Archive | January, 2013

Vitamins Arrived! Charting Achievement Unlocked!

24 Jan

Guys, guys, guys, guys, looooooookiiiiiitt!

photo (7)

 

Our vitamins arrived!  They make me very very queasy, but if I’ll have a regular period and/or a baby, I can handle it.  The funny thing is, about 8 months ago, I tested out a TON of prenatal vitamins to find some that wouldn’t make me vomit.  I experimented with times of day and with and without meals using probably about 5 or 6 different brands.  Which is a very expensive way to find a good vitamin.  I finally settled on Rainbow Light Prenatal Petite.  I have to take them with a snack around 11am.

And no, it’s not crazy that I was looking for vitamins before we had even started trying.  Doctors now recommend taking prenatals 6-12 months BEFORE you start trying.  Trying to get your folic acid stored up is apparently good not just for baby, but for helping mama avoid morning sickness as well.

I will take the Fertility Blend in lieu of the prenatals until I suspect that I’m pregnant.  All the lovely ingredients that help you get pregnant, are also very harmful to a new fetus.  Then again, so is Clomid, the medication fertility experts give women who are trying.  I’m not sure if I should stop taking them during the two week wait, or if it’s okay because the zygote isn’t attached in that time or not.  The instructions say “if you are or suspect you are pregnant stop taking Fertility Blend immediately.”  But you don’t suspect you are until your period is “late.” Right?

Now I have an all new routine I do everyday in order to chart.  When I realize I’m a little awake somewhere around 630-7, I feel around for the basal thermometer, and scribble my temperature down on a pocket calendar until a time when I can enter it down on the free charting software I found at fertilityfriend.com.  Your Basal Body Temperature (or BBT on mom forums) is your waking temperature in the morning.  This is taken before you move at all.  Your body temperature drops while you are asleep, except for when you enter the luteal phase of your cycle (the days right after you ovulate until you have your period) when it surges.  Doing this for a few months should give you a better idea of when you ovulate.

The second thing I do in the morning is pee.  This is only important if I’m missing my period.  The best time to take your pregnancy tests is first thing in the morning.  Morning urine has the highest concentration of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is what the tests are looking for.  Now, if I’m in any other part of my cycle, I don’t worry about peeing on sticks (yet).  Instead, I get to root around in there and feel for my cervix.  The cervix gets low near menstruation and gets higher during ovulation.  Normally, the cervix feels hard like a nose, except during ovulation when it’s softer and feels more like lips.  It also opens up a little during ovulation, and again during menstruation.  After checking these three things, I then check the cervical mucus (CM or CF).  During ovulation, CM should look and feel like raw egg yolks and should stretch an inch or two between your fingers.  This type of fluid is like an inter-vaginal highway for sperm to reach the fallopian tube from outside the cervix.  BUT, not all women have this lovely stuff… hence there is the special (and extremely overpriced) sperm-safe lubricant Pre Seed.

My morning has only been 3 minutes long so far, but I already have 90% of my charting information ready to be plugged into the software.  Cervical mucus and basal body temperature are the primary signs that indicate ovulation, but you can also use other secondary things to guess your ovulation date.  One of the more indicators is to test for the Luteinizing Hormone (LH).  When you ovulate, your brain releases LH which then triggers estrogen, that then triggers follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).  All these hormones are basically indicating “mature egg on deck!” Your “LH surge” is the first sign that ovulation is occurring or about to occur.  You test for LH using ovulation predictor kits or OPKs.  These you dip in your pee once in the afternoon and once at night.

Who would have thought that bodily fluids could be so informative?

Other things can also be recorded from mood to energy levels (after ovulating, your body produces progesterone which makes you really really tired.  If you become pregnant, your progesterone level will remain high, keeping that BBT reading high as well, and your fatigue level can remain high until the second trimester.)  The website I’m using allows you to record things like increased sex drive, irritability, headache, etc, which I’m recording for the PMDD.  I have a new doctor, so having these charts available with recorded symptoms could be useful; especially if I have to prove to my health insurance that I’m not uninsurable, I just have hormonal imbalances because of  this very treatable and very inexpensive-to-treat condition.

At the end of the day, I record all these observations on the website, and it puts it all into a neat little graph.  Some women choose to share this on the site with other wannabe mamas (though it discretely removes the recorded intercourse section). It is nice to see that a majority of women don’t fall into a 28-day cycle.  In their online courses, the website claims that only 30% of women have the 28-day cycle, and can just knowingly have sex 14 days before their periods. The rest of us ladies need to chart.

I do like learning about my body a little more, and I feel like I SHOULD have known this stuff before.  It might have made life a little bit easier.

 

 

 

 

Normalcy Is Not For Me!

14 Jan

I am a non-conformist, right down to my lady parts.  In high school, I never knew when my period would appear, how long it would last, or just how bad it would be.  I would go MONTHS without it sometimes. Fortunately, I wasn’t sexually active, so there was no fear of becoming a teen mom.  But that fear absent, there was no motivation to help me to learn about my body and why it misbehaved so.

The moment my father put me on birth control was after I needed him to help me put on my socks and shoes before school in the morning for 3 months because I had this back pain so intense that I couldn’t touch my feet.  I didn’t know what I had done to myself.  I protested gym class all the time, I wasn’t an athlete, what the hell did I do?  Well, my period started and I was magically able to touch my toes again without even the slightest of aches.

The pill solved some of my physical complaints and regulated my cycle, but it wasn’t the cure-all.  In college, I thought the depression I had stemmed from having chosen a crappy school; that classes were what caused all my stress, and some of my less charming personality traits were born out of that stress.  I eventually found a magical doctor (magical in that he actually listened and was able to think outside the box) and he prescribed 10mg of Prozac daily.  Gone were my crying spells, my mood swings, my feelings of being a nutter.  After a couple of successful months of this low dose of the drug (people with depression are given 20+mg a day) he determined I had PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

Symptoms

The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS. However, they are generally more severe and debilitating and include a least one mood-related symptom. Symptoms occur during the week just before menstrual bleeding and usually improve within a few days after the period starts.

Five or more of the following symptoms must be present to diagnose PMDD, including one mood-related symptom:

  • Disinterest in daily activities and relationships
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Feeling of sadness or hopelessness, possible suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
  • Feeling out of control
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Mood swings marked by periods of teariness
  • Panic attack
  • Persistent irritability or anger that affects other people
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
  • Problems sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating

I dutifully took my BC and my Prozac and became a functioning member of society.  I achieved balance, and was better equipped to handle stress and inconveniences.  It was amazing.  Gone were the days of temper tantrums that left me feeling guilty, ashamed, and out of control. I had the tools I needed to grow up.

 

zen_monk

 

Well, here we are, my first unmedicated cycle.  No more calming chemical improvements.  I am now subject to the whims of my disorder and prisoner to my uncontrolled mood swings. Things went well until right after ovulation. Then I had fatigue, I could have hibernated if I had the opportunity. The internet soothed by fears by telling me that my progesterone levels are increased and that’ll make a gal sleepy.  I figured that I didn’t recognize this because I had so rarely ovulated in the last decade.  But things continued to go down hill.  I speculated that since every member of the family I work for, and my own dear husband (DH on TTC boards) had H3N2, I was probably getting the killer flu as well.  I had headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, etc. I couldn’t function. I just didn’t have the high fever and chills.

As my period didn’t come and didn’t come and all the pregnancy tests I took were negative, I began to worry about the endless luteal phase of doom.  That would mean I would ovulate only 4 times a year.  The internet did nothing to mollify me this time.  Every page on irregular periods wants you to test for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (last year I had month-long periods from the Implanon so I had already had ultrasounds inside and out).  Pages would say things like:

it is very important to clear out the old blood and establish a healthy cycle again.

Derp.  This is my natural setting.  I don’t get “healthy” cycles. Without advice or consolation, I just waited for my period to come.  And waited and waited. By 230AM Sunday, I had experienced EVERY SYMPTOM on that list.  My poor poor husband.  I turned to facebook (complete with a TMI warning for family) and had an outpouring of support. My husband and I determined we would try specialized vitamins FertilityBlend which contains supplements that also improve regularity like Vitex and Dong Quai, as well as supplements to promote ovulation.

My stress faded and I got the first full night of sleep in days.  What would have been day 34 of my cycle, became day 1 when Aunt Flo decided to stop by after all. My hope is restored, as I could ovulate as many as 8 times this year (still not a good as 12 times a year, but a big improvement over 4), but I won’t know until I have a few more cycles.  It is time to learn about charting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby on the Brain and the Two Week Wait

7 Jan

My very first nanny gig, I loved the girls I watched.  BUT when the oldest suddenly turned into a teenager, I thought, “Nope. Never.”  I still stopped to coo and smile at little ones in restaurants and grocery stores, but while I worked with a teenage girl with an absent mother I thought that my life would involve children ONLY in a professional capacity.

Then I decided it was time to work full time. In order to do that as a nanny, you have to work with very young children.  It’s very easy to fall in love with baby-faced toddlers that need your help to do everything.  That particular household was far from healthy; the parents were absent (they even had weekend nannies WHILE THEY WERE HOME) and I was the one that primarily raised him, for a year.  I began to resent most of the decisions they made, since they didn’t know their own child, and think of how I would do it myself.  I had a moment of epiphany: I could do this mom thing.  I also want to put my money where my mouth is, and see if I CAN do it better then my previous boss’ (not that the bench is set very high with them).

That’s when Baby on the Brain started.  At first it was a little pull at the back of my thoughts.  Eventually it led to a discussion with my husband, who had thought I never wanted children.  He had his own Baby on the Brain going on every time he played with our friends’ kid;  but he was unsure of our ability and whether or not we should change our lifestyle.  Issues that I was also grappling with.  Statistically, most people with children are unhappy.  But we determined that the pros outweighed the cons, and that perhaps children would make us happy.

With these thoughts in mind, we set a time table.  Our circumstances (mostly debt) needed to change before we were willing to take on such a responsibility.  When that started to move in our favor, Baby on the Brain took over all my thoughts.

For the past few months, I’ve been perseverating on everything babies: conception diets, fertility aids, birthing options, other peoples’ birthing stories and videos (full on gore, even while eating dinner!), methods on rearing children, what school district to move to, etc.  Image

In the past month or so, I have managed to bring up something about babies in EVERY conversation, most likely to the chagrin of everyone around me… especially my husband! I don’t even get respite at night.  I dream about being pregnant, or already having a child every single night.

We are now in the middle of our first “Two Week Wait” for me to be able to pee on a stick.Image The week has felt like a year.  Additionally, my boobs hurt, I’ve been sensitive to sounds, felt nauseous, gotten headaches, etc.  But this is my first month without ANY hormone in the last 9 years.  I don’t even know if (and doubt that) my cycle will even resemble a normal 28-day cycle.  All the symptoms of early pregnancy are THE SAME as premenstrual syndrom to boot.  Dear Mother Nature, that is a cruelty.

Acronyms and Things You’d Never Expect Grandpa to Say

3 Jan

I have just entered the surreal world of trying to conceive.  I thought that a lady comes off the pill or other method of contraception and her partner and her try to procreate.  Instead, I discovered that I would have to learn an all new language and my relatives would try to impart all kinds advice and say things to me that a couple of years ago would never have left their lips in my young presence.

Of course, the first thing I did was jump on the internet and research my little heart out.  Only, I had no idea what anyone was saying:

Bfp???

I’m 11 DPO so I tested this morning…the blue ones are HPTs and the green one is an OPK… [followed by a photo I can’t access]

Wat?

Translation:

Do These Test Indicate That I Am Pregnant???

I am 11 days past ovulation, so I tested this morning. The blue tests [in the picture] are home pregnancy tests and the green one is an ovulation predictor kit.

 

  Googling these acronyms brings me to Yahoo! Answers and Urban Dictionary half the time, and I just hesitate to trust these sites.  Eventually I stumbled upon a site that breaks down all the jargon of the TTC (trying to conceive) subculture.  I have to refer to it daily.  

Additionally, I’ve had to learn a whole bunch of childish euphemisms for sex and their corresponding abbreviations. Examples:

BD= Baby Dance

LO= Love Olympics

The only one that made a little sense to me was BMS= Baby Making Sex.  At least it has “sex” in the phrase, but I still had to look up “BMS.”

On top of the wacky interwebs lexicon, I’ve made the mistake of telling family and friends that we are trying.  For one thing, it puts a little more pressure on the situation.  Not that this wasn’t already present, as my MIL (mother-in-law) asked me for grandchildren the first time I met her, though her son and I had only been together for a few months. Also, since we’ve been married, every member of the family has asked us, “When are you going to have a baby?” For another, it opens the door to talking about the birds and the bees with members of the family.  

  • Visiting my mother’s side of the family for Christmas, my great aunt gave my husband the sage advice that he “should treat [me] like a slut.”
  • In a restaurant, celebrating Christmas with my father’s side of the family, my grandfather asked us if we “wanted any porn.”
  • On facebook, my great uncle wanted in on the inappropriate and offered, “fish swim in the morning.”

I’ve also been given advice to use egg whites as lube, elevating my pelvis post-coitus, and what sexual positions work the best. But, as we are in our first cycle, I will not start rolling around on the bed Julianne-Moore-style for a while yet.  

As of now I am: 

4 DPO in C#1, and wicked excites to take my EPT, hoping for a BFP, so no visit from AF plz. Otherwise I will have to amazon a CPFM and start charting my CM and BBT. I really want to start looking for my OB/GYN or CNM.