Cups Of Pee: A lesson in following instructions.

22 Nov image007

We’ve all opened a new toy… seen the instruction manual with READ FIRST in big bold letters across the front and thought Nah, I’ll figure it out. Well… I got my new Persona Fertility Monitor in the mail the other day (bought brand new for a steal off eBay) and promptly opened up the little machine ignoring the instruction booklet entirely. I was in a hurry, being on the 2nd day of my cycle already… and anyway, how hard can a little monitor that analyses your pee be to operate? Open monitor, pee on stick, right? Wrong.

When you open the monitor and push the little m button, it knows you’re on day one of your cycle (i.e. Aunt Flo has just arrived) I quickly figured out that if you hold the button down it flicks through day numbers (if you, like I did, pushed it the day after you’ve begun your cycle) and hurrah we’re off! It flashes a little yellow light, and my mini Sherlock within deduced that it wanted my pee. So I gave it my pee. It was 1.50pm; Middle of the day; On my one day off. Why is this information important? Because had I read the instructions I would have known that it requires you to pee on a stick at the same time of every day, ok… doable. I often work from home. Inconvenient, but doable. But then I would also have read that it requires your first urine of the day. Now, I’m ok at holding my wee when I need too, but that’s insane.

So now we live our life alongside cups of wee. Everyday. Cups of morning wee. Sometimes, when I’m in a hurry, I just pop back home into the loo to dip the stick in the wee and slide it into the monitor and run out again… on these particular days, my loving husband has been known to ask Are we saving these for something dear? Bless him… I think he was freaked out enough by my Mooncup when it first moved in (I have been known to leave it clean in the pan after I’ve washed and boiled it… he calls it my period soup. I know, gross.) And now he has to deal with cups of pee. Poor husband.

Now, if I could just get knocked up, we could ditch the pee cups (and the Mooncup) all together.

Fertility Monitors: Clearblue Easy vs. Persona??

21 Nov

I have been on the hunt for a fertility monitor for a while and have been horrified by the price-tag… reminding me a little bit of the wedding industry, it seems that the moment you add the words “fertility”, “ovulation” or “pregnancy”, you add a zero or two to the price tag too. £100 for a little machine that judges my pee??! Even on eBay, second hand Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitors seemed to be popping up at £55+… this seemed a lot to me for something that has more than likely had someone else’s pee on it. I then noticed that you could get a Persona Contraceptive Monitor for considerably less… £20 for a used monitor, or as low as £40 new! So, what’s the difference?? Let me enlighten you.

Both the Persona Contraceptive and the Clearblue Fertility are made by the same company. Both require you to pee on sticks at a certain time of day. Both monitor your LH levels (looking for a surge in Leutenising Hormone – the hormone that stimulates the release of the egg – I know, it was gobbledygook to me too a couple of weeks ago) and your Oestrogen levels. Both monitors give you an indication on the day you ovulate and both give you a fertile window and an infertile window. So what’s the difference? Well, obviously, one has the emphasis on when you SHOULD do the naked baby dance BECAUSE you’re ovulating (Clearblue – conception), and the other has the emphasis on when NOT TO do the naked baby dance BECAUSE you’re ovulating (Persona – contraception)! So as long as you don’t mind shagging when the little red light says not to (I’m a rebel at heart anyway!) then you’re good. Although, because the Persona (contraceptive) monitor is trying to prevent pregnancy, the fertile window is rather a bit longer (6-8 days), taking into account the little spermies ability to stay alive in your inside lady business district… where as the Clearblue fertility (conception) monitor tries to give you the smallest, most accurate window.

Needless to say, my husband was pro the Persona. He liked the idea of the longer fertility window – can’t imagine why??

Hormones throughout the lady cycle

This is a little diagram of what our hormones and body do throughout the lady cycle… Educational, isn’t it??

Charting my way to children!

8 Nov

Snapshot of my fertilityfriend chart so far.
For those of you wanting a more pen-on-paper charting method, feel free to download my free pdf found below.

Let me start by saying that normally I am incredibly laid back. Although I do think overthink a lot (which is why, you dear readers, get to cop all my crazy), in my day to day life I’m pretty chilled. I’m not easily fussed and am a big believer in making lemonade out of lemons (although I really like lemons all by themselves!). Que sera, sera and all that jazz. That having been said, I’m an all or nothing kinda girl as well. I always have been. It’s been both hugely detrimental to me and one of my greatest strengths. It was a cause of great stress (especially for my mother) throughout my education and source of great pride as I completed all of my high level Piano exams with flying colours.

To put it plainly: I’m either not terribly bothered, or passionately obsessed… and it can change mid-way. I can start off wholly dedicated and end disinterested, or vice versa.
I have always been a big believer in self-awareness being the key to success, and I’ve always tried to exploit this (hmm… should I say quality or weakness??) personality trait of mine, to my benefit. I used the “all” side of it to become tunnel-visioned and lose almost 20kg in the months leading up to my wedding although it was the “nothing” side of it that had left me unfit, unhealthy and overweight to begin with!

Why am I telling you this? Because I’m sliding into the “all” category. Head on. As I mentioned in my last post, I was never in a hurry to have a baby. Being a relatively young bride (I’d say “couple” but hubby has a few years on me – read more in the About Us section), I wasn’t in a hurry… no audible biological clock etc. but as I mentioned in Babyless and Inadequate, for whatever reason, I’m beginning to ache for a bump. So I’ve become obsessed. Researching-everything-online, peeing-on-sticks-hourly, spending-money-on-unnecessary-maternity-clothes and buying-ovulation-monitors kinda obsessed. Yup. Not proud of it. In fact, I’m still acting super cool to my friends. Close girlfriends will say things like “ooooh, how’s the baby making coming along?” to which I cooly respond “oh, you know, I’m not sure. We’re not even actively trying, really. Whatever happens, happens.” Yeah, right. That was true, when we started out. But in 3 short little months I have become Chief ovulation inspector.

BBT Charting:
Yup… I bought myself a Basal Body Temperature thermometer and I am now charting my waking temperature religiously. As to whether or not it is a reliable method to check for ovulation, opinion is split. I personally kinda like the idea of paying attention to my body’s intricate nuances. I’m only a week in, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

LH Testing:
Peeing on sticks to check for the Luteinizing Hormone surge. Peeing on sticks daily. Never thought I’d be that girl. I’ve found a free hard plastic cup from the ferry to France (although had to STRESS to husband and step-daughter to never drink from it!!) to make the whole process a little more comfortable and a little less icky.

I really struggled to find an easy to fill out, clear chart online – there are loads of free printouts or even online charts at fertilityfriend (recommended!) but for those people who like the old-fashioned method of pen to paper I’ve created my own, easy to use chart – just add a BTT thermometer and LH test sticks if you like (I found some ultra cheap, no frills, LH tests from eBay)… Here it is: Free Ovulation Chart from BeautifullyBabyful Pregnancy

Chart away beauties… and baby dust to you all!

Babyless and inadequate. Where’s my baby?

5 Nov
Image courtesy of Phoebe Potts

Photo courtesy of Phoebe Pots – Good Eggs
A creative and unique insight into infertility

I had always thought (having been around a few teenage pregnancy encounters) that the moment I wanted a baby, I’d just take myself off contraception, have a nice little shag-session or two with my handsome husband and hey presto… I’d be up-duffed! It has turned out to not be the case. Much to my disappointment, I’m in my 3rd month of trying and, contrary to what I had always believed, I’m not pregnant and I’m getting impatient. I had previously maintained that I wasn’t in a hurry, being on the young side of the baby-making age (I’m writing this exactly a week before my 26th birthday) my biological clock may be ticking away somewhere, but I can’t hear it and in my head, I am truly NOT in a hurry. Then why do I have heart-ache at every period? Why do I fall asleep with my hand on my belly, hoping that there is something inside, growing? Why am I suddenly aware of my emptiness? Where’s my baby?

Perhaps it’s just a simple case of getting my heart set on something and being impatient but I have my suspicions  that it’s something more. I’m ashamed to say that I (somewhat irrationally) feel inadequate. Before I continue, let me be clear; I know there are women out there who have been trying for years, who have tried everything, invested everything and are far older and wiser than I am – and my heart truly bleeds for your continued frustration and pain, I pray and trust that you will all get the baby(ies) of your dreams; This is NOT about me moaning, or complaining, or losing hope, or even comparing my thus far short journey to parenthood to the journey I know some of you are on. I’m not fishing for your sympathy or trying to be melodramatic… I’m simply endeavouring to explore these feelings. I know a lot of women (in various stages of their own conception journey) have experienced these feelings of inadequacy, and it seems wholly socially acceptable for women who have been trying to conceive for a long time to admit to them, and yet when (young) women new to the baby-making game express these feelings (in my experience), they can be seen as ridiculous, even insensitive!! Well, I’m saying it anyway.

I feel inadequate.

Why can’t I make a baby? I’m young, fit, healthy, I don’t smoke, I only drink socially and I’m having regular sex. Checklist ticked off – so where’s my bump?

As a young teen, I was exposed to all the usual scare tactics: “sperm can live for days”, “you can fall pregnant from pre-ejaculation fluid”, “anyone can fall pregnant, any time of the month”. I’m fairly certain, as a very young teen, I even thought you could fall pregnant from ingesting semen!! My mother is a prison chaplain and a devout reborn Christian and I was raised in the church – my sexual education was limited somewhat and I was obviously discouraged (in vain) to explore my curiosity. What few conversations I did have with my mother revolved around pre-marital sex and her intention for me to avoid it at all costs, and contraception and the instantaneous nature of pregnancy. Mum fell pregnant with me, her only child, the night they flushed the pill down the toilet and she was a love-child (a lovely accident) herself.
I spent my later teenage years hearing stories of fellow teens and their pregnancy scares. So-and-sos friends cousin had fallen pregnant without even having sex. Her friends neighbour got pregnant just by sitting on a toilet seat. Although I knew most of them to be ridiculous, the message sunk in. It could happen to anyone, at anytime, and you had to careful. It was easy to fall pregnant accidentally. That’s the message I heard.
As a young women my older friends started having children. Phrases like “I only have to sniff the stuff!”, “we weren’t ready, we thought it would take us a while!” spring to mind. I had many friends in committed long term relationships who ended up having children completely by accident. I was assured on every side that when I was ready, babies would leap into my tummy and fill our life with joy.

So I ask again, where’s my baby?
Perhaps some of my feelings stem from the fact that my husband had a child with great ease with his ex-wife? I know that their relationship was rocky at the time and they weren’t really sleeping together, in fact, he even went to the extent to say he knew the exact night they’d conceived because it was the only time they had had sex in months! We’re having sex regularly (well, almost regularly! ). We’re in love. We’re committed. We’re in the perfect place to bring a baby into the world. We’re settled, we have a home, stable incomes, we’re ready! Where is our baby?

I know what I must sound like; an impatient, petulant young woman expecting everything to happen in her time, when she says so. Forgive me. I know I have all the time in the world. My mind keeps reminding me. But my heart is in a hurry. It’s breaking and aching and has a great big baby shaped hole.

~ Good things come to those that wait~

Sex in the City, The Anniversary/Baby Making Edition

22 Oct

Whilst cuddling in the pool, husband says, with a cheeky sparkle in his eye
“Shall we go back to the room and make babies?”

“Sure, if we can make it back to the room without you pissing me off?”

…”Meet you back there”…

~

That pretty much sums up our romantic city break, although the entire weekend was incredible. Paul had organised the whole thing for our anniversary; he had organised for us to stay in the Royal Marriott Hotel, arranged champagne to be waiting in the room, reserved us a table at a lovely restaurant, booked us a private booth in the always packed Piano Bar, paid for a private box to go see my favourite theatre production and resigned himself to a day of shopping!! How spoilt am I?? And yet, after all that, he drank a little bit too much, took me to a biker bar (dressed to the nines) and accidentally said he’d rather talk to strangers than he would me. He didn’t MEAN that, I now understand, but that’s what he said. So I was upset, obviously and needless to say, he didn’t get laid.

I hate to point out the obvious: but we can’t have a baby if we don’t have sex. We haven’t been having much sex because he keeps getting into trouble. Fair enough, I’m sure I’m being extra sensitive since taking out my implant (see Hormone Hell for more information), but he seems to be being extra annoying!

For anyone worried, we managed to get ourselves together enough after the above conversation and had the lovely romantic day that we had intended (attempts at baby making included) and we have decided to make a concerted effort to not aggravate one another. Well, him to not aggravate me, and me to try and not be so sensitive.
Let you know how that one goes!

1 year!

16 Oct

Ta da, we’ve made it through the first year of marriage without killing one another!

Ok, I jest (although there have been moments when I have, maybe, thought about ringing his big manly neck), most of the time I adore my husband and feel truly honoured to walk beside him. He’s big and kind and funny and goofy and clever and handy and handsome and sweet-natured and loving and he’s mine.

He’s my bestfriend, my comfort, my support, my lover, my partner in crime.

I love him.

Hormone Hell

5 Oct

WARNING: Too much information to follow.

But, hey ho, I’m on my period. It was late, but it came… with a vengeance. As my first real period since I had my implant out (over a month ago) I have been shocked and horrified by the hormonal tidal wave that has swept me off my feet. I have never ever felt this emotional or irritable before, either before the implant or on it, and I’m hoping against hope that this isn’t going to become the normal?!

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