“This is a sponsored conversation from Mums the Word Network and The Stork OTC. All opinions are my own.”
“It is unlikely you will ever have another baby,” the doctor said over her shoulder as she walked out the door. I found myself alone, receiving the most devastating news of my life, which was merely an afterthought to the doctor as he continued a normal day. If I had known it was going to be anything other than a normal visit, I would have made my husband come with me. Instead I was alone, too shocked to cry, too shocked to do anything but pick up my three-year-old from the babysitter.
Neither my husband or I had ever wanted a huge family, always coming to an agreement that three kids seemed like a good number — just enough kids for our family to feel full and loving. We had planned to have our kids close together, but after I fell very ill right after our daughter was born, we kept putting it off, hoping I would get better. The irony of it all was if we had decided to go ahead and have another baby, I would have gotten better. It was the birth control I was using that was making me so sick. I had always had hope that one day I would be better and we would have two more kids, but having the doctor rip away the hope from me while I sat in a paper gown on an exam table was one of the most painful and humiliating experiences of my adult life.
I felt broken. There was this thing that my body was supposed to be able to do without any help at all and I couldn’t manage it. I felt like I let down my husband. We had a beautiful curly-haired toddler at home, but what about the other children we had talked about? We decided to move forward with our life and work on being happy with having one child, but I wanted so badly for my daughter to experience being a sister. I have five brothers and sisters and they are an amazing and wonderful part of my life. I can’t imagine growing up without them, and knowing that my daughter was going to grow up without siblings made me so sad.
In all of this, my husband was always hopeful. At times it was inspiring, giving me back some of my hope, and other times it irritated me, making me wish he would see the truth of the situation. I should know better than to ever doubt his hope. In late 2013, I found out I was pregnant! It was a really hard pregnancy, full of complications from my earlier illness. It had many ups and many downs, but it ended with a beautiful miracle baby in my arms. This moment, that years earlier I didn’t even think was possible, brought more joy into our lives than we ever imagined.
Our struggles to get our little one here happy and healthy has given me a lot of empathy for other women. It is hard to feel like your body is broken. It is hard to feel like the miracle you are looking for will never come and it is hard to want something so bad but have to wait. For those of you who are just starting out on the journey to start your family or add to your family, I hope with you.
I have compiled information below to help give you a starting point for your journey.
Ovulation and Fertility Basics
Ovulation is when the egg is released by your body from an ovary. The time close to ovulation is when women are most fertile. Ovulation occurs anywhere from 11-21 days after your last menstrual cycle. It is different for each woman, so it is really important to know the signs of ovulation and listen to your own body. Sperm can live for up to 5 days in the body, and most women are the most fertile for the two days before ovulation and the day of ovulation.
Signs of Ovulation
- Changes in cervical mucus (cervical mucus around ovulation resembles an egg white)
- Increased libido
- A cramping type pain on one side (the side releasing the egg)
- A small increase in body temperature (0.5- 1 degree change)
- Tenderness in the breasts
- Minor spotting
Tools to Help You Predict Ovulation
- Ovulation Predictor — these measure the luteinizing hormone, which is what triggers ovulation.
- Charting your body temperature — Take your temperature immediately when you wake up. Chart each temperature to help you predict ovulation for future months.
- Check your own cervical mucus.
- Download a fertility awareness app to help you chart.
- Chart your days — Use a calendar and mark the first day of your period as day 1. Ovulation usually occurs around day 14, so your fertile days will be around days 12-15.
Assist Your Chances of Pregnancy
If you are having trouble getting pregnant from tracking your ovulation, the Stork OTC Conception Device is an amazing next step to take. It allows couples to take the next step in their fertility from their own home. The system used a cervical cap insemination device to help collect the sperm and then deliver it closer to the cervix, bypassing obstacles and raising the odds of fertilization. The FDA-cleared device has three simple steps that results in an average 3.23 higher value of sperm concentration at the cervix. Cervical cap insemination has pregnancy success rates up to 20%, which is comparable to intrauterine insemination rates (16-21%).
The Stork OTC is a great device for patients who have been diagnosed with low sperm count and couples who are not ready to try in-clinic treatments such as IVF and IUIs. The device can also be used with donor sperm. What’s really nice is you can find Stork OTC products at select Targets nationwide.
I am thrilled to have a sweet little miracle baby who is now a rowdy toddler, and even though everything didn’t turn out the way we originally had planned, I think just maybe it turned out better.
You can join me and Stork OTC for a Twitter party on May 23 where we are talking all about female fertility and giving away awesome prizes.