The idea for this post came to me when I was sitting in the meeting for moms of loss. One lady had mentioned last month that she felt she was having a miscarriage after having a miscarriage in January. She confirmed it was a miscarriage in last week’s meeting. She mentioned that she spoke to the doctor and for them to even consider the recurrent miscarriage an issue is if she has ANOTHER heartbreaking miscarriage. That saddened me so much. Why does this poor woman have to endure 3 miscarriages back-to-back in order for the doctor to take her seriously. And it frankly pissed me off.
In addition, another member did in fact take her own fertility in her hands and is now 24 weeks pregnant. This lady had 2 miscarriages, carried a baby to full term and unfortunately lost the baby at 9 days old to a condition no one would have been able to catch. She wasn’t going to wait around for a doctor to tell her nothing is wrong with her. She went straight to IVF and was successful on the first try.
While I was sitting there thinking about my own fertility story, it is true that I was told nothing was wrong with me without even being examined. This loss that happened to me in December has really made me question everything. I really dove into understanding ovulation, menstruation cycle, male fertility and what I can do to increase my chances. Based on my own research, I strongly believe that it shouldn’t take longer than 3 months to conceive if both you and your partner are healthy. When you get to the 4th month mark, start look at your own fertility. Why 3 months? Because it takes 3 months for your eggs to mature. If you change any life habit now, like starting an exercise regime, you can expect your newly healthy eggs to mature 3 months later.
I will be discussing some factors I only started considering on this TTC journey. I will break this up in 3 parts as they are a lot to digest in one post.
Here are a few things you should consider thinking about at your OWN fertility. Everyone’s fertility journey is different and you should look at what is uniquely you. No one knows your body more than you.
Do you know when you are actually ovulating?
Can you actually with complete confidence say that you are ovulating a certain day? I personally struggled with this because while OPKs came back positive, my own body was giving me signals that indicated otherwise, such as EWCM way past that expected date. OPKs while convenient, can give you false positives because they can pick up surges of other hormones. This is why I buy the Clear Blue Advanced Digital Ovulation Predictor Kit and test it with at least 1 other OPK, like Premom Ovulation and Pregnancy strips. The chances of both coming back with false positives is slim. It also helps to record your body signals in a fertility app like OVIA. Look for cervical mucus, basal body temperature dips and spikes, and body cues such as headaches, sore breasts and dry mouth. There are lots of ways to time your ovulation. In my experience, no two months are the same. When you see positive OPKs on 2 different tests, as well as abundant cervical mucus when you wipe, this would be the best time to have intercourse. When you get these indications, ovulation is expected within 12 to 36 hours.
Things to keep in mind about ovulation and timing sex.
- You need to keep in mind that it takes fast swimming sperm about 30 minutes to get to your fallopian tubes. It can take slow swimming sperm up to 2 hours or more to get there. The reason you need to know this is because the good healthy sperm may be ones of the slow ones this time.
- You absolutely need to use OPKs two times a day to make sure you don’t miss your ovulation window. It is very possible to catch the end of your LH surge and only have 4 hours or less window before the egg drops. Testing twice a day from the last day of your period until you get a positive is a good idea. I know Clearblue is expensive, so I tested twice using the Premom strips until I get a high result. I then “confirm” this result with the Clearblue.
- If you plan on using lube, use only Preseed which is clinically proven to keep up to 94% of sperm in tact. Vaginal dryness is a factor because there isn’t enough fluid to support the sperm to the egg. It is a good idea to have Preseed on hand because you may be a little dry this one month.
Is your partner’s sperm healthy?
Before hitting up the doctor and shelling out hundreds of dollars to find out what is wrong, you may opt to find out if your partner’s sperm count is above the cut off. There are lots of options out there like this one. It checks for the concentration of sperm per milimeter of semen. We personally haven’t used this because we did shell out hundreds of dollars to find out if my husband’s sperm is ok. The parameter to compare results with is less than 15 million sperm/ml is low and considered infertile. Normal concentration is 40 million sperm/ml.
Other factors that should be considered are molitity – are sperm too slow to get to the egg before it disintegrates? and morphology – is the shape of the sperm hindering it from penetrating the exterior of the egg? These two other factors are discussed in another post I made. I highly recommend reading it and looking at getting these supplements for your partner. Sperm generation cycle takes about 64 days. So in order to get healthy sperm, supplements and lifestyle changes need to be done now in order to have increased sperm health 2 months down the line.
In the next part, I will be discussing the menstruation cycle and what should and shouldn’t be normal. In addition, I will be covering how digestion issues can prolong your TTC journey. Yes, there are so many factors that play in aiding boost your fertility. While some couples never even need to consider these, others (like my husband and I) unfortunately, do need to consider these in order to maximise their chances of conceiving. This is just how the cookie crumbles.