Let me start off by saying: I am not a doctor, this is not medical advice, and I am only speaking from my own personal experience. Now that that's out of the way, there were more than a few "coincidences" that seemed to align in the weeks leading up to successfully becoming pregnant this time around.
I know a lot of people that know me personally think I'm nuts to have had kids so close together. I think most people kind of just assumed my second child was a mistake... why would I choose to become pregnant again only six months after giving birth to my first daughter? Who would do such a thing?! Well, I can tell you, everything I do in life is with intention, including my family planning. All that to say, I had the same plans with my third child. (I am currently in my second trimester as I write this.) I love the age difference between our first two girls, and was hoping we could continue on a similar path as we grow our family. I know this is not everyone's experience, but I had a really easy time getting pregnant with my first two girls. Like, on the first try easy. Sometimes I look back and feel like I wasn't grateful enough for that, and just assumed it would happen as often as we'd want. But that was not the case for my third pregnancy.
The truth is, and I'm getting very personal here, we tried for almost six months without any success. I became very afraid very quickly. Would I not have any more kids? Am I doing something wrong? How could this all be so out of my control? Was that just my last child-bearing experience and I didn't even know it? All of these thoughts and more raced through my mind, inevitably adding to the stress I desperately did not need. And not for a second do I overlook how many of my loved ones are or have struggled with infertility far longer and been through many more hardships and heartbreaks than me. I am incredibly appreciative for the family I do have, and would be grateful if that is all that was destined for us, truly. Plus, I know it had only been a relatively short time of trying, but I couldn't help but compare to my first two experiences. It made me think there was a problem. So I started trying everything I could to improve my health, thinking that it ultimately wouldn't hurt anything and only help in the long run, regardless of the outcome. There were also a couple of other unique things I did in the weeks before becoming pregnant that I had not been doing during the months prior. I don't know if it's a "correlation versus causation" type of thing - maybe I'm just reading into it - but deep down, I truly believe these 3 things made the difference in receiving the positive test we'd been waiting for. I hope this helps and provides some much-needed hope for anyone out there reading this that is praying for a similar result, too.
#1 - I completely cleaned up and detoxed my entire diet
I feel like people say things like this all the time, but when I tell you I did a complete and total 180 on what I was putting in my body, I am very serious. I didn't eat super poorly before, but I definitely didn't put too much thought into it either. I started studying up on nutrition, bought this book, and did a total detox. I didn't starve myself, but followed a food plan I'd done years ago with the guidance of my homeopathic doctor. In short, my diet consisted only of whole foods, no sugar, no dairy, no gluten, no seed oils, nothing processed, and only water. It didn't feel like I was depriving myself at all - I could still eat food! But there was just literally no more crap in consumption here or there, nothing irritating my gut, only what my body really needed without having to work harder filtering through the nonsense. I followed this strict plan with a food diary and included protein shakes for about two weeks straight, and then gradually added back in some things that I would normally eat like cheese, gluten-free starches, and some sweets too! (Who could live without chocolate, and why would you want to?!) But I carefully began sourcing all the rest of my food and got really good at reading labels. I've carried on these changes and plan to have them as just part of my new normal. I try to eat food that is organic, local and in-season as often as possible, and refuse to buy anything that is detrimental to my health. (Of course, I still enjoy ice cream and going out to dinner occasionally, but because of how seriously I take everything else, the moderation is okay for me.) I have truly never felt better and genuinely feel frustrated by how much poison is marketed to us without us even realizing it. But the more you know, the better you do, I suppose. I won't ever make those mistakes again. (And as a general rule: if it won't go bad on its own in a few days, you probably don't want to be eating it anyway!)
#2 - I was grounding and getting a lot of sunlight
I had come across a lot of new research regarding the positive effects of grounding (making direct contact with your skin to the Earth) and getting enough sun exposure on health. I honestly sort of took most of it with a grain of salt, because it seemed a little too hippy-dippy for me initially. But the more I learned, the more I felt like there must be something behind it. (It's actually super interesting stuff if you ever want to go down the rabbit hole yourself!) Ironically, we had planned a family getaway to Bermuda around this time to escape the onset of the cold weather in Connecticut. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I realize now just how much sunlight I was getting every day and how much grounding I was doing while on this getaway. I was taking in the fresh, salty sea air all day long (which is full of the negative ions your body uses to produce a chemical reaction resulting in stress relief, serotonin production, depression alleviation and more), and didn't even realize that staring out to the ocean effectively puts humans into a mild meditative state due to the organic change in our brainwave frequency that takes place. (No wonder everyone always feels better on a beach vacation and doesn't want to come home!) I literally did this day in and day out for a week straight. So not saying you must book a vacation right now in order to get these same benefits, but the positive impact of being in this environment and out in nature as a whole seemed to play a role in a very beneficial healthy change in my life.
"Research has revealed that the electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth (grounding or earthing) produces intriguing effects on physiology and health. Such effects relate to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases." – National Library of Medicine
#3 - I stopped obsessing over fertility windows
Sometimes it's bad to know so much on a topic, because it's so easy to obsess over. I wasn't crazy about this at all initially, but after several months in a row with no luck, I admittedly became more rigorous with my planning. Again, as a weird result of this random trip we took, I stopped stressing out over where we were in the month. I honestly don't know if this would've happened had I not been so distracted by our travels and change of routine, but alas, it seems to have helped. I truly had no idea where we were in terms of our normal "scheduling of activities" (sorry to take all the fun out of it, but you know it's important to consider when you're family planning!), and it just wasn't at the forefront of my mind during that week and the time around it. Perhaps a blessing in disguise, because things just happened naturally (as I'm sure is best they always do in life), and we found out we were pregnant just a few weeks after returning home and resuming normal life!
Don't ever give up hope!
As they say, we make plans and God laughs. I am humbled by this experience and more grateful than ever that I have a happy journey to share with you all. Everything happens for a reason, and everything has a season. All we can do is our best, and keep our body and mind as healthy as possible so we are ready when a miracle comes our way. The little things I've learned over the past several months will stick with me for a lifetime, and I am better for it. I hope that my honest sharing of a very personal experience brings some optimism and inspiration into your life, and encourages you to stay the course and maintain a positive outlook wherever you are in your personal journey. It will all be worth it.