*Disclaimer* I am not a medical professional or expert on fertility. All information is based on my personal research and experiences.
Many of you followed along with our journey to grow our family and some of you have found us since then and asked about it. I have been meaning to sit down and write our story down for some time now but pregnancy with a toddler and during a pandemic has been hectic.
I want to start by sharing that I did not struggle to get pregnant with Hunter. I had been on birth control (the pill) since I was 16 year old to help with heavy and stress induced periods. When we got married, our plan was to wait a year before trying to conceive (TTC). About 6 months in, maybe sooner, I began to beg my husband to start trying. I am not very patient! haha! I was having some suspicions and concerns about what hormonal birth control was doing to my mental health and body anyway, so we agreed to take a break from them and see how things went. Well, 4 weeks later I took a test the morning my period was due and the double pink line showed up immediately! I was shocked at how quickly it worked even after years on birth control. 38 weeks and 2 days later, Hunter arrived!
As we navigated life as parents, we agreed to start trying for another after Hunter turned one. I exclusively breastfed Hunter and was on the minipill for birth control. Honestly, as a new mom, I wasn’t great at remembering to take the darn thing every night. When Hunter was about 6 months old, I forgot it for like a week straight and just decided to heck with it. I, again, suspected it was giving me some side effects (dizzy spells, mood swings, etc.). My period had not returned and I was still breastfeeding Hunter every 2 hours. We just decided if something happened , it happens. Well, nothing happened. My period showed up 10 months postpartum and I will admit, I was a little pissed about it. I fully expected to get pregnant before having a period. But, I was optimistic that now I could track my cycle and it would happen in no time!
Well, still nothing. Month 11 passed. Hunter turned 1. I started to get super upset and confused because of how quickly we conceived him. I took ovulation tests and used my apps. I had a period every single month without fail. Each month, each period I would get a wave of disappointment. I knew breastfeeding could have been affecting things but I also had close friends all around me get pregnant while breastfeeding. I felt like everyone else was getting pregnant, except for me. Why not me? Was something wrong with me? I felt all kinds of emotions during that time. Our family experienced some hardships and transition so we didn’t try as hard during those months but those periods still came and went and I would get upset each time.
I tried asking my OB about it and the only advise she gave was to stop breastfeeding and wait 18 months in between to give my body time to recover. Not super helpful to me. I found myself planning future events thinking “Surely I’ll be pregnant by that wedding or this trip!” The trip came and went and I still wasn’t pregnant. By 18 months Hunter usually only nursed to sleep for naps and through the night. I tried to wean him SO MANY times and it was really emotional for me. I felt selfish for wanting him to quit just so I could get pregnant. I didn’t want to take that away from him before he was ready just for my own desires. (I chose to do extended breastfeeding with him and know it isn’t for everyone but, this was our journey. I plan to share a separate post on breastfeeding beyond a year).
I tried my best to trust God’s timing for our family. I knew it would happen when it was supposed to and that many struggle to conceive at all. It was still HARD. Each month was harder and harder. People would unknowingly ask things like “When is Hunter getting a brother or sister?!” and it stung. If only they knew how badly I wanted that for him, for us.
In July 2019, I was approved for a collaboration with Ava Women. I was incredibly thrilled because this was something I had been wanting my entire TTC journey. Ava is an Ovulation tracking bracelet that you wear while you’re asleep. Each morning, you sync your data to the app on your phone and it helps predict your ovulation cycle. Here is a link to get $20 off of your Ava Bracelet!
The Ava Bracelet was extremely useful in helping me track my cycles and, along with taking ovulation tests, I was able to narrow down when I was ovulating each month. I discovered that I was ovulating late in my cycle. Ideally, you need to ovulate 10-14 days before your period comes so that the egg has time to be fertilized and implant into the uterus. This is also known as a Luteal Phase. My cycles were about 33 days long and I was ovulating about a week before my period. With some research, I found out that breastfeeding can cause low progesterone which, can make the luteal phase too short.
Again, I was a bit stuck. I knew why I wasn’t getting pregnant but, I didn’t know how to change that without weaning Hunter.
Around September, I partnered with Premama Wellness and tried their Fertility Support for Her & Him. Couldn’t hurt, right? While is does have great nutrients to support healthy fertility, it didn’t do much for the progesterone part of my problem. In October, I had a few friends in the essential oil world talk about a blend by Young Living called Progessence Plus. It was supposed to be a natural progesterone for balancing hormones and regulating your cycle. My oily friend, Becca, gifted me a roller bottle with Progessence Plus and Endoflex (for balancing the thyroid) blends. I started using the roller once a day and then morning and night after about a week.
Within two weeks, my Ava Bracelet notified me that my ovulation prediction had moved up. I took ovulation tests to confirm and sure enough the tests came back positive. I was shocked that I was ovulating early after only two weeks of using the oils. Part of me was trying not to get too hopeful since it had been 12 months of trying. Those two weeks after ovulation before your period are the hardest. You’re doing everything to keep your mind off of how many days are left before you can take a pregnancy test.
I took a test on October 30th and sent a picture to my best friend. She made it black and white and said there was the faintest looking line. I didn’t want to get excited yet. I took another test the morning of October 31st and the line was a bit more visible but still so faint. I’m in enough mom groups to know any line is a line but, I sent Caleb to dollar tree for the pink dye test just to be sure. I had a Big Brother shirt and book hidden in a drawer for a year. I put it on Hunter that morning and sent him in to Caleb to show him. The pink dye line was even darker, so, I allowed my excitement to grow. After our Halloween activities, we had dinner with friends and she gave me a digital test she had. That night, I read the word I had been longing for for 12 long months: Pregnant.
Here I am, 35 weeks later. Writing our my journey with heartburn and sweet Easton Scott kicking away in my belly. I am so thankful and blessed to be these boys’ mama. We cannot wait for him to make his entry into the world!
I did not quit breastfeeding Hunter during this time. He turned two at the end of November and I dried up sometime during my first trimester. Nursing while pregnant is so painful and uncomfortable but I honestly was sick and too tired to think about weaning him and possibly losing sleep. I weaned him from naps first, then from middle of the night nursing, and finally, a few weeks ago, all together. He took it all much better than I expected and I will share another blog about weaning him later on.
I would love to answer any questions about our journey to get pregnant with Easton. Remember, everyone’s body is so different and each journey is unique. I can only share what worked for us and hope it might help someone else!
From your Unfiltered Mama,
Baby Dust to you all!