Now that I’m settling in to the idea that I’m pregnant, and with some cautious optimism, we should have a baby coming later this year, I’m starting to think more about what it is that made the last cycle “the cycle” for pregnancy success over all the other ones. It’s a question I’ve been asked a few times from other trying-to-conceive friends, so I thought it would be good to lay it all out there. Realistically, it probably wasn’t one thing or another that “did the trick,” but a culmination of a few things. I certainly have no idea, but I would love to know.
It’s one of the main themes I would look for when scanning the internet for other infertility blogs and sites and while reading all the trying-to-conceive and baby books: What did they do that we haven’t? What’s the one (or two, or three) things experts recommend that might make the next cycle “the cycle?” What should I be doing next time?
Again, I don’t claim to know why it worked this time. But for those who are interested and in no particular order, here is a list of all the things I can think of, that were different this cycle, from all of our other trying-to-conceive cycles.
- This cycle was “normal length” for the first time in a long time. Before I saw the reproductive endocrinologist, my OB/GYN was prescribing drugs to induce ovulation, but for the most part, not controlling my cycles. So some were 45 days long and others were 21 days long. The only other cycle we’ve done with the reproductive endocrinologist started with a consultation on cycle day seven and we didn’t start stimming (use drugs to stimulate follicle development) until at least a week later. Even that first cycle with the RE (using the exact same drugs as we used this cycle) was longer at 39 days. In theory, this meant that ovulation triggered at the most optimal time for my uterine lining. The nurse even described the lining as “beautiful,” which was weird.
- I took it easy with the pregnancy rules. In the past, I’ve tried to stick pretty religiously to the diet and behavior rules of pregnancy: no raw stuff, very little coffee, no drinking. I didn’t do it perfectly, but pretty well considering I wasn’t actually pregnant, and I would always be strict during the two-week-wait. This time, I kind of said “screw it,” because a beer or two on cycle day three was realistically not going to make or break it. I ate cookie dough a couple times. I’m not saying that it was just “relaxing” the rules that made it happen, because I’ve had plenty of people (who don’t know my medical situation) tell me to “just relax and it will happen” over the last nine or more months. That’s frustrating as hell. You cannot relax an egg out of a non-functioning ovary. But it did take a lot of the edge off.
- The sex was better. As far as we know, Michael’s swimmers are 100%, so there’s been no need thus far to go the IUI route. We’ve been on a prescription of stim, stim, stim, trigger, bone, bone, bone for the last three months now. Timed intercourse is… how do I put this nicely… pretty awful. I would say this to Michael’s face and I think he’d agree with me. There’s usually one round of enjoyable sex and the rest of it feels like a business meeting. This last month was a little different because my fertile window fell entirely on a long weekend, nicknamed the Sexquester Weekend (Sorry long in advance to my child, if you ever read this.) So we have not a care in the world most days, other than to do the deed.
- Eating pineapple core. After reading that the bromelain in pineapple and pineapple core can help with implantation success, I picked one up. This was one of those deals where I read the information online and rolled my eyes. But fruit was on the grocery shopping list. I was standing in the produce area at the store and thought to myself “this is never going to work,” and then bought a fresh pineapple anyway.
- Fertility statue. Michael is NOT going to be pleased that I even mentioned this as a possibility, since there is a zero percent realistic and logical possibility that it had any impact on the success of this cycle. In the interest of full disclosure though, this little lady showed up at our house just before my fertile window this month. My sister picked it up during her many travels and service to the Peace Corp. in Senegal and gave it to my brother and sister-in-law… who swears it helped bring my niece Maddie along when they were having a hard time.
So who knows? Something was different this time around. Maybe it wasn’t even one of these things. Maybe it was something I didn’t know I did (or didn’t do.) Either way, I’m glad!