Thankfully, I'm now on the other side of my fertility journey and I am beyond grateful I didn't have too many hiccups.
Even though we experienced a miscarriage with our first pregnancy and got pregnant fairly easily (we still had our own waiting period), the trying to conceive journey still brought up aspects about my health that I needed to support and a lot of fear/anxiety on whether I'd be able to have children.
If you are currently on your journey and have been hoping for your first child (or another one), I thought it would be helpful to share a few things I would do again if I was going to have another baby (my husband and I only wanted two children and we are glad to be done!).
My trying to conceive journey, especially trying for my first child, was one of the darkest times for me, mentally and emotionally.
My husband and I started trying right when we got married in May 2019, only to finally get pregnant by the end of the year (after 7 months of trying), for that pregnancy to end in a miscarriage just prior 10 weeks. I was beyond devasted and would go on daily walks to just cry.
It was an extremely challenging time and I could feel a child on my heart.
Amidst that devastation came a positive pregnancy test three months later, only to get my progesterone and thyroid tested on a whim.
My T3 levels were too low and my progesterone was so borderline low I feared losing another pregnancy. I met with a naturopath who said I needed to supplement with progesterone immediately. Thankfully I did because I gave birth to a healthy baby boy who is now 3!
When Dylan was 9 months old, we kind of started trying for another baby.
I got my hormones tested when he was 11 months and found my progesterone was low again, so I started supplementing during my luteal phase and had to tweak my thyroid medication (it can be common for your thyroid to get worse after pregnancy and this was true for me).
We thankfully got pregnant when our son was 15 months old and exactly two years apart, our daughter was born (our kids ended up with the same birthday, which was not planned!).
I needed to work a bit on my fertility and even though the last few years were scary, anxiety inducing and very mentally draining, it was worth it!
Here's what I'd do again if I was going to have another baby:
Making sure your hormones are where they should be will make trying to conceive easier. You could try for months (years even) without knowing something is off that you could have easily tweaked.
I'd recommend doing a full hormone panel (including where they check all your thyroid hormones, not just TSH). You can do it through your doctor or with a naturopath.
If you do testing with your doctor, I'd still get a second look at the lab results from a naturopath. My levels were always "perfect" for western medicine standards but I showed subclinical signs of imbalances, which is what a naturopath will check.
When doing a full hormone panel, you typically get the labs done anytime between days 19-21 of your cycle, if it's a 28 day cycle (if it's shorter or longer, you can ask the practitioner).
This will help you pinpoint progesterone as it peaks a week before your period starts, which will tell you if it's high enough to conceive.
Need to increase your progesterone? Try my 8 Steps to Naturally Increase Progesterone!
2. Basal Body Temperature Tracking
I didn't love basal body temperature tracking (it caused a lot of anxiety for me), but I'd suggest doing it for about 2-3 cycles. This will help you learn your body's patterns with ovulation and can help you pinpoint if is something isn't fully balanced. Maybe you're ovulating a bit too later for your cycle or you have a short luteal phase like I did, which helped me know my progesterone was too low.
Your basal body temperature is suppose to slowly rise after you ovulate. Your body is "heating up" with the rise of progesterone. It peaks at about day 21 and remains high until it drops when you get your period. If you are pregnant, your body temperature would remain higher by about 1 degree.
On some of the cycles when trying, I actually knew before I got my period because my temperature would "drop". Sure enough, later that day my period would start. On the months I was late, I'd take my temperature and suspected we were pregnant because it stayed high. We always waited until I was 5 days late to take a pregnancy test because I didn't want to get a false negative.
3. Counting My Luteal Phase
Your luteal phase when trying to conceive is best in the range of 12-16 days. Just by counting when I would ovulate to when my period start helped me learn my progesterone was too low to conceive. It's called a short luteal phase, and it would only be about 9-10 days. This meant my body wasn't producing enough progesterone in order for an egg to implant.
4. Chinese Herbs
Everyone is different and there are A LOT of herbs and supplements out there that can support your cycle and fertility. I strongly believe that using some Chinese herbs helped us have our children. I mention the herbs I used to conceive in this YouTube video (always do your own research and speak with your health care professionals prior to taking).
My heart is with you on your journey and I hope this post is helpful on how to increase your chances of getting pregnant! If you'd love 1:1 support during this time - fill out this form to schedule a free 30-minute discovery call.