Cycle 3: Knowledge or Luck?

The start of cycle 3 was a bit of mixed emotions. I was confused by my short and long cycles and unpredictable temperatures. I wondered whether or not I was really ovulating. “Try again next month” is much easier said than done when a month is 30 days of waiting. After that long period of waiting in my second cycle, I wondered whether I really should just forget about all the charting and just hope it happened.

“Relax,” as they say. Was I getting too stressed out about it for it to even happen?

But on the other hand, I had only had 2 cycles and I was pretty sure conception across the country wasn’t possible, so I reminded myself it was early and I could continue to track things and relax more at the same time. I continued to take my temperature each morning, and we embarked on an “every other day” adventure.

I also decided there was one more easy-to-access piece of knowledge about my cycles I could invest in: an ovulation predictor kit (OPK). The cheap strips I used last time were too hard to read, so I knew I wanted to pay a bit more to get a digital test. A few friends had told me that they were not successful until they bought an OPK and targeted ovulation more specifically, so I bought one with the mindset of “knowledge is power.” I ended up getting the Clearblue Easy Digital – the one with the :).

I continued taking the OPK tests every morning. The average ovulation day 14 came and went and my test was always an open circle – no smiley face. I started to wonder if I was even going to ovulate at all. But then one morning I popped the test strip out of the digital test and noticed the line was much darker. Looming luteinizing hormone surge?! I decided to test again in the afternoon (I had been using first morning urine) and sure enough, I got a smiley face!!


The next day, cycle day 25, my temperature went up. Ovulation confirmed by 2 (3 if you count cervical fluid – eww) sources.


I knew this month that our timing was perfect. Now I just had to wait.

Up next: Positively Pregnant

93 thoughts on “Cycle 3: Knowledge or Luck?”

  1. Every other day! LOL! Good for you. It is very exhausting! Just wondering was it still loving and fun or did it just feel like something you had to do because you wanted to get pregnant?

    1. It was very fun 🙂 Because of the task at hand. I think if we’d kept that up for a few months in a row it might have gotten more chore-ish, but at the time it worked

  2. Kath, did your temperature sure on CD25 only go up by .2 degrees (hard to tell on the chart). As someone new to charting, it would be great to hear from a “real person” how much the temp actually spikes (and whether or not it indeed stays elevated!).

    1. It does appear to have risen .2 degrees and that’s all you need for a rise. The general rule is a .2 degree rise above the last six temperatures. It will stay high if you indeed ovulated (as long as you don’t have a low progesterone problem) until your period. If you are pregnant, it will stay high throughout pregnancy.

      1. Agree with Autumn! I studied lots of charts at Fertility Friend and some people spiked right up and others were a gradual shift or a steady climb over a few days. What’s important is a rise and maintenance of the rise

  3. I love these posts! Even though my first child came at an unexpected time, I am very blessed that I am extremely fertile and never had to worry about conception. My heart goes out to anymore who wait months to years to enjoy pregnancy.

  4. I don’t understand all that planning (temperature, charts…), why not just let go, have sex, relax and wait ? You have to keep the romance going… But well different persons, different experiences.

    1. Just letting go, relaxing, and waiting doesn’t work so well if you don’t know you’re ovulating late. It gets very frustrating.

    2. Exactly, Sam. I wanted to just let it go Anne, but as I’ve explained the past 2 posts, it was much easier to relax when I knew what was going on than being clueless and wondering all day long.

      1. Anne’s comments are rather insensitive. My husband and I tried for over 2 years before becoming pregnant. You name it – we tried it! Sometimes it doesn’t “just happen” for couples.

        1. That’s just it: she’s only been trying for 2 *months*, not your two years. I definately don’t blame people if after 6 months or so (and definately more than a year) you start getting super-informative with it – that’s totally normal. But don’t put people who’ve only been TTC for 2 months in the “this is rough” club – *you* deserve it, not people who don’t understand at all what you are going through when it took them 3 cycles to make it happen. 3 cycles – that’s pretty dang normal.

          1. Kath (and Matt) had a goal- get pregnant. She chose a very methodical way to reach that goal, probably in part because doing the research and making a plan eased the anxiety of going after something that she didn’t know a lot about and was not entirely within her control. Lots of people, including me, approach new goals and uncertainty this way. I can relax and know that I’m doing what makes sense at the moment. I don’t have to wonder if there’s something else I should’ve done if only I’d given it more thought. This is a “totally normal” response to going after something– not the only way, just a way. I don’t think that mom-hopefuls must earn the right to make a plan. And Kath would probably admit that her experience was very different from that of a woman who tried for years to get pregnant.

            Maybe you think she’s being melodramatic about the emotional highs and lows? I think they show that it was intense to want something this much and that she tried hard to document what was going on at each step. She writes a blog after all- information and stories are what she gives us. And pretty pictures.

          2. I don’t think she was saying she had a rough time. Kath (to me anyway) seems like the kind of person who is very thorough and methodical with things. I’m the same way, very type-A and like to be in control of situations I CAN control. I don’t have any children and my husband and I are a bit away from even trying, but I’ve already done all this research that Kath did too! Call it crazy, but I like to learn and be informed.

  5. Wow….every other day???? You go girl! (haha) I used Fertility Friend, too, with all three of my kids. The two week wait is the hardest part but fun, too. 🙂

    1. I noticed the date too. My little guy was born on 11/11/11 so we were just getting home from the hospital and settling in to a new kind of normal. 😉

  6. I am surprised you used the Every other day strategy so early on your cycle. I had a neighbor (docto) who told me “don’t waste good sperm”. With both of my kids I could tell by the cervical mucus (sorry) that I was ovulating. I also looked on the Internet for day to try if you want a girl/boy … And it worked for me. Girls= early in the cycle. Boys = actual ovulation day Girl sperm swim slowly but last several days. Boys swim fast but don’t last. So you can kind of guess what you might have.

    1. There are lots of opinions on sperm 🙂 Some people say every third day. But I read that unless your guy has a sperm count problem or puts heat compressees on his croctch daily, sperm count/quality shouldn’t be a problem. Plenty of people have sex 3 times a day and accidentally get pregnant. Even when charting, you have to think about all the surprises out there and that they weren’t following any rules.

      I have read about the gender selection stuff, but maybe we would save that for baby #2 when we maybe wouldn’t care how long it took so much

      1. Sorry about all the typos above, I was on my iphone. Even though my kids are 11 and 9, I love these posts. I find this fascinating…well, with my son I found it stressful, but once I got pregnant with no problems the first time, the second time was more fun. Thanks for creating this new blog. And clearly Matt should be commended on his abundance of sperm! 🙂

  7. How funny, not only are we due almost exactly the same day, my experience was somewhat similar! I didn’t track as much stuff, only my cycle and predicted fertile days, but that first time cycle I was convinced I was pregnant. I had been tracking my cycle for non-pregnancy purposes for 2 cycles previous, and they were all over the place — 28 days, 40 days, 30 days, etc etc. It was only 3 cycles after I started to pay attention before it worked, too!! It’s too funny to read this and think that we were going through similar thoughts/experiences at almost the exact same times!!

  8. Wow, my husband & I must have a problem, because every other day for us is pretty standard! 😉 We’re not trying for a kid though, so maybe when you’re trying it’s automatically stressful?

    1. Before we were on opposite schedules that was the norm for us too 🙂 Sex is so different for everyone. Its never tiring for me, its actually energizing and tends to help with my stress.

    2. I was thinking that too! Id go for it everday if our schedules allowed. My friend was so stressed about trying to get pregnant i mean theres only one way for to happen so why would you make it such a chore!?! We dont want kids so maybe our situation is different. I hear ya dont do it that much once the baby arrives so enjoy it!

  9. i am loving this blog! i am a few years away from going through this process myself….but it is on the radar enough that i am so interested in hearing about it! and like so many others have said, your openness is so appreciated! so happy for you both!

  10. Gotta love the ole LH Surge and the feeling of, OMG…NOW is the time. Hurry, honey, NOW! 🙂

    I used the cheapie strips and they were fine but had I had to wait any more than 2 months with those things, I would have gone batty and done something more digital or easier/clearer to read. Because yes, 30 days isn’t “that” long to wait, unless you’re the one waiting for “just another cycle”.

    Love this new blog, Kath!

  11. It’s truly amazing how all of this works with ovulation predictors etc. Technology has come so far even since I had my 1st child 11 years ago it seems. We had our 3rd child via IVF and really, it was like something out of a science fiction novel down to the vacuum sealed doors where the blastocyst was passed from the technician to my doctor to me having to recite my SSN out loud before it was transferred (to be sure that blastocyst was mine). No matter how you conceive it really is an amazing miracle isn’t it?

    As someone who went through 4 cycles of IUI (intrauterine insemination) and then a round of IVF to get my baby here I hope you realize how fortunate you are! It was expensive and emotionally painful but in the end I got my baby and she is now a year old.

    Congrats again and I love the look of this new blog! My baby also eats “real” food too btw! Oatmeal with chia seeds, spinach and fruit smoothies, goat cheese, she eats it all. It amazes me when we are at the park and I see moms giving toddlers cookies, Capri Sun drinks, and other trash. Kids don’t even know what those things are until we introduce them.

    1. lets avoid the judgemental parenting ok? you dont know what those families are going through. some kids really have issues with eating and I think its important to let other parents decide how to feed their child without the judging eyes of other parents at the park. no need for the mommy wars to start so early. great job on your ‘real food’ eating baby. best of luck.

      1. I used to care what judgy parents thought, but until they’ve walked in my shoes (with a special needs daughter that is VERY picky and who I can’t *reason* with a little more readily as with a typical child) I realized that they just won’t understand until they get a child that – god forbid – doesn’t eat as perfect as they do. It will throw them for a loop and they’ll think they failed as a parent until they realize that sometimes having a picky vs. non picky eater child is just luck. Some kids will eat everything (like my second) and eat all the healthy things. Some kids don’t. Parents shouldn’t be too quick to condemn themselves, nor too quick to pat themselves on the back when their child eats a good, balanced diet.

        I also try to realize that sometimes when we see parents giving treats (also called “trash” here), that it may be something rare and special for that occasion. We don’t habitually buy Oreos for my daughter because they aren’t very healthy of course, but once in awhile when she does well at a doc appt or it’s a special, fun day, you bet we enjoy an Oreo or two. I don’t want my kid to be “that kid” at someone’s party who piously refuses to eat the pizza because mommy is so uptight about every little thing that goes in his/her mouth.

    2. My mom gardened and canned our own foods and cooked and we ate healthy almost all the time. We ate crab and shrimp and spinach and everything the adults ate. She also taught us that “some food is good for the body, some is good for the soul.” So we had treats too, including Capri Suns! They were fun to drink and we loved them. Also, Fruit Roll Ups, occasional candy, soda, sugary fun cereals… There really is something to be said about allowing kids to be kids and eat kid food once in awhile. “Trash” is quite dramatic in my opinion. I am so grateful as an adult that my mom taught us to be so well rounded about food.

      1. I agree and was specific that these things are not appropriate for toddlers. My 11 year old and 8 year old certainly eat their fair share of junk while at parties or sleeping over with friends. I would just never purposely introduce such things to a toddler!

  12. We used the OPKs with the smiley face too. Those empty circles were such bummers! But they really did predict right, even though they were expensive. It all makes sense when it works out!

  13. Kind of embarrassed that everyone is commenting that every other day seems like a lot, ha.

    And, erm… what exactly are you doing in those photos, lol? Because I know food bloggers take their cameras everywhere they go, but… 🙂

    1. I was jumping on our trampoline the day we sold it!! Just thought it was funny to put with the topic 🙂 And I don’t think every other day is a lot!

  14. I’m just taking a wild (yet somewhat educated) guess that baby Kerf will be a boy. Chances are definitely in favor for boy considering the time you conceived:-)

  15. My husband and I never tracked a thing and it took just about 4 months for me to see a positive result. I can definitely understand the desire to track every little thing, but for me that would have just made me too stressed and anxious. I thought for sure I’d be one of those women who would take a year, but I’m glad it wasn’t the case. The two week wait can be brutal!

  16. We did the every other day too! My husband still makes fun of it.. but I think he secretly misses it. He’s lucky if he gets it twice a week now, with a 4-month old and exhausted mommy. Hahaha.

    Great story, I love reading these updates! Exciting times are ahead. 😀

  17. When my husband and I first started TTC, I used strips and charted (for 3 months). He and I talked and felt that it just seemed unnatural to us to be so ‘planned’, so I stopped the strips and stopped charting. The first month that we just ‘let things happen’, we got a positive test! It’s funny what works for some ppl doesn’t for others 🙂

  18. I am loving these posts! I just started my first cycle charting. I had been thinking about it and your post was the helpfulness I needed to start. Thanks for the great info and I am so looking forward to following along on Baby Kerf.

  19. Do you really thinking cervical fluid is gross? When I found out about cervical fluid, I found it fascinating. After being on hormonal birth control for so long, I was stoked when mine changed like the books said it would!

    1. Well I don’t think my own in gross, but I don’t really want to share the details of what I found down there. That was more than I felt comfortable sharing!

      1. Fair. No one needs those details! Also, I think for everyone who is familiar with CF, they already knew what you meant when you said it clued you into your ovulation.

  20. Just a side note, but I find it very interesting that most people that comment on your Baby Kerf site are not linked (possibly bloggers/possibly not), but this is NOT the case on your main site. Very interesting!

    I’m guessing its because its very personal information being shared, but something I couldn’t help but notice!

    1. I think a lot of it is that baby stuff makes many people excited, especially if they have their own or are pregnant… I know that the only times I ever commented (before I made a blog, though it’s mostly to chronicle parenthood anyway) was after I got pregnant, on baby stuff. I did lurk food blogs too but basically never commented.


  21. Im due the same time as you!! Its also our first child though it took us considerably longer to concieve. It will be really interesting to see the similarities and differences. Congratulations!!!

  22. Very cool to read all of the details on your last few posts- and for being so open and honest with everything. My husband and I are going to start trying really soon… I’m just really nervous about what will happen. I have amenorrhea- I stopped getting my period at some point (but I’m not really sure when, because I have been on the pill since I was 18, and that forces a period). I went off the pill, just to see what it was like to be off of it, about 2 years ago and did not get a period for a year. After a bazillion different tests from my gyno and a fertility doc, they put my back on the pill because my body was completely depleted of estrogen and progestrone. So, for now, when I’m ready, I need to stop the pill and see if a period comes. If not, I will need to seek some fertility treatment. Thank your lucky stars that you got pregnant so quickly – I’m hoping that I’ll have the same luck!!

      1. I know you know…you are an RD! 🙂

        Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t!

        I LOVE this new blog. You are awesome Kath! Thanks for all the hard work you put in. I only blog once a day and that is hard, you amaze me. You are a so smart, funny, and you have a knack for appealing to the masses. You also can handle all the feedback, positive and negative. How do you do it?

          1. Sometimes we all have to smile and grit our teeth. I could never handle it like you. Venting, that is what friends and family are for! 😉 As long as the good (thousands of people who love you, me included) out weight the bad (only a select few, who were probably having a bad day when they wrote), you are ahead!

  23. Wow… This looks tedious!! We just ‘went at it’ for 6 months with the mindset of ‘we aren’t trying, but we aren’t preventing either’. My plan was to do this for a year and if nothing happened, then we would get into taking temps and fertility charts, etc.It took about 6 months, but I’m REALLY glad ‘One Made’ It’ because I think all of this would of stressed me out! Glad it worked for you 🙂

  24. Did you make Karen promise not to read these posts? I’m just curious b/c I would die if my mom or MiL was reading about my sex life.

  25. My husband and I are in our 4th month of trying to conceive. The first 3 there was no charting, temperatures, ovulation predictor kits, or anything. Just trying to go for it as often as possible (I’m one of those who thinks every other day is a lot!), with the standard ovulation timeframe in mind. No luck with that, so this month we’re trying the Clearblue OPK, upon a friend’s recommendation. After hearing it worked for her, and now you, I feel more hopeful about this month. The months of waiting and lack of success are depressing 🙁 Thank you for writing this blog, I look forward to reading about your whole pregnancy and hopefully I won’t be too far behind with one of my own.

  26. Oh man Kath, I am sorry, but my husband would be HORRIFIED a) if I considered 3x a week to be a “exhausting” or possibly becoming “chore-ish” and b) if I put that on the internet for all of our family and friends to see! Lots of sex = fun times AND a happy marriage.

    1. Luckily I have the most laid back husband in the world – he could care less what I share! [I’ve ran so many things by him and he’s like “you can stop asking me – I really don’t care!]

      1. I think that’s cool of him 🙂 And I’m glad you’re sharing!!!!!!!! I felt compelled to add this on here…. and also, I’m also trying to get pregnant and it’s been frustrating for the past 7 months… congrats to you 🙂 And don’t ever feel like you shouldn’t share something…. i read a LOT of the fertility/baby threads and they share waaaaaaay more than this lol

  27. Good to know that your hubby is fine with you sharing! I have been reading your posts and wondering how he felt about all of this. I assumed you would have checked in with him about it before starting a blog, but didn’t know quite how laid back he was. Congrats on the pregnancy! Just discovered your blog and am loving all the info. I know some people seem to think it’s “oversharing” but it’s good info to know if you’re also TTC. I will definitely keep reading.

    3x a week is not a lot 😉 You go girl.

  28. I used that monitor as well to conceive our three kids. Best.purchase.ever.
    And ditto to it is SO hard to relax. And every day of waiting is an eternity when you are trying to make a baby.
    Thanks for sharing such personal details!

  29. First time commenter, long time reader…I charted/temped with both of my sons – after six months of trying for my first som (got pregnant the seventh month, the first month of charting) and off the bat with the second (took four months of trying). Aren’t bodies amazing??? Congrats to you and Matt! I was also one who really needed that info to take some of the anxiety out of the waiting. I learned that I ovulated really late in my cycle (around CD 21 in a 28 day cycle) and without the knowledge of temping, I would have assumed that CD 14 was “the time.”. We also did the every other day thing and that seemed like PLENTY to me ;).

    When I looked back at my charts after we found out the gender, we had sex the day I ovulated. With two sons, it is fair to say that gender prediction worked! We didn’t try to have boys, but it did seem to be true about the fast boy swimmers.

  30. Hi Kath! I guess I’m a little late to the party- I just discovered this blog today! I’ve really enjoyed reading these posts. My husband and I are in our 2 month TTC. I started using the clearblue digital opk this month and have noticed that there are 2 blue lines when you eject the test, one being darker than the other. I’m assuming that one is the control line (darker) and one is the test line. You said that one was darker than usual which is why you chose to test again later in the day. Did you notice them getting gradually darker each day? Or was it just a one time thing? Thanks!

    1. I did notice them getting darker each day…. And I might have missed the positive smiley if I hasn’t tested one afternoon when it was really dark in the morning

      1. Hey, just coming back to re-read “the early days” as they have become more relevant to me lately. Did you by chance take the OPK test the next day again or once you got the smiley you stopped? I’ve been testing in the morning but I guess maybe I should start paying attention to the actual strip instead of the empty circle?

        1. Yes, the test was negative again the next morning. So it went morning = negative, afternoon = positive, morning = negative.

  31. Hi Kath! I am starting to track my cycles in hopes to get pregnant soon! Just trying to learn my cycles before hand. I too seem to ovulate late in my cycle. I am just wondering how many days your cycle was? I am afraid I have too short of a luteal phase. I have heard of getting pregnant with an 9 day LP but in TCOYF said it should be like 10-16 days. Not sure if you can help me but just thought I would see if you have input. Also, not sure I actually ovulated this month because I have not had a temperature shift but had positive opks. I am just trying to relax but it’s difficult! Thinking about acupuncture! 🙂

    1. On day 11 – I think the pack held 20 testers so it was good for a whole month. But you’re right they are expensive.

  32. I love this blog! I’m in the exact same place you were in when you began trying. I just used Clear Blue Easy Ovulation Predictor and have yet to get that smiley face. I have a personal question… Did you and your hubby do it just once after getting smiley face or multiple times? I, like you read every forum on OPK and they seem to really work, just curious if it only took one shot after you saw the smiley face?
    Thanks for all the info, it is sooooo helpful!

  33. Hi Kath, thank you for sharing this information. It’s reassuring to read this now that my husband and I are trying. I took my last birth control pill on November 21st and am on my third cycle. The first cycle was 25 days and I’m not sure when/if I ovulated as I didn’t temp. The second was 27 and I ovulated on CD14. I am currently on my third and it’s CD20 with no sign of ovulation. Unfortunately I’ve had three (yes, 3!) yeast infections (sorry for tmi) since I stopped the pill and am trying to clear this one up. I had fertile cm several days ago and have no idea what I would have at this point because of the infection. At this point it’s just a waiting game. I read somewhere that an egg released after CD21 was “poor quality”, but I am thankful to see that you got pregnant on CD25, so there is still hope!

  34. I’m not sure if you look this far back at comments but I thought I’d give it a shot. When you took the 2nd OPK test, did you wait 4 hours to test? It’s just odd that your first morning pee didn’t have enough concentration to test positive if you were positive. Thanks so much. I just love your blog.

    1. I don’t remember the timing, but from what I understand the hormone the OPK detects shoots up and dips in a really short window, so when I sensed it was coming I tested more often

  35. Hey Kath-your posts have been very helpful for me as I’m early in the TTC process! I’m wondering whether or not you have your “completed” pregnancy cycle Fertility Friend chart. If you do, would you be willing to share it? I know it’s personal so I totally understand if not. I just wondered what your temps looked like before you tested and got your BFP, and what they looked like the first few days post positive test (clearly I’m in the TWW and looking for any sort of patterns from others who have had healthy pregnancies:-)).

    Thanks either way!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.