Saturday, November 24, 2012

What Are the Odds?

First of occured to me that out youngest son is three-and-a-half now, the age our oldest son was when we welcomed his little brother into the world. Wild. If we got pregnant this cycle, our youngest would be four years and two months old and our oldest would be over seven-and-a-half when the new baby came along! Wow.

Second...we're finally TTC again and on this cycle, our first one 'really trying,' I've got an odd condition I've never had before that is affecting my charting. And now today, a major belly ache. Really!?!? Nothing can be easy I suppose. It did cross my mind that the belly issue could be related to my cycle. I have a very sensitive stomach! It could also be two days of eating rich foods combined with not drinking enough water. Who knows?!?!

BUT, we're still 'trying' and trusting God with the outcome! I'm CD 16, within a day or two of my typcial 'peak day' with ovulation and/or conception being likely for Monday Nov. 26th. We're already approaching the dividing line for this cycle!

Having had two yucky stomach bug-thingies in the last month has been a bummer, and reminds me of the unfun side of pregnancy--GULP. Difference is, you get a baby at the end of a pregnancy! :)

My resolution at the moment is to take it easy this time over the TWW (Two Week Wait). Last time I obsessed WAAAAY too much, mostly because we decided at the last minute and I figured we probably were too late. This time will be worse in some ways because we've tried to time it just right, so if it doesn't take, it's not due to lack of effort!

Thankfully, this week is my son's birthday (my oldest turns 7) and my birthday, then early December is plenty busy, so I should be nicely distracted! I have made up my mind to wait until I'm truly LATE to test (that's December 9th), but you know I'll be watching for signs and symptoms leading up to it. At least I have once cycle for comparison!!

We are still 'putting it a request' for a girl, although we've done nothing specific to increase our odds. I'm not sure that stuff matters anyway and with as busy as we've been, we haven't had the follow-through for it.

I think a girl would round out our little brood, and I think we'd both enjoy raising a daughter. I am seeing girl goodies everywhere at shops and craft shows and pictures of mothers and daughters--how could we not at least roll the dice one more time??? Of course a third boy would also be a tremendous blessing and we'd be thrilled to raise another son!

It's all in God's capable hands now!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

TTC Update and Please Stand By

TTC (Trying To Conceive) cycle #1 was exciting and nerve-wracking and did not indeed 'take' on the first try. We're at peace about it and we have trust in God's perfect timing.

I wrote a lot during the Two Week Wait that was raw and honest (God showed up in some BIG ways!)...and now it's all in 'draft' form so I can go back over it and make sure it's appropriately authentic before I post it for the world to see.

There was some good stuff in there about the waiting, about early pregnancy symptoms and test-taking, etc...I'll re-post ASAP!

Thanks for bearing with me! And, yes, we're planning to 'try' again in approximately 15 days.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My TTC and Pregnancy Anthem

The whole "trying to conceive, pregnancy, having a baby" process really boils down to faith, doesn't it?

This is a song that was relatively new when I had my miscarriage in May 2008. It was the song I meditated on in the days afterward, and the song I played over and over once I got pregnant with Ethan. I experienced a lot of fear in those days--I needed the freedom that only His love provides.

I had to cling to the idea that God loves me, is in control, and has me in His grip. He always had and always would. He is ever-faithful.

I called my TTC journey after the miscarriage "Leap of Faith" because that certainly is what it is. Sometimes it feels like diving off of a cliff into the great unknown--but that's what faith is all about.

I am now 10 DPO, feeling somewhat pregnant and awaiting news.
I told God, "If I hear Hope Now this week, I'll take it as a sign."

I heard it today. And not in my car like I thought I would, but visiting with a friend when it came on the radio. My heart did a little flip-flop.

What does the sign MEAN? I don't know yet.

{scroll down to hear it on Youtube}

These are the lyrics to 'Hope Now' by Addison Road.

If everything comes down to love
Then just what am I afraid of
When I call out Your name
Something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I'm Yours

I'm not my own
I've been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

When my life is like a storm
Rising waters all I want is the shore
You say I'll be ok and
Make it through the rain
You are my shelter from the storm

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

I am not my own
I've been carried by you my whole life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

You've become my hearts desire
I will sing Your praises higher
Cause Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free

Here's the song on Youtube:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tab's Tips For Taking Pregnancy Tests

I say tipS (plural) because, seriously, who can take just ONE test!?!?

These are mine from September 2, 2008, approximately 14 days past ovulation. I dipped one in the cup and it popped up before I even set it down. Not trusting my eyes, I dipped the other one immediately afterward. I was amazed!!

When I was learning the Fertility Awareness Method, I remember reading that it is almost impossible for a woman to go beyond 18 days past ovulation without being pregnant. For charters, being past day 18 post-ov without a period is an almost sure sign of pregnancy. "Well, I'll just wait the 18 days and test after that, then," I remember thinking.

Riiiiiiight. That never happened.

With all three of my pregnancies, I started taking $1 tests as early as 10 days past when I thought I ovulated. I would have negatives or even light positives on days 11 and 12, but I didn't get a STRONG, dark, CONCLUSIVE positive result until fully 13-14 days post-ov.

I was never an obsessed test-taker, but I did try the dollar tests just for fun in the days leading up to day 13-14, knowing I'd have to splurge on a 'real test' for the official result.

So! Here are my Tab's Tips for Taking Pregnancy Tests:

1. Wait to take a test until your period is truly LATE.

Implantation needs to occur before hCG is produced, and that generally happens between 6-12 days post ovulation, usually by 10 days after. I recommend not testing before at LEAST 10 days post-ov, and closer to 13-14+ days if you can bear to wait that long.

During the 'waiting to test' phase is when knowing the typical length of your luteal phase (the time between ovulation and your period) is extremely valuable. Knowing what's normal for you means that you can test confidently within a day or two of when you would usually expect your period.

With my first pregnancy, I knew my luteal phase rarely went past 12-14 days AND I usually had spotting on days 11-14 or so. When I got to day 13 post-ov with NO spotting, I figured something was up. Sure enough, the test on day 13 was very faint but on day 14 it was VERY positive.

CAUTION!! Many factors can lead to a longer-than-usual cycle including delayed ovulation due to stress of sickness. So unless you KNOW when you ovulated, just thinking you're 'a little late' doesn't necessarily mean you're pregnant.

COOL TOOL!!! Wondering when to test based on your specific cycle?? Try this on Gives you a run-down of when various pregnancy tests will pick up the hormone levels. Very cool! According to my dates, I'd be a fool to test before at least Nov. 4 and I'm advised to wait until Nov. 7th and beyond. My plan is to hold out until Thursday the 8th because I have a big teaching gig the next day AND my grandmother arrives into town so I will HAVE to know!

2. Test with your first morning AND midstream urine if possible. You should use midstream urine--meaning you should pee a little first and then either hold the test stick in your urine stream or use a collection cup. And I recommend.....

3. Pee in a cup, THEN dip the stick IN (rather than trying to pee ON the stick). You will be nervous and your hands might be shaky, so don't attempt to pee ON the stick!

Follow the package instructions, of course, but for MOST tests, you can pee in a paper cup then dip the absorbent tip into the cup for the specified amount of time and lay the test down to get your result.

4. Keep the test pointing downward and then lay it flat afterward. I remember with my third pregnancy, I dipped it in the cup then watched it move across the control and BAM! The second line emerged, before I could even set it down! That was awesome.

5. Know your tests. Some tests are more sensitive than others. If you're testing early, you want a test that detects the LOWEST amount of the pregnancy hormone. There are many tests on the market that can pick up 25mlU. Some even pick up levels as low as 10mlU or 15mlU.

Check out this list from for a list of the most sensitive tests then take it to the store and see which ones are on sale. 

Wondering about the hCG levels? A rounded-off average would be about 25 mIU at 10 dpo, 50 at 12 dpo, 100 at 14 dpo. You can see why I got FAST, clear positives on day 14!

I'd wait to get the digital "I'm pregnant" test until you're pretty sure you are OR if you are just DYING to know for sure early on. It is a fun picture for the scrapbook (or to use as a prop to announce your pregnancy), but cheaper tests can still give you a conclusive positive (or two or three or six) before you have to splurge on the expensive digital version.

Happy testing!

Do you have tests you love or hate? Do share!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Early Pregnancy Symptoms

For women who think they may be pregnant, it's fun to compare notes on the early pregnancy symptoms other women experienced. Here are mine.

Andrew's pregnancy (2005):
1. My first tip-off was being 12 days post-ovulation without any spotting. If you are hoping to be pregnant, anything unusual about your cycle is a good sign!
2. Bright blue veins across my chest and later, on my belly. Increased blood flow, I believe.
3. I walked into Target and almost wretched when the smell of popcorn hit me like a wall.
4. My jeans were tight around the belly almost immediately. Or they FELT that way, anyhow. It's said to be a result of hormonal changes.

**Reading over old blog posts, I discovered that I had what was almost definitely implantation spotting a day or two before my positive test with Andrew. Good to know!

Once I found out we were pregnant (13 days post-ov officially), I had increased appetite and energy for about a week. At about the six week mark, the evening tiredness started in. I had some food aversions early on, too, like I didn't want coffee or sweets, and I was thirsty a lot.

Miscarriage pregnancy (2008):
I had to read old blog entries to remind myself...
1. "Drooly" and light-headed, some achiness and lower back aches. "A little tired." I don't remember many clear signs, which may have been a sign.

SIDENOTE: My theory now, four years later, is that I was exposed to a bug or virus of some kind at about 5 weeks pregnancy. I'm not sure how all of that works, but I wonder if my 'symptoms' were merely the bug starting to kick in. My midwives theorized that I had a 'blighted ovum,' which would have resulted in a positive prengnacy test, but isn't technically--maybe--a 'baby.' I'll write more about this at some later point.}

REST ASSURED, however, that MANY women without strong early pregnancy signs go on to have healthy babies! Every woman and every pregnancy is different.

Ethan's pregnancy (2008):
1. All I recorded on my trying-to-get-pregnant blog was "achy and tired." Naturally that can also mean 'impending period' so that's not a big help.

Once I got the positive test (about five weeks in due to 35-day cycles), a couple of days later I reported..."I'm feeling fine. A little low on energy at times, even breathless, like everything is harder. Very HOT. Definitely hungry and thirsty all the time. A little woozy from time to time but otherwise, GREAT!" There ya go!

By six weeks, I reported on feeling "tired and woozy, just enough to be annoying." Sounds about right.

So...we'll see if I'm 'achy and tired' a week from now!

In the meantime, this is a really cool chart to see what pregnant and non-pregnant women were experiencing at the various days past ovulation. Find it on