In Which I Give TMI…

So, a little background first… Luffy and I are both planners. We’re accountants, so that may be part of it, but we both like to have an idea of where we’re going, be it vacation plans or plans for our house. When we first decided to get married, Luffy’s plan was to be engaged for a year, married for a year, then babies (I thought he was adorable). Thus, on our one year anniversary, the birth control pills went down the toilet and we started actively trying to get pregnant.

You know what they say about best laid plans right? Yeah, that’s basically how it went for us. We’d heard that it could take up to 6-8 weeks for my period to return after birth control and that it typically took healthy couples three months to conceive. I tried not to get my hopes up, but I have to admit to looking up what our due date would be should we conceive the first month (July 6th, btw). And then we waited. And waited. And then waited some more. I was hopeful at first (I’m already pregnant!!!), but those hopes were dashed with multiple negative pregnancy tests.

My cycle finished out at 63 days. But! Now we could try again. I was convinced that my body would bounce back to regular 28 day cycles and ovulation! Like magic! I’d also decided to try using ovulation tests, just in case my cycle was weird again. Long story short, I ran out of tests before I ever received a positive and my period disappeared for another 65 days.

But then! New cycle. Fresh start. I decided to be more diligent with the ovulation tests this time and ordered in bulk. I began testing ridiculously early. Luffy suggested I wait for a more typical window when each negative result seemed to drop my spirits each morning. I told him that I’d rather see every negative test than wait until the end and not catch it. (The elusive ovulation – much like catching the golden Snitch!)

So! All caught up! Tl;dr: Weird cycles after birth control. Numerous ovulation tests wasted.Five months of waiting around.

I’m sure you can see where this is leading up to, but I’m going to tell you all about it anyway. Yesterday was day 38. Another regular day. I was still using the buy-in-bulk tests as I was planning to use my expensive tests during the typical window (another two weeks away). I got up to get ready to teach my exercise class and took the test out of habit. I checked the clock and came back when the test was ready. And stared. It looked positive. POSITIVE. Holy crap.

I called Luffy in for confirmation and immediately decided to test again that afternoon with the expensive tests. After all, the buy-in-bulk tests did have a couple of negative reviews online, perhaps it was a fluke. By that afternoon, I was convinced it was and that there was no way I would be able to duplicate the results. I used two tests, one cheapo and one expensive. They were both positive.

You guys!! I’m ovulating soon!! Finally!!

So sorry for the over-share, I’m just so freaking excited. I feel like it’s our first real chance to conceive. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

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8 out of 12 or 2/3 gone

So I’ve been going about my merry way for the past few weeks and suddenly it dawned on me that it’s the middle of May. My first reaction was surprise because – holy crap – the first of the year went by quickly. But then I started to count (I’m an accountant, it’s what I do). Five months of the year, almost gone. Add in the three from last year. Eight months. We’ve been trying to get pregnant for eight months. Conventional medical guidance gives three months as an average for healthy couples to get pregnant, but up to a year before any sort of intervention (or further testing) occurs. One year or twelve months. Which means that eight of my twelve are almost up.

I try to be kinder to my body – on that whole year marker thing. After all, my cycles have been ridiculously long and irregular (I thought I was making improvements last cycle, but this one confirms that I’m not after all). We may be eight months in, but my body’s only actually about three cycles in. And even then, I can only confirm that I’ve ovulated one time. (I’ve been using ovulation test kits for all of December and then February to this morning. One time, in eight months. That’s a little depressing. I try not to dwell on it – I could have easily missed it even with the testing.

When we first started trying to get pregnant I naively (or joyfully, hopefully) looked up what our due date would be if we got pregnant right out of the gate. That date is right around the corner and I’m oddly emotional about that. Had we been insanely lucky, we would be weeks away from meeting our little bun-in-the-oven (or dumpling, which I like better). The thought is almost unbearable, especially as my current outlook on my own fertility isn’t all that positive. (I’m on day 57 of my current cycle and I still haven’t gotten a positive result on an ovulation test even though I’ve tested every.single.day.)

Eight out of twelve months gone before I have to go back to my GYN and explain that we’ve been trying and haven’t managed to conceive yet. I know that it’s far too early to worry or complain. I still have four-ish months and approximately two-ish cycles to go. I could still make it. The problem is, the way I see it, I’ve already been at this for eight months, the odds aren’t in my favor that the next four will go well.

I need this to end on a positive note though. I hate signing off on something so negative. So here’s a minion…. enjoy.

[Full disclosure – when I wrote this post, I thought we’d been trying for nine months, which seemed much more monumental and significant. Then I realized it had only been eight months and went back to edit it. Now it just seems very doom-and-gloom and for some reason, I feel a tad more optimistic in light of the eight….. so yeah. Insert joke about accountant who can’t count here.]

Limbo

Ugh… that about sums up how I feel right now. Without going seriously into TMI territory, suffice it to say that my body is not cooperating with our plans for a baby. I’m in what’s known as the “two week wait,” or 2WW for short. For the uninitiated, that’s the period between ovulation and menstruation, or the waiting period to find out whether you’re pregnant. The thing is though, I’ve already surpassed my weird 2ww window (which is actually only about nine days) and I don’t have anything to show for it. No positive pregnancy test, no period, nothing. I’m caught between the two and I have no way of knowing. And it sucks. Not just because I might not be pregnant, but also because now it’s making me wonder if I even ovulated. With no period on the horizon, what if the positive ovulation test was just a fluke. What if this cycle is going to go well beyond the already lengthy 72 days it’s at now?

Last year, when Luffy and I and our families visited China, we did a hike in Hong Kong. It was a two hour hike over a mountain to get to a beautiful secluded beach. Luffy had done a leg of it before, but we decided to hike a different trail to get back. When we set out, we thought it would be shorter than the two hour hike in. Unfortunately, the trails aren’t as clearly documented as they could and, at the two hour mark with no village in sight, we were beginning to get concerned. I remember hiking along, each of us becoming more and more weary. We had eaten a small lunch at the beach and had some snacks, but no real food. Our water was slowly dwindling. Our feet hurt. I was sunburned. Morale was waning. And then, over the next hill, a street! A bus stop!! Salvation!!

Looking back, the second leg only took us about two and half hours and was actually an easier hike as far as elevation and terrain goes. I told Luffy that, had we to do it over again, I would gladly take that path. The bad only came from not knowing when we would reach the end point. That’s exactly how I feel now. I have no idea when my next period will come. It could be in a couple of hours or days or weeks. I wish I could know.

And so, I’m in a strange place. Do I continue taking pointless pregnancy tests each morning, even when each negative starts to weigh a bit heavier on my heart? Do I resume ovulation testing in case two weeks ago was a fluke? Do I stop testing all-together and just hope that my cycle resets soon? I have no idea; I just want out of this place.

Uncharted Territory

[Also known as I am really terrible with the puns, #sorrynotsorry… ]

So! Day 74 and counting! After some chatting through online forums, I was referred to the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler and, after picking it up at my local library, was introduced to the world of cycle charting. Yesterday, I purchased a basal body thermometer and officially started my first chart this morning. Obviously, charting probably won’t help much on this cycle (hello 74 days!), but I’m hoping that it will help in the future. Especially since it can (hopefully!) answer the question of if I’m even ovulating or not.

Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes. I find the book fascinating (I’m about halfway through) and, although I’m reading it with a grain of salt, I do relate to a lot of what Ms. Weschler is describing. Interestingly enough, I looked into charting, albeit briefly, back when I first went off birth control. I dismissed it though as being too hippy and flower-child-esque – plus who wants to take their temperature every morning! However, the more I read, the more I can relate to it as just another tool in trying to understand my cycles and what’s happening with my body. And I’m getting up every morning to use an ovulation test, might as well stick a thermometer in my mouth first.

One thing I’ve learned from the book is how delicate the menstruation cycle is for some women (like myself, I think). I know I for one always took it for granted, especially on the pill. 28 days. Like clockwork! And magic! I knew that, even without the pill, the “normal” cycle length was still 28-30 days. What I didn’t realize was just how much our daily lives can impact the cycle. Our diets, routines, sleeping habits, alcohol consumption, stress factors – everything. It makes me appreciate just how incredible the human body actually is. I mean, there are literally billions of people in the world and, for every single one of them, the stars had to align and everything had to go right.


Luffy has been incredibly kind and helpful during all of this. Figuring out my body has become a sort of hobby of mine and he’s been very patient as I chatter excitedly to him. Even though he’s ready and wants a baby just as much as me, he takes each negative in stride and reminds me to cherish our time together, while it’s just the two of us. Meanwhile, certain members of our household (coughJasminecough), have not been as supportive. To be fair though, the counter is her domain and she can toss off any item as she sees fit (at least, that’s what I tell myself as I’m retrieving my thermometer from the floor yet again).

Updates Galore!

So it’s been a while since I posted. WordPress tells me 14 days, to be exact, but, in my defense, every post I’ve thought about has been a repeat:

Womb – still empty

Period – still missing

Ovulation – still missing

Flooring project – still TBD

So yeah. No posts. But now it’s been too long, and I must! Enough random things and/or small updates have occurred that I can string them together to create a full-length(ish) post!


Update 1 (re:womb/period/ovulation – let’s just knock out the whole bunch): Not good news on this front. It’s been 93 94 days since my last period. I am not pregnant. I haven’t even ovulated. My BBT remains constant and there is absolutely no sign of my next period. The thing about this is, to try to get pregnant, you actually have to be having periods. And I have not. So we have not even been able to try. And that kind of hurts a bit. Thanks good-for-nothing ovaries. I appreciate feeling like a sub-par female.

This past weekend I had an event thing. Back when I purchased the tickets (which would be last July), I thought I’d be pregnant by the time the event rolled around. Part of me thought I’d be hugely, ridiculously, nine-months pregnant which would be hilarious considering the thing centered around exercise. Then we ran into issues when I came off the pill (read: my period never showed up) and I realized there might be a bit more to getting pregnant than having a thoroughly well-laid out plan. After that, I thought I’d at least be pregnant at the thing. Like six months, maybe three? Eh, pregnant. Of course, I was not. I have already come to terms with it and was fine. However, there were several ladies who were very pregnant and my companions commented on them and how adorable they were and how they loved to see pregnant mommas at events like these. I enthusiastically agreed and nodded along as a little knife twisted in my heart, but I was mostly fine.

I’ve talked to my primary care doctor and she has assured me that I can see my gynecologist any time because yes, not having a period for three months actually is a legit problem. And a very kind midwife that I know sent me a lot of information on the next steps. Which was helpful, but also depressing because (SPOILER ALERT), none of it was very positive. There were terms like anovulation, and polycystic ovary syndrome, and premature ovarian failure. Lots of fun words.

I’ve decided to hold off on a visit to the GYN until September, which is when my yearly appointment is due. And also after Luffy and I get back from Cancun because priorities. I am also holding on to the naive hope that everything just magically comes together and starts working.


Update 2 (re: flooring): This has not been a fun project. Last we heard, I was very optimistic about two companies coming out to give me estimates. They came, they measured, they did not give me estimates. Boo.

You see, we already have some sort of wood-type product in our dining room. It’s lovely, but it’s also several years old which means that it’s had plenty of time to fade and show wear and become a unique color. And those two companies were HIGHLY concerned about matching it. They kept going on and on about how challenging it would be to match it and wouldn’t I prefer to just rip it all up! I kept telling them that I didn’t mind non-matching flooring and had accepted it and was fine with just coordinated. But no! Both companies left without giving me an estimate because they wanted me to go find my own materials first.

So fine. I did. But then I got sticker-shock at the prices and you want how much for some crappy laminate! Then I found a great little place that also came out to give me an actual, for real estimate. And then got more sticker-shock when they gave me a quote that was over double what Luffy and I originally thought this project would cost. Double!!

We finally got an estimate from a different company (yes the fourth company to come out and measure – always with the measuring), that is much more in our price range (although, also still higher than what we originally thought it would be). We will most likely go with them. However, my co-worker is also doing a flooring project and recommended his company and so now I’m thinking of getting yet another estimate so that I will have three real, actual estimates to compare. Anyway, we’ll probably have new floors by Christmas. Hopefully.


Update 3: Two words. Poison Ivy. In my backyard. I advise you to never underestimate the stupid little plant. I first noticed the bumps two Fridays ago. I had it mostly under control with OTC creams and ice. Then, I somehow re-exposed myself over the weekend (on my bedspread I think! Because I did not go back outside. No way.). Even worse, these new bumps are even larger and itchier than most of the original, which puts me back to square one on the whole recovery process. Did you know that it takes 2-3 weeks to get rid of the skin blisters and rashes? Did you know that the oil (that causes the reaction) can hang around on clothes and furniture and even pets?  Did you know that the poisonous ivy can indeed hang around in harmless ivy like grapevine? Do yourselves a favor and make sure you wash up after dealing with plants in general. Actually, scratch that, you should probably just go through one of those haz-mat decontamination washes every time you come indoors.


So you see – three things have happened in the past 14 days. No wonder I didn’t post. But now you’re all caught up, lucky you. Until next time!

The TTC Clique

As most of you probably know, my husband and I are trying to get pregnant right now. It’s not going well, and this leads me to do a lot of research. As with any obsession, my researching blitzes quickly devolve from scholarly articles to the OMG-my-friend’s-sister’s-cousin-totally-got-pregnant-after-taking-xyz-once type of places. I recognize that these types of forums and communities are not the best place to glean information from. I usually avoid them, but occasionally slip up, and inevitably leave feeling annoyed as hell for many reasons. Reasons that have nothing to do with my inability to conceive:

1. The Abbreviations

When you first dive into these places, it’s like learning a new language. TTC and 2WW and AF and BD and OPK and HPT and BFN and BFP and gah! I give up. You’re making no sense. While there are some legitimately useful abbreviations (I don’t mind the TTC, it’s a nice short label), others are just ridiculous and an entire post can end up looking like a string of random letters. And really, it’s not that hard to type out ovulation test or period.

2. The Euphemisms

People, the euphemisms. My favorite (or really, my most hated), is “baby dance” as in, “how often do you baby dance if you want to get preggo?” Gah! Really, you are trying to have a child, to get pregnant and therefore pass your genes on to another human being. You will be expected to raise said human, and you can’t bring yourself to talk about S-E-X out loud? Shhh! Don’t mention it! That’s not at all what happens to conceive a child! Honestly, baby dance makes me a lot more uncomfortable than sex. Plus sex is shorter and, obviously with #1 up there, these people love their short words.

3. The Word “Preggo”

I’ll admit I am a stickler for language and grammar and have numerous pet peeves regarding language and other people butchering it. So it’s probably not all that surprising that it would extend into this area of my life. However, I absolutely cannot stand the word (abbreviation? contraction??) “preggo.” I just can’t. When I finally conceive you can be damn sure that I will never, ever, EVER label myself as preggo. In fact, I will probably correct anyone who dares to call me that. I am not pasta sauce; I am not a kid who can’t pronounce long words. I am an adult, who is pregnant.

4. The Baby Dust

For the uninitiated, “baby dust” is like a well wish to couples trying to conceive. It’s often asked for if the OP is expecting her period soon (as in “we wish you luck”) or if the OP just received a positive pregnancy test (as in “congrats and please wish us luck”). I’m not sure where this got started, although I do know it’s been around for a while. What I don’t understand is why it’s a thing. Why can’t I just wish you good luck or tell you that I am also hoping your period doesn’t show up, in a weirdly non-creepy way? Or, if you’re successful in conceiving, why can’t I just express my excitement and then hope to experience the same joy myself (or you know, not focus on myself for three seconds and just be happy for the OP)? Instead, these women just go around sprinkling baby dust over themselves. For some reason, I always picture rainbow glitter in the shape of a baby, showering down from little fairy vaginas.

5. The Blind Leading the Blind

There comes a time (typically right before you decide to flush those birth control pills and officially label yourself as TTC) that you start researching all that it takes to make a baby. And if you’re like me, you realize that it’s actually kind of a complicated matter involving a lot of luck and a lot of properly-functioning er… body … functions. Everything can throw it off, from unbalanced hormones, to diet and stress, to lack of sleep or changes in routine. So I understand; it’s a complex matter where you’ll read a lot of differing opinions and you’ll have to sort through the facts to really understand what’s going on. Cool.

But when entering these forums, you will almost definitely come across a few posts that are truly bordering on a how-do-you-operate-in-real-life level. For instance, I have a nifty tracker app (technology! what would I do without you?) that allows me to record all the data that I start my day off with. (For those of you interested, that’s my basal body temperature, my ovulation test strip results, and the occasional pregnancy test result because with a cycle of 101 days and counting, I’d never know I was pregnant otherwise.(And I absolutely refuse to be one of those women giving birth in a bathroom at the airport because I didn’t know I was pregnant.)) From this information, the app makes a few calculations and predicts when I will ovulate and when I will get my period. It can be highly accurate IF you happen to have a regular, like clock-work cycle. Most women do not. We can infer this means that most of the time, the app’s calculations will be just a bit off. Key words: predict and calculate.

People, I can not tell you how many women out there seem to think that this app is some type of miracle worker. I’m not quite sure what they are expecting. Maybe that the app will force their hormones to calibrate to meet the app’s calculations? Or that their phones can somehow control their reproductive systems?? I just don’t know. All I can tell you is that I come across a lot of posts that go along the lines of “my app says that I’m supposed to ovulate today, but my test strips say I’m not – I feel like I should trust the app more” or “this app doesn’t work – it said I would start yesterday but I started today and I thought I was pregnant for six whole hours because of this stupid thing.” Headdesk.

The worst part about all of this is those same people – the ones who don’t realize that a computer app has absolutely no control over their cycles – are answering other people’s questions about fertility and conceiving.

6. The This-Isn’t-The-Place Posters

This is a very loosely defined category. It mostly involves the people who post a question that clearly needs to be answered by a doctor, sometimes even on an emergency level, or the people that clearly have an ulterior motive in a question. Bonus points if the topic is taboo (nicotine during pregnancy!) or TMI (we had sex baby danced 167 times last week, do you think I could be pregnant preggo?).


Beyond these six*, there are many more things that will irk you and your particular flavor of pet peeves. That 27-year-old who managed to get pregnant on her honeymoon, that 23-year-old who is trying to conceive her fourth child with her third baby-daddy, or the woman who’s been TTC for 10 years and won’t quit scaring you with diagnoses. It all depends on your viewpoint and your current situation. Mostly, I just wish I could find a supportive group of ladies who don’t annoy the hell out of me while I’m trying to find a miracle cure for self-diagnosed PCOS for the fourth four hundredth time. Is that too much to ask?

*And now I must confess how painful it was to end the list with six – not a nice round five or 10. Argh!