Confessional Fridays: TTA (and kind of terrified)

Remember how I was asking, just yesterday, Where do I go from here? Well on the family building front that question has me very conflicted.

On Saturday I popped the last little white pill from the last row in my last birth control pack. I’ve decided to stop taking even the mini-pill as it gives me pretty noticeable Melasma, which I hate. The minute my skin gets any sun, I develop dark blotches on my upper lip and around my eyes. Its supposed to be caused by increased estrogen (which is why many pregnant women get it and it’s also called the “pregnancy mask”) so I don’t know why I get it even when I’m on the progesterone-only pill, but I do. It doesn’t matter how much sunscreen I wear every day (I slather on a daily 30 or 50 SPF daily!) I still get it. It looks like I have a mustache.

So I’m going off BCP even though we’re not TTC yet.

In fact, I can’t even “accidentally” get pregnant (ha – the idea of this is still so ridiculousl to me) because I’m on a medication for my ADD and there have been no studies on how it affects human pregnancies (though studies have shown adverse affects on animal fetuses, whatever that means). So yeah, getting pregnant in the next two months, while I’m still taking this medication would be bad. And after that, it would probably be detrimental to my relationship if I got pregnant accidentally.

So we’re going to chart my temps and use the barrier method. Basically we’re TTA. And that seems very strange to me.

A part of me is really worried about going off BCP so long before we start TTC. As someone with unexplained amenorrhea, the most prudent move is to start trying immediately after stopping BCP as that is when you are most likely to continue ovulating. In the past, when they gave me three months of BCP to “jumpstart” my system I’d ovulate (or at least menstruate) for about three to five months before I stopped. Then I would never start again until the next round of BCP the next year.

When I was TTC I started acupuncture and a TCM diet BEFORE I went off BCP. I was trying to ensure that those three to five months right after I stopped birth control were optimal for a possible pregnancy. I continued acupuncture and TCM herbs and diets until I got my second BFP, about 11 months after I started trying. Those 11 months were the longest I’d gotten my period in over a ten years.

Of course I don’t know if I was ovulating all that time because of the acupuncture or the 2.5 years of continual BCP or a mixture of both. Or if it was just dumb luck.

I’m scared to stop BCP now when we’re not TTC for another five months. What if, by the time we’re start tying, I’m not having my period anymore? What if I then have to go on BCP for three months to kick start it? What if everything goes back the way it was before when I never ovulated.

I guess I’ll only know if I do it. I guess it’s possible my nine months of pregnancy jump started my reproductive organs in a more complete and long lasting way. Maybe I will have my period like clockwork from now until I’m taken over by the “change” later in life. Who knows?

All I know is for the next 5 months I’m charting to avoid. I will be checking for EGCM to know when not to have sex. I’ll be waiting for my temps to rise to know when it’s safe to have sex without pregnancy as a consequence. It’s all so foreign, so backwards. I can’t really wrap my head around it.

Sometimes I wonder if it will be hard to TTA. Will I want t throw caution to the wind (after I’m off my meds in July) and just go for it? I’m not sure, but I doubt it. While having my first child was something I wanted immediately, having my second feels different.

It feels different not because I know what I’m getting into, but because I realize how thoroughly I DO NOT know what I’m getting into. Before I had Isa I knew, in that vague and abstract way you can know something you haven’t experienced, that having a baby was hard work but I had no idea how it would affect me and my partner and our relationship. I had no idea how difficult it would be.

The discrepancy between how hard I thought it might be and how hard it actually is has taught me a lot. It has taught me that I cannot know how hard having a second child will be, especially when the first is still a toddler. It has proven that there are challenges I can’t, and won’t, anticipate. More than anything I know that I can in no way prepare myself for the strain it might put on me, and more importantly on my relationship.

Of course, I also didn’t know how amazing it could be. Even in my wildest fantasies (and I indulged in plenty of them) I could never have conceived of the joy and fulfillment my daughter would bring. Before meeting Isa I didn’t know what it meant to love someone so intensely and completely. I adore spending time with Isa and I’m eager to meet my (possible) future child(ren), to learn who they are and how they see the world.

There are so many more variables now. The temperament of a (possible) second child. The way Isa will react to him or her. The way they will interact with each other. It’s impossible to know what the family dynamics will be.

And of course there are the possible struggles, the possible losses. What will those be like when I have a child to care for? Will having Isa make it easier or more difficult? It will surely be very different to face those things when the journey is no longer my own, but my daughter’s as well.

So yeah, the whole TTA to TTC thing is exceedingly difficult to navigate with myriad variables and infinite unknowns. All I can do is make choices and deal with the consequences of those choices, whatever they may be. In the meantime I just wait.

Gratitude

I want to thank everyone for their kind, thoughtful comments. I can’t tell you what it means to find that kind of understanding and support here, especially when it feels lacking in my “real life.”* I really cannot express adequately the gratitude that I feel. So thank you. Once again this community reminds me why I keep it so close to my heart.

I obviously have a lot of thinking to do about TTC#2 before I actually start TTC#2. I realize I am thinking about it, planning it, in hopes of being able to have some control over it. I hate how little control I have over TTC. The way I deal with that is by controlling everything I can. In my attempts to be as prepared as possible for our next round of TTC, I’ve been turning over different possibilities in my mind.

I still haven’t decided it I want to stop BCP three months before or five. I haven’t decided if I’m going to follow the TCM diet I used in the past or try what is recommended in Making Babies (which I haven’t even read yet but that I’ve heard a lot about on other blogs). And if I try a diet will I start three months before we start TTC or right when we start? Can I really expect to just spend the first three months not trying but not not trying? Is that even possible for a stressed out, anxious Type A like me? I would hope that I could but I couldn’t make any promises. Am I going to fork over the money for acupuncture? Energy work? Both? I would love to find someone I trust who does fertility work with the body but I’m not sure how to find such a person and if I did, I doubt I could afford his or her services.

If I have a plan, something I feel good about, the uncertainty of everything feels less overwhelming. If I know I am doing all I can do, I feel less frightened by the possible outcomes. At least, if something horrible happens, I’ll know I did all I could do. Also, if months stretch into years, I will already have tried most holistic approaches so I can more quickly move towards “next steps”.

Not only do I want to prepare my body for a second pregnancy but I want to prepare my mind and soul for one as well. I want to nurture my relationship with Mi.Vida so our foundation is strong in the face of possible loss. I hope to have solidly incorporated mindfulness into my daily routine so I can calm my racing thoughts and rampant anxiety. I wish to dedicate a part of each day to expressing my gratitude for what I have, so I don’t loss sight of my blessings while pursuing something more. All of these can help ensure my mental and emotional health during what will hopefully be a not-so-trying time.

The reality is TTC#2 doesn’t have to be hard. And I have a lot of power over how hard it will be. Of course I cannot avoid loss if that is in my future, but I can avoid mourning a loss that has not occurred. I can refrain from dealing with difficulties that don’t yet face me.

Last night I spoke with a fellow blogger on the phone for the first time. After 1.5 hours we concluded that we were both a little crazy, especially when it comes to TTC. I really appreciated this, because as we diagnosed ourselves with a laugh and a light heart I realized that our awareness could be our salvation. Our “craziness” in relation to TTC doesn’t have to be a fatal diagnosis, if we recognize it and respect it, we can take the necessary steps to overcome it. And that is what I plan to do.

The other day I was thinking about something TTC and pregnancy related and I asked myself, “What will you do when you are finally building your family? Where will your thoughts take you then? Will there be anything left of your life when it’s finally time to move past this chapter?” I absolutely want my life to be more than TTC. I want that now, when I’m not TTC yet. I want that while I am TTC and I especially want that after I’m TTC. I recognize that if I let TTC take over my life now, there won’t be much left of it when I finally am ready to move on. And that is a tragedy I can prevent.

* Although, today I have gotten a lot of wonderful support from Mi.Vida and I feel much better for it. I am so thank you for our talk today.

The 123s of me (or my 100th blog post!!!)

In an attempt to do something clever, but not presumptuous, for my 100th blog post, I’m going to explain the meaning of some numbers in my life from 1 to 100. I won’t do all the numbers (as in I won’t presume that you care enough to read 100 things about me, nor that I could think of 100 things to write) but I hope that tying in the numbers will be clever somehow. We shall see…

1 is the number of partners I’ve had in my life. You read that correctly. Mi.Vida is pretty much the first and only person I’ve ever been with. There was my high school boyfriend (of two weeks) and a few people in college that I wished were boyfriends, but I’ve never really had another significant other. Pretty crazy, right?

2 times I’ve been pregnant. The first was ectopic and such a devastating experience. The second has been a blessing that I will never take for granted.

3 children is what I hope to have some day. I’m still working on convincing Mi.Vida that we can have more than two and not lose our minds (and all our money).

4 little ones lost to my mother. My younger sister Stephanie died when she was two months old, after being born with severe health complications. My mom also lost three boys, some as late as 5 months, before she had my younger sister. My mother’s reproductive story very much colored my own expectations and experiences towards TTC, pregnancy and childbirth.

5 years I’ve taught Spanish full time. I kind of fell into this position but I love it and I hope to be a Spanish teacher for a long time to come.

6 years I’ve lived in my current apartment. We’re in the middle of overhauling it in preparation for the baby. It’s small and kind of falling apart in some ways, but it’s also in a great neighborhood and rent controlled, which means I only pay $100 more a month now than I did when I signed the lease six years ago.

7 is my favorite number, mostly because I was born on 7.17 but also because I just love it. I write my seven’s like a European, with a line through the stem.

8 is the number of the proposition that keeps Mi.Vida and I from getting married. When Prop 8 is overturned, and everyone can get married, then we will too.

9 seasons worth of X-Files were watched by me, and many season have been watched by me, in their entirety, again. That is 201 episodes. I really, really, really loved that show… and I still do.

10 months old is my meow meow. She has gotten us through some pretty rough times and continues to be an incredible addition to our family.

13 countries I’ve visited or lived in. They are, in no particular order: The United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, Spain, France, England, Scotland, Italy, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

14 quarters gets you a load of laundry on the machines in our building. Sometimes you have to add an extra two quarters to the dryer really get the load done though. We change quarters by the hundreds of dollars. Oh, to have an in unit washer a dryer… a girl can dream.

16 years I’ve been a student of Spanish. Sure I’ve also been a teacher, but I always be a student. I’m sure my love affair with the Spanish language will never end.

20 x $1,000 is the amount of money, about, I’ll spend on graduate school. It’s totally going to be worth it though… right?!

22 weeks pregnant am I. Sometimes I still can’t believe I’m that lucky.

23 hours is the duration of the longest plane ride I’ve ever taken, from California to Hong Kong (back in the 90’s when planes didn’t fly as fast). My dad used to take our watches and we weren’t allowed to ask how long we’d been on the plane or how long until we got off. We were told we’d live the entirety of our lives in the sky so there was no point in contemplating life after landing.

29 birthdays I’ve seen come and go. I can’t believe I’m coming up on the big 3-0. Man does time fly.

33 minutes to walk to my in-laws house (give or take a few minutes). That is going to be SO nice when the baby comes.

40 minutes to drive to my parents house (sans traffic). We are so lucky to be so close to both sides of our family.

42 is the “the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.”

44 first cousins to call my own. 39 of them are on my mother’s side; she has 11 brothers and sisters and they all have at least two children. On my dad’s side I have 5, which brings the grand total number of cousins to 44. Most of them live in St. Louis, MO and we visit there about once every year or two. I love my large extended family, though when my mom’s side gets together, with spouses and their kids (and their kids’ kids) there are almost 200 of us! We need to start wearing name tags.

48 blog subscriptions in my google reader. I love reading other people’s blogs, it makes me feel a part of a community of people that I feel I understand and that understand me. I really hope that I can continue to read blogs and write my own for a long time to come.

50 months Mi.Vida and I have been together. Best 50 months of my life, by far.

53 times, give or take, I went to acupuncture appointments since I started TTC. If I multiply that number by the cost of a visit I might just cry my eyes out.

60+ minutes it takes me to get home most afternoons. The sad thing is I’m usually sitting in traffic for a bridge I’m not even trying to cross.

78 contacts in my gmail account. I probably don’t know who 1/3 of them are, and 1/10 are probably repeat addresses.

84 years old and still happy as can be is my grandmother. My Nai-Nai (as we call her) has taught me a lot about seeing the good in life and living it with gratitude and joy. I hope I’m as strong, independent and fulfilled at 84 as my grandmother is.

96 Nissan 200SX is what I drive. We’re going to get rid of it and get a Honda Accord before the baby is born. Nothing new or fancy but it will have four doors and side airbags, and hopefully less than 10 years on the road.

100 blog posts have been written on this blog since it’s inception six months ago. I hope to write 100 more!

I hope you enjoyed my 100th blog post. If you leave a comment, tell me a significant number in your life and what it means!

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I’m going to see the nutritionist tomorrow. I hope she has some good advice for me.

Still struggling

Well, “status: in rough shape” continues. I actually felt worse yesterday than Sunday, and maybe even Saturday. I threw up for real for the first time yesterday, twice. Once in my bathroom, after I had taken my Chinese herbs, which seemed to go down relatively easy, but then were in the toilet about two minutes after I had taken them. I also puked for the first time behind my classroom. I actually mostly puked in my hand out the way out the back door. When I looked up, there was a man staring at me. It was so embarrassing.

At lunch I had a fever of 100.6 and felt horrible. I thought about leaving early but it’s such a pain in the butt to have people cover and it would probably be the same two teachers who were nice enough to cover for me during my doctor’s appointment on Friday. So I waited it out and went home right afterward.

At home I got in my PJs and camped out on the couch. I watched Fe.ar and Loa.thing in Las Vegas for the first time in years. I also was hungry, really hungry for the first time in at least a week. I just made myself fresh pasta noodles with a little olive oil and salt and they stayed down great. I ate more during that meal without feeling sick than I have in over a week.

I napped for a while after the movie then tried to read some of Avoiding Plagiarism which I have to read for my grad school class on research writing. I actually felt good enough to do an hour of yin yoga, which I think was a great help. My neck and back have been very tight from all the coughing and after an hour of meditative stretching I felt much more centered and ready to sleep through the night.

And I did sleep through the night, albeit with a lot of waking up, I did get 8 hours of sleep. I had broken down last night and given myself a shot of Afrin in one nostril because I just couldn’t handle feeling that solid block on one side of my face. I also gargled with salt water to calm my sore throat.¬† The Afrin worked all night and the sore throat never came back with a vengeance, so all in all, it was an okay night. I did wake up a lot, a couple times to go pee (this is a new thing for me) and a couple times just because I was uncomfortable. But I was always able to fall back asleep pretty quickly.

So today I’m back at school. My morning sickness is not nearly as bad as yesterday morning, which of course makes me a little nervous, but I’m trying to take it in stride. I know that symptoms will come and go and I really want to enjoy the days I don’t feel nauseous instead of be worried about them. I have done quite a bit of dry heaving today, so I guess maybe I’m just being silly anyway.

Tomorrow is my actual prenatal visit. Mi.Vida is taking off work a third time in two weeks to come with me. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that he is doing this with me. I specifically moved to an obgyn in San Francisco so he could come to appointments with me and the fact that he is taking time off work to come and be involved fills me with gratitude. It’s also nice to know that he’ll be around if I ever get bad news at the doctor’s office.

Today I have acupuncture and my class at the Zen center. I’d skip the Zen center class but I missed last week and it wasn’t cheap to sign up in the first place. Plus I find it to be a very interesting class, so hopefully I can go. I’m very excited for acupuncture. I want her to give my immunity a boost and do calming points on my uterus, which has been kind of crampy since this weekend. She also might be able to help with my cough. We shall see.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I didn’t feel nauseous at all during dinner yesterday and that felt really nice.

DPO9 (boring but where I am right now)

It’s DPO9. I feel like last cycle’s DPO9 was just yesterday. I feel like it’s too soon to be preparing myself for the eventuality of failure yet again. I feel like I don’t have the energy or stamina to be doing this yet again.

I also feel less hopeful and less worried. As usually is the case with me, anxiety ebbs and depression flows. When the nervous energy of my anxiety is all used up I’m left exhausted and hopeless, feeling depressed instead of worried. That is where I am right now. Last cycle was all about hope and the anxiety that accompanies it. This cycle is all about hopelessness and the depression that feeds off it. Part of me, a big part of me, just wants it to be DPO14 so I can get my period and DPO14 can morph seamlessly into CD1 of yet another cycle and I can deal with the emotional fallout that goes with that transition.

I got my progesterone checked this cycle. I’ve been a little concerned that my temps have not been as high as they were pre- ectopic pregnancy. When I tried to get my progesterone test the cycle after my ectopic, I got confused about my O date (actually FF got me confused) and I actually ended up testing two days before AF. It was really low then, but since I was pretty sure I had pushed my O date back and had really tested on DPO12, I wasn’t too worried. Still, I like to know, I like to be sure. I missed last cycle because I had friends flying into town DPO7 and just didn’t think I could sneak away to Kaiser’s lab.

So Wednesday night I went in and got my arm stuck for the umpteenth time. There is an air of melancholy to that lab, at least for me. The only experiences I’ve had there were beta’s draws after my ectopic as I waited for my hCG levels to reach <2. I can look around the room and remember every chair where I stifled tears, every corner where I covered my face with tissues hoping desperately that people wouldn’t notice. I hate that lab waiting room. I hate the stations and the blue pillow where you place your arm and how they always ask for your name, even though they can see you match your photo I.D. and how you never know if it’s going to hurt or not until it already has. Going in there yesterday just reminded me that I’m still not pregnant, I’m still struggling to pick up the pieces after my lost pregnancy, I’m still not successful.

Anyway, getting past the pity party, my progesterone was 12.3. I remember my first level was 11.1 and I was told that was “okay”. So I guess 12.3 is also “okay.” Nothing special, but okay. I guess I should appreciate that I still seem to be ovulating and that my progesterone level is normal. Sometimes you have to be grateful for the little things.

Anyway, this was supposed to be a crazy weekend, with four people at the house and an insane football game. But Cal got trampled last Saturday and none of my friends wanted to come up and watch the same happen in person, so it’s just my good friend at the apartment, and my sister who’s seeing a concert in the park. I’m so thankful that this weekend was deflated. I’m so happy I’m not hosting so many drunk and desolate boys mourning the loss of yet another season of Cal Football. I’m so glad that I can get some grad school work done on Sunday. I’m so glad that Monday I won’t be a wreck.

I have an acupuncture appointment today. I’ll be asking her about the new development of constantly sore boobs starting at DPO2. I do not like this at all. Sore boobs drive me crazy (when they aren’t a pregnancy symptom) and I’ve been told they signal hormone imbalance so I guess my acupuncturist will be earning her keep again. I hope she’ll have something productive to say. I’ve felt lately like it’s all kind of pointless.

Well I know this hasn’t been a very upbeat post, but I promised I’d end every post with some Buenas Noticias so here goes…

Buenas Noticias – I was able to get to the lunch room relatively early and a mom had made my favorite baked treat – Golden Gram squares with chocolate and marshmallows. I had enough time to eat, chat, do my dishes and get back to my classroom without feeling rushed. That is always to be appreciated.

Getting Settled

Happy Monday! I can’t believe the weekend is already over and it’s Monday once again. I also can’t believe this is my 10th blog post! I feel like I’ve found myself here and I hope others have found something worthwhile as well.

Well we made it down to my folks’ house yesterday, kitten and all. Mi.Vida is staying up at the apartment tonight as he has a late meeting with the folks involved in his music blog/website. He’s not sure if he’ll make it down tomorrow or not, as he has yet another meeting with the same people on Monday night. I do know that I’m going to miss him dreadfully until he returns.

Squeaks, as I call our kitten in this blog, is doing well in the new house. She is a bit skittish and all over the place but she seems to be coping fine. She slept next to me while I attempted to start my grad school work. Unfortunately I was not very successful. She slept okay last night, and I hope she doesn’t destroy anything while she’s here. She not generally a scratcher or a chewer but she is not generally in unknown houses either. We shall see what happens. All I know is everything at my parents’ house is considerably more expensive than at our dinky little apartment. I hope we’re not writing them any exorbitant checks at the end of our stay.

I am saving a little money this week though. First of all, on Friday I canceled acupuncture because I hate going when I’m actually having my period as it feels like kind of a waste. So I saved on the cost of the appointment and on the herbs, which I’m not going to miss out on because I have small amounts left from past months that I can take until next week. I also had to cancel therapy this Wednesday because I’ll be down in Redwood City and I’m not going to drive all the way to San Francisco in rush hour (both ways) for one appointment. I’ll just have to post an extra blog entry to get me through. Now don’t get me wrong – both acupuncture and therapy are very beneficial, but not going every once in a while is like a breath of fresh air on the financial front. It also saves me quite a bit of extra time. So I’m pleased that this week I’ll have more money in the bank and more time to get things done.

The time component is especially important since I did not get much done on the grad school paper front last night. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but I just couldn’t come up with an idea. I have to write a lesson plan and I just couldn’t think of an activity to base it on. I hope I can find some inspiration at school tomorrow because I have to get on that ASAP! Oh grad school, why are you so relentless?

On a TTCing note, I did not take my temperature the last three days because I was having my period and it was the weekend and I was not about to wake up at 5:45am under those circumstances. I realized when I got down here that I forgot my thermometer and decided I was not going to go out and get a new one so I also did not temp today. That is a huge release of control for me, I don’t think I haven’t temped for three straight days since I started TTC. But the reality is, my CD2-4 temps don’t mean that much and the world will keep turning even without three dots on my BBT chart. I’ll get a new thermometer today and start temping tomorrow and all will be right in the world (as least as right as it would have been) and I’ll still be TTC, despite my delinquency. It feels good to accept this and move on. It is nice to know I can relinquish control every once in a while. In the meantime I’ll focus on work and grad school and Squeaks and being back at the rent’s place for the first time in a long time. And all the while I’ll be day dreaming of gleaming bathtubs and unstained linoleum floors.

A day in the life (and how it got that way)

I have a history of inexplicable lapses of a year or more without menstruating. It started happening in high school and never really stopped. The pattern went something like this: my period stopped, I thought AWESOME! I don’t have to worry about my period! I would go to the OB-GYN for a pap smear and he/she would either dismiss my missing periods or fret about them, depending on who I saw that year. When he/she dismissed my M.I.A. menstruation I’d go another year without a visit from Aunt Flo. When he/she would fret I’d be perscribed 3 months of birth control, which I would take, and hate, and then I’d get my period for a few months and then it would stop. This pattern of stopped period, birth control, temporary period, stopped period, repeat lasted for years, until I went on to birth control for actual birth control purposes, because at the time I had managed to continue having my period for about a year. This was the longest I had ever had my period since it initially stopped. I was 24 years old.

Skip ahead to me preparing to start trying. I have since learned that my mother also had mysteriously missing periods, which is worrisome because she also suffered intense infertility issues. So I’m obviously very worried that whatever made my mom miss her periods = her infertility problems and if I remember the transitive property correctly then my missing periods might also = infertility problems. Needless to say, this fact, intertwined with my general anxiety issues and taken to its logical conclusion by my propensity for intense planning, had me very well “prepared” months before we started to try. Oh, I forgot to mention that I had been trying to convince Mi.Vida (mi vida = my life in Spanish and it will be my nickname for my dear partner for the duration of this blog) for years to start a family and had been thinking about it constantly since the first talk so many months before.

So one year before I think I’m going to start trying I’m in my OB-GYN’s office (a doctor that I researched after being recommended to me) sharing my story and asking for advice. I start taking pre-natal vitamins over 365 days before we’re scheduled to start trying.

Fast forward six months, and I’ve cleverly come up with a (semi-) legitimate reason for us to start trying three months ahead of schedule. I’ve already combed a couple of Eastern-themed books on infertility and am certain that acupuncture is where it’s at. I make an appointment and start seeing an acupuncturist near my house once a week. I also start boiling twigs, leaves and berries (literally) to make a tea to help regulate my cycles. I’m very excited but the three months could not crawl by more slowly.

Queue the first month we can start trying (chosen because if by some miracle we got a + right away the EDD wouldn’t be the first week of the school year). My cycles are pretty short, but within the acceptable limits, barely. I have NO CM to speak of which makes me nervous. OPK sticks don’t ever show a true positive but its kind of okay because I’m charting my BBT and my temperatures do rise when they should and sustain their jagged saw-tooth pattern above the cover line (which equals ovulation). I start supplementing my Chinese herbs with Evening Primrose Oil to help my non-existent CM. I change acupuncturists because I want someone who is more proactive and has a practice based in infertility work. I keep going once a week and making herbs but now they are the powder kind and don’t take a Sunday afternoon to prepare. More goodies get added along the way and now I’m also taking TotalB, a liquid vitamin B supplement that I drip under my tongue. After scouring the internet I also fall pray to the promises of FertileAid and FertileCM (did I mention I have nil CM?). The final weapon in my arsenal is Vitex tincture, which is supposed to help further regulate my cycles. I top all this off with a Royal Jelly chaser which is supposed to promote general well being. So my stockpile of fertility helpers is massive and my routine has become kind of insane.

I’ve surrendered myself so completely to traditional Chinese medicine (TMC) that am not eating much wheat, dairy or any processed sugar (which are all supposed to gum up your digestive tract and steal much needed energy from your reproductive tract). In fact, I’m trying to stay away from processed foods altogether, which is a massive undertaking for a girl who adores a microwaved can of soup for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I’ve cut out what little caffeine I used to drink in its most delicious incarnation, Diet Coke (which I still pine for intensely). I’ve also sworn off tofu as I’m paranoid about the effects of phyto-estrogens (I’m a huge tofu fan so that is harder than it might seem). And of course I am abstaining from alcohol. Oh alcohol. Usually I don’t miss it so much, but sometimes I’d really love to indulge just a bit.

Now I’m not going to pretend that I follow these rules religiously; I still enjoy a great pizza or a scrumptious burrito and I’ve even realized that tofu in moderation is not going to have any adverse effects. And yes, I’ve had a couple of beers here and there, and even gotten pretty tipsy on occasion, but they are always the exception to the rule. Even allowing for the times when I color outside the lines, I have changed my lifestyle a great deal. All the liquids and pills I take don’t really phase me, but the many things I’ve cut out of my life have left holes. As I accept the reality that it could be months or years before I’m pregnant I realize I need to find a better balance. But that is the stuff of future ruminations. Right now I’ll spend this moment acknowledging the enormous, undeniable presence of trying occupies in my life. I can see that it is a weight not only in my heart and mind, but also in my day to day experience.

The arsenal.

The arsenal.