Welcome!

 - by brandyfern

TLC for TTC offers a compilation of stories from women along their longer-than-they’d-hoped-for journey towards motherhood. My intention is that these women who shared their stories will serve as a blend of quasi-surrogate friends who are all in the same boat – the S.S. TTC (Trying to Conceive – you’re going to be seeing those initials a lot in here).  Granted, the friendships will be limited by the screen in front of you, but I hope that the words will offer you help, inspiration, gratifying “Me too!” moments and most of all, a feeling of unity with other women during what can be an incredibly isolating time.  Try to imagine yourself and each of these women in a quiet, comfortable corner of a café and this just might work.

There is an introduction, glossary and 25 stories that can be viewed by age or time spent TTC via the sidebar on the right or you can scroll down and begin reading various womens’ stories by name.  Please don’t skip the introduction and glossary – they will give you an idea of how this project was born (as will clicking on “About This Project” at the top of the page) and also some of the abbreviations and acronyms you will be seeing a lot of within the stories.

Happy reading!

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Introduction

 - by brandyfern

You’re not the only one who is secretly taking a pregnancy test even though your period has arrived.  You could be one of those women who’s pregnant, but still gets her period, right?  You are not the only woman who mid-sex, cheers on sperm and egg.  And, you are not the only one who wants to knock someone’s teeth out when they say to you, “If you just relax, it will happen.”

There are a whole bunch of us.  In fact, there are an estimated 6 million couples a year who experience infertility.  But like me, you probably wouldn’t know it based on the fact that mostly everyone going through this is so tight-lipped about it.  Sure, there is a wealth of information about the science side of it all (luteal phase, FSH, HCG…), but it’s slim pickins when it comes to emotional support for this journey.

For me, the emotional support that I needed and wasn’t getting – which ultimately fueled the fire that birthed this book – was an opportunity to talk with other women who were going through the same thing as I was.  It’s really so simple – I just wanted to know that I wasn’t the only one pulling my hair out every month during the two weeks after I ovulated.  I guess in a way, it’s selfish – I wanted to know that other people were struggling too, but more than that, I just wanted to get down to specifics with another woman who was in my shoes – How often do you have sex when you’re ovulating?  What fertility-related books are you reading?  Is there anything you won’t do after you’ve ovulated each month, in case you’re pregnant?  How do you react to your period arriving each month?  I wanted to laugh with someone about our shared neurosis.  I didn’t want to feel alone anymore.  And, of course, my husband is amazing (otherwise he wouldn’t be my husband), but he is not a constant tornado of emotions and possible symptoms like I am, so I can’t even expect that he would know what it feels like to go to the bathroom to pee and then be searching the toilet paper for a possible sign from my cervical fluid’s color or texture.  And friends, they can be wonderful and can listen and hug you and can tell you their “secret” to getting pregnant, but like most things, unless they’ve been through it themselves, they just don’t get it and probably are getting sick of you always saying, “ I think this could be the month!”

It even crossed my mind to lurk at Barnes & Noble, by the fertility section and basically tackle the first woman who reached for a book about infertility and drag her off to some coffee shop to dish about our crazy experiences, after she forgives me for the in-store takedown, of course.  My only fear was that the woman would buck me off and say, “You creep – this book isn’t for me.  And by the way, I have three kids and conceived them all without even trying,” and then dash off to the children’s section while cackling.

So, this book is the answer to my prayers and hopefully to yours, too.  When I read the first entry, it felt like Christmas morning.  I didn’t want the answers to end – “Maybe if I read them slower, they’ll last longer.”  The gratification was instant and had me screaming, “Yes!  I’m not the only one!”  At night, my husband would lay in bed reading one of his books that only someone with a Masters can stomach and I would be sitting up next to him, constantly interrupting, saying, “Listen to this, it’s just like us…” or “Oh my gosh, have we got it easy…”

Speaking of the women, they are the meat and potatoes of this book.  Without them, there would really be nothing, except me shaking my fist at the universe (like I was doing pre-book).  Once I had the idea of putting together a book of real women’s experiences, I knew I wanted to move on it immediately and so I thought, “Where can I find women who are willing to talk about this stuff?”  Why the Internet, where else?  Not only would recruiting via the Internet make the logistics of this project easier and faster, but I knew it would give me just what I wanted, a potpourri of women from all over, not just from my home town. And, there is something about not knowing the person on the other end of the mouse that makes it that much easier to really open up and be honest and dish the real dirt.  This is a topic about which we women need to be candid – we’re dealing with penises and vaginas here and all the fluids therein, there’s no tip-toeing around it!

You will notice that something a lot of these women have in common is that they frequent online chat rooms related to infertility.  Some are chatty Cathys, while some just browse the message boards and have never made a cyber peep.  And, you will also notice that these lovely ladies are highly educated about the subject of conception, so get out your pen and paper.

The women who participated in this book did so without any compensation except for getting to be the first ones to read the entries.  All the women who participated (regardless of if their story ended up making the final cut or not) are trusting, inspiring and honest women who took a chance on me – they didn’t know if I was legit or not (it’s the Internet, remember), but they believed in this project and were willing to take a risk in order to potentially help so many others.  They are gems.

I honestly don’t know where most of these women are from.  Although slightly curious about it, I decided that it wasn’t important and what was important is that we all have a common bond – living in sub-fertile conditions.  I don’t know what these women look like.  All I have to picture them by is their answers.

One thing that I thought was important and that you would hopefully appreciate is that I did not do follow-ups to each woman and tell you if she’s gotten pregnant or not (and there are some that have).  Although inspiring, I personally hate that every story like this ends up with the woman getting pregnant (did anyone read the book Babyville?).  Reading about other people getting pregnant rarely made me feel better, but just more bummed out because yet again, someone else was pregnant while I still wasn’t.  Again, selfish, I know, but I’m looking out for you gals and I don’t want anybody bummed out.  That being said, I have included a couple of stories from women who were struggling to conceive and finally did.  I know that’s fairly hypocritical, but what I was mostly interested in was to see how the perception about this process changed after someone became pregnant and I wanted to ask things like: What were your first symptoms?  Why do you think you finally got pregnant?  Were you stressed out at all the month that you conceived?  And, I have to admit, the story of the woman who tried for 10 years and then finally got pregnant really changed my outlook on everything.

Before we proceed, there’s one thing that I feel obligated to mention.  The amount of time that these women have been trying to conceive is very broad.  There is one woman that has been at it for two months and the previously-mentioned woman who had been at it for 10 years.  What I don’t want to happen is, I don’t want you to think to yourself, “This woman’s ONLY been trying for two or three months, she can’t possibly have any insight – I’ve been trying for over a year.”  There will always be someone who’s been trying longer than you, so you cannot discount the experiences of people who have been at it less time, because in someone else’s eyes, so have you.  I honestly think I was more neurotic about this process in the third month than I am now.  And also, someone who’s been trying for two or three months and has had a loss or two could possibly even claim to have had a harder time than someone trying for a year with no losses – you just never know how things can affect people.  But hopefully, you are just overwhelmed with respect and empathy for any woman who’s trying to conceive, regardless of how long she’s been struggling.

My intention is that this book will serve as a blend of quasi-surrogate friends who are all in the same boat – the S.S. TTC (Trying to Conceive – you’re going to be seeing those initials a lot in here).  Granted, the friendships will be limited by the screen in front of you, but I hope that the words will offer you help, inspiration, gratifying “Me too!” moments and most of all, a feeling of unity with other women.  Try to imagine yourself and each of these women in a quiet, comfortable corner of a café and this just might work.

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Glossary of Terms

 - by brandyfern

AF                   Aunt Flo – a cute way of saying “my period.”

BBT            Basal Body Temperature – the temperature of a woman taken in the morning, before any activity is done, that helps determine if ovulation has taken place or a pregnancy has occurred.

BD            Baby Dance – a cute way to say “sex for babymaking purposes.”

BFN            Big, Fat Negative – refers to a negative pregnancy test.

BFP            Big, Fat Positive – refers to a positive pregnancy test.

Blog            Short for “weblog,” it is a website that functions as an online journal, with dated entries.

C-SECTION            Caesarian Section – a delivery procedure that involves making an incision through the abdominal wall to remove an infant from the uterus.

CM            Cervical Mucus – mucus produced by the cervix that permits passage of sperm during ovulation and prevents infection.  Same as Cervical Fluid – CF.

Clomid            An orally taken fertility drug (Clomiphene citrate) that stimulates the hormones required for ovulation, which can lead to one or more eggs being released.

D&C            Dilation and Curettage – A treatment to stop heavy bleeding or remove residual tissue following miscarriage.

DPO            Days Past Ovulation

Endometriosis            A disease whereby cells lining the uterus (or endometrium) get outside of the uterus and stick to other organs, causing inflammation.

HCG            Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin – the hormone produced in early pregnancy, released by the placenta after implantation, that keeps the corpus luteum producing estradiol and progesterone and thus prevents menstruation. Also used via injection to trigger ovulation after some fertility treatments.

HPT            Home Pregnancy Test

HSG            Hysterosalpingogram – an x-ray procedure in which a special dye is injected into the uterus to illustrate the inner contour of the uterus and degree of openness of the uterine tubes.

IUD            Intrauterine Device – a contraceptive device inserted in the uterus.

IUI            Intrauterine Insemination – a procedure in which a doctor places sperm directly into the uterus through the cervix using a catheter.

IVF            In Vitro Fertilization – a procedure that involves removing eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them outside her body. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the woman’s uterus through the cervix.

LAP            Laparoscopy – examination of the pelvic region by using a small telescope called a laparoscope.

OB/GYN            Obstetrician/Gynecologist

OPK                Ovulation Prediction Kit

PCOS            Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – the formation of cysts in the ovaries that occurs when the follicle stops developing. This is due to a hormonal imbalance in the ovary.

PMS                Premenstrual Syndrome

RE            Reproductive Endocrinologist – an Obstetrician/Gynecologist with advanced education, research and professional skills in Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility.

SA                   Sperm Analysis

TCOYF            Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.  The “Bible” of fertility books.

TSH            Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates and regulates the activity of the thyroid gland.

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Kathryn

 - by brandyfern

How long were you TTC before you got pregnant?

I tried to conceive for roughly ten years.  However, not all of this time was spent “actively” trying.  During that time, three years was spent working with a reproductive endocrinologist, three years was spent charting and/or using an ovulation prediction device and nearly four years was simply “not preventing,” but not actually “trying” either.

What were your and your guy’s ages when you got pregnant?

I am currently pregnant for the first time.  I am 34 years old and my partner is 26 years old.

Before you started TTC, how long did you think it would take you to conceive?

This is a funny answer.  I have always been afraid of infertility.  I remember as a very young girl watching the sitcom “One Day At A Time,” where one of the main characters, Barbara Cooper, was unable to have children.  It really affected me.  I vividly remember thinking that I never wanted that to happen to me and I felt true empathy for the character.

I first started trying when I was about 24 years old.  I had deep fears that something wouldn’t work.  However, I was also naïve enough to believe that I could “pick” the month that the baby would be due.  I had spent so long learning about how to prevent pregnancy and with high school health teachers warning of the ease of unplanned pregnancies, it just seemed like you got pregnant without even trying.

However, deep-down I was always worried about infertility.

What made you and your guy decide to start TTC?

The first time trying to conceive was during my first marriage.  We both wanted children and truthfully, it was the real reason we got married.

The second time period of trying to conceive was with my current partner of eight years.  We both wanted to have a baby.

Do you have any other children?

No.

How did TTC affect your marriage?

Trying to conceive was a contributing factor in the failure of my first marriage.  Unfortunately, he was very unsupportive.  I was an emotional wreck.  I didn’t know anyone else going through the same things or experiences.  It was before the internet was commonplace and thus, there was very little access to support.  I felt very alone.

In my second relationship, my partner is extremely supportive.  He has never lost hope.  Sometimes his “Pollyanna” attitude would really irritate me.  I felt like he couldn’t accept that we would most likely never have a baby together.  I am sure that it has been very hard for him over the last eight years.  The depth of my grief most likely kept him from being able to express his own.

Two years ago, for my birthday, my sweet guy gave me a savings account with a thousand dollars in it.  It was the beginnings for saving to adopt a Chinese baby girl.  This gift really touched me.  For me, it was as though he finally acknowledged that we may never conceive, but still gave me hope that we would one day be parents.

What are some wives’ tales that you heard about TTC and did or do you believe them?

I was told so many things about trying to conceive.  Here are a few:

  1. “If you would just relax, it would happen.” I hate this one because it implies that you are doing something to keep yourself from getting pregnant.  Women get pregnant from rape, during wars, while living in domestic violence, etc.  Stress does NOT keep you from getting pregnant.
  2. “Pray to St. Gerard (the Virgin Mary, St. Anne, et al.) and you will get pregnant.”  I prayed to anyone and everyone.  Still, no baby.  Infertility is NOT a punishment from God.
  3. “Rub a pregnant woman’s belly and you will conceive.” Let me just say this doesn’t work and can annoy the pregnant lady.
  4. “Put a pillow under your butt for a half an hour after sex.” Doesn’t work.
  5. “Secretly, you must have doubts or worries about getting pregnant that are holding you back or maybe your husband secretly doesn’t want a baby.”  So, I guess all those pregnant 15-year-olds had less doubt?
  6. “It will happen when the time is right.” Again, I guess the time was right for all those crack mothers, teenagers and child abusers?

Did and do you believe that stress can stop a woman from getting pregnant?

Absolutely NOT.  This is a way to blame a person who is already suffering for her own plight.  Infertility is NOT caused by the person dealing with it.  Babies are conceived and born in the most terrible and stressful of circumstances.  Consider that everyday babies are conceived during wars, rapes, funerals, natural disasters – if it were true that stress kept women from conceiving, no one in New York City would have conceived for months after 9-11.  I hope other women do NOT fall into this trap of blaming themselves.

Did you have friends who were also TTC with whom you could talk to?

Unfortunately (for me), I never had a real-life friend dealing with infertility that I could talk with about it.  Once I found some sites on the Internet, it was a real blessing for me to meet other women experiencing the same things.  It helped me to know that my feelings weren’t “crazy” and that other people felt the same way.

Did you talk to other friends who weren’t TTC?

There were times when I tried to talk to non-trying to conceive friends.  It was usually frustrating because they simply didn’t understand what I was going through.  Usually, I was told that I worried too much and that it would happen one day.

What was it like talking to guys about TTC?

I never talked to a man about trying to conceive (with the exception of my partner).

Did and do you feel like people were more open about their TTC experiences while they were TTC or after they got pregnant?

Other than the bulletin board groups online, I never talked with anyone trying to conceive.  These groups tended to be very open since we were all in the same boat, so to speak.

Did you know what “charting your cycle” was and did you do it at any point while TTC?

Yes, I knew about charting my cycle and did it off and on for numerous months.  I wasn’t always religious at it.  I would chart faithfully for a month or two, tire of it and set it aside for a while.  It is kind of tedious.  However, it does reassure you that you are ovulating. It also helps to keep track of your cycles and to avoid wasting HPTs.

What TTC-related books did you buy?

I bought so many TTC-related books that I can’t even remember them all!  Ironically, I always put off buying Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.  I am not sure why.  However, I finally became pregnant the very month I broke down and bought it.  Coincidence to be sure… but still quite ironic.

Did you set an age goal for when you wanted to get pregnant by?

In the past ten years, I have set and passed so many goals that it isn’t even funny.  My first goal was to be pregnant by 26, then by 28 and then by 30.  This year I am 34.  I was very scared of the 35 thing…

Did and do you think that women over 35 are less fertile?

Yes.  I read so many frightening statistics about the fertility of women who are 35 or over.  I truly felt that if I wasn’t pregnant by 35 that it was never going to happen.  I think that the age thing is too over-emphasized and scares women needlessly.

Do you feel that you had more of a struggle with TTC than those under 35?

I am 34 – I have struggled since 24, so I don’t think it’s age as much as dumb luck on who gets pregnant easily!

Did any friends or family get pregnant while you were TTC?

For me, there was nothing worse than a friend coming up pregnant while I was struggling.  It was so painful that it is hard to put it into words. Jealousy is a very painful emotion.  So many times, I would wonder why it was never my turn or why I was being punished.  Of course, if it was a close friend, I so wanted to be happy for her.  I would try to fake it – but often it was pathetic.

Of course, the hardest was when people who didn’t want children got pregnant by accident or when someone I felt was undeserving came up pregnant.  It was slightly easier when someone I loved and cared about had struggled and became pregnant.

In the last six years of TTC, I did not attend baby showers.  I usually always sent a gift, however, usually children’s books that I could obtain without going to a baby section.

Did you and your guy have sex throughout your cycle every month or only while you were ovulating?

Throughout the cycle.

What is the most number of times you had sex in a 24-hour period while TTC?

Twice.

Did you get pregnant and miscarry at any point while TTC?

No, thank God.

How many people do you know who have ever miscarried?

Two in real life.

What was your sanity level like during your cycle each month?

It depended on the cycle.  In the last couple of years, I had given up all hope, so I didn’t get as upset as I had in years previous.  For me, the worst part was the two weeks after ovulation.  Waiting to know if it finally worked was torture.

How many pregnancy tests did you take while TTC?

I don’t think that I can count that high!

Did you ever take a pregnancy test even when your period arrived because you still thought you could be pregnant?

I did this so many times.  I wanted to be pregnant so badly that I would convince myself that the bleeding was “implantation” spotting.  Sometimes, I would have my period and a negative test and STILL try to convince myself that I was pregnant.

How did you center yourself and cope with this process?

I would self-talk.  I would literally need to reason with myself.  Many times, I would have to stop TTC for a while.  Taking a break is very important for one’s sanity.

Did you decide not to tell some people that you were TTC?

I stopped telling people that I was TTC because it just added pressure to my life.  Invariably, people would ask if anything had “happened yet” or say other insensitive things that just made it worse.  The only time I told someone is when they were saying something stupid about infertility.

While TTC, did you ever swear you were pregnant, but weren’t?

Every month I would think I was pregnant.  Some more than others.

There was one time that I was sure that I was pregnant.  My cycle that month went 45 days, which had never happened before.  I had spotting on day 26, which I believed was implantation bleeding.  I had nausea, tender breasts and I was tired.  Although I had numerous negative tests, I still believed that this was the month.  I was very disappointed when it wasn’t.

What kinds of symptoms did you look for every month as signs that you might be pregnant?

I knew every early pregnancy symptom by heart.  There were times that I poked my breasts so much that I made them sore!  In my mind, everything could be a symptom.

How did you react to your period arriving every month?

In the first few years trying to conceive, I would cry.  It felt like a death each month.  Sometimes, I would become so depressed that it would take days for me to recover.  In the last couple of years, I became numb to the pain.  For me, it got easier as time went on.

When you started TTC, had someone told you that it would take you as long as it did to get pregnant, what would you have thought?

Quite frankly, if someone could have told me with absolute certainty that it would DEFINITELY happen in ten years, I could have relaxed.  For me, it was not knowing if it WOULD EVER happen that made TTC unbearable.

While TTC, did you ever buy baby clothes (for the baby you were TTC)?

No, for me, the baby sections were unbearably painful.

Did you already have baby names picked out while TTC?

I have fantasized about names since I was 14 years old.

While TTC, did you own any pregnancy-related books?

I had the Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy and What to Expect When You’re Expecting, although I can’t remember when I bought them.

Did you feel like your guy understood what you were going through?

No, although he tried to be supportive.

How did your guy cope with the process?

By pretending everything was fine and I was overreacting.  In all this time, he never lost faith that we would conceive.

Did you notice that you were more or less in the mood for sex while TTC?

After 10 years of TTC, sex became a chore.

Were you ever not in the mood at all when you had sex while TTC?

Much, if not most, of the time.

Was your guy ever not in the mood to have sex while TTC?

I learned a long time ago to take the pressure off of him by not telling him when it was ovulation time.  It made it easier for him to perform.  Plus, that way he was always in the mood!

Did you ever think about conceiving while having sex?

Yes and this is also one of those famous wives’ tales – thinking about it doesn’t make it happen.  If it did, I would have 10 kids.

Did you ever elevate your hips or legs after sex to help the sperm get to their goal?

Yes, I have done this for as little as five minutes and as long as a half of an hour.

What kinds of insensitive things did people say to you while TTC?

  1. On Mother’s Day: “Oh, you don’t need a flower since you are still not a mother.”
  2. “If you would just stop worrying about it, it would happen!”
  3. From my mother (who adopted me): “Why do you care so much about having a baby – why don’t you just adopt?”
  4. “God will know when the time is right.”
  5. “You’re young – you have plenty of time.”
  6. “Infertile people shouldn’t have kids because they will pass it on to other generations.”
  7. “Maybe God means for you not to have children.”
  8. “You can take one of my kids!”
  9. “Man, I wish you were more like me… I am such a fertile Myrtle!”
  10. “I get pregnant just using my husband’s bath soap!”
  11. Said to me on my 34th birthday: “Maybe you waited too long now.”

Did you ever lose it and just have a good ole pity party?

Two months before I became pregnant, I had a “last straw” moment.  While we were out to dinner, my husband came across an old friend and his girlfriend.  She was pregnant despite being a drug addict sleeze who was smoking and drinking a beer at that very moment.  When my husband came over and told me, I felt so angry.  I said, “Why does she get a baby and I don’t!!  Maybe the secret is to be a low-life loser??  Do I have to get a heroine addiction to get pregnant???”  I guess I was very loud.

Did you buy sexy lingerie for TTC?

Yes, in the beginning.  That lost its novelty within the first two years.

Did you ever think that you or your guy might have an infertility issue?

I didn’t think so, but we still had his sperm count done.  But, I never thought of it as “my” issue or “his” issue at all.  To me, infertility is a couple’s issue… not the problem of one person or the other.

At any time, did you ever question your guy’s fertility?

Again, I didn’t ever look at it this way.  When I asked him to have his sperm count done, I explained that it was such an inexpensive and easy test compared to the ones I would have to endure, so it only made sense that we ruled out a sperm issue before we continued testing me.

Did you seek help for infertility issues?

I did during my first marriage with an RE.  The reason was because my first husband was in a terrible accident a year after we were married that left him unable to have sex.  We therefore sought to have IUIs with donor sperm.  After four months without pregnancy, the doctor decided to give me Clomid with a Profasi trigger.  Still, three months passed without pregnancy.  From there, I had a complete fertility workup that included a LAP.

I had every possible test:  blood and hormone, internal ultrasounds, HSG and LAP.  Everything returned normal and I was diagnosed with “unexplained” infertility.  I was 26 when I stopped seeing the RE and have never returned.

Did you dream up scenarios of how you would tell your friends and family that you’re pregnant when you finally were?

In the first few years, many times.  I eventually had to stop this because it would just make me sad when it didn’t happen.

Did you attend a baby shower while TTC?

I stopped attending baby showers about six years ago because it was too painful.

How did your family treat you regarding you TTC?

I didn’t talk with them much.  I am sure they thought I was a little bitter since I never seemed very happy for other people who got pregnant.

Did you prefer a friend that asked you about how it was going or one that didn’t bring up your TTC at all?

This varied.  I think it is very hard to be friends with someone struggling with infertility.

Did you find any books, CDs, online resources or anything similar that helped make the process easier on you?

Online bulletin boards are great.  However, I had to be careful because sometimes I would get overly into them and become obsessed.  Also, you start to think you have everything that other people are talking about.

Are there certain things you wouldn’t do after you’d ovulated each month just in case you were pregnant?

I stopped doing this years ago to maintain my sanity.  I couldn’t live planning around a pregnancy that may or may not happen anymore.  Instead, I had to find things to enjoy about being childish.  Therefore, I lived my life completely normally until I got a positive HPT.

Did you feel you were obsessive about TTC?

Yes, at times.  It’s very hard not to be.

Is there anything that you thought was holding you back from getting pregnant?

Yes, dumb luck.

Do you have any advice for others TTC?

Be kind to yourself.  Remember that TTC doesn’t always work out the way we planned and that it’s normal for it to take a while.  Don’t freak out if it doesn’t happen in the first few months.  A lot of getting pregnant is just about luck.

Did you start TTC in a certain month so that your baby would be born in a certain month?

Yes, in the very beginning.  I always wanted an October baby.  It didn’t take long to realize this was silly!!

Did you do anything to try to boost your fertility while TTC?

I tried all kinds of vitamins, herbs, teas, etc.  I am ashamed to admit that one time I was so desperate that I actually bought Clomid illegally from a Mexican pharmacy.

Did you change your eating or exercise habits while you were TTC?

Actually, this is one thing I attribute to finally getting pregnant.  Last year, I cut out all processed foods, refined sugars and ate on a lower-carb lifestyle.  I lost 60 pounds in four months and got pregnant soon after.

What things have you learned about yourself during this experience?

That I can survive anything.

Did and do you feel that you went going through TTC for a reason?

I don’t believe there is a reason I was infertile, but I do believe that the experience has made me a kinder and more empathetic person.  Moreover, I appreciate this pregnancy far more now than I would have without the experience!

While TTC, did you have any dreams that stood out?

Yes.  In the very beginning of trying to conceive, a little boy came to me in a dream and told me that I shouldn’t worry and that everything would be okay.  I really believed that for a long time, but gave up hope in the past few years.  Two days before my positive HPT, the little boy came to me once again in my dream.  He told me that everything is going exactly as it should and that my baby was ready to come to me.  He told me to wait two more days until I tested.  Of course, I couldn’t wait.  It was negative… until two days later.

Did and do you feel that the media does a good job of creating a forum for discussion regarding TTC?

Absolutely NOT.  I especially hate when they use it for a sitcom situation and then the character gets pregnant magically within the season!!  (i.e.- “Mad About You”)

Who do you trust more – your doctor or your intuition?

I trust both.  I think there are times when a doctor is very important.  For example, I have one friend that found out she has hypothyroidism and conceived one month after getting that corrected (she tried for two years previously).

Were you using any form of birth control before you started TTC?

No.

What do you think attributed to your finally getting pregnant?

  1. Low-carb, sensible eating
  2. Melaleuca prenatal vitamins
  3. Don Quai (1 capsule, twice per day)
  4. Luck

Did you have some euphoric experience the minute that you conceived?

No.

What were your first symptoms of pregnancy?

You know, after years of watching symptoms, I was very disappointed that it wasn’t more monumental than it was.  There really was nothing so different!!  In all honesty, the symptoms of early pregnancy are EXACTLY like those of impending AF.  It’s cruel, really.

I was never more certain that my period was coming than the month I was pregnant.  I had period-like cramps and felt moody and bloated.  My breasts were no more sore than any other pre-period time and I wasn’t peeing more than usual.  After my positive HPT, I had crampiness for several days and a backache for two.   This was all before 15 days past ovulation.

In the month that you got pregnant, did you spot at all anytime after ovulation?

I have a shorter luteal phase (around 12 days) and I had brown spotting at 11 days past ovulation.  I was certain this was the start of my period and even cried in a public bathroom when I saw it.  (I guess being emotional must have been an early sign!)

In the month that you got pregnant, how was your mindset during ovulation and leading up to when your period was expected?

I was certain it would be like every other month in the past ten years that ended in not being pregnant.  There were no magical feelings or special signs… I swear!

But, I was stressed out that month.  My father’s dog of 15 years had just died, I was in the middle of final exams and my husband had just lost his job!

How did it feel to finally have a positive pregnancy test?

Here’s my story:

I ovulated on cycle day 12, which was a day or two earlier than usual. I did get my hopes up due to a dream and so at 11 days past ovulation, when I had brown spotting to start my AF, I cried and cried in the bathroom at school – so hard that people came in from the hall to see if I was alright. I kicked myself for allowing my hopes to get up again.

But, I didn’t get my period. I didn’t get anything. So, I used the First Response Early Result test the next day. Negative. Yep, that’s my story. “Gee,” I thought, “I am still not pregnant, but now I don’t even get my period! Boy, Don Quai is soooooo funny!”  To top it all off, I had cramps and a backache.

Then came cycle day 13, which was the day the dream told me to wait until. It was a Sunday. My temperature went up, so what the heck, I tested again. My guy was asleep. I used a cup to collect as I was not going to waste my last First Response Early Result test.  So, I used a Dollar Tree test. The sample passed the window… negative. I set it down. I wasn’t so upset this time. I mean, I expected it. I washed my hands and picked up the test to throw it in the trash. I saw something…

A little pink line. I held it further away. There was definitely a line. This had to be that “evaporation line” people are always posting about that I don’t get. It couldn’t be positive.  I don’t get those. I opened three more tests – two Dollar Trees and the last First Response test. Both Dollar Trees came up positive but the First Response test was negative. “Stupid dollar tree tests,” but I was still excited. I hadn’t even ever gotten a false negative before.

I went immediately to the drug store. I bought four different types of tests. I lined them up and used the same first morning urine. All of them came up positive.  Ironically, it was only the First Response test that tested negative.

I am not a religious person, but I will tell you, I fell to my knees and thanked God in a way I have NEVER done before. As a matter of fact, until this moment, I hadn’t recognized how angry I had been at God.  But, now I believed.  This was the closest thing to a miracle I ever felt and it didn’t require a burning bush. I swore I would NEVER doubt God again. And, I haven’t.

Then I did a snoopy dance and cried and laughed and then cried and danced some more.

Since first going through TTC, do you feel more open to talking about it now?

Yes.  It is my mission now to give hope to those who have lost it.  I am living proof that miracles CAN and DO happen.

Looking back on the process of TTC, what do you think of your experience?

It was one of the most difficult to endure and painful times of my life.  I am thankful that I had the courage to get through it.

Is pregnancy as glamorous as it seems to those of us TTC?

In one word – NO.  However, I would NEVER complain about being pregnant – it took way to long to get here.  It is amazing, but uncomfortable at times, too.  One thing that is hard for those of us who get pregnant after TTC for a long time is that we feel like we have no right to complain.  So, that can be hard at times.  Complaining or being uncomfortable doesn’t mean you don’t thank God, the stars and all of heaven for being pregnant.

If you could redo the process of TTC, what would you do differently?

Nothing.  I did everything the best I could at the time I was doing it.

Do you treat your friends who are TTC differently since you’ve gone through it yourself?

I like to think I am far more sensitive to them.

What is the biggest misconception about pregnancy?

That the stress of TTC is over once you have a positive test.  I always thought the two weeks waiting was horrible, but the worry and fear for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is even worse!!  In the beginning, you worry so much.

When you finally got pregnant, looking back on the second half of that cycle, were there clues that you were pregnant?

Honestly, no.  I wish I could tell you differently.  It was like any other month – all the symptoms were very much like pre-period ones.  I would highly recommend not seeking symptoms because it just sets you up for disappointment.

Do you think you will try to get pregnant again?

Probably, however, I think (and I know this would probably anger a lot of people) that it is different trying for a second (or more) baby than it is for your first.  Not to say that secondary infertility isn’t painful, it is.  However, there is a big difference between NOT being a mother at all and not being able to conceive more children.  Therefore, I hope to be more laid back if I try again.

Is there anything that you know now that you wished you had known while TTC?

To use Don Quai until ovulation.  It worked for me and my friend!

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Chloe

 - by brandyfern

How long have you been TTC?

Two years and six months.

What are your and your guy’s current ages?

My husband and I are both 31 years old.

Before you started TTC, how long did you think it would take you to conceive?

Between two and six months.

What made you and your guy decide to start TTC?

My husband and I met later in life but knew we were the one for each other right away.  We got engaged pretty quickly (within a year after we started dating) and were married the year after.  So, we both wanted a chance to enjoy married life and each other, first.  We also tried to get our travels out of the way and tried to save money at the same time, so we waited a bit.  I wanted to be financially ready as well, so I would have enough money saved up for while I would be on maternity leave.  We started trying a little earlier than I planned because my desire just started taking over and I think I wanted it more because my friends and family were starting to have kids or were pregnant.  I think I started off feeling like I had to catch up to my friends (which I think made me much more anxious and made the process that much harder).  I also wanted to give myself a year (just in case).  Little did I know, it would take much longer.  I also had a goal to have kids before I turned 30 (I didn’t want to be too old before I had kids).  So, we started trying right after I turned 29, hoping I would be pregnant before I turned 30.

How has TTC affected your marriage?

This experience has definitely been an emotional roller coaster ride (more so for me).  I think my husband felt helpless at times when I cried (and fell apart) and he couldn’t do anything about it.  He kept trying to be positive and saying that it will happen, but every month it didn’t, it did get harder.  But overall, I think it has made us stronger as a couple and brought us closer.  I’m not the type to keep it inside, so I let everything out – all my thoughts (even negative and nasty thoughts) and I cried to my husband a lot.  But looking back, I think that helped us stay connected.  I think our sex life has been up and down.  Sometimes, it felt like a routine where we had to do it because it was that time of month.  I have to admit, at times, I felt like a machine and I just wanted to get it over with.  We did takes take some breaks in between, which helped to bring our sex life back to normal.  The months I wasn’t timing it and things happened naturally between us helped rekindle our love and passion.

What are some wives’ tales that you’ve heard about TTC and do you believe them?

I’ve heard so many different wives’ tales.  Definitely, one is to relax and not stress and it will happen.  No, I don’t believe that.  There are others like my husband needs to eat healthy, take vitamins, stop drinking alcohol or too much coffee.  I even heard things like Red Bull or caffeine actually help my husband’s sperm swim faster!  But you know what, I know so many people who got pregnant without following those things and there are others like us – we try everything right and nothing works.  So no, I don’t believe in any of that.

Do you believe that stress can stop a woman from getting pregnant?

No.  I’m a pretty calm person (don’t stress too much about things) and I even took some breaks in between (and stopped obsessing), hoping that’s when it will happen for us.  So, of course, I don’t believe it.  Maybe some women get lucky and that’s when it just happens to be the month – when they don’t want it and they don’t think about it.  But, I don’t think that you should say that it’s necessarily true because it doesn’t happen to every woman.  That’s nice when some luck out and it happens when they least expect it.  But, I think there are plenty of women out there for whom it just doesn’t happen.  People tell me, “Just don’t think about it,” but I think that’s impossible.  How can we stop thinking about getting pregnant when we are trying to conceive and trying to have something that we want so deep in our hearts?  I am proof that sometimes even if you do everything right in the book – relax, take breaks, not think about it – it still doesn’t happen.  There are so many other factors medically that can be wrong with either side and sometimes even if you do everything right, it just doesn’t happen.

Do you have friends who are also TTC with whom you can talk to?

I met some great friends through www.babycenter.com almost two years ago.  There are a couple of girls who had a hard time like me with whom I have truly bonded with.  There were times that I talked to them everyday on the board and times I needed to take a break for myself.  They have been my greatest support and saviors in some ways because I’ve been able to vent to them about my feelings and to have someone who completely understood my journey.  Sometimes, I think it’s easier to truly be honest and vent to a stranger who is not connected to your life at all.  But, despite how great these girls were for me, they were miles and miles away from me, whom I’ve never met or had any real contact with, so at times, I felt so alone.  For the longest time, I was alone on my journey with my real friends/family.  It wasn’t until a year and a half later when I started really spiraling down that I started sharing with my close friends.  A lot of friends knew I was trying, but I never truly shared what I was going through.  I’m a really open person, so I think that’s what made it the hardest.  I used to go to a church (where I knew a lot of people) and people would ask me, “So, when are you going to have kids? I thought you wanted kids,” and those who knew I was trying would ask, “Are you still trying?”  This issue was so private to me that I didn’t want the whole world to know.  So, I slowly started avoiding any situation where people could ask me anything about kids.  I dreaded going to big social functions because people can just be so insensitive.  I didn’t want to face people and hear that another person is expecting or be bombarded with those insensitive questions, so I started avoiding everything.  I think what made it hard is that I tried to deny my own feelings and convinced myself that it would happen in time.  Every time my AF would show up, I would cry and fall apart.  I think the longer we tried, the longer it took me to get myself together after AF showed up, but I would always get myself together, hoping it would happen next time (it’s the eternal optimist in me).  I convinced myself I was okay waiting and I think it took a while to admit to myself that it was hard and I had a problem.  So, when I hit rock bottom, I started slowly opening up to my close friends.  I shared my journey with one friend (who I hadn’t talked to a while) and she happened to have experienced the same thing as I did and has three children now.  She gave me so much hope.  It’s amazing because I had no idea, but she was a great support for me during my really down time.  She called me often (even though it was long distance) and we would talk for hours.

Having someone who’s been through it (even though she wasn’t my closest friend before) helped tremendously.  It’s like we had an instant bond because we truly understood where the other person was coming from.  So, I definitely believe it helps to have a friend who has gone through the same thing.  She was definitely the one person who helped me get out of my slump.  It was nice to have someone who truly understood everything I was going through and she knew all the right things to say and gave me great words of wisdom. She knew how to comfort me and knew how to relate to my feelings.

Do you talk to other friends who aren’t TTC?

Yes, I do talk about TTC with my other friends, but only recently and only to my close friends and immediate family and it’s nice to have their support.  When you have been trying as long as us, it’s hard to keep your close people in the dark.  I’m sure the first year we could have, but when you start going for medical procedures and surgeries, it’s not something you can hide.  But, it has helped tremendously to have my friends and family (the people who truly love and care for me) know about what I’m going through. They can be more sensitive and can be there for support. If you don’t tell them, how can they support you through something like this?  Most of my friends haven’t gone through anything like me, but I know they try to understand.  I think my experience has also opened their eyes and they have learned so much about this issue through me.  For me, personally, once I told all my good friends, it was like a weight being lifted off.  I think it was harder to pretend nothing was wrong and put up a façade.  Now, I can hang out with my real friends and not hide anything and it’s just really nice.  I think this process also has helped me see who my real friends are.  There are people I shared this with that would just say things like, “It will happen in God’s time,” and that was it.  They didn’t know how to give me support and I learned that they really didn’t care how I was doing.  There are the friends who just want to know what’s going on with your life (i.e. if you are pregnant or not), but not how you are really doing.  And, it was sad and disappointing for me.  There is that saying – you really know who your real friends are when things are rough in your life.  It’s so true about how it’s easy to have a lot of friends when things are going great in your life.  But, you really do see who your real friends are during your darkest moments. Now that I’m okay, those are the people with whom I choose to surround myself with these days.  I’ve just learned to cherish my true friends who do care for me and I just don’t put effort or time into the friends that don’t really care about me. I used to get so upset and hurt when I got no effort back and now I’ve learned to just let it go.  They just aren’t worth it anymore.

What is it like talking to guys about TTC?

I don’t think guys are in tune with the emotional side of things.  So, it’s harder for them to understand and even relate to us.  Guys also don’t have that desire the way women do, so I don’t think you can talk to them about this as much.  I have about three really good guy friends and they try to offer support and are really great.  One thing they are good at is cheering me up and making me realize how great life is without kids.  I had one guy friend who every time I talked to him, we would talk about our future travel plans and our future goals.  And for a while, I would actually feel like I didn’t want kids and was happy the way things are were. So, men are definitely good for that.  They help me to realize how great life is now and to even be selfish and just enjoy my life!

Do you feel like people are more open about their TTC experiences while they’re TTC or after the get pregnant?

Definitely after they get pregnant.  It’s amazing how private this issue is to everyone.  I’m sure there are a lot of people who have similar problems, but we just have no idea they are going through it because no one is willing to admit openly they are having troubles getting pregnant.  Sometimes, I also think it’s hard to put your experience into words when you are going through it.  It’s when you look back, in hindsight, that you see what was going on and it makes it easier to put into words.  I shared more with my friends after I got over my hump and after I was able to get myself together.  There weren’t a lot of people that I actually talked to during my most difficult times.  It’s so hard to share something so intimate, especially when someone cannot relate or understand.  So, I do find it a lot harder because people are so private about it.  Most of my friends got pregnant really easily or aren’t TTC yet, so that made it more difficult for me to open up.  I do believe that someone is bound to encounter problems like me and all I hope is that now that I’ve opened up, that they will do the same.

Do you know what “charting your cycle” is and have you done it at any point while TTC?

Yes, I learned how to chart my cycle from www.fertilityfriend.com.  I was charting for about a year and a half and I started about five months into trying.  I wasn’t really timing it my first five months and I only started charting because I figured I was doing something wrong.   Taking my BBT did help to see that at least I was ovulating and that I was pretty regular.  I enjoyed seeing my chart and I was pretty obsessive about it.  I would always look back at my patterns and try to find something different every month.  Sometimes, I’d convince myself I was pregnant because my temperature shot up really high one month or I had a longer luteal phase, but only to find myself disappointed.  In the months I needed a break, I stopped taking my BBT for a while and would get back on it after I started TTC again.  My friend loaned me her Clear Blue fertility monitor late last year, so I started using that and it’s been so much easier than taking my BBT and trying to figure out if I’ve ovulated or not.  I highly recommend the Clear Blue fertility monitor for anyone who is having trouble getting pregnant.  This has made my life so much easier because I really only need to monitor myself about five to seven days of my cycle.  So, now I don’t take my BBT at all. I think taking my BBT made me a bit more obsessive because I would physically see my chart everyday and you couldn’t help but wonder.  Now, all I use is the monitor, every month.  But, I do recommend charting, at first.  It tells you a lot about your cycle and I highly recommend charting on www.fertilityfriend.com.  You can chart for free and don’t really need to pay for the upgrades of membership.

What TTC-related books have you bought?

Most of my information has come from the Internet.  I have one of those jobs where I have the luxury of surfing the net.  I don’t know if this actually contributed to my obsessive ness, but I did find great information on tons of sites.  I think we are so lucky in this generation because we have so much free information accessible to us.  I did buy one book, which is a pretty famous book that almost everyone who is TTC knows about and that is Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler.  I don’t usually like to read books, but I did find this very helpful and informative.  I learned so much about my cycle and recommend it those TTC.

Have you set an age goal for when you want to get pregnant by?

Yes, ideally, I always wanted to have a baby at 27 and have at least two kids before I turned 30.  I got married when I was 27, so that goal didn’t quite work out, but I did hope to have my first child before I turned 30.  Because it’s taken us so long to get pregnant, I am past my age goal now.  I think I’ve finally learned to let go of planning my life and wanting to be pregnant at a certain age.

Do you think that women over 35 are less fertile?

Not necessarily.  I think we are led to believe this, but it’s not always the case.  My co-worker’s wife, who is 37, got pregnant pretty easily.  My husband had a co-worker TTC around the same time who now has one kid and is pregnant with her second and she is 40.  So, I don’t think age necessarily means anything.  I do believe women over 35 can encounter more problems and their egg quality diminishes, but a lot of women don’t have trouble at all.

Have any friends or family gotten pregnant while you’ve been TTC?

Yes, I have a bunch of friends who have gotten pregnant while I’ve been TTC.  In the beginning of my journey, it never bothered me because I truly believed in my heart that it would happen in time.  And, of course, I was also happy and excited for them and was looking forward to being pregnant with them.  I don’t think things got really rough for me until I passed the year and a half mark.  But, around a year and eight months of TTC, my twin sister got pregnant with her third (she got pregnant with her first two right away), so this was hard for me to take.  I remember the day I found out – I ended up bawling and that’s when I started to feel angry with God and the world.  It was so hard for me to be happy for her and all I could feel was jealousy.  Until that point, I did believe it would happen in God’s time and He would bless me soon.  But, when my sister, who wasn’t even trying and who already has two kids already, got pregnant, it just crushed me.  I’d been trying and praying for so long and I got nothing and she got something I wanted when she already had two (and she didn’t even have to try).  So, I really felt like life was so unfair.  Shortly after that, my sister in-law got pregnant with her second (and I knew she started trying and it didn’t take her very long) and my best friend got pregnant with her first (and it was on her first try, as well).  I was truly happy for them, but it made me so sad for myself.  So, things got really rough for me around that time.  I turned 31 (now past my age I wanted to have kids) and everyone was getting pregnant so easily, except me.  I was hitting the two-year mark soon, so I hit rock bottom around this time.  I have to say that I was depressed and angry with God and had lost all faith in Him.  I felt so sorry for myself and all I could do was ask, “Why?  Am I not ready?  Am I not good enough?  Did I do something wrong?”  I truly felt God was torturing me and I just couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself.

Do you and your guy have sex throughout your cycle every month or only while you are ovulating?

I guess it depends.  It has varied throughout our years of trying.  I think in the beginning, we just tried to have sex regularly (two to three times a week).   Then, when we really started timing it with my temperatures, we started having sex every other day after my period stopped, which is usually about a week into my cycle.  Then, sometimes we’ll have sex everyday around my ovulation time.  We usually don’t as much during my two-week wait stage – maybe about once a week.

What is the most number of times you’ve had sex in a 24-hour period while TTC?

Twice.

How many people do you know who have ever miscarried?

People I know through my online message board – at least 10.  People in my real life that I personally know – five.

How many pregnancy tests have you taken while TTC?

I can’t remember.  I don’t take them anymore because when you have been TTC as long as I have, you learn to expect AF to show up every time.  Even if I’m a little late or even if I feel like I have pregnancy symptoms, I’m so past that hopeful stage.  I think in the beginning, I probably took at least six to seven tests.  I had some pretty long cycles where I ovulated quite late (something I didn’t know until my AF showed up), but I had some months where I was convinced I was pregnant.

Have you ever taken a pregnancy test even when your period has arrived because you still think you may be pregnant?

No.

How do you center yourself and cope with this process?

First, I talk to my husband about it.  But, I also vent on www.babycenter.com and now I talk to my good friends and family.  My sister is my best friend and I’m really close to my mom.  Sometimes I just vent and cry it out.  I think it’s therapeutic because it helps release my pain and I think its better to let it out than keep it inside.  I also pray and try to see the positive things in my life.  When I see how great my life is and how lucky I am in so many other ways, I start to realize that I have nothing to be complaining about.

Did you decide not to tell some people that you are TTC?

In the beginning, no one knew.  As more time passed on, I told some people we were trying because they asked.  And now, all my good friends know because there was so much of my life I had to share, like seeing a specialist and going through procedures and surgery, etc.  And, because it truly affected me emotionally, I could no longer hide it from the people that loved me.  I think I shared this earlier but it’s like a weight was lifted off my shoulders when I let the people close to me into my journey.  For me, it was harder to hide it from them and go through it alone. But we’ve also decided not to tell the people we don’t completely trust (the big mouth’s) or people who don’t need to know.  We have a lot of friends who have no idea what we are going through.

Did you ever come into contact with a stranger who was also TTC and have a bonding moment?

No, except for strangers I met on the www.babycenter.com message boards.  There is an instant connection (even if they are strangers) and I met so many women who can understand my TTC journey.

While TTC, have you ever sworn you were pregnant, but weren’t?

In the beginning, YES!  For the first year, there were many times when I thought I had pregnancy signs or my period was late and I told my husband that I thought I might be pregnant this time.  But, of course, AF showed up every time to disappoint me.  When you’ve been disappointed for as long as I have, you learn not to get your hopes up anymore.

What kinds of symptoms do you look for every month as signs that you might be pregnant?

Now, I don’t read too much into possible symptoms, but before, I looked for a lot of signs – feeling nauseous (I often do when I’m hungry), peeing a lot, tender breasts, veins on my boobs, having food cravings, eating more, my stomach feeling bloated, sensitive to smells, etc. I even had a metallic taste in my mouth one time and truly believed it was my month.

How do you react to your period arriving every month?

It has varied.  The first six months, I was kind of glad it came.  I honestly don’t think I was truly ready financially for a child (and that is so important to me).  I would be happy that I had another month of enjoying life and even planning a trip or something.  Then, I started really wanting it and feeling really anxious.  That’s when it got harder and harder.  At one point, every time my period showed up, I would be so sad and just cry my eyes out.  Now, I expect my period to come and it doesn’t surprise me.  I’m so used to it disappointing me that it doesn’t affect me anymore.  I’ve learned to be patient and realize that I have another month of trying and to enjoy my life a little more.

When you started TTC, had someone told you that it would take you at least this long to get pregnant, what would you have thought?

No way.  I heard of people having trouble, but I never realized how long people could actually take (even if there is nothing wrong).  I guess I never thought it would be us who would have infertility issues.

Do you ever buy baby clothes (for this baby you’re TTC)?

No, I haven’t.  I’ve never even looked because I guess I just feel like I’m torturing myself and setting myself for disappointment. It’s also considered bad luck in our culture to buy maternity clothes or any baby things before the baby comes.

Do you already have baby names picked out?

I have my little girl’s name picked out and do have some choices for boys.  But, it’s not set in stone.

Do you own any pregnancy-related books?

Yes, I have some books, but only because my older sister bought a whole bunch and gave them to me (so I never purchased anything myself).  I haven’t even looked at them and they are just sitting in my den.

Do you feel like your guy understands what you’re going through?

At first, no!  My husband doesn’t get upset at much and he is the patient type.  So, he was always so calm about the whole thing that it used to upset me.  At times, I felt like he didn’t care or want it as much as me. But over time, it got harder on him too.  I think he’s more frustrated than anything.  Every time I told him it wasn’t our month, he’d get upset because I think he so badly wanted to provide me with this one gift.  So, I know he feels the same disappointment and frustrations that I do.

How is your guy coping with this process?

I don’t think guys know how to cope as much as we do.  I ask him, at times, how he’s feeling and try to get him to talk about his emotions, but he isn’t as expressive.  I know he has a couple of guy friends he’s shared this with, but I know guys aren’t as open and they don’t talk intimately, the way we do.  But overall, I think he’s okay because I’m getting better and I’m doing okay.  I think it’s harder on him when I’m not doing well and it makes him feel helpless.  He’s definitely lost his faith in God and His timing and it’s something we both struggle with.

Have you noticed that you’ve been more or less in the mood for sex since TTC?

It’s been up and down throughout our TTC journey.  At first, it didn’t really change.  But, the frustrations and pressure did get to us, at times, and it did feel more like a chore than enjoyment.  Now we’ve learned to not feel so anxious, so things are better.  We’ve both come full circle and we have more peace with the situation, so it helps the mood.

Are you ever not in the mood at all when you have sex?

Yes, there are times when we know we have to because it’s the time of month.  And, sometimes I’m tired, but we force ourselves because we have to.

Has your guy ever not been in the mood to have sex while TTC?

Most of the time, he is in the mood, but on the rare occasion, it’s been hard on him, too.  Of course, not in the beginning. I think our frustrations and disappointments built up inside and that affected his mood.   There were some rare moments where he felt pressured to perform so that we could conceive.

Do you ever think about conceiving while having sex?

Yes, I’ve even said things like, “Come on spermies – get up there and meet my egg.”  I’ve even cheered them on and I’ve even said a prayer in the middle of sex.

Have you ever elevated your hips or legs after sex to help the sperm get to their goal?

Yes, I don’t know how many times (and probably not for very long).  I usually put a pillow under my back so I’m elevated a bit and just lie there for at least 20 minutes or I just fall asleep.

What kinds of insensitive things have people said to you while TTC?

Oh my gosh, lots. I think some of these affected me differently because some were when I was going through a really difficult time and that made everything seem so much worse (and it made me much more sensitive).

One girl asked me several times if I’m TTC or how family planning is going.  It got to me because I wished people would just stop asking me – I will tell you when it happens.  So, I finally decided to share how hard it’s been so she would be a bit more sensitive and all she said was, “It will happen in God’s time.”  That got to me so much.  I hate people saying that to me.  I think it’s easy for them to say that when they got pregnant right away.  But, I think this time it really got to me because she wrote this one liner email back and that was it.  To me, it was so cold because I just opened my heart up to her and she didn’t even say anything encouraging or try to be supportive.  She didn’t even call me to see if I was okay or send a follow up email – that’s all I got.  This is one of those friends, I learned, who only wants to know if I’m pregnant or not and not how I’m really doing.  In my eyes, it was obvious she cared less about me and I found it so extremely cold.  This is one of the biggest lessons in which I realized who my real friends were.

One guy with two kids who knows we’ve been trying awhile actually said to me, “You don’t want kids and there is no need to rush.  Here, just take mine.”   Don’t ever say that to someone who wants a kid so badly.  I think that is just rubbing salt in their wounds.

And there are so many comments like, “So, when are you going to have kids?”  And to which I’ve said,  “We’ll see…” and she’s like. “I thought you wanted kids,” and kept pushing the issue. I realized we should never ask or assume couples can have kids easily.  You really don’t know what they are going through.  Some couples can’t even have their own kids, so it’s a question you should never ask anyone.  Maybe they want kids, but can’t.

One guy actually came up to me with his child.  He’s on cloud nine and is showing off his kid and brought it to my face and he’s like, “You should have one of these,” and asked me what I was waiting for. He kept going on and on about how great they are and was totally putting it in my face.  Little did he know, we’ve been trying for so long and how hard this has been on me.  I almost felt like crying at that point and just wanted to walk off.  So, one thing I learned is even if I am pregnant or do have kids, I don’t want to wave it in people’s faces and show off how lucky and happy I am.  I think there are reasons people don’t have kids yet and it could be extremely hard on them.  I have realized that you never know what the couple is going through, so we need to learn to be sensitive with this issue.

I think the worst one was a friend who was pregnant, who complained to me constantly about her pregnancy.  And, she knew we had been trying for a while and how hard it was on me.  She got pregnant with her 2nd by accident and she would continue to tell me how much she didn’t want this baby.  She had a hard pregnancy (bad morning sickness) and she said things like, “Why do I have to go through this?  I didn’t even want this baby.”  And, she actually tells me she’s not looking forward to this baby at all.  It breaks my heart because she has no idea how lucky she is and how I would die to be in her position.

I had one person who said, “Maybe it’s your husband’s swimmers.  They are probably slow and can’t get to your egg.”  I thought that was just real insensitive on her part to judge my husband’s sperm!

Oh, and one time, this one couple knew we were having trouble getting pregnant.  Well, this couple had issues, as well, with the wife and their doctor had told them they were going to have trouble conceiving, but for some reason, they didn’t.  The husband bragged that he has strong swimmers and he could get through anything (i.e. saying my husband’s weren’t strong, obviously).  Then, his wife went on and on about how fast they got pregnant and how it came so easy to them and how lucky they were.   I know they probably didn’t mean anything by it, but at the time, it really hurt me.  I was at my most difficult time and it was like they were putting in my face how easy it was for them.  So, I don’t think anyone should brag about how easy it was for them.  It’s great you got it so easy, but don’t put it in someone’s face.

I also had one friend who got pregnant right away during my TTC journey and she told me to relax and not stress.  She’s like, “Look, that’s what happened to me.  I didn’t expect it to happen at all and look at me now.” That really hurt me because I started the journey with the exact same attitude.  I had no expectations and was really relaxed about it.  It only got hard because it’s been this long for us.  And, it’s easy for her to say that when it happened to her on her first try.   How can she tell me to relax when I’ve had to wait over two years while she had to wait one month?  So, that really got to me.

I also had one pregnant girl actually say right in front of me after her thirtieth birthday that she would actually be sad and depressed if she wasn’t pregnant when she hit 30.  And that she’s so glad she is pregnant and that’s all that’s been on her mind.  And she knew very well that I had fertility issues and was older than her, too.  Both my husband and I were shocked that all of this actually came out of her mouth. I can’t believe how insensitive people can be.

Now, I know people didn’t mean anything with some of these comments and to some, it may not seem like a big deal.  But, until you’ve walked in our shoes, you never know how people can react or take comments when they are going through something really difficult.  You don’t know how one comment can seem like a stab in the heart when you are going through such an emotional roller coaster ride.  So, I’m just thankful I’ve learned to be more sensitive and be more tactful with the things that I say.

Did you ever lose it and just have a good ole pity party?

Yes, when I hit rock bottom. I was depressed for about a week and slowly got myself together.  I couldn’t stop crying (I would even break out in tears at work) and I was even getting some anxiety attacks.  I thought about the worst-case scenario – what if we can never conceive on our own?  I was a big hermit for a while.  I was extremely sad and I just felt like I had been through enough already.  I talked to a lot of friends and family during that time.  It helped a lot to talk about it and cry to people.  My husband also talked about getting a dog for quite some time.  So, we went to go look at a puppy and we ended up bringing one home that night.  He was the cutest thing and cheered me up so much.  I think I really needed something to love and take care of at that moment and it was so nice to have a new puppy.  My husband knew exactly what I needed.

Did or do you buy sexy lingerie for TTC?

No.

Did or do you ever think that you or your guy might have an infertility issue?

No.  My mom and sister were super fertile, so I guess I assumed I would be, too.  I never thought we would have infertility issues.  But, when we started taking awhile, I did think it could be an issue with my husband’s fertility.  He went for a SA and his morphology came out on the low end.  Everything else was fine, so his doctor said it was nothing to be concerned about.  But at the time, I wanted to blame it on something.  So, it was easy to blame it on my husband’s sperm morphology!

At any time, did you ever question your guy’s fertility?

Yes, of course, and that’s why he did a SA before I even saw a fertility specialist.  It’s so easy to see if something is wrong with the guy.  My husband was very good about it.  He was so cooperative and even did it twice to make sure.

Have you sought help for infertility issues?

Yes, of course.  After over a year of trying, we sought a fertility specialist.  She did all the testing – blood work, ultrasound and an HSG test.  Almost six months later, I was scheduled to do a laparoscopy but had to wait to get a surgery appointment.

My HSG test showed I had a blocked left tube.  About two months later, I had a successful tubular recanalization procedure done to open up my tube.  My doctor figured that’s why we were taking so long, since I only had one chance every other month.  We tried for five more months and still nothing, so then my doctor scheduled a laparoscopy.   I had the surgery done about three months later and I found out I had minor endometriosis, as well.  I was lucky because I was only at the first stages and there were able to clear it out during my surgery.

Do you dream up scenarios of how you will tell your friends and family that you’re pregnant when you finally are?

No, not really.  I do think of ways to tell my husband, but I’m sure all of them will actually fall through because I’ll be too excited and would want to tell him right away.

Have you attended a baby shower since you’ve been TTC?

Yes, in the beginning.  But since about a year into trying, I don’t go anymore.  I know how it will make me feel and it’s more to protect myself than anything.   I just avoid anything that will be painful because I’m doing so well now and I don’t want to see myself the way I was before.  I think if it was a really good friend or family’s shower, I would find the courage to go.

How has your family has treated you regarding you TTC?

Very good.  Both sides of the family have been so supportive.  They don’t ask us or pressure us at all.  My parents have even offered to help pay for fertility treatments and told me to just do whatever I need to do to get pregnant.

How do your pregnant friends treat you regarding you TTC?

I have two pregnant friends.   She’s been very supportive and has been a great friend. Even though she’s been pregnant, she never talked about it and always called to make sure I was okay.  She was the best friend anyone could ask for.  But, I still think sometimes she didn’t know what to ask or what to say because she had no idea what I could be feeling.  And then there was another good friend who got pregnant, but she actually pulled herself away.  And, I was so hurt because it was during the more difficult times in this journey and she wasn’t there to support me at all. It hurt me a lot because in some ways, I think she just didn’t want me to bring her down during this happy time in her life.  Again, that’s when you realize who your real friends are.  Some friends are selfish and only want to hang around you when you are happy and things are great.  And then there are those you will stick by you through thick and thin.

Do you prefer a friend that asks you about how it is going or one that doesn’t bring up your TTC at all?

I think I’d rather people not ask me at all.  Before, when people didn’t know how hard it was and I wasn’t admitting it to myself, I really wanted people to stop asking me how TTC was going and to leave it alone. I didn’t like people asking me, “So, are you pregnant yet?” or “How is family planning going?”  I really wanted to tell them, “I’ll let you know when I’m pregnant, OKAY!!!”  I had one guy continue to ask me, “Are you pregnant yet?” every time I saw him and it drove me nuts.  But, during my difficult times, I did need to talk to someone.  But, when I’m sad or want to talk about it, I’ll open up myself.  I’m pretty open with my friends and I’m not good at pretending, so my good friends can tell anyways.  Now, I’m really doing okay and I feel like I just want to not think about it or talk about it as much.  I just want to let it go and not make it such a big deal in my life.  Sometimes it’s hard and we all have our moments, but overall, I think it’s best not to dwell on it or talk about it so much.

Have you found any books, online resources, etc., that have helped make this process easier on you?

Yes, the www.babycenter.com message boards.  Finding so many girls in the same shoes has helped me so much to realize I’m not alone and how common this is.

Are there certain things you won’t do after you’ve ovulated each month just in case you’re pregnant?

No, not really. I’m a pretty healthy eater and I try to continue my good eating habits.

Do you feel you’re obsessive about TTC?

Not anymore.  There was a time in my life when I was.  After six unsuccessful months of trying, I wanted to find out everything.  I tried to do everything right and tried to get as much information as I could. But, I’ve changed a lot during my years of TTC.

When do you think you will actually conceive?

I have no idea.  I used to think, “Oh, by the end of the year I should be pregnant.”  I started off this journey with so much hope.  Now, I just take it day by day and don’t think too far ahead.  If I do that, I will only set myself up for disappointment and hurt.  So, now I just enjoy each day as it comes and try not to think about the future so much.

Do you have any advice for others TTC?

Yes, I have lots of advice.  Seek a specialist right away (even within a year).  It was such a long process and the only thing I’m thankful about is that I sought treatment and help right away.  If I didn’t, I can’t imagine how long I would have been trying with one open tube and how bad my endometriosis could have gotten.  I know couples waiting two and even three years before they seek help and sometimes it’s a simple thing that can be fixed.   I had absolutely no symptoms of endometriosis and have no family history, so it shocked me.  I truly believed I could conceive without help, but sometimes you can be wrong.  Definitely push to get answers because it helps so much knowing what is wrong.  Not knowing was the harder part and once I knew what I was dealing with, it was so much easier.  Definitely share your journey and get support – even from a sister, a friend or even get on the Internet and find someone who understands you.  Just venting to people and finding someone who understands is so therapeutic.  I think recognizing your emotions and admitting this is a difficult thing you are facing is the best thing.  I once read that infertility is one of the most difficult things a couple can face.  The article said that infertility can be a highly stressful experience and that something like one third of women going through infertility report similar levels of anxiety and depression to women with cancer, HIV or heart disease.  It also said that procreation is the strongest instinct in the animal kingdom, stronger even than survival and when you combine this instinct with the social pressure to have a baby, the stress can be intense. And, just accepting this helps you heal.   I spent a lot of time in denial, convincing myself I was okay and that it was going to happen.  So, when it didn’t, the disappointment and emotions really built up and I hit rock bottom.  I kept thinking it would happen in due time and having unrealistic faith can set you up for disappointment, so I advise anyone to just get answers and read as much as you can.  Information and knowledge can help us so much.

Did you start TTC in a certain month so that your baby would be born in a certain month?

No, not really.

Have you changed your eating or exercise habits since you’ve started TTC?

No, not a whole lot.  I guess I try to eat a bit more healthy and make sure I take my vitamins.

What things have you learned about yourself during this experience?

I have learned so much.  Like I said before, the biggest lesson I learned is realizing who my real friends were.  They are the ones who will stick by you through the hard times and make sure you’re doing okay.  They are the ones who encourage you and go out of the way to help you through this, even if they don’t understand.  So, I learned how precious time is and how little time we have with people. I’ve chosen to cherish the friends I have and to try to spend quality time with them and not put out so much effort to people who don’t care much about me.  I had too many friends at one point and I used to get so hurt and disappointed because I felt I was the only one making the effort.  I know you can’t be best friends with everyone, so now I don’t bother as much.  It’s sad because I’ve lost so many friends along the way.  People honestly have no idea what my husband and I have gone through and probably don’t care, but I’ve also become very close to many people and it’s really strengthened me as a person.  It’s definitely led me to bond with the right people and develop closer, more authentic relationships.  Most people are so surfacey and polite to each other and I find it so sad how shallow people can be.

This journey has also taught me patience and to enjoy each day as it comes.  I used to be in such a rush to be a mother.  Now, I have realized we are the lucky ones.  I’ve had more time to spend with my husband and to enjoy my life.  I’ve had more time and money to travel and see the world.  I’ve had more time to save money and be more financially stable.  And, this process has matured and strengthened my husband and I and I know we are much more ready to be parents.  I also think this process has allowed me to see my blessings and not take things for granted. I know so many people who got pregnant easily who just complain so much.  They complain about their kids and how hard it is and they complain about their body changing and the symptoms.  And then I know of girls who had it hard and they are just so grateful and I don’t hear anything bad from them.  One girl had to be on bed rest for six months, but she said it’s the most important job of her life and she isn’t going to complain.  I think this journey changes us to be better mothers and even though it’s difficult, it does teach us some valuable life lessons – especially, to be so thankful for each moment and everything in our life.  I feel so lucky that I have such a great husband and great friends and family that surround me.  And, I do not regret any of this, now.  I can’t imagine all the things I may have missed out on if I got pregnant right away.

Do you feel that you’re going through this for a reason?

Before, I couldn’t see it.  I used to ask, “Why me?” a lot and feel sorry for myself all the time.  So many people around me were getting pregnant so easily, so I couldn’t understand why I had to have it so hard.  Now, I think I’m going through this to help others.  I want to reach out to people and support them through this.  I don’t want anyone to feel alone the way I did and I’m sure one of my friends down the road will need my advice or somehow my experience will help them.  I also hope people (especially the ones who got it easy) realize how private and sensitive this issue is for people.  I wish more people were aware of the struggle that can come with TTC and would learn to be more sensitive about it.  All I hope to do is to inspire and teach people that infertility is a big problem and how common it is and to just be more aware of its implications.  I know that this journey has changed me as a person.  What doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger and this process has definitely made me stronger as a person.

Imagine getting a positive pregnancy test, how do you think you’ll feel?

I’m sure I’ll be in shock and it would take a while to sink in.  I’ll probably cry because it’s been such a long journey for us.

During this process, have you had any dreams that have stood out?

I had a dream that I had twin girls, once.  So, sometimes I think I’m going to have two girls or twin girls.

Do you feel that the media does a good job of creating a forum for discussion regarding TTC?

No, not really. I had no idea infertility could this be hard and emotional until I went through it myself.

Who do you trust more – your doctor or your intuition?

I used to trust my intuition.  But, now that I’ve sought medical help and I’ve had some successful procedures and surgeries, I’m so thankful for doctors.  Medical technology has come a long way and I think we are so blessed in this generation.  There is so much science can do and we can wait and wait and have faith and trust our intuition or do something about it.  For me, it feels so good to be actively doing something about it and not just be sitting around, waiting for something that may or may not happen. I realized that I did need a doctor’s help and I’m so glad I went to get it and it is available. I just wish I had done it sooner.

Were you using any form of birth control before you started TTC?

Yes, the Birth Control Pill for about one and a half years.

Have you done anything to try to boost your fertility?

Yes.  My husband and I both take vitamins.  I’ve tried many things throughout my journey, but now I don’t actively try anything.  I tried drinking green tea a lot and I even tried Robitussin for a couple of months.  I’m currently seeking infertility treatments, so now I just trust my doctor and pray and hope something will work soon.

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Violet

 - by brandyfern

How long have you been TTC?

One year.

What are your and your guy’s current ages?

My husband and I are both 28 years old.

Before you started TTC, how long did you think it would take you to conceive?

One month – was so naïve!  I was convinced that the first time we had unprotected sex that there was no way we wouldn’t be pregnant.

What made you and your guy decide to start TTC?

We had dated for nine years before we just recently got married and so the timing just felt right.  I have been excited about having kids for a while now and my husband starting getting the bug, too.

How has TTC affected your marriage?

We are lucky because this process has only brought us closer – both physically and emotionally.  And, the sex has not yet become boring or just for making a baby.  We’ve continued to keep that part fun.  But, I have definitely had some breakdowns where I didn’t feel like he quite understood what it was like to be wondering if I was pregnant every five minutes and in his defense, how could he?  But, one of the charms of my husband is that if you tell him that he needs to be doing something differently, like being more involved with the emotional side of this journey, he will, so once we got on the same page, this process became “ours” instead of “mine.”

What are some wives’ tales that you’ve heard about TTC and do you believe them?

I’ve heard that you definitely WILL NOT get pregnant if you are stressed out at all, which I think is a big misconception that only makes those of us TTC even more stressed about trying not to be stressed!  Stressed women get pregnant all the time – a majority of our society is ultra stressed out and to think that at least some of the women who are getting pregnant don’t fall into that category is ridiculous.

Do you believe that stress can stop a woman from getting pregnant?

I used to, but I don’t anymore.  I’ve come to accept that it is natural for us to be stressed out about this process – it’s wonderful to be trying to make a baby, but man, is it hard.  I think a healthy amount of stress due to this process is to be expected.  I do believe that you can be too stressed out where it is affecting your chances of getting pregnant because your body and mind are tense, but even in that case, I don’t believe that it’s just simply the stress that’s prohibiting the conception, it’s really about the deeper issue that’s making you stressed out in the first place (work, money, relationship etc.).

Do you have friends who are also TTC with whom you can talk to?

No and that is one of the hardest things for me.  I have no one else to talk to who really gets what this process is like.  I can explain it to people, but they just don’t get it.  They still say, “Well, it will happen when it’s supposed to,” which I can’t stand hearing anymore.  It’s one of those things that I can say, but no one else is allowed to say to me!  After my husband and I had been TTC for about three months, two of my close friends decided to start TTC and I was excited about it and thought how perfect it would be that we could all sort of lean on each other and then they both got pregnant after their first try!

Do you talk to other friends who aren’t TTC?

One friend (who’s single) will talk with me about it and ask me, “Where are you in your cycle?” and she’s usually pretty good about listening, but every now and then, she’ll throw out some comment like, “I think if I was going through it, it wouldn’t bother me that much.”  But again, I can’t expect her to totally understand.  Another friend of mine (who’s married), is really good about asking about it and how I’m doing, but even she has made a comment like, “Oh, I’m so disappointed that your period came again this month.”  Again, not that it’s right, but I can say it, you can’t!  This is why I totally miss having a girlfriend whose also going through this.

What is it like talking to guys about TTC?

Mostly, they either avoid talking about it at all or they are totally direct and like my neighbor, who yelled at me in passing, “Are you pregnant yet?”  I do have one guy friend who is an exception and asks me about it and says sweet things like, “I know you’ll be enjoying your own child soon.”  Ah, those exceptions – they make up for the all of the rest.

Do you feel like people are more open about their TTC experiences while they’re TTC or after the get pregnant?

I have been shocked at how hush, hush TTC is between us women.  I was appalled at the lack of books on the subject (that weren’t fertility and science-based).  I feel like women will open up on the Internet chat boards, but rarely in person.  And I get it, it’s not like you’re just sparking up conversations with every stranger you meet about TTC, but it does sort of feel like this is a very underground thing.

I think after women get pregnant after TTC for a while that they are a lot more apt to talk about their experience because they’re on the other side of it now.  It’s much more comfortable and safe to talk about once you’re not a part of it anymore.  And that’s the shame of it all because it makes it that much more isolating while you’re going through it.

Do you know what “charting your cycle” is and have you done it at any point while TTC?

Yes, I learned how to chart my cycle from the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I started charting around month three, when I still believed that I had even the tiniest bit of control over getting pregnant, I started religiously charting my cycle.  It was cool – I really liked having data to compare with each month.  It made me (falsely) feel like I had a grip on it.  Then, after about three months of charting, I stopped, cold turkey.  Aside from the annoyance of having to stick a thermometer in my mouth first thing every morning, it was a daily reminder before I started my day that I wasn’t pregnant yet.  And as obvious as it may seem, it took me these three months to realize that no matter how much I charted, in the end, it didn’t affect me getting pregnant.  Sure, making sure that we were “maximizing” my fertile phase did have an affect, but after I got the hang of when I was most fertile, it was pointless to me.  But, I would still recommend charting to other women because everyone’s different and it may help some women and they may see it in a completely different way.

What TTC-related books have you bought?

At first, I didn’t think I needed any books – sperm meets egg and boom, we’re pregnant, right?  So, after that didn’t happen, around month three, I bought Taking Charge of Your Fertility and read it in one sitting.  It felt so good to read something about what I was going through, even if it was a purely scientific approach and didn’t address my emotions at all.  I definitely learned a lot from that book and would recommend it for learning the facts of our cycle, but what I didn’t like about it was that it tricked me into believing that my fertility was something that could actually be taken charge of.  The title made it sound so easy – I remember reaching for it on the bookshelf and thinking, “Wow, it’s just this simple.”  Wrong.  On a side note, if you’ve ever read the book, there is this picture section in the middle that shows all kinds of cervical fluid to help you determine which phase you’re in and I’ll admit that I still get a laugh out of stuff like that and showed it to all of my friends (yes, I have the mind of a 13-year-old), but if you get your hands on a copy of it, please notice the length and color of the nails of the woman “displaying” the cervical fluids.  Was that the only hand model they could get?  Actually, there’s probably not a lot of “talent” out there looking for a gig like this, so yes, that’s probably the only hand model they could get.

A few months ago, I bought The Infertility Cure.  It’s about Traditional Chinese Medicine and sub-fertility.  It made me want to move to Houston and become a patient of the author whose specialty is sub-fertility.  I’m really into alternative medicine, so it was right up my alley.  Since I don’t have any kind of condition or problem with my cycle (that I know of), I really wanted to read more about non-medical means of “boosting” fertility.  It also caused me to start going to acupuncture.

Have you set an age goal for when you want to get pregnant by?

Yes, ideally I wanted to have a baby when I was 27.  It was kind of an arbitrary decision – I knew I wanted to be a youngish mom and my husband and his mom have a wonderful relationship and she had him at 27, so a part of me thought, “If I do the same, I’m bound to have a relationship like that with my child.”  So, now I’m 28 and if I am to get pregnant anytime soon, I would be 29 when I had the baby.  I guess it’s not what I imagined.  I have always wanted to have kids while in my mid-20’s, but it just wasn’t realistic.  And, I’ve accepted that it does not matter what age I am.  I still feel like I have the mind and maturity of a 14-year old, so I know I will be this way regardless of my actual age.

Do you think that women over 35 are less fertile?

Not necessarily.  I think we are led to believe this, but one of my friends who got pregnant on their first try is 35 and I’ve heard other similar stories.  I think people’s degree of fertility is really similar to how people age and how they take care of their bodies and minds – there are people of every age that look their age or older and then there are some that look five or ten years younger – everyone ages differently and I think the same is true with their eggs.

Have any friends or family gotten pregnant while you’ve been TTC?

Yes, two of my close friends and a few distant friends.  I thought that I would be jealous immediately, but I wasn’t at all, I was basically just happy that someone around here was getting pregnant!  It’s been fun to see them go through it because I can sort of vicariously live through them, like when my friend lets me feel the baby kicking.  Honestly, I really feel lucky that they have gone before me because when I do get pregnant, I will finally have friends who know exactly what it’s like.  I tell them that they are paving the way for me and doing all the leg-work with trying out strollers, diapers, car seats etc.

It’s strange because people close to me becoming pregnant does not make me jealous or angry, but hearing strangers talk about it sometimes does (depending on where I am in my cycle), unless I know they have struggled like us.  Like one time, my husband and I were out to dinner and it was one of those places with tables really close together and one of the couples next to us was pregnant and they were talking about it with some friends throughout the whole meal.  I think my period had just arrived and I was a little bitter, so I ate my dinner at lightening speed so we could get out of there.

Do you and your guy have sex throughout your cycle every month or only while you are ovulating?

Sometimes we have sex throughout the cycle, but most of the time we don’t.  After my period is done, we will sometimes have sex once or twice before “go time” (ovulation phase), but usually, we are either gearing up for “go time” or then refueling after “go time.”  It feels like we have so much sex for about five days that I really can’t have sex again for another two weeks!

What is the most number of times you’ve had sex in a 24-hour period while TTC?

Four.  But it wasn’t strictly for upping our chances of making a baby.  We were on a vacation and just had one of those days.

Have you gotten pregnant and miscarried at any point during this time?

Yes.  It was month seven of TTC and we did end up conceiving during that vacation of love that I mentioned and what later happened was sort of not a regular, full on miscarriage, though.  What happened was that after we got home from our vacation, a few weeks later, I got my period, so I thought that we weren’t pregnant.  Then, I was waiting to ovulate and I could tell that it wasn’t happening, so the thought crossed my mind that maybe we got pregnant but I still had a period – I’d heard of that happening.  Then, out of the blue, I started to bleed again during the time that I should’ve been ovulating.  So, I took a pregnancy test and it came out positive, but just barely.  The line was really dim.  A lot of friends told me that their line was really dim too, but what scared me was that I was bleeding which I didn’t think was a good sign.  I went to the doctor the next day and had an ultrasound and they said that I was no longer pregnant and that it looked like there had never been a growing embryo in my uterus at all but my human growth hormone levels were up like I had been pregnant.  My doctor said that yes, we conceived, sperm and egg met, but that it sort of fizzled out after that, so no baby ever grew.  So there was really no “miscarriage” of a fetus or anything, but they still called it that and also called it a “chemical pregnancy.”  We felt pretty fine about the whole thing, just disappointed and tired of seven months of no results.  But, I was so glad that we didn’t find out until when we did that we were pregnant, because had we found out sooner, when I wasn’t bleeding, we would’ve got all excited and then it would’ve been that much worse.  Since I was bleeding when we found out we were pregnant, the whole time we knew that it might not be healthy, so we didn’t get our hopes up.  The thing that was the toughest though is that I bled for another week and it was pretty crazy, especially for a non-formed embryo.  The one awesome part of this is that my husband and I found out that our sperm and egg could actually meet!  And, my doctor assured me that miscarriages are super common and that most all women have something like this happen, but they usually just “bleed” it out during their period, so they never know.  But in my case, it just took some time to work its way out.

My doctor told us to wait for a couple months before we started to try again because some fertility expert had said that that was the right thing to do.  We didn’t take her advice.  Our feeling on it was that whatever is supposed to happen will and if we want to have sex, we’re going to.  How many women don’t even know they miscarried and then get pregnant the next month and deliver healthy babies?  I’m sure a lot.  And, I have also learned not to buy into the scare tactics of doctors.  Yes, I think doctors are invaluable in many ways, but in the end, I listen to what my body and mind say is best for me in situations like this.

How many people do you know who have ever miscarried?

Six.

What is your sanity level like during your cycle each month?

Before ovulation, I am always excited and hopeful about the month ahead.  During ovulation, I am the same except for I worry a little bit about if we timed it right and “caught the egg” or not.  Then, things start to go downhill in the two weeks before my period is scheduled to start.  At first, I try to put it out of my mind and I usually can for a few days, but starting from about five days until my expected period, I am pretty anxious.  I find myself thinking about it more and trying to eat better, take my vitamins more and not have the few alcoholic drinks that I sometimes have.  In those days, I sort of treat myself like I am pregnant.  And, sometimes my period arriving is somewhat of a relief because then I finally just know and can move on and prepare the next month.  For me, the not knowing is so much harder than the knowing.  And, since I did get pregnant once, but still had my period, I can really never rule out my period as the deciding factor of if this is our month or not.  It’s really not until my fertile fluid comes again during ovulation that I can totally rule it out.

How many pregnancy tests have you taken during this time?

Seven.  Because of having conceived, but still having my period. I have been testing more so that I can get an answer without having to wait until the next ovulation time.  It’s funny, I tell my husband everything, but sometimes when I take a pregnancy test, I don’t tell him because for some reason, I feel guilty – like I peeked at my Christmas presents or something!  Then, I usually end up telling him and he, of course, has no problem with it and wants me to do whatever makes me feel better, but deciding whether to test or not is such a mind game with me.  And, every time after I test and it’s negative, I get this remorse like, “Why did I test?  I knew it would be negative?  I just wasted $8!”

Have you ever taken a pregnancy test even when your period has arrived because you still think you may be pregnant?

Of course!  Because I had been on the pill for 10 years before we started TTC, my cycle was changing and so even though I would have my period, when I would start to feel an unusual period symptom, I would forget that the reason for the strange, new symptom might be my system getting used to working without the pill and I would think, “Maybe I am pregnant!” and have to take a test.  There’s really nothing as disappointing as getting a negative pregnancy test.  For me, that’s worse than my period arriving.  Because of how it makes me feel, I have tried to stop taking them except for in emergency situations like the time I started bleeding instead of ovulating, but sometimes I just give in and test.

How do you center yourself and cope with this process?

I talk to my husband about it.  He is so good about making me feel better about it all.  And, taking a bath or doing yoga always makes me feel more centered afterwards.

But, one thing that I think is totally therapeutic to do every once in a while is have a pity party.  About a month ago, my husband and I starting talking about it all and we both just started venting about our frustration and the injustice of it and it was amazing how great we felt afterwards.  We had been walking around with these feelings slowly building up inside and getting to vent about it just released it all and put us back at “empty.”  When we fill up again, we’ll have to release it.

Did you decide not to tell some people that you are TTC?

At first, it was like our little secret and since we thought we’d get pregnant instantly, there was really no reason to tell people because we thought we were going to be telling them that we were pregnant shortly thereafter.  After that didn’t happen, we started telling people as it came up.  But, we still haven’t told a lot of family because we just don’t want to be asked about it all the time and family have a funny way of having no tact sometimes.  I always feel a little funny telling people that we’re TTC because I just don’t think people get it and maybe I need to have more faith in people, but I just have this feeling that when we see them again, if we’re not pregnant, they’re going to be all let down.

Did you ever come into contact with a stranger who was also TTC and have a bonding moment?

Yes, I had the best experience ever while in a cosmetics store.  Somehow, it came up that my husband and I were TTC and this woman told me her story about how her and her husband had tried for over two years and how difficult it was and how she just put it out of her mind because she was over this (I still don’t totally get how she did that), but then it just happened.  This was the first woman who made me feel like I wasn’t alone and this actually happened to other people.  I am so thankful that she opened up like she did.

While TTC, have you ever sworn you were pregnant, but weren’t?

Only every month!  Seriously, every month I feel like I’m pregnant.  I don’t know if it’s the sheer hope that I have or what, but it feels like every month I have some kind of false symptom that makes me feel like I am.  I’ve learned that I cannot trust my gut on this because it had led me astray so many times!

What kinds of symptoms do you look for every month as signs that you might be pregnant?

I notice how often I’m peeing, if my boobs hurt or look or feel bigger, if the veins are more pronounced, if my lower abdomen looks or feels different, if I am getting a headache, if I feel nauseous, if I’m eating more, if smells are bothering me, if I’m being irritable, if I’m constipated, if I have diarrhea… the list just goes on and on.  And, it’s not that I’m looking for these things necessarily, but it’s just that if I get a headache, I’ll think, “Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant.”

How do you react to your period arriving every month?

Surprisingly, I am usually so sick of the guessing game that by the time it comes, I am just happy to have an answer of some kind.  When I see the first trickle though, I always hope that the next time I go to the bathroom there will be nothing and it was just pregnancy spotting.  But, there is something therapeutic about bleeding, cleaning out and starting over again.

When you started TTC, had someone told you that it would take you at least this long to get pregnant, what would you have thought?

Absolutely, no way!  I would not have believed a word of it.

Do you ever buy baby clothes (for this baby you’re TTC)?

I had held off until about four months ago.  I was with a pregnant friend of mine and we were in the baby section and I fell in love with these two little outfits.  I asked her, “Am I a creep if I buy these?” and since she’s such a wonderful friend, she said, “No.  You will soon have someone to fill them – I say get them!”  I loved her for that.  I bought the outfits and have them hanging in our closet and look at them every morning as sort of a sweet reminder of what is yet to come.

Do you already have baby names picked out?

Not totally.  We have a few for each that we like, but we’re not set in stone yet and I’ve told myself that I have to wait to actually be pregnant to buy a baby name book!  In the beginning, we talked about it a lot, but it’s been about six or seven months since we’ve even talked about it again.

Do you own any pregnancy-related books?

Yes, a friend of mine gave me What to Expect… as a gift in month four of TTC.  I started to read it right when I got it and then tucked it away.  I didn’t want to read too much now – I still want to have it be fun and new when we do finally get pregnant.  Also, I have this superstition that having too much of that stuff around – jumping ahead of where we are in the process – isn’t good.  Another friend gave me Belly Laughs as a gift and I was dying to read it, but again, I tucked it away, out of sight, for when the time comes.

Do you feel like your guy understands what you’re going through?

For the most part, but it took some explaining at first!  I just don’t think a guy can fully understand what it’s like to be reminded of it every time you go to the bathroom – when blood appears or spotting or nothing – in any case, I wonder what it means – I’ve always been an over-analyzer.  And, all the little things that our bodies feel and how it makes us wonder if we’re pregnant or not – guys can’t possibly know how that feels and how frustrating it can be.  But, I have to say that my guy has been a huge support for me.

How is your guy coping with this process?

I think the better question is how will he cope with not having all the TTC sex once we are pregnant!  For the most part, he is enjoying this time because finally my sex drive has caught up with his a little bit – thanks to getting off of the Pill.  He has had his disappointed moments too, but the thought of all of the sex associated with trying again next month usually pulls him out of it.  Although, he has said that it makes him sad to see me when I’m so upset by the disappointment.  As these months have turned into a year, the disappointment is starting to get to us a little more.

Have you noticed that you’ve been more or less in the mood for sex since TTC?

Partly due to going off of the pill, my sex drive has been great and I have been more in the mood since TTC.  And, there’s something about finally having the chance to make a baby that can suddenly put me in the mood!  But again, as this process gets longer, it does start to etch away at the spontaneity of it all.

Are you ever not in the mood at all when you have sex?

No and I am so thankful because I thought for sure there would be times when I’d just have to grin and bear it for ovulation’s sake, but that hasn’t happened.  We only do it if we’re both in the mood (or we help each other get in the mood).

Has your guy ever not been in the mood to have sex while TTC?

Never.  In some ways, this is the happiest time of his life!

Do you ever think about conceiving while having sex?

Yes, and it’s one of those things that I try not to think about and the more I try not to think about it, the more I do.  Even when I think about it, I still orgasm, so I’m not worried that it’s stressing me out.  Clearly it doesn’t get too in the way!  But thinking about it right then is enough to make me feel like I’m totally obsessed.  But, I think it’s only natural.  Whatever I try not to think about usually has a way of popping into my brain somehow.

Have you ever elevated your hips or legs after sex to help the sperm get to their goal?

Yes, a few times.  The longest was for 30 minutes.  Not only does it not feel “right” to do that immediately after sex, but it hasn’t helped us so far, so I don’t do it anymore.  I also heard that doing that can make the sperm pool on your cervix and block everything.

What kinds of insensitive things have people said to you while TTC?

“You want me to be honest?  I don’t think you and your husband are going to conceive for about two years.”  This one came from a woman I’d known for about a week.   There was no pause for me to answer her question, “You want me to be honest?”

“How is the baby-making coming along?” to which I responded, “Not so easy,” and she responds with, “Don’t worry, it will happen when you stop thinking about it,” which made me want to say, “Well then stop asking me about it and maybe I’ll can stop thinking about it.”

“Are you taking notes?” This one was said by a man referring to my place in the baby-making line as I was giving a friend a foot massage in the delivery room about and hour after her baby was born. No good deed ever goes unpunished.

Not a comment, but one thing that I thought was pretty insensitive/cute was that last Christmas (month four of TTC), there was a present under the tree from our grandma for our future baby.  It was a Pillsbury Doughboy fork and spoon that she had sent away for by mail.  Gotta love Senior Citizens.  It made me feel hopeful, but it also packed on the pressure a little bit.

Did you ever lose it and just have a good ole pity party?

A few months ago, I had two dreams that I went to the doctor and my friend found out she was pregnant and I wasn’t and then they told me that I didn’t produce a hormone that I needed to make babies and then in the other dream, a doctor told me I did produce the hormone, but that I had cancer cells in my uterus.  Needless to say, I woke up very sad.  When I first woke up, I couldn’t tell if it was a dream or not, so it took me a long time to shake them.  I ended up crying to my husband about it.

The other day, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed – I was irritated and emotional.  I went to acupuncture and just cried as I laid there with the needles in me.  “Is this necessary?” I thought (and they had just raised their rates substantially).  I just felt so helpless and confused about whether to see a specialist or not.  I really don’t feel like that’s necessary and in my heart, I don’t want to go that route, but am I just being naïve?  What if two years go by and we’re not pregnant?  When my husband picked me up, I just lost it.  I was weeping.  That was the first time that had happened in this whole process.  I just sort of let myself be sad for however long I wanted and then by the end of the day, I felt better.

Did or do you buy sexy lingerie for TTC?

Yes – that was fun!  At first, that was one of the most fun parts – tons of sexy lingerie.  But as the months have gone on, we only pull out the lingerie about once every two months.

Did or do you ever think that you or your guy might have an infertility issue?

Not seriously, but you can’t help but let the thought cross your mind when you’re having tons of sex and not getting pregnant.  Aside from having a “normal” cycle with tons of fertile fluid, when I had my ultrasound for the miscarriage, they told me my ovaries and uterus looked healthy, so I truly don’t think we have any fertility issues.

I guess there’s a little thought in the back of my head that my husband should get tested, but he’s so ultra-healthy (he’s a vegetarian that runs like 10 or more miles per week) and did get me pregnant once before that I just feel like it will be a waste of time and money ($250!).  My husband and I talked about him getting a sperm test and we came to the conclusion that finding out his sperm count and motility etc. would not change what we’re doing.  He’s already taking vitamins and supplements that happen to have the same nutrients recommended for sperm health, so if we found out his sperm needed help, he’s already doing what we would do to help it, so knowing about it wouldn’t change anything except probably make me worry more.

But, it’s hard to not immediately think that something is wrong with you if you aren’t pregnant after the arbitrary deadline of one year.  A friend of mine told me something that I think of often that makes me feel better – she said that her mom was telling her that back in the 70’s, when she was trying to get pregnant, there were no real fertility drugs and it was just commonplace that it would take some people one month of trying and some a few years or more of trying before they were pregnant.  And, if you were one of the people for whom it took longer to get pregnant, it was normal and you weren’t looked at as “infertile.”  I have to keep reminding myself of that when I start to feel like something’s “wrong” with us, when in my gut I know there isn’t.

Have you sought help for infertility issues?

The only thing I’ve done is start going to acupuncture.  Around month 10, I started feeling like I wanted to be doing something more about TTC, but I’m realizing that as good as it feels, it’s not going to get us pregnant.  Perhaps if I had a known cycle disorder of some kind, it could help get me back on track, but just in general, acupuncture is not going to make a sperm meet an egg.  I’ve learned that aside from messing with fertility drugs, nothing is going to make that happen.  I’ve had to surrender this over to the “universe.”  The ONLY things I can do at this point are continue to keep myself healthy and have sex.  That’s it.

As the months and years go on, I might feel different about going to a specialist.  I’m always open to my thoughts changing, but as of now, I do not believe that it’s necessary for us.  I really don’t think a specialist would even know what to tell us.  I feel like we’d just get a prescription for Clomid and be labeled “unexplained fertility” and I don’t even take Tylenol or anything like that, so I definitely don’t want to be taking something that messes with my cycle like Clomid.  And although I am choosing not to go that route as of now, I know for a lot of people, Clomid and other fertility treatments have given them hope of having a child that they might not have had without it, so I know that these things have their place and are around for a good reason.

Having said that, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching about this topic and I feel like as a society, we are too into instant gratification and getting things the minute that we want them and I’m just not sure that that’s the right way, for me, at least.  Just because we have a drug that can make you release more eggs and therefore up your chances of getting pregnant, does that mean that we should use it at the drop of a hat (which does happen – my own OB offered it to me if I got “too impatient” with the process)?  I don’t have the answer to this, but it’s a question that we should be asking rather than just focusing on getting what we want.  These days, we are so impatient with life and I don’t think life is all about the destination – it’s mostly about the journey.  If we all got everything we wanted when we wanted, we wouldn’t grow as people or learn to be sympathetic to others.

Also, I do believe that the baby has a say in when it comes to us by picking when it’s conceived and when it is born.  And, I have to wonder that if by giving into our impatience and “forcing” ourselves to get pregnant when our body isn’t naturally ready is not somehow undermining the path of our future baby.  I don’t claim to know the answer, but it’s something to think about.  And in the end, I feel that whatever someone chooses to do is right for them, but I think that this process can wear us down so much that we get so focused on the goal that we forget that there is also a road to that goal – I know I have been guilty of this.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to stay firm in these beliefs because 99% of people ask me if I’m going to see a specialist and cannot understand why we wouldn’t – “If it could get you pregnant, why wouldn’t you?”  People are not comfortable hearing that we’re just going to wait for when it’s supposed to happen.  It’s like they have to solve our “problem” for us – see a specialist, take this supplement, try Clomid etc.   Personally, if I had the choice between taking a fertility drug and getting pregnant next month or waiting another year and getting pregnant without the fertility drug, I would, hands down, wait the year.  But sometimes I do get caught up in the fear and think, “We better see someone because what if two years down the road we finally do and they find a problem and then we’ve wasted all this time?” and then I have to tell myself that it’s not wasted time – nothing we do is wasted time.  It’s making me and my husband who we are and helping us learn about ourselves.  Of course, five years down the road I may feel differently!

Do you dream up scenarios of how you will tell your friends and family that you’re pregnant when you finally are?

In the beginning, every month I would think how I could break the news to family and friends depending on when we would all be together.  Lately, I have stopped doing that because again, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  When we finally get pregnant, I want the experience to be new and not already planned out.  And I feel that thinking about these things every month only makes the disappointment that much more.

Have you attended a baby shower since you’ve been TTC?

Yes, I went to one for one of my close friends and it didn’t make me feel funny at all.  And in fact, another woman and I got into a discussion about TTC – of course, we were low-key about it, but it was a nice diversion.  And yesterday, I threw one of my best friends a baby shower and it was fine too – the only thing was that I had had my “breakdown” during acupuncture the day before, so the timing was a little bad, but it turned out to be a great time because that friend is such a treasure.

How do you think your family has treated you regarding you TTC?

I haven’t really told most of my family that we’re officially TTC.  Again, I just don’t think family knows what not to say sometimes and I want it to be more of a surprise when we do get pregnant.  It is nice to still have it be our little secret from at least some people.  But as people start asking more about it, I can’t help but sort of clue them in that we’re trying, but that it’s taking some time.  Like one family friend said, “When are you guys going to have kids?” and I said, “When the universe gives us a little help.”  So, I’ve subtly made comments like this.

How do your pregnant friends treat you regarding you TTC?

I have two pregnant friends who are very different.  One of them often asks me where in my cycle I am and she is an excellent listener and seems to always have time and patience to hear me out about this process and even though she hasn’t gone through struggling with TTC, you would think she had because she almost totally gets it.  She is so level-headed, sweet and sensitive that she never says the wrong thing.  She always makes me feel better.  The day before the baby shower that I gave her, she called to chat and I told her I was sort of having a hard day about TTC and she was thoughtful enough to say, “Oh man and my shower’s tomorrow, that must be hard.”  But, I don’t like to complain to her too often because I don’t want to take away from her amazing experience.  My other pregnant friend rarely asks me what is going on with us TTC.  I think she is a little uncomfortable about it and doesn’t know if I would want her to ask or not, so she just doesn’t, which I can respect.  But, sometimes it makes me think that she doesn’t really realize what we’re going through, but again, I don’t want to take away from her experience either, so I don’t want to bring it up and I’m really okay with that.  And, lately, we’ve talked a little more about it since I’ve been going to acupuncture and that’s something that’s a little easier to talk about than cervical fluid.

Do you prefer a friend that asks you about how it’s going or one that doesn’t bring up your TTC at all?

That’s a hard one because some days, when I want to talk about it, I would love for my friend to bring it up and ask me about it, but when I’m sort of “over it” (i.e. when my period comes), I really don’t want anyone to ask me, “Are you guys pregnant yet?”

Have you ever slowly sipped on an alcoholic beverage at a get together just so people wouldn’t ask you if you were pregnant yet?

Of course!  That’s one of my main defense tactics at big, family functions.

Have you found any books, online resources, etc., that have helped make this process easier on you?

Sadly, not really.  The Internet sites are great to remind me that I’m not alone, but I can get so engrossed in reading the posts that I almost get too caught up in it.  But, I think it’s awesome that women have at least somewhere to share these experiences since everyone else is so hush, hush about it.

Are there certain things you won’t do after you’ve ovulated each month just in case you’re pregnant?

I usually won’t have that glass of wine.  I usually try to drink enough water, not skip vitamins and am somewhat more careful about what I eat.  I also try not to do rigorous abdominal work.  Although, sometimes I don’t know why I do this because I believe that if a baby’s meant to come, it’s going to come and stay regardless of a glass of wine or some stomach crunches.

Do you feel you’re obsessive about TTC?

There have been moments when I thought I was.  Around month three or four, it was on my mind constantly, but lately, surprisingly, I’ve been a lot more relaxed about it.  As the months go on, I feel like our odds keep getting better and better.  That’s just the optimist in me.

When do you think you will actually conceive?

If not this month (I told you, I always think we’ll get pregnant every month), sometime in the next couple of months.  But then again, I’ve been saying that for a year!

Do you have any advice for others TTC?

This is hard because there is really no advice that can help you get pregnant, but there is comfort of knowing that you’re not alone and millions of women who were in our shoes now have babies.  And, that you are not crazy and obsessive – this is a hard time for us and our husbands and feeling stressed about it is natural.

Did you start TTC in a certain month so that your baby would be born in a certain month?

In my naivety, we started TTC in a month that would produce a summer baby.  I have a winter birthday, so I wanted a better life for my baby – a summer birthday!  At this point, I don’t care when it comes, as long as it comes!  I would love to still have a Gemini baby, though.

Have you changed your eating or exercise habits since you’ve started TTC?

At first, I ate really well and never missed a vitamin.  I don’t drink a lot of caffeine anyway, but I steered totally clear of it.  As the months have gone on and especially during and after my period, I love to indulge in a Coke.  That’s almost one good thing about getting my period – I can have a Coke again!  Not that I think a Coke here or there is bad if you’re pregnant, but I’m just trying to be on my best behavior!

In the past couple of months though, I have really been trying to eat more (I am so busy that sometimes I skip meals) and drink more water, so in a sense, I am glad that I have the opportunity to get my body the healthiest it can be BEFORE I get pregnant.

What things have you learned about yourself during this experience?

That I have to give up control and just have faith that it will happen when the time is right.  For those of us who like to plan things and are very self-motivated, this process is especially hard because we have to just sort of sit back and wait and I am not used to doing that.  I have learned a lot about patience too, although I know I haven’t even come close to perfecting it yet.

I have learned to think outside of the box and not just follow what everyone else is doing.  Going through this process has really made me get in touch with my intuition and listen to it.  It also has made me stronger in sticking to my beliefs even if most of society is following different ones.

I have also developed a passion for helping other people who are struggling with TTC.  I know how amazing it makes me feel to connect with someone who’s in my shoes, that it makes me want to somehow provide that awesome feeling to every other woman who’s also TTC.

Do you feel that you’re going through this for a reason?

Definitely.  At first, I was like, “Why us?  We’re ready!”  And now, I know that this process was to inspire me to help other people who are going through this same thing.  I have never really felt as passionate about helping out a certain group of people as I have about helping other women who are struggling with TTC. And for that, I thank my future baby for waiting until that flame lit inside me.

I also think that part of this waiting time is for me to get my body to its healthiest state.  I have always had stomach issues (IBS), but ever since I’ve been eating better, drinking a ton more water and listening to my body, my digestion has never been better.  So, I feel like that was a by-product of doing things to boost my fertility and health.

I also think that this process is a big test for me in terms of how I will continue to live my life.  Do I take doctors’ words as the end all?  Do I give in to my impatience?  Do I listen to my gut over my brain?  Do I let fear guide my decisions?  How do I deal with others’ scare tactics about infertility – do I stick to what I truly believe?  How do I keep calm and centered?  How do I keep my faith that this will happen for us?  Do I really have the strength to give up my control?  Can I handle struggles like this with grace?  How I handle all of these things will determine how I continue to grow as a person and how I will mother my future child.

Imagine getting a positive pregnancy test, how do you think you’ll feel?

I almost can’t even imagine!  I don’t think I’ll believe it!  That is the happiest thought, though.

During this process, have you had any dreams that have stood out?

The two I mentioned earlier and a few nights ago, I dreamt that I was holding I baby that I had just “had,” but it was the size of a small, plastic doll and I knew that something wasn’t right about the situation, but I was happy to have it, regardless.  My mom had already started making a photo album with pictures of this tiny, fake-looking baby.

Sometimes, I will ask my future baby to please come to me in a dream and tell me anything he or she can to put my mind at ease.  But, as of now, they haven’t.  And of course, my optimistic self thinks, “Maybe they can’t because they’re inside my belly right now!”

Do you feel that the media does a good job of creating a forum for discussion regarding TTC?

Absolutely not.  I feel like I see a lot about infertility treatments, but never about the mental anguish that the process can give.  I feel like unless you’re experiencing it or have experienced it that you just don’t get how hard it can be and because not a lot of women talk about it while going through it, it probably doesn’t even seem like an issue to anyone outside of it.  Also, I don’t think anyone in the mainstream media wants to really be the first to come out about it because no one wants to be thought of as “broken.”

Who do you trust more – your doctor or your intuition?

Definitely my intuition (except when trying to figure out if I’m pregnant or not early on)!  I think doctors are valuable in a lot of ways, but I could write pages about the scare tactics and arbitrary time limits that I think our society and the medical world put out there regarding fertility and especially pregnancy, but I’ll spare you.

Were you using any form of birth control before you started TTC?

Yes, the Pill for 10 years.  Getting off of it was really tough, especially since I’d been on it for so long.  My cycle was so irregular at first and I had all kinds of things going on… constant headaches, throwing up etc. to the point that I thought we were pregnant (that was before we started TTC), but it was just my body adjusting to life after the Pill.  The hardest part was that we started TTC about two months after I got off the Pill, so I really didn’t have a regular cycle to compare to every month, so every month new things would happen to me around the time of my period that I had never felt before, so I would always be so confused as to if I was pregnant or if it was just my new, pill-free cycle.  That’s probably why I didn’t mind my period coming because it was at least an answer!  It’s only in the past six months that I feel like I have a normal period again.

Have you done anything to try to boost your fertility?

Aside from acupuncture and the herbs that they give me, I haven’t really tried anything else except trying to live a healthy lifestyle with more organic, nutrient-rich foods.  One of our friends told us that she read that orange juice is good for guys to build up their sperm, so my husband has been drinking a lot of it, but again, do I think that that alone is going to get up pregnant – no.  I also make sure that he or I don’t put cell phones in our pockets or anywhere next to our reproductive parts.  I don’t know if it even matters, but I’m just being on the safe side.

Anything else you’d like to add?

This past month and a half, something amazing has happened to me.  After finally realizing that getting pregnant is not in my control – I mean really accepting it – I have completely surrendered my chokehold on this process.  I realized too that everything I tried to do to get pregnant like planning when we have sex, going to acupuncture, even eating really healthy, were just ways in which I was still trying to control this thing.  Even though those things are not really negative, they still give me a false sense of control which made not being pregnant every month that much harder because instead of feeling like it just wasn’t our time, for whatever reason, I felt like I didn’t do enough.  And after coming to this realization, it hit me that for all of us going through TTC – and especially those of us that tend to be more controlling (like myself), this issue of control is super important and by letting go, it can almost completely change this process for us.

The way I surrendered was to say, out loud, “Universe, I am giving this up to you.  It is not in my hands and I will not try to pretend that it is.  You have given me so much so far that there is no reason I shouldn’t trust you.”  And that was it.  It really didn’t feel too different after I said it, but what happened next DID feel extremely different.

It just so happened that that month, at one of my last acupuncture appointments, my acupuncturist was taking my pulse and she said to me, “Oh, you have the pulse of a pregnant woman.”  I had read about how they can take your pulse in many different ways and one way can tell if you’re pregnant or not.  I didn’t get too excited, but I really felt like this could be it because my period was also a few days late.  Because I had surrendered it, I didn’t really let myself play the mind game of trying to tell if I was pregnant or not.  I spotted for about three days and was sure that this was our month – it felt so much like it that I even let myself even calculate the month I’d be due which is something I haven’t let myself do in eight months or so.  I even peeked in our guest room and imagined where I would put the crib and what the room would feel like with the presence of a baby in it.

Wouldn’t you know, the next night, the blood came.  When I saw it, I immediately swore the top shelf swear word.  And then the strangest thing happened.  I didn’t feel sad.  My logical mind was telling me, “You should be disappointed, angry, frustrated, sad…” but my body was like, “You don’t feel any of these things and therefore you’re not going to go through the emotions of them.”  I remember that I laid down to go to bed and it was almost as if I was trying to make myself cry while I was telling my husband how disappointed I was (or thought I was), but I couldn’t cry.  It was as if I didn’t have tear ducts – my body wouldn’t let me cry.  And as I laid there, I worriedly thought to myself, “I’m never going to fall asleep.  I’m going to be up thinking about this all night,” and within about thirty seconds, I was fast asleep.  The next day, I felt great.  I wasn’t sad at all.  The surrender had really worked.  The emotional side of my body had held me to my word and had not let me get upset about something that I had no control over and had given away.  It really blew me away how smart my body was in this.  It gave me a new respect for my intuition, which I felt had let me down recently after every month of feeling like “this was the one.”  My brain was trying to sort of trick me with logic, but my body was not going to let it happen.  (Which made me also wonder, how many times in life – in other cases – does our mind tell us something totally different than our body?  Just food for thought.)

I ovulated about a week ago and as it crept up on me, I was not feeling in the mood at all.  My husband and I did have sex a few days before the start of ovulation, but it was not for the purpose of babymaking.  As part of this whole surrendering thing, I was also thinking that unless we are both in the mood to have sex, regardless of if it’s to make a baby or not, we should not force (read control) it.  But, that was easier said than done.  As my fertile fluid showed its face, I just kept hoping that my sex drive would rev up, but it never did.  It killed me to not have sex while I knew I was ovulating and I almost gave in a dozen times when I thought about how much it would boost our odds if we did, but I stuck to my guns and did not give in and little did I know, but that turned out to be the most liberating feeling in this past year of TTC.  Wow, I can NOT have sex while ovulating – I’m free!!!

Because of truly surrendering, my mind feels like it’s in a different place.  I am not thinking about every little thing that could be a symptom anymore.  I am not analyzing my cervical fluid every time I go to the bathroom.  I am not counting my cycle days.  I am not holding back on having one glass of wine.  I have stopped being a control-freak about TTC.  Honestly, I never thought I would get to this place and I’m a little ashamed that it took me a whole year to be here, but really I’m just happy that I got here at all.  And, I do not believe that this surrender will get me pregnant – I was not using reverse psychology on the universe!  But, I do believe that this surrender will help my emotional state during this process, which will affect everything else in a positive way.  I still believe that my baby is coming at the same time it has been planning on coming all along, I just know that now I’ll be in a better place when it does.

I also believe that having come to this new mindset will affect my future pregnancy(ies).  I feel lucky to have gotten past wanting to control something I can’t because I’m know that when I’m pregnant, the nine months (and then lifetime of being a mother) will be full of things I won’t be able to control.

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Lara

 - by brandyfern

How long have you been TTC?

One and a half years.

What are your and your guy’s current ages?

Twenty and 23.

Before you started TTC, how long did you think it would take you to conceive?

Call me crazy, but I thought it’d happen the first month!

What made you and your guy decide to start TTC?

We both grew up in wonderful families with many children and lots of good memories with them and we wouldn’t want our children to miss out on that!

How has TTC affected your marriage?

I think the wait has brought us closer because we’re struggling together and month-by-month, we grow a special “I know how it hurts” kind of a bond.

What are some wives’ tales that you’ve heard about TTC and do you believe them?

I heard you have to keep your legs straight up for 30 minutes after you BD and yes, we tried it many times.

Do you believe that stress can stop a woman from getting pregnant?

I think for some people, it has definitely turned out that way. Like when people decide to adopt and then they get pregnant soon after because they’re no longer worrying about it all the time. But for us, we’re just reminding ourselves that it’ll happen when it’ll happen – trying to take the stress of the situation.

Do you have friends who are also TTC with whom you can talk to?

I did find a couple girls at my church who were having troubles as well. We talked about it whenever one of us got to that point where we were like, “I can’t take it anymore!” or “No one understands!” which was probably once a month. It was nice to have someone there to listen and know that they understand and care. There’s always your husband that’ll understand you, but it’s good to have girlfriends who know, as well.

It is such a relief to have other women to talk to! Sometimes, I just need to go to a woman, heart to heart and just let it all out. It is SO nice knowing that you’re not alone. Just like it’s good to know you’re not alone in any other of life’s trials.

Do you talk to other friends who aren’t TTC?

Only if they specifically ask about it. They seem to get uncomfortable when they realize how hard it’s been for us. And sadly, sometimes they look at you like there’s something wrong with you.

What is it like talking to guys about TTC?

I do think that my husband understands me on every level, but most guys don’t have that maternal instinct like us women. I think we feel the need to bear children and teach them about simple things like flowers, birds and trees. To men, infertility just seems to mean “take a different road” – to concentrate on money or other pleasures to fill the space that the kids would otherwise fill.

Do you feel like people are more open about their TTC experiences while they’re TTC or after the get pregnant?

I’m sure it’s easier to share your feelings and disappointments after you’ve become pregnant. Since we’ve been trying and failing, we’ve seemed to build a wall around us when it comes to that subject. When we talk about it so much, it somehow makes us feel like failures.

Do you know what “charting your cycle” is and have you done it at any point while TTC?

Just started to this month!

What TTC-related books have you bought?

I have What to Expect When You’re Expecting. My sister loaned it to me this when I thought I was pregnant about a year ago, but there’s only one chapter on trying to conceive, the rest are month-by-month symptoms of pregnancy, so when I turned out not to be pregnant, it seemed more like it was rubbed in my face. I only bring it out when I absolutely have to look something up. Otherwise, it makes me too baby-sick.

Have you set an age goal for when you want to get pregnant by?

I wanted to get pregnant before 21. I am almost there, so I have a little time left. (We want to have many kids, so I want to start young.)

Do you think that women over 35 are less fertile?

That’s what I’ve heard, but in my family, that hasn’t been the case. It actually seems to come easier to them.

Have any friends or family gotten pregnant while you’ve been TTC?

I have had four sisters and two friends get pregnant since I’ve started TTC. I can’t explain really how it felt – kind of a heartache. I was so happy for them, but all of them had only been trying three months or less. So, it was kind of a stab in the heart.

Do you and your guy have sex throughout your cycle every month or only while you are ovulating?

Every month, about every other day to everyday.

What is the most number of times you’ve had sex in a 24-hour period while TTC?

Five times in one day – we took the day off work. (Then I heard you’re less likely to get pregnant when you BD more that once every 24 hours, so we slowed down a bit.)

Have you gotten pregnant and miscarried at any point during this time?

Yes, I’ve miscarried twice. Again, heartache. It’s really a physical pain in the heart.

How many people do you know who have ever miscarried?

Probably 20 or more. Lots of women from church and family.

What is your sanity level like during your cycle each month?

Before, I’m my normal, relaxed, laid-back self. During ovulation, I’m consistently thinking about BD because I don’t want to miss it. Afterwards, I am looking for every little symptom or sign. (I drive myself crazy!!)

How many pregnancy tests have you taken while TTC?

Oh gosh, maybe an average of two per month.

Have you ever taken a pregnancy test even when your period has arrived because you still think you may be pregnant?

Oh yes! There are always those stories of women we had their period four times throughout their pregnancy and that small chance equals BIG HOPE for me. I’ll milk that small chance for all it’s worth!

How do you center yourself and cope with this process?

I have to take my mind off it and realize that I have my husband and we have so much fun together. I just try to count all the blessings I have that he brought to my life.

Did you decide not to tell some people that you are TTC?

As time goes on, we’ve told less people. The people we’ve told (such as his parents), feel like we owe it to them to hurry up and get it done. It’s frustrating because every time I get sick, they tell me I’m probably pregnant. I hate that.

Did you ever come into contact with a stranger who was also TTC and have a bonding moment?

Yes, at church and she became one of my best friends. We’d cry to each other or tell each other our stories of how hard it is and how jealousy gets the best of us. Then, we’d cheer each other back up and go face the world again.

While TTC, have you ever sworn you were pregnant, but weren’t?

Yes, one time I was a whole month late. My doctor even called me “Mommy” after my first checkup, then he called me with the test results saying, “I have no explanation for this. I could’ve sworn you were a month and a half along.”

What kinds of symptoms do you look for every month as signs that you might be pregnant?

I always have tender, swollen breasts around my period time, so that really doesn’t say much anymore. I look for nausea, implantation, dizziness and trips to the bathroom.

How do you react to your period arriving every month?

I usually get depressed and cry all night, but lately I’ve been making myself go do something fun that day and get my mind off of it.

When you started TTC, had someone told you that it would take you at least this long to get pregnant, what would you have thought?

I would’ve thought nothing like this would ever happen to me. Things in life have mostly come easy for me. It was a slap in the face when this didn’t.

Do you ever buy baby clothes (for this baby you’re TTC)?

Oh yes!! I sure hope I’m not the only one. I’ve spent probably $100+ on baby clothes. They make me really excited at first because they’re so dang cute, but then I have to immediately put them away so I don’t get too anxious and stressed.

Do you already have baby names picked out?

Every one of them. Sad, right?

Do you own any pregnancy-related books?

I got mine the second month of TTC when I thought I was pregnant. It was a loaner from my sister. She got pregnant a couple months later and so I gave it back. Just last week, I went and bought my own.

Do you feel like your guy understands what you’re going through?

Yes, I really think that he does. Not many guys seem to have such a love and desire for kids as he does. I am so grateful for that.

How is your guy coping with this process?

He comes to me. Sometimes he thinks it may be his fault and he breaks down, but he always gets back up again because he knows that as a man, he needs to be the strong one for me.

Have you noticed that you’ve been more or less in the mood for sex since TTC?

When I’m not ovulating, I still have that drive, but it doesn’t seem quite as nice because I know we’re doing it on a schedule.

Are you ever not in the mood at all when you have sex?

Maybe once in a blue moon, but usually my husband can get me in the mood.

Has your guy ever not been in the mood to have sex while TTC?

I think maybe once when he was asleep. I woke him up early to do it and he was out of it for the first little while, but then he was wide-awake!

Do you ever think about conceiving while having sex?

Yes, I do.

Have you ever elevated your hips or legs after sex to help the sperm get to their goal?

Yes! Ha ha. Hilarious. I’ve sat with them up against the wall for a whole movie – more than two hours. (If that’s not long enough, then girl, I don’t know what’s wrong!)

What kinds of insensitive things have people said to you while TTC?

Oh boy. I have a lot of answers for this one. I think the worst, though, was three weeks ago when my sister-in-law announced their pregnancy. We all thought they were still on the pill and she announced the baby and she said to all of us in the room, “We thought it might take a long time, like Lara and Jeremy, so we decided to start trying. But what do you know!? We got pregnant the next week!”

Did you ever lose it and just have a good ole pity party?

I think I’ve had a little pity party for myself at least once every two months. I’ve got to give into my feelings, confront the fact that I do feel bad and then move on afterwards.

Did or do you buy sexy lingerie for TTC?

I have once, but usually I don’t bother to take the time to change into it.

Did or do you ever think that you or your guy might have an infertility issue?

Yes, very much so. I’ve always thought it was me. It took my mom four years to finally get pregnant and my periods and health issues have ALWAYS been just like hers.  I’m too afraid to check just yet, though. I’m so young that I need to give myself a longer chance.

At any time, did you ever question your guy’s fertility?

No, I didn’t think it’d be nice to put that burden or worry on him. He’s confronted me about it though, to make me feel better. He always assures me that whoever it may be, it’s really both of us. We’re a couple and we share EVERYTHING – even our incapability.

Have you sought help for infertility issues?

No, partly because of the expense and partly because we’re too scared.

Do you dream up scenarios of how you will tell your friends and family that you’re pregnant when you finally are?

Yes, I’ve got some good ones, too! I try not to think about it too much, though.

Have you attended a baby shower since you’ve been TTC?

Yes, it was very hard and people kept hinting to me that mine would be the next. That was a year and a half ago.

How has your family has treated you regarding you TTC?

My family treats us very well. His family, not so much. It’s always been easy for them. First try, they were pregnant. They don’t understand how I can’t do that.

How do your pregnant friends treat you regarding you TTC?

Sometimes they watch what they say (such as not complain so much about their symptoms), but mostly, they don’t really seem to think talking about it will bother me.

Do you prefer a friend that asks you about how it’s going or one that doesn’t bring up your TTC at all?

I really don’t know. I think it depends on the person. With my family, I’m totally fine talking about it. With my friends from high school and college, I don’t like it. They don’t really know what to say to me about it, so it gets really embarrassing and uncomfortable.

Have you ever slowly sipped on an alcoholic beverage at a get together just so people wouldn’t ask you if you were pregnant yet?

I don’t drink, but I’ve done other things that would tip off that I’m not pregnant (amusement parks, etc.).

Have you found any books, online resources, etc., that have helped make this process easier on you?

No, I’m trying not to dwell on that subject too much. (That might sound stubborn, but it helps.)

Are there certain things you won’t do after you’ve ovulated each month just in case you’re pregnant?

Yes, I won’t do amusement parks, I won’t run too far, too hard and I won’t push myself to my exercise limits.

Do you feel you’re obsessive about TTC?

Yes, I probably am to an extent.

When do you think you will actually conceive?

Hopefully within the next year, but this month seems promising. (Knock on wood!)

Do you have any advice for others TTC?

There are people out there who have it easy and then there are those of us who don’t. Just like every aspect of life, not everything is fair. Try to make the best of it and don’t lose hope.

Did you start TTC in a certain month so that your baby would be born in a certain month?

No, any month would be perfect for me!

Have you changed your eating or exercise habits since you’ve started TTC?

Yes, I’m eating healthier and not exercising beyond my means because I miss my period when I do.

What things have you learned about yourself during this experience?

I have had most things come easy in life. But, this experience shows me how good it is to have those trials to make me stronger, wiser and more sympathetic to others.

Do you feel that you’re going through this for a reason?

I think so, probably for the reason above. God always has a plan and it always turns out well.

Imagine getting a positive pregnancy test, how do you think you’ll feel?

I think I’d be in denial and take at least four more. I’d be sooooo excited, but then again, I’d be very scared that it’d be another miscarriage.

During this process, have you had any dreams that have stood out?

I have dreamt about kids in other countries that I could help and my husband and I are definitely planning on adopting once we have enough money.

Do you feel that the media does a good job of creating a forum for discussion regarding TTC?

I am SO glad there are Internet message boards! I just wish more people knew about it. I know there are people out there looking for support just like that.

Who do you trust more – your doctor or your intuition?

My doctor, to tell you the truth. It used to be the other way around, but my mind plays tricks on me!

Were you using any form of birth control before you started TTC?

No.

Have you done anything to try to boost your fertility?

Eat healthy, taking prenatal vitamins and living healthy.

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Chantal

 - by brandyfern

How long have you been TTC?

Almost two years.

What are your and your guy’s current ages?

I am 26 and my husband is 31.

Before you started TTC, how long did you think it would take you to conceive?

I knew we would have problems as I have severe endometriosis.

What made you and your guy decide to start TTC?

We were settled in our marriage and in life and wanted to complete it with children.

How has TTC affected your marriage?

It has been tough on the both of us, but my husband is very patient and supportive.  Don’t get me wrong, it can put a strain on your love life because after a while, TTC tends to feel like a chore, but we deal with it and laugh about it.

What are some wives’ tales that you’ve heard about TTC and do you believe them?

The best I have heard is to start the adoption process and then it will happen. Also, to relax, to not think about it anymore, stand on your head after making love and to just not think about it.  YEAH RIGHT!!  Also, because I am only 26, I get the, “You’re still young, what’s the rush?  You have plenty of time!  Live your life first!!”  No, I do not believe any of these.

Do you believe that stress can stop a woman from getting pregnant?

I think it can play a factor, but I don’t think it will stop you from getting pregnant.

Do you have friends who are also TTC with whom you can talk to?

I am the only one going through infertility that I know of. But, it seems all of my friends and family get pregnant either by accident or on the first try.  I find it VERY difficult because they talk about names and clothes and baby showers.  These are the people that tell me to adopt or relax.  I enjoy those chats, but I sometimes go home and have a good cry afterwards with my hubby.  He understands and he is very supportive of it.

My best friend, who is pregnant, has been fantastic.  She always wants to know what we are doing and how I am feeling.  She is great!!  But we made the mistake of telling people we were TTC when we started, so now it’s always, “Are you pregnant?” or we get the pity party, which I really hate.  They give you that, “Oh, that’s too bad,” look and I am really beginning to hate it.  We have actually started telling people that we are putting TTC on hold, just so we can deal with this with just our closest friends and family.  It is our fault for telling them in the first place, but it seems the best thing for us to do right now.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the support, but it is just adding to my sadness and making it that much harder to deal with it.

Do you talk to other friends who aren’t TTC?

We did originally, but we are trying to “dig” ourselves out of that one.

What is it like talking to guys about TTC?

Well, guys are a little different.  They don’t need to know all about the female organs and what is twisted and such.  So, mostly it is just, “Yeah, we are having a few problems.” And they say,” Well, I hope it works out for you.” And that is great.  One guy though, who is very quiet, knew what we were going through from my hubby and while we were at a wedding, we started chatting and he shocked me.  He opened up about how his mom had TTC problems and things that he has seen and been through and told us to just keep trying and it’ll hopefully happen and to not give up.  I was shocked, but grateful because he wasn’t pitying me, he was basically opening up the door to talk if we ever wanted to, which was great.

Do you feel like people are more open about their TTC experiences while they’re TTC or after the get pregnant?

I find that most people aren’t really open while TTC, until they don’t get pregnant right away.  However, after they are pregnant, they tell you every detail about how long they tried (if at all).

Do you know what “charting your cycle” is and have you done it at any point while TTC?

Yes, I do know what it is and I do chart my temperature.  I have charted for about a year and a half.  I find that once you find a pattern after a few months, it is okay.  But, it only tells you that you have ovulated after the fact, so it really wasn’t helpful there.  But, I find that once you get used to it, you can determine when your next cycle is going to start or (I assume) if you are pregnant if your temperature stays up for 18 days or more.

What TTC-related books have you bought?

A friend gave me A Few Good Eggs, which I love.  It seems to be geared more towards older women who are TTC, but everything they are going through, I am going through.  So, I guess in a way, it was nice to see that someone has gone through it and survived.  I have also starting buying Conceive Magazine, but I haven’t read it yet.

Have you set an age goal for when you want to get pregnant by?

I had originally said I wanted my first child before I was 25, but that has passed.  I also want to have all of my kids before I am 30.  So, I guess only time will tell.

Do you think that women over 35 are less fertile?

Not necessarily.  In many cases, maybe, but I know lots of women who are pregnant over 35 with no problems TTC.  I think it depends on the person, but it seems the general consensus is that if you’re over 35, you have “old eggs.”  I don’t believe that, but I wouldn’t want to wait until then to TTC.

Have any friends or family gotten pregnant while you’ve been TTC?

I have a few pregnant friends and all three sister-in-laws started trying and all got pregnant right away.  Some are even starting on their second child.  It is very tough because you want it to be you, but you are happy for them.  This, again, would be one of those smile-and-be-happy and then go home and cry situations.

Do you and your guy have sex throughout your cycle every month or only while you are ovulating?

We have sex throughout my cycle, anytime of the month.

What is the most number of times you’ve had sex in a 24-hour period while TTC?

At first, two, occasionally three times, but now only once in a 24-hour period.

How many people do you know who have ever miscarried?

Only a friend and one co-worker.

What is your sanity level like during your cycle each month?

Well, I feel like I am crazy the whole month.  But, I am irritable during my period, pretty antsy before ovulation, happy during ovulation and after ovulation I am a little stressed and hopeful that this will be our lucky month.

How many pregnancy tests have you taken while TTC?

I have taken less than five tests.  I would have taken more, but my husband always reminds me to wait until day 35, like the doctor said, so I don’t waste money.  So far, he has been right.

Have you ever taken a pregnancy test even when your period has arrived because you still think you may be pregnant?

No.

How do you center yourself and cope with this process?

I sit and think about what I already have – a wonderful husband, two great dogs (which are like our kids), a nice house, a nice car and an amazing support group of friends and family.  I think that my life could be worse and that I should be thankful for what I have, not what I don’t have.

Did you decide not to tell some people that you are TTC?

We started off telling a lot of people.  Of course, after you get married, the question always pops up about when you are going to have kids.  We have since started telling people that we are putting TTC on hold for a while so we can deal with all of the procedures without having to explain them a thousand times.  Now, only our closest friends and family know.

Did you ever come into contact with a stranger who was also TTC and have a bonding moment?

I am currently a member on a TTC website and one person in particular sticks in my mind.  We have been going through the same things and we just seemed to click.  We personal message each other regularly just to see how the other is doing.  It turns out that she only lives about 10 minutes from me.  She is just someone that I can tell all to and not be judged or pitied because she knows what we are going through.  It is a very comforting feeling.

While TTC, have you ever sworn you were pregnant, but weren’t?

Yes, one time in particular – I had just finished my sixth month of Clomid and my temperatures stayed high for 17 days and even the doctor thought I was pregnant.  I had no AF symptoms and I felt a little nauseous.  Unfortunately, on the eighteenth day past ovulation, my temperature dropped and I got my period.

What kinds of symptoms do you look for every month as signs that you might be pregnant?

I look for tender breasts. I swear I check them so much that I actually make them hurt.  But other than that, I just wait for AF to not arrive.  I pee a lot as it is because of endometriosis on my bladder, so that wouldn’t make a difference to me.

How do you react to your period arriving every month?

At first, I was very emotional.  I would cry and go into this rage, thinking how life isn’t fair, people who don’t want kids are having them left, right and center and ask what I did to deserve this.  But now, almost two years later, I expect it to come every month.  I have learned to deal with it and I have the occasional cry here and there.

When you started TTC, had someone told you that it would take you at least this long to get pregnant, what would you have thought?

I knew we would have problems, but I thought a year, tops!!  I would have told them they were crazy.

Do you ever buy baby clothes (for this baby you’re TTC)?

Yes, I do.  Sometimes it makes me feel excited for what the future may hold.  And other times, it makes me think that I am wasting my time because it will never happen.  I made the mistake of showing a few friends and they all think I am crazy.

Do you already have baby names picked out?

My husband and I talk about baby names, but nothing is set in stone.  My husband doesn’t want to be that attached to a name that we may never have a baby to use it on.  So, we just chat about it every once in a while.

Do you own any pregnancy-related books?

I have the What to Expect… book and it was given to my by a co-worker (who is now a great friend in this whole thing), but it was early on in our TTC efforts.

Do you feel like your guy understands what you’re going through?

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.  I know he tries, but he’s okay with just us.  Don’t get me wrong, he really wants children, but he doesn’t obsess about it like I do.

How is your guy coping with this process?

He has been super supportive through all of the surgeries, the “psycho” fertility drug phase and the emotions that I have.  He isn’t one to always show his emotions, so he really doesn’t say how he feels.  He more wants me to be healthy and happy, so he acts like the “tough” husband to be strong for me.

Have you noticed that you’ve been more or less in the mood for sex since TTC?

Well, it really hasn’t affected the quantity of sex that we have, but around baby-making sex time, I act a little different (not meaning to), so it puts a little pressure on him.  I find that I want it more during that time just because I don’t want to miss the chance, but I try to compensate during other times of the month so it is not so obvious.

Are you ever not in the mood at all when you have sex?

Yes, when I think that it is “time” and I really don’t want to have sex, but again I do not want to miss our chance.  So, we do it anyway, regardless of how intimate or not intimate it may be.

Has your guy ever not been in the mood to have sex while TTC?

Absolutely!! I used to get so mad and say that he just missed our chance.  Sometimes, I would guilt him (horrible, I know) and it was not good, but he was just doing his “duties” to keep me happy.

Do you ever think about conceiving while having sex?

I try not to think about it, but I do – that this may be the night!!

Have you ever elevated your hips or legs after sex to help the sperm get to their goal?

Yes, I only last five to ten minutes before I am tired.  Sometimes, I will just stick a pillow under my head.  I have even hung my head off of the bed with my hips still on the bed.  Obviously that didn’t work.

What kinds of insensitive things have people said to you while TTC?

It is mostly comments to my husband about not having good swimmers.  He laughs about it, but it hurts me because I know that I am the reason we are having all of the problems.

Did you ever lose it and just have a good ole pity party?

I had a pity party when I found out that my three sister-in-laws were pregnant, when my best friend got pregnant and when another friend and two co-workers were pregnant.  In one case, I was making a dip in a glass bowl and my parents called to tell me the news.  Once I got off of the phone, I was hitting the bowl so hard I actually cracked it by accident.  In all cases, I would go home and have a good cry, but then I would be fine.  I would never do it in front of anyone, besides my husband.  It was mostly because all of them were not trying or it was their first month and it just happened or it was their second pregnancy (and we started TTC for our first at the same time).

Did or do you buy sexy lingerie for TTC?

No.

Did or do you ever think that you or your guy might have an infertility issue?

I thought he might after six months of not being pregnant, but I think in my heart I knew it was me, but I just wanted to blame someone else.  I have to admit that when he got tested it was a huge relief to know that he was good and it was only my issues we had to deal with.

At any time, did you ever question your guy’s fertility?  If so, did you confront him and if yes, what happened?

I never mentioned it, but after six months of TTC, my gynecologist sent him for tests, just to be sure.

Have you sought help for infertility issues?

Yes.  I have stage-three endometriosis and because of it, I have had three surgeries that revealed a blocked tube.  Also, due to an eight-centimeter cyst I just had removed, they also removed half of one ovary and a third of another.

Do you dream up scenarios of how you will tell your friends and family that you’re pregnant when you finally are?

Yes.

Have you attended a baby shower since you’ve been TTC?

Yes, it was really tough because she has a child and started TTC for her second after we did and got pregnant the first month.  I guess I was more envious than upset because I wanted it to be me.

How has your family has treated you regarding you TTC?

Very well.  My parents are offering to help pay for IVF if we go that route and they bought me a Clear Plan Fertility Monitor.  They give us advice that it will happen and they have a good feeling.  I know that are trying to make me feel better, but they are very supportive and that is what families are for.

How do your pregnant friends treat you regarding you TTC?

My best friend is amazing.  She acts very normal and always asks about our TTC effort and is always there to listen when I need to talk.  Another friend didn’t want to tell me that she was pregnant because she was afraid of how I would react.  So, she avoided me for as long as she could.

Do you prefer a friend that asks you about how it’s going or one that doesn’t bring up your TTC at all?

In the beginning, I didn’t mind people asking, but now I’d rather they don’t.  Again, that is why we have told people we are putting it on hold.  Except for my best friend and family, I don’t mind if they ask.

Have you ever slowly sipped on an alcoholic beverage at a get together just so people wouldn’t ask you if you were pregnant yet?

Yes, but it drives me nuts if I am not in the mood to drink and that is the first thing people always ask.

Have you found any books, online resources, etc., that have helped make this process easier on you?

The A Few Good Eggs book and an online TTC forum have really helped.

Are there certain things you won’t do after you’ve ovulated each month just in case you’re pregnant?

Not that I drink that often, but if we happen to be at a party, I try to avoid drinking.   I do that “sipping” thing in the two-week wait if we go out.

Do you feel you’re obsessive about TTC?

Yes.

When do you think you will actually conceive?

I hope sooner than later.  I just had a major surgery to remove cysts and while they had my stomach open, they “cleaned out” as much endometriosis as they could.  So, they say our best chances are in the next three months.  Of course, I will be upset if we are not pregnant, but I am really not expecting it.

Do you have any advice for others TTC?

Don’t tell too many people and fight for your right with your doctors.  Time is a tickin’ and they think that just because you are young, you have lots of time.  Take control before it is too late.  Don’t let your doctor write a prescription for Clomid and send you on your way.

Did you start TTC in a certain month so that your baby would be born in a certain month?

No.

Have you changed your eating or exercise habits since you’ve started TTC?

I am a little overweight and am a Weight Watcher, so I am really trying to stick to that and get healthy.

What things have you learned about yourself during this experience?

I have learned a lot about how my body ticks and about my emotions.  I have also learned that I am very lucky with what I have.  I am very grateful.

Do you feel that you’re going through this for a reason?

I am not too sure – sometimes I feel as if I am supposed to learn something from all of this, but other times I think it is just our luck.

Imagine getting a positive pregnancy test, how do you think you’ll feel?

Amazing!!  I think I would cry and I wouldn’t believe it, but it would feel as if we accomplished something and that a huge weight had been lifted.

During this process, have you had any dreams that have stood out?

Yes, I have, such as how I would tell my husband and friends and family.

Do you feel that the media does a good job of creating a forum for discussion regarding TTC?

No.

Who do you trust more – your doctor or your intuition?

My intuition.

Were you using any form of birth control before you started TTC?

I was on the Birth Control Pill for eight years.

Have you done anything to try to boost your fertility?

I just started using Pre-Seed and I was on Clomid for six months.  Other than that, I am a little skeptical.  Maybe I should try something else?

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Teresa

 - by brandyfern

How long have you been TTC?

Seven long years.

What are your and your guy’s current ages?

I am 27 and my husband is 31.

Before you started TTC, how long did you think it would take you to conceive?

I thought maybe six months.

What made you and your guy decide to start TTC?

We got married and thought we should start a family. And, I had this dream ever since I was a little girl of being a stay home mom.

Do you have any other children?

Nope! Only animals.

How has TTC affected your marriage?

When I first started seeing doctors, it put a huge stress on our relationship because I felt like it was my fault somehow. So, the guilt, anxiety, stress, depression, sadness and other feelings I was feeling, of course, made me bitter towards my husband because inside I felt like he was thinking it was my fault, also. Our marriage was very rocky and unsatisfying because of my own personal feelings. Of course, I didn’t think it was me then. You know, I was also angry at him for wanting to start a family because even before we got married I had told him that it might not happen. I wanted him to not want  a family so I wouldn’t feel like a bad wife because I couldn’t give it to him. This actually, in my opinion, was the major reason we got divorced. We were divorced for a little over a year and in that time, I guess I wanted to believe it was his fault so I “tried” other guys. None of them worked out either. I was still infertile and desperately in love with my ex-husband. We had amazing communication while we were divorced and I found out that he wasn’t just wanting to be with me so I could provide him with a family. He loved me and would forever. Needless to say, we got remarried and now are working TOGETHER towards hopefully, one day, being parents. We decided together that when we found something new we would try it and if it didn’t work it was okay because we still had each other. Also, I came to realize that I needed to find a career just in case the day never came.

What are some wives’ tales that you’ve heard about TTC and do you believe them?

I haven’t really heard of any because not many people know we have been trying. We have just told them that we are practicing.

Do you believe that stress can stop a woman from getting pregnant?

I believe it could play a roll in it. But, being main cause, no.

Do you have friends who are also TTC with whom you can talk to?

I had a friend that was told she would never be able to carry a baby, let alone give birth to a healthy baby, due to endometriosis. While we were both TTC, we would just compare notes on what doctors said and did, how we felt, what our husbands said and did, how long we had been trying, what we had tried and the differences between the problems with endometriosis and PCOS, which is what I was diagnosed with.  But she had a beautiful healthy girl over a year ago!!  The doctors called her a miracle. Heart-wrenching to me, but what a joy for her!  Being able to talk to her has helped me feel not so burdened by the ordeal.

Do you talk to other friends who aren’t TTC?

No, I don’t. The only other friend I would consider talking to about it…her family is known for how fertile they all are. Talk about a family of OOPS!

What is it like talking to guys about TTC?

Guys seem to be more positive and hopeful. (I don’t make it a practice talking to people about it, but it has come up at work and guys don’t talk to everyone like girls do. I feel it’s safer.)

Do you feel like people are more open about their TTC experiences while they’re TTC or after the get pregnant?

Not many are open about it because I think they feel like I did…BROKEN. And when things are broken, you throw them away.

Do you know what “charting your cycle” is and have you done it at any point while TTC?

Yes, I just barely started because for the first time in eight years, I had a period! (I believe thanks to Fertility Blend.)

What TTC-related books have you bought?

I haven’t bought any, but I have cruised the Net a lot to find information.

Have you set an age goal for when you want to get pregnant by?

At first, I said that if I’m not pregnant by 27, I’m done. But, I can’t let it go!!! I am not willing to give up and be defeated!!!

Have any friends or family gotten pregnant while you’ve been TTC?

I have two sister-in-laws. One of them has had two accidentals and the other has had two miscarriages and two children – one of which was an oops.  I forgot about my husband’s sister-in-law – I was so angry at God for letting her get pregnant! She was still in high school and using it as a trap for my husband’s brother. She told my in-laws that she didn’t know it could happen. I call B.S. When the baby was born, they thought about letting my husband and I adopt him and for a while, I was so excited, until they changed their minds.

Do you and your guy have sex throughout your cycle every month or only while you are ovulating?

Whenever because I haven’t ever had a cycle without the Pill.

What is the most number of times you’ve had sex in a 24-hour period while TTC?

Three – while trying Clomid.

Have you gotten pregnant and miscarried at any point during this time?

Nope.

How many people do you know who have ever miscarried?

At least ten.

What is your sanity level like during your cycle each month?

I don’t have a monthly cycle.

Did you decide not to tell some people that you are TTC?

Since we remarried, we have told more people because I am okay with the problem and since more people know, they don’t let me know first thing when they are pregnant. I usually find out through the grapevine. That makes it easier to hear, for some reason.

When you started TTC, had someone told you that it would take you at least this long to get pregnant, what would you have thought?

I would have thought they were crazy. But back then, I believed in doctors and thought they could fix anything.

Do you have baby names picked out?

Yes. I picked them out as soon as my husband said we should try for a baby.

Do you own any pregnancy-related books?

I own What to Expect… and I bought it probably just a few months after we started trying.

Do you feel like your guy understands what you’re going through?

Since our lines of communication opened, I’m pretty sure he does.

How is your guy coping with this process?

I think it’s hard for him, too. He wants to be a dad so bad. But, he has more to deal with than I do – he has to put up with my crying and depressions and all my attitudes, too! I kind of feel sorry for him.

Have you noticed that you’ve been more or less in the mood for sex since TTC?

Maybe more at first, but we were newlyweds at the time also.

Are you ever not in the mood at all when you have sex?

Yes.

Has your guy ever not been in the mood to have sex while TTC?

No.

Do you ever think about conceiving while having sex?

At some point during sex, I always think, “If it were only possible.”

Have you ever elevated your hips or legs after sex to help the sperm get to their goal?

Yes, while I was on Clomid. I don’t know how long it was, but my head hurt when I finally put my legs down.

What kinds of insensitive things have people said to you while TTC?

When are you guys going to have a baby? Then, they proceed to give us the rundown on who has how many and who is expecting and when and yada, yada, yada. It made me want to punch their lights out and probably proceed to beat them so badly their face would look like hamburger. But, as it was, I waited until I was out of the situation and just bawled.

Did you ever lose it and just have a good ole pity party?

Yes, many times. Every time that someone would tell me, “I’m pregnant! When are you guys going have kids?” Usually, time was the only healer. And sometimes I would tell myself that when it happens, I will be such a better mom because I wouldn’t take being a mom for granted. I would cherish every moment of pregnancy, good or bad and every time I would hold the baby in my arms, I would know what a blessing it is to be able to have a baby.

Did or do you ever think that you or your guy might have an infertility issue?

I thought maybe, possibly, but I know my problems need to be worked out before we start on him.

Have you sought help for infertility issues?

Yes. I have seen many doctors.  It has been so long that I don’t remember all of them, but every doctor started with the infamous blood tests – they always came back low/normal estrogen and high/normal testosterone. TSH, I don’t remember and yada, yada. They always said, “The levels are a little low in some and a little high in others, but it shouldn’t cause you to have no periods.” Then, there were ultrasounds to look for cysts or absence of ovaries or whatever. Every time, everything looks good. I saw a reproductive endocrinologist once and he ran a whole crap-load of tests – 24 hour catch of urine, twice, take this pill, come in fasting and have blood drawn the next day (that happened more than once, but they were different tests) and then there were other blood tests – lots of them. But the funny thing is, they all came back normal. Every time, I would cry because I just wanted someone to find out what was wrong with me. But eventually, I was just stamped with PCOS, which makes sense because all the symptoms are there.

Do you dream up scenarios of how you will tell your friends and family that you’re pregnant when you finally are?

Yes, but that was years ago. Now, we have just decided that when it happens, we won’t tell anyone for at least the first trimester because if I miscarry, I couldn’t handle people asking questions.

Have you attended a baby shower since you’ve been TTC?

Yes – horrible!!!! It upset my stomach. I cried for days and days afterwards when I thought about it.

How has your family has treated you regarding you TTC?

Since I have told them and talked to them about it some, they have been so supportive and compassionate!!! It felt so good to tell them about the problems and have them reassure me that one day it will happen and when it does, I will be an excellent mom.

How do your pregnant friends treat you regarding you TTC?

I have a friend who thinks she might be pregnant (another oops) and she ignores the fact that it might hurt me to listen to her complain about the fact that she doesn’t want to be pregnant.

Do you prefer a friend that asks you about how it’s going or one that doesn’t bring up your TTC at all?

The friends that don’t really care, like the one in the previous question, make me mad because I feel like she asks just to rub salt in the wound.

Have you found any books, online resources, etc., that have helped make this process easier on you?

Just reading some of the stories and what-not on www.babycenter.com. I don’t feel like such an isolated case.

Do you feel you’re obsessive about TTC?

Yes.

When do you think you will actually conceive?

Well, taking Fertility Blend has caused me to have a period and I have only been taking it for a few weeks. I’m not sure whether or not it will cause my body to ovulate, but I hope so. The clinical studies done with Fertility Blend have proven that women that have been diagnosed “infertile,” like myself, have a one in three chance to conceive after taking it for three months. So hopefully, by the grace of God Almighty, this is the answer to my prayers and within six months, I will be pregnant. I have a lot of hope from this because taking the pills that doctors have given me (Provera, Prometrium, etc.) has not even caused me to spot. (But, I have felt little differences since I have been taking Metformin.)

Do you have any advice for others TTC?

Hang in there. There are a lot of people rootin’ for ya! I know I am!

Did you start TTC in a certain month so that your baby would be born in a certain month?

Nope.

Have you changed your eating or exercise habits since you’ve started TTC?

Nope.

What things have you learned about yourself during this experience?

I found out that my belief in God and Jesus Christ is strong and well and really a big help in coping with all the feelings that this has brought about.

Do you feel that you’re going through this for a reason?

Yes, to help me be a better mom when it happens and maybe so I can help others and be more compassionate towards others with problems.

Imagine getting a positive pregnancy test, how do you think you’ll feel?

I wouldn’t believe it. I would have to take two or three or four and then I would sit down and probably weep with joy and gratitude.

Do you feel that the media does a good job of creating a forum for discussion regarding TTC?

Not really. It was years before I found www.babycenter.com.

Who do you trust more – your doctor or your intuition?

My intuition, all the way. But, doctors have told me everything looks normal (at least things are in the normal range) and good. They may be educated in anatomy and physiology, but I think sometimes they forget that everybody is different and will respond to things differently. Maybe normal for the average person is way too low or high for me – you know what I mean?

Were you using any form of birth control before you started TTC?

No, but I had a doctor put me on the Pill for a few months to try to “kick start” my body into working.

Have you done anything to try to boost your fertility?

I have taken, I feel, everything under the sun! I have gone to regular doctors, OB/GYNs, reproductive endocrinologists, regular doctors that use a homeopathic twist, an iridologist (they read your iris and tell you what herbs to take to fix the problems), I have tried chiropractic and massage and I have done research on different herbs and tried them (presently Fertility Blend, which I am very excited about because it is showing results). I have thought about acupuncture, acupressure and such, but there is none available in my area right now.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Trying to conceive is so hard! At times, I have just wanted to die because I felt like I needed to own the problem alone because, “My body is broken and it’s my fault somehow,” and, “It’s my problem and there isn’t anyone else who can do anything about it,” and, “Why does God hate me? He knows that I have always just wanted to be a stay home mom?” and, “Because my body is retarded, I can’t give my husband a family, my parents grandchildren or make myself a mom.” But, I have learned that other people don’t see it this same, warped way. They see it as something that may cause a setback. And, they don’t think that there is a problem with me – it’s just a physical problem, like a broken leg. It’s something that they want to help me with and support me in any way possible until it heals.

I know that I have harped on this Fertility Blend, but after seven years of nothing, to actually have a period, I can’t even begin to tell how excited I am to think that this might be my Godsend. I would recommend anyone try it. Because if it can cause me to have a period, who knows how many may be able to get pregnant by using it!

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Melissa A.

 - by brandyfern

How long were you TTC before you got pregnant?

Originally, two years and seven months, but we miscarried in the first trimester.  It was a real surprise that we even got pregnant – after only four weeks of a low dosage of thyroid medication.  A year later, we conceived again with this baby.

What were your and your guy’s ages when you got pregnant?

Me, 41 and him, 42.

Before you started TTC, how long did you think it would take you to conceive?
Less than a year.

What made you and your guy decide to start TTC?
We purposely waited a year after marrying and started on our first anniversary.

Do you have any other children?
No.

How did TTC affect your marriage?
It was very stressful emotionally, but we became closer as a couple with each passing month and our marriage became stronger!  My husband made a point to go to every doctor’s visit with me (I didn’t ask, he offered) and that support was incredible.  I was ready to adopt after TTC for two years and he was the cheerleader rallying for us to keep trying!  Of course, sex was less interesting and became a “duty” each month.  It’s something we’ll have to work on after the baby is born.

What are some wives’ tales that you heard about TTC and did or do you believe them?
I didn’t believe: “It’s good luck to be surrounded by infants, so baby-sit and spend time with your friends’ babies,” “Try not to think about it & you’ll get pregnant,” and, “Relax and drink wine.”

I did believe that reducing stress increases odds of fertility. gaining weight (I was underweight) increases odds, my husband should avoid hot tubs, placing computer on his lap or heavy drinking to increase quantity and quality of sperm and that prayers really do help.

Did and do you believe that stress can stop a woman from getting pregnant?

No, but I didn’t think stress helped my fertility, so I enrolled in an infertility program at the UCLA Mind/Body Institute, to reduce stress.  The course was fantastic and basically changed my life.  I didn’t think I was stressed, but I was and learned skills to deal with it.

Did you have friends who were also TTC with whom you could talk to?

Thank God, I had one friend, who had been trying for five years.  She held my hand.  And meeting the other women at the UCLA program was a tremendous source of relief: to know there were other women going through it and there to talk about it every week.

But my other friends could not relate because they were not going through it.  A few were full of empathy and understood, but most didn’t.  They would just say I wasn’t relaxed enough or were not interested in talking about it.  I didn’t want to be a burden, so I didn’t tell people unless they asked questions. Those were few.

The ones who were supportive provided a great source of relief, love and an outlet for me.  Especially, friends who knew someone close that were experiencing infertility, too. But, the ones who weren’t empathetic sometimes hurt my feelings (unbeknownst to them), but I understood that they simply could not relate and I didn’t take it personally.  Interestingly, I was hurt the most by my closest friends, who didn’t empathize with me.  I had a higher expectation that they would understand what my husband and I were going through.

Did you talk to other friends who weren’t TTC?
Some were supportive, some weren’t.  It didn’t matter if they were TTC or not.

What was it like talking to guys about TTC?
Conversations were brief (as with normal conversations with men), but generally, they replied with an empathetic nod or acknowledgment.  They didn’t inquire further.

Did and do you feel like people were more open about their TTC experiences while they were TTC or after they got pregnant?

Most of our friends had already conceived and had kids.  Some admitted that it took longer than they thought and empathized that it was stressful, even if they had only tried for a year and had then got pregnant.  Some admitted that trying for the second pregnancy was harder than the first. But, most could not relate to our situation since were going to the extent of getting ovulation kits, charting, acupuncture, doctors, etc.

Did you know what “charting your cycle” was and did you do it at any point while TTC?
Absolutely.  I did it for three years and started after about six months of TTC.  Towards the end, I loosened up because I was tired of taking my temperature daily and just focused on regulating my periods through acupuncture and herbs and stress-reducing techniques along with doctor’s medicated inseminations.

What TTC-related books did you buy?
A textbook we used in the UCLA Mind/Body Program, The Wellness Book by Dr. Herbert Benson, M.D.  Also, Healing Mind, Healthy Woman by Alice Domar – great and Conquering Infertility.  Taking Charge of Your Fertility was helpful at first, but later it was frustrating because we didn’t hadn’t conceived yet.

Did you set an age goal for when you wanted to get pregnant by?
Before 40 was my goal.  With the first pregnancy, I was 40 years and six months.  With this pregnancy, I was 41 years and six months.

Did and do you think women over 35 are less fertile?
I didn’t know anything about this until we were having a hard time conceiving and I started researching.  As you can imagine, I was shocked to realize that after 35, the odds dramatically reduce.  I has heard about all these women over 35, even 40 plus, having babies, but didn’t realize that many were assisted by doctors.

Do you feel that you had more of a struggle with TTC than those under 35?

Yes.

Did any friends or family get pregnant while you were TTC?
Many.  I was happy for them, genuinely, but sad for us.  I wondered why we couldn’t conceive?  What was I doing wrong?

Did you and your guy have sex throughout your cycle every month or only while you were ovulating?
It became a task and dwindled down to the week of ovulation every month.

What is the most number of times you had sex in a 24-hour period while TTC?
Once, because the books would say to have sex every other day during ovulation to allow the sperm production to recover.

Did you get pregnant and miscarry at any point while TTC?

Yes.  That pregnancy was a surprise and a blessing.  Although we lost it late in the first trimester, I was shocked.  Weeks later, the pathology reports noted that it was due to a chromosomal defect and I was relieved that God spared me a late term miscarriage and it was early.  I then was thrilled that I could actually get pregnant and without doctor assistance.  My husband was more devastated than me (something I hadn’t anticipated), but we both jumped on the wagon and started trying soon after.

How many people do you know who have ever miscarried?
Too many to remember, but as I talked about ours, more friends confessed to theirs.  I learned that it was very common.

What was your sanity level like during your cycle each month?
I normally have PMS, so before my period, there’s always one day full of emotion (some periods more than others).

How many pregnancy tests did you take while TTC?
Too many to count.  And many more ovulations kits.

Did you ever take a pregnancy test even when your period arrived because you still thought you could be pregnant?
No.

How did you center yourself and cope with this process?
Since we tried for so long, I went through various stages of stress throughout the years with the beginning years of TTC at full tilt stress – disappointment, crying, anguish, worry about time ticking – to the last year of using stress-reducing techniques from the UCLA class on a daily/weekly basis, researching adoption as a backup plan, etc.

Did you decide not to tell some people that you were TTC?
Initially, we didn’t tell people because we thought it’d happen so quickly.  Then, as time went on, we would tell people, “Yes, we’re trying,” but didn’t get into details about what we were doing to increase our odds.  Most didn’t ask.  I, however, did tell my very close friends all the details from the very beginning and some were empathetic, some weren’t.

Did you ever come into contact with a stranger who was also TTC and have a bonding moment?
Absolutely.  Just meeting women in the waiting room at the endocrinologist’s office was a great source of relief.  We’d talk about how long we’d been TTC and wish each other luck with the next cycle.  I never saw them again, but just knowing there were other women out there with the same problem as me was comforting.  The UCLA program provided the best source of support because there were a group of us in this infertility slump together and we saw each other weekly for several months.  Some even got pregnant during the program and it was a sliver of hope for all of us.

While TTC, did you ever swear you were pregnant, but weren’t?
I don’t know if I was actually 100% sure, but after each ovulation, I’d treat my body as if it was pregnant – I didn’t eat raw fish, I limited my exercise, I ate more protein, etc.  It got a little unnerving after a year of this!

What kinds of things did you look out for every month as signs that you might be pregnant?
I didn’t really look for signs since pregnancy symptoms are the same as premenstrual ones.  In fact, when I first became pregnant, I was expecting my period because of the PMS symptoms.

How did you react to your period arriving every month?
It was like having a loss every month, it was torture.  After taking caution to eat well, reduce stress, charting, having sex every other day during ovulation, putting my legs up after sex and then to have no pregnancy that month was disappointing.  Sometimes, I’d wallow in a pity party for a day or two or just well up in tears for a couple of minutes.  Having a supportive spouse made all the difference in the world because he’d be disappointed with me and sometimes we’d make jokes (“If we were 18 and did it in the back seat, we’d be pregnant!”) about the whole situation.  The last year, before getting pregnant, we had gone through so much that we were able to laugh about it at times.

When you started TTC, had someone told you that it would take you as long as it did to get pregnant, what would you have thought?
We were told it should take a year and when the year was up, I was mildly concerned, but not worried.  Then, I started researching and realized that we needed to take basic medical tests just to verify that we were both in good health and not just trying in vain.

While TTC, did you ever buy baby clothes (for the baby you were TTC)?
No.  I started avoiding baby stores unless I had to purchase a gift.

Did you already have baby names picked out while TTC?
No.

While TTC, did you own any pregnancy-related books?
My friends gave me theirs when they heard we were trying.  But, I later put them on the back shelf when we weren’t conceiving right away.

Did you feel like your guy understood what you were going through?
Yes!  Initially, he didn’t, but when we went to our first appointment with an endocrinologist, he began to understand that time wasn’t on our side and he became positive and upbeat about getting pregnant with the doctor’s assistance.

How did your guy cope with the process?
He researched the Web a lot and talked with his close friend about it during workouts.

Did you notice that you were more or less in the mood for sex while TTC?
Less.

Were you ever not in the mood at all when you had sex while TTC?
Yes.

Was your guy ever not in the mood to have sex while TTC?
Yes.

Did you ever think about conceiving while in the middle of having sex?
I was always thinking about conceiving during sex.

Did you ever elevate your hips or legs after sex to help the sperm get to their goal?
At first, I’d hold them up for 15 minutes, but after a couple of years, I just held them up for five minutes or less.

What kinds of insensitive things did people say to you while TTC?
“You just need to relax….”
“Forget about trying and just adopt…”
“You have everything, a great husband, a nice house – you don’t need a baby…”
“Kids are overrated and you really don’t need them to have a fulfilling life,” (a woman in her 70s told me)
“What if I don’t conceive, my time is running out?” (said by a friend who had two pregnancies and was 35 and younger than me!)
“How OLD are you?!!!”

Did you ever lose it and just have a good ole pity party?
Absolutely – many times within this whole process.  The most stressful time was probably at the beginning of our second year of TTC, when we had a failed IVF.  Although I was diagnosed as “undiagnosed infertility,” I was a good candidate for IVFs and we even had “A-Rated” embryos, but no pregnancy took.  I truly began to understand that I was really infertile and it was depressing.  But, having had taken the UCLA program, I kept up with the relaxation techniques, which kept my sanity.

Did you buy sexy lingerie for TTC?
Yes, in the first year.

Did you ever think that you or your guy might have an infertility issue?
Yes, but we discovered that all was well after taking preliminary tests.

At any time, did you ever question your guy’s fertility?
We saw a doctor a year after TTC and she recommended the tests, so I never had a conversation with him about it.  Although, I did ask him to stop putting his computer on his lap since I found studies that showed it that heat lowers the sperm count!

Did you seek help for infertility issues?
Absolutely.  A year after trying, I enrolled in the UCLA program.  In addition, I saw an acupuncturist whose specialty was infertility and she regulated my periods and brought my body back into balance.  I also interviewed several endocrinologists to seek their opinion and then settled on one to assist us.

I ended up having a HSG and blood tests.  My husband had a SA.  We passed all with flying colors, so they gave us the “undiagnosed infertility” label.

Did you dream up scenarios of how you would tell your friends and family that you’re pregnant when you finally were?
No.

Did you attend a baby shower while TTC?
Yes.  Most I could handle, but a couple I couldn’t because they were my husband’s friends and didn’t relate to our difficulty with conceiving.

How did your family treat you regarding you TTC?
Although my in-laws tried to be understanding, they would say, “We really don’t want grandkids, anyhow,” and that actually made me more sad because I knew they were just trying to make us feel better.  My mother-in-law would always comment about my age and how hard it is to conceive when you’re older.  It put a distance between us, although she didn’t realize it.

How did your pregnant friends treat you regarding you TTC?

They really didn’t treat me any differently from when they weren’t pregnant.  Those who were empathetic, have always been and those that weren’t, weren’t.

Did you prefer a friend that asked you about how it was going or one that didn’t bring up your TTC at all?
It was nice to be asked about it, but I wouldn’t necessarily tell a friend everything because sometimes they weren’t prepared to hear the whole story.  I’d kind of see how the conversation went.

Did you find any books, online resources, etc., that helped make the process easier on you?
The UCLA program especially with its group support, the books mentioned earlier and relaxation CDs.  Prayer helped me the most and my relationship with God strengthened even more.  My prayer life became deeper and more intimate.

Did you feel you were obsessive about TTC?
Yes and I didn’t want it to run my life, but it did!

Is there anything that you thought was holding you back from getting pregnant?
Stress for sure because while we were TTC, we were building a house and then in a two-year lawsuit for construction defects.

Do you have any advice for others TTC?
Get any kind of support you can find and talk about it with those who will listen.  Take steps to reduce stress in your life.  Keep praying – there is hope!

Did you start TTC in a certain month so that your baby would be born in a certain month?
I always wanted to avoid pregnancy during the summer, but I didn’t focus on it because we just kept trying every month.

Did you change your eating or exercise habits while you were TTC?
Yes, I ate more protein.  I eat healthy anyhow, but the protein was a big change.  I exercised less and then stopped completely to gain weight.

What things have you learned about yourself during this experience?
Though this has been one of the MOST stressful trials I have endured, I was blessed to grow in areas that I would not have if it wasn’t for the infertility:
1. Marriage – it brought us closer together as a couple and I can truly call my husband my helpmate.
2. Stress – I didn’t realize that I did not have any stress-coping techniques and what the effect of stress was on the body.  Even when we didn’t conceive, I handled stress all the more better because of what I learned.   I now know what it feels like to be totally relaxed and actually crave it.
3. Faith – my faith in God increased as did my prayer life, resulting in a spiritual intimacy that I had never felt before and continues today.

Did and do you feel that you went going through TTC for a reason?
Yes, to learn the above.  Everything is in God’s timing.  Although, I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what we did, I’m a better person because of it.

While TTC, did you have any dreams that stood out?
I’ve always wanted to be a mom, more than anything else.  That is my dream.

Did and do you feel that the media does a good job of creating a forum for discussion regarding TTC?
Just recently, I’ve noticed articles on infertility in women’s magazines, but nothing on TV.  The Web is a great resource for infertility.

Who do you trust more – your doctor or your intuition?
My intuition.  But, the doctor gave us a lot of factual insight to help us make informed decisions.

Were you using any form of birth control before you started TTC?
Yes, rubbers because I wanted to keep my system “clean” a year before getting pregnant and avoid birth control pills.

What do you think attributed to your finally getting pregnant?
I believe it was God’s divine intervention/timing.  Plus, a combination of reduced stress and thyroid medication.

Did you have some euphoric experience the minute that you conceived?
No.

What were your first symptoms of pregnancy?
No period, a larger bustline and later, at week seven, I became extremely tired at times and very hungry.

In the month that you got pregnant, did you spot at all anytime after ovulation?
With the first pregnancy, I had no spotting at all, but miscarried at nine weeks.  With the second pregnancy, I had spotting during the first trimester.

In the month that you got pregnant, how was your mindset – were you anxious or stressed at all?
Both times, I really wasn’t expecting to get pregnant!  So, it was a complete surprise – even when we had an insemination for the second pregnancy because it was the fourth one in 12 months and after so many disappointments, I didn’t want to be too hopeful.
Also, our construction defect lawsuit had just settled out of court after two years, so I was not stressed at all.

How did it feel to finally have a positive pregnancy test?
At first, it wasn’t believable.  So, we actually ran out and purchased another brand to make sure the test was correct.  Then, I was real cautious with making sure that I slept well, avoided stress and ate healthy.

Since first going through TTC, do you feel more open to talking about it now?
Yes.  I’d love to help anyone going through it because I remember feeling so alone and out of control, at times.

Is pregnancy as glamorous as it seems to those of us TTC?

Yes!

If you could redo the process of TTC, what would you do differently?
I would have avoided the IVFs because I ended up getting pregnant naturally, without assistance with the first pregnancy.

Do you treat your friends who are TTC differently since you’ve gone through it yourself?
I don’t have any friends who are TTC, right now.  But, one friend is adopting after three IVFs and I’m sensitive to allow her to talk about the adoption process and I don’t talk about our pregnancy unless she asks.

What is the biggest misconception about pregnancy?
That’s it’s easy to get pregnant!

When you finally got pregnant, looking back on the second half of that cycle, were there clues that you were pregnant?
No.  Both times were a complete surprise.

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Kristina

 - by brandyfern

How long have you been TTC?

Two months.

What are your and your guy’s current ages?

I am 25 and my husband is 27.

Before you started TTC, how long did you think it would take you to conceive?

I have had endometriosis pain, so I wasn’t sure how long it would take. The doctor told me that I had a 99% chance of conceiving, but there was always that nagging doubt.

What made you and your guy decide to start TTC?

I had wanted to start having a baby since last November, but my husband wasn’t so sure until after we visited his family in Peru (where he’s from) and they all started asking us when we would start trying.  He was convinced and shortly after we started trying.

Do you have any other children and how long did it take for you to conceive them?

Our angel baby – I got pregnant right away and then miscarried early last month.  We actually got pregnant on the first try – to our surprise and excitement!

How has TTC affected your marriage?

Actually TTC and then getting pregnant and then losing the baby have definitely brought us closer together as a couple. We have really learned more about each other and supported each other more and for our marriage, this has been really great.

What are some wives’ tales that you’ve heard about TTC and do you believe them?

At the moment, I can’t really think of any.

Do you believe that stress can stop a woman from getting pregnant?

I think that stress does indeed affect all aspects of our lives and so I guess it might affect it.

Do you have friends who are also TTC with whom you can talk to?

I have other friends who are expecting, but I’m the only one right now actively trying to have a baby.  It’s been tough – we wouldn’t have told anyone that we were TTC if we hadn’t gotten pregnant – now everyone that we told then knows (close family and friends). I am coping by using the message boards on www.ivillage.com – they have been a lifesaver!

Do you talk to other friends who aren’t TTC?

I have one friend I’ve talked to about this a little bit, but not a whole lot – I’m quiet and a bit more closed when it comes to personal things like this.

What is it like talking to guys about TTC?

I really don’t have any guys I’ve talked to about this.

Do you feel like people are more open about their TTC experiences while they’re TTC or after the get pregnant?

Most of my experiences have been that most couples are quiet. We do have one couple we know that have been a bit more vocal about things, but most of our friends and people we know have been pretty private about it.

Do you know what “charting your cycle” is and have you done it at any point while TTC?

I do know what charting is, but since we got pregnant so fast the first time, I haven’t really wanted to do that unless we have a hard time this time – I think I would be WAY too obsessive about it!

What TTC-related books have you bought?

I have not gotten any TTC books.  I did get pregnancy books right away after finding out we were having a baby, but nothing directly related to TTC.

Have you set an age goal for when you want to get pregnant by?

My goal was to be pregnant and have my first baby by 25.  I’m still 25, but because I miscarried our first baby, I will not be 25 when I give birth.  I’m hoping I will just have turned 26, though!!!

Do you think women over 35 are less fertile?

I know that some women have a bit more difficulty after 35, but I do not think that they are less fertile.

Have any friends or family gotten pregnant while you’ve been TTC?

I actually had a friend from college get pregnant last winter right around the time I got the “itch” and I was upset only because she had just gotten married and seemed to be already so much farther ahead than us. That frustrated me a bit. She’s due in September and I wish I too was having a baby.

Do you and your guy have sex throughout your cycle every month or only while you are ovulating?

Mainly while I’m ovulating as we do it every day for about a week.  That’s a lot of work, especially because our work schedules are so different.

What is the most number of times you’ve had sex in a 24-hour period while TTC?

Two or three.

Have you gotten pregnant and miscarried at any point during this time?

I actually just had a miscarriage a little over a month ago and it has been a very painful journey for us. We were so excited about our little baby and losing our angel was really such a hard thing to go through – still is. We felt very lonely in our mourning process because not many people knew that we were TTC, so not many people knew that we were having a baby.  Those who did know were very supportive but I found that many just didn’t know how to deal with it and since there really isn’t anything tangible as evidence (no funeral, etc.) people just kind of want you to move on and feel better too. There were some people that said some pretty hurtful things (I know they didn’t do it on purpose), but that’s hard to deal with as well.

My doctor told us that we didn’t have to wait any cycles to TTC again and now we’re just waiting for my cycles to return to normal so that we can TTC and have a baby, but I must say that my outlook on getting pregnant has completely changed.  Since this is our first, I feel that our sweet innocence in this process has been stripped from us.  That makes me very sad and a little angry.  I don’t think that it’s fair but I also feel that I have hope for a new start as well.

How many people do you know who have ever miscarried?

I found out that more people that I thought had had them since telling people that we miscarried. From family and friends, at least 4 couples.

What is your sanity level like during your cycle each month?

This is my first cycle post miscarriage and let me tell you, the waiting time between the miscarriage and the cycle starting up again was the hardest wait of my life. I just wanted so desperately to be normal again.  My cycles have started up again and I must say this is the first time I’ve been happy to see AF.

How many pregnancy tests have you taken while TTC?

When I tested for my first pregnancy, I was 95% sure I was pregnant and just needed the test to confirm, but after I showed my husband, he said, “Are you sure?” and made me go take another.  So, so far I’ve only taken two tests. I think though that in the future I could become much more obsessive!

Have you ever taken a pregnancy test even when your period has arrived because you still think you may be pregnant?

I did once feel the AF symptoms but wanted to test anyway because I really wanted to be pregnant.  Of course, the test was negative and duh because AF arrived shortly after.

How do you center yourself and cope with this process?

I just keep telling myself that it has to happen – I want it too much for it not to.  Ever so often, I start to freak out that maybe we’ll never have babies but that is a very dangerous thought and I don’t let myself go there often. I just have to believe that it will happen and we will have the family we dream of.

Did you decide not to tell some people that you are TTC?

We have decided to keep this private, for the most part. Since I got pregnant already once, more people know about it just because we started telling people I was expecting. But, for the most part, people don’t know. Sometimes I just wish that everyone knew especially that we did have a baby but most of the time I’m very grateful that most don’t know.

Did you ever come into contact with a stranger who was also TTC and have a bonding moment?

Not yet.

While TTC, have you ever sworn you were pregnant, but weren’t?

Actually, before we were TTC, there was a time when I didn’t get my period for two weeks and I was sure I was pregnant. I was imaging every symptom in the book and more, so I took two pregnancy tests and of course they both ended up being negative. At that time, I was still on the pill, so it was a very slim chance that I could’ve been pregnant but I was just so sure!

What kinds of symptoms do you look for every month as signs that you might be pregnant?

I look for tender breasts the most because they were so very tender in my first pregnancy – I poke them a lot to make sure!

How do you react to your period arriving every month?

Mostly, I’m sad, but this last time after my miscarriage I didn’t get it for 33 days and I started to wonder if I’d ever get it.  Granted, I know that’s not terribly late for a regular 28-day girl, but I started to wonder if I was pregnant and I really wasn’t ready yet, so I was very relieved to know that it had come and that we can now start trying on this new cycle.

When you started TTC, had someone told you that it would take you at least this long to get pregnant, what would you have thought?

Had someone told me that our lives would have involved getting pregnant so much faster than we ever dreamed we would, but then lose our baby, I would have never believed them. Silly, I know, but I think I just tend to hope and believe that the worst won’t happen. I think it’s my way of protecting myself – I just never thought our lives would look like this.

Do you ever buy baby clothes (for this baby you’re TTC)?

I have only gotten booties.  That was the way I told my husband that I was pregnant and they were the booties our baby would wear home from the hospital.  Those I will always keep. I won’t buy anything else until after the first trimester, I don’t think.

Do you already have baby names picked out?

Yes, but those are secret!

Do you own any pregnancy-related books?

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I bought What to Expect… and Vegetarian Pregnancy, a pregnancy journal and a book on love letters to my baby. In the journal, I had already filled out the dates on each page of my nine months, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with those.  I have other books that after I miscarried, I just put in my bottom drawer.  I couldn’t bear to see them after that.

Do you feel like your guy understands what you’re going through?

In his own way. He’s been really, really great and supportive. I couldn’t ask for a better husband! I’m so thankful for his strength through all this. I know that it has affected him as well and I’m thankful for the times when we’re actually able to talk about it.

How is your guy coping with this process?

He’s been very understanding and supportive. Granted, he doesn’t always “get it,” but he’s been good at trying.

Have you noticed that you’ve been more or less in the mood for sex since TTC?

More!  I really have enjoyed it and I have loved knowing we’re trying to make a baby during sex – it just makes it so much more special.

Are you ever not in the mood at all when you have sex?

I would say that when TTC, no, but other times in the month, probably.

Has your guy ever not been in the mood to have sex while TTC?

He’s been a great and very willing participant.

Do you ever think about conceiving while having sex?

All the time, but I don’t think that it makes things more stressful.  It just makes it more beautiful for me.

Have you ever elevated your hips or legs after sex to help the sperm get to their goal?

I haven’t held my legs up but I have put a pillow under my hips to allow the boys to swim better!

What kinds of insensitive things have people said to you while TTC?

This wasn’t particularly about TTC, but it was about babies and miscarriages, etc. A friend of mine from college found out by accident that we’d had a miscarriage and she said she was sorry and all, but then in the next sentence, while talking about her own morning sickness right now, she said, “The sickness is worth it – I mean, what mother wouldn’t go through the worst just to make sure that her baby is ok?” That really bothered me because I’d just lost my baby and I felt like saying, “You know, I would go through hell too to make sure my baby would be okay, but that wasn’t an option for me!” Everyone else has been pretty supportive.

Did you ever lose it and just have a good ole pity party?

Ever so often, when I see all these babies and all these pregnant women, I just think to myself, “That should be me too!!!” and I get so frustrated and really feel like losing it!

Did or do you buy sexy lingerie for TTC?

Maybe once or twice.

Did or do you ever think that you or your guy might have an infertility issue?

Ever since I had problems with endometriosis, I figured I would have a hard time getting pregnant, but then I got pregnant on the first try and we couldn’t believe how wonderful and easy it had been. Now, I’m just scared that one miscarriage won’t be it and that we’ll have to go through it again. That’s my biggest fear now.

Did or do you think it was you who were more apt to have an infertility issue, or your guy?

Always me.

Have you sought help for infertility issues?

No. We’ve not really needed to yet.  We’re hoping that doesn’t have to happen.

Do you dream up scenarios of how you will tell your friends and family that you’re pregnant when you finally are?

We did – we actually gave my parents a gift of booties and it was such a special moment. I’m just so sad that our first pregnancy didn’t happen because it was so beautiful and we have now lost that innocence. It makes me very sad.

Have you attended a baby shower since you’ve been TTC?

No.

How has your family has treated you regarding you TTC?

They have been very supportive.

How do your pregnant friends treat you regarding you TTC?

I have a friend who just had a baby, but we live far away from them and they don’t know that we lost a baby – I just prefer that people not ask questions or look at me with pity.

Do you prefer a friend that asks you about how it’s going or one that doesn’t bring up your TTC at all?

I am very thankful to those who do know and that ask me about it.  That is why I’ve been careful to only tell those who I know will treat me with love and respect and will have the boundaries that I need.

Have you found any books, online resources, etc., that have helped make this process easier on you?

The website www.ivillage.com has made this incredibly better.

Are there certain things you won’t do after you’ve ovulated each month just in case you’re pregnant?

I’ve completely given up alcohol.

Do you feel you’re obsessive about TTC?

Not yet…

When do you think you will actually conceive?

I’m hoping that this will happen soon and will stick. We’re tying again and I hope that this month will work for us.

Did you start TTC in a certain month so that your baby would be born in a certain month?

I wanted a winter or early spring baby.  When I got pregnant and was due in January, I thought it was perfect. Now, I’m hoping to get pregnant so that I can have an April baby. I just can’t imagine being eight to nine months pregnant in the summer.  I hate being hot, so I’m trying to plan it so that it will be in spring, but if we have a summer or fall baby, that’s fine too!

Have you changed your eating or exercise habits since you’ve started TTC?

For seven months, I have gone on an almost vegan/vegetarian diet and I know that has helped me feel really good health-wise and I’m very thankful that I’ve made this diet change so that I will eat well while pregnant.

What things have you learned about yourself during this experience?

That I’m a very results-oriented person.

Do you feel that you’re going through this for a reason?

I’m sure there’s a reason, but I have no idea what it could be. I don’t know why I had to lose my baby and go through all of this, but I know that God has given us the strength to continue forward.

Imagine getting a positive pregnancy test, how do you think you’ll feel?

It’s such a wonderful moment, but I’m also so terrified that I’ll miscarry again. I think that the moment will be very bittersweet.

During this process, have you had any dreams that have stood out?

My husband and I dream of having a baby girl and I have had several dreams of beautiful, perfect baby girls (boys would be great too) and that’s what keeps me going.

Do you feel that the media does a good job of creating a forum for discussion regarding TTC?

No, I feel that it is a very hush-hush process. Granted, there are websites that are great, but the media, in general, does not allow for great discussions about the difficulties of TTC.

Who do you trust more – your doctor or your intuition?

That’s a tough one.  I think the thing I’ve learned most in this process is to take your health into your own hands and take initiative when it comes to your concerns or issues. I trust doctors, but I also am learning to trust the doubts or questions that come up and not push them away anymore because the doctor told me something different. I need to question something if I’m not comfortable with it and make my health a top priority.

Were you using any form of birth control before you started TTC?

I’ve been on birth control pills since I developed pain due to endometriosis and that was four years ago.  I’ve been off birth control pills for around six months, but my husband and I used condoms until more recently, when we decided we were ready to start a family.

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