I had always imagined an age gap of 18 months or two years between my kids, but the struggle to conceive our second baby took years. As the age gap grew wider and wider, I obsessed over it. I couldn’t attend all the third birthday parties for my daughter’s friends, because by then almost every family who wanted another baby either had one already or clearly had one on the way. I just couldn’t be around all those happy, hopeful bumps.
In the nearly three years I spent trying to get and stay pregnant with our youngest, I experienced several miscarriages, followed by IVF with multiple failed transfers. Because the people in my real life seemed to all be blissfully fertile, I spent countless hours online seeking support anywhere else I could find it. I learned that secondary infertility is its own separate beast. In the trying-to-conceive (TTC) and primary infertility online communities, there are strict rules: Posts referencing older kids sometimes aren’t allowed, and mentioning a desire for more than one child (let alone more than two!) could invite some pretty harsh comments.
When you wade into a new online group, you may feel like everyone is speaking a different language, especially if conceiving your first didn’t take much more than a “baby dance.” Here are some helpful acronyms and terminology.
If you see this on message boards, it means the “two-week wait” between ovulation and your expected next period. (Also known as the longest two weeks of your life.)
Advanced maternal age, used to refer to women 35 and older. You may feel like a spring chicken, but often the few years between conceiving your first and subsequent children can coincide with the age when fertility starts to decline.
This stands for “baby dance”—in other words, sex. For the more euphemistic among us!
A blood test to measure not just whether you’re pregnant, but how pregnant you are (it measures the pregnancy hormone, beta human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG). To use it in a sentence: “I got a positive but the beta is only 45—I think it may be a chemical pregnancy.”
A website where you input your beta level data and it analyzes your chances of pregnancy based on user-generated information.
This stands for chemical pregnancy. If you got a positive pregnancy test or beta, but your HCG levels don’t increase properly, it could result in miscarriage.
An acronym for “days past ovulation.” Whether you’re trying to conceive with or without interventions, you’ll be counting the days since your natural or medication-induced ovulation.
First morning urine, also known as the first pee of the day, when the pregnancy hormones would be at a higher concentration.
This refers to First Response Early Result, a home pregnancy test brand considered by those in the TTC community to be the gold standard. Sometimes a user will post a pic of a “blue dye” test and it might be a “squinter” (with a very faint line), and others will encourage her to wait for “FMU” and use a “FRER” to get a more accurate result.
Gestational carriers are another name for a surrogate. If infertility is caused by uterine issues, IVF with a GC could be the easiest route.
A surgical procedure to explore and treat uterine issues.
Male Factor Infertility
Issues with sperm (whether it’s volume, motility or mobility) are all considered male factor infertility.
This stands for Penile Vibratory Stimulation. Sometimes a semen sample isn’t simple to produce, and this procedure assists with ejaculation.
This is a transvaginal ultrasound. My cycle-monitoring visits to the fertility clinic featured a daily date with Mr. Wand.
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