby, you are just making things a bit more relaxed and not making him worry about you ovulating.
Forget all these things you read telling you, this position is best, this one is better, don’t have oral sex. Just have normal sex together, the way you would do before the pressures of having a baby came into the equation. My only little tip is that afterwards, you just remain lying for a while. Don’t get up and go to the bathroom straight away. Give his sperm a chance to get well on their way. I used to stay put for at least 15 minutes.
If things don’t happen that month, just try again the next, don’t give yourself an “I must be pregnant by date”. Remember sex does not have to happen on the day of ovulation. I know for a fact that with both my daughters I got pregnant from having sex prior to ovulation. With daughter number 1, we didn’t even have sex on the day of ovulation, because that month, I just threw caution to the wind and on ovulation day I didn’t feel like having sex and I gave myself “permission” not to.
Whatever you do though, don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen immediately. Keep telling yourself there’s always next month. I know it doesn’t console you when you stare at a negative test or you give yourself an injury trying to dangle from the bathroom shelf, so you can view the stick from another angle, because your eyes are deceiving you into thinking there’s a line. Staying positive and optimistic really does make the process easier and honestly when you get that positive test, you’ll know it’s positive, you won’t have to dangle or pull it apart. Something inside you will tell you first.
A word about both pregnancy and ovulation tests. Everything you read will say use your first morning urine (fmu). However, for me it was always my weakest result – no idea why. I guess my hormone levels just didn’t peak until later in the day. If I tested at say 9 am the tests would be faint-negative. If I tested at 2pm they would be dark positives. This happened to me with both ovulation and pregnancy tests. I had many days during early pregnancy that I freaked out because I insisted on testing every day. I would get up test it would be light, I’d panic and think chemical pregnancy or miscarriage. I’d retest after lunch and get walloped with a huge dark positive. The same thing happened with the digital tests. The conception indicator would change bang on the day I expected it to, provided I tested in the afternoon.
So that’s just something to consider, should you feel that your tests are never getting any darker. Try experimenting by testing later in the day.
Above all else though, I wish you luck. I wish I could wave a wand and just make it happen for you. Don’t give up, I never truly did and I now have my 2 precious daughters. If I can get there, then so can you. You will be a fantastic mother some day and when you look at your baby, all the pain, anguish and desperation will just vanish. You have nothing to lose by trying out some or all of my suggestions and I really genuinely hope above hope that they work for you too. Like I said, I have no real idea if they made a difference, other than my 2 girls. The 2 girls that doctors, drugs and IVF couldn’t give me. Did some vitamin B6, pink grapefruit and less starch lead to their conception. I certainly believe so.
Good luck dear friends, the road you are on is a very tough one, but hopefully your road is a very short one and the next road you venture down is the one into mummyhood.