Trying to Conceive - How I Boosted My Fertility and Got Pregnant on the First Try
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
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The first thing I want to begin with in this post is that when I say, "I got pregnant on the first try" I want to point out that it was with my second child because everything that I went through trying to conceive my first. I was also lucky enough to learn how to conceive a baby girl that I so much wanted after having my son. I hope that you can learn from my journey in this post!
Sometimes you don't want to read a whole post or story so I'm going to put out a short list here on how I boosted my fertility, then you can decide if you want to read the details below:
I read up on PCOS and fertility from a doctor who had overcome it herself with two kids at 40+ years old
I started drinking Bulletproof C8 MCT oil (and yes, I know there is cheaper MCT oil, but this one makes a huge difference for me personally)
Started tracking my cycle more accurately with the Ovia Fertility app
Read up on fertility, my body, and pregnancy achievement
I figured out that tracking cervical mucus is the best indicator for fertility
I started using Pre-Seed, Friendly Lubricant, Lube for Women Trying To Conceive
After trying to conceive for 6 months, purchased Ovusense which is basically a medical grade tampon that measures core temperature and predicts and tells you if/when you ovulated with 99% clinically proven accuracy.
I lost all my baby weight from my first child on the keto diet, the second I hit my pre-pregnancy weight...
Here's the long version of the story:
Growing up, at some point we learn that we as individuals are the products of our parents having sex. GASP! At that point, we quickly calculate that the number of children is surely equal to the number of times our parents ever had sex to produce us and our siblings. 😆 In school, we learn about puberty, periods, and feminine hygiene. If you're lucky, you get some talk about condoms and birth control, but the general consensus is that at no time are you EVER to get pregnant or get some kind of sexually transmitted disease. Maybe you're religious and sex before marriage will also send you straight to hell. We hear a lot of conflicting information - or at least I did.
For me, over a decade was spent avoiding pregnancy. Condoms, shots, and pills were all successfully used to keep unwanted children at bay. I am thankful for that but wish I had learned more about it all. My friends and I willingly took the shot or pills not thinking about or taking the time to learn the consequences they may have on our bodies in the short or long term. Never asking ourselves if it was natural or healthy to be using chemical methods for years on end. Never asking why most men would never voluntarily alter their bodies to suppress their fertility when they are the ones who are fertile every day of their entire lives, and we are only fertile a few days each month for ~40 years of ours.
After years of birth control, my last stint was on a low dose birth control pill. I was tired of the way it made me feel and I wanted to blame any weight gain on it 😉. Choosing a low dose was the best I thought I could do. The next thing you know, I'm moving in with my college sweetheart and getting engaged. I decided that I was done with pills and moved onto everyone's favorite birth control method: withdrawal! The withdrawal method is 82% to 96% effective. Sounds good to me!
The combination of adopting this method, my body adjusting to the lack of birth control pills, and still a complete fear of pregnancy, I thought it would be a good idea to start tracking my monthly cycle with an app on my phone. When I noticed that my periods were 40 days apart, I first freaked out thinking I was pregnant. Then as it happened a few months in a row, and I couldn't stand waiting to know if we weren't very good at the withdrawal method ha! So, I made an appointment with an OBGYN.
The OBGYN told me that, I was not pregnant and that absent menstruation, is also known as amenorrhea. I didn't know there was a name for it...great. After another visit and a vaginal ultrasound, she showed me my ovaries. "See this?" she pointed to some blobs, "These are cysts". She told me, "Oh don't worry, you have PCOS but that'll just make it a little more difficult to have kids." PCOS stands for Polycystic ovary syndrome UM EXCUSE ME? CYSTS SOUND TERRIBLE. She reassured me that it wasn't that big of a deal and that I could regulate it (get my periods back) by taking more birth control. UGH NO.
I went home in denial. Stubborn, I refused to accept this and started searching for ways to fix it. I knew one day we'd want to start a family so my goal was to get my cycle back to 28 or 30 days from 40. I continued tracking with Period Diary app - which I do NOT recommend. Only because as I later learned, we all have different cycles. Some ovulating on day 14 (which is what the app always assumed), and others not ovulating until day 19 (I find this out years later).
My research began on the internet of course and one of the first articles that really struck me was The Top 5 Reasons Vitamin D Makes Women Bulletproof
5. Avoid Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormone disorder common in menstruating-age women. The most common symptoms are weight gain, acne, facial hair growth and infertility. Most women with PCOS are deficient in vitamin D. One study shows correlations between low vitamin D levels, insulin resistance, and inflammation, all of which contribute to PCOS.
The Vitamin D council recommends you take a minimum of 1000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight
I read everything I could on the Bulletproof diet which included a recipe for coffee with grass fed butter and MCT oil. The concept I took from the diet was that as women, our bodies need to consume good fats in order to feel "in a time of plenty." In a time of plenty, our body says, "hey I have lots of fats, it's a good time to reproduce!" I started drinking the coffee, taking vitamin D and losing weight as a bonus. It seemed like an eternity, but as the months went on, my cycles got shorter! Finally, they settled at 31 days. I loved the way the coffee made me feel full and the mental clarity. I never went back to the OBGYN to have another vaginal ultrasound on my ovaries to confirm that the problem was solved but felt that my cycles normalizing was enough for me at that time.
Fast forward to our one-year wedding anniversary. We are ready to start a family. What do we do? What everyone does, "Oh let's just have fun trying for a while." Well, a while turned into six months and no baby 👶🏽 👎🏽. I'm not the type to sit around waiting for the things I want, so I started researching again. I'm not sure how I stumbled onto Taking Charge of Your Fertility, but I am so glad I did. I wish I had been handed this book (and actually read it) when I was fourteen. It answered so many questions I didn't even know I had about my fertility. I really cannot recommend it enough. The main take aways from this book were to start tracking my cycle better, the lube you use matters, and cervical mucus is the best indicator of fertility.
Turns out, the wife of the author of the Bulletproof diet book had also struggled with PCOS, managed to have two healthy kids at 40+, and has her own book on diet and fertility called The Better Baby Book. The book boosted my fertility. Here's the description:
How to create a healthier, happier, smarter baby—the breakthrough pregnancy diet and lifestyle plan based on cutting-edge genetic science
Whether you're planning for pregnancy or are already pregnant, this essential prenatal guide draws on the latest genetic research to give you a complete program of specific nutrition and environmental lifestyle changes that can help you have a better baby. The book is based on the emerging science of epigenetics and shows how the environment interacts with your genes, affecting which genes are expressed or ""turned on"". It shows you the important steps you can take to improve preconception nutrition and reduce toxins in your home and body to consciously help your child be healthy, smart, and strong.
Leverages the latest epigenetics research to help you produce a healthier, smarter, and happier baby with a lower risk of allergies, asthma, and developmental issues
Shares a specific prescriptive program based on four principles: eating the right foods; taking the right supplements; detoxifying before, during, and after pregnancy; and minimizing stress
Shows how a woman's health and her environment during pregnancy may have a much bigger impact on her child than was previously thought
Includes the authors' compelling personal story of developing the Better Baby Plan shared in the book as they had their own better babies
After reading The Better Baby Book I began taking the recommended supplements and vitamins and discovered the Ovia Fertility App in October 2015. The reason I love this app is because it tracks all of your period, symptoms, moods, sex, and it gives accurate predictions for your period and ovulation! It doesn't just tell you that you'll ovulate every 14th day of your cycle. It looks at your past periods and tells you the best days to try to conceive.
As the months passed, even using the app and trying to predict my ovulation, I began to grow tired of waiting. Each month it felt like more and more pressure was building. HURRY UP BABY! I am a finance and numbers gal by trade and one of my favorite quotes is "What gets measured gets managed." So I began to search for an even more accurate way to determine my ovulation date - the holy grail of conception.
I think I was googling PCOS and ovulation and came across Ovusense which boasts "Live ovulation prediction and 99% accurate confirmation" but it really took all the guess work out of ovulation. I received it on February 24th, 2016, started tracking my core body temp February 29th, Ovusense confirmed ovulation on March 23rd (cycle day 19) and became pregnant in April 21st (cycle day 19)! Ovusense made it crystal clear that trying to conceive before or on day 14 was too early in my cycle and I must admit after nine months of trying to conceive, by day 14 I was tired of trying for that month - if you catch my drift 😉 Ovusense gave me the information I needed to keep trying to conceive through cycle day 19. The result of this was the birth of our son which we were of course thrilled and had both wanted a boy first.
In September 2018 my mother-in-law convinced me to do a beef and bone broth fast for two days and was raving about her keto diet. While I had been paleo and following a lot of the Bulletproof diet and keeping my carbs less than 100g per day, keto was the next level. Keeping my net carbs under 20g per day led me to lose ALL my baby weight. Just as I reached my pre-pregnancy weight, our daughter was conceived! Thanks, keto!
Flash forward to November 2018, our son is almost 2, and we are ready to start trying to conceive our second child. I was desperately hoping for a baby girl. I am a firm believer in The Secret, the power of positivity, and science of course. So naturally, I turned to my good friend Google and started to research how I could make a baby girl happen! I came across How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby. If you've ever heard of the Shettles method - this is it! Now, some of you naysayers and pessimists out there are out there rolling your eyes out of your head 😃 but it worked for me and according to a lot of other reviews on Amazon and in the book, these methods work. In the book, Dr. Shettles and David Rorvik "provide authoritative scientific studies and compelling anecdotal evidence demonstrating that the Shettles method continues to produce results unmatched by any other method. Dozens of testimonials confirm its ease of use and rate of success." Now if you want the cliff notes:
To have a boy: have sex as close to ovulation as possible, orgasm
To have a girl: have sex 3 days before ovulation, don't orgasm, missionary
Read the book to find out all the reasons, I think it's worth it!
After learning what to do to for a girl, I started tracking my ovulation again to confirm I was still ovulating on day 19. Even after one pregnancy, I guess my body likes to ovulate on cycle day 19, and Ovusense confirmed it for me. Obviously, I take pregnancy very seriously and there was a lot on the line so when December rolled around I had formulated a plan. Have sex cycle days 13-16 then ovulate day 19 (conceive)! On cycle day 31, I had a positive pregnancy test! YAY!
If anyone had ever done anything "by the book" it was me. I told myself if it was not a girl then, I can't say I didn't try because...I did EVERYTHING in my power to get a girl. Guess what? At my ten week midwife appointment, I got the MaterniT 21 PLUS blood test to determine the sex...and was thrilled to find out it was a girl!