>> Friday, April 7, 2017
A lot of our TTC journey for Eloise was pretty dark, you know? But there were some moments we just had to laugh. I spent countless hours on forums sussing out the best techniques to get and stay pregnant. I mean, there's some insane stuff out there. I thought it would be interesting to share the wackiest methods I found, some of which I tried . . . and others I didn't. But I'll leave the guessing up to you.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. I am simply sharing the TTC tricks I have found from the bellows of the internet in my most maddening times of infertility/recurrent miscarriage. Please discuss taking any supplements and doing anything else drastic to change your routine with your doctor.
Want to get pregnant fast? Pre-Seed Lubricant has you covered. Other lubricants may actually hinder the sperm's journey, but Pre-Seed gets those swimmers where they need to go in record time. This stuff is pricey, but it boasts a "clinically-proven" reputation, apparently mimics your own fluids, and may even help support sperm quality. Some women in TTC forums (you know -- infertility lore) believe this stuff helps more abnormal sperm get to the egg, increasing chances of miscarriage.
You know the Diva Cup and Luna Cup? Well, there's a disposable version of this period-catching device called the Instead Soft Cups. Women across the web explain that you can insert these guys after having sex to help keep the sperm next to the cervix, supposedly greatly increasing chances of conception. Not only that, some say they have their partner, uh, deposit into the cup and then insert if there's no time to do the deed on an important day (some same-sex couples even used this method to help with donor sperm).
Using OPKs, as they are affectionately called in short-hand, isn't too weird. It's taking them multiple times a day -- 3 or 4 times -- that's the trick. Women say you can miss your surge unless you're really keeping track. Some believe the surge shows up most in the morning urine. Others say in the afternoon. Whatever the case, these strips measure the LH hormone that is present during ovulation. When the test line is darker than the control, it means ovulation will happen within a day or so. My advice? Use cheap test strips versus the electronic versions. The fancy and expensive type with smiley faces were confusing. My friend gave me a TON of her leftover cheapies, and I took them to my heart's content until I got pregnant with Eloise.
Word on the street is that taking this popular health food -- Maca Powder -- may do a number of things to help your chances of getting pregnant -- fast. Some women say it immediately helps balance their hormones and makes ovulation stronger. It may also increase libido, all while having some benefits for men with regard to fertility and virility. Others report that they stop ovulating while taking it. And some others say it worked for them after the second or third month of taking it.
I will fully admit I definitely did the Royal Jelly thing. Why am I sharing that I did this one? I believe it may work. I actually learned about it from a reader. What is it? Well, it's a supplement made from a secretion made by honey bees intended to nourish their larvae. It tastes like honey. The two months I used Royal Jelly (Stephen did, too!), I got pregnant. The first ended in a miscarriage and the second ended in Eloise. I took a heaping teaspoon in the morning and at night. Then I stopped taking it in the two-week wait. Both of the months I took it, my ovulation felt very strong and happened many days earlier (day 16 and -- on the month Eloise was conceived -- day 14 versus day 18-20).
I wrote a post about Seed Cycling a while back. Here's installment I and installment II for your reading pleasure. The idea here is that you may balance your hormones (estrogen/progesterone) by eating certain seeds at different times in your cycle. You eat one tablespoon each ground flax and pumpkin seeds in day 1 of your cycle through ovulation. Then you eat one tablespoon each ground sunflower seeds and sesame seeds from ovulation through your period. Yes. You can probably tell I am admitting I tried this trick, too. I put the seeds in a morning smoothie. I got pregnant with Eloise the month I did it. Who knows!
Progesterone Cream seems like a favorite baby-sticking trick for women who may not qualify to get prescription progesterone supplements. Some women with PCOS even report using it to try and suppress ovulation for several months in hopes of making a stronger ovulation. You simply apply the cream to different parts of your body to try and supplement your body's own stores. This trick is often brought up in forums among women who have had multiple miscarriages -- people seem to either swear by it or say it totally does nothing compared to prescription supplements.
Temperature via Vag
I've written about tracking basal body temperature using a special thermometer. I do think this method works because it helps you see what your body might be up to ovulation-wise. I was even able to "predict" an early miscarriage this way. Basically, many women get a temp spike around ovulation each month. In the second phase of your cycle, progesterone in your body keeps temps high. If they don't plummet, you may be pregnant. If they do, you'll likely get your period. Anyway, the trick here is that taking the temperature in your vagina -- yes, just do it -- is way more effective than taking it in your mouth. You can learn so much about this whole thing in the bestselling book Taking Charge of Your Fertility.
You can also buy a special Ferning Microscope to help monitor when ovulation might occur. You put your saliva in the scope and then look at it. When it create a ferning pattern, it's time to get busy. This tool gets mixed reviews. It's the size of a lipstick case, so it's easy to take wherever you're going. And it is potentially very helpful if you have irregular cycles and have absolutely no idea when you might ovulate based on the calendar.
Alternative Medicine, etc.
Some women think getting a chiropractic adjustment got them pregnant. Others say it's acupuncture that helped balance their chi and helped their body accept a pregnancy. I believe taking on a regular yoga practice lowered my stress levels and -- possibly -- helping me conceive. (Though, I do not believe that stress causes miscarriage ONE BIT.) What I want to add with this bullet is that if you're in the terrible trenches of a long TTC journey, you'll probably run across a lot of articles -- like this one -- where women SWEAR that X, Y, or Z made it SO EASY.
I am not trying to diminish anyone's feelings, but there are several camps of TTC-ers you'll encounter. What you may come across most often are women who don't get pregnant the very first month they try . . . that "miraculously" get pregnant by trying a number of popular tricks within a couple months. The thing is, it often takes several months for healthy couples to conceive naturally. So, many hints and secrets you come across need to be taken with a double margarita, rim lined with lots of salt.
I hope you found this post interesting. Like I said, I cannot say these things work or don't work. Sometimes just trying something can help you get through the madness and feel like you have some control when, in reality, maybe you really don't. Some of these things, like eating seeds, don't seem to hurt. Others, like taking hormonal creams, might. So, again. Discuss any big changes to your routine with your doctor.
9 Weeks + 4 Days D&C
Moving Forward or Trying
The Girl Who Cried "Pregnant!"
Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Healing My Infertility Wound