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Read more about my decision to go off the pill, my struggle with my cycles not returning, and the steps I took to help recover my fertility. Learn more about charting to assess the health of your fertility.
In late April, I took my last birth control pill after 3 years on the pill. 3 days later, I started my withdrawal bleeding. 184 days later, I had my first bleed since. Approximately 27 days later, I ovulated for the first time since going off the pill, and just 12 days later I started a second period.
Those 6 months between periods were very hard for me. I was not trying to get pregnant, and have no plans to try for many years. Yet I felt like something was wrong with me. Beyond the physical indications that yes, if I’m not ovulating and menstruating something is wrong, I felt like I was less of a woman. Note: I am not saying anything against women that have fertility problems or do not even have a uterus, this is just how I felt.
I can guarantee, I have never been so happy to get my period as I have been these past two times.
Ovulation didn’t give me quite as much elation, because the knowledge that it had occurred was delayed. I had had strong mucus peaks with dry up and temp spikes before, but every time the mucus came back and my temps drops after a few days. I was scared to say, “Yes, I did ovulate.” But I sustained the temp rise and there was no mucus for 9 days! Even more, I noticed changes in my body. For 3 days before my period started, I had extremely tender breasts. Something was happening!
Now, of course, I still have a long way to go. I am still overproducing cervical mucus. A cycle of 39 days is a little too long, and a luteal phase of only 9 days is too short. A healthy luteal phase (post-ovulation phase) is usually 12-16 days long. If it is shorter than that, the woman will have trouble keeping a fertilized egg.
But I did it. My fertility returned.
How I Recovered My Fertility
To be honest, I didn’t do much. I did eat squeaky clean the entire summer following going off the pill, and I was moderately active the whole 6 months. However, after the first month of school, my eating habits plummeted and my stress skyrocketed (especially going into the 3rd month of school). I did maintain my daily herbs that were suppose to help balance my hormones.
I finally went to the doctor halfway through my second cycle. I went to a NaPro doctor who would be able to read my chart and give me medical care that worked with my body. She prescribed me progesterone to take to help induce bleeding and trigger my body to start producing the hormones I need again. Although unlike the artificial hormones in birth control, this was bio-identical progesterone that would only be taken for 10 days, working with my body, not against it, I still did not want to take medication. Luckily, I did not have to and I ovulated on my own. If my luteal phase does not lengthen, though, I may have to take the progesterone to teach my body how long the luteal phase needs to be.
The point I’m trying to make is that, the last step in my recovering your fertility post is really crucial. You can do everything right with no results. You can then give up, lead a poor lifestyle, and eventually ovulate. Patience is the most important part of this process. Living as healthy of a lifestyle as you can is imperative for a healthy mind, body, fertility, and future pregnancy. However, your body is on it’s own schedule and if it is not quite ready to support another life, give it that time. If you are taking care of yourself and you are healthy, your fertility will come. If not, seek the advice of a doctor who has the motivation and skills to get to the root of the problem.
It is not easy, I will be the first to admit that. But my 6 month wait has been a wonderful learning experience and I am so thankful for the appreciation it gave me of my natural fertility.
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