Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Mystery Continues...

Hey there, cyber friends! Long time, no write. Many of you know that I am a teacher, and I have been swept away in the back to school tidal wave! So long, summer, I’m gonna miss you. Sniff, sniff.

Anyway, last Friday was somewhat of a monumental day in our fertility adventure. I had a hysterosalpingogram (HSG)—a procedure where they shoot dye into the fallopian tubes to check the pipes and make sure everything is working properly. My gyno and two radiologists performed the HSG at the hospital.

Prior to the procedure, my gyno (bless her heart) prescribed me one valium and Motrin. She called me and messaged me three times reminding me to take it, which, honestly, had me a little scared that it was going to be super painful. Eric had to drive me, since I was a little tipsy and goofy from the valium.

When we arrived, I changed into the uber-fashionable hospital gown (ties in the front) and positioned myself on the table. Eric stayed to witness the torture, because I wanted him to remind me what the results were in case I was too loopy to remember later.

At first the procedure was similar to a pap smear, forceps, prodding, swabbing, etc. Then the doctor inserted a catheter and we had to wait a minute or two for the radiologists to arrive. It was pretty uncomfortable (though not unbearable), so I was hoping they weren’t on a coffee or smoke break. Soon they arrived dressed in chic protective vests (zebra striped and sparkly disco material), positioned the x-ray machine over my lower mid section, and my doctor began to insert the dye.

That was the most painful part, but it basically felt like extreme pressure. On the monitor we could see my uterus fill up with the dye, then the left fallopian tube and finally the right. I’m glad to report that everything was in working order! Eric told me later that they said that was one of the quickest HSGs they had done.

And viola! HSG complete.

The doctor said I might have pain and should avoid nookie for about two days. I had a teeny bit of spotting that day, but absolutely no pain! In fact, I felt great and got some special treatment from Eric, as he was a little traumatized by the poking and prodding he had witnessed!

So, the mystery remains unanswered and the waiting resumes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Believe It Or Not

It’s official. We finally crossed the line. The state line, that is. And quite possibly the fine line dividing normal folks from raving lunatics.

This past weekend Eric and I ventured off to the mullet capitol of the South-- Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It’s a small town in the Smoky Mountains packed with family fun and adventure (my grandpa deemed it a “tourist trap”). Opportunities abound for simple, unadulterated, redneck fun (not that there’s anything wrong with that)!

For me, this trip was a sort of pilgrimage. You see, I’ve visited Gatlinburg before—circa 1992 for a high school band trip (yes, I’m THAT girl), and I never felt the burning desire to return until this summer. Not to relive those band camp memories (remember that?), rather to behold the presence of the popular Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Fertility Statues.

That’s right. We drove six hours and stayed in a grubby motel to rub on some statues.

Carved from ebony wood, the statues originate from the Ivory Coast, around the 1930s. Rumor has it that over 2,000 women have become pregnant after touching them. There are two statues, a king and a queen. The king holds a mango and a dagger, while the queen carries a baby.

Upon arrival at the Ripley’s Odditorium, we discovered that they offered a military discount for active duty, allowing us access to all eight Ripley’s amusement centers for only fifteen bucks. So, after checking out the statues we visited the 3D movie theater (where I banged my head and may or may not have sustained a slight concussion), mirror maze, aquarium, and the Guinness museum (the book—not the beer).

I couldn’t have had a better time streaking through the trailer park. It was a blast!

There might have been a fleeting moment or two where Eric would have disagreed; he tends to get a little irritated around throngs of hillbillies. In fact, at one point, he proclaimed that God was testing his patience by strategically positioning him behind large, slow women (ok, that’s not exactly what he said, but…). Nevertheless, he had a great time, too.

Today we’re back to reality in the Palmetto state. Eric starts the graveyard shift tonight and I go back to school on Friday (the 13th).  Now, I’m just waiting to see if that statue mojo rubbed off on us...believe it or not! 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Frankie Says Relax

Today at work one of my colleagues commented that I just needed to relax and then I will get pregnant. Since I’m nice in real life, I smiled and said, “Hmmm…maaaybeee.”

On the inside I was thinking, “Just ‘cause you got knocked up on accident while you were wasted doesn’t mean I will, too.”

I’m glad I edited that in reality.

But, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, that comment irks me. Simply because I want to plan the conception of my (our) baby does not mean I’m tense or uptight. Planning and relaxing aren’t mutually exclusive.



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Open Wide

After jumping through hoops and performing miraculous feats for our insurance company, I finally scheduled my HSG (where they shoot dye in the fallopian tubes to check the pipes) with my favorite gyno (Dr. Gwyneth Paltrow—ok, that’s not really her name, but you should see the resemblance) here in Chucktown instead of at the dreaded fertility clinic in Savannah. When I called the nurse, she informed me that my pap came back abnormal again and I have to get another colposcopy (where they take a bite out of the cervix to test for cancerous cells).

Dr. Paltrow has been after me to get a LEEP procedure (where they remove a layer of the cervix), but getting pregnant within a year after that increases the risk of pre-term labor. She knows we’re TTC and previously told me that six months (plus an additional nine if I get knocked up) is the longest I should wait. Now I’m afraid she’s going to pressure me to move it up. On the bright side, I guess I’d be able to drink mimosas again (bad joke).

On another note, I just ovulated (not right this second, but yesterday). Eric and I decided that more (not less) is more, so we did the baby dance everyday for all of the fertile days preceding ovulation as determined by the OV watch. I also decided that ovulating makes me hungrier than usual, as evidenced by the empty pint of Ben and Jerry’s in my trash can (no, that’s not on the fertility diet). It must take a lot of energy to lay that egg!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ode to Mimosa

Mimosa, my sweet, how I long to hold you, to taste you on my lips. I’ve missed you since we’ve been apart. Especially on those lazy weekend mornings I reminisce about the brunches we have spent together. Your bottomless goodness, bubbly personality and sparkling spirit have left me light headed.

These last few weeks we’ve spent apart are not in vain. I’m trying to start a new life; one whose chances are better without you. For now, I must leave you behind, but we will have our day in the sun once more. One day I will toast you again.

Until then, I will think of you and your shapely fluted glass fondly as I pass our old meeting spots which advertise your never ending bliss. When that time comes, return to me and let me drink you in.

Intoxicatingly yours,


Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Hate it When That Happens

I hate it when this happens, but Eric was right (well, kind of). Let me back up.

On Monday I went to my second chiropractic appointment to view my x-rays. In case you didn’t know, I’m RIGID. Everyone is supposed to have three sixty-three degree arches in their backs, forming a curvy snake shape (Really? Three 63 degree arches? Wow, God, You really rocked the human body!). But me, well, I have acute angles instead…at least in my neck. No wonder I get migraines.

After showing me how whacked out my vertebrae are, the chiropractor adjusted me. It was loud, but painless. In fact, it felt great. I think I got a little buzz off of it. Then the funniest thing happened (I’m getting to the part about Eric being right…).

The chiropractor had previously set up an appointment for me to come in the following day to discuss my “care plan” (I think I may have heard her say, “Show me the money,” under her breath). Then she asked if my husband could come with me to see the x-rays, because that would help him get on board.

Okay- that? Right there? Was weird. Because I hadn’t said ANYTHING about him thinking it was a scam. Was she reading my mind? Or worse…Was she reading my blog? You know, where I called her the head cheerleader and stuff.

I texted Eric who agreed to come (after joking about how they were going to try to make him drink the chiropractic kool-aid). Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon when we are both sitting in the office looking at my severely rigid neck x-rays, listening to the possible health and fertility benefits. Enter: the financial manager to discuss costs. Suddenly, I realized why Eric was there. This was going to be a serious financial commitment to the tune of $3300.

Really? $3300?
Um, maybe…………………………………………………………………………………….later?

So, that’s why I said I hate it when Eric is right. The funniest part of this is that somehow, after all of that, Eric has an appointment set up with them for a consultation next week. Blahahahaha!

Monday, July 26, 2010

No Control

My seventh grade science teacher, Mr. Adair, would probably be disappointed with my fertility experiment due to the numerous variables I have introduced. In fact, I was starting to lose track of them myself, so I decided to take time tonight to recap our many efforts on this reproductive journey. I’ve linked them to my past posts, so if you need a recap, too, it’s only a click away!

1. Prayers
2. Semen Analysis
3. Fertility Diet
4. Prenatal Vitamins
5. Ov Watch
6. Charting Cycle
7. Cervical Mucus
8. Acupuncture
9. Herbs
10. Fertility Bracelet
11. Lunar Phase Fertility
12. Chiropractic
13. Robitussin

What’s next? Hopefully a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to check my pipes. I have a consultation scheduled for Wednesday, and I’m hoping to get it in before school starts.  I guess that will be a big middle finger to getting this thing done "without the help of modern medicine."  Plus, I already took the Robitussin (Does that count?).

By the way, school starts on Friday the 13th... I think that says it all!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Put Some Tussin On It

Well, I guess Chris Rock’s dad was onto something when he told him to “put some Tussin on it.” Last month I came across a blog post at about the effects of Robitussin on cervical mucus and I’ve been waiting until just the right time to try it. Don’t worry; you don’t actually put the Tussin on any sensitive body parts (thank goodness)! Ingesting it three times a day for the five days prior to ovulation thins the mucus and creates a more hospitable environment for the sperm.

It’s important to make sure you take regular or generic Robitussin with Guaifenesin as the main ingredient (not Robitussin with letters like DM or CF behind it—as these won’t have the same effect).

I bought some at Harris Teeter (aka the “Teet”) tonight and plan on starting the Robo-regimen tomorrow morning.

Friday, July 23, 2010

F-Fest Begins!

In a previous post I mentioned lunar phase fertility, a theory presented in the 1950’s by Dr. Eugene Jonas, an astrology enthusiast, who was investigating why many women got pregnant when practicing the rhythm method. This theory proposes that contingent upon the cycle of the moon, a woman may ovulate more than one time during a given month.

After finding a website that would chart this information for customers using their birth date and time for about $40, I joked that I would save my cash for something else like shoes or jeans (although at this point, I’d probably use it for my next chiropractor’s visit).

The moon seems pretty mysterious and powerful to me, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit interested in this theory. Frank, one of my facebook friends from high school practices astrology and Reiki, so I messaged him after I wrote my previous post to find out what he knew about lunar phase fertility.

He already had my information (b-day, time of birth) so he took the initiative of calculating my most fertile time (for free!). According to Frank, my moon sign is a guestimated 18 degrees Capricorn, so my window to conceive is when the monthly moon sign goes into Capricorn.

He recommended that for the 3 days the moon is in Capricorn Eric and I should—let’s see, how should I put this—go at it like wild rabbits. Sorry, mom!

Well, guess what, it started today. Slightly before 5:00 AM this morning, and runs through Sunday, with the best chance for conception sometime around tomorrow afternoon (according to Frank).

Eric and I have dubbed this time F-Fest (the F is for fertility, of course).  Let the games begin!  Or should I say "continue"...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Give Me a C-N-S!

Bright and early this morning I ventured out to a local chiropractor for an initial consultation that I scheduled after reading about the link between chiropractic and infertility. This particular clinic has designated the theme for July as “Reproductive Issues.” As I crossed the threshold I felt as though I had entered another world.

Cheerleaders greeted me (ok, they weren’t really cheerleaders, but they might as well have been with all of their perpetual peppiness) and Kool and the Gang belted out “Celebrate good times, Come on!” There was even a big sign with “Welcome Annie B,” plastered in neon green across it! I’m so not kidding here.

I flashed back to my senior year when I went to visit colleges, specifically Texas A&M, where they cheered, chanted, sang, howdy-ed and bubbled over with school spirit (If you know any Aggies, you know what I’m talking about, right?). It totally freaked me out (which could be why I eventually ended up at UT (hook ‘em))!

After the shock of the initial fanfare wore off, I was escorted to a small room where the doctor (aka head cheerleader) explained the function of the spinal cord and central nervous system and the effects associated with sublaxation (due to misalignment of the vertebrae). She suggested that this could contribute to my migraines, hormonal imbalances and possibly even our unexplained infertility.

She went on to proclaim that a well-known joke among chiropractors, are sitting around at chiropractic conferences, sipping white wine is to ask, “How many babies are named after you?” because of all the pregnancies that pop up after clients get properly adjusted (Hmm…who knew?). By the way, I’ve been craving white wine—or any wine, or a mimosa—all day now!

She then instructed me to stand on an “X” as she looked at me in a mirror that was cross-sectioned off and examined my posture. Ready? Okay! Slight left hip protrusion, head tilt to the right… until that moment I like, never realized that I like stand like a total valley girl. Gag a maggot (with a spoon)!

Following a brief interview about past accidents, my stress levels and our infertility issues, I was ushered into an x-ray room where a technician took several pictures of my vertebrae. Shortly thereafter I met with the cheerful receptionist again to schedule my next appointment, so the doctor can read my x-rays and possibly adjust me.

Around noon, Eric came home for lunch and got irritated with me because he thinks chiropractic is quackery. Of course they’ll adjust me, he suspiciously conjectured…and adjust me and adjust me and adjust me over and over again until all that’s left in my pockets is lint! I was irritated at this rejection of the notion that some inkling of a possibility might exist that this could work.

Though I, too, have wondered about the legitimacy of chiropractic, it doesn’t really seem any more absurd than acupuncture (and I do love acupuncture). In fact, it makes more sense to me. If I had to choose between chi and central nervous system, give me a C-N-S, any old day of the week!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Five Facile Ways To Forecast Your Fertility

1. Ovulation Calendars and Calculators such as are free and easy, especially if you have a regular cycle. Simply enter in the date of your last period, cycle length and luteal phase length (if you aren’t sure, just select the defaults) and click to view your lucky date!

2. Basal Body Temperature is slightly more complicated, but also more precise. For less than $10 you can purchase a basal thermometer at your local pharmacy. This is a super-sensitive thermometer that tracks even the tiniest shift in your body temperature. Use it at the same time every morning before you even get out of bed—when your temperature spikes, ovulation is complete. Since it basically tells you after the fact, chart it for a month or so until you can begin to make your own prediction about when you are most fertile.

3. Fertility Monitors are more expensive than other methods (ranging from $150 to $250), but also give you up to seven days advanced notice prior to ovulation—especially great for those of us with slightly irregular cycles. The Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor is a digital reader that requires you to urinate on test sticks to predict ovulation. The OvaCue Monitor uses saliva to predict fertility. If you aren’t into bodily fluids, check out the Ov Watch, a digital, sporty, watch-like monitor that can be worn while sleeping.

4. Ovulation Predictor Kits are similar to pregnancy tests, since you have to urinate on them and wait a few minutes for the results. Although they don’t give you the heads up that the fertility monitors do, they are less expensive, averaging $35 for a one month supply.

5. Cervical Mucus changes throughout a woman’s cycle. At your most fertile time, cervical mucus is the consistency of egg whites and can be stretched up to about two inches between your thumb and forefinger. It’s your body’s natural lubricant to help the sperm on their journey to the egg. It may sound invasive, but it’s free and easy!

It’s up to you to decide the method that best suits your needs… or try a combination to discover your fertile days on your TTC journey!

Stick It In Me

Oh, calm down, now—I’m referring to acupuncture! Today I participated in my second fertility acupuncture treatment at Re-Soul in Charleston.

After checking out my tongue and taking my twelve meridian pulses, to the rhythmic beats of Ali Farka (Did I mention this chick has great taste in music? Oh yeah, I did in my previous acupuncture post, Pins and Needles), AmyJo, my acupuncturist, herbalist and future BFF (just kidding, Val) commenced sticking me with tiny needles.

Last time twelve needles pierced my upper back, but today I was stuck with fifteen. Six in my hands (as pictured), six in my feet, two in my legs near my knees, and one in my upper sternum, all relatively painless.

AmyJo mixed up a new concoction of herbs for me, a recipe she recently discovered at a workshop she attended in Seattle. According to her, this potion will give the “emperor a throne”…Honestly, I’m not sure what that means, but as long as he stays clear of my uterus, we’re cool.

Unfortunately, these herbs taste way worse than the last batch—a flavor reminiscent of kerosene. I got the hiccups after taking them and thought I was going to vomit. I’m going to try to slam another shot’s worth before brushing my teeth, but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to keep this up (or down, for that matter).

Next week: Acupuncture appointment number three with a cherry on top—Eric will get a treatment, too! Don’t worry, honey, AmyJo said you can rest assured that the needles won’t go anywhere near your yin or yang.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hang on for the Ride

Today I rode the hormonal roller coaster-- figuratively speaking, that is. I recently started reading Eat, Pray, Love. In the beginning of the book, Elizabeth Gilbert recounts her fears and lack of desire to have a baby, which contributes to the demise of her first marriage. Her sister compares having a baby to getting a tattoo on your face—something you better be pretty darned committed to! I woke up giggling about this analogy, since I found it incredibly humorous. Not that long ago, I, too, was unsure about whether or not I wanted to birth a baby.

Not in a Prissy-from-Gone-with-the-Wind-birthing-no-babies way, but actually being the one to gain weight, get hemorrhoids, have my size 9 feet (and maybe nose) grow, get cut “down there”, squeeze a human out of my vajayjay and so on. Thankfully, I’m totally over that now (wink)!

As I stepped into the shower this morning, I was feeling extremely positive about this whole fertility situation. I’ve been reading other peoples’ blogs about infertility lately, and so many of them are sad and depressed. Many are jealous of their friends and family members who are starting or growing their families. Then, they feel guilty about being jealous.

Luckily, I don’t share those feelings. Although I can understand them, I have more of a “que sera sera” attitude. If we can’t get this done the natural, vajayjay ripping way, we’ll get it done another way and love our babies—biological or otherwise.

I carried this attitude to my breast exam appointment (which was slightly less invasive than my last bra fitting at Nordstrom’s). After getting felt up, I chatted with my primary care physician about the possibility of scheduling an HSG (where they shoot dye into the fallopian tubes to see if there’s anything blocking the yellow brick road).

Since we’re an Air Force family, everything has to get proper clearance for take-off. Coincidentally, our doctor is going through IVF right now, so she is very empathetic to our situation and wrote the referral right there in the office. I left the base hospital in a fabulous mood.

When I got home, my hormones must’ve kicked into overdrive, because I started getting a migraine-- which reminded me that I had forgotten to get my migraine medication refilled at the base hospital. Grrr! So, I slathered my face and head with Stop Pain and laid down to take a nap.

It hurt less when I awoke, so I surfed the net and checked my email. I happened upon an article from Self magazine about the silence of infertility ( and got all teary eyed, feeling sorry for the people in the article who were too ashamed to talk about their infertility with their friends and family. People who spent over 100K for IVF that didn’t even work! I felt lucky to be me—supported by my husband, family and friends!

Then Eric came home and we somehow got on the topic of adoption while we were making dinner. I started crying thinking about how long it could take and how expensive it is. I may have even shed a few tears into the baked eggplant.

But then I remembered my positive attitude from this morning and tried to re-embrace it. And my headache had gone away. So, I just got glad in the same britches I got sad in (stole that one from my momma). The roller coaster came to an abrupt halt and I hopped off that ride! Now, I’m back on solid ground.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


A few days ago I received a group email from one of my good friends in my ladies’ group from church requesting baby gear for a friend of hers who just found out she was SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT!?! Excuse my French, church ladies, but WTF?

Sure, I’ve seen this episode on TLC several times before, but when it’s someone I know (okay, it’s really someone someone I know knows) it makes it a heck of a lot stranger. According to The Caveman’s Pregnancy Companion (a little ditty Eric and I picked up at B&N), by the seventh month, the baby is the size of a pot roast. His or her head, eyes, hands, feet, digits, genitals, lashes, brows and nails are developed. He or she pees (ew), kicks, moves around, and reacts to light and sound outside the womb.

Did this unsuspecting mother-to-be mistake her seven months of pregnancy for one serious case of kick-ass indigestion? Was there no morning sickness? No ta-ta engorgement? No night time urination? No buttons popping off suddenly tightened clothing? And, what about, well, you know, the most obvious sign that something might be awry in vajayjay land?

It’s possible that I’m lacking empathy here (and therefore in need of extra prayer from my fellow church ladies), but, as Mark Twain so aptly put it, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt!”

By the way, it’s a boy! If you’re feeling generous and have any baby gear you’d like to pass along to this brilliant Betty, let me know and I’ll make arrangements.

Friday, July 16, 2010

One Month Down, Two to Go

In sixty days (or 1,440 hours, but who’s counting?) I will turn 35 friggin’ years old. About a month ago, when I brought it to my husband’s attention that this monumental b-day was approaching, his response was, “Damn, baby! You’re old!” Since he’s only four months my junior, I’ll dismiss that comment as “cute” and let him live (plus, he IS an integral part of this here baby-making scheme).

Interestingly enough, today also corresponds with day 1 of something else I’ve been expecting. I think that’s an adequate explanation.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nailed it

Clickety clack, clickety clack! “What’s that sound?” you may ask. My fingernails tapping away on the keyboard, of course. Since I began taking prenatal vitamins about one month ago I have noticed that my fingernails have grown longer and stronger than usual. Not Guinness-Book-of-World-Records-haven’t-cut-them-in-so-many-years-they’re-curling-under long, but definitely longer than they usually make it before peeling off.

Supposedly, it’s a myth that prenatal vitamins cause fingernail (or hair) growth. The elevated hormones that come with pregnancy, however, can cause the extra growth. I’m not sure I am totally sold on the myth theory, since my fingernails are obviously (at least to me) longer than normal. My dark roots are following suit, too, so I’ll be making a salon appointment when we get back to Charleston.

On an unrelated note, day 32, and still no shark week. What’s up with that?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

No Tea Party For Me

To steal a quote from the White Rabbit, “I’m late; I’m late, for a very important date!” Today is day 31 of my 29-30 day cycle. In the spirit of masochism, I urinated on ye olde pregnancy test #2 just to confirm the accuracy of the one I took on Sunday. Ditto.

A watched pot never boils, right? In fact, a watched pot will boil-- it just seems to take forever. I guess that’s what’s happening here with the rebooting of the ovarian operating system.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Baby Dust

Two days ago I posted my blog on facebook, or “spacebook,” as my Uncle Kenneth (RIP) called it. The response it generated was quite overwhelming. Not only is everyone rooting for us to get knocked up with their comments (*like*), but my inbox was flooded with encouraging emails and testimonials from empathetic girlfriends who either are or have been in the same position (figuratively speaking).

Most of these commiserates are thirtysomethings like me, but few of them have openly shared their fertility challenges because of pain and isolation they have experienced. We spent the majority of our twenties curled up with our contraceptives of choice, fearing pregnancy like the black plague. The pervading assumption was that once we stopped the preventative maintenance our bellies would swell with offspring. We held friends and acquaintances who cried in our arms because of accidents, which I now prefer to call “surprises.” We took baskets of baby paraphernalia to showers for our young married friends and shuddered at the thought of being responsible for anything more than ourselves (and possibly our pets).

Then we grew up, got married, planned families, only to discover that it wasn’t as easy as we once thought. For me, writing this blog is almost cathartic. I take pleasure in exploring the nontraditional, finding humor in the midst of disappointment and shocking and awing my friends and family. It’s pleasing to think that others might find some morsel of comfort within these lines.

Thanks to those of you who have shared your tips and stories with me, from IVF to adoptions to surrogacy (and all the positions in between). And to those of you who aren’t quite there yet, baby dust!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mean Girls

This is the fertility vase of the Ndebele Tribe!

Does that mean anything to you?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Big Fat Negative

Since I was a little girl, it has been virtually impossible for me to wait for a surprise. Before every Christmas I would wait until my mom and dad were busy, quietly sneak into the living room, carefully unwrap the ends of my presents and peek inside to see what I would be getting. Eventually, my mother must have wised up to this, because one year she stopped putting names on the gift tags, so the gifts remained a mystery until the big day. Foiled again!

On the eve of game day for the Crimson Tide, in the spirit of spoiling surprises (and not being able to play the aforementioned waiting game), we broke down and invested in Clear Blue Easy. The result? As you probably guessed by the title of this post, it was a BFN (big “fat” negative, y’all). At first, I was disappointed and frowny, but then we went to Pei Wei and my pre-dinner fortune cookie opined, “You are a lover of words, someday you should write a book.”

I have since decided to embrace this opportunity to continue my fantabulously hysterical blog with hopes of one day turning it into a best seller (Thank you, Confucius). Anyway, how else would I spend the remainder of my summer?!?

Better luck next time! For now, its T minus 9 months and holding.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Waiting Game

Just in case you were wondering (and I’m sure you were), today is day 27 of my 29-30 day cycle. A mountainous pimple making its debut on my right cheek and my sore ta-tas are probably glaring signs that Aunt Flo is on her way. Plus, I was a teensy bit short tempered last night when I shouted a less than kind suggestion (which may or may not have included a particularly offensive expletive) to our loud, intoxicated neighbors through the hotel wall. (Note to the Westin Riverwalk: Although your beds are extremely comfortable and your rooms impeccably decorated, your paper thin walls have driven a colossal wedge between us. Take a good look at this blemished face, as it will be your last! ). Nevertheless, I am still holding out hope that there might be a bun in this oven.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Name Dropping

It’s not just us common folk that have trouble multiplying… famous people have fertility challenges, too.

Some have success with IVF, such as: Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Christie Brinkley, Marcia Cross, Jennifer Lopez (rumored), Celine Dion, Brooke Shields, Julia Roberts and Danny Moder, The Dixie Chicks (Martie Maguire and Emily Robison), Jane Seymour, David Beckham and Victoria Spice, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, and Gillian Anderson.

Other stars, like Angela Bassett, Kelsey Grammer, Diedre Hall, and Katy Sagal chose to use a surrogate.

Adoption was the option for Jamie Lee Curtis, Hugh Jackman, Sharon Stone, Sheryl Crow, Mary Louise Parker, Diane Keaton, and Kirstie Alley.

Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton went through several failed attempts at IVF, but conceived naturally later.

Studies show that celebrity fertility issues are, in fact, more common than the names they pick out for their children. Studies conducted by me, that is…

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

To Stress or Not To Stress

Two extremely polar views exist about stress and fertility. Most experts claim that stress can negatively impact fertility, especially stress that comes from not getting pregnant. Studies at Harvard University have shown that women who undergo stress-relieving therapies before fertilization have a greater chance of conceiving. Doctors in New Jersey used leg and foot massages on women as experimental treatment before embryos were transferred and noted some measure of success. Personally, I find this a totally awesome and reasonable reason to request a foot massage from Eric (who, by the way, also gives a mean pedicure).

Another school of thought exists among astrologists who believe that lunar phases can impact fertility. According to this theory, the moon can trigger a woman to ovulate twice during her menstrual cycle. They claim that stress and sexual activity can increase this possibility. Each person’s lunar cycle is dependent on the phase of the moon on the day they were born. For a mere $49.99 one can order her own Personal Lunar Fertility Guide, available in only two business days!

Although I’ve never been gaga over astrology (with the exception of checking my horoscope in the back of Teen magazine during my formative years), I do like the idea that stress can trigger double ovulation, allowing me to lay two eggs in one month. You see, stress is my friend. We go way back. We spend most of our time together during the months of August through May (can you guess my profession?), but he frequently pops in for a visit during the summer months, too.

For now, I think I’ll save my $49.99 for something else. Perhaps some organic veggies, another OV Watch sensor, half a pair of shoes, or a quarter of a pair of jeans… or maybe a damn good foot massage.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Good to Great

I mentioned in a former post that after my one experience with the fertility doctor in Georgia I never went back. Well, my better half did return for a semen analysis (you know, to check the old baby batter). A week or so after the test, they called him to give results. The verdict? “Good but not great.” Being the typical caveman that he is, he let that ride without further question. For a while, I did too. When I started blogging about our fertility ventures, however, I became increasingly curious and asked him to get the Semen Analysis Report so my investigative reporter alter ego could Google every aspect and get a more specific prognosis (if you want it done right…).

In order to get the report, he had to call the fertility doctor’s office and get a release form faxed to him, complete it and fax it back, and they faxed him the report. Unfortunately, after he faxed the release back, he was called out to work on the flight line, far, far, away from the fax machine. Whilst he was working away, his report came in without a cover sheet. The title, “SEMEN ANALYSIS REPORT” flashed across the top of the page, bolded in all capital letters. His name was further down, across from the heading, “Collection Method: Masturbation.” One of his female superiors politely rescued it off the fax machine (probably after some other cavemen got a few chuckles out of it), placed it in an envelope and scribbled a reassuring note across the front (something to the effect of “This looked like personal medical information, so I put it in an envelope. P.S. I didn’t read it”).

I have to say he was an awesome sport about the whole thing! I think if it were me I would still be avoiding eye contact with that person. I guess that makes my caveman a little more mature than me. Hmmm… go figure.

The report basically analyzes several main aspects of the semen: general characteristics (such as color, volume, viscosity, odor (!) and round cells), motility, morphology and viability. According to the key, or reference range, provided on the test all of his numbers fall into the normal ranges, with the exception of morphology. Out of 100 sperm, 6% were of normal morphology (it appears the other 94 either had too many Krispy Kremes or need to work on increasing their vocabularies). This sounds like a low percentage, but it really isn’t too far off. The normal range is above 14%, and between 4% and 14% is “good prognosis/ sub-fertile.” Thus, the genius doctor’s categorization of “good, but not great.”

The test was “administered” last October, and according to my book on natural conception, people fluctuate between periods of fertility and sub-fertility. Hopefully the warm, summer weather will get those little tadpoles back in action. Now, if we can both align our fertile periods, we’ll be good (but not great) to go!

Off the Wagon

Okay, it’s confession time. I have totally toppled off the fertility wagon! Not only have I forgotten to wear my Ov Watch on four occasions, take my prenatal vitamin on three occasions and drink my fertility herbs on five plus occasions, but traveling and the fourth of July holiday have also eff-bombed up our fertility diet.

My sweet momma bought a ton of organic fruits and veggies for us (she really wants some grandkids), but traveling back and forth to the hospital in Shreveport to stay with my cousin has made it hard to find time to eat them (Refined Carbs 1, Fertility 0). Plus, I had a couple of cups of coffee on Saturday at Cracker Barrel. The chaos of the last week has blitzkrieged Operation Fertilization to smithereens! Although I suppose it’s not a total loss because we haven’t smoked, drank or taken illicit drugs (or eaten sushi). Yay us.

Before we get the big “FAIL” stamp, I have to put this in perspective, as it was only one week shot to hell. And, we did manage to maintain the baby dance schedule during peak hours, which is probably the most important aspect. In hindsight, I probably should have realized that vacations and strict fertility diet plans don’t mix.

Now that I’ve gotten this off my chest, I feel much better. With about ten more days of vacation, I intend to cowgirl up on the vitamins and herbs. The diet may be postponed until our return to Chucktown (picture Eric jumping up and down, brownies in hand, as I write this).

Sunday, July 4, 2010

And Venus Was Her Name

Bananarama crooned about a “goddess on a mountain top,” but I’m pretty sure that Venus of Willendorf was not what they had in mind when writing these lyrics. This 26,000 year old (that makes her about 25,966 years older than me) figurine of a voluptuous (aka “curvy” on, nude female with exaggerated genitals from the Paleolithic era is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Discovered in Austria in 1908 by archeologist Josef Szombathy, this statuette is considered an icon of prehistoric artwork.

Many people speculate that her gargantuan jugs, expansive belly and magnified vajayjay lend to the theory that she was created as a symbol of fertility and womanhood. Interestingly enough, she has no face, but very intricately designed hair that coils from the top of her head downward. This faceless representation reveals that she is more an emblem of the fascination with the female body, rather than a sculpture of some caveman’s girlfriend.

Hopefully this is no predictor of impending changes due to pregnancy weight gain; because it appears the Venus is in serious need of a mommy-makeover. Just looking at her makes my boobs ache. Lucky for me, Eric has already agreed (after some arm twisting) to procure a personal trainer for me for at least 3 months after we have a baby. I’m thinking of adding a clause to double the length of time in the case of twins.

As for Ms. Wilendorf, she may not make the cover of Vanity Fair, but she is definitely present in numerous art history textbooks. She’s got it! Yeah, baby, she’s got it!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Too Tired. To Write. Till Tomorrow.

You may have noticed that I recently skipped a few postings. Between driving a thousand miles, keeping vigil at the hospital as my orneriest cousin recovers from a terrible car accident, and squeezing in the “deed”, I have been too exhausted. To form complete sentences. But I. Intend to try harder. From here on out!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fertility Rocks!

In my quest to learn about everything fertility, I came across an article about a fertility bracelet worn by Jacqueline on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I’ve never experienced the pure pleasure of actually watching the show, but the article revealed that this particular housewife got pregnant after wearing the bracelet, so I decided to research fertility gemstones and make my own.

Several websites claim that certain natural gemstones such as carnelian, moonstone, and coral contain minerals that can affect the body and enhance fertility. Others claim that particular gemstones and crystals can influence the chakras, thus improving reproductive energy. This sounds a little hokey to me, but I figure it’s worth a shot. Plus, the last time I made jewelry was in elementary school when friendship pins and braided string friendship bracelets were “like, totally gnarly, dude,” so I thought I’d give it a try.

First, I found a bead store on the peninsula called Beads on Cannon. It would have been more aptly named Beads in Da Hood, Beads Behind Metal Bars, or Beads: Don’t Come Here Unless You’re Packing a Cannon, because it was in a rough part of town (emphasis on the rough)! No eye contact was made as I scurried from my car; past shady characters camped out on their porches and abandoned buildings muraled with gang tags.

As I opened the barred doors to enter the store, the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” circled in my mind (remaining there until I finished shopping and began wishing one of the clerks had volunteered to escort me to my car (as I wondered if my rims and wheels were still intact (luckily they were, as apparently they are not “spinny” enough for this crowd))).

Inside the safe haven of the store were beads galore-- two stories of wall to wall bead strands, with hip, friendly staff members to guide me to each type of stone on my list. I even found some egg-shaped freshwater pearls which are particularly symbolic, due to the patience required in their creation and the touted aphrodisiac qualities of oysters.

The bracelet was a cinch to make, with the exception of the clasp, which Eric kindly attached for me. So, in the end it was a team effort (hello, symbolism). Stay tuned to find out if this real housewife of Charleston County will be pregnant in the next episode.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Check Your Fluids

Late last night Eric and I arrived at the Griffin Ranch in Lindale, Texas, after two days of traveling. We were pretty exhausted and all of our toiletries and gadgets were packed away in our luggage. After digging out my toothbrush and face soap in preparation for the nightly ritual of teeth brushing and face washing, I crawled into bed in my parents’ guest room and fell sound asleep. I awoke this morning with one of those “OMG (gasp)! I-know-I-forgot-to-do-something” feelings. Can you imagine my look of disappointment when I discovered I had forgotten to strap on my Ov Watch?

Upon removing the watch from its container, the words, “OV Day 1” shouted out from the display. Hmm… How does it know? Does it have ESP? Could it read my body chemistry from across the room, inside the plastic case in the overnight bag? Is it just a glorified cycle calendar counter? Or is it a useless piece of crap? Questions flooded my one track baby making mind. Nevertheless, there it was in big, fat digital letters. I could sit there, continuing to silently interrogate an inanimate object or simply accept the message as an opportunity.

Note: Squeamish, prudish or ultra-conservative readers who are uninterested in the physical attributes of various bodily fluids may stop reading here and pick this blog up again with tomorrow’s post because it’s about to get “juicy”(I know you’re probably going to keep on reading, but hey, can’t say I didn’t warn you).

Riddle me this, Batman-- What’s clear and stretchy and slippery all over? Cervical mucus (WHAM!).

Despite my revulsion at the term, “mucus”, this slimy goo is actually one of the best ways to determine ovulation. It must be in the category of “undiscussables,” like that “not-so-fresh-feeling” the girl from the ‘80s Massengill Douche commercial lamented about to her mother. No one ever chatted me up about cervical mucus (puts the word secret in this secretion). I had to learn about it on my own, at the ripe old age of 34, from the world wide web (Thanks, Al Gore).

At peak fertility, cervical mucus resembles the consistency of raw egg white and is pliable enough to be stretched about an inch or two between the thumb and forefinger. This viscous nectar provides a hospitable environment for the sperm on their race to reach the egg.

Good thing I learned about this method of detection on the internet, as it confirmed the message displayed on my Ov Watch, even though I had forgotten to wear it. So, we strayed from our every-other-day-baby-dance plan to take full advantage of the moment. If you made it this far, sprinkle some baby dust our way!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Baby Boogie Beats

Annie and Eric's Conception Playlist

Let’s Get it On- Marvin Gaye
In The Still of The Night- Boyz II Men
Your Body is a Wonderland- John Mayer
I’m Yours- Jason Mraz
Sexual Healing- Ben Harper
Truly, Madly, Deeply– Savage Garden
Stir It Up- Bob Marley
Night Swimming- REM
Shameless- Garth Brooks
Your Man- Josh Turner
Forever My Lady- Jodeci
Let’s Stay Together-Al Green
Crash – Dave Matthews

Got any suggestions? Leave a comment!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Boerm To Be Wild

After two and a half years of marriage, I finally took my husband’s surname. I suppose I had resisted it up until this point because I associated it with a loss of my identity. Like Beyonce, I, too, like to think of myself as an independent woman. And, after 34 years the name Annie Belinda Griffin began to grow on me a little.

The thought of relearning my own name seemed embarrassing as well. Several times in the base hospital I have sat in the waiting room, staring off into space as the nurse called for “Mrs. Boerm”, only to jump up on the fifth or sixth call, dumbfounded and proclaim, “Oh, that’s me!”

All along I have promised to change my name, but the timing just didn’t seem right. When we found out we would be moving from Alaska to South Carolina I had to apply for a new teaching certificate, and I didn’t want any confusion among the bureaucrats who approved my credentials. Then, I didn’t want it to affect my direct deposit, because the simpletons in payroll might be too perplexed by my new moniker to put all the pennies into the correct bank account.

Have I mentioned that it’s hard to pronounce? Of German origin, it should be pronounced “Burm”, like “germ” (as my dear friend Silvia pointed out), but Eric was raised pronouncing it “Borm.” Here in the South, it comes out as two syllables, like “Bor-em”—a great name for a teacher! Mrs. Bore ‘Em.

But now that we are planning on having some little Bore ‘Ems, I feel compelled to join the pack. So, it’s official! We’re all on the same team now, and I don’t feel any different. My identity is still intact. Like Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Friday, June 25, 2010

Operation Fertilization

I awoke this morning to the message, “Fertile Day 1” on my Ov Watch. Timing is critical when trying to conceive, since the delicate egg is only fertile six to twenty-four hours. Thereafter it begins to disintegrate a la Mission Impossible. Luckily, Agent Ov Watch is on our side, engaging in a little espionage so we can concoct our plan of attack.

This clandestine operation involves Agent Eric infiltrating the femme fatale every other day, as his amphibious attack squad can abide in the safe house for up to five days before termination. These sleeper cells are waiting for their target to reveal itself. Once the elusive ovum’s location has been determined, the game is afoot!

Operation Fertilization is underway. This message will self-destruct in five seconds…4,3,2,1!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pins and Needles

Today I went to my first fertility acupuncture appointment at Re-Soul on the peninsula. That’s Charleston talk for “downtown”. The streets are narrow and parking is sparse, but the view of the harbor and the rainbow colored mansions was breathtaking. Amy Jo, my acupuncturist and herbalist, was an awesomely caring individual who spent about an hour talking to me and gathering information about my health, cycle, habits, emotions and the like. She took my pulse and examined my tongue, then briefed me on her synopsis of my well-being.

According to Amy Jo, I have a yang deficiency in my liver and my kidneys need to be regulated. She advised that I discontinue drinking coffee, not just for fertility reasons, but to eliminate tension and migraines. Normally, I wouldn’t take this kind of advice so calmly, but coming from this long legged, red headed, nose-pierced, well-manicured beauty it seemed to make sense. Then she made me into a human voodoo doll by sticking twelve thin needles painlessly down the sides of my vertebrae. She left me there to cook while her iPod played in the background. It even played some of the same songs I have on my iPod, so she must be cool (I’m secretly hoping she becomes my new (second) “bestie”.)!

I drifted off into a relaxing sleep for a bit; then she returned about twenty minutes later. Next she burned a moxa, or incense, on my back. It heated up my midsection, and left a little pink mark on my back. As the moxa burned, she explained that she had created a recipe of powdered herbs for me to mix with water and drink three times per day. She demonstrated how to mix it up and had me shoot some right there. It didn’t taste great, but it was bearable. On the way home I felt utter tranquility beyond any peace I have ever felt. It was amazing!

Eric and I leave to go on a three week vacation on Sunday, so she gave me enough herbs to get me through the trip, and my next appointment will be a couple of days after we get back. The initial session cost $120 and the herbs were $25 per week. Surprisingly, I think I’ve even convinced Eric to try it! His main concern is where she will stick the needles!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You Are What You Eat

I’m no stranger to diets. In fact, I’ve tried just about every fad diet there is: Atkin’s, South Beach, Cabbage Soup, Hollywood, grapefruit, starvation (college), cigarettes and coffee (college) and Weight Watchers. Last week, Eric and I started a different kind of diet—a fertility diet.

It’s basically like a Daniel Fast with lean meat and full-fat dairy. The first rule is that everything needs to be organic so we don’t corrupt our bodies with any unnecessary chemicals. You can find organic food in most grocery stores, but I prefer Wholefoods. It seems a little expensive at first, but organic food is pretty pricey everywhere and they have the best variety.

Veggies, especially peas, broccoli, kale, red pepper and pumpkin are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, and just all around good for you. Yams are specifically recommended for fertility and some even say eating them increases the chances of having twins. Both fruits and vegetables have free-radical fighting anti-oxidants, especially blueberries and strawberries. The brighter the color, the better! Citrus fruits, like lemon and oranges provide the body with folic acid, which is great for preconception. Also encouraged on the fertility diet are “clean” fats, like olives, flax, nuts, seeds, and avocado. Lean meat is permitted in moderation. This is a blessing to Eric who almost lost his mind when we did the Daniel Fast earlier this year. He is definitely a carnivore!

This diet also advocates full-fat dairy. I am used to drinking soy milk, which isn’t allowed, so I was a little bummed until I remembered that ice cream undoubtedly qualifies as full-fat dairy. Cheese, yogurt, and whole milk make the cut, too. Buttermilk falls into this category, as well, if you are one of the few people who can choke it down. I happen to love it with my grandad's cornbread, but I'm pretty sure the cornbread is off limits, so I'll exchange it for eggplant, which is a popular fertility combination in India. Women there eat eaggplant and drink buttermilk daily when they want to conceive. I couldn't find any details about why this works, so it may be folklore, but I'm willing to try it.

Here’s the bad news—Caffeine constricts the blood vessels, reducing the flow of blood to the uterus, which can prevent eggs from attaching to the uterine wall. That means I have to limit my coffee consumption. I almost cried when I heard this, because I like coffee even more than ice cream (but only because it has fewer calories). No trans fat is permitted, so Eric had to say goodbye to his beloved Krispy Kremes (a tear may have been shed). In addition, no refined carbs, preservatives, alcohol, smoking, or illicit drugs. That, we can handle.

This diet doesn’t guarantee pregnancy; in fact, it’s pretty close to what we usually eat. It does give us peace of mind that if and when we do conceive, our baby will have a healthy start.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mother Naure, May I?

One Thanksgiving I played hooky from the traditional family gathering, opting instead to accomplish one of the items on my bucket list—witnessing the miraculous monarch migration in Michoacán, Mexico. Unfortunately, I was stricken with pneumonia upon my arrival. On the trip I encountered one mishap after another, making it a miserable vacation, but a riveting story (for another time). To reach my destination, I traveled by plane, train, charter bus, chicken-bus, pick-up truck and finally by foot. A Mexican farmer was my guide, directing me up the mountain to the sweet spot, where the only sound was the flapping of millions of butterfly wings. I coughed, hacked and wheezed my way up the mountain, periodically pausing to rest. Noting my failing health, my guide wandered off the trail for a bit, returning with a handful of green leaves. He motioned vigorously for me to rub them on my face.

“Not the face!” I silently gasped. Uttering a hesitant, “No, gracias,” I nudged the foliage away. But he insisted, explaining in Spanish that the leaves contained healing properties and were commonly used in his village as a natural botanical remedy. Dubious, but not wanting to offend, I took the leaves and scoured my face with them. When we reached the summit it seemed my malady had lifted. Whether it was the leaves or the surreal experience of the butterfly migration is a mystery. At the time I was just thankful I didn’t end up with a hideous rash covering my face.

For thousands of years nature’s bounty has supplied medicinal herbs and botanicals to cure what ails us. In our current venture to conceive I am trying an herb that is known for enhancing fertility. The ironically named chasteberry (vitex angus castus) is associated with reduced prolactin levels which influence Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and estrogen in women. Studies also reveal additional benefits, such as PMS relief and clear skin. Luckily it can be found in both a capsule and a tea, so I don’t have to rub it on my face!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Woman's Prerogative

Yesterday I ranted about pill pushing doctors and the medicalization of infertility. Today, however, I marvel at the wonders of modern medicine. My dear friend texted me this morning to alert me that she was on her way to the hospital to deliver a precious baby girl. It wasn’t too long ago that this couple was weighing their options to determine if they should move forward with IVF. One human gestation period later, they are parents at last! And wonderful, loving parents they will be!

What a blessing, facilitated by fertility doctors and the Lord Almighty! Praise God!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Soap Box

Last October Eric and I drove across state lines to Savannah Reproductive Center to meet with a fertility specialist for consultation. The moment the doctor found out my age he acted as if it were doomsday. You would have thought my uterus would turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight on my thirty-fifth birthday (Up yours, buddy, I’m hott (which can likely be attributed to NOT having children, thank you very much)). To my surprise, less than ten minutes into the appointment visions of laparoscopy, Clomid, and IVF were dancing around in his gigantic head.

This over-eagerness to push pills and perform procedures is all too typical in this era of the medicalization of society. Frankly, it ticked me off. I imagined he would analyze our diets, chart my cycle, ask in-depth questions about our medical histories-- perhaps suggest a few “positions” (bom chicka wah wah). Rather, he skipped right to the money-makers. I left that office having agreed to things I wasn’t comfortable with…things I knew nothing about.

Those of you who know me would concur that this is strikingly uncharacteristic of me. I get this inquisitiveness from my father (shout out to dad on Father’s Day), who my mother has recently limited to asking only 3 questions on any particular subject. Just today Eric noted that I missed my calling as an investigative journalist. Move over, Becky Oliver, here comes Annie Boerm.

With a smidgen of probing, I stumbled upon the following statistics: A healthy, fertile couple stands only a 20% chance of conceiving each month, 5 million Americans experience periods of “sub-fertility” and half of those eventually go on to get pregnant and have healthy babies. Experts say that a woman’s fertility peaks in her twenties, but many women in their forties continue to remain fertile.

It is my personal belief that Dr. Bighead was attempting to perpetrate a fraud against this 34 year old woman. Yet another way our culture aims to make women feel “less than.” We’re not skinny enough, tall enough, nose isn’t thin enough, nails aren’t manicured enough, hair isn’t silky enough, teeth aren’t white enough, skin isn’t glowing enough, bikini area isn’t hairless enough, clothes aren’t stylish enough, purse isn’t expensive enough, and let’s not forget --bOObs aren’t big enough. The quest to be “enough girl”, all glamour-pussed and supermodeled out is utterly exhausting.

I’d be a hypocrite if I said I didn’t buy into some of these lies, but let it be documented that I resent them. Similarly, my antipathy toward this doctor, his injections, and implantations swelled over time. Perhaps my expectations of his services were somewhat grandiose. I recognize that fertility doctors truly help many couples who have actual medical conditions that prevent them from conceiving naturally, and for that, they should be appreciated. But in our case, it just seemed like another instance of fast food pharmacology.

Needless to say, I never returned to Savannah Reproductive Center, and don’t intend to. As for me and my man, we prefer the holistic approach-- vitamins, herbs, acupuncture, massage, and a miracle!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Let's Get Fiscal!

There’s more to getting pregnant than the baby dance. In the midst of researching prenatal vitamins, fertility diets, fecundity gadgets and conception concepts, it suddenly dawned on me that this isn’t all about the physical. If Eric and I are going to add another member to our family, we’re going to have to get fiscally fit, too!

To steal a phrase from Dave Ramsey, sometimes we have “too much month left at the end of the money.” (Can I get an amen?) After a mini-mantrum, Eric begrudgingly agreed to sit down together, financial statements in hand, and analyze our spending habits.

Now, to be perfectly honest, we don’t “want” for anything. We eat organic groceries, wear designer clothes, drive shiny vehicles and host fabulous parties (if I do say so myself!). There’s no coupon clipping around here. As Eric once so eloquently put it, “We have all the luxuries a Tech Sergeant and a Literacy Specialist can afford.” But after a little googling, I discovered that raising a child in this day and age costs an estimated $340,000! Cha-ching!

Subsequent to scrutinizing our finances by color coding our purchases, it was decided that we waste a small fortune on lattes and eating out (we might own shares of Starbuck’s and Chic-fil-A). Thus, we are determined to tote our own thermoses, pack our own lunches and limit our dinner consumption to the dining room. By the way, I’m so glad we went to eat sushi YESTERDAY!

Will these cut-backs earn us the equivalent of a new Ferrari? Doubt it, but ya gotta start somewhere!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sayonara Sushi

Tonight Eric treated me to Zen Asian Fusion for a farewell dinner. No, I’m not going anywhere and neither is he. It was a somber occasion, though--my farewell to sushi dinner. High levels of mercury in fish and shellfish can lead to infertility. Regular consumption of these aquatic creatures can cause methylmercury (a common ingredient in spermicides) to accumulate in the bloodstream over time leading to reproductive toxicity.

Shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel have the highest mercury levels, while salmon, tilapia, catfish, calamari, and caviar are on the low end. Shrimp and oysters have almost non-detectable mercury levels. That’s a tad bit comforting, especially since we live in a Charleston, with a seafood restaurant on every corner (and given that oysters are an alleged aphrodisiac, they might come in handy later)!

Experts say it’s all about moderation. Women trying to conceive who limit themselves to two six-ounce servings of low-mercury fish should be fine, but I’m going to play it safe, since I probably already have about 2,300 cc’s of mercury pumping through my veins due to my sushi addiction.

I also have to lay off the edamame (and soy milk) since soy can lead to decreased FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone). Soy boosts testosterone levels, so my better half can have all the edamame his little heart desires, but I can assure you he won’t go near tofu.

All of this begs the question, “How in the world do Japanese women get pregnant?” Perhaps my dear friend Kimie can answer that one. The good news is that sea vegetables actually boost fertility and enhance the female libido, so when I get a sushi hankering, I’ll have to substitute with seaweed salad (which I LOVE).

So for now, so long spicy salmon. Cheerio, chicken of the sea. Adios, edamame. You’ll be missed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Take Your Vitamins, Say Your Prayers

I started taking a multi-vitamin tonight. Not the yummy-Fred-Flinstone-tastes-like-candy kind of multi-vitamin; a prenatal multi-vitamin. A couple of years ago, when I was still on the pill, I took prenatal vitamins the size of horse tranquilizers because someone told me they would make my hair and nails grow. Turns out that’s a myth. The ones I’m taking now are by Stuart Prenatal. They’re fit for a princess- petit, pink, and engraved with hearts!

According to all of the sources I’ve consulted, vitamins are an integral part of preconception. Not only do they supply much needed folic acid, but taking B6 before getting pregnant can help alleviate nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Too bad the potential side effects sound so unappealing: headaches, intestinal cramps, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn, muscle aches, pains, nausea and vomiting (Can you say “contradiction”?), fatigue, gas, belching, metallic taste, ringing in the ears, insomnia, yellow-orange discoloration of urine and loss of appetite. Woohoo! Can’t wait to ride that train.

Eric and I also made a pact to add this to our nightly prayer list. In the past we threw it in when convenient, but recently we decided to go ahead and bug God about it a little more often—at least for the next 89 days. We can’t ignore the “Your will be done” caveat, because both of us feel sure He has a plan for our family. It might not line up exactly with our plan, but we’re still going to ask and hope that we receive.

In the meantime, we would be grateful for your prayers as well. So tonight, before you go to bed, take your vitamins and say your prayers! XOXO

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Watching and Waiting

My biological clock isn't the only thing ticking around here. My new OV Watch Fertility Predictor is more sporty than fashionable, but luckily I only have to wear it when I sleep.

This device was recommended to me by two of my closest friends, Valerie and Emily. It's a watch-like device that is worn for at least six hours each day, starting on days 1,2, or 3 of a woman's cycle. According to the package it uses a "patented biosensor [that] detects the chloride surge 3 days prior to the estrogen surge, 4 days prior to the LH surge and 5 days prior to ovulation, making it an earlier predictor of ovulation than any other chemical surge during the month."

In plain English, this means no more peeing on sticks, which I'm pretty happy about. Knowing when these 4 days prior to ovulation are gives us a cummulative 80% chance of conceiving, compared to only 5% on the actual day of ovulation.

This handy contraption isn't cheap. It costs $100 for the watch with a sensor that lasts one month. Additional sensors can be purchased later in sets of 3 for another benjamin. A small price to pay when weighed against the potential benefits. I figure if I can justify buying a $300 pair of jeans, I can certainly justify this!

I slept in it for the first time last night and it was very comfortable, virtually unnoticeable, except for the impression it left on my skin the next morning. In fact, it was WAY more comfortable than sleeping in my Rich and Skinnies (of which I am neither).

OV-Watch Fertility Predictor Starter Kit with 1 Month Supply of Sensors

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

There Is No Try

As I was walked through the mall last week an aggressive Israeli kiosk vendor selling Dead Sea skin care products practically bowled me over in an attempt to slather me with her moisturizing youth creams. Obviously unaware of a little concept known as “cultural sensitivity”, this audacious woman had the nerve to inquire about my age as she grabbed my hand and began to massage my fingers with her mineral-rich salve.

“Thirty-four,” I whispered discretely. She stared back, mouth agape. Seeing this as a prime opportunity to withdraw my hand from her clutches, I began to retract, but she clamped down firmly and continued massaging, working her way up my fingers to my wedding ring. “Married?” she queried. “Yes,” I retorted, dumbfounded. “Children?” she continued.

“Who the hell do you think you are—my new bestie?” I wondered. “No.”

“Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m really in a hurry,” I lied. She quickly began spewing off product information about the mystical healing properties of the ointment that now enveloped my forearm all the way up to my elbow. “No, thanks!” I asserted, yanking my arm away and scurrying off towards Dillard’s shoe department in astonishment.

It isn’t every day that I encounter strangers who so abruptly pry into my personal life. But I have to admit the overarching themes of this tête-à-tête are typical of those in conversations with just about everyone I encounter in my daily life.

When people find out that I am thirty-four, married and childless, they want to know why. The rest of the dialogue goes something like this…

“Well, my husband and I have been trying to have kids for a while now.”

“Stop trying. All you have to do is relax.”

“We haven’t been trying, trying. We just haven’t been not trying—if you know what I mean.” (insert blush)

Quite frankly, I’m exhausted by this c’est la vie attitude toward reproduction. Tomorrow begins the 90 day countdown to my 35th birthday, and my clock is ticking. I want a baby. Let me rephrase that-- we (my adoring husband, Eric, and I) want a baby!

Yoda, in his infinite wisdom, said, “Do or do not…there is no try.” Since we’ve been trying for two years to no avail, one might conclude that we are reproductively challenged, but we refuse to buy into that theory. So, for the next ninety days we intend to do (it). We will make a baby, and we’ll do it without the assistance of modern medicine.

We’ll do everything, from acupuncture to zinc and you’re invited to come along on this miraculous carpet ride (pun intended). Join us as we explore fertility and chronicle our adventures in baby making.