Okay guys, this post is not for those people who do not want to read about trying to conceive, pregnancy or anything of the sorts. If you’re interested in things like sweaty workouts, giveaways and gift guides, come back tomorrow!
Once I shared our news on the blog, many readers asked for more details around our path to conception. How long did it take? Did we do anything special? Did we use anything special? At first, I was caught off guard by these questions, as many of them are quite personal. But then, I quickly remembered the hours I spent reading other people’s posts about trying to conceive and realize that while this post will be very personal, if it helps some of you, then it is worth it.
I can remember, back in January 2004, during one of our very early dates, talking with Bo into the late hours of the night about our future visions. We both wanted to travel, focus on our careers and eventually, have a family with two children. We both come from families with two children, a boy and a girl, and therefore always envisioned the same for ourselves. As we became more serious and eventually were on the path towards marriage, we continued to talk about our goals and ensure that they still aligned. As we grew older, we both realized that we wanted to wait to have children. We both had a number of things we wanted to focus on, including our relationship with each other, before adding children to the equation.
Luckily, our parents were supportive of this decision, never pressuring us to have children sooner than we wanted. It was only within the past year that my mom, a neonatal intensive care nurse, reminded me that the longer we waited the more challenges we’d face. When we moved back to New York City after living abroad for two years, we looked only for apartments which could accommodate a larger family. We chose Brooklyn versus Manhattan as we were able to get more space for our money as well as a backyard, something we both craved. The apartment we found, two floors of a brownstone in Carroll Gardens, was perfect for us and would allow us to have not just one child but even two children. However, in our eyes, it was a fixer-upper. We took on this challenge, deciding that we would focus on reestablishing our careers in New York and making renovations to our apartment until the Spring.
During those first eight months in New York City the only steps we took towards trying to conceieve were as follows:
- I worked with friends to find an OB-GYN who I could see for my annual exam in advance of becoming pregnant
- Both Bo and I focused on our health and wellness since we read in multiple places that this could help in trying to conceive.
- I scheduled my IUD removal for March 29th, exactly five years after I had it put inserted.
Originally, we planned to start trying in April. However, Zika changed these plans as I had a non-refundable girls trip booked for Jamaica during late April. Since the CDC recommended that women have only protected sex for six weeks following travel to Jamaica, Bo and I decided to delay trying to conceive. During that period, we both had annual exams with our general practitioners which included a panel of blood tests to ensure we were healthy. I also had a blood panel during my annual gynecology exam where she checked my estrogen levels and other things. Luckily we both received I clean bill of health.
Even though we were delaying the process, I continued to do research and begin taking steps to help the process once we started. Beginning in May, I added a few things to my daily routine.
- Tracking my basal temperature and cycle in the app Fertility Friend
- Taking a prenatal vitamin
- Taking FertileCM
In late July, we took the plunge and decided that we were personally ready to start trying to conceive. We had long conversations, ensuring that we were both ready emotionally in case we were lucky enough to get pregnant in the first month. Then the waiting game began. I was not prepared for this waiting game. After having sex on the recommended “most fertile” days of the month based on my app, I counted down the days until my period was expected to arrive. In August, when my period arrived, I remember crying knowing that we hadn’t conceived. I don’t think Bo nor I were expecting this reaction and neither of us knew how to handle my sudden wave of sadness. Thankfully, we have an amazing support system who lifted us up, supported us and helped us keep in mind how rare it is to conceive in the first few months. I did more research that month, trying to see if there were other steps we should take. While a very personal choice, we both decided to give everything a chance. We made the following changes the following month:
- Reduced alcohol intake to less than once glass a week
- Started using TTC lubricant which while expensive, came highly recommended from multiple people.
- Had sex multiple times, not just during that key window.
- I reduced my exercise routine to primarily yoga, barre, Pilates and lower impact options.
In September, upon getting my period, I once again had a few dark days. I wondered whether at the age of 32, we had waited too long. Once we decided we were ready, we were SO ready to have a family immediately.
When we would spend time with friends and their children, we felt at ease and ready to create the same for ourselves. We suddenly found ourselves whispering when we saw families in coffee shops or cute children’s clothing in the window. We caught ourselves buying travel insurance for trips in case we were to conceive. When my period ended, I made a crazy request of Bo.
Can we try having sex as many nights as possible? I don’t want to leave anything to chance.
I know, I know. Scientifically this barely increased our chances but honestly, we had so much fun with it. This forced us to make time for each other, whether in the morning before work or after work. If there was a day when neither of us felt like it, we didn’t force it but we certainly had sex more often than normal. In fact, we had sex 26 times that month. It felt crazy and like such a whim but we both figured, why not. I will say, during that month I cursed the price of TTC lubricant more than once.
On October 6th, my period was due to arrive. On October 8th, when it still hadn’t arrived, I decided not to race the RNR Brooklyn Half, instead running it for fun and keeping my heart rate below 140. While I know some women have run half marathons and even marathons while pregnant, I didn’t want to risk anything. I took pregnancy tests on October 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th all of which were negative. Even though the tests continued to read negative, my mom had her own opinions. My extreme exhaustion, pale color and overall appearance caused her to immediately share that she thought I was pregnant. After laughing and telling her that science was proving her wrong, I finally took one more pregnancy test Monday morning, October 10th. I took two test, both of which resulted in the brightest, most brilliant blue crosses I’ve ever seen.
This is the pregnancy test today, since I forgot to take a picture originally. Oops.
I remember running down the stairs, screaming and crying to my parents who were finishing their breakfast and getting ready to leave for the airport.
I’m PREGNANT! I’m PREGNANT! You’re going to be grandparents!
After tears and giant hugs, I realized that I needed to let Bo know. Unable to keep anything a secret, I called him at his work, screaming into the phone. We cried happy tears for a few minutes, letting the reality set in. I called my OB-GYN, assuming we’d be brought in that week for our first visit. Ha, I know, I was so naive. My doctor informed me that she doesn’t see patients until seven week so she looked forward to seeing me on November 1st. During those next few weeks I continued to take workouts very easy, slept a great deal and started to feel the symptoms of pregnancy. But, it wasn’t until that first visit and holding these images in our hands that it all became a reality.