ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor

Our decision to try to conceive came to us quite quickly during the 2008 holiday season. We went from, “Maybe we’ll get started in 2011,” to “Let’s get pregnant THIS summer.”

No one was more surprised than me!

When my husband and I got hitched in September 2007, he had the “baby rabies” really bad. So we got a puppy. That puppy turned one and somehow, during that year, I came around to the idea of starting our family. I don’t know when, I don’t even know how, but I do know that it hit me like a ton of bricks right around Thanksgiving 2008. I think my 34th birthday had a lot to do with it.

So after getting over the shock of my actually wanting to do it, I went into planning mode. I stopped my birth control pills, started taking prenatal vitamins, ordered Taking Charge of Your Fertility, signed up for Fertility Friend, and bought a basal body temperature thermometer.

I wanted to get to the business of charting the fluctuation of my waking temperatures and ever-changing cervical mucus all in search of that one day each month when you O. Not THE big O, the other one… ovulation.

So I set my alarm clock for 4:45 a.m. each day to ensure that I’d wake before our menace of a cat could get the idea first and tucked my trusty basal body temperature thermometer in the nightstand drawer.

Faithful to the egg and its journey, each morning I awoke and took my temperature before doing anything else. Once I actually did get up, I entered the precious number into Fertility Friend and noted my other “symptoms”… increased appetite, skin break-outs, stuffy nose, you name it. I even learned that the fluctuation of my cervical mucous is not only normal, but a great thing! Who knew?

It took me nearly three-and-a-half decades of life on this earth to figure that one out! I was a little uncertain that my first go at charting could be so clear, so I panicked and bought some ovulation predictor kit strips — the cheapie ones, of course. But they worked and confirmed what my chart was telling me.

Luckily, in January 2009, my first cycle off of birth control was back to “normal.” It was 31 days long and ovulation was on CD17. Yippee!

When you’ve waited as long as I have to even fathom becoming pregnant, it’s a little scary to think that it might not even be possible. Especially since every gynecological medical professional I talked to immediately noted on my chart the dreaded “advanced maternal age.” UGH!

Ever the planner, I researched my OBGYN options and got a new one that was highly recommended to me. She reassured me that my age and weight and anything else I was worried about would not hinder my ability to conceive. She also told me that I should try to relax and enjoy the process. She obviously didn’t know me very well; after all we had just met. But she learned quickly.

My charting quickly revealed that my ovaries were working… at least “on paper.” Being the overachiever that I am, I wanted a high tech back-up to confirm my results. I scoured the ‘net and scored a deal on the ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor (CBEFM).

Ever the pragmatist, I justified this first big, baby-related expense as an investment in our family’s future since I knew if we were going to have one, then we were definitely going to try for baby number two someday and therefore,  I got two for the price of one. Right? But first, we had to get baby number one baking!

The plan was to start using the CBEFM in March 2009, which was my third cycle off of birth control and two cycles before we had planned to actively try to conceive. I hoped that with all of these attempts at accurately pinpointing my fertility that we would be knocked-up by that summer.

Best laid plans?

February 2009 was my second cycle charting. In full swing of all things fertility-related, I dropped my morning cup o’ Joe and substituted jasmine green tea in its place.

I lost 19 lbs. by completely overhauling the way I was eating and incorporated daily exercise into my routine. My goal was to become a lean, mean, baby-making machine by that June. I ate low-glycemic fruit, lots of fresh veggies, lean proteins and high fiber, complex carbs in five or six mini-meals a day. I cut out all added sugar and salt as well as all dairy or added fats. I also made sure to drink 100-140 ounces of fresh, filtered water each day. It felt good to get the processed and unhealthy foods out of my system. I also started to skip my occasional glass of red wine. My cravings diminished, my skin started looking better and my energy levels were off the chart.

I also continued to track my fertility and was grateful that my cycle was right on target with ovulating on CD17 month after month.

Despite feeling more and more confident in my fertility charting ability, as March 2009 approached I made plans to break out the CBEFM. Type A? You bet. But I knew that. My family thought I was nuts, trying to plan my first pregnancy. They don’t believe in it. You just get pregnant. You don’t even have to try— they didn’t. You see, most of my family members’ babies were “happy surprises.” Although I really think that if you’re doing the horizontal mambo with no protection, you might as well expect to get knocked up! They also didn’t understand why I waited until I was in my early thirties before I started considering the notion of motherhood. Oh well… I have never quite fit the mold with them anyway.

My first cycle using the CBEFM was actually our second cycle trying to conceive and fourth cycle charting.

That first cycle I was a bit unsure if it’d line up with my chart since according to the user guide, they ask that CD1 (m1) be the morning of the first red flow. And my period that cycle had started in the evening. I took the plunge and set the CBEFM for CD1 the next day.

My husband and I planned to do the deed at least every other day between CD15 and CD25… that way if there’s any question about my charting or the CBEFM’s accuracy, we thought we’d be covered “the old fashioned way” too.

Being 34, the plan was to do it on our own for six cycles or get pregnant, whichever came first and then, if need be, move onto the next step. Getting pregnant seems so easy on television and in the movies. I have friends and family who never actively tried, it just happened, by surprise.

But I quickly learned that wanting to be pregnant and getting pregnant are two very different things.

Do you like to pee on a stick? Get a CBEFM. Seriously… you get to pee on a stick everyday for ten or more days.

The CBEFM is super easy and effortless to use once you read the user guide and understand the out set the first day. My first cycle, on CD3 and my handy little machine asked for a stick and I happily obliged. Somehow, peeing on a stick to track ovulation was way more fun than peeing on a stick and getting a big fat negative. So after almost two weeks of going through my little peeing on a stick routine each morning, until I got my two peak readings, which I had expected to see around CD17. And lo and behold, I did!

As you can see from the chart, everything aligned beautifully. Even our baby-making efforts!

But alas, I got a big fat negative that cycle and was feeling very down.

It was as if I have waited my whole life to be in a place to where I actually desired to become a mother, and after 20+ years of avoiding it all, I wanted to be pregnant yesterday! So when the next cycle started I was even more excited to use the CBEFM since with every cycle it “learns” more about your unique signs of fertility and gains accuracy in pinpointing your best days to conceive. Plus, I got to pee on a stick, and that seriously was satisfying after getting a big fat negative!

So, April 2009 brought on cycle four of charting and my second cycle using the CBEFM. I continued to chart using the basal body temperature thermometer, cervical mucous (CM), cervical position (CP)  and ovulation predictor kit strips and hubby and me doing the deed every day for over a week (did I mention that I really wanted to get pregnant?).

And as you can see from chart below, I didn’t ovulate on my “usual” CD17… oh no… I was delayed… ten days…to CD26!

And 12 days later, I got my big fat positive!

Had I not been using the CBEFM we likely would have stopped trying after CD20 or so. But since I knew to expect at least one peak reading at some point, we just kept trying. To get a positive test in two cycles of actively trying to conceive while using the CBEFM made it worth its weight in gold!

Would we have gotten pregnant eventually with just charting basal body temperature thermometer readings and other fertility signs? Probably. But I honestly feel that the CBEFM delivered exactly what it promises — pinpointing your best days for conceiving.

I conceived our daughter on Mother’s Day 2009 and got my positive ready 12 days later on my husband’s birthday. After I found out I was expecting, I packed away my trying to conceive books and my little CBEFM, knowing that someday in the future I’d want to use them again.

On New Year’s Eve 2010, Aunt Flow came for her first visit in over 20 months! Our daughter was just about to turn one. I started charting my cycle on Fertility Friend again, just to begin keeping track of it and to see how long it might take to “normalize” since I was still breastfeeding.

By March 2011 we started to talk about when we might like to try to conceive baby number two. We were thinking a May or June 2012 baby would be ideal as our daughter would be nearly two and a half years old by then and my husband would be on summer break from nursing school. I started tracking my CP since I knew tracking the basil body temperature thermometer readings would be nearly impossible with a one-year-old who was still not consistently sleeping through the night (she was still waking at least once a night to nurse).

By April 2011, we had decided that we weren’t exactly trying to avoid getting pregnant and would just see what happened. We really expected that given our crazy schedules that it would take several months for us to conceive just based on the fact that we weren’t getting much opportunity for intimacy (as you can see on my 2011 charts, we were only doing it one or two times a month)!

I decided to dust off my trusty CBEFM. I had about 20 sticks left over from 2009, and even though they were expired I figured I’d use them for this cycle and get new ones for the next. Well…as you can see from my chart, there was no “next cycle”:

As you can see, on CD10 I started feeding the CBEFM sticks. I fully expected there to be several low readings, followed by high, and then…the two peak readings.

What I was not expecting was it to go from low to peak, skipping any high readings. And, on CD13! An early ovulation date for me. And even though we weren’t doing the deed every day for over a week like we did when we conceived our daughter, you can see that from two very well timed events, we got pregnant.

We had an encounter the night before I got the first peak reading on CD13. CD12 was Easter Sunday and we joke now that the Easter Bunny obviously delivered an extra special egg that year!

By Mother’s Day I knew I was pregnant, despite getting negative readings. I was still breastfeeding and started to feel nauseous whenever I’d nurse my daughter. I took a First Response Early Result test at 13 days past ovulation and got a negative reading. But two days later, I got a big fat positive!

Interestingly enough, I had some of the CBEFM sticks left over and read online that some women had used them to detect their pregnancies early on… I, too, saw the lines changing on them which helped to confirm the suspicious symptoms I was having.

So one CBEFM, two boxes of sticks (half of which I used two years after I bought them and they were expired by then) yielded very quick conceptions for both my daughter, conceived in May 2009 and born in January 2010 and my son, conceived in April 2011 and born in January 2012. I paid $240 for the monitor and two boxes of sticks and it was money well-spent.

I think they’re even less expensive now than when I bought mine. I recommend the monitor to all of my friends and family members that are trying to conceive and tell them that if they’re not into charting every sign of fertility but want to accurately know when to time their sexual encounters, the CBEFM is the way to go.

In today’s modern times, when women are waiting longer to start their family, I think having something as easy to use as the CBEFM is so helpful in assisting a couple with timing their conception efforts so that they get pregnant sooner than later.

Where I bought my model: Herbal Love Shop
What I paid: $240 for the monitor plus two boxes of test sticks
Average price range: $141-$220
Where it is available: Amazon, Drugstore.com, eBay

2 Responses to ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. Do you recommend reading “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” as well?

  2. I enjoyed this post. I was on the pill for over a decade, and suddenly this past May decided I wanted to be pregnant yesterday. I’ve had 2 failed cycles, but just started with the monitor this cycle. Had my peaks over the weekend and am now doing the 2 week wait!

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