For the past few months, the most common blog email I receive is "how did you finally get pregnant?"
I have a hard time answering these emails because:
- I've been there. I know what it's like to feel so desperate and hope that there's some clear missing link that's stopping you from getting pregnant. I was set to try a low-carb, PCOS-friendly diet in my next cycle even though my doctor said not to bother. But I was willing to do anything.
- I'm not sure what went right. I wish I could tell you that doing x and y will lead to a + pregnancy test. But it's not so simple. Unfortunately, life is not a controlled science experiment and I'll never know why it finally worked. Even if I did, there's no guarantee that the same formula will work for you.
That being said, I'm more than happy to share why I think I got finally pregnant. (I basically did everything I planned to when I said I'd do whatever it takes):
- I cut back on exercise drastically. In mid-December, I stopped running more than 6 miles at a time. I limited my weekly mileage to 20 miles, plus swimming 2-3 days a week, and yoga 2-3 days a week. This was still too much. I gave up swimming in February, limited my running mileage to 10-15 mpw, slowed my pace a lot, and kept up the yoga. I got pregnant at the end of March.
- I didn't exercise the two days after I ovulated… but I was pretty active the rest of the 2 week wait. The time off exercise was not planned since I was told there was no way I could be pregnant; I was just busy. At 3 days past ovulation, I kicked up the running intensity a lot. I knew I was out for the cycle, so I ran hard and often. I logged 30+ miles in the next 10 days.
- I gained 4-5 lbs… even though I really didn't need to. For years I hovered at 135 lbs, which put my BMI at a healthy 21.1. Then I read a study that a BMI 21 and under could cause ovulatory dysfunction (source). I gained weight quickly (thanks to over-eating constantly) and was up 4-5 lbs the month before I got pregnant.
Probably most importantly, I took a new drug. My doctor finally let me switch from clomid to anastrozole. I'm not saying my little lifestyle tweaks had nothing to do with getting pregnant (I definitely plan on making those same changes next time), but I knew my body liked the new meds. A few days after my last dose of anastrozole, I had fertile cervical mucus for the first time ever… and we'll leave it at that
The best advice I can give anyone going through infertility is find a good reproductive endocrinologist (RE). If your RE has you take the same drug month after month without results, it's time to see someone new. And please don't see an Ob/gyn for your fertility. Ob/gyns are not fertility specialists, so it's best to see a doctor who is. So many people- myself included- waste precious time and money working with an Ob/gyn before moving on an RE. Go directly to an RE if you have or suspect you have a fertility issue.
Some other friendly advice: if your husband has a good sperm count, have regular sex. Couples who have sex every one to two days get pregnant most quickly (source). Of course, abstain when your doctor tells you to if you're having a fertility procedure done. If we had waited until when my doctor said I should ovulate to get busy, I would not be pregnant.
Hang in there, friends. Unfortunately, some of us have to fight this very unfair battle. It'll be one of the hardest things you'll ever go through, and most people in your life won't understand (nor will they try to understand) your pain. Keep fighting. I promise you'll come out on the other side with the family you always dreamed of having