Positively Pregnant

Pregnant

It’s 10 days past ovulation, and I know it’s still early. I lie in bed for a while and tell myself not to get discouraged if the test is negative because most tests are not positive until 13-15 dpo. Finally I get up and unwrap one of my cheap internet strips. I pee in the cup, dip the stick and wait.

Nothing.

And then I went on to have a jar party for breakfast!!

IMG_3104Blog

If you aren’t familiar with the TTC forums, like the ones at Fertility Friend, you’d be surprised about what a huge online world it is. I didn’t participate too much, but I read a lot of forums to absorb as many real life experiences as possible. In the trying-to-conceive world, many women go to every extreme to try to see a faint line on a test 8 days past ovulation. This is too early for 99% of tests to be positive, but they test anyways. Since one women had gotten a positive that early (likely a miscalculated ovulation), it gives hope to the rest and crazy “POAS addicts” are born. I am not claiming to be exempt from this – I definitely got a little crazy at times examining tests in 10 different lights, and yes, even Photoshopping them to see if a line appeared under dark exposure and high contrast.

I had read about debates between first morning urine (FMU) and second morning urine (SMU) on the forums. The women there all had different times of day that they swore by. Some proclaimed that they always got darker lines in the evenings, others got the darkest lines the second time they went to the bathroom – after breakfast. Because some women swear by SMU, I took a second test that morning.

And I saw pink!! A second line. Well, not really a line – more like a smudge. But having stared at tons of tests that were stark white, I recognized something was different.

10-dpo-(3)

10-dpo-SMU-PS

10 dpo Wizels

[I have to pause here and give a major shout-out to my pregnancy BFF Caitlin. Caitlin was my confidant, and we talked online daily to discuss my symptoms and thoughts on what was going on. Having someone to chat with was so helpful emotionally – in the good times and the confusing ones. Caitlin and I continue to chat daily about pregnancies, and I’m so thankful for our friendship!]

So of course my first reaction when I see a pink smudge is to take a photo and email it to Caitlin!

“Do you see it!?”

She said she could – just a little – but that I should go take an expensive test because these cheap strips are so hard to see and can sometimes produce evaporation lines and false smudges.

So I broke out one of my super expensive FRERs – First Response Early Result. These are the tests that the women in the TTC forums consider to be the golden standard. They are fast and provide clear results. With shaking hands, I took the test expecting more stark white.

BUT – THERE WAS A LINE! A REAL LINE!! Clearly visible!

10 dpo PS

This was the point in the day that my breath caught in my throat and I knew: I was pregnant.

And not only that – I was going to have a baby. After multiple squeals – both in my house and in Caitlin’s G-chat window – I couldn’t stop smiling.

Now don’t get me wrong – I knew there was a chance (at this point still days before my period was due – about a 50% chance) that the baby “wouldn’t stick,” as they say. But I had no choice but to hope for the best. Getting pregnant for the first time was still a huge leap forward: Matt and I could biologically conceive. While other things could still go wrong, the answer to the “are we able” question was now answered. There was a good chance that the tiny ball of cells inside of me would grow into my first baby, and the thought made me love it already.

Up next: The Two Week Wait

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!!

Smiley

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

Ovulation

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

Up next: Positively Pregnant

Cycle 2: Declaration Of Ovulation

We have a bit of a goldilocks story going on here. My first period was long, my first cycle was short. My second period was short (4 days), and my second cycle was L.O.N.G!

This month, cycle 2, I decided I wanted the knowledge of what was going on under my skin. I wanted to know which day I ovulated (and IF I was ovulating) and if my temperature would rise as it had for all the women I had read about when I had thought I was pregnant during cycle 1. So, against everything I said before, I started charting.

Charting turned out to be fun, and I was SO GLAD I had the information. I used Fertility Friend, which is an awesome program that uses computer models to predict ovulation and cycle statistics. I bought a basal thermometer at CVS and started to take my temperature between 6:30 and 7 every morning. My chart was a little erratic, but Fertility Friend told me I ovulated on day 11 – so early! Since my last cycle was short, I figured this made sense.

Note the first dip circled here:

FFcycle2

[I’ll pause here for a moment to say that I was also paying close attention to my cervical fluid – but I’m not going to go into detail on that because it’s gross!! However, I will say that it seemed to be doing what I thought it should do around the fertile time : ) There is lots of information on the internet about the different types of cervical fluid, like this site and this one.]

I also tried some cheap ovulation strips I ordered from Amazon this month, but I ran out before the test ever went positive (another hint I probably ovulated in the mid-twenties). But these tests were also SO hard to read. Some of them looked almost positive to me. I found them very confusing.

About 10 days after that day 11 dip, I started taking tests. 10 days past ovulation (dpo), 11 dpo, 12 dpo – tests were all still negative. Then I went to Foodbuzz, which involved a 4:30 am wake-up call to go to the airport. This threw off my chart a lot with a really low temp, circled here:

cycle2sf

I manually threw out the temp because I woke up so early I figured it was not accurate data.

When I was in San Francisco, in a different time zone, my temps were high. I attributed this variation to the time changes, but I think this is actually when I ovulated – around day 22-25. Too bad I was 3,000 miles away from my husband!

Back at home, around cycle day 28, my period was “late.” Of course I only had one cycle to go off of and a funky temperature chart confusing me even more. Fertility Friend didn’t know I was in a different time zone, and it recalled its original declaration of ovulation and plopped it smack in the middle of my trip.

I still thought there was a chance we had conceived some other week and since my period was late – and again, I was having crazy PMS symptoms, I continued to take tests. But finally at about 17 dpo from my original day 11 ovulation date, I gave up and waited for my period. Sure enough it came – on cycle day 37.

I’m still not sure which day I ovulated, but I do think it was while I was in San Francisco, so it’s no surprise we didn’t conceive. I waited for my period to end and another cycle to begin. I had stopped drinking full-size servings of alcohol after ovulation, so it had been quite a while since I’d had a big mug of beer. I celebrated my period week with alcohol every night!

Up next: Cycle 3: Knowledge or Luck?