Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Visit from Mr. Smiley

I knew today was going to be a good day for two reasons:

1) I have a dentist apt. today, and I love the dentist! Yep, I must have something wrong with my brain, because I can hardly wait for every six months to come. To me, it's like getting a one hour massage for free, since insurance covers it. My favorite part is when they scrape your gums and teeth with that little scraper thing. Love it! Plus, my dentist gives a free bleach boost if you have custom bleaching trays. I will be leaving there very relaxed with super white teeth. Ahhhhh

2) After a full week of using ovulation test strips I woke up to this...


I know this must look like one big science experiment, but to be honest, that's basically what the last year has been for me.  When I sought out fertility help in July 2011, I definitely wasn't ovulating. How do I know that? I hadn't gotten a period for 3 yrs. Well alas, my body is now working. I really did not start ovulating on my own (sans meds) until December 2011, the month after I miscarried. Without releasing any eggs, it's obviously impossible to get pregnant.

Since then, I've given up Western meds, but have continued to ovulate every cycle on my own. Yay! The hard part for me is figuring out when ovulation will actually occur. Here is one you may have heard before...

"The best way to get pregnant is to just have sex all the time." REALLY?! If I hear that one more time I am going to punch someone in the face. I know the people who say this are half joking, and that maybe they are one of the lucky ones who this has actually worked for. Honestly though, that can't be further from the truth for many women out there. Please do not ever say this to someone you know is struggling to conceive either, because it won't be taken well. Yeah, I WISH it was that easy!

Here's a little tidbit of info. they don't teach you in sex ed; There are only about 3 days (72 hours +-) during each cycle for a woman, where it's even humanly possible to become pregnant! You can have intercourse until you turn blue in the face, but if it doesn't happen specifically during that 72 hour period, it will not result in a pregnancy. Furthermore, even with well timed intercourse, a perfectly healthy couple with no diagnosed fertility issues only has about a 20% chance of becoming pregnant each cycle! Chances decline with age and according to a lot of other factors as well. Those are just the facts, and ones that I didn't even fully understand myself until about a year ago.

Plus, I don't have a picture perfect 28 day cycle like most women. I ovulate late, and my cycle length varies every single month. I can't go use some online calculator and type in the first day of my period  and have it tell me when to have intercourse. Again, if you are someone who used one of those online ovulation calculators and got pregnant successfully the first month or two of trying, please don't brag about it to someone struggling to conceive. That is another comment I have been dealt and would rather NOT hear again, thank you very much. So, out of what looks like a 35 day cycle for me this time around, there are roughly 72 hrs. where we have the best chance for sperm to meet egg.  That is why you see the row of test strips, so I can narrow down the right time for baby making.

This is the best system I've found yet to track ovulation. OPK's (ovulation predictor kits) detect a surge in the hormone, LH, which is the last hormone to peak, right after estrogen surges, and right before an egg is released. I use cheapie Wondfo OPK's using FMU (first morning urine) and then again between 12-3 pm each day, starting on CD (calendar day) 12 or 13. I do this daily leading up to ovulation like clockwork. The LH surge can sometimes only be detected for 12 hours, which is why I do it twice per day. I used to use OPK's only once per day, and I missed my LH surge that way before.

When I see the test line on the Wondfo either getting slightly darker or equal to the control line, I then use a Clearblue Easy Digital OPK to confirm the results. Each of these OPK's detects LH at a different level, and with the digital OPK, there is no deciphering whether the test line is dark enough to be + or not. It either gives you an empty circle (-) or a happy face (+).

Anyone who is TTC and uses the CBE digital OPK's knows how happy it makes you when you see that happy face!!! It means your body is releasing hormones that will make you ovulate most likely within the next 36 hours, and IT'S GO TIME!  The only thing that isn't so great is the price of these suckers, so that's why I employ the cheapie Wondfo's leading up to the more crucial test dates. I don't mind blowing through those nearly as much.

Anyhow, this month I didn't get any progressive darkening on the Wondfo OPK. It just went from no real test line yesterday to a clear positive today without warning. I usually ovulate the day after I get a + OPK, but it can happen the same day or two days from the +.   I know this, because I chart my BBT (Basal Body Temperature) to confirm that ovulation has in fact happened...more on that later. If ovulation happens tomorrow as it usually does, that will put ovulation at CD21 for me this cycle. I would love to be able to ovulate about a week sooner, because studies have shown that late ovulation just does not result in as many viable pregnancies. Of course, pregnancy can absolutely happen if intercourse is timed properly, but I'm just going off of well-known statistics that show this trend.

For me, I'm just happy to be ovulating at all, so I'm ecstatic when I get a smiley! Every time I see a +OPK, I'm reminded of what a miracle becoming pregnant and giving birth truly is. I wouldn't wish infertility on anyone, but in some ways, it has made me appreciate the gift of life that much more. Fingers crossed this will be our month!!


  1. Yay Emily!! I'm so excited about your +OPK!! Happy babymaking and I am so keeping fingers, toes, and everything else crossed that THIS IS IT!

    I do know what you mean by never wishing for infertility on yourself or anything else, but it making you more appreciative. I know I've grown in some positive ways from this experience and this gift of life is going to mean so much to me when it happens! *hugs*

  2. I wish I could send this post out in an email to everyone I know. I'm so sick of hearing the "just have sex a lot" and "you don't have to be ovulating to get pregnant...I wasn't." Um, were. Or you were about it. The egg might not have shot out at the moment you were having sex, but it certainly wasn't far from it. Sadly, because we've had to try so hard, we have to know these things about how reproduction works while other people get pregnant from breathing the same air as their husbands.

  3. Love this post! I feel like I need to print this out and give it to a lot of people that don't understand what I'm going through on a daily basis!