I belong to a band of women who are “actively trying”. We go from day to day tracking our cycles, working out what day our period is due and from that working out what cycle day we are on. After we ovulate we start to work out how many days past ovulation we are. We then drive ourselves absolutely batty wondering if every little twinge or symptom we have up to the due date of our next period means we are, in fact, with child. We live in a world of acronyms and any woman who is part of the “actively trying” club will know exactly what TTC, CD, 2WW, BD, CM, BFP, BFN, EWCM, OPK, CP, LP, LH, OV, MC and POAS* means to name but a few. Don’t know what these are? I’ll post a handy guide at the end of this blog post.
When I was with my ex-husband and we were trying for a baby I was so busy with work and then with the business we had together I didn’t do any kind of tracking whatsoever. My cycles were regular so I knew when my mid-cycles were and told him accordingly and it was perfunctory and for a purpose rather than because we wanted to. Month after month it didn’t happen but when it did and I lost the baby always around the 6-8 week mark I knew by the time I’d had four of these there was something wrong. There were always very long gaps in between each miscarriage I had and with hindsight I should have picked up on that, but I had every test imaginable and the tests found nothing wrong with me to explain the miscarriages. They did in fact find something wrong with my ex and we were told the only way we would be able to have a baby together was to have ICSI treatment. 10 days before I was due to start having the first injections, my ex-husband and I split up.
I got together with an old friend who I hadn’t seen for six years in April 2012, and we got married in April 2013 one year to the day that we got together. The following month I was pregnant with Frankie. My husband and I talked about when to start trying for a baby and wanted to have at least a year together before going down that road, but we did start trying in March 2013 thinking that because of my age and the time it took me to get pregnant in the past it would be a few months before I got a BFP. On May 14th 2013 a clearblue digital pregnancy test came up “pregnant 2-3” and I was absolutely stunned. My husband and I were trying but weren’t really actively trying.
After Frankie was born sleeping when I was 33 weeks pregnant I got the all clear to start trying again from the doctors and consultants who I saw at Birmingham Women’s Hospital in March. At this point I became a member of the “actively trying” club.
Not a day has done by where I haven’t thought about getting pregnant again, I’ve taken my higher dose folic acid religiously, taken pre-natal vitamins daily, read up on website after website after website of things I should and shouldn’t do when actively trying, cut out certain foods and drinks, tried to stay as healthy as possible, tried to exercise as much as possible, tried to keep my stress levels down which believe me has been a VERY difficult thing to do with everything that happened to me last year, used my OPK’s religiously to track when I’m ovulating, took my temperature to look for evidence of it and much more. I tried all sorts of things such as should my husband and I make love every day or every other day during my fertile time, when is the best time to make love, what positions are best, should I keep my legs in the air afterwards and stay lying down….you name it. I’ve put things off that I’ve wanted to do, trips I’ve wanted to make, flying has been an absolute no-no “just in case” I am pregnant and my whole life is centred on trying to conceive an ever elusive rainbow baby.
I guess I was naïve. I thought that as it happened so quickly with Frankie it would happen quickly again. Last year I conceived 3 times in May, August and December but all of them ended earlier than they ever had before and were classed as “chemical pregnancies”. It was only the one in May that was classed as a “miscarriage” because I was 6 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Any losses earlier than six weeks are called “chemical pregnancies”, which is a horrible, horrible term. I got the positive pregnancy tests to prove I was pregnant, more than one for each pregnancy so it wasn’t as if I had a duff test but just a few days after them I lost it. Now I’m having more tests, scans and blood tests as I’ve been told I could have low progesterone, a problem with the lining of my uterus or a LP problem. They can all be fixed but the tests will see if I have any of these.
I’m drawn to the Babycentre website’s actively trying community page like a bee to flowers. It is a space for women like me who are actively trying to post questions, ask for help and ask others to look at photos of pregnancy tests of the faintest of faintest lines and ask if they have finally got a BFP. I’ve picked up a lot from this but equally I know that at times it messes with my head – should I do this, should I do that, what’s the best time to do x – my head is full of it. And then the piece de resistance – the hurt and upset I feel whenever I see on the community that someone has got a definite BFP.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy and pleased for them as well, but whenever I see photos posted of positive pregnancy tests I often burst into tears and think why can’t it be me. Even when I do get a positive test I can’t be happy or excited about it because I am always thinking in the back of my mind that it won’t last. I realised one thing this week – with Frankie I was 2 days late and the line on the Superdrug pregnancy test I took was very strong, and I backed it up with a clearblue digital test. The lines on the tests I took the 3 times I conceived this year have all been very faint lines when I’ve gone past my period due date. I bet if I had done clearblue digital tests they would have come up “not pregnant”. So from now on I refuse to get even the slightest bit excited if I have a pregnancy test with only a faint line on it, I will only believe it if the line is strong. I remember back in May when I had the miscarriage the lines were stronger than the last 2 times I conceived, and I got a clearblue digital test to back it up as well.
I have times where I stay away from the Babycentre actively trying page completely, and times where I am on it ALL the time. There are times where I find it helpful and comforting, and times where I don’t feel like it is helping in my quest to become pregnant. But I’ve got to know a few of the ladies on there and they are there for me when I have no-one else to talk to. I try to talk to my husband about it and I think he tries to understand but I don’t think that as a man he’ll ever truly know how I feel on this journey. Likewise I will never understand how he felt about losing his much loved and much wanted son.
I wish I could chuck all this away, put it out of my mind and get on with my life without all this knowledge, tracking my days, tracking my fertile time etc. People say all the time “relax and it will happen” but when you are my age and when you have been through so much to try and be a Mum and you know you don’t have much time left on the proverbial clock, it is extremely difficult to do. All I can hope is that my husband and I fire enough arrows so to speak around the right time of the month for me and that one of the arrows results in a bullseye.
Can any of you reading this relate to my actively trying journey? Are any of you actively trying like me? I would love to hear from you so we can help keep each other sane. Please leave a comment on here or email me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
* List Of Abbreviations
TTC – trying to conceive
CD – cycle day
2WW – two week wait (the period of time from when a woman ovulates until she gets her next period)
BD – baby dance
CM – cervical mucus
BFP – big fat positive (pregnancy test)
BFN – big fat negative (pregnancy test)
EWCM – egg white cervical mucus
OPK – ovulation prediction kit
CP – chemical pregnancy
LP – luteal phase
LH – lutenizing hormone
OV – ovulation
MC – miscarriage
POAS – pee on a stick