***Disclaimer: I fully intend to talk about things like ovulation and cycle length, so if that's not your bag, or you're my father/father-in-law, it's time to turn away.
From the American Pregnancy Association:
Day 1: The first day of your menstrual flow is the beginning of your cycle.
Day 7: By day seven your egg is preparing to be fertilized by sperm.
Days 11-21: (based on 28-day cycle) Hormones in your body cause the egg to be released from the ovary around this time. This process is known as ovulation. The egg travels through the fallopian tube towards the uterus. If sperm penetrates the egg, the fertilized egg will attach to the lining of the uterus and begin to grow. If fertilization does not happen the egg breaks apart.
Day 28: Hormone levels drop around this day causing the lining of the uterus to be shed making up your menstrual flow.
It is important to realize that the first part of the menstrual cycle (before ovulation) is different in every woman and can even change from month to month. The variation usually occurs from 13 to 20 days long. The last half of the cycle is usually more similar for every women, because there are about 14 days from day of ovulation until the start of the next period. This is why women are encouraged to track their cycles and count back 14 days from their LMP to narrow down their most fertile time of the month.
Whew, glad we've all got that down. This was your 9th grade health class-refresher course, in case you were wondering.
Two years ago, I was keeping track of my cycles in the hopes that we might start trying to get pregnant. I discovered that my cycles are actually 25, not 28, days.
In June 2009, my period started on June 1st. Casey was out of town that year from around the 10th until somewhere between the 18th or the 20th. It was during that trip that I finally convinced him to let us try twice to get pregnant, once in June and once in July. After that conversation, I kicked myself, because - according to what we just read - no baby could possibly be conceived in that timeframe. Remember: 14 days between ovulation and the start of the next period. I had given myself roughly 6, maybe 8 days max.
Of course, when he got back, we tried anyway. That was the only time we tried.
On July 3rd, I took a pregnancy test that was totally inconclusive - one line, but also not one line, meaning that on that particular day, my body was still registering the fact that I was pregnant. Bear in mind, this would be on approximately the 32nd or 33rd day of my cycle. In other words... waaaaaaay past when my period should have started.
Can somebody explain this to me? Because according to everything I know about biology, we either had a milkman-conception situation while Casey was away, or my fertility and ovulation is allllllllll screwy. (And, if you've spent any time looking at my daughter, she is clearly not a product of the milk man. Or Casey has a secret twin...)
I wasn't kidding when I called her my miracle baby! I have no answer for how it is I came to be pregnant with her, except to say that she was always, always meant to be ours.
It makes this time around that much more challenging. How do you plan for something that doesn't seem to follow logic?
So this month, we're getting a little help:
Keeping our fingers crossed that these little sticks will help us get those elusive two lines on that other little stick. (Plus, you know... save $10 and all. How could I resist?) ;)
And so, round three begins!