If you’ve read my blog on this site then you already know I miscarried 3 cycles ago at 7 weeks and was then diagnosed in short order with mild PCOS, ureaplasma and male factor issues of 78% “irregular” sperm by World Health Organization’s standards. Throw into the mix that my father was battling late stage pancreatic cancer since last year and you’ll understand how (un)well I was faring.
My dad passed away earlier this week before I got to tell him that I’m pregnant again, but I’d like to tell you all, because I know how much reading these stories has meant to me over the last year, in times of both hope and despair.
The number one thing I want to put out there is that I was extremely stressed out and unhappy this month, had given up on this cycle and even had a perscription filled for Femara to start the cycle after I’d take antibiotics for the ureaplasma.
I was still devastated following my blighted ovum miscarriage in early March. In fact, I was experiencing a new degree of emotional rock bottom during the days that sperm likely met egg. All this to say: when people chide women for being stressed during TTC and order them to relax in that weirdly condescending tone I know you’ve all heard, tell them, silently or otherwise, to go fuck themselves.
Empirical experience has shown me that conception is the product of timing, hormonal balance, whatever fertility assists you’re using (be they Western medicine, TCM, Santeria or whatever you ascribe to) and sheer dumb luck.
Don’t let the that patriarchal line of thinking about stress being a “conception hinderance” guilt you or convince you that you’re sabotaging your own BFP. I don’t buy that nonsense anymore. Women get pregnant during wartime and in captivity and under unthinkable conditions. So as if the factor being a woman doesn’t offer enough challenges to begin with, we are then scolded for not somehow being serene enough while we toil towards our fertility goals. It’s normal feel frustrated and scared and isolated in this process. It *is* depressing. We’re gonna feel what we’re gonna feel. Time to shift our notion of psychological accountability while TTC, methinks.
Onto the dirty details. The what-when-how-where of products and practices.
Without further ado:
Stuff That Probably Helped This Time
•Bayer prenatal supplements
•folic acid (in addition to the prenatals’ folic content)
•4 capsules of fish oil
•saint John’s wort supplements
•2 drops daily of Woodstock brand “Women’s Repro Formula” (contains vitex, maca and all the usual suspects, $21)
•probiotics twice daily with meals
CD1 through ovulation:
• red clover supplement
• evening primrose oil supplement
• expensive-ass deer antler tea 2-3 times daily (basically you soak it in a clay pot, strain that water and drink it and then add new water, simmer it for an hour, drink THAT and then if you’re feeling like a champ add more water for a final hour long simmer and drink that, too) actually I stuck to this regimen from CD1 til about 5DPO when I ran out and was too broke to buy more... but we’ll never know if it was this potion that tipped the scale
• Wandflo OPK’s ordered online from Amazon
• a small amount of preseed injected as close as possible to cervix right before intercourse followed by
• softcup smeared with preseed directly after sex, that be left in for 12 hours
• sorry for TMI but I tried to give myself an orgasm right after inserting the softcup each time (no, my partner didn’t do it lol) because they claim that the contractions cause “upsuck” (ew this word)
• weekly acupuncture
• not in the shower = wearing socks no matter what
Stuff I avoided:
• caffeine (so coffee, tea and chocolate)
• hot baths
Other things I think helped:
• I had an HSG test late autumn 2017 and I had never been pregnant. In the days following it some “debris” and mucus unlike anything I’d seen in that, uh, zone, seemed to be dislodged. I think the HSG might’ve cleared the pipes to an extent that they weren’t before. I’ve conceived for the first time in my whole life since then, which may tell us something about that procedure
• my partner and I timed intercourse every other day from the first day my bleeding stopped until a few days after the OPK’s started to darken. By the way, he was also under instruction from the doctor not to masturbate because it’s thought to compromise sperm count
• my partner started consistently taking a men’s multivitamin, selenium, folic acid, C0Q10, fish oil, selenium and fenugreek supplements every day starting about 3 months ago (they say it takes about 3 months to “build” fresh sperm that reach maturity and are ready to do their job