I know I am not the only woman in this world who has made some weird face or reaction when hearing one of these words or acronyms. The words fertility, ovulation, and the acronym TTC (Trying To Conceive) bring about an array of emotions, thoughts and expectations from person to person.
Picture it! North Carolina. 2005… high school is done, and now it’s time for my freshman year of college and all the birds and the bees conversations, and health class lectures got an upgrade. Instead of just talking about sexual reproductive organs, abstinence, and condoms, the amount of information went into overdrive. STD’s, contraception methods, fertility, freezing eggs, fetal abnormalities, genetics, and historical cases of vulnerable populations being sterilized without their consent. My goal was to be as safe as possible, and prevent any babies.
If you’ve ever had a pregnancy scare, and had to wait those 2-3 minutes for your results, or your period was just playing hide and seek, you also know the feeling of relief when you confirm you are NOT pregnant.
I say all of that to bring you up to date with my life when I hit my thirties. I was single as a dollar bill with no children, no promising relationship options, and a mindset to leave behind any immediate thoughts for love, marriage, or starting a family one day. I packed up all of my stuff in August 2019 and started my travel nursing career in hopes of living my best life with no societal expectations to settle down or start a family. I did however consider freezing my eggs just incase the right person came along. I later decided not to go through with freezing my eggs, and decided to leave my chances to fate.
If you’re a return reader, you know what happened next. On my first travel nursing assignment, I met my now husband. Meeting him threw me back into the thoughts of fertility, TTC (trying to conceive), and ovulation quickly. We were both in our thirties and looking forward to marriage and starting a family. My husband already knew his little swimmers were up to par from past testing, but I felt overwhelmed with my own thoughts. What if I finally met my forever husband and we can’t conceive? I was an A+ student at not having children, but what would be my baby making grade? My GYN doctor said that I was good to start trying. She also checked my thyroid levels and other blood work. She told me that there was no need to worry about infertility until we reached the one year mark of trying. I didn’t have a history of PCOS , fibroids, endometriosis, or irregular periods, but my doctor was concerned about my weight, and recommended a low carb diet, and wanted me to lose 30 lbs.
On the back end, I was doing research and felt overwhelmed stepping into the TTC Community. Just trying to read a post, felt like I was decoding morse code! It was too early to get a hysterosalpingogram, or any fertility testing, so I was left to just doing the do! As I started reading posts and watching videos about trying to conceive, I saw how supportive the global TTC community was. There were women from all over the world sharing their success tips, difficulties, and losses. This TTC glossary helped me make sense of everything I was researching.
I researched everything from taking your basal body temperature, evaluating your cervical mucus, using over the counter ovulation prediction tests, fertility supplements, fertility enhancing foods, and weight loss or low carb diets to get a bun in the over. Oh, and how can I forget when I stumbled across home insemination YouTube videos and position guides that literally had me almost standing on my head for an hour!
Thankfully, throughout all of my research, my husband was a team player and willing to do whatever I suggested. The biggest thing we did together, well aside from doing the do, was changing our diet. We increased our intake of fertility supportive/enhancing foods. We also increased our water intake, I started taking a prenatal vitamin, and we both increased our cardio workouts.
After seven months of TTC, a dear SBC(Sister by choice) reached out and suggested a supplement called Geritol. Word on the street in the TTC community is, “there’s a baby in every bottle.” After doing some research, my husband and I decided to start taking it. Voila! We conceived. Badda boom, badda bang! Now I can’t credit our success to just the Geritol, because we were running on all baby making cylinders, but I do find the timing interesting.
Unfortunately, twelve days after our first positive test (6 weeks and 4 days gestation), we suffered an inevitable miscarriage which led to a complete miscarriage four days later. I had never experienced such intense uterine cramping in my life, but then again, my body was letting nature take its course. My miscarriage started while I was at work in the operating room of all places. Thankfully, I was able to pass all products of conception in the privacy of our home and did not require any surgical interventions like a D&C (Dilation & Curettage). My OB/GYN medical team was so supportive, informative, and caring. Every woman and their partner/support person may feel a spectrum of emotions when experiencing a miscarriage. I think the biggest takeaways for my husband and me, were:
- Miscarriages are very common although not commonly talked about
- I am ovulating
- Sperm is swimming, and in the right direction and speed
- There is no blockage from my ovaries to uterus
- No one is to blame
- We must continue to trust God’s plan and promise
Even though I had faith to trust God’s timing, I went through a roller coaster of emotions. I never felt feelings of envy or jealousy when I saw or heard babies, but there was this longing to see the day when I could nurse or interact with a child of my own. After trying and experiencing loss, my husband and I decided to take a break and just enjoy each other without tracking windows, temperatures and drinking teas. I still kept an open ear for tips and advice from TTC forums.
The TTC community was making a lot of noise about this app and these strips that were changing the ovulation awareness game. A close family member gave me a box that she used to successfully conceive as well. Although, I wasn’t trying to stand on my head or do anything extreme, I figured tracking my ovulation would be helpful.
Well, now I have some real numbers to look at when tracking ovulation and my husband and I have found our way back to spontaneous intimacy without being so “deposit” driven. If you or someone you know is currently TTC, know that there is a global community of women across many platforms that want to see your conception hopes and dreams come true. I’m thankful for all the women that continue to coach me on, support my journey, and pray for me. If sharing my journey helps just one person, it’s worth it. At the end of the day I choose to trust God’s timing. I will continue to support other women through their own unique journey. Please don’t let this be a one way get to know me street! I want to hear about your fertility, ovulation, conception, or miscarriage experiences. Got tips? Share those too! Community and support are priceless.
Up Next – Part II: Rainbow Baby Blessing