Tag Archives: sex

She Says… Thinking Ahead, Looking Forward

I had my 6 week postpartum doctor’s visit a few weeks ago. I was kind of dreading it, since the thought of an internal exam while I was still healing from giving birth sounded more like cruel and unusual punishment than a doctor’s appointment. However, it really wasn’t that bad.

I was, unfortunately, still in the midst of “healing” at that point. Aka I hadn’t stopped bleeding yet. Most of the reading I’ve done say that a woman recovering from vaginal birth should expect to bleed for about 4 weeks (at the most) and then the bleeding should taper much like a period, and end by around 6 weeks. At my 6 week appointment, which was actually 7 weeks after I gave birth, I was still bleeding. A lot. I had called the doctor a few times prior to the appointment since I was nervous about the slow healing. I was walking a lot, so she suggested that the increased exercise might be to blame, but the longer the bleeding went on (and given the heavy amount), she actually became concerned about retained placenta or some other strange complication. She ordered an hCG test (which came back negative) to rule that out. Since I had issues with bloody noses during my pregnancy (and previously in my life), she considered the possibility of a clotting issue, but my bloodwork was within the normal range. She said my stitches healed beautifully and everything appeared normal upon examination. Finally, after several extra appointments and a lot of unnecessary Googling, it stopped. Just a few days ago, at 7 1/2 weeks. It stopped cold turkey… no tapering or changing colors or anything else that I had read would happen. Whatever, I’ll take it.

Now that I’m considering myself “healed”, I feel like it’s time to move toward increasing my activity level and embracing my new body and clothes that actually fit. Yesterday I spent all of Owen’s naptimes going through my closet and purging all of the maternity clothes, and the clothes that are ridiculously too small for me to fit into in the next few months (no one needs that kind of stress of trying on clothes that don’t fit all the time!). Now that my closet is cleared, I can buy a few new items for my fall wardrobe (hello, new jeans without elastic). I unearthed my pre-pregnancy workout clothes, and I intend to get some use out of them as I try to fit workouts into my new daily schedule. I’m also going to cut my hair. Chop it. It’s all part of the process. I’m totally excited.

At my doctor’s appointment, my OB asked me a question that forced me to think ahead, beyond new clothes and new hair. “What kind of birth control are you planning on using?”. Hahahahaha. The idea hadn’t even crossed my baby-filled brain. Birth control? Well, the form of birth control I’m using right now (ahem, abstinence), seems to be working quite well, thankyouverymuch! In all honesty, though, it’s a valid question. Although the old wives’ tale says that a woman can’t get preggo while nursing, we all know someone who proves that theory wrong. So birth control (for someday, when we actually have sex again) is something I need to consider.

As you know, we had a difficult time getting pregnant in the first place. In my personal opinion (after months of Googling and connecting with other women in situations eerily similar to my own), birth control pills are what caused my body to stop ovulating in the first place. Although I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), I don’t fit the classic PCOS profile. I don’t have wonky hormone levels or excessive hair growth or problems with weight gain. My reproductive endocrinologist called it “Lean PCOS”, but I honestly believe it was more a natural reaction to being on birth control for 10 years (and never missing a pill), wherein I effectively trained my body not to ovulate. Anyway, given this history, birth control and I are not friends. I feel very strongly about keeping my body free of added hormones at this point to see if it begins to ovulate on its own. Many women experience a sort of “resetting” of their systems after pregnancy, and issues that plagued them previously are gone. I’m really crossing my fingers that this happens for me, and someday down the line, I get my period like a normal person again.

So that rules out The Pill (even the mini-Pill), as well as any other birth control method that involves hormones. Which pretty much leaves condoms (since I am also opposed to a shot or device that eliminates my period for long stretches and/or inhibits pregnancy for a long time — we’d like to keep this family growing in the next few years!). Ugh, condoms. My hope is that someday I will have regular periods and will be able to use the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), as described in my favorite book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility. But for now, I’m essentially just waiting for my period to return.

Or, you know, I guess I could just continue with our current method. But I’m not sure that bodes well for our intimate relationship :)

He Says… Just to Clarify

So just to clear things up a little bit, when Kate said “guess what we’re doing tonight” it was not exactly what many of you thought she was talking about.  You all have dirty minds and need to get your heads out of the gutter!  Sheesh.  What I was excited about doing didn’t entirely happen last night, though, so we will wait until it happens later this week to post about it.

But, all that said, you kids with your dirty thoughts of what we were going to do ended up getting it in our minds that we SHOULD do exactly that.  So we gave it a try.  It’s been awhile since we’ve tried “that”, and we had both pretty much written it off as something we didn’t really need/want at this point in Kate’s pregnancy.  But we both had little work to do in the afternoon and happened to be home with some free time, so we thought we’d try what basically amounts to a difficult geometry problem.

I think we can both agree that the challenges of sex at this point in pregnancy do not make for the most romantic, amazing experience ever, but we still had some fun.  It’s quite difficult, though, to clear your head of non-sexy thoughts.  You know, things like mucous plugs, or the fact that in Kate’s last exam (which I was present for) the doctor said she could feel the baby’s head.  With her hand.  All those things can get stuck in your mind a little, making it hard to focus on the task at hand.  But we managed.  So we’ll see if that helps to progress her labor.

So you guys will just have to wait a couple more days to find out what it is that Kate was talking about.  It’s really probably not as exciting to you as it is to us, but we’re pretty excited.

She Says… Confession Time

Since the beginning of this whole babymaking process, Benjamin has posted many times about sex. For awhile there, it was kind of the only part of the process he participated in, and so it was his topic of choice :)  I, on the other hand, was content to let Benjamin spill the beans from his perspective, and kept a bit quieter about this subject. Partly it’s because I know our parents read this blog (hi, Mom!), and partly it’s because I know it’s a topic that is so unique to each couple, and I don’t like the idea of people comparing themselves to us in any way. Call me old-fashioned!

However, I feel like I need to mention it from the pregnant woman’s perspective, if only to offer my experience as a comfort if other women are struggling with some of the same challenges. If you’re one of those lucky pregnant women who had/are having the best sex of your life while pregnant, more power to you. Apparently I am not.

Pregnant sex, for me, is… tricky. As you can see from my belly pics, I am pretty much hiding a soccer ball under my shirt at this point, so the sheer logistics of skin-to-skin contact are a challenge. But even that can be overcome with a bit of creativity. Unfortunately, even when all the bits and pieces are in the right place, I feel all kinds of weird pokes and prods and flutters and kicks in my stomach. Not to mention the fact that I can barely breathe when my lungs are smooshed one way or the other. Also, my balance is off and my arms get tired holding up my torso and I often feel like my “delicate” new body is squished uncomfortably. For me, it’s not even the weirdness of “Oh, there’s a BABY between us” (which is, if you think about it, strange enough to derail most peoples’ sexual momentum); it’s more that I’m so distracted by the strange sensations that I can’t concentrate on anything.

Oh, and another thing. While I know that Benjamin loves and adores me, I’m not sure he totally digs my pregnant body. Let’s be honest… it’s foreign. I have curves in places I’ve never had curves before (and believe me, I was relatively curvy to begin with). It’s not that he doesn’t love my pregnant body, as I know he is as amazed and awe-struck as I am about the changes taking place. But it IS a little disconcerting to watch the person you’ve been seeing naked for many years blow up like a balloon in a matter of months. My once-cute feet have turned into sausages and you can no longer see much muscle definition in my arms. My boobs have gotten bigger (which would generally have a positive effect on his desire), but along with them has come a stomach so round that the skin looks like it might burst. Don’t get me wrong — I still think I’m a cute pregnant lady :) I just think it’s a lot for a husband to witness and not feel a little alienated at times.

The bottom line is that our relationship is far from dwindling because of this shift in priorities. Our love for each other get stronger with every day that brings us closer to having our little guy in our arms. And we really can’t get enough of spending time with each other. But I think we’ve entered a new phase in our lives; one in which sex is not a top priority. And for the next 10 weeks, it might not even be a priority at all. And I think that’s totally ok. It’s just… different.We both recognize how important intimacy is to our relationship; we’re just exploring the difference between intimacy and sex.

So, I’m scared to open up this can of worms. But… anyone have anything to add?

He Says… Let’s Talk About…

Sex.

(I will try to keep this as educational and family friendly as possible.)

So, I feel that I should bring up this subject, well, because sex is posing to be a bit of a challenge for us currently.  In the first 6-8 weeks of pregnancy Kate was so exhausted and she (especially) had this protective feeling over the fragile baby inside her that sex was not at the top of either of our lists.  Once we got past the first couple months and felt pretty comfortable that Piccolino was doing well and was protected inside Kate’s belly, things got sort of back to normal (well, normal-normal and not “baby-making normal”, which was not exactly normal).  Still, Kate was not feeling especially up for it all the time.  I hoped that she would hit the second trimester “horny-like-a-teenage-boy” stage, but now that we are well into the second trimester I can safely say that ain’t going to happen.

I do think that Kate’s libido has increased somewhat over the previous trimester, but now sex is a little strange for both of us.  The problem is, well, that we are not exactly alone anymore.  As you can see in the belly pics, Kate has more than popped and is looking quite pregnant nowadays.  That space between us has gotten MUCH smaller, and that makes things a bit challenging. I know we are both quite aware that our unborn child is there, and that is strange, to say the least.  Even though I feel confident that he is well-protected I just can’t get it out of my head that he is there. And most of the time Kate can feel him, which is… distracting to her, to be sure.

We are creative individuals, and certainly try more pregnant belly-friendly “things”, but still, he is there.  Somehow involved in this process that we feel should just happen with the two of us alone.

I am certainly aware that Kate has quite a bit more growing to do and as we start to feel Piccolino kick and move more and more, I think the physical and mental challenges of later pregnancy sex may be too daunting to overcome.  A few years ago our friends were pregnant and they were told not to have sex for all of their pregnancy because she had placenta previa.  I remember thinking how horrible to abstain from intercourse for 9+ months.  Well, I think now that it’s not such a horrible thing to need to cut out during this time in one’s life.  Certainly we’ll survive.

Now that I’ve spilled the beans on this “private” topic, I am curious to hear other people’s stories (and maybe Kate will write about it from her perspective, too).

He Says… Can’t take my eyes off of you

Ok, I promise this isn’t going to be another sappy lovey-dovey post.  In fact, this may have almost the opposite effect (although that is not my intent).

I can’t stop looking at Kate these past few weeks.  If I am sitting on the couch with her, watching her brush her teeth or passing by her in our kitchen, I just can’t stop staring.  And it’s generally not at her beautiful face.  Instead my gaze is directed at her ever expanding stomach.  Now, I probably should have learned in my 30 years that you are not supposed to stare at a woman’s stomach (especially one that is getting bigger and bigger) but I can’t help it.  You see, I am just finding it especially unusual to watch someone who I have known for 8 years take on an “unusual” shape.  Every day it seems that she is getting bigger and bigger, and I know we also have a long way to go and a lot more growing and growing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love what I see, but it is just kind of, well… strange, I guess.

Part of it is the actual physical change, but a large part is also knowing there is a little person inside of her.  While this miracle of life is how we all came to be on this planet, I sort of find the thought of this living being inside of my wife to be kind of creepy.  (Maybe it’s from seeing “Aliens” too many times.)  This extra person is especially unusual when Kate and I have some, um, alone time.  I never thought that would bother me, but it does a little.  What we do alone, should be alone (except for the fact that we share some of the details of this on our blog) and I’d rather not have someone else in the room during this.

Anyway, I am excited to see Kate get a lot bigger and pregnanter (I won’t use the “f” word).  It’s neat and cool and strange and unusual and I imagine many husbands have similar thoughts about this expanding process.  Still, Kate, you are more beautiful than ever and I love you so much, and I hope you don’t mind me staring at you in this way.

She Says… I’m back!

I’ve heard other women describe this point in their pregnancies before. Many say that all of a sudden, one morning around 12 or 13 weeks they woke up and felt fabulous. The nausea of the first trimester was mysteriously gone, their energy and sex drive increased, and they began to LOVE being pregnant. A few weeks ago, in the throes of all-day nausea, excruciating exhaustion and an intense fear that any minute something was going to go wrong with the tiny baby growing inside me, I really couldn’t imagine waking up one morning and having it all be gone.

And while it didn’t happen all in one morning for me, over the last week or so I have started to feel the fog lift. The nausea has passed, I have been able to make it through a normal work day without falling asleep at my desk, and hitting the 12 week mark has almost entirely eased my fears about miscarriage. Now, I’ll be the first to say that my 1st trimester experience was NOT THAT BAD. My sister, for instance, spent nearly 6 months puking every day with her current pregnancy. I never threw up once. But as I’ve started to feel more like my pre-pregnancy self over the last few days, I’ve realized just how out of whack I had been.

Cooking
One of my favorite things in the world is cooking. It’s like therapy to me. It’s my passion. I love the process of menu planning, trying new ingredients, and the sounds and smells of chopping, sizzling, roasting, baking, etc. And I love having a husband who both appreciates my love of cooking, and is willing to try all of my new recipes with an open mind. The other night, after a run of pizza, frozen pasta with vegetables, and grocery store salad bar for dinner, he said to me, “Honey, I miss your cooking”. And that was that, all of a sudden I wanted to get back in the kitchen again. The lovely combo of nausea and exhaustion had pretty much kept me out of the kitchen for the last few weeks. Oh don’t get me wrong, you could often catch me with one hand in the pantry or rummaging through the ‘fridge, but I hadn’t made a delicious home cooked meal in weeks. Which is really unlike me. So I’m spending today flipping through my “Cooking Light” and “Every Day with Rachael Ray” magazines and finding the pages I dog-eared months ago, before I started wanting only crackers and bagels. It’s going to be a delicious week! I might even kick-start the week with some homemade bread today. Yum.

Exercise
I know, I know, I used to write about exercising a lot. Somehow I went from someone who obsessed over just how much I could exercise while trying to conceive, to someone who barely went to the gym at all in the last 2 months. I blame it on the exhaustion. I could barely get myself to work and back without feeling like I was going to die. But, as with so many other symptoms, the exhaustion is disappearing and I’ve had the opportunity to hit the gym more often in the last two weeks. It feels awesome! I’ve always wanted to be the cute, pregnant lady workin’ it out on the elliptical, not the overly fat one sitting on the couch stuffing her face. I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I’ve been a bit more of the latter recently. But now I feel like a new life has been breathed into me. I’m back! I’m back at the gym, I’m back to yoga almost every morning, I’m back to enjoying breaking a sweat and feeling sore muscles the morning after a really great workout. I still have quite a bit of work to do to get back to my previous level of fitness, but I’m working up to it slowly and adapting my routine for my new pregnant body.

Sex
Not going to go into great detail here, since now all of our friends and family are reading (hi, Mom!), but let’s just say that the first trimester put a bit of a damper on our sex life. Between feeling pukey and being exhausted by 3pm, I wasn’t really up for a lot of action. Couple that with fear that sex will somehow increase the risk of miscarriage, and you have a recipe for, ummm, a bit of a dry spell. That said, I feel like the tide is turning. I’m sure Benjamin will be happiest about this new development :)

So, to all the ladies struggling through the 1st trimester… trust me, it will pass! And all those who have made it through this miraculous transformation can understand the relief and excitement I feel for the next trimester. Yay!

He Says… Sexy Time!

feet

Today Kate told me that she is PUPO (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise).  I think this is a really silly acronym, and kind of funny that somebody came up with it, but yes, I guess she is PUPO.  So we have to wait a week and a half now to see if all of our hard work paid off.

Ok, so baby making isn’t exactly hard work, but we definitely had a sort of funny night on Thursday when we knew the time was right…for everything but our libidos.  Kate’s OPK was positive on Wednesday which meant that Tuesday-Thursday were the prime days for “having relations”.  Wednesday we had a “nice” evening, but we agreed that we should cover all our bases on Thursday too.  But I had worked a really long day on a shoot and didn’t get home until 10pm and had another early shoot the next day.  Without getting too specific, let’s just say this was one of the first times in my life that when presented with the option of having sex that I really was not interested (and Kate, I love you, you know it was not you).  I made this perfectly clear, but was not trying to back out of my responsibilities.  I just wanted my case known.  Kate was pretty much in the same boat, but was a little more adamant that we had a job to do.  I think she found it quite funny that I was in such an abnormal state; I doubt I have EVER turned down sex.

Fortunately, as a guy, this small speed bump of not wanting sex was quickly overcome and we took care of our business and all was good.

And for all those discussing the possibility of twins because of her giant pair of follicles… you are scaring me!

She Says… OUCH!

All day yesterday I felt cramping and fullness in my lower, left abdomen… you know, right about where my left ovary might be. I was shocked to realize I can actually feel those two big follicles! While Benjamin and I were, ermm, following the doctor’s orders, I could feel the spot aching and it kind of felt like it was being poked and prodded. Not terrible pain, just enough to annoy me and distract me from the task at hand (sorry, honey!). 

Then, this morning at 5am I was woken up by more pain. It felt like I had a really uncomfortable gas bubble or something… but it wasn’t in my stomach, it was definitely off to the left side and more internal than normal gas pain. Still not terrible pain, but enough to wake me up. I could barely get back to sleep, I was so excited that I might actually be feeling ovulation! The only thing that makes me nervous is that I felt something similar last month (remember? I described it as mittelschmerz), and then I didn’t really ovulate. But I’m trying to remember to TRUST THE DOCTORS and believe that ovulation is really taking place this time.

Since I was up, and it was only an hour before I normally wake up and take my basal body temperature, I thought I’d take it, just to see. The day before I had been at 97.7. This morning at 5am it was 98.3! For realsies, I think this means I ovulated. Let’s HOPE that number stays nice and high, and continues to climb over the next two weeks!

So now I’m at work, and the pain has mostly subsided. I still feel the “gas bubble” feeling, especially after I pee. And it is sore when I get up out of my desk chair. In an effort to keep those little follicles happy, I’m going to skip the gym today and give the dog a nice walk instead.

Have you ever felt your growing follicles or ovulation? Is there anything else I can do to make SURE I ovulated?

She Says… Trust Me. I’m a Doctor.

Ok, the nurse called me back. For those that need a little background, check out my previous post.

She said that my follicles looked great! The tech even mentioned during my appointment that my uterus looked “perfect” (there’s that word again… if everything is so perfect down there, why aren’t I ovulating or getting preggo?!).  Oooh, I’m blushing! The two big follies in the left ovary (24mm and 25mm) were definitely mature. Most docs like to see follies measuring 18mm-22mm on medicated cycles. So mine were nice and big! Even more importantly, the nurse said that my bloodwork showed an LH level of 56.6. I googled the heck out of that one, and found out that anything >20 is considered a surge big enough to cause ovulation. Wahoo! Big numbers!

So, bottom line is that it looks like my body is going to ovulate on its own (maybe it’s happening right now?!). The nurse said not to use the Ovidrel. I was kind of bummed, since I don’t know whether or not to trust my body this time around (since last time I got a positive OPK, but then a progesterone test indicated I didn’t really ovulate). I kept asking her, “Ok, but would using the trigger HELP in any way?”. She said no, there was no reason to use it if my body was ovulating on its own. So I’m going to put down my Google PhD and TRUST THE DOCTORS. I didn’t use the injectible hcG (even though I really, really wanted to), and Benjamin and I enjoyed some afternoon delight to take advantage of the possible ovulation happening at that very moment.

We scheduled a progesterone test for next Wednesday to check my levels, and a blood pregnancy test the following Wednesday (the day right before Thanksgiving).  Benjamin and I were instructed to “have relations” (I still giggle a little bit on the inside when the nurse says it like that) today and tomorrow to make sure we hit the ovulation time. Uh, got that covered. Although I may have to go in late to work tomorrow to make sure we stick to our timeline!

She Says… Home Again, Home Again

Ahhhhhhhh. It feels so nice to be home!

On the babymaking front: I finished up my Clomid a few days ago and have been taking 2 teaspoons of Robitussin a day since then to improve my cervical mucus. Not really sure if it’s working yet, or even if it’s something I need to be doing, but the medicine’s not all that bad, and I figure a little cough medicine isn’t going to hurt me. I started using my ovulation predictor kits (OPK) yesterday morning. Negative yesterday and negative today. That is perfect; it’s kind of nice to have a few days of negatives to give me a baseline and make sure there’s a CLEAR difference between today’s reading and the positive I’m going to get in a few days (positive thinking, right?). Just to be on the safe side, my willing husband and I are covering our bases, so to speak. Last month I got my positive OPK on cycle day 15. This month, cycle day 15 should be next Wednesday. Although I’m going to be using the OPK’s every morning until then just to be sure I don’t miss it, I’m not going to be disappointed until at least Thursday if I don’t see a dark pink line. On Thursday if I haven’t gotten a positive, I will go in for bloodwork and ultrasound to check out my progress. If everything’s looking good but I haven’t ovulated yet, we’ll be instructed to use the injectible Ovidrel that’s been sitting in our ‘fridge since last month. I’m hoping that we get a distinct positive early next week and can verify that I ovulated. That would be a huge success!

In other news: Benjamin and I are enjoying our relaxing weekend together. We went on a little date to Whole Foods last night and re-stocked the kitchen with delicious food. We planned out meals for the next week and made some awesome fish tacos last night for dinner. Today I’m baking bread, catching up DVRed tv shows and exercising. Ahhh, what a wonderful life :)