Xbox asked me in the last set of comments how I predicted ovulation with such long and haphazard cycles.
I thought it was worth a whole post. (I'm filling time until the hysteroscopy on Wednesday)
It is a complex mix of research, testing and chance, all the while being thrifty, canny and optimistic.
So at the start of each cycle I assume that is it going to be a regular 28 - 30 day cycle. Foolish? Maybe. Optimistic? Definitely. Likely? Not very.
I therefore start to pee on ovulation predictor kits from day 11. However, as I may well get through a fair few of these I use the cheap ones. The bulk-bought pack of fifty, low-tech strips of card that, in theory, show a positive when the second stripe is darker than the first.
I rarely get a second stripe and it is never darker than the first. However, this is where all my guile and cunning come into play. If I get even an inkling of a second strip I switch onto the mega expensive digital tests with the smiling face that tells you if you really have ovulated. This way I can eek out their use over a few weeks.
Now after about 20 days of testing between day 11 and 31 I'm pretty sure that I haven't ovulated but I am then technically late. So this is where the pregnancy tests come in. Again I use the cheapo ones (there is a shop near where I live that does two for a pound). Now I certainly don't expect to be pregnant, but this is where my natural optimism creeps in again and I get a little excited (no, not in that way) about maybe, possibly, being preggers. But I've blogged about that before.
So by this time I'm fucked off. I haven't ovulated, I'm not pregnant and clearly my cycles are screwed.
This is where self-awareness comes in.
I have read that when a woman ovulates they undergo a subtle change. We release a smell more attractive to the opposite sex. Unconsciously we start to wear lower cut tops or body hugging clothes, we are far more likely to start an affair at this point. And it makes sense, for these few days a month you are fertile so you do more to make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex and hope to procreate. So I watch myself.
If I get chatted up, or even a bit of mild flirtation with a gentleman who is other than my life-partner. I test for ovulation.
If I feel like wearing my wonder bra. I test for ovulation.
I have a pair of trousers that are a bit too tight, but make my butt look a little perter and more obvious. I reach for them, I reach for the pee-sticks.
If I have a vaguely sexual dream about the dork from computing. I test for ovulation.
If the husband gets frisky I don't turn him down, maybes he can smell some pheromones that I can't, (and guess what? I test for ovulation).
And then there is the cervical mucus. Oh yes, you didn't think I'd gloss over that one did you? (Xbox, are you regretting the question now?)
Before you ovulate there isn't much going on in the whole discharge front. If you are ever going to reuse yesterday's knickers, now is the time.
A few days before ovulation it starts to appear. But it fails one crucial test. The finger test. Namely you pinch a finger and thumb full and as you bring them apart it will stretch between your fingers but break when they are over about a centimeter apart.
Now ovulation, and we have the ever mentioned egg-whites. Its a snail trail in your pants. The technical terms is, I believe, a mucus peak. (A phrase that also puts me in mind of egg whites but more in the meringue making context). As this point the finger test will allow you to bring them pretty far apart. And this isn't coincidence the moist, glutenous stuff will keep his sperm warm happy and alive for a good few days. It all matches up nicely.
Post ovulation your cervix will return to the barren dry desert that we all know and love as my womb. Nay, mucus in this flange.
The other methods beloved of many is the basal body temperature (BBT).
I've never got on with this. For a start when I tried my temperature never once reached the normal living temperature of a healthy human, which threw me into panic. Then when I wrote down the temperatures that I had to take at EXACTLY the same time every morning there didn't seem to be a pattern. I know I should have drawn a chart and shown something significant over the weeks, but I just couldn't be arsed. And at some point I decided I need to hang on to the remnants of a life not obsessed with trying to have a baby. So the BBT I didn't do.
Now a word of warning for those taking down notes and nodding keenly.
I'M NOT PREGNANT, I HAVE NEVER BEEN PREGNANT, I'M STARTING TO DOUBT THAT I WILL GET PREGNANT IN THE NEAR FUTURE.
So take all my advice with a Dead Sea's worth of salt and happy ovulating.