Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Waiting Game: An Honest Post About TTC

I have gone back and forth for a while now over whether or not I should write this post. And, if I write it, do I then share it with everyone out there on the interwebs?

I've decided to go for it for two main reasons: this is my blog, and I want to be able to look back years from now and remember the stage of life we were in, our struggles and our joys. Secondly, it is my hope that this post will allow me to connect with other women out there who are experiencing the same fears and doubts as I am in this 'season' of my life.

Do you ever feel like there is a predetermined amount of time that people (and when I say people, I mean all of those that were invited, and present, for our nuptials) wait to start asking 'the question' once you're officially married? You know the question I mean. 'So, are you thinking about babies yet?' 'Are you drinking wine tonight, or can't you drink right now?!'

For us, it was right around our one year anniversary. When the questions started, I would simply laugh them off and act like we wouldn't be ready any time soon. But, after a few months of light prodding, I started to get real with myself. The truth is, I have wanted to be a Mom for as long as I can remember. My parents used to joke that I shouldn't go away to college just to get my 'Mrs.' degree. And, while that was all in fun, and I have used my degree to accomplish many things already, I always knew that, someday, I would hold the job title that I was meant for. 

 I've danced around this subject lightly a few times on this blog before, but this time, I wanted to get it all out, and really be honest about where we are, and how much hard work and patience go into TTC (see what I did there, with my fancy lingo? TTC = 'trying to conceive,' in case you didn't know). 
Around Christmas of this past year, we decided that it was a good time for me to go off the pill. I had been on it for 6+ years, and many friends had told me that it would take my body a few months to 'right itself,' so if we were thinking about starting to try in the next six months or so, it was a good idea. 
At that point, I knew next to nothing about how many details really go into conceiving. I just thought I would stop taking the pill, and two months later we'd get that 'surprise' positive sign on a Target-bought pregnancy test. 
Boy, was I wrong.
For the first two months, I was super laid back about it. No charts, no temps, no OPK's or any of that jazz. But, there were also no 'surprises' to speak of either. So, I turned to a few friends who had successfully conceived at least once, to find out what worked for them. It was then that I started to do some research, and decided that charting and temping was a good place to start. 
I think I underestimated how hard (and annoying) it would be to wait the extra two minutes each morning, before jumping out of bed to pee, to grab my thermometer from the nightstand, and then sit patiently waiting while it beeped away for 30-40 seconds. And then, there were the days that I didn't remember at all. 
As a result, the charts that my handy iPhone app started to build were a bit off. I figured this was fine, and that it would take a few months to really learn what was going on in my normal cycles. Well, impatience paid me a visit, and I decided to heed the advice that another friend of mine had given me: 'skip the temps, and just buy the Ovulation Predictor Kit!' 
Fifty dollars, and one five-day-early period later, I already felt stumped. Was my cycle finally going back to 'normal?' 'Is that second line there, really a second line?'
While all of this babbling probably hasn't given you a very clear picture of what has been going on, chronologically, I can simplify it pretty easily. My cycle has reverted from 28 to around 24-26 days at this point. I still don't feel like I have a good read on the true phases of my cycle, but there was one month where I was afraid that my luteal phase was too short. 
I keep telling myself that 5-6 months is not a long enough window, especially with my inconsistency in a few areas, to really determine whether or not my cycle is giving my signs of a problem. But, I cannot shake the thoughts in the back of my mind that are telling me that 'it shouldn't be this hard,' and 'maybe there is something wrong.' 
The latest? I decided right before our MDW trip to take a break from all of it and just see what happens for the next month or so. So far, that's been going just fine, but the fear is still there, just sitting in the back of my mind.
You're probably wondering what B thinks or has to say about all of this, right? Truth be told, he's been a rock. He truly believes that 'God has a plan' and that it will happen at the right time for us. I wish I could look at it that way all the time. I have been having a hard time swallowing the fact that I have little to no control over the timing on this one. Maybe it's time to let my faith step in and take over.

Have any of you had similar struggles? I have a feeling I'm not the only one.


Jessica said...

I hope that this journey gets easy for you my friend! Praying!

Britt said...

This is a great post, and I think it really speaks to how hard it can be right after getting off the pill.

Any gyno will tell you that once you go off the pill, it could take weeks, months, or years before your body regulates to the point where you're ready to conceive. I think you're at a good place where you're starting to ask questions and move towards different options. All in all, I think it will just be a matter of time and dependent on your own body.

I am glad you chose to share this, simply because it's also a large fear of mine as well. I have been on the pill for 10+ years now and our plan after we're married is to wait 6 months and then I'm going off, simply because I have no idea how long it will take my body to "even out" per se. I wish you guys the best of luck and am keeping my fingers crossed for a "surprise!" for you.

The best advice I have heard from all of my friends with kids too is just to let it happen... and it will right when you aren't expecting it!

Sunny said...

I completely understand where you are at. I went off the pill when we got married last June. We bought the clearblue easy fertility monitor and used it for 'evil' instead of good until last October and then started playing baby roulette. My cycle finally evened out in the last three months or so, so I think it must be different for everyone and we've started targeting the days that it denotes as high or egg, and I'm waiting and praying and hoping that it will be soon. I'm debating starting to monitor my temps too but I haven't taken the jump yet.

That very long comment to say, you are not alone in this. :) I'll be praying and thinking of you in this journey.

Megan said...

I just went though all of this 5 months ago. Having being on the pill for 10+ years I had no idea what to expect when I went off of it.

Charting worked really well for me. I actually started to enjoy it. While yes, it sucked waking up just that little earlier, I'm a numbers person, so it was nice to see a little chart come together and start to see trends.

While I know this isn't the best answer - sick with it. Things will happen when they should. Just do as much as you can to get the info you need to make sure you're getting the best timing each month.

Good luck! Hopefully we'll see a BFP post soon!

Sara said...

I appreciate your candor and honesty! I know exactly what you're going through. I'm away from my computer for a few days, but I'll send you an email when I get back. Hugs and prayers, friend!

Erika said...

Sending you positive thoughts. I wasn't on the poll when we started TTC and it still took 3 ish months, which I now know is fast. But as each month passed I had the same doubts with my body. I tried temping but it was too hard to remember. I actually bought the clear blue easy OPk with the smiley face that shows up when your Lh is elevated. The first month I used this along with preseed we got pregnant. :)

Laura @ My Thoughts-Uninterrupted said...

I just went through all of this trying to conceive #2 and I know how frustrating it can be. I too was unsure of what exactly the issue was that was keeping me from being pregnant this go around. My cycles were no longer the usual 28 days either. After many recommendations, I finally decided to go to an acupuncturist and seriously after one month of seeing her (3 visits total) my cycle changed and I'm now 11.5 weeks pregnant. I really do think acupuncture was the answer in my case just to get everything back on track. If you have any questions feel free to email me. If nothing else it was a definite stress reliever (well, after the needles were out lol). I'll be praying for you guys.

Mrs. Brandy De La Cruz said...

My husband and I tried for about a year and a half. I charted and used the Fertility kit. Keep your head up and it will happen!! Just a few tips: saliva kills sperm so u may want to try a sperm friendly lubricant like Pre Seed if you need one. It helps the sperm swim easily. Also, take one baby adoring a day to help keep your fallopian tubes clear and last thing is start BabyDancing on day 6-8-10-12-14-16 and 18 just to try and cover your cycle. The internet and some ppl were telling me to start BabyDancing in the 10th but for some ppl they may ovulate earlier. The first day of your period where there is actual blood flow is day 1.
There is also a book called Taking Charge of your Fertility. It's a good book!! Sending BabyDust your way from Texas and hoping for good POSITIVE news soon!! Good Luck sweetie.

Mrs. Brandy De La Cruz said...

* baby asprin a day.

Shannon said...

When I got off the pill after 10 years my cycle was VERY wonky, it took me 3 months to get a period after I first went off. But because I was charting (which gets easier after a while, it just becomes habit) I knew I had ovulated, it just took a while. On my second cycle I bought some OPK's and we were able to time it just right and I got pregnant. However that was also a 3 month cycle so we got VERY lucky with the timing. Even though I only had two cycles it still took me 6 months to get pregnant after I went off the pill.

Needless to say I was incredibly stressed that something was wrong with me and I would never get pregnant if I was only ovulating every 3 months but I did. So no matter how long or short your cycles are try not to stress too much. I'm sure everything is fine and I truly hope you get your BFP soon!

Caitlin said...

I agree with Erika - Preseed is great, and I think it really helped us when we were TTC! Also, if you haven't checked it out already (although I would guess maybe you have), I would recommend the book, "Taking Charge of Your Fertility." My ob-gyn recommended it right before we started TTC, and it was very enlightening, considering all we're really taught in middle school or high school sex-ed is how to NOT get pregnant!!

Darby Hawley said...

Girl you are definitely NOT alone! We have started TTC and it is not easy, especially on the emotional level. Thanks for your honesty here and I pray that your will get the BFP (Big fat positive) soon!!!

Britney said...

I think it's wonderful that you're sharing this experience. You guys wil be in my prayers. It is so hard to be patient. Who knew a month could seem so long, right? We had three lost pregnancies before baby #2, and I think you're right about His plan. Just leave it up to him (easier said than done, I know). If I hadnt gone through that painful year, I wouldn't have this precious baby girl. He really knows what's best!

Lynnc said...

Kudos to you for this honest post! I agree with Caitlin - read "Taking Charge of Your Fertility". It was fascinating and so informative. I went off the pill last December (1.5 years ago) and began charting then. After a few months of it, I am now able to pin point ovulation based on my cervical fluid and cervix position and I just confirm with a few temps right when I know I'm about to O - so if you do it for a bit and get the hang of it, you won't need to temp all cycle long.

I've had 3 miscarriages during our time TTC, but for all of the specialists I've seen and testing I've had, it's always been super helpful to have my charts with me as well. I empathize with you about how painful this waiting time is and how difficult it is to accept that you are not in control and it's all in God's hands. Be encouraged that you ARE ovulating and having short cycles, it's a sign that things are working correctly. I had a few cycles with short LP's, had testing, was prescribed progesterone, but then my LP went back up to 14 days on it's own - so maybe yours is a fluke.

Longest comment ever! Sorry! Feel free to email me if you want to see my chart or have any questions. Wishing you the best!

Holly said...

Such a honest and amazing post! I am getting married in less than 3 months and we want to try for a baby right away. We know the process is not going to be easy and have already been talking to the Dr about it! She also recommended the ovulation test, and told us to exclusively try for 6 months before taking the next step. I'm trying to keep an open mind about it all, but it's hard when you want something so bad but have to work so hard for it!

Thoughts and prayers are with you on your journey :)

Channa, Life as a Coaches Wife said...

Ok, I am tearing up reading your post because honestly I felt the same way! Now here we are 4 years later and still NO BABY! It is gut wrenching, emotional, devastating, and exhausting! A few couragements of hope are, you have only been trying for 5 months, give it a year {I know it seems like forever} before you start freaking out, I am not going to say don’t think about it but I would say don’t put so much pressure on yourself. The days in your cycle do not matter, you only count from the first day of your last period for ovulation, 14 days from that date but the best way is to have sex every 2-3 days and you will make the window. Also there is a product called Pre-Seed sold at CVS, Amazon and some other stores try it!
Sending you a big hug!

LWLH said...

I;m reading up on all of that in prep of TTC. I wish you the best of luck love.

Life As Wife said...

It takes most first time couples at least a year! (It tools us over a year.) you are not alone! Always here if you need someone to chat with! Until then - enjoy practicing!

Dana said...

Oh girl do I know how you feel! I remember going through the same feelings and concerns! You will have to go back and read our story on finally getting pg with Noah. Well maybe you shouldn't, it may just make you worry for no reason.

I know it is tough to chat about TTC and I am so proud of you for being open about it. If you ever wanna chat or need support please feel free to email me :) Praying for double lines in your future :)

Love ya!!!

Courtney said...

You already know we are in the same boat. We have officially been trying for 9 months and it's hard to trust God's timing and not get frustrated when it's something you want so badly. If you ever need to vent or talk, I'm here! I've found so many great women out there going through similar things and it's great to talk to them about questions and concerns.

Callie said...

I'm so sorry to hear you've been going through this! We've been through the TTC ringer twice, so I know how frustrating it can be, even before you hit that year mark.

With my son, it took 11 months after I went off the pill for me to even ovulate. I can't tell you how frustrating it was waiting for my body to function properly just once! So it's such a good thing that you are at least having cycles! It's probably a good sign.

Last August I stopped breastfeeding my son and we started trying to conceive baby #2. A month or two later I realized that I had a luteal phase defect. It's possible that eventually my body would have just straightened out, but my hope was for my kids to be two years apart, and I didn't want to wait however long it would take for that to happen (it could take a while for your body to straighten out a problem like that on it's own). So I was proactive about it and after about three cycles of that I decided to see my fertility doc. Thankfully luteal phase defects can be corrected pretty easily with medication, so my doc recommended HCG shots for me, and they did work for my defect.

It sounds like you know alot of the important things about TTC, but you are not going to be able to pinpoint whether you have a luteal phase defect unless you know when you ovulate - for that I would recommend taking the OPK's. They're better than even charting for really pinpointing it, because sometimes your temperature can delay a bit in rising (mine doesn't rise until two days after I ovulate, usually). I would recommend getting the digital ones, with the smiley face, because they take the guesswork out of it. The other ones are so hard for me to read and know whether they are accurate or not. Then you can know exactly when you are ovulating and see if your luteal phase is good or not. There should be AT LEAST 10 days between ovulation and your period, but 12 is preferred. If it's 10 or 11 days, I personally think it would warrant a trip to the doctor (at least I would go).

But one thing I'd say is don't go to your regular OB for TTC problems - fertility is such a specialized area of gynecology, and you want someone who really knows their stuff. I didn't have a good experience with my regular OB with TTC my son, she kind of just brushed me off, and though my new OB was okay with TTC #2, the nurses had no clue. It's just better to go to an office that deals with mostly TTC patients, because everyone really knows their stuff. I thought I'd give my regular doc a chance with baby #2, but ended up going right back to my fertility doc instead - there just really isn't any comparison.

If you even have to go. Because you might not. But if you do determine that you have a luteal phase problem, I would just say don't be afraid to go be seen before you hit the 1 year mark! With both our TTC journeys I saw my fertility specialist before 1 year just because there was an obvious problem, and I'm so glad I did. It paid off! :-)

I'll be praying for you, that you'll be blessed with a little bundle soon, and without having to go through too much! Let me know if you have any questions or anything, since it sounds like we might have similar problems. :-)

Erin said...

Oh, sweetie, I love your heart for sharing this! And it IS a waiting game! It's HARD! ANd it SUCKS! But God is faithful, and He has a purpose. There are lessons you are learning right now you may not have learned any other way, and He will use them for GOOD as He does all things :)

I was never on the pill and it still took 1.5 years for us to get pregnant with Katherine. They say not to even go see a doctor about fertility until it has been a full year of trying to conceive off the pill - which sounds and feels like the LONGEST TIME when you know that teenagers get pregnant every day :)

My best advice is to do the temping & charting only as long as you don't become obsessed. Once sex becomes a science experiment, you'll injure your intimacy with your husband - and that part HAS TO REMAIN STRONG! If you feel like charting & temping, do. But if you don't? Don't. I had stopped trying to predict my cycle when I finally got pregnant. And my best friend ended up pregnant ALL THREE TIMES when her chart said she wasn't even ovulating :) Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made! Do you have a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility? It helped a lot of my girlfriends understand their bodies and how to get pregnant if you don't have a textbook 28-day cycle...two of them were even doctors :)

When I got pregnant with Katherine, I realized that even though I had ovulation pains on the 14th day of my cycle? I ovulate on Day 8. EIGHT!!! Most months we were trying I had already missed the window and didn't even know it :) That's why I really want to encourage you to keep learning about your body - we are blessed to live in an amazing scientific age & should take every advantage!

There are so many chemicals & hormones that have to be in balance in order for everything to work. Since the pill was suppressing your body from doing what it naturally does for over 6 years, it may take a little longer than you want for your body to start regulating the process on its own again.

Don't you worry, my beautiful Pamcakes - there will be babies in your future. Really, really good looking ones :)

Angie said...

Oh girl, so in this boat! Well, sort of...
When we started trying for our next, I thought it would be quick, as it didnt take 'long' with Kal. However I realized that my cycles had changed SO much and my usual 28 day on the dot cycle was gone and now it ranged from 29-33 or so. Its been about 7+ months now and now we are dealing with another issue aside.
I think it is great that you are 'learning' all the details/your body in hopes it can help you get pregnant! That is definitely an important step :) I wouldnt hesitate to mention to your ob/gyn either - they are helpful and then can be on the 'lookout' if there is any other concern...

It is such a frustrating time and although we need to trust in God's timing and plan that is sooo easier said than done!! If you even need to vent/talk, I'm here!

Ill be praying for you, girl! You & B will make some beautiful babies!!

Happiness Is... said...

I totally understand. Here's a little bit about our story ... I went off of BC in October 2009 after finishing a half marathon (pre-baby bucket list). The half marathon aligned with the day my pills ended so we figured why not. Months and months went by until we finally conceived Thatcher in May 2010 while on a relaxing trip where I wasn't paying attention, didn't bring the thermometer, etc. I had been using the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor and had a peak day but that was it. So, it took about 7 months after going off pills, and that time dragged on and on. Thatcher was born in February 2011, and in October 2011 we were shocked to learn we were expecting. That sadly ended in a missed miscarriage at 9 weeks after seeing the heartbeat at 6. It was totally devastating. But, we are gladly expecting again (shhhhh - not out on my blog). It's a roller coaster, this TTC stuff. None of the advice like "just relax" helps either.

My best advice is to lean on each other and perhaps buy Making Babies - it has some really, really interesting information in it. We had Taking Charge of Your Fertility with Thatcher, but that one didn't resonate with me. Charting just stressed me out. What worked for me was the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor b/c it was less to remember.

Good luck and hang in there - it is frustrating not to be able to control it, I know!!

Virginia Belle said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post that I'm sure was very difficult to write. I am actually going through the same thing right now. I went off of the pill in October just to see what would happen. 6 months and a few irregular periods later and many negative pregnancy tests later I decided to visit my OB/GYN for some help. They did some blood work and I found out the source of all of my problems-I was diagnosed with PCOS. It turns out because I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, my hormones are out of whack and I rarely (if ever) ovulate on my own. I'm not on medication to help give me regular periods and to help me ovulate and I'm hoping for the best.

I think it's really smart of you to give yourself a break from the TTC stress. But if and when you do decide to get back to it, it may help to visit your doctor to make sure everything is working ok. I'm so glad I finally did! Stay strong during this difficult time, I know it is very frustrating!

Hailey said...

My family said the same thing to me growing up. All I have ever wanted to do is be a wife and mother.

My husband and I know God has a plan and he will answer our pray of blessing us with a child when the time is right. Yet it is so hard to wait for his timing when it's something that stays on your heart and brain all day long!

From one future SAHM to another, praying for you and your hubby :)!

Jen | Our Life Accounts said...

I feel as though I could write a book on ttc. There is so much to say but I don't want to bog you down with a comment a mile long. It was a massive learning experience and yet we still ended up with a "surprise" pregnancy. I know you're local so if you want any recommendations for a specialist or an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility, I'd be happy to send some recommendations your way. Or if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer anything I can.