Let’s talk about how bloody inconvenient the menstrual cycle is when you’re trying to make a baby. There are four phases to a woman’s menstrual cycle: menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal. On average, the ovulation phase will last around 1 or 2 days out of your 28 day cycle. That gives you a 24-48 hour window to get knocked up. This shrinks to 12-24 hours when you consider an egg will not last longer than a day if it isn’t fertilised.
The tablets I’m currently taking trick my body into thinking my oestrogen levels are lower than what is considered ‘normal’ which in turn causes the secretion of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinising hormone). This stimulates the production of an egg follicle or multiple follicles to be released and then ovulation occurs. The window of opportunity stays the same. The process doesn’t change. All it means is I’m a hormonal, bloated mess.
Tracking my ovulation has been relatively easy for the last two years. Since coming off contraceptives my cycle quickly settled in to a regular 28/29 day process. There’s a few days every month where my skin is clear, my hair is glossy, I sleep better and generally feel more rested and have more energy during the day. However, the tablets I’m on have flipped that on its head this month. I feel constantly nauseous and bloated. Hot flushes are incredibly real (poor Morgan has had to put up with me tinkering with the aircon every few miles as we’re currently on a road trip). Everything generally feels like an effort and I could nap in a heartbeat at any moment. It’s tough but the side effects are just signs that the tablets are doing what they’re intended for.
I’m lucky to have a husband who gets it. He doesn’t take it personally when I refuse to talk to him for an hour because he laughed at me taking a photo of a box of éclairs in the middle of Bicester Village. He waits patiently while I try on every single item of clothing in my wardrobe, complaining that nothing feels comfortable because I’m so bloated, eventually settling on the loosest, baggiest outfit. He silently squeezes my hand when someone asks if we have plans for babies any time soon, a small smile on his face when I manage to explain the situation without tearing up.
We planned an impromptu trip away to coincide with this stage. It’s important to spend quality time together, laughing, relaxing and enjoying each other’s company as it can become easy to forget that this should be fun, especially when having to track dates and hormones and various appointments and tests. It was the most perfect distraction.
Tomorrow marks the start of the next stage. 12 days of appointments, blood tests and playing the waiting game. It’ll be 12 days of feeling very similar to how I do now but with added mood swings and the overwhelming urge to just hide in a dark room away from human interaction. 12 days of letting my body do what it needs to do and preparing to accept whatever outcome we get at the end.
Let the countdown begin!
Photo Credit: Designs By Duvet Days