By the middle of winter 2016, I was growing impatient. I started using Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs) and a Basal Body Thermometer to track my temperature. The key to using the OPKs is to buy the cheap ones on Amazon. (They even throw in some bonus pregnancy tests!)
Starting around day 10 of my cycle, I would pee on a stick at the same time each day. You go through a lot of these sticks, so that is why it is important to purchase the inexpensive ones online.
Unlike pregnancy tests, you always get two lines on the ovulation test, but the key is to watch for the test line to be darker than the control line. Once you think you think that has happened, you use a more expensive, digital test to confirm that you are about to ovulate. If this is the case, you get a beautiful smiley face like this one here.
I also began using an app on my phone called Kindara, which helped me track each cycle. With Kindara, you take your temperature each morning and log it into the app. It spits out a neat graph that helps you detect when you ovulate each cycle.
When you ovulate, your temperature spikes by 0.5 to 1.0 degree, so you do not know it has happened until afterwards. However, if you track your temperatures each month, you will begin to see a pattern for your cycles and have an idea of approximately which day you ovulate on.
After tracking my cycle for a few months, I was beginning to see that my cycles were all over the board. They varied in length and ovulation was always questionable. Sadly, smiley faces on the OPKs were not a regular occurrence for me.
I made an appointment with my OBGYN and we decided to try Clomid, a drug that helps your body ovulate.
During my first month on 50mg of Clomid, I did not ovulate, based on tracking my temperature and the OPKs. I also had an ultrasound on cycle day 12 and didn’t have follicles growing.
We decided to up my dosage to 100mg and I ovulated the next three cycles, all confirmed with growing follicles, happy little smiley faces and temperature spikes. Something was working, but it wasn’t leading to a positive pregnancy test.
We went to see my doctor again to discuss our next steps. She informed us that we would only have a total of six cycles taking fertility medication before we would need to go somewhere else and see a specialist. I had two more cycles left with my doctor and decided to change to another ovulation medicine called Femara. Like Clomid, it helps your body ovulate and some women have more success with it.
In addition, I also decided to have a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test completed. This is a radiology procedure where dye is injected into your uterus to see if your Fallopian tubes are open and if your uterus is of regular shape. My doctor mentioned that sometimes, the dye will help push out leftover cell debris that is inhibiting sperm from reaching an egg.
I was warned that the procedure could be a little uncomfortable and somewhat painful. During the procedure, I did feel some pain, but was relieved when it only lasted a minute or so. I was also relieved to find out that my fallopian tubes and uterus looked normal.
That month, I also received a tip to make an appointment with the fertility clinic, since they book out months in advance. I made the appointment and went on enjoying my summer, celebrating our friend's wedding up north, a friend’s bachelorette party at Lake Okoboji, and eating some of Minnesota’s best food at the State Fair. I did my best to keep my mind off of trying and relax.
But the end of this cycle was different. Instead of disappointment, we were greeted with a beautiful positive pregnancy test. It was like this little light in a dark room. It was the hope I kept hanging onto.
When it happens after months of trying, you almost don’t even believe it. I ended up taking a few pregnancy tests just to make myself believe it was true.
I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I was finally pregnant. I wanted to tell everyone and share our good news. But with our past miscarriage, I was cautiously optimistic.
We went in for an ultrasound at six weeks and we saw a beating heart. It was so small, but it was there, flickering away on the screen like a little light. I just knew in my heart that this time, it was different.