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. 

1 comment:

Christina said...

You are in for a treat. I read and soaked up all the information I could get my hands one when I was pregnant. It really is an amazing thing! I always thought the same thing about being fertile for weeks out of the month. So with a window that small how do people have so many accidents? Are they just having sex all day, every day? Hahaha!