Thursday, September 20, 2012

Update, plus tool for estimating fertile window and more

First, the UPDATE.

I know there wasn't anyone waiting with baited breath over whether I was pregnant or not. Just as I suspected, I started a new cycle on September 10th.

For this cycle, my peak day was day 15, which is about average for me. But my luteal phase ended up lasting 16 days, the longest so far for 2012 (my average is 11). The cycle was 31 days long, only a few days more than average. Over all, I was well within the average range and, yes, I did overreact a bit. Call it wishful thinking.

As much as I love trying to get pregnant, being pregnant and having a new baby, my husband and I decided to put it off for the forseeable future. Yes, I am disappointed, but I am not crushed. We may change our minds at any time but my thought of, "We should start 'trying' again!" is NOT happening any time soon!

And....I know it's dangerous to say, "I'm not the type to 'accidentally' get pregnant," I'm more confident than ever!

On to the tool!!!

This is a great tool for determining your fertile window, along with your possible conception and due date, should you get pregnant. All you need is the first day of your last cycle (the first day of your last period).

Check it out, from

It's fun to play with dates, and even having your fertile phase narrowed down to a week is pretty cool!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What To Not Not Do To Not Not Get Pregnant

a.k.a. "What To Do To Get Pregnant"

As a teacher years ago, my class rules were written positively, like, "Keep hands, feet and objects to yourself" and "Use inside voices at all times" instead of "Don't touch or hurt your classmates" or "Do not yell inside."

In the e-mails I write as reminders for networking meetings, I say, "Thank you for RSVPing on Meetup" instead of the negative "Don't forget to RSVP on Meetup."

See the difference?

Wording things positively and telling people what TO DO makes them feel better and also makes them more likely to do what you want them to do. No one wants to be told what NOT to do! {Don't think about a pink elephant!}

As with kids, when you say, "Don't touch that!" they hear "Do the reverse of 'touch that.'" Not easy for a young brain to do! Or ANY brain for that matter!

So when I saw this online today, I rolled my eyes. As a writer and a fertility nut, it's aggravating. It's an article called What Not To Do If You Want to Get Pregnant.

I get it. Everyone talks about what TO do to get pregnant, but doesn't necessarily talk about the things people do WRONG in trying to get pregnant, or the little-known 'what to avoid' types of tactics.

But as I read through the list, I had to really take time to say, "OK, is this a list of what people do wrong that I should avoid or what I SHOULD do that people don't know they should do??" thank you.

My writing business is called Let Me Rephrase That because I love to do editing, re-writes and paraphrases of writing pieces.

So Let Me Rephrase That article for you. Here's what TO DO to get pregnant:

1. Have sex throughout the month and not just on your most fertile days. Why? Healthier sperm and reduced stress for your partner.

2. Have fun with the sex part. Why? Pleasurable, passionate sex may boost the odds of conception.

3. Use sperm-friendly lubricants (NOT KY Jelly or Astroglide). Using sperm-killing lubricants falls under the 'shooting yourself in the foot' category.

4. Avoid douching and the use of scented feminine hygiene products. Let your natural ph balance do what it is meant to do.

5. Seek fertility help sooner rather than later. To quote the article, "If you've been trying for six months and you're over 35 -- or you've been trying for a year and you're under 35 years of age -- then you should see your doctor." I would add to that...keep an accurate Fertility Awareness chart to take to your doctor if the need arises.

And here's a revisit of MY original list: Tab's Top Ten Tips for How To Get Pregnant. Just DO the things on that list! Isn't that better??

What are YOUR 'how to get pregnant' tips? Or questions?


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Delayed ovulation

You can bet that as my cycle CONTINUES to drag on to 31 days with no spotting, I am focused on the reality of only two options at this point:

1. I will start a new cycle today or tomorrow (despite a lack of spotting thus far) OR

2. I had a delayed ovulation.      

I had a negative pregnancy test Friday and another clearly negative test Saturday, so it is pretty much a 100% sure bet that we didn't miraculously get pregnant during what I THOUGHT was my fertile phase around the typical day 14-15.

BUT. We seem to vaguely remember a late-night conversation about a week AFTER my fertile phase of, "Oh, we're definitely out of the woods now, I was fertile, like, a week ago." GULP.

Delayed ovulation can be a week or more after your body's first attempt to release an egg. If it was about a week after when I thought I was fertile, I'd be at 10 days post ov today and able to test on Wednesday. I don't REMEMBER a second round of fertile fluid...but I wasn't looking for it, either.

If I ovulated even later than that, who knows where I'm at?? Since sperm can survive for up to five days, there's a wide range of possibilities!

I still feel like I will most likely start a new cycle today or tomorrow.

BUT, of course, my mind cannot help but think about that very (VERY) rare occurrence of us taking a risk in the last half of a cycle...combined with the teeny tiny possibility that I ovulated late this cycle. If that ridiculous combination of high unlikely events results in a pregnancy, it would definitely be 'a God thing' and meant to be!! And I won't rest until I know for sure one way or the other.

Naturally, my husband is taking the "Well, aren't we going to know in a few days either way? You'll either start or get a positive test? Can we worry about it then?" approach.

It's like he doesn't know me at all!! Of COURSE I will obsess about it until AF arrives OR I can test again!!

So while the waiting game continues, here's some information about delayed ovulation for anyone interested. Delayed ovulation, by the way, is the explanation for MANY 'late periods' when women THINK they are pregnant. They just ovulated later than expected!
Most sources agree on these most common reasons for delayed ovulation:
1. hormones
2. low body fat
3. excessive body fat
4. extended periods of intense exercise
5. rapid weight gain or weight loss
6. medication
7. breastfeeding


It is important to note that the STRESS that can delay ovulation isn't limited to things like sickness, work worries, experiencing a loss or can even be 'good stress,' like a family vacation or starting an exciting new job. Our body can't interpret the difference between 'good stress' and 'bad stress,' it just knows that we're already too revved up and distracted to ovulate and/or get pregnant! So...our body will delay ovulation until we 'calm down.'

In fact, the only unusually long cycle I've had in the last two years was the summer of 2011 when my teenage sister-in-law was living with us temporarily AND we were trying to buy a home in my parents' neighborhood AND get our rental packed up AND were supposed to be leaving on a week-long trip out of town to visit in-laws and go camping. My stress levels were through the roof and my body knew it!  I recorded fertile fluid rising on day 21 but didn't record egg whites until day 32! That cycle ended up being 46 days long. Phew!

Years ago, I noticed a pattern to my (previously inexplicably) long cycles: travel. Once we were on a family trip out of state (camping with in-laws, which was more of a 'bad stress') and once we were on a family vacation (more 'good stress') but both times, I should have ovulated during the trip but ultimately didn't until after we returned home.

Somewhat ironically, I seem to have conceived our second son while two hours away from home on a women's leadership retreat! My hubby and I were intimate that Thursday when I knew I was fertile and I took my thermometer with me on the trip and had a clear temperature rise that Saturday while I was gone! Sure enough, less than two weeks later, I got a positive pregnancy test. I later told the ladies, "I got pregnant ON the retreat!" and they looked at each other in confusion. It was fun! :)

BOTTOM LINE: I am excited about the possibility of a truly miraculous pregnancy...but settled on the idea that I am probably just experiencing a slightly-longer-than-usual cycle. Only time will tell! {I just wish time would hurry up!}


Friday, September 7, 2012

A Great Way to Figure Out If You Want to Have Another Child

What is a great way to figure out if you want to have another child? Wonder if you could possibly have accidentally gotten pregnant!
My current cycle is dragging on for longer than usual with NO spotting. I am a little achy and crampy--symptoms of early pregnancy AND impending period, of course. Love that.

Other things that have made me curious??

1. I've been tired this week, but I've also had a sort throat/sneezing/stuffy nose thing since about Monday, so it's hard to say what causes what. BUT, I've had colds or weird stomach issues at the start of my other pregnancies, too. Strange. I wonder if it's an immune system thing: as soon as pregnancy sets in, your body puts all of its attention there and then you come down with any little thing you're exposed to. Just a theory!

2. On Tuesday, in fact, I was so tired that I laid down to see if I could sleep and woke up THREE hours later when the school called to ask if I was going to pick up my first grader! I almost never nap, and certainly not that long and that hard in the middle of the day! But again, that could have been simply the restless sleep I had the night before in combination with my little case of the sniffles.

3. I had strange belly pains (like gas or indigestion) that was quite painful a couple of days ago, too. Who knows??

4. I woke up two days ago remembering an angst-filled pregnancy-related dream now that I think about it. Hmm. I wish I remembered it better but there was a roomful of babies involved.

5. This cycle is a little 'off.'

6. I felt kinda breathless for a moment yesterday--an early sign from last time.

My 'charting,' by the way, currently involves a pocket calendar where I keep track of days that I seem to be fertile, any strange symptoms (spotting, belly issues, poor sleep, even vivid dreams) and, of course, my period. I actually sat down yesterday and recorded my cycle details for 2011 and so far in 2012! I highly recommend keeping track of those minimum details, by the way. Just for such a time as this!

Let me state for the record that until about two years ago, my cycles were notoriously long. Like, MONTHS long. Even in recent history, I would typically not ovulate until day 21 or later, making my cycles anywhere from 35-40+ days long! BUT, almost like someone flipped a switch, when we moved two years ago from the home we built in 2003 to Phoenix, my cycles regulated and shortened. My anxiety all but vanished, too. {Yes, there is a correlation. But that's a post for another day.}

ANYway, since making that major life change (plus finally fully recovering from Ethan's pregnancy along with slowing down and taking better care of myself), my cycles have gotten MUCH shorter!

In 2011, my cycle average was 33 days long with ovulation near day 20.
In 2012, my cycle average was 29 days long with ovulation near day 17.

The time between ovulation and the start of a new cycle tends to be the most 'set in stone' number for most women: mine is 11-12. With both of my pregnancies that 'took,' I had positive tests on about day 13-14 post ovulation.

I don't always record pre-period spotting but I do typically have some (the lack of it tipped me off to my first pregnancy) and I have had 1-3 days of it for the last FIVE months.

So. Based on that. Here I am on day 29 of my cycle with an approximate ovulation day now 14 days ago and with NO spotting. And all of the above strange symptoms.
Naturally all of the above could be NOTHING. And there's about a 99% chance that it IS nothing.
The real issue am I feeling about the possibility that we had an 'oops?' It would be truly miraculous, by the way, because I assure you that we are NOT trying to get pregnant! We are actively preventing it, in fact, and we aren't risk-takers!!

But in trying to navigate the whole "Do we want another child or not?" debate....this exercise in the 'what if' is good.

I took a pregnancy test today.

A $1 test that I got a clear negative on the DAY before my two clear positives with my last pregnancy! It was clearly negative today, though. And I was disappointed. The 'almost brought tears to my eyes when I thought about it' kind of disappointed. I found myself saying, "God, could you just PUT a baby in there for me??"

I went to my son's school this afternoon for his teacher's birthday party and found myself wishing someone would talk to me and I could slip in, "Well, I just found out today that I'm pregnant!" I felt myself wishing I could stick my belly out and rub it and know there was a baby in there. Funny, huh?

We don't need another child right now. I don't have a burning desire to have a baby. I don't want to put my body through another pregnancy. Yes...there is that little part of me that felt hopeful today and kinda wished we were more reckless and there was just a small chance that I accidentally got pregnant.

I daydreamed about telling my parents Sunday on Grandparent's Day, I pinned 'announcing your pregnancy' ideas on Pinterest this week 'just in case' and I found myself going through my old pregnancy blog. My heart is open.

I realized today that I'd be open to having another baby, to adding to our family, to bringing another one of our offspring into the world, to rolling the dice again.

My back hurts tonight. I feel crampy. I'm betting it's impending period this time. I'll wake up tomorrow having started a new cycle and feel silly for all this vain hope. But I wanted to sit down and write this so I'd remember.

And at least now I know. Getting pregnant would be pretty spectacular someday. I think once we're more financially stable and my health is up closer to 100% and things have settled down...I might be ready to give it another go.

And no one is more surprised by that revelation than me.
 ADDED LATER: I was looking again at my trying-to-get-pregnant blog with Ethan and ran across this post, published almost exactly at this time of night:  Title:: "Hoping still" Based on my loose calculations, I'm about 14 days post-ov and no period yet. Feeling tired and crampy but that can be pregnancy or impending period, so that's no help. No spotting, though. I'm betting I ovulated later than I think I did. I took a $1 test this a.m. and it was clearly negative. I'll give it a day or two and test again but after that, I'll know it didn't "take." I hate waiting. But God's plan is best and I'm OK with whatever. Really. 

I realize that I am almost certainly not pregnant....but I'm very happy that I've figured out that I'd be ok with it if I were! :)


Thursday, September 6, 2012

How do you 'walk by faith' in this?

Drew, Andrew and me, walking for our family pictures, December 2007. Andrew was two.

Not much has changed around here in the baby department, meaning that we're still in the 'no desire to have another baby right now but not ruling out the future possibility, either' phase.
Andrew is now well over six years old and Ethan is now three years and three months old and people must think we're 'done' because hardly anyone asks anymore if we're having more kids! Even my mother-in-law has laid off for the time being.

I have just been reading over my old blog entries about our miscarriage and Ethan's conception, pregnancy and birth and while I did adore being pregnant and having a baby, my heart doesn't say, "I want to do it again!" Nor do I feel like there is a person missing from our family or like I WANT another child (as of today).

BUT. Am I going to get a few years down the road and WISH I'd have done it now?? Are the boys going to be grown and I'm going to wish we'd have had the faith to just dive in and have more kids when we'd had the chance?
I refuse to live a life of regrets. I do not operate out of a place of fear.
So the question is, how do I 'walk by faith' when it comes to the future of our family? Is faith plunging in now, saying, "We're going to do this with faith that God will bless our baby and our family," and trust Him with the outcome...or having the faith to say, "I don't feel the heart-urge right now, so if the time does become right, God will faithfully tell us when that is." I think My 'leap of faith' is to NOT get pregnant now, BECAUSE it isn't a desire of my heart right now...knowing that I'm not 'missing' the opportunity somehow.

I do not want to limit God, or dictate what He can or will do! I don't want to add another child to our family right now. I am trusting God to give us another child in His perfect timing, if that is His will.

I refuse to believe that there is some sort of 'window of opportunity' that I might miss, just like I refuse to believe that there is a 'target' of His will and that only one option is 'on the mark' and the rest of them are 'off.' I have freedom to choose...and He has the power to move and speak as He wishes, to HIS glory and MY benefit!

So for now, I don't want to get pregnant. That could change at any time.
I will walk by faith, knowing that God is in control and will lead us down this path, just as He has so faithfully done before, whether that results in a new addition to our family or not.
Want to read more of my pondering on whether to expand our family? I pondered this topic back in February of this year, too.