Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How to know you're really, really not pregnant

I'm only on my third month of tracking my basal body temperature, but it's been long enough to show me something is completely whack.

I think pictures will speak better than I can to illustrate what's going on here, so please take a look at these three cycles I tracked and tell me if they even look like they're from the same person. 

This first cycle, I started on Day 10. Which - I know - not ideal to give you the big picture, but it does still show a lot of wild temperature ranges. If I had to guess, I'd say I ovulated on Day 17, if I ovulated at all.

 This is the second month I tracked, and so far the most "normal" looking chart I have, even with all of the roller-coastering happening in the luteal phase. In this cycle, it looks like I ovulated on Day 14, but the temperature kept spiking and dropping, indicating a possible progesterone deficiency.

And here I am on Day 22 of this very special cycle. I ovulated (maybe) on Day 17, followed by a big temperature drop - probably not a good thing. This is probably considered a monophasic cycle, since the temperatures are all very similar; as you can see, they're all hovering around 98 degrees. There's a distinct possibility in this cycle that I did not ovulate at all.

Temperature charting makes trying to conceive rather frustrating. Because on one hand, I've got The Machine, which is basically shouting at me: YOU'RE FERTILE! HAVE SEX NOW! I SAW THE RIGHT HORMONES SO YOU REALLY ARE GONNA OVULATE, YUP!

And so I do. And then I see ovulation occurring on the chart, which is great. And then the next day the temperature drops and from there on out starts doing its customary boomeranging.

So again, I ain't pregnant. I say this with 98 percent certainty. I don't feel pregnant (although I know, I know, I'm only five days post-ovulation) and my chart is saying "not gonna happen this cycle, sweetheart."

Which is why I've decided that after this cycle, when the certainty of non-pregnancy has reared its ugly Red Head once again, I am stashing The Machine and the thermometer and the charts and all that other crap in a cupboard somewhere and I'm going to ignore it for one cycle. I'll continue supplements, but that's it.

Otherwise, my brain is going to break. Or my heart. Or both.

I've been advised a couple of things, by multiple people.

The first is to relax, which I know all of us who are trying to conceive hate to hear. Relax and it will happen! Look: I am so relaxed that in order for me to be more relaxed, I would need to take tranquilizers and sit in the back yard with a pitcher of margaritas. I work from home, doing stuff I love, I have the best husband in the world, etc. But I get the gist of what they're saying -- they're saying Stop being so hard on yourself. Stop worrying about this for five minutes and think about something else. So I'm gonna. For one cycle.

The second piece of advice I've received is: Go to the doctor. So, look. Eventually I will go to the doctor. But seeing as how I have a deep mistrust of doctors and I suspect that my cycles will start to even out once I lose more weight (7 pounds and counting!), I just don't want to yet. I still have this hope that this will all happen naturally and I won't have to deal with medication or needles or any of that. That may not be the case, but I need to spend the time to find out on my own. Additionally, my insurance is changing so right now's not a good time to be going to the doctor or getting pregnant, anyway.

So I'm really looking forward to my Cycle of Freedom. I'm not going to check for cervical mucus. I'm going to have sex when I want to, not when that infernal Machine tells me to. I'm not going to take my temperature and obsess over spikes and dips. Instead, I'm going to let Jillian Michaels beat the shit out of me during the 30-Day Shred. I'm going to resume my 5K training. I'm going to keep eating fruit and vegetables as though they were absolutely the most wonderful things I'd ever tasted pleasegodineedacheeseburger.

And at the end of that cycle, I'll pull out my stash of fertility helpers and start peeing on sticks again and taking my temperature every morning and checking my mucus and maybe, oh, maybe, my body will behave.


  1. That relax thing? It sucks to hear. I know, I've been there. And after I decided to stop trying to get pregnant, and just go ahead and adopt a kid and be done with it...

    (I was still all obsessing about getting pregnant during the adoption process, because, OMG what if I get pregnant after we've committed to adopting and then I end up with what would sort of be like twins?)

    But after my son came home and I had adjusted to being a mom and had given up on having biological children... you know what comes next, right?

  2. Erin, you speak a language I understand. I think your Cycle of Freedom is a great idea. xoxo!

  3. Elizabeth - Someone should do a study on why that happens. I feel like I hear about that all the time! Adoption: The greatest fertility drug every conceived!

    Christina - I <3 U.

  4. I don't know what scares me more, Jillian or cervical mucus.

    You know, if it a progesterone thing. they can test for that and it's really easy to fix. Possibly the easiest fix of all fertility problems.

  5. Hi I a new here, I have a 3yo and have since had a misscarriage in 09 and an ectopic in 2010. I recently read the book Taking charge of your fertility. It sounds like you may have read it already, if you haven't, do so because it will help you understand what may be happening. I just also finished reading "Cycles, Fertiliy, and Nutrition" and I am starting supplements for thyroid issues as well as pregesterone defficiency. I highly recommend you read this book too. Best of luck to you!