I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been reminded that when making a baby, “Trying” is the fun part.
I’m convinced that the people toting this advice have never experienced fertility issues…
“Trying” is not fun when you try for years with no success. When each month you get your hopes up just to have your dreams crushed again and again. Wishing for something you can’t seem to get so much it hurts isn’t my idea of a good time. Having a lot of sex loses it’s appeal when it’s rigidly scheduled for your most fertile days. “Trying” isn’t as fun when it leaves you feeling defective…
Let me give you a little background on my experience with making babies.
Nine years ago when my husband and I first started trying to have a baby, we were naively innocent to how hard it could be. Everyone in our families had always gotten pregnant very easily as far as we knew. It never crossed our minds that it might not be as easy for us. We started getting worried after a while but still figured it would happen eventually.
After a full year of trying we finally got pregnant! We had never been so excited in our entire lives! We told everyone we knew. Family, friends, acquaintances, literally everyone. At our 8 week ultrasound appointment we saw our baby and heard the heartbeat and didn’t think anything of the doctors comments about the baby being a little on the small side. She scheduled another ultrasound for 10 weeks which we thought was normal, but it wasn’t. At 10 weeks our baby’s heartbeat had stopped and something looked off with the placenta so they rushed me in for a D&C. This was a traumatic time for me and I spent the next few months trying to learn how to cope with this new kind of loss.
After about 6 months I was ready to start trying again. The process of trying had changed for us at this point. We were more jaded now and my anxiety was all around higher. We continued trying for 4 more years and lost 2 more babies along the way. By that point I wasn’t convinced it would ever happen for us. Doctors couldn’t tell us what was wrong with us. Test after test, doctor after doctor, even a geneticist couldn’t find anything technically preventing us from successfully carrying a baby. We decided our one last chance would be IVF. We started seeing a fertility specialist in preparation and she ran even more tests. She noticed my vitamin D was extremely low and got me on a very high dose to correct it. we scheduled our IVF process to start in June 2017 and stopped trying.
The weight of scheduling, ovulation, and the most effective positions was off our shoulders. We continued to have sex of course but for fun. Months before our IVF process was set to start we got pregnant. We went to our fertility specialist who put me on every restriction and medication that shows any sign of preventing miscarriage. We went in for an ultrasound every week to mark the progress of the pregnancy. Seeing that the baby was still alive every week gave me reassurance and peace of mind. Once we made it past the first trimester with a perfectly healthy baby still growing, I was transferred back to my normal OBGYN. Getting used to not seeing my baby every week was challenging and I did not feel secure until she was in my arms. 2 days before my due date, she was finally in my arms and she was perfect.
Now our miracle rainbow baby is 3 (and constantly asking for a brother). We always planned to have two kids but creating the first one was so hard and traumatic, trying again gave us pause. When she turned 3 we decided it was time and started trying to conceive again. We assumed now that we have successfully made a human being maybe it will be easier to do it again. We have now been trying for 9 months with no luck. I’m starting to feel the same obsession, anxiety and sadness each month as I see those negative pregnancy tests again. I don’t think I have another 5 years of trying in me…
If you are struggling to conceive your first or another baby here is my advice:
Try to Relax:
I hate this advice almost as much as the “Trying is the fun part” advice. Unfortunately it is sound advice. It’s also very hard to do. Stress can make it significantly more difficult to get pregnant. Which will in turn cause more stress… It’s a vicious cycle. I suggest yoga, meditation, journaling, nature and anything else that relaxes you. You are still going to worry about creating a baby but force your body to release the pressure as often as possible.
Pick an App:
This is not sponsored these are just the apps I have used and found to be the most helpful.
OvuView is an app that gives you a high level view of your fertile period. I like this app the best because it helps reduce the obsessive planning I tend to fall into.
Ovia Fertility is an app that helps narrow the most fertile time down to a one week window. It’s a clean and easy to use app that provide helpful tips along the way as well.
Glow is an app that tries to predict your ovulation down to the day and gives you % likelihood of getting pregnant if you have sex that day. This app comes with a community and helpful tips as well. Be ware of this App if you have an obsessive personality, it’s easy to get sucked down into a spiral with this one.
Some people use ovulation tests every month. I find that to be too much for me. I use it once ever six months or so to make sure my calculations aren’t too far off. Use your best judgement.
When to Have Sex:
My OBGYN has explained this to us in great detail. Having sex every other day is ideal. Too often (everyday) doesn’t give enough time for the sperm count to fully recover, reducing the number of available and active sperm. Too far apart, and too many of the sperm will be at the end of their life cycle. Every other day is the best plan. And men need to stop masturbating during the fertile period.
Stop Smoking & Over Drinking:
Obviously this is a given but you don’t have to stop drinking all together (top smoking completely though). Don’t drink everyday or too much in one sitting. But every now and then is still fine while trying.
Strive For a Healthy Body:
You don’t need to be supermodel skinny to get pregnant! Not by any means. Women of every shape and size get pregnant every day! And being bigger doesn’t mean you are unhealthy. Try to eat healthy as much as you can tolerate and exercise in a safe and healthy way (I can go into more detail if anyone is interested). The healthier you can make your body the less stress that will put on your reproductive system.
Know When to Seek Help:
My most important piece of advice is to know when to seek help. Our first go around, it shouldn’t have taken 5 years and 3 miscarriages to get us into the office of a fertility specialist. We assumed our regular OBGYN knew everything we needed her to know. Doctors don’t know everything on their own. If you aren’t finding answers, keep looking. Don’t give up, but do get help!
Creating life is hard, every step of the way! I can tell you my daughter is worth every struggle, every tear and all of those years. We will have another baby. We just might need a little help to get there.
Best of luck on your journey!