Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the learning never ends

matt and i had decided that we would "let nature happen" for the first few months.  we didn't want to put too much pressure on ourselves to get pregnant, knowing that the more stressed out about you get, the harder it is to actually conceive.  we also decided that we didn't want to be worrying about it over the holidays.  nothing says "awkward" like having to duck out of family christmas for a quick roll in the hay, right?  so we said we'd just take it easy for the first 6 months and if nothing had happened by then, we'd ramp it up by starting to track my ovulation cycles and paying attention to things like basal body temperature (bbt) and cervical mucus (cm).

so even though we had decided we'd wait to really start paying attention to the "signs of ovulation," i immediately downloaded an ovulation tracking app on my phone (i'm using ovuview).  i figured if i started tracking it now, i'd have a much better idea of my cycle pattern by the time we were ready to take it more seriously. 

what i found once i started tracking was that i was woefully naive about ovulation and cycles and all that stuff.  or stupid, take your pick.  nonetheless, here are a few things that i was so incredibly wrong about:

  • you're not necessarily "fertile" for the entire cycle.  i don't know, maybe it was all the scare tactics they used in middle and high school, but i always believed that, other than during your period, your uterus is ripe for the impregnating.  turns out, that's not really true.  there's a small window of time during which you can get pregnant - about 10 days in the middle of your cycle.  otherwise, you're in the (first) menstruation phase or the (third) luteal phase.  i seriously had no idea.
  • i had also always assumed, probably from tv shows and movies (don't they always say "i'm ovulating, we need to have sex right now!"?), that your best bet of getting pregnant was to have sex on your ovulation day.  again, turns out, that's not entirely accurate.  the most efficient time is the day or two before your ovulation day.  who knew?
  • i also believed that implantation happened, like, immediately.  uh, nope.  first, the sperm hooks up with the egg, and they sort of float around, flirting with each other, getting to know each other...you know, kind of dating.  then, after about a week to 10 days, they decide to make a commitment and latch on to the wall.  oh, and apparently, you might be able to feel that.  say what?!
  • i always knew that you should wait until you miss a period to take a pregnancy test, but i never really understood why.  well, it's because your hormone levels take a bit to adjust.  what those pregnancy tests are looking for is your hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) level.  not to get too scientific on you, but hCG is a protein that is by a developing embryo to stimulate an increased production in progesterone.  progesterone, in turn, causes the lining of the uterus to thicken so that it can sustain a developing fetus.  {seriously, aren't our bodies amazing?}  anyway, it takes about 7-10 days to for hCH to get to a detectable level.  that's why we wait.
these discoveries of my complete lack of knowledge kind of freaked me out.  so i started researching and reading to get a much clearer and better understanding of what the heck goes on down in that reproductive zone of my body.  it was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

making the decision

making the decision to get pregnant.  when would be the right time?  when will we be ready?  are we really ready?  how serious do we want to be with trying?  should i be tracking things?  should i quit drinking?  should we tell our families that we're trying?  should we tell anyone?  lots of questions burned in my mind as matt and i started talking more seriously about when to start our family. 

our baby-making discussions start happening, in earnest, sometime over the summer.  we were planning a trip to florday in the fall for our anniversary.  my parents own a house in the villages (an enormous "active adult" retirement community about an hour north of orlando).  we toyed with the idea of starting to TTC around that time, but then we also were talking about a trip to italy in the spring.  so it was kind of settled that we would start during/after that trip.  but the more we talked about it, the more we realized that a) italy was going to make us rather poor and b) we were ready to get started sooner.  i had always thought that i would be the one who wanted to start sooner rather than later, but one night we were talking and matt just said "i want to have a baby.  soon.  i'm ready."  after i cried, we went back to talking about the fall.  we decided that i would go off my birth control pills the cycle before our vacation.

i'm not going to lie.  i had apprehension about this.  if i went off the pill, can i drink on our vacation?  can i go on rollercoasters?  are we gambling with this possible new little life by doing these things?  should we wait until after vacation?  after researching and talking to a friend, i decided that the odds of getting pregnant a week or two after stopping the pill were pretty slim.  also, i figured out that i would be ovulating right smack in the middle of our vacation, so...prime romantic opportunities!  ha ha.  i decided it was a safe bet to go off the pill and get started on our TTC.

but then i started looking into the future a few months.  if i got pregnant on vacation, i'd be still "newly" pregnant (ie, not telling anyone the news yet) for the holidays.  as it is, we already get harassed about our baby plans.  if i were to show up at a family function and not drink, i'd be toast.  on the one or two occasions i've passed on alcohol at family functions (headache, driving, what-have-you), i've been harassed.  oh, and i'm a terrible liar.  especially when i'm trying to lie about something that i'm really excited about.  terrible.  i thought about waiting till after the holidays.  but the more we talked about it, the more we realized we didn't want to put it off.  and we decided we'd just lie - make up fake drinks for me, say i have to drive, say i'm not feeling well, etc.  we'd pull it off. 

so october rolled around.  at the beginning of the month i finished my last pack of pills.  i double-checked with matt that we were ready.  he assured me it was the right time.  and so began our adventures in TTC...

Monday, January 23, 2012

and it begins...

some of you may remember me from emma to emmi, the blog in which i chronicled the process of planning our wedding, getting married (best. day. ever.), going on our honeymoon, and then life-after-wedding.  briefly.  i gave up that blog after a while because i felt like i was putting too much pressure on myself to be a "good blogger."  to have lots of followers and come up with funny, creative, interesting posts.  it became more about trying to gain readers (at which i failed) than it did about just being me.

but i've decided it's time to try again.  and this time, i'll be chronicaling our adventures in starting our family.  i'm hoping that it will be part planning, part decorating, part discussing my thoughts about getting/being pregnant and about raising our yet-to-be-conceived child.  part excitement, part neuroses, part anxiety, part fear, part happiness.  all the emotions and hormones and thoughts that are part of going from just the two of us to a little family of three.

i can't make any promises.  i don't know what this will turn out to be.  i'm not going to focus solely on baby stuff; i do have a life outside of baby-making.  but my hope is that one day i'll be able to come back to this, show it to our future child, and say "this is what was happening when we were getting ready to bring you into our world."  and hopefully he/she won't be totally freaked out by it.