Can Menstrual Blood effect the outcome of a HPT?

Can These 2 HPT’s Detect HCG with a possible Miscarriage?

Cervical Mucus

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Image: www.searcpp.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

 

The art of TTC (Trying to Conceive), TTA (Trying to Abstain) or even simply Trying To Track Your Cycle – (for other purposes) can be tricky, and have a lot to do with how you Chart your cycles each month. There is so much more to it nowadays than simply counting up 4 weeks from the first day of your Menstrual Period – (which is what I used to do before the Internet came out!) Ha Ha

Aside from The Charting Basics, one of the main things you’ll need to learn about is your CM (Cervical Mucus) and CP (Cervical Position). Whether you’re TTC or TTA from Pregnancy, you’ll need to know about this thing called Cervical Fluid! Much like CP, CM changes color, consistency, and texture throughout each part of our cycle. Those changes essentially can give us many clues and insight into where we are, and when we can expect our Fertile Window!

The first part of our cycle is known as, “The Follicular Phase,” which is the first day of our Menstrual Flo until Ovulation occurs. A Hormone called Estrogen is responsible for the things that change, and take place just up until that point. Estrogen more or less gears our bodies up in preparation for Conception. Your Cervical Fluid plays a very important role in achieving that! Here’s an illustration to depict the different stages your CM goes through, throughout this wonderful (or not so wonderful) thing we call a cycle!

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Image: www.babycenter.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

 

As you can see, there are many different colors, consistencies, and textures. If you’re only tracking your Period, then you may miss out on a potential opportunity to successfully Conceive! (Same thing if you’re actively trying to PREVENT Pregnancy) fertile CM plays a huge role in that!

AFTER MENSTRUATION: Your CM may be a bit dry, or Scant. Immediately following, you may notice a slight moisture, but that in itself is considered to be infertile if there’s not a higher volume of it!

NEARING OVULATION: You may notice that you have a wet spot on your panties, wetter consistency, milky, clearer CM. Estrogen is responsible for making your Fluid thinner and more fertile.

TIME OF OVULATION: Cervical Fluid tends to be thinner, slippery, and can stretch 1-2 CM! It may also have the consistency of raw Egg whites! It can also be tinged with Pink or Blood. This would be considered your most highly fertile CM! Sperm can live up to 5 days in this type of Cervical Fluid. This type is very alkaline.

Post Ovulation: It can be a bit dry, if nothing at all. Sometimes your cervix may appear to be somewhat moisture BUT any Cervical Fluid once Ovulation has occurred should be considered Infertile.

WHEN EXPECTING MENSES: Your Cervical Fluid can go from dry/moist to a thicker, Creamier, Lotion-Like consistency that is extremely acidic unlike EWCM and will make it difficult for sperm to swim through.

POSSIBLE PREGNANCY: Your CM will generally get thicker, white, or even yellow. It gets extremely thick to form what is known as a Mucus plug.

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Photos: www.babycenter.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

 
The absolute, most fertile CM prior to Ovulation is EWCM! You may notice this specifically the few days before, and/or the day of. You may also know it to appear Blood tinged, or brown. Mid-cycle spotting is not uncommon. If you’re not familiar with this, crack open an Egg and look at it, feel it, stretch it. Your own is very much like this!

Image: www.fertilityfriend.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

Image: www.fertilityfriend.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

 
You may not always produce this type of CM, so even if you only see Watery CM, take advantage of it! There are always ways to increase and improve your CM. (Another story for another day!) But in the meantime drink plenty of water, take Evening Primrose Oil from the start of Menses until Ovulation, Mucinex and/or Robitussin Guafenesin can help aide in that!

Post Ovulation, you may notice abrupt dryness and your cervix may exhibit slight moisture. That is very common, and if your charting you may see a Temperature rise to confirm it! Progesterone is responsible for the Luteal Phase, which is the day after Ovulation until we either Test positive with a HPT (Home Pregnancy Test) or the dreaded AF (Aunt Flo) rears her ugly head if you’re TTC (Trying To Conceive). As we approach the latter part of our cycle – our CM tends to get a bit thick, Creamy, and Lotion-Like which is very acidic and considered non-fertile. If our Menses is due within a couple days, you may notice another dry spell. (Again, very common!)

So whether you’re actively TTC or actively TTA – Cervical Mucus, Cervical Position and charting your BBT (Basal Body Temperature) can play a major role in your success!

If you’re trying to abstain from Pregnancy, you’ll want to avoid intercourse on the days you notice any type of fertile-quality CM!

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Cervical Position

Image: www.wikihow.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

Image: www.wikihow.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

 
One of the hardest things you may come across in this wonderful journey of yours is this thing called CP (Cervical Position), which goes hand-in-hand with CM (Cervical Mucus). These are both considered to be secondary fertility signs that can help you figure out where you are in your cycle! Your CP changes throughout each part of your cycle which can give clues about when you may be nearing Ovulation, Menstruation, or even possibly Pregnancy. It may take you a while to get to know your body, (and it’s lovely functions), but with that being said it’ll be well worth the time and effort once you start to gain a bit of insight.

A great time to start practicing your personal exams, is right after you’ve gotten out of the shower, or after you have thoroughly washed your hands with antibacterial soap to help avoid infections!

Image: www.wikihow.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

Image: www.wikihow.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

 
It’s very important to make sure you have clean hands before checking your CP or CM. Another tip is to keep your fingernails trimmed to avoid internal scratches. The cervix is the area on the top of your Vaginal canal, and in-between your uterus. You can start by sitting on the toilet or even squatting, while gently inserting two fingers and reaching until you can feel it. Depending on how High or Low your cervix is at that time determines whether it’s fertile or Infertile. It’s highly recommended to check your CP only once a day, (sitting the same way) due to its variations throughout the day. When dealing with CM though it’s recommended to check several times a day while only recording the most fertile Fluid!

 
DURING MENSTRUATION: Your cervix usually will be low, firm and slightly open to allow your Menses to flow. It would feel firm more like the tip of your nose.

NEARING OVULATION: Your cervix will be a little higher to reach, a bit softer, moist and slightly open in preparation for the sperm to swim through. You may start to notice your CM appears to be a bit more fertile at this time.

TIME OF OVULATION:  Your cervix should be at its highest since you’re at your peak fertility! You may not even be able to reach it, or you may just be able to touch it with the tips of your fingers. The cervix will be open with a good amount of fertile CM and feel very soft, more like your lips. The outer surface may also feel very wet or even slippery.

POST OVULATION:  Your cervix will generally go back to a low, firm and closed Position. It will feel firm again, like the tip of your nose with a dry sensation.

NEARING MENSTRUATION:  Your cervix will continue to feel firm like an unripe fruit perhaps with slight moisture. You may not observe much CM if any at all and it will protrude low.

POSSIBLE PREGNANCY:  Your cervix usually begins to move higher, with a soft, sponge-like feel to it that remains closed to protect the uterus. CM will then start to get thicker, creating what is known as a Mucus Plug. With that being said, the time varies from woman to woman as to when this all takes place. For some it can happen as soon as Conception occurs and for others it may be well into their first trimester.

 
Here is something I’ve put together from photos taken of a woman who was 25, had never given Birth, had a tilted uterus, and allowed this amazing website to document her CP and CM each day throughout her whole cycle! This may be helpful since most of us cannot see inside, we can only feel!

Photos: www.beautifulcervix.com Collage & Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

Photos: www.beautifulcervix.com Collage & Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

 
If you go through, you’ll see just how unique our CP really can be! Being a woman, and truly understanding our own anatomy can be quiet empowering.

Something else that sort of helped me further understand this magical, mystical thing we call a cervix – is knowing the best way to actually describe and further illustrate what we are technically “feeling” for?! The specialists who write these amazing articles pertaining to our fertility describe our cervix as being, “Low, Medium, or High,” when going through the different stages in our cycle. I of course, thought that meant my cervix was like a ball that literally lifted itself up, or buried itself down into my Vaginal canal! (Oh silly me) – It took me forever to fully understand what that meant. Take a look at this next illustration here:

Image: www.wikihow.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

Image: www.wikihow.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

 
As you can see while looking at everything from a frontal point of view, I found that the best way to describe the CP itself wasn’t so much “High,” or “Low,” – but really like, “Coming towards you,” or, “Moving away from you.” If that makes more sense? When you insert your fingers and can very easily reach your cervix, (like it’s coming towards you at a close proximity) – then that would be considered, “Low.” When it’s really hard to reach (like it’s going away from you) – and maybe not even within reach at all, that would be considered, “High.”

If you think about it, the cervix needs to be as far back from the opening of your Vaginal canal so that the sperm will have a shorter journey! Shorter swim means a higher chance for Conception which helps create the perfect (Fertile Window) of opportunity! Makes more sense now, huh? Here’s also another visual aide that can help:

Image: www.wikihow.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

Image: www.wikihow.com Graphics: Pee-On-A-Stick-Freak

 
So as you can see, you can only have highly fertile Cervical Fluid such as EWCM (Egg White Cervical Mucus) and get a high volume of it if you have a highly fertile cervix that’s open! That not only allows fertile quality CM to protrude the canal but it also acts as a passageway to keep the sperm nourished and alive until possible Conception can occur!

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Why I Began Charting (Again) After So Many Years!

 

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Being a workaholic is great, except for when you find yourself working extremely long hours with very opinionated people, and having 2 toddlers and a hungry husband on top of that! Specifically a night where you guessed it – AF (Aunt Flo) a.k.a (my Period) showed her ugly face. As if I wasn’t stressed enough! I am a graphics designer, and a videographer “trying” to finish up a project, as if I didn’t feel enough stress already. We ordered pizza that night, my mother, my kids and my wonderful DH (Darling Husband), pretty much devoured the whole thing. I finally called it a night around midnight or so, when I felt my brain could no longer function.

The following day, I usually start flowing pretty heavily. That’s pretty normal for me, and as the day progressed I also (of course) started cramping too. Throughout the remainder of the day the cramping continued getting worse. (At which point I tend to grab the good ol’ Midol!) Normally 2 of those will give me some kind of relief. Nope, not even a little that day. I found myself taking 2 more a few hours later, and then 2 more a few hours after that! Like, are you kidding me?! Nope, the cramping (I kid you not) felt just like early labor pains! 

Later that evening, we fed the kids and gave them a bath, then put them to bed. It was around 8pm, and my wonderful DH went out back to grill some pork chops. (One of my favorites I might add!) We usually have a couple cocktails to go with it, and just enlighten each other with some much-needed (adult) conversation. When you’re around 2 toddlers all day long, it’s very helpful Lol. But the thing was, I started to feel nauseous before I even ate, and dizzy to a large degree. I tried to eat dinner, but basically had to make myself. I found myself picking at my food sadly, which is really unusual since that’s the main meal I eat everyday if nothing else. We were also trying to watch some shows we had DVR’d (which at that point I couldn’t stand to watch or hear the TV), as apparently I was also very sensitive to both light and sound. (Strange) I couldn’t even get through one of my cocktails (which I usually enjoy) and found myself just wanting to go upstairs and go to bed. Nope, that didn’t help either. Laying down made me feel even more nauseous! Around midnight, I started vomiting profusely. I thought normally you expelled something and then felt better right? Nope, wrong again! The feeling just kept getting worse and worse, hour after hour. I honestly thought I was going to have to go to the hospital! It didn’t subside until about 7:30am that following morning. Luckily my husband called in sick so I could finally get some much-needed rest. I have absolutely no clue what on earth made me that sick and I knew it wasn’t food poisoning due to the fact that everyone had eaten the same things I had that week and even that night, yet they were all fine. 

So now we come to Part 2 of the story. (Drum roll please)….. My usual AF (Period) lasts typically about 5-8 days, on a 28-30 day cycle. (Let me add that I’m not charting, no longer felt the need to once my DD (Darling Daughter) was born) so I kept track of my cycles simply by using the Calender on my phone. I would start a new cycle, then just count about 28 days into the future and put a reminder in there for a, “Possible Period Start Date.” Usually, it was pretty on target, give or take a day or 2. Not that I recommend tracking your cycle that way, especially if you’re TTC (Trying To Conceive). Anyways, after the typical week of Flo had passed, something really bizarre happened – I kept bleeding! Yes, you read that right. I did my usual end-of-cycle spotting, then proceeded to have more heavy Flo. At First I used regular absorbency tampons, which then shortly thereafter led to the super absorbancy, which left me in total shock. If anything, my Flo normally gets a lot lighter towards the end – definitely not heavier! Needless to say the horribly bad cramps resurfaced and I actually had to take more Midol. Never in my life had I ever had a mense like this or one that ever lasted this long; a whopping 14 days! Everything I had previously Googled indicated that this was not normal. 

Part 3 of the (not so fun stuff *sigh*). Everyday for the next few days once it finally ended, I was practically glued to my phone, tablet or computer doing research. I came across some articles where I read that a 2 week AF could be a number of things from the start of early menopause, (which I thought would be unlikely since I was only 32) to PCOS or even an Ovarian Cyst. But one thing that sort of stuck out in all that jumbled information we love to find on our beloved Dr. Internet, was a miscarriage even possible?!

(Let’s rewind back to the year 2011 when I discovered I was PG with my now 3-year-old DD) I knew I was going to have to have a scheduled c-section with her, since I had unfortunately had to have one with my DS (Darling Son) a year earlier. So, when I found out I could get my tubes tied (Tubal Ligation) during that procedure I hopped on that freight train with a quickness! (No jokes) although I now deeply regret making that decision. I would at some point, possibly like to plan on having another baby sometime in the future! (Moral of the story: think long and hard before having such a permanent procedure done on what may ONLY be considered in hindsight temporary circumstances). I never dreamed 3 years ago we would be in a bigger home, in a wonderful neighborhood with beyond amazing amenities, surrounded with great neighbors and that my children would be going to some of the highest exemplary schools within one of the top districts in our city! I felt at the time I had made a responsible decision, but I now know I could have achieved the same results with a different type of non-permanent birth control. I will more than likely (sometime down the line) opt to get what is known as a Tubal Reversal. Unfortunately though the success rate for conception being in my 30’s once that procedure has been done, (possibly even late 30’s at that point) are very low. Not that it’s impossible, BUT even a normal, “healthy” couple in their early 20’s only have about a 25% chance each month. The numbers start to rapidly decline once you hit the age of 35. So with that being said, to me it had made sense that there could always be that possibility of Miscarriage or better yet an Ectopic Pregnancy with my tubes still being tied. (An Ectopic Pregnancy is where the sperm fertilizes the egg but instead of the egg implanting into your uterus where it’s supposed to, the egg implants itself into an abnormal place such as your Fallopian tube for example). If that should ever occur, you would normally need to seek immediate medical attention as the fetus could cause the Fallopian tube to burst! It’s unlikely conception will occur, (but again) not impossible. After 1 year research indicates that 1 out of every 1000 will conceive. After 5 years the odds are a little higher with it being 13 out of 1000. Some will be a healthy, full-term Pregnancy but it’s more likely to result in an Ectopic Pregnancy or Miscarriage unless and/or if the procedure somehow failed or possibly the Tubes have naturally grown back together. (Again, another story for another day)!

So with that being said, I called my DH as he was on his way home from work to ask him if he could stop and pick me up an inexpensive HPT just so I could rule that possibility out if nothing else. Although at the time, I was secretly hoping that it would yield a positive result by detecting traces of leftover HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin – the hormone secreted once implantation occurs and what HPT’s use to determine whether or not you are indeed pregnant). I know it sounds bad, but if that was the reason behind my sudden, severe sickness that had occurred and my extremely long, painful mense, of course it would make sense and plus it wouldn’t be as bad as some of the other possible scenarios. When he got home he introduced me to the really affordable Wal-Mart Brand, (First Signal) Pregnancy Test. It’s only $0.88, you really can’t beat that! That’s even cheaper than the Dollar Store Brand starting around $1.19 – Two of those being (U Check HPT) and (New Choice HPT). So I figured, why not? Couldn’t hurt. So I went upstairs and peed in a cup, took the dropper and carefully put the 4 drops of my urine into the specified area. I then waited patiently for the 10 min timeframe printed on the instructions to expire. At First glance, it looked like a BFN (Big Fat Negative). But of course as I continue staring at it, there looked to be the faintest of faintest lines ever known to man. So, I wasn’t sure. The only way to know definitively if that was an eye squinting really faint positive or my imagination, was to Retest. Of course though DH only brought home one Test. Yippie, that meant I had to go back out at 1am and get a few more. I decided at that time to get another Wal-Mart Cheapie as well as a name Brand. So, I also bought (Clearblue Easy). Only at the time I had forgotten how notoriously bad Blue Dye Tests were known for resulting in either false positives (as Blue Dye could essentially bleed into the Test line even if no HCG was detected resulting in that or a Blue Evaporation line). But needless to say, I had decided to make a fun video experiment to see if both brands would yield the same results! (Hence how the pee-on-a-stick experiments were born!) and from what I could see despite one being Blue Dye, they both were BFN’s. So, I discarded those 3 Tests and continued doing more research on the subject at hand. 

I’m sure you’re probably wondering why I hadn’t made an appointment yet to go see my OB (Gynecologist)? As far as I knew, (as devastating as it would be to possibly have ovarian cysts or PCOS for example) as far as I was concerned it didn’t actually require medical attention. I wasn’t TTC anymore, and it was possible that maybe just maybe this could have been as simple as a random Irregular cycle and nothing was wrong?! (Although I’m certainly not suggesting or encouraging anyone who should also happen to be experiencing a similar situation at this time to NOT seek medical attention based solely off of my assumptions. You should always trust the advice of your physician first off and especially foremost). I just do not like to make any appointments with my OB unless I absolutely feel it’s necessary. 

With that being said that brings me to Part 4 of this super long story of mine! About 2 days later I started noticing pink on my toilet paper after I would wipe, and the following day I literally had brown CM. It sort of had the consistency of EWCM (Egg White Cervical Mucus) which I was accustomed to except for the fact that my EWCM normally was streaked with a tad bit of blood or Pink, (not so much solid brown). I jumped up and took another Test. It seemed so strange because I had never experienced any kind of mid-cycle spotting before. I then decided to make another video to document this experience and (again) it appeared to be yet another BFN. Still just as confused as ever I discarded that Test as well except this time I had accidentally left the Test sitting on the bathroom counter. About 45 mins later I went in there to use the restroom, low and behold I saw 2 Pink Lines! It felt like a ton of bricks had fallen on top of my head. I of course then proceeded to do even more research and literally as I was doing that I watched the Test line start morphing into the Control line. (The Test line started curving and it looked like a capital “D” if you can picture that). So Yes, I discarded that Test too as I was a bit stumped at what had just happened. I of all people am very familiar with Evaporation Lines, but one that is Pink?? Strange. As far as I knew, they were essentially colorless and only appeared where say an actual positive would have appeared if HCG had been detected. (I made a video about that as well) Lol 

So that my friends, is when I decided I needed to start charting again! And, how I then really regretted ever stopping. (In 2004 when I began my TTC journey – I found this amazing FREE charting website, where you could record BBT, CM, CP, and OPK’s. You can find MY CHARTING HOMEPAGE here!) Although there are a multitude of different reasons as to WHY charting is so beyond beneficial regardless of where you may happen to be in your life, most of us do not feel it’s necessary outside of actively TTC. But you see I just recently realized that had I not stopped, I would have a better understanding of where I was in my current cycle and more insight as to what could be going on. I was more than halfway through it when I began temping my BBT (Basal Body Temperature), CM (Cervical Mucus), and CP (Cervical Position) again. After a few days it was hard to say as to whether or not Ovulation had in fact occurred, so I decided at that point to start using OPK’s. I really wanted to pinpoint my Ovulation so that I would know EXACTLY when to expect my next Period. If only it were that simple! 

That now brings me to my next dilemma, using the OPK’s. I bought a package of 7 (First Response Ovulation Tests) that also included a Pregnancy Test. I tested around 8pm that same night once my DH got home. I didn’t hold my pee for the recommended 2-4 hour Period, nor did I sustain from drinking soda. (I honestly had no idea at the time that you weren’t supposed to) and lo and behold it was positive! I thought I was so lucky to have actually nailed it on the First try. (Although there are mostly always 2 Lines that will appear on any given Ovulation Test, it is only considered positive if the Test line is equal to or darker than the Control line), which it was. Little did I know that every single Test thereafter would come out positive as well! My CM seemed to always be watery more so than sticky, my temps were in the 97.7-9°F range (which was considered low for me on previous cycles) and I didn’t have temps for the first half of my cycle to either confirm or deny that Ovulation had in fact occurred! I was stumped, and still honestly am at this point. I decided to use a different Brand just to see if I would yield a different result and the answer to that was no. Although there are so many varying factors that could have possibly influenced the outcome of those Tests, it would still be nice to know WHY (at this point), I am still on CD30 and have yielded ONLY positive OPK results for 9 days straight in a row now. The questions that have been constantly running through my mind recently have been in relation to, “Am I possibly going through early menopause?, PCOS?, Ovarian Cysts?, Hyper Thyroidism?, Unexplained Elevated Levels of LH that may be constantly running through my system?, right on down to Pregnancy. I’m doing the best I can not to jump to those conclusions until I feel no other choice BUT to go see an OB. I may also pee-on-a-stick while making that appointment! So, I will have to keep you all updated on my situation as I continue building this lovely website in the meantime. Just remember, charting is beneficial for so many reasons (other than) just simply TTC a baby! You may also be trying to Abstain from Pregnancy or you may even just want to keep yourself aware of what’s going on with your cycle, (especially if you’ve ever experienced a cycle similar to this)! I wish I would have never stopped. If I had continued charting, I may have had some kind of insight. If nothing else, it can indicate if you should possibly go seek medical attention. (Take it from me). Thanks for reading this! And once this site is complete, I hope you find it beneficial and informative! 

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