First disclaimer: EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT
Second disclaimer: EVERYONE. IS. DIFFERENT.
I can’t stress it enough. You can read a million tips and tricks when TTC and none of them could work for you. There’s nothing I can do about that, though I wish I could. I am among the hated and envied couples who was blessed with a short TTC period, getting pregnant on our 2nd month of trying. I would say I’m sorry but that’s not fair – I’m so happy. Suffering didn’t have to happen to get me here and I’m undeniably thankful for that. But your suffering doesn’t make you a better or worse mom than I will be. TTC sucks. 2 months or 2 years. My prayers are with the families who struggle. You guys are warriors. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
So I was certain it would take us much longer to conceive once we started trying. For years while I was dating Hubs people told us we would get pregnant on our honeymoon. We’re just that kind of couple I guess. But we were smart and I didn’t stop taking my birth control until January of this year.
I stopped taking my birth control cold turkey at the same time I also started taking half of my daily dose of anxiety medication. Many women, especially those who have been taking them for a long time, have a really hard time coming off anxiety medicine and they need to wean off for a longer period of time. I cut to half my dosage for a month and then quit entirely in February. It was a hard transition, no sugar-coating it. When you go so long without having creepy worrisome depressing thoughts, it’s a little jarring to have them creep up again. But you get through it. Honestly, the weirdest trick I learned was to eat tons and tons of cashews.
Cashews are one of the best sources of the amino acid trytophan among all plant-based foods. This amino acid is critical for improving the uptake of serotonin in the brain and acts as a direct precursor to the anti-depressant hormone itself. A depletion of serotonin can make us feel anxious, stressed, and just downright sad. Trytophan is found in many plant-based foods, but is incredibly dense in cashews with 1000-2000 milligrams per 1/4 cup serving. (Other good sources in lower amounts are bananas, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, almonds and sweet potatoes, just to name a handful.)
No joke, it actually helped. And now I’m hooked on the little legumes.
Next to quitting my medications was the obvious cutting-out of the no-nos like alcohol and caffeine. I also cut down on sugary foods as much as I could. This was less hard and more just sad. But it’s common sense, and will actually make your body healthier for fertility anyway. Make like Uncle Joey from Full House and Cut-It-Out!
When TTC I highly recommend tracking your fertility with a calendar or app. I downloaded Ovia Fertility (free) and loved it. You keep track of your cycle, it helps identify your fertile window and ovulation day based on your menstrual cycle and an array of symptoms. First thing in the morning for over a month I was popping a thermometer and inputting my basal body temperature and symptoms for the day, like the consistency and color of my cervical fluid (ew, I know, but really helps). Based on your information, the app posts things in your feed like “You entered a basal body temperature of 98.6. BBT remains elevated post-ovulation if you conceived, so keep up the good work!” So it’s nice to not only keep track of what you’re doing but get feedback on what it means. Ovia helped us identify my fertile window so we knew when to do the Baby Dance (even more). We tried to have sex at least once a day during my fertile window and a day or two afterwards, even doubling up some days but mostly because somebody is rather enthusiastic about baby making… Regardless, I am certain this utility is somewhat responsible for our successful conception.
(Ovia makes a Pregnancy app too, which I’m using now and loving! A lot more simple and less cluttered than the What to Expect or Bump apps)
If there is one change we made from the first month to this month that I am certain led to conception it is … lube. We use the stuff on the regular, cause I’m not a raging teenager anymore and well, sometimes you just need a little extra help down there. I was reading up on what can keep you from conceiving and one of the top responses from doctors was that you’re using the wrong lubrication. Most over-the-counter lubes like KY are naturally spermicidal, even if they don’t say so specifically on the box, meaning they are toxic to sperm. So basically we were sending the little guys to their death every time we did the deed. There is a solution, my fellow wetness-needers! Pre-Seed. This is a sperm-friendly lubricant that helps his swimmers get where they need to go, mimicking your body’s natural lady fluids. I’m telling you, it’s actually better than the regular lubricant we used before! A little goes a long way, and the results speak for themselves – we got pregnant our first month using the stuff. Give me a mic, I’ll gladly preach the Pre-Seed gospel, y’all. Use this stuff.
Lastly, and I know you’ve heard this one before, cause Lord knows I heard it a lot… we got pregnant when I stopped worrying and just gave it to God. I finally reached a breaking point during a week with obnoxious family drama, annoying ovarian cysts and financial stress where I just said you know what? If I don’t get pregnant this month, that is OKAY. I am completely at peace about this. I refuse to let this wonderful thing just become one more stressful factor in my life. And I just let go. Once I did, sex was better. I felt no TTC stress. I started looking to the future instead of losing my mind during the “Two-Week-Wait.” I didn’t even notice it! I had come to terms with myself that I wouldn’t even take a pregnancy test unless I actually missed my period. It made me feel so much better to have it out of my hands. My wonderful loving husband repeated to me over and over that if we don’t get pregnant right now, then it just wasn’t God’s timing for us to do so. It wasn’t the exact right sperm and exact right egg to make the first child He has planned for us. And it’s the truth, y’all. You can prepare yourself as much as is necessary but at a certain point, you gotta let go. Stress is only going to prolong TTC. It felt so much better getting pregnant under peaceful conditions than it would have if I were letting myself go crazy over it.
Alright, again… EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. I in no way am claiming to be anything even resembling an expert in the field of fertility. This is my absolute first pregnancy. But I know that when I was TTC, I scoured posts like this looking for a real authentic account of what worked for a real person. So here it is, and I hope and PRAY that something in here works for someone and helps them feel the way I do right now, with a little nugget on the way. Bless you in your struggle, and just keep swimming.