Monthly Archives: April 2009

She Says… At Least I’m Not Smug

She Says… Bit the Bullet

It has now been 71 days since I last got my period and went off birth control. That is two and a half cycles. In that time I have, on two separate occasions, thought I was preggo, identifying and overanalyzing “symptoms” that may or may not have really existed (not to mention spending time and money on unneeded pregnancy tests!). The whole process has opened my eyes to the reality that I actually have no idea what’s going on with my body. As a well-educated, intelligent person with a passion for living a healthy life, that bothers me. And it’s a little hard to admit.

My insatiable appetite for Googling has led me to countless discussion boards and websites for women trying to conceive. And the #1 response to almost every single one of these women is: Buy Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. When my primary care physician mentioned this same book, I felt like I was being hit over the head. Why hadn’t I bought the book yet? I was getting information from all kinds of different sources, but neglecting the one source that hundreds of women endorse (and have for many years… this is not a new book). I think one reason I didn’t want to buy the book is that I didn’t want to admit how much I don’t know. Obviously that is a ridiculous reason, as the ignorance may be costing me valuable time “trying” to conceive.

So I bit the bullet. And bought the book.

I cracked it open last night, highlighter and pen in hand, ready for my first lesson. I could not put it down. I’m only on page 55 and already I have learned a few things reminiscent of fifth grade Health class that I did not know before (!), and am excited to begin putting this knowledge into practice by paying close attention to my own body. Weschler’s entire theory (though I am already quite convinced it is not just a theory… it is undeniable, scientific truth) is predicated on the idea that the commonly held belief that the average woman’s cycle is 28 days is a myth. For me, the bottom line is that even though I haven’t gotten my period in 71 days, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve “failed” at two cycles; I could be on a completely different calendar from the average woman. I can’t wait until I have time to read more. (Although I read on the subway on my way home from work everyday, I think I’ll be leaving this book at home… I may be an emancipated woman, but I still don’t feel comfortable reading a fertility book with images of cervical fluid on every other page in public!).

In the meantime, I also called my gynecologist to see when it would be appropriate for me to come back in to see her. She said I should call back and make an appointment in two weeks (a full 3 cycles since I went off birth control with no period), and she’d run some tests. So, the wheels are in motion! I’ll get this thing figured out in no time.

He Says… Feeling Old

I had some concern that I would wake up on Friday (my 30th birthday) and all my hair would be gone or gray, or I would need to start popping some little blue pills, but so far so good for the start of my 30s.  As Kate mentioned, I have, at times, gotten worked up about birthdays.  I remember a period of a few years where I seemed to always end up in tears on my birthday (I was even dumped once at a birthday party in high school); but I think I have gotten over those years.  Sure, I had high hopes of being a household name by this age, or being rich enough to never have to work again, but frankly, I am pretty content with where I am.  A good friend of mine (who has more than a decade on me) once told me: “Your 20′s are for figuring out what you want to do with your life and your 30′s are for starting to put those goals into motion.”  Luckily, I feel that I have a jump start on that with my personal and professional goals, so I can cruise into my 30′s with a plan already in motion.  And this year I will be half my father’s age, so it seems fitting that this is the year that Kate and I are trying to have our first child (although I was the second child… my Dad was 26 — Kate’s age – when my sister was born).

Anyway, my wonderful wife threw me a perfect birthday party on Saturday night.  Mother Nature delivered a perfect present with July weather in April; it was in the 80s and sunny. We celebrated the weather and my birthday with a perfect outdoor bbq with 15 of our friends.  Kate made an impressive amount of delicious food, there were great drinks, and we ran out of propane in our grill just as the meat was cooked.  It was so nice to be outside and enjoy our house.  After the cookout, a bunch of us headed a few blocks from our house to go candlepin bowling at an old place we had never been to before.  Turned out to be very cool and retro (although do you still call it retro if it is all original?).  They have no bar, but turned a blind eye to our Nalgenes of “Gatorade”.  For those not in the Northeast, candlepin is small ball bowling, straight pins, and 3 balls per turn.  Most people find it very hard compared to big ball, or “normal” bowling.  I am one of those people.  I am notoriously bad at candlepin (and quite good at big ball).  In my inebriated state I seemed to improve my skills, but still could not beat Kate (who is a surprisingly great candlepinner).  It was a great end to our night, and we all stumbled home in the psuedo-summer air.

benjbowling  benjbowlingshoes

I will end by quoting a friend who wrote me a funny email the day before my birthday.

“Happy Almost Birthday. The last day of 29, I would imagine, is a tough one. Although, I guess having a house/wife/dog/stable work you like gives you a leg up on probably 90 percent of people who are our age and hopefully spares you the obligatory “I’m 30, what the fuck am I doing with my life” existential crisis. Good on you, Mr. American dream.”

She Says… House Becomes Home

Benjamin turns 30 today. Big birthday. I think he’s a little freaked out by it. Personally, I’ve never been too concerned with what ” number” I’m turning. But I think my darling husband has some vestige of promises he made to himself once upon a time about what he wanted to accomplish by the time he turned 30 swimming around in his head. As with many boy dreams, they probably involved making $1 million, driving a hot sports car, and possibly being a rock star — none of which has been accomplished.

The reality is, though, that he has accomplished so much more. He is way ahead of many of most of his 30-year old buddies: He is married (to a pretty fabulous wife, I might add!). He owns a two-family house, and the most outrageously adorable (and well-behaved) dog. He successfully runs his own business. He has wonderful friends and family who we see often for lovely meals and impromptu poker games. I could go on forever, but I won’t bore you with the list :)

Especially living in the Boston area, owning our own home (a two-family, nonetheless) is perhaps our most outstanding achievement so far. This summer we will have lived in our house for 4 years. Somewhere along the line, our house has become a home.

Last night, as I strolled down our street on my way back from an evening walk with our dog, Schnitzel, I was struck by how at home I felt. The air is finally starting to turn warmer (they are calling for 80 degree weather for our birthday celebration tomorrow!), the sun was still on the horizon at 8pm, and the sidewalks were bustling with neighbors enjoying it all. And as I walked up the stairs to our house, I paused for a moment to take it all in — how far we’ve come since the day we moved in, how settled and happy we are in our life, how I can’t wait to bring a baby into our blissful little routine.

So tomorrow we’ll gather our nearest and dearest and celebrate Benjamin entering his third decade. There will be homemade red velvet cupcakes and (undoubtedly) an overabundance of food and drinks. And then we’re going bowling. And I plan to enjoy every minute of it, and not wish it away, thinking about the future.

She Says… Family Vacay

hotel

This past weekend, Benjamin and I took a long weekend and went to Martha’s Vineyard with some of his family. Vacationing with family, even one’s own, can be — how shall I put it — a test of one’s nerves. And, in my opinion, doing it with someone else’s family is even tougher. Yes, I realize they are my family now that we’re married, but they are still not exactly my family. The weekend was filled with sleeping in, eating overindulgent meals and getting ice cream several times a day, a lot of drinking, and a few activities like mini-golf and sightseeing. Although those activities sound enjoyable enough, I found that it was hard for me to really relax and be comfortable when I was so off of my normal schedule.

katelobbyAs I’ve said previously, in the past year or so I have made a shift towards eating whole, natural foods and exercising. My entire philosophy of how to enjoy myself must have shifted somewhere along the line too, because I was not blissfully relishing the sloth-like schedule of sleeping until noon, eating ridiculously extravagant meals and mostly just sitting around. Especially as I’ve been preparing myself to be a babymama, I have come to enjoy eating healthily. And I enjoy getting exercise. And I enjoy taking care of myself. Realistically I know that one weekend of eating poorly and not exercising is not going to undo any of the work I’ve done or make me gain 10 lbs all of a sudden… but it just felt bad. And, even though I got the negative pregnancy test before I left, I still feel like I want to do my best to be in tip top physical shape for whenever I do get a positive.

Don’t get me wrong… I ate and drank like a champ. After seeing that “Not Pregnant” readout last Thursday, I guiltlessly guzzled wine and chowed down on goat cheese to my heart’s content. But it did make me think of how our family vacations will be different when we have a baby.

cliffs

benjgolf

katealpaca

She Says… Feeling like a Popped Balloon

I woke up this morning at 5am and had to pee. Immediately I remembered that we planned to take a pregnancy test today. If you’ve been keeping up with me, you’ll know that I went off birth control about two months ago and have not yet had a period. Although the hubster and I have been doing our darndest to make a baby in that time, I’m skeptical that I’ve started ovulating again yet. According to the calendar, I should have gotten my period two days ago. I have a pimple the size of Rhode Island on my nose, I’ve been crampy and irritable the last few days… in short, I thought maybe this was going to be it. Honestly, at this point, I would be happy with either “it”: getting a positive pregnancy test or getting my period.

I didn’t want to wake up so early this morning, so I debated with myself if I could hold it until 6am, when my alarm would go off. I couldn’t. So I got up, peed in a cup, and dipped the stick. I laid it gently on the counter, said a little prayer, and got back into bed. No surprise… I couldn’t fall back asleep knowing that the results were sitting in the other room. I rolled around until 5:45am and then stumbled into the bathroom to see what I could see: “Not Pregnant”.

Pop! I felt… deflated. Let down. Like all the hope and stress and excitement that I had puffed myself up with had evaporated all of a sudden. I didn’t cry or get upset, I just breathed all of that spazzy energy out, and moved on with my day.

 The upside of this negative test is that we will not be having  a December baby. When Benjamin and I first discussed trying to get pregnant, we both agreed we did not want a baby with a birthday on or around Christmas. The holidays are so hectic already, I feel like the kid gets the short of the stick when their birthday is not a special event. That’s why we weren’t even going to start trying until May or June… but we were too anxious. This negative test brings me one month closer to a spring baby, which brings to mind idyllic days strolling in the sunshine with the little one. That sounds much nicer than crazy December birthdays overshadowed by the holidays, and not being able to take a newborn outside for 3 months since it’s so darn cold here in Boston in the winter.

The downside is, of course, that I still don’t know if I am ovulating. It has been 58 days since my last period. I think it’s time to call the doctor and see what’s going on down there (or not going on, as the case may be).

He Says… Thank you, Gosselins

I have been a bad blogging husband the last few weeks as we have played the waiting game.  Spring has started out very busy for me work-wise, and meanwhile Kate and I are just waiting to see what is happening in baby-making land.  So that is my excuse for not posting.

So I will write a little about something I was going to write a few weeks ago, but then never got around to doing it.  It is my public thank you to Jon and Kate Gosselin (as well as my public admittance that I actually watch Jon and Kate Plus Eight).  Now, I am probably not the ONLY male viewer of their show, but I certainly imagine that a poll among my friends over one of our weekly poker games would leave me as the sole viewer.  In fact, very few of them have probably ever turned on the TLC network. 

My Kate started watching Jon and Kate Plus Eight a couple years ago, and at first I never joined in.  In fact, I cringed when I saw her watching it.  It was a fear-based reaction on many levels. Part of the fear was the thought of anyone having EIGHT children (which I guess is nothing, now that TLC has shows for families of 12 and 20), and part was the horrific shot they show in the intro of Kate Gosselin when she was well into her second pregnancy with a stomach the size of a Blue Whale.  But I think most of the fear was that if I sat down and watched the show, my Kate would think I was ready for babies.  Plus, the show seemed quite dull to me at first glance.  There seemed to be a lot of yelling, a lot of crying, many smacks from Kate to Jon, but not much else.  How much finger painting among toddlers who had to be subtitled was actually interesting? (Although as you can see, I am sure the same could be said about the lack of quality in many of the movies I watch.) 

Anyway, I am not exactly sure how or when it happened (maybe there was nothing else on our Tivo?) but one night I started watching it… and regretfully realized I was actually enjoying it.  Now I have seen just about every episode in the last few seasons and can name and recognize all of the children.  As the family has gotten older, the children have become more interesting and entertaining.  Most importantly, I think, the show has actually made me more ready to have a baby (1 baby at a time… and only 2 or 3… TOPS!).  I sort of look at the Gosselins with an “if they can do it with 8 kids, then we could handle 1″ kind of attitude.  I commend the show for not becoming typical reality show drama, and maybe it makes some of the episodes not particularly exciting (like an episode on Kate making soup), but it seems to be fairly real, which is nice.  After watching this season’s finale, my Kate mentioned how Jon Gosselin was recently in the news for allegedly getting drunk at a bar with some college girls, and that the Gosselins’ relationship may be on the rocks. Obviously I have no idea what actually happened that night, but it made me sad to read all these supposed “reports” that the Gosselins were getting divorced.  I chalk it up to tabloid fodder, but it made me a little sad to read.

Anyway, I hope they continue the show as long as they see it prudent for their family, and I thank the Gosselins for sharing their lives with us.

  

P.S. If you ever hear a report about Aaden or Alexis getting kidnapped, it was probably us.

She Says… How long do I wait?

Ever since I was 12 and became a woman, so to speak, I have been inconvenienced by having my period. It was uncomfortable, bothersome, and really just an annoyance. Although I knew it was a pretty amazing biological experience that would someday make it possible for me to have babies, I really could do without it on a month-to-month basis. How did it come to pass, then, that I am practically dying to have my period again?! I’m not really dying to… but it has been 52 days since I started my last one. And, although for a little while I entertained the possibility that I was preggo, three negative pregnancy tests have proven otherwise. 

Yoo hoo! Where are you, my little monthly friend? I can appreciate that you are a little off of your normal routine since I stopped taking those little blue pills at the end of February… but now I need you to get your butt back in gear and get on a regular schedule! Either that, or don’t come at all, and let me pee on a stick (one more time!) and see the word “Pregnant” appear. One or the other.

So as the days go by, I’m wondering: how long is too long? I’m coming up on 2 months with no period. Although that’s not normal, persay, it’s not terribly abnormal for someone coming off of birth control… but when should I call the doctor? Or begin to worry? And what can she do for me? As I’ve said before, I’ve read that it takes women my age an average of 6 months to get pregnant, assuming everything is pretty much normal. So really, 2 months is nothing. But not getting my period at all indicates that I may not even be ovulating at all, so it’s almost like the clock hasn’t even started yet. Aside from old wive’s tales (eat more yams! try acupuncture! fertility tea! drink grapefruit juice!) and heavy drugs, there isn’t much I can do except wait. And wait. And wait.

She Says… Belly Envy

Now that we are officially “trying” to get preggers, it seems everywhere I look I see pregnant women, and every conversation I have involves babies! Maybe it’s just that I’ve become more aware, or maybe it’s because all of a sudden everyone I know is hitting that “it’s just about time to have a baby” stage of their lives. Several of my close friends have had babies within the last year or so, and it never takes long for people to ask the hubster and I when we’re going to join the party.

It’s a funny thing, though, because although you want to share the news that you’re moving into a new stage of your life,  you don’t necessarily want everyone to know you are “trying”. Especially not those friends who got pregnant the first time they tried, or didn’t even have to try at all. Even though it is fairly irrational (as no one would blame you for having to “try”), it does feel like some sort of failure not to get pregnant immediately. Especially for a slightly neurotic perfectionist like myself. I mean, if we are put here on this earth to reproduce, then what does that mean for women who can’t get pregnant? Are they evolutionarily useless?

Now don’t worry, I’m not putting myself in that category just yet. I fully realize that I’ve only been off birth control for a little over a month, which obviously has given us only one chance to make a baby so far. If that. Since I haven’t gotten my period yet at all, it’s very likely that my body hasn’t even started ovulating again since going off the pill. So, in reality, I haven’t failed; I just haven’t been given the chance to try! Also, I know that it takes women my age an average of 6 months to get pregnant, not to mention the fact that I have only a 15% chance of getting pregnant each month! When you look at the math, it’s amazing babies are ever conceived.

She Says… Pregnancy and Job Security

I work in Human Resources. I started with my current company fresh out of college and full of enthusiasm about the idea of a “real” job. I began as an HR assistant, and quickly worked my way up the ranks to HR Generalist and now my current position working in Training & Development. While the work was always “work”, I found ways to challenge myself and prided myself on learning new technologies, skills and expanding my horizons in the HR field. I even started a Masters program to follow my interest in organizational learning and intended to take that knowledge into corporate training. Now, after 3 years, I am bored. B-O-R-E-D. I could do my job with my eyes closed, and have not learned anything new in several months (except maybe how to do my work so efficiently that I can spend several hours poking around the internet without lowering my productivity).

If this were any other time in my life, I would most likely be scouring the internet for job postings and considering a career shift. However, the reality is that most employers require one year of service before they grant you maternity insurance benefits. Ay, there’s the rub. If I switch jobs now, and get pregnant soon, I may be left without proper insurance. I’d rather be bored than unable to pay my bills. (This is all compounded by the current economic slump, of course! No guarantees I’d even be able to find a job right now, even considering my shiny, new Masters degree).

That certainly got me thinking, though, that I’d better hold onto my current position as tight as I can right now. Bored or not. Because being laid off right now would put me in an even worse predicament — no health insurance (for me or my husband, as he works for himself, so we both get health insurance through my company), not to mention disability insurance, life insurance, retirement funds, etc.

In these scary economic times, it is no secret that employers are looking for anyone they can cut from their payroll to reduce costs. And I can only imagine that employers who find out their employees are pregnant might be tempted to cut them before non-pregnant colleagues, due to the hefty costs they will undoubtedly incur through doctor’s appointments and the time off they must provide. Now, you don’t have to be in HR to know that is illegal, but it happens all the time.

So, I’m going to sit tight. I’m going to do my best to ask for new projects and new challenges and try to be content with my current position. Lord knows I am thankful just to have a job right now, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right?