I got cross-hairs!

I am trying, and failing, not to be stupidly excited at the moment. As I mentioned in a previous post I’ve resurrected my old Fertility Friend account. To the uninitiated this  an online service where you can record your basal body temperature and all manner of bajingo related information. It then enables you in all manner of obsessive, neurotic tendencies and allows you to share your burgeoning mental illness (by way of a pregnancy test addiction) with like-minded people. Well that’s my experience of it, I don’t wish to offend any other users, I am speaking strictly about myself with all of the above.

If you are very lucky, after days and days of entering temperature information and a myriad of other fun (yet slightly gross) facts about yourself into your chart, lovely little cross-hairs appear and declare you have probably ovulated. It then gives you a date approximately 3 years in the future (okay, it only feels that way) when you can take a pregnancy test. I will speak for others now when I say that (I’d bet) NO ONE lasts until their suggested testing date. Well maybe some people do, with wills of steel, but those kind of people scare me a little.

This morning I got my very own super-lovely set of cross hairs and the proclamation that I am 3 DPO (probably).

I am very excited.

But I probably shouldn’t be. See I had this last Summer. I had a number of occasions where Fertility Friend would decide I’d ovulated and then maybe a week or more later would take a look at my wacky temps and failure to materialise either a period or a positive pregnancy test and it would take them away again. I am now going to have to face the next few mornings with a certain sense of dread as I internally plead with my thermometer to give me a reading above 36.1°C, because it’s too late to plead with my body to release an egg last Tuesday. I want to be in the 2 week wait so badly.

My best friend does have some wonderful words of wisdom when it comes to the pregnancy guessing game “either you are or you aren’t, and you’ll know which one it is eventually.” Sage advice indeed, but it’s all too easy (and admittedly a bit fun) to get carried away.

Stick cross-hairs, stick.



I’ll lay it on the line and say that I’m a skeptic. I think homoeopathy and reiki and the like are balls, but I am a believer in reflexology. During my last pregnancy I had symphysis pubis dysfunction, that’s SPD to you. When you are pregnant the hormone relaxin (possibly the most appropriately named hormone ever) has the job of softening up the ligaments in your pelvis to make it marginally easier to pass 7+ pounds of infant out, but sometimes it does it’s job a little too well which results in the ligaments beginning to separate and many many hours of saying “ouch!!!!”, shuffling and occasionally crying. It was only after my daughter was born that I actually began to appreciate just how disabled SPD had made me. It was a revelation and a joy to be able to walk without pain.

It wasn’t all bad though. I managed to get a couple of days of relief after reflexology sessions. I didn’t go to those sessions for the SPD, I went to try and get myself geared up for labour but it did miraculous things for my pelvis, so I’m a believer.

It was only yesterday that it occurred to me that I know someone who is trained in reflexology AND that she is trained in fertility reflexology. I called her up and I’ve made myself an appointment to go next week and see if she can prod my big toe to it wakes up my ovaries.

I’m continuing with charting. I’m not sure how reliable my temping is though. I actually think having the thermometer at the side of the bed makes me sleep worse. I wake up a couple of times per night and shove it in my mouth before I even realise that it’s actually only 2 in the morning, or 3 or 4. I’m the same way the day before I have anything important to do in the morning, I wake up every hour because I’m terrified of missing it or sleeping in.  So much for being relaxed.

I’m having some positive signs that may be pointing towards ovulation. I suppose I’ll know within a few days depending on what my (probably unreliable temperature does). Fingers crossed I have something good to report.

A Positive Chat with my Doctor

I had a nice little chat with my doctor on Friday about this trying to conceive (TTC) lark. She is of the opinion that I stand a very good chance of ovulating before my first postpartum period because I’ve been breastfeeding for so long, apparently I’m unlikely to get a “warning period.” Her advice was to keep on taking folic acid and throw all notions of contraception out the window. She did raise the issue of my weight loss though, and said maybe it could be delaying my fertility coming back. I’m not remotely underweight and I haven’t been on a crash diet. I have a very healthy BMI of 22 (possibly a little bit higher considering the weekend of gluttony I’ve just had celebrating my wedding anniversary, and I intend to compound the problem with a mountain of popcorn later today when we go see Harry Potter) but I used to have a much higher BMI (35, yikes) and I’ve lost over 90lbs in the last year. I’ve been maintaining since April so I’m hoping between that and night weaning things are beginning to settle down. As I left she said I hope next time I see you it’s because you’re coming back with a nice positive pregnancy test.

It was so nice to have a conversation with someone where they didn’t raise their eyebrows and ask if I was crazy. I finally got my hands on some B6 as well, the B12 won’t be wasted either as I’ve read that it’s good for men to take so I’m palming that off on husband.

I’m feeling pretty positive. I know that it could still be months away but I feel like I’m taking control in some small way.

Hopefully I’ve have something more interesting to report soon.

Crunchy Granola Vs Science Girl

There’s a big dichotomy in my personality, on the one hand I’m a trained scientist, a thorough sceptic and completely anally retentive. On the other hand I kind of want to be a hippy. I admire the people who get through the whole nine months without asking what flavour their baby is (I never managed it). I admire the people who take a laid back “let’s see what happens” approach. The problem with knowledge is that once I learn something, I can’t unlearn it, I can forget huge chunks of it, but a nugget of it will remain.

I’ve talked before about how easily I’ve fallen pregnant in the past, but I need to be honest here, when we last decided that we were going to have a baby I got organised. I signed up for Fertility Friend membership, I ordered a bunch of ovulation tests from eBay and I picked up a fertility thermometer. There was a solid month where not a single day passed that I didn’t pee on something.

Last summer we started talking about having another baby and in anticipation of my fertility coming back I did all of the above again and drove myself completely nuts for 3 months before I gave up. I think I permanently damaged my eyesight in that time too squinting at tests trying to will a second line into existence.

I have some romantic notions about how I want to do it this time. I want my crunchy granola side to reign, and crunchy granola is not at home to graphs and statistics. I have idle fantasies about just relaxing, about not testing from about 7 DPO onwards, about having my husband there when I take the test and letting him tell me the result, and finally about staying resolutely team yellow.

Yet I found myself this morning waking up and sticking a BBT thermometer in my mouth AND then resurrecting my old Fertility Friend account (albeit the free version) to record the verdict.

I can’t fight the annotating lab coat wearing me.

It’s not like we’re Duggars

It’s day 6 of the agnus castus, except I haven’t taken it yet. I’m going to try taking it later in the day, maybe with dinner, in the hopes that having something substantial in my stomach with mitigate the vomit-inducing side effects of it.

It’s not that I’ve entirely made up my mind to have another baby now. I just want some options. It’s frustrating to be out of control of your body. I can only imagine what it’s like for people with actual fertility problems. I don’t think I could cope with that at all. In the past I have fallen pregnant very easily, “trying” for a baby barely seemed like the appropriate phrase. The first two defied all sorts of odds and contraceptive measures while with the pregnancy I lost and my youngest daughter, it was a case of I want to be pregnant and then three weeks later I was.

The extended family are not onside with this idea at all. They thought we were crazy to have the last baby (as much as they love her). We had a range of negative reactions, including my brother in law telling us we should learn how to use condoms. When I had the miscarriage friends of mine implied that it was because I had gotten pregnant again so soon after having my son and losing the pregnancy was probably a good thing. It doesn’t seem to be the done thing to have a large family any more (though I come from a family of 4, my husband is one of 5 and my own mother is one of 10).  Yes money is tight and it is virtually impossible to get a babysitter (all potential babysitters are exhausted from helping out our siblings who have less children than us) yet there’s a perception that we struggle with three kids. We don’t. We have a very happy family who could barely identify a fish finger if you showed it to them. I guess this is degenerating into a bit of a moan because I’m fed up of the raised eyebrows every time I mention that we would like another child.

The most recent incidence of this was when I emailed a friend of mine who moved to Canada a few months ago. I was telling her that come September we will either make the decision to have another baby soon or we’ll postpone it for a year and book a trip to go to America to my brother-in-law’s wedding. Her reply was I have enough kids already, so I should go to Canada instead because she wants a “girly week.” Yes that’s exactly how my priorities work, I should set aside what I want from life and spend £1000+ just on flights, leave my husband and kids behind and fly half way across the globe just so I can drink Pinot Grichio and do a bit of shopping. I know she means well and I know at the heart of it is just a desire to catch up with old friends, but she’s childless and just doesn’t get it.

I suppose people are always going to have their opinions and I’m not always going to agree with them. I just don’t always need to hear them.  I’d like the people in my life to support me with a “that’s great,” because that’s all I’m asking for from them.


Allow me to introduce myself…

So here’s the story so far…

I’m 30 years old and married with 3 children. I have a 9 year old girl (unplanned, but a delightful surprise), a 2 year old boy (most definitely unplanned, but equally a delightful surprise, once I stopped hyperventilating) and a one year old girl (she was planned). In between my boy and my baby girl I had a miscarriage, but I was lucky (insofar as anyone can be considered lucky in those circumstances) that it was very early, so while it was a distressing experience I’m pretty glad it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Most of my friends and family consider me sectionable  for my desire to add to the family with baby number four. Truth is I would have done it already but my body has refused to cooperate. It’s been 20 months since my darling baby came into the world and her very close relationship with my boobs has made making a sibling for her a physical impossibility.

I’m experiencing the joy that is lactational amenorrhea, in layman’s terms I haven’t had a period since December 2008. Now it has it’s advantages, it’s fairly wonderful not to experience PMS or cramping but when it comes to wanting to make another baby, it sucks.

We night-weaned (more or less) the baby about two months ago and I was hoping that would be enough to wake up my ovaries and get them back to business but they’ve remained resolutely in their hormone induced coma.

I’m not prepared to completely wean the baby. I don’t think she would take to that suggestion well at all, and life can be stressful enough with two little ones getting under your feet and another one sky-rocketing towards puberty.

So what are my options?

I did a bit of googling, which as we all know is the solution to all life’s problems, and I hit on a few things. It seems giving soy isoflavones, agnus castus (also known as vitex or chaste berry) and vitamin b6 is worth a try. I duly took myself to my local branch of Holland & Barratt and picked up some agnus castus and vitamin b12. Yes vitamin12. I’d gotten up and taken my first dose before I realised I’d bought the wrong stuff.

I’m on day 5 of the agnus castus now and I’ve been told it can take up to 3 months to work (I wonder how much of the effect is down to the herb or just it may happen in that time frame anyway?) I really hope it works a lot quicker than that, not just because I’m totally impatient but because it makes me feel horribly sick. I don’t want to go through three months of what feels like morning sickness before I have to deal with actual morning sickness.

In the next few months I hope to chronicle in this blog my experiences of WAITING for my fertility to return (it’s like being a 12 year old again and raging with jealousy because seems like everyone else you know has gotten their period), trying to get pregnant (without graphic detail) and hopefully the eventual pregnancy and birth.

Wish me luck.

one woman's journey to get knocked up again