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conception

Plans are made to be broken, or so they say.  I don’t like when my plans are broken. I like when everything goes according to plan.  Which isn’t to say that I don’t like to be surprised by life, I do, it is just that sometimes it is nice when everything works out the way I had planned.

It has been nine months now.  Nine months of actively trying to conceive baby #2.  We are now into the realm of “if we had gotten pregnant (enter month) we’d be having a baby now.”  That sucks, there is no other way to say it, it just sucks.  Maya is going to be 3 in a little over a month.  She was supposed to have a new sibling right before or shortly after her third birthday, that was our plan.  Now, we are looking at her being at least 3 and a half, at least.

Each month that goes by it gets a little harder.  Each month the disappointment is a little harder to bare, it hurts a little deeper.  My body has disappointed me and I hate to say that because it has done some pretty awesome things for me, namely creating and carrying the perfect almost 3 year old that fills our house with her sweetness.  But, right now, it is not helping me out, it is not doing what it was designed to do, it is not getting pregnant.  So, as much as I hate to say it, I’m angry at my body, angry at myself.

Today I’m heading to the doctor.  We’ll talk all about what is going on.  We’ll talk about the fact I have been off the pill for 11 months now and actively trying to get pregnant for 9 months and yet still nothing.  We’ll talk about the things that may be behind this inability to get pregnant; my ovarian cyst, my endometriosis, my one non-functioning fallopian tube and hopefully we’ll talk about a solution, a way to make my body work.  I don’t expect this appointment to end with a magical solution, but I do hope it is the beginning of find some answers.

I expected baby #2 to come along just like baby #1 did, perfectly according to plan.  The best laid plans don’t always work out.

coffee

For many people, women and men alike, caffeine is absolutely essential to their day.  Going without their usual cups of coffee or tea or soda throughout the day is out of the question.  However, for pregnant women, or women trying to conceive, caffeine may not be safe.  You should talk to your doctor about your caffeine consumption early in your pregnancy and determine if you need to make changes.

Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic.  As a stimulant it elevates your heart rate and your blood pressure, both of which can have a negative effect on your pregnancy.  Also, as a diuretic caffeine causes your to urinate more frequently, affects your bodies ability to absorb calcium and iron and decreases your bodies fluid levels which can lead to dehydration.  Several studies suggest a link between caffeine consumption and an increase risk of miscarriage and preterm births.  Although there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to caffeine consumption during pregnancy most doctors recommend that you stay away from caffeine if you can, and if you must consume some caffeine you should limit your intake to less than 200mg (or about 2 regular cups of coffee) per day.

Many people forget all the things that caffeine can be found in and think mostly about coffee when thinking about caffeine.  However, caffeine is found in all sorts of products including coffee, tea, hot chocolate, lots of sodas, chocolate, ice cream and some pain relievers like Excedrin.  So when you are trying to avoid caffeine be sure to remember it is in a lot more than you think.

If you are a big coffee drinker be sure to talk to your doctor about his or her recommendations regarding caffeine consumption during pregnancy.  When we are caring for this tiny life growing inside of us we want to do everything we can to give it the best start to life.  Sometimes we have to give up the things we love during pregnancy, but it is all worth it.

About half of all pregnancies in the United States are planned, meaning that the couple tried to get pregnant.   It can be an exciting time in a couple’s life, however, at the same time it can bring a lot of frustration, especially if it doesn’t happen right away.  Many people carry the misconception that getting pregnant is easy (I mean people get pregnancy “by accident” all the time) and if you don’t get pregnant right away there must be some underlying fertility issue.  That, my friends, is not the case.  For many couples experiencing a difficulty in getting pregnant the issue is not necessarily infertility, but rather is likely to be a matter of bad timing.

In any given menstrual cycle a woman has a 20% (1 in 5) chance of sperm meeting egg, egg becoming fertilized and implanting and of getting pregnant.  Not really great odds when you think about it, right?  Right.  But, you can make those odds work in your favor if you pay attention to your timing, pay attention to your body.

For the “average” woman a regular menstrual cycle is about 28 days.  Some women will have shorter or longer cycles which is why it is important to pay attention and to know our body.  During a regular 28 day cycle you can expect to ovulate on or about the 14th day of your cycle, however ovulation can occur as early as day 11 or as late as day 21.  This is where timing and paying attention to your body can make a huge difference in how long it takes you to get pregnant once you start trying.

In order to get pregnant the sperm must meet the egg, right?  And in order for that to happen you have to know when you are ovulating.  So, here is where it is all about the timing.  Your chances of becoming pregnant are greatest if you and your partner have sex in the few days leading up to ovulation and for a window of about 24 hours after you ovulate.  Many obstetricians and fertility specialists will recommend that a couple of sexual intercourse every other day while they are trying to get pregnant, this increases the odds that there will be healthy, vibrant sperm present when you ovulate.

So, how do you know when you are going to ovulate.  There are several things you can do to determine when in you are ovulating.  They including:

  • Tracking your basal body temperature. When ovulation has occurred your basal body temperature will rise.  You will need to do this for a few months in order to determine when you typically ovulate during your cycle.  Remember, once you have ovulate you have a window of about 24 hours before you lose your chance of becoming pregnant that month.
  • Checking your cervical mucus.  This involves testing the consistency of the mucus around your cervix.  As you approach ovulation the consistency of your cervical mucus will change making it a more welcoming environment for sperm.   When you are most fertile (just about to ovulate) your cervical mucus will be of an egg white consistency.
  • Using an ovulation prediction kit.  These can be purchased at any pharmacy in the same aisle as home pregnancy kits.  These kits test the LH or luteinizing hormone in our urine.  The LH levels will go up the day before you ovulate.  These tests can be a bit expensive so you may want to try the other options first before trying out the ovulation prediction kits.

85% of healthy, fertile couples will successfully become pregnant within 1 year of trying to conceive.  It is all about your timing and knowing your body.  If you know when you are going to ovulate you can plan to have sex around that time to help increase your odds.  Timing is everything.

If you have not become pregnant after 1 year (after 6 months if you are over 35) of trying talk to your doctor so they can work with you and determine if there may be some underlying fertility issue.