This is a sponsored conversation from Mums the Word Network and The Stork OTC. All opinions are my own.
Dear friends that want little ones,
I know you oh so well. I was you a few years ago and like you, I thought that I would have the white picket fence after getting married in a beautiful wedding ceremony that was exactly what my heart dreamt of. Going through the natural phases of life and enjoying marriage, my husband and I found that we wanted to have children and naturally did what every couple does – talks it out and tries for that baby! After a year with no luck, we didn’t really stress about it but thought we might want to see my Gynecologist who could just assure us that everything was ok. That’s the thing about infertility, though. Most of the time you have no idea you have it until you are staring the diagnosis in the face and emotionally wanting something that you fear you may not be able to have.
We went to the doc and did the routine testing which did immediately show our infertility issues right off the bat. Not only did I suffer from stage IV Endometriosis and had absolutely no pain or symptoms of, my husband had secondary infertility – leaving our chance at having a baby to 3% at the age of 25. To say we were shocked was completely an understatement. Emotionally, physically and spiritually the thought of not being able to conceive was gut wrenching. There was always the options of adoption and fostering that were already something we had discussed and would definitely want to pursue given the choices we were faced with, but somewhere deep inside I wanted ALSO to have a child. I had that desire just like so many young women to find out I was pregnant and celebrate that with my spouse, tell our family and cry when they heard the news, experience pregnancy and childbirth and deliver a baby into the world – all those things also laid on my heart pretty hard.
Going to the Reproductive Endocrinologist was EYE OPENING. We sat in the lobby and were the youngest people in the office. Infertility doesn’t pick or choose specific people and you can be from any walk of life, any age, any race or have all the money in the world and it doesn’t matter – difficulty with getting pregnant can happen to anyone. As we walked into my physician’s office and sat down, I calmed down and realized that this is way more common than I originally thought and I would approach the decision to pursue treatment with an open mind and open heart. Our Physician spoke to me and my husband and gave us advice for options we could pursue. There are many, many treatments for infertility and some are easy to choose where others may be something you weigh harder due to cost, time and your personal beliefs. He suggested many things – eating healthy, getting in shape and exercising, cutting back of caffeine, taking prenatal supplements, tracking my ovulation – WAIT, What?
I had NO. Clue. What. That. Was. Ovulation tracking sounded like a game to find my eggs or something. What in the world?! Researching and discussing suggestions my physician had were good starting places and if you were like me and aren’t real sure what you should be doing – here are some easy tips and suggestions for getting to the basics of ovulation and tracking!
- What is Ovulation and When Is It Happening? Let’s break it down to simple terminology here – Ovulation is the phase of a woman’s cycle where a single egg is released from a follicle that has developed and matured in the ovaries. It happens for most women during the middle of the cycle on or about the 14th day (in regards to a 28 day cycle). During this time that the egg is released, it wants to be fertilized before it disintegrates, which causes your period to start. During this grand 24 to 48 hour period, a woman is most likely to conceive and become pregnant. You are also fertile around 5 days prior to your ovulation date.
- Well, How Do I Know Exactly When I’m Ovulating and What Are Good Ways To Track Ovulation? There is no “fool proof” way to know exactly when you are ovulating down to the hour or minute, but by charting or “tracking” some of the signs of ovulation, you can have a better estimate as to when you are most likely to conceive. There are tons of ways to track your ovulation – whether you have regular or irregular menstrual cycles.
- Calendar Method – If you have a normal 28 day period/cycle then using the calendar method is an easy way to track. Count back 14 days from your expected period and this should be “around” the time you are ovulating. So, let’s just say that Day 1 is the first day of your period and Day 28 is the day before you expect your next period to begin, then your most fertile days or possible ovulation times are Days 10-15. This is also called the Standard Days Method. If you have irregular periods this may not be the best way to estimate for you given that your cycle is inconsistent and may not be the exact same amount of days each time. This can cause you to over or under estimate and you might even miss your fertile ovulation window all together.
- Chart Your Symptoms – For many women, their body lets them know better than anything else so keeping tabs of your symptoms can be one of the more reliable methods. Often, the most tracked symptoms are your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) and cervical mucous and watching a pattern develop over the course of a few months can be a key indicator. Your BBT is the lowest body temperature in a 24-hour period. Measuring it every morning with a special thermometer and recording the number is important. On the day you ovulate, you should see an up-temp increase by 0.5 to 1.0 degree Fahrenheit and this increase in temp should last until you begin your period. Also, keeping up with the consistency of cervical mucous is important to some women. Cervical mucous is the vaginal discharge you may commonly see throughout the month. For most of the month, you may have very little of this present or if you do, it may be thick or sticky. Three to four days before ovulation though, the consistency changes and mucous can be clear, slippery or stretchy with the consistency of a runny egg. Charting and tracking symptoms is definitely cost efficient (Hey, it’s free other than the thermometer) but takes time, patience and a routine.
- Take Note of Mild Cramping – Some women report a sensation of pain around the time of ovulation. Backache, abdominal cramping or slight twinges of abdominal pain may be tell-tale signs that you are close to ovulating. Although this is not completely accurate, it may be helpful in combination with the Calendar method or Charting BBT / Cervical Mucous methods.
- Grab an Ovulation Kit! – Seriously though. The methods of charting are good to use and know how to be aware of your body’s symptoms but personally, I think using these kits are the absolute way to go! Most are able to be purchased over-the-counter and can be quick and easy to use. There are many kinds of kits that you can purchase and most often they are able to sense hormone changes to predict ovulation. The kits are similar to a pregnancy test kit and urinating on a test stick once daily will give you a reading of positive or negative. Positive readings usually indicate that a hormone surge is happening and you are close to ovulation. Although these tests are accurate, they aren’t always fool proof and occasionally medications or certain medial problems like Polycystic Ovaries or Menopause given false readings.
One of my favorite fertility kits is from Stork OTC. They offer a Home Conception Device that helps with getting pregnant that goes beyond just tracking your ovulation. This is a great product for any couple who is trying to conceive because it is cost efficient and easy to use in the comfort of your home. Given that IVF or Fertility treatments can be extremely expensive, being able to have a medical device that you can safely use in your home and not worry about the thousands of dollars you are accruing is reassuring. Stork OTC created their device to use a cervical cap insemination process as an aid in conception and geared towards couples that have infertility that is unexplained, sperm motility issues, diminished sperm count or unfavorable vaginal environments. The entire process is similar to using a condom as well as using a tampon for insemination, a process that doctors offices have been doing for years as a first line treatment for inability to get pregnant. Being able to do this from home takes away the stress of the doctors office and offers a private way for couples to take that fertility “next step”. From collection to placement, the process is completed by only three buttons and the entire system collects, delivers and places the semen close to the cervix. Since this kit is designed for use during ovulation, it is encouraged by Stork OTC to use in combination with Ovulation Test Kits to maximize determination of your most fertile days.
Having gone through In-Vitro Fertilization three times, two Laparoscopic surgeries to remove endometriosis and years worth of hormone shots and doctors office visits, I have jumped on the Stork OTC Conception Device. Fertility treatments and discussing your difficult times with conception make it hard to keep private if you choose and often you want to be in the comfort of your own home. I love that Stork OTC has created a device that women can take charge of their health and use – offering an easier way to initiate the process of fertility assistance during conception. They created a product that is cost efficient, taking out the worry that money can cause. The kit and device are FDA cleared for over the counter use so it’s reassuring to know it’s safe to use. I also love what the Stork OTC brand believes in which is giving women options and offering a safe and effective method of treatment they can feel comfortable using. Stork OTC doesn’t promote their device to replace traditional in-office fertility treatments but offers a complementary product to aid in conception. That is definitely one of its kind! It really is easy to use and I think that this is an absolutely wonderful option for young, millennial women like myself.
Best of all? Stork OTC is now available at select Target Stores Nationwide and can be easily found in the family planning section near the ovulation test kits! Want to know more about Stork OTC and how it can help your journey to pregnancy? Join in an upcoming Twitter Party hosted by Stork OTC and ME! I’ll be chatting as a Panelist during the party and discussing how Stork OTC is helping family planning and answering any questions you may have about female fertility or trying to conceive. Use the Hashtag #TTCwithStorkOTC on Tuesday, May 23rd at 8pm EST / 7pm CST to join the discussion and win some great prizes!
To learn more about Stork OTC , visit http://www.storkotc.com/ for information and healthcare guides.