In the interest of full disclosure, FertilityFlower.com is one of my clients, however, I have in no way been compensated for this post.

When I started trying to reproduce, I figured a couple months off birth control, and voila! Swollen ankles!

It doesn’t generally work like that. Well, for some, it might. It didn’t work like that for me, though.

I’m forever grateful that my best friend, Lianne, was pushed into my life at just about this time, because she taught me just about everything I know about fertility. And as it turns out, at this point, I know a lot.

We were both trying to conceive at the same time. She told me about a website where I could track my temperature every morning, like she did. I went months quietly chuckling to myself about this before I actually gave it a whole hearted attempt. This was something people did in 80’s rom-coms.

As it turns out, it got me pregnant. Well, technically, I suppose, my husband got me pregnant. But I don’t know how much longer it would have taken us on our own.  As it is, we finally got those swollen ankles a full year after I went off birth control.

Fertility isn’t as easy as it appears at first glance. Here’s the basic idea… once a month, your ovaries spit out an egg (sometimes two, look out!). That egg travels down your fallopian tubes and hits your uterus. If, during this journey, it meets up with a swimmer, it will land in your uterus and hang on. It’ll start to divide into more cells. About two weeks later, your period will be late, you’ll pee on a stick, and shriek. Or cry. Or whatever.  I shrieked.

So, how do you know, exactly, when this magical window occurs? How can you tell when your ovaries are going to push that puppy out? Well, there are all kinds of signs that your body gives you to let you know that you’re fertile. And listen, this magical window only lasts a couple days every month.  Doesn’t it make sense to track for these symptoms to give yourself the best possible chances of catching that egg?

One of the best signs of ovulation, is a temperature shift. Your basal body temp will rise the day AFTER ovulation, and it will stay up there till you get your period. By the time you see that temperature shift, it’s too late. That’s why it’s important to keep this temping thing up for a couple months and look for your body’s own patterns.

This is how I found out that I typically ovulate on the 17th day of my cycle, and not the 14th day, which is what most medical models are based on.  I’d never have picked up on it if I wasn’t charting, and probably would have ended up getting pregnant eventually, completely by accident. Or maybe not. After a year of trying, it was hard to keep going.

There are other secondary signs of ovulation, and there are all kinds of cool testing supplies you can use to check them. I have, in the past, used ovulation predictor kits, which you pee on every morning. It changes color to indicate ovulation. I have also used a spit-o-scope (not at all what it’s really called), which is a small microscope that I spit on every morning, let dry, and then blinked into to find “ferning patterns.” If it ferned, I was fertile.

One of the best signs of ovulation, next to temperature, is checking your cervical mucus. Hey, trying to get pregnant is no time for being squeamish. Snag some on your finger and check the quality. If it’s stretchy and elastic, like egg white, have sex. You’re likely fertile.

What makes all of this come to together in a neat little baby shaped package with a bow on top is quality ovulation calendar software. I’ve recently been doing some work with the good people at FertilityFlower.com and really wish I had them when I was trying to get pregnant. I did use another online fertility calculator, and obviously, it worked, but I love that with Fertility Flower, I can continue tracking things into my pregnancy. (Not that this is ever happening again, folks.)

I also love that it helps me track my nutrition, and my lifestyle, helping set up optimal conditions for making a baby.

I am currently using Fertility Flower, although, I’m  using it as a natural form of birth control. I mostly track my cervical mucus, as far as fertility signs go. But, from working so hard to make my babies, I’m pretty well tuned to my reproductive system. I can generally feel when I ovulate, which is uncommon. I know how my body feels when I’m spitting out the eggs.  It’s kind of amazing.

In fact, I wasn’t charting when I conceived my second baby, but just knew my body so well, that the next day, when I felt a slight cramping near my ovary, I said to my husband, “We made a baby last night.” And I was so right.

Fertility Flower allows me to track this ovulation pain in a way that the other software I’d used simply didn’t.

So. Are you trying to get pregnant? Check out FertilityFlower.com for more information on everything I mentioned here, and to get your own TOTALLY FREE account to start charting your own cycle. They do have a premium membership, with flexible payment options, but you don’t need to pay to use the basic charting software.

I love Fertility Flower so much, that I’ve stopped using the software I used to get pregnant and have been using for birth control, even though I paid for a lifetime membership there. If you’re trying to make a baby, go check it out and see what you think.  I sincerely  hope it helps.

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