Today's the day! Or is it tomorrow?
July 3, 2013 5:19 PM   Subscribe

How did you decide when to 'start trying' (for babies)? What made you say February = birth control, March = none ? How did you make the leap from the abstract "let's start trying next year" to "next time we have sex, we're 'trying'"? I always kind of thought I'd have a happy accident, but it's clear we going to have to *try* for this baby... but when?

So Mr. and I have decided that next year it's baby time. We're in our early thirties, and I have some known health issues that may affect (or could already be affecting) my fertility. When we initially talked about the timing, we were working it around grad school... but a generous raise at work made borrowing $40k to earn the same salary seem like a dumb idea (Library Science) so I pre-emptively dropped out. We had also planned to visit friends in Japan, and were still aiming to try after that (so I wouldn't be prego in Japan and unable to go to the Onsen!) BUT my sister just got engaged and we'll be going going to CA instead.

So now there's nothing really dictating when to start. There's no perfect time, and much of life is impermanent anyway. Our situation is 'good enough' , especially given our age and my health issues. If we waited for things to get significantly better/perfect, we'd be waiting forever. The only limitation would be that we can't start before December, or I'll be too far along to fly (overseas) for my sister's wedding.

My only thought is that if we started in December and were successful quickly I'd be nearing the end of the first trimester at the time of the wedding - being able to tell my mom in person and celebrate would mean a lot to her and my sister (first grandchild; plus as I've mentioned, I live overseas). Other than that...???

So how did you decide when to 'start trying'?
posted by jrobin276 to Human Relations (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Why not start in December and see how it goes? It doesn't sound like there's a reason to delay beyond that, and if for some reason it takes a long time, you'll be glad that you didn't wait more.

(That's basically what we did -- once we knew we wanted to go for it and there wasn't anything standing in our way, we started trying.)
posted by cider at 5:22 PM on July 3, 2013

A doctor told me it was now or maybe never, so that's what prompted my decision. But you may also want to think about the age your child will be upon starting school. Do you want a child born soon after the kindergarten cut off month, so that they will be the oldest in their class? Or are you aiming for one who is younger so that you get them into kindergarten at age 4, avoiding a year of daycare costs? And so on.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 5:26 PM on July 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Are you very familiar with your cycle? Do you know when you ovulate? Or even IF you ovulate? Maybe use the first few months of 'trying' to get a really thorough knowledge of your body. Once you've got that down then start timing for being early preggo at the wedding and be wiling to accept if it takes longer.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:27 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

The first time, I took a few months of charting (using Taking Charge of Your Fertility as a guide), using a condom during potential conception times, before we decided to go for it. We'd recently gone on a big trip, and there was nothing major looming, plus my brother-in-law had had a child recently, which made my partner feel like, as he said, "There's not going to be a time that's any better or any worse." So we went for it.

But I don't have any fertility issues. If I had, I probably would have started as soon as it seemed remotely feasible.

Good luck!
posted by linettasky at 5:34 PM on July 3, 2013

Best answer: your timetable suggests you could start trying earlier. Various obstetricians have various ideas about flight restrictions, but none restrict flight prior to viability (24 weeks, or over 10 weeks after the end of the first trimester), and most don't until well after that if there is no worry you will go into early labor for some reason. I personally flew to Europe at 24 weeks and had a blast on a river cruise for 2 weeks.

just saying if you're looking to start ASAP, you could do it sooner. And as someone who experienced infertility, I advocate starting as soon as you are ready. and not getting too attached to the idea of telling family at the wedding - it would be great if it played out that way, but trying to time a pregnancy so carefully is a setup for disappointment.

I started as soon as my husband agreed he was ready, my medical training was over, and I wasn't planning any trips to malaria-endemic countries in the next 9 months.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:38 PM on July 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: My cycle is like clockwork, and I track it with an app on my phone; hormone levels are normal, so there's no reason to think I don't ovulate. Picking up Taking Charge of Your Fertility soon.

(They suspect some endometriosis; definite PCOS, althrough right now my primary symptom is the clusterf*ck of cysts on my ovaries. My GP also specializes in women's health/fertility, and said to give it 6 months and if no luck, come back - probably for Clomid. I think beyond that both she and my specialist are talking laparoscopy... ugh. This all came to light last year while I was getting diagnosed with idiopathic overactive bladder. Yay, right?)

Thanks everyone - keep it coming. Love to hear about how other people decided this!
posted by jrobin276 at 5:42 PM on July 3, 2013

My wife went with "Let's try in August because I don't want to be pregnant during the summer". It worked pretty well (our May baby is 4 now!)
posted by caution live frogs at 5:45 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Be prepared for it to possibly take a lot longer than you think to get pregnant! My husband was under the impression that "the moment we stop birth control, we'll immediately get pregnant," and was really surprised that, for both me and my sister-in-law, it took 9-12 months to conceive once we were off birth control (we were both on hormonal birth control, and it can take a while for your body to come back to equilibrium). Trying to plan around external events can be pretty hard, and your body won't necessarily cooperate even if you're specifically trying.

Oh, and how did I decide when to start trying? Something my doctor told me when I said I was considering getting pregnant but [list of things that I was trying to plan around, including what month baby might be born]: "There's never a good time, there's only THE time." It really hit me... I went home and immediately stopped taking my birth control that day.

Good luck!
posted by laeren at 5:52 PM on July 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The PCOS can definitely be an issue. Those cysts are there because your body was primed to ovulate and then just never pulled the trigger and so the follicle became a cyst. Those LH test strips can be a little misleading for us PCOS girls because LH just tells you that your body is primed to release an egg, not if it actually does. And, to really make it fun, you can have totally normal cycles (in terms of 28-32 days) and STILL not be ovulating!

I'm shocked that your doc didn't mention Metformin as a potential fertility booster and instead want straight to recommending Clomid. I'm also surprised to read that your hormone levels are normal with a diagnosis of PCOS.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:56 PM on July 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

We decided to start when all our friends starting having kids. We wanted our kids to be friends with their kids. Two months later, boom. I was 27.
posted by PJMoore at 6:11 PM on July 3, 2013

Best answer: I wanted to add - part of the process for us was dealing with the weirdness of having deliberately procreative sex. I think a lot of people experience that. I spent my whole adult life up to that point *avoiding* getting knocked up that doing it on purpose was just strange. This is normal, and it's normal to have complicated feelings around the whole thing.
posted by linettasky at 6:17 PM on July 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

I asked my doctor what I ought to do before going off birth control. She asked me to stay on it for 3 months while I took prenatal vitamins with folic acid, and I also decided to see a genetic counselor with my husband before going off the pill. Once those were checked off I stopped using birth control and started charting.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:45 PM on July 3, 2013

I have PCOS, symptoms since I was 11 and on medication to correct it, and diagnosed at 19. I was 21 and off the pill for ~12 months and didn't have a period but was sexually active, thought I was anovulatory. Bam, pregnant. Not good. When I was in my mid-30s my ex (we weren't together) asked me to have a baby with him, I said okay, thinking it would take forever. I was off the pill six weeks. We now have a (lovely, wonderful, beautiful) two year old. I still have classic PCOS, it just took me no time at all to become pregnant, despite my life long fertility issues. It's great to be able to plan for these things but that's just not how life works out sometimes.

So - you start trying when you have sex without contraception, regardless of any issues you might have. Good luck to you - I wish you and your family the best.
posted by goo at 8:21 PM on July 3, 2013

Yes, I also have PCOS, hope that you don't have to go through what I went through to get pregnant. Many women with PCOS don't have as much trouble conceiving as I did.

I think using Clomid is pretty standard stuff for just about anyone experiencing infertility as a first step, unless there's a separate known issue. I did 4 rounds of Clomid before trying metformin. And FWIW, everyone reacts differently to meds but I *hated* taking metformin and would have been glad to be able to avoid taking it by using Clomid first. I know other women have side effects on Clomid and may not be bothered by metformin, but Clomid just made me a little grouchy, whereas metformin made me feel constant nausea/GI issues and lose the enjoyment I got from eating. Which was really sad because I love love love food. Anyway, I hope this discussion is all moot because you get knocked up at the first possible cycle, but my top recommendation to you if it does turn out to be relevant is to go straight to a reproductive endocrinologist and not to stop at a primary care or OB/GYN, even if you know you're just trying Clomid to start with, even if your GP specializes in women's issues. I believe seeing a specialist on this is important, and especially if you're getting possible recommendations for surgery before medical treatment and you want other opinions. Feel free to Memail me for anything related to this.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:33 PM on July 3, 2013

It was a pretty easy decision for us, being older (I was on the cusp of 35), and in a second marriage. I went off BC and much to my surprise was pregnant the next month.
posted by hockeyfan at 10:26 PM on July 3, 2013

We're up against a different set of constraints (I'm 38 and likely to be menopausal in the next four to five years, based on family history) so our timetable is quite crunched.

However, in Nov last year when we talked about the timing we were up against (gyno said "try in the next 12 months or forget it") we arbitrarily decided "May 2013" as an ideal date because it gave us time to get our head around it but also take into account my gyno's warning.

We moved house in April and decided that starting to try to conceive in May was going to be too much at once. So I did one more round on the pill and stopped after that. It was about giving ourselves the space we needed and taking account of the constraints we're under. Timing it to other life events hasn't come into it at all (we're getting married in November and I'm hoping to be a preggo bride).

Of course it is early days so we don't know what we're going to end up with!

My suggestion is have the conversation and keep having the conversation over time. When you're both ready (because "next year" could mean different things in each of your heads), get started.

We were both accepting of the reality of the thing, intellectually, but when crunch time came, when I said "well now's the time, shall I stop the pill?" that brought up a whole new set of conversations because we were facing the reality of the thing and that brought a whole lot of emotion with it.
posted by prettypretty at 11:47 PM on July 3, 2013

Best answer: In between a time period of "not trying" and "trying" there can be a time of "we'll just see what happens". It might not be true in your case, based on age and possible physical conditions, but from a mental perspective, you don't have to jump immediately from taking BC to charting fertility and only making sex perfunctory. You could just stop the BC and then spend several months enjoying each other and see what happens. Give yourself a deadline of when to start worrying if it doesn't happen naturally, but otherwise just let go.
posted by CathyG at 5:17 AM on July 4, 2013

I was always ready, and I waited for partner to be ready. That happened once a few key friends of his had babies. We went straight from "not trying" to "trying". I had an implant: so once it was taken out there was that weird "OMG what are we doing?" moment. But it was scary and awesome in one bundle.

But be aware for everyone who says boom there are people like us who have the opposite experience. My worst-case mental plan would have meant we had a child now. Unfortunately that's not happened, and it's not likely to soon.

Like prettypretty I wouldn't time it around life events. And I would encourage you to consider the idea of "we'll just see what happens" too. Along with pre-natal supplements right now.
posted by SuckPoppet at 8:33 AM on July 4, 2013

My wife works in a school and she wanted to go on maternity leave straight after the summer holiday. Started trying in February, expecting in December inshallah. We're taking a last chance to visit family in the UK now, and the flight was tough but manageable.

As for when in life terms, we were both happy, relationship good and stable, and doing OK financially, so obviously that couldn't be allowed to continue ;-) Looking forward to introducing a little chaos!
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 9:08 AM on July 4, 2013

i decided i was ready after a lovely dinner for my 35th birthday (i'm female). and originally i was totally doing these calculations that you're doing: "what if i'm pregnant at my work holiday party? everyone will know when i don't drink!" or "oh, i hope i'm not pregnant a month after that when we're doing a lot of work on our house--maybe we should wait." but yeah, it's now been nearly a year since we started "trying" with no pregnancy. i really thought i'd get knocked up instantly, since i have regular cycles & have charted for years as a form of birth control. i thought it would be super easy. and so far, no dice. and it doesn't even necessarily mean anything's "wrong"--it just takes a long time for some couples. so i guess i'm saying that you should get going right away and let go of the illusion of control--it happens when it happens. and there's always SOME reason that would make this cycle the inconvenient one.
posted by apostrophe at 10:17 AM on July 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

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