Speeding Ticket

I got my first speeding ticket over the weekend.

My sister and I were on our way home from Hazel's house, and we took an exit into this little town to get some gasoline. We had to drive a couple miles to get into town.

I exited onto this wide open road. To be honest, I wasn't even thinking about how fast I was going, except for maybe a niggling thought in the recesses of my mind.

The road was wide and open, I had just been going 65 mph on the interstate, I didn't see a speed limit sign (though later we found it - I just missed it). So the the fact that I was going too fast never matured into an actual thought. Probably didn't help that I was sleep deprived.

Okay, I'm just making excuses now. But I just want you to know that I didn't do it on purpose.

I won't tell you how many miles per hour over the speed limit I was going. That would just be embarrassing. Just suffice it to say that the cop that stopped me dropped my ticket down from a four-pointer to a one-pointer. And I now owe that sleepy little county seventy dollars.

I think I held up very well when talking to the officer. It was only after he was gone and I called Derek that I started bawling.

Then the cop drove by again, and I'm sure he saw me crying, so all my bravery was probably for naught.

Pregnancy hormones and first speeding tickets don't mix.

The whole situation made me feel like an incredibly irresponsible driver. And I hate feeling immature or irresponsible - chalk it up to my perfectionist tendencies. Yes, they even apply to myself.

Well, I'm not perfect, and it's alway painful when I have to be reminded of that. I can accept not being perfect as a person - nobody is, and Jesus died to save me because I'm not, so that thought isn't quite so bad. But the thought that I'm not perfect at doing something always makes me feel depressed.

Every time I do something stupid behind the wheel, I'm reminded that I'm not a perfect driver, and that just makes me feel about two feet tall.

Please tell me some of you have gotten a speeding ticket?




P.S. Books, Brooks, and Me is having a fabulous giveaway for a Barnes and Noble giftcard! Maybe if I win it will make me feel better. You should all head over there and check it out.

It's Back

It is back.

I think I'm going to die.

Okay, maybe I'm being a little melodramatic, but it sure does hurt.

You know that pain from couple weeks ago? It's back in full force. I could barely get out of the car when my sister and I got home from work today.

She used to work for a chiropractor's office, so she's going to do some research for me. She's pretty sure it's my sciatic nerve being pinched, and I'm convinced that's what is going on. I have a baby appointment tomorrow, so I'll ask my doctor about it too.

Then it's off to the chiropractor again this week! Oh boy, this thing is going to drain my wallet dry.

Prayers appreciated again.

Autumn Memories


As a girl, haying season always marked the beginning of Autumn.

I grew up in the mountains. My parents own 55 acres of beautiful fields and forest. We had horses and would go trail-riding often in the summer months, and we'd use them for packing out our animals for hunting in the winter.

When I nine years old my dad bought some equipment and started cutting our own hay. When you have six horses and open pastures, why not cut your own? It saved us a bunch of money, and it kind of became a family hobby.

Every year in late August, my dad would start the haying process. First, he'd cut all the fields with our mower and spread the hay out to dry. If it didn't rain we would bail a couple days later. If it did rain, we'd have to flip the hay and start the drying process over again.

Once the hay was dry, my dad would rake the hay into rows using another piece of machinery, and then bail the hay. When the hay was bailed and sitting in long rows of hundreds of bails - usually around six hundred - the whole family would spend an entire weekend or two picking up hay bales and stacking them in our barn.

My dad moving a round bail.

It was hard work, and not very fun while you were doing it. But I have so many good memories associated with that time of the year. Pushing hay bails toward the truck with my brother and sister so my mom and dad could stack them in the back. Sitting on the hay bails and taking a water break. Using some free moments to go exploring in the willow bushes.

We used to climb on top of the stack of bails in the back of the truck and ride the short distance to the barn, then push the bails off the truck so we could start to stack them. My sister and I used to name the bails and give them personalities as we stacked to make the work less tedious.

Sometimes we'd take some candy corn and apple cider breaks, and my mom usually made some really delicious dinner for those nights - like this crock-pot, barbecue roast that was always a family favorite.

But my favorite smell was the sweet smell of the cut hay - there's nothing quite like that smell.



Over the years things have changed. When I was in college I was gone so much during the week and had homework on the weekends, so I didn't get to help as much. When I got married my dad finally bought a round bailer, and a machine to pick the round bails up, so we no longer had hundreds of square bails to stack. There's not really a way to help with haying anymore, because it can all be accomplished with the new equipment my dad bought. I rather miss those old days of haying season now.

But there will always be that wonderful smell. I was reminded of that recently.

My dad recently bailed the hay for this year, and when Derek and I arrived at my parent's house on a Sunday afternoon, I could smell the cut hay on the air. All those wonderful memories came rushing back, and even more so when I stepped into the house and inhaled the scent of our barbecue roast dinner, and saw the candy corn and apple cider ready to go.

Me and our dog, Ralphie.

My mom suggested Derek and I take the Mule for a ride through the freshly mowed fields. The Mule is kind of like a much tougher, ranch version of a golf cart. Derek and I did get out the Mule and we spent some time driving through the fields in the sunshine.

We parked the Mule near the river and removed our shoes so we could wade to the other side. Then we took off across the fields barefoot, did some exploring through the willow bushes, and just breathed in the sweet scent of early fall from my childhood. The green in the leaves was just starting to lose its vibrancy, and soon we'd be seeing those beautiful fall colors.

It was a beautiful day, a time to relive old memories and make new ones with my husband.

Autumn has officially arrived in our corner of the world.



Hello Second Trimester!

I am officially beginning the second trimester today!

I know I already did a pregnancy post this week, but I figured this was a pretty momentous occasion, and it deserves it's own post (with some other things mixed in).

My uterus sure went through a growth spurt this week. I don't think I'm really showing much more than I was, but when I reach down and touch my lower stomach where I can feel my uterus, it's definitely bigger.

It was feeling like a rather fat banana before - kind of long, with a bulge in the middle. I was actually getting worried about it, because it hadn't seemed to be doing much growing for a couple weeks.

But yesterday, after not feeling it for a couple days, I reached down to put my hand over my uterus, and all of a sudden it was way bigger! It feels like a very large grapefruit or a very small melon now. It's kind of cool.

And if the uterus is growing, the baby is growing, so that makes me happy!

This weekend my sister and I are off for to visit my dear friend, Hazel, and her family. You'll remember we went to visit them last fall, and we thought it was high time we went again!

We're looking forward to a weekend of games, a movie night, story writing and reading, fellowship, and whatever else they may have up their sleeves! We're leaving today (so if some of you don't get a return e-mail from me this weekend, that's why).

In other news, I woke up this morning to find this on my kitchen table:



My wonderful sister got me a baby gift! She came into the house when she dropped off her luggage this morning (since I'm picking her up at work later), while I was still sleeping. Sneaky, Rae, sneaky . . .

My sister is so sweet - ever since she found out she's going to be an aunt she's been so excited. When she comes over she walks up and pats my stomach and says "How's baby?" It makes me happy that she's so excited too.

But I can't open the baby gift until my sister and Derek are here with me, which won't be until Sunday or Monday. So it's just sitting there, taunting me. I'll let you know what she got us next week!

I hope you all have a nice, relaxing weekend!



For Those Who Are Trying - FAM Part Two

Note: Once again, this is possibly a "too much information" post, and it's intended for female readers, especially those who are married. If you are a kid or a male reader, please skip this post. You've now been sufficiently warned.

Also please note that I am not a doctor or a medical professional, I'm just summarizing some of the research I've done.  Please consult your medical professionals with concerns.  These posts include information as well as my opinions based on research I've done and are for your information only.  They are not intended to replace proper medical diagnosis or treatment.

Someone recently asked me to explain how I monitor my fertility signs, and that led to yesterday's post on the Fertility Awareness Method. So if you haven't read that post, you might want to start there, and this post will make alot more sense.

Also, I'd like to redirect you to what got me started doing FAM over a year ago. At the time I was taking the birth control pill, and I learned some disturbing information that every woman taking the pill should be aware of, especially if you're pro-life. Please see my post "Important Information You Might Not Know" for more about that.

So let's jump right back into it, shall we?


Some Additional Signs Of Ovulation


There are a couple other signs that you may or may not notice around ovulation:

1. Ovulatory pain. Sometimes you'll get one-sided pain as your ovary releases an egg.

2. Ovulatory spotting. Sometimes you'll get a little spotting right around the time of ovulation, but it should only last a day or two, and it should be extremely light.

3. Anything really. The more you chart your cycles and are aware of when you ovulate, the more you may notice some signs that are unique to you. If you notice anything out of the ordinary around the time of ovulation, make a note of it on your chart - it may be a helpful clue for future cycles.



Charting



You should be recording your signs on a chart for easy reference later. You'll want to be able to look back on previous charts to see if you can identify a pattern, or if something isn't functioning properly you want to have the information at your fingertips so you can talk about it with your doctor. Plus for the temperature rise you often have to have it spelled out in front of you before you can see it.

The Bump's version of a fertility chart (Resource 1) is one chart that I have used in the past. After a while of dealing with confusing cycles, I actually bought a computer program that helps with charting your cycles (see Resource 2), and that's been helpful for me as well. There's a web-based version (Resource 3) of the software that is free, but it wasn't working properly when I tried it - they may have improved it since then. There are lots of different charts out there if you search for "Fertility Charts". Just pick the one you are most comfortable with and go for it.

Here's an example of a way to chart - you'll notice the different rows to record different signs. The chart should also include a row for you to record when you have intercourse, even though this one doesn't have that row.



For more information on charting, please see "Taking Charge Of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler (Resource 4). It has alot of good information on proper charting, and it also addresses special situations and how to interpret your chart correctly.



Menstrual Cycle Myth That You Should Know



You do not always ovulate on Day 14. In fact, many women do not ever ovulate on Day 14. So if you ovulate before then, that's perfectly fine. If you're on Day 22 of your menstrual cycle and you still haven't ovulated, that's perfectly fine. The beauty of this method is that you can actually know the precise day that you do ovulate, so when your doctor is all confused at how far along you are, you can let them know why (and they will be confused - doctors always expect you to ovulate on Day 14, even though they should know better).

Maybe I'm just a control freak, but I just like knowing. Every woman should know her body, and know her cycles - it does bring about a sense of control over things, as well as peace of mind, because you know what's going on with your body.

Plus, if you just assume that you'll ovulate on Day 14 and plan accordingly, you may totally miss your window of opportunity, or have a surprise and wonder how that happened. With this method you can know what's really going on.

If we had been planning on a Day 14 ovulation, we wouldn't be pregnant right now (I ovulated on Day 7). I wouldn't have expected to ovulate that early, but I was watching my signs, and I just had a feeling this was the real deal - and it was. And the Lord blessed us with this sweet baby.



When Things Aren't Working Right



If you start charting and things just aren't coming up right, it can be super-frustrating. Trust me, I know. It's even more frustrating if you're trying to get pregnant, because things need to be working right for that to happen.

A couple notes:

1. You can have bleeding even if you're not ovulating, but this doesn't qualify as a normal period, because a true period is always preceded by ovulation.

If you are having continuous bleeding, or very short lengths of time between periods, I'd recommend seeing a fertility doctor. Your body shouldn't be doing that, even if you just went off the pill. I'd recommend seeing a doctor you trust or a fertility specialist (because fertility specialists are more familiar with the way things can go wrong and the proper treatment than regular gynecologists are - at least that's been my experience).

2. You can have all the signs of ovulation and not actually ovulate - that's why it's important to chart all your signs. A shift in temperature or lack thereof, will confirm whether or not you really ovulated.

3. It's okay to be pro-active. If you haven't ovulated within 6 months of going off the pill, I say call up a fertility specialist and get going. I know they say if you're young, you don't qualify as infertile until you've been trying for a year - but if you're young, you shouldn't be gong six months without ovulating either. Your doctor might look at you weird at first, but stick to your guns, tell them why you think something's wrong, and don't let them make you feel weird about seeing them about your concerns. At this point you know your body, and it's not normal to go that long without ovulating. There's a little pep-talk for you.



Some Encouragement For When Things Aren't Working Right



1. You can ovulate any day. Even if you haven't had a period on months, you can ovulate on any day. Don't give up hope, be pro-active, and keep monitoring those signs.

2. Nothing is impossible with God. There is nothing He can't do, and miracles happen every day. If you've gone many months without ovulating it can be easy to get so discouraged that you throw in the towel, or have doubts about the Lord's plan - but He always has a plan. He always has plans to prosper you and not harm you (Jeremiah 29:11). The fear comes when you're worried that His plans might not match up with your plans - but His plans are always better, even if we never understand the reason why. And He always works things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

3. The Bible tells us to delight ourselves in the Lord, and He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). It says that He will withhold no good thing from those walk uprightly, seek the Lord, and fear Him (Psalm 84:11, Psalm 34:10, Matthew 6:33). It also says that when two or more are gathered together in His name, He is there with them, and if two people on earth agree about anything that they ask the Lord, it will be done for them (Matthew 18:19-20).

The point of those verses - pray about it with your hubby! Pray as a couple that the Lord will grant you a child, and know that His plans are always better than our plans.

Cast your cares on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7), and then let it be. Trust in him fully, stop worrying, and you'll feel so much more at peace, with the kind of peace that only the Lord can give. Waiting and trusting in the Lord with a peaceful mind is a much better place to be than constantly worrying. And interestingly, if your more stressed you're more likely to have difficulty getting pregnant (Resource 5), so trusting the Lord is just better all the way around, for mind and body and babies.

Give it over to Him, and then let Him handle it. And know that I'm praying for you (ie. any of my followers who may be trying - and let me know if you want to and I'll add your specific name to my prayer list - I'd love to pray for you by name).



Some Closing Thoughts



There are so many benefits to using FAM, but one of the benefits that you may not expect when you first start out is increased appreciation for God's creation. When you think of creation, you tend to think of mountains and trees and oceans, but His creation includes our bodies.

Every time I go over this information again, I'm just struck with how perfectly the Lord designed our bodies. He designed it so that at the time of the month when you can get pregnant the sperm have a nice environment to live in, nice fluid to travel in, plus a nice lube to get the process of getting sperm in there easier. He designed it so that at the time that you can get pregnant, the sperm have an open path into your uterus and to your tubes. He designed it so at the moment that you may get pregnant, your body is already preparing a nice, warm environment to grow a baby in.

He certainly prepared everything perfectly so that we can fulfill His command to be fruitful and multiply. How anyone can look at the intricacies and perfect design of the reproductive process and not know there is a Creator is beyond me.

I guess that's why I like science and biology so much - every cell points to our Creator, and it never fails to leave me more in awe of Him. I hope you leave this series of posts with a renewed appreciation for the wonderful power of our Lord (and maybe a little motivation to get to know this aspect of His Creation better)!







Resources:

1. Fertility Chart, TheBump.com. http://images.thenestbaby.com/tools/pdfs/fertility_chart.pdf

2. Taking Charge of Your Fertility Software. www.tcoyf.com. I paid $40 for the software. Click here for a free 15 day trial of the software.

3. TCOYFweb, Web-based charting system. http://www.tcoyf.com/content/ApplicationDownload.aspx Still in the testing phase.

4. Weschler, Toni. Taking Charge Of Your Fertility, Copyright 2002, 1995.

5. High Stress Levels May Delay A Woman Getting Pregnant, Study Suggests. August 17, 2010, Sciencedaily.com. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817111658.htm Study performed by University of Oxford.

The Fertility Awareness Method (Part One)

Note: This post is possibly of the "too much information" variety, and it's directed toward female readers, especially those that are married. It's really not for kiddies or males to read, so if you are a kid or a male, go ahead and skip this post. Okay, you've been sufficiently warned.

Also please note that I am not a doctor or a medical professional, I'm just summarizing some of the research I've done.  Please consult your medical professionals with concerns.  These posts include information as well as my opinions based on research I've done and are for your information only.  They are not intended to replace proper medical diagnosis or treatment.


I recently had a request to explain how I monitor my fertility signs, and I thought, well, why not do a blog post on the subject? I haven't really talked about this since last year, and it's good information for any woman to know. Whether you're trying for a baby, trying not to have a baby, or haven't even thought about this before, if you're a woman with menstrual cycles, you should know this stuff.

I'd like to say right here that I got most of this information from a book called "Taking Charge Of your Fertility" by Toni Weschler. If you are interested in using FAM, you should definitely read this book - it addresses proper charting, special situations, and more information on how to use FAM for a natural method of birth control. I'm just going to present you with the basic information in my own words here, but you all should really read the book. I'm not an expert, she is - I'm just giving you a summary.

So here we go.



Background Information



A little background first: Derek and I started using the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) last year after we went off the pill. If you have never read that post, you should read it. It explains why Derek and I decided to go off the pill, and why we will never go on it again, and honestly, doctors should be telling any woman this before prescribing the pill, especially if they know you're pro-life. Okay, I'll get off that soap box now.

Anyway, we initially used FAM to try not to get pregnant, but once it became apparent that I may not be able to get pregnant, we decided to start trying for a baby. Then we started using the FAM method to get pregnant, and if I didn't know this stuff, it would have been very easy to miss our opportunity.

If my dear friend Amber did not tell me about the pill last year, and then tell me about the FAM method, we would not have this sweet child that we do now, so if I've never said it before, thanks Amber.



The Basics



So without further ado, I now pass the information on to you, my dear blogging buddies. I know alot of you already know this stuff, but just in case some of you don't.

Okay, let's talk about the basics first (I know you all know the basics, but just so we're on the same page). In order to get pregnant, two things have to happen: (1) Your body must release an egg from one of your two ovaries, and (2) the sperm must travel through the cervical fluid and join with the egg. Then (bam!) you have a baby.

There's a few numbers that the FAM method is based from. First, the egg can only be fertilized for the first twenty-four hours after it is released. Second, sperm can live inside your system for 3-5 days (closer to 3, but up to 5). Third, the sperm must be in your system for a certain period of time in order to be able to fertilize the egg (the process is called capacitation - see Resource 1). I don't think they've actually proven the exact amount of time it takes for sperm to become capacitated, but it generally takes several hours.

With this information, the thought is that if you can abstain from sex or use some other form of birth control for the 5 days before you ovulate and the 2-3 days after, you will most likely not get pregnant. Inversely, if you want to get pregnant, you should time sex to coincide with your fertile time, particularly the 3 days before you ovulate (because remember, the egg is only good for 24 hours at the most after it is released, and the sperm have to be in your system for several hours in order to fertilize the egg).

So the trick is to know when exactly you ovulate, and how do you know that? I'm so glad you asked!

Your body gives you several observable signs to let you know when you are fertile and when you've ovulated. The main ones are (1) a shift in basal body temperature, (2) a change in the consistency of your cervical fluid, and (3) changes in your cervix.



Shift In Temperature



After the egg is released the corpus luteum (which was previously encasing the egg) releases a hormone called progesterone which prepares your body for a potential pregnancy. One of the effects of this rise in progesterone is that your basal body temperature will rise. It’s usually pretty subtle, by 5/10ths of a degree or so. If you take your temperatures daily, you'll see an upward shift in your temperatures after you've ovulated, and your temperatures will stay up until you have your period. If you get pregnant, they'll stay up until you have the baby.

Here's an example a temperature shift in an ovulation cycle, and this is also a pregnancy chart. You'll notice how the temperature stays up well past the 14 days . . .




How To Check It: Your basal body temperature is your temperature at rest. You determine your basal body temperature by using a basal body thermometer (which has smaller graduations of measurement) to take your temperature directly after waking up in the morning, before you get out of bed or move or speak (because too much movement or speech can throw it off).

You should try to take it at the same time every morning. I take mine at 4:45 AM, which sounds really early, but that's when I have to get up on the days that I work, and during the rest of the week I still take it at 4:45 AM and go back to sleep afterward. You should also try to get at least 3 hours of continuous sleep before taking your temperature, to ensure that your body is completely at rest.

Lots of people think that this would be impossible to do every morning, but once you get into the habit of it, it's no big deal. I don't even think about it anymore - the alarm goes off, I reach for my thermometer, snooze while the thermometer is computing, look at the temperature, go back to sleep. Easy as pie. After three weeks of temping you'll be there too.

Once your temperature goes up, you'll get your period in about 12-14 days after that. If you don't and your temperature stays up for 18 consecutive days, you're most likely pregnant.

Temperature charting lets you know that you've ovulated after the fact. The main benefit of charting your temperature is to determine whether you did, in fact, ovulate, and it also gives you a heads up of when your period is coming (or not coming). This is especially helpful for people with irregular cycles, like myself, It's also great for determining if your body is actually functioning properly.

If you are just going off the pill, don't be surprised if your temperature chart looks like a bunch of spikes. For several months after I went off the pill, my temperatures kept going up and down every couple of days. My chart looked like a mountain range. It'll probably take a little while for you body to normalize, but charting can also tell you if you're not ovulating.

Charting alone, however, will not help you get pregnant or prevent pregnancy in any given cycle, because as I said before, it doesn't let you know you've ovulated until after the fact. By the time your temperature actually goes up the egg is already dead and gone, or you're already pregnant. The next two signs are the ones you really want to pay attention to, because they let you know when ovulation is imminent.



Change In Cervical Fluid



You all know what I'm talking about with this one, whether you realize it yet or not. Your body produces cervical fluid, and it produces it in different amounts at different points in your cycle. Cervical fluid can range from white and sticky to clear and watery, and it changes in consistency the closer you are to ovulation.

Cervical fluid has different functions, the most important one for our purposes being that it allows sperm to live inside you and travel to the egg. If your cervical fluid is thick and sticky and white, the sperm can't live in that. They can only live in the clear, watery variety.

It's amazing how perfectly the Lord has designed our bodies. The closer you are to ovulating, the more fertile your cervical fluid becomes. Fertile cervical fluid is of an egg-white consistency, clear, watery, and it peaks right around the day you ovulate - so you'll get lots of wet cervical fluid. You know how sometimes in the middle of the month you get that gush of something, and you run to the bathroom to check, and your underwear are just wet? That would be it, and (aha!) that would be the day to try for a baby.

If you can monitor the consistency of your cervical fluid, you can know when you're about to ovulate, and you can plan accordingly. Keep in mind that you can have the fertile cervical fluid 1-3 days before the day you ovulate as well, so if you're trying not to get pregnant, you should do something else on those days. If you are trying to get pregnant, make sure you take advantage of those days. Either way, you need to be checking this sign, because it's the most important one for both groups. This one is not optional, it's vital.

How To Check It: You can check your cervical fluid either by taking charge and reaching in for a sample, or just by wiping with toilet paper and seeing what you got.

Alright, enough said about that.



Changes In Your Cervix



This sign is optional, but it can be nice to have a third confirmation of the other two signs. It's also the most awkward to describe and the most difficult to understand.

Your cervix is the lowest part of your uterus, and you can actually feel it with your fingers. It feels like a small, round protrusion, with a small dent in the middle. You want to check for three things - firmness, openness, and position.

When you get close to ovulating, your cervix becomes softer, more open, and higher (to allow for sperm to enter easily so they can reach the egg). When you are not fertile (example: after you ovulate) your cervix will feel firm, low and closed.

The change in firmness is subtle - "Taking Charge Of Your Fertility" describes it as the difference between touching your nose and touching your lips. The small dent in the middle is the opening to your cervix, and it will feel more open the closer you are to ovulating. You'll also notice through consistent checking that your cervix will be higher the closer to ovulating, and lower after ovulation.

How To Check It: The cervix is rather awkward to check, because you need to reach a finger inside of yourself and try to find it. You should also make sure your standing in the same position each time you check, because the way you stand affects it's position. Make sure your hands are clean.

It's going to take you a while to figure this one out, and if the whole thing just sounds scary, just skip this one. It's not entirely necessary, especially if you have regular cycles. But if you have crazy cycles, or you don't think you're ovulating, it might be a good idea to check it. It just gives you more information to use to estimate ovulation.

This one just takes alot of practice, and if you're totally overwhelmed and freaked out about checking it, just skip this one.


To Be Continued

Those are the three main signs you want to monitoring with FAM. Now you know the basics; tomorrow I'll post some additional information you should know about a couple other signs you may have, some resources, and some information on when things aren't functioning properly.

Note: You can use FAM for birth control or to increase your chances of conceiving in any given cycle. Plus it's just good to know what's going on with your body. If you perform FAM properly, it is just as effective as the birth control pill in preventing pregnancy - a 99.5% success rate (see Resource 4). I didn't address the proper way to use FAM for birth control in this post, so if you would like more information on that, please look into Resources 2-4, listed below.





Resources:

1. Medical Dictionary by The Free Medical Dictionary. Definition of Sperm Capacitation. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/sperm+capacitation

2. Weschler, Toni. Taking Charge Of Your Fertility, Copyright 2002, 1995.

3. Taking Charge Of Your Fertility Website. http://www.tcoyf.com/.

4. Frank -Hermann, P.; Heil, J.; Gnoth, C.; Toledo, E; Baur, S.; Pyper, C.; Jenetzky, e.; Strowitzki, T.; Freundl, G. The Effectiveness Of A Fertility Awareness Based Method To Avoid Pregnancy In Relation To A Couple's Sexual Behavior During The Fertile Time: A Prospective Longitudinal Study. February 20, 2007. http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/dem003v1.

Baby Gift And Belly Pictures

I am 12 Weeks, 5 days today! This is the last week of the first trimester, so from here on out there should be less nausea, less fatigue, and less pickle smells! Can I hear a "Hooray"?

Last week I received my first baby gift! My sweet friend Ashley not only came over to help me with Photoshop last week, she came bearing gifts! She gave me these adorable little baby booties, with a cute little baby clip holding the bag shut!



She said it was a "Getting Pregnant Gift". I thought that was so sweet! We don't know what the baby is yet, but even if it's not a girl this time, I'm trusting that we'll have a sweet baby girl in the future - so I'll get to use these little booties at some point. Thanks Ashley!

Babykins has fingernails and eyelids now. Even though those aren't the most recent developments, I think it's exciting to think about! Reflexes are developing this week, and the baby can start to move it's face more, like scrunching the eyebrows or pursing the lips.

All of the baby's body parts should be present now, and he/she is around three inches long, which is about the length of a large plum. Gracious, that's huge! I can't believe I'm not showing more with a baby that big inside me.

Here are my 12 Week belly pictures!







There's a little bump there, I think! I think it looks like I'm arching my back, but I'm really not trying to - that's about as un-arched as it gets. For all of you pregnant people who posted early belly pictures, I understand them much better now - you weren't trying to arch either. Now it all makes sense.

Still wearing regular clothes, though certain pairs of pants have to be worn with my handy-dandy belly band and a hair tie around the button.

Let's see, symptoms. The heartburn has really been kicking up over the last couple of days. A touch of nausea as well, and my poor tail bone is starting to act up like it did last week. I'll probably have to head back to the chiropractor this week to get it straightened out again, though the stretches he showed me are really helping. I'm also a bit moody, but I'm fighting against it.

Overall, I'm feeling pretty great though! I feel plump and healthy, and happy to have this sweet baby - I feel like all is right with the world.


A Day At The Zoo


Derek and I went to the zoo on Saturday!

I've been wanting to go to the zoo all summer. The zoo is not just for kiddos, adults can have fun there too - and we did!

We started out by eating our lunch that we packed beforehand. Derek made me a fabulous ham sandwich, and we had cheese sticks, apples, chips, honey-roasted peanuts, cookies. It was a good lunch.







Then we headed in and started looking around. I decided I want a squirrel monkey, because they are pretty much adorable. I didn't get a picture myself, but here's one from the web.


Image from Wikipedia.com.

Derek and I also were trying to decide which of the animals had the best zoo-home. The sea lions have a pretty sweet deal, because they like to swim, and they have a great water area in their exhibit.

But the final winner has to be one of the bears. I'm afraid I don't have the exact name of the species of bear, but it has white shoulders and climbs trees. No not a panda bear. But he definitely had the best home - a nice blue pool, a waterfall, a tree to lay on, a place in the shade . . . Yep, I'd want to live there if I had to live in a zoo.



We saw a bunch of other animals too. Here's some pictures.







Derek and me compared to the size of a full-grown elephant.





I talked Derek into doing the "How Far Can You Jump?" game, and he was a good sport and jumped (I would have too, but I probably shouldn't be doing crazy stuff right now). He jumped seven whole feet from just standing still! The same as a kangaroo rat - good job, Babe!



We also blew some money on some incredibly expensive ICEEs, and some Dippin' Dots, plus a bottled water, because it was very hot outside. We figured this was probably the only time we would be going to the zoo together without kids, so by George, we'd splurge and get ourselves some ICEEs!

So we sipped on our incredibly expensive beverages, and raised a toast.



We finished off the day by eating at a Japanese restaurant and heading home to watch this movie. I have a sweet husband to bear through a girl movie for me.



It was a wonderful day, and it was good to just get away and spend some quality time together doing something that we wouldn't normally do.



Much Better Now

First of all, thanks to everyone for all of your concern and advice!

I talked to the nurse, but then she wanted me to check on something with my insurance and never called me back after that. I was really annoyed. I've gotten this nurse on the phone before, and she's just not helpful at all, so I think I'm just going to ask for the other nurse the next time I call. The other nurse is so much nicer.

So anyway, when they never called back we had to take matters into our own hands, so my mom helped me find a chiropractor and drove me to town. He did a couple pops and showed me a couple stretches, and my poor tail bone has been feeling much better since then. This morning I could actually walk without having to warm up first, so I'm pretty happy!

I just wanted to do a quick post and let you all know I'm alright! Thanks for all your prayers, Everyone!

Now Derek and I are off to the zoo! Pictures to come on Monday.


When You Can't Stand Up (Literally)

Note: I just want to assure you all that the pain described below is in no way crampy-type pain, and I'm confident that Babykins is just fine. Okay, read on.

Last night I could not stand up.

No, I don't mean I was so exhausted that I didn't want to stand up. I mean I could not. Well, unless I wanted to immediately fall on the floor again, screaming in pain.

Since I've gotten pregnant, my tail bone has been giving me some trouble. It gets rather sore, especially when I sit on soft things, like the couch. It feels better if I lay on the floor and pop it a couple times. I think it's acting up because everything in that pelvic region is growing and stretching.

I'm pretty sure this is related to that twisted tail bone issue that I was attempting to deal with several months ago. I'm thinking I need a chiropractic adjustment and it will be all better, but I haven't gone, because I'm a little scared to. I guess I just get worried that they'll do something wrong and hurt my baby. Hence I've just been dealing with those little twinges of pain here and there. Actually it has gotten alot better recently.

Until yesterday.

I noticed my back was starting to hurt a little more, but I took it to mean that things must be growing again, and I didn't worry about it.

Until the end of the day at work, when I started limping.

And later, when it hurt like crazy just to get out of the car.

And even later, when I found myself on the floor, unable to stand up.

I came home and sat down on the couch. First mistake - sitting on a soft surface. It started hurting a little bit, so I stretched out and lay down on the couch, thinking that if I was laying flatter, that would take some of the pressure off.

Derek was sitting on the couch with me, my legs on his lap. I decided I'd like to get a bowl of cereal and blackberries for dinner (last night was a fend-for-yourself night). So I swung my legs around to get up.

Or rather I attempted to.

Searing pain shot through my lower back the second I tried to move. I gradually worked to get my feet on the floor, and tried again to stand up.

No can do. Wasn't going to happen.

I lowered myself to the floor, hoping sitting on something hard for a while would help. I could not even crawl - I had to scoot. I'm pretty sure I looked rather pathetic. Derek was pretty concerned, and he got my cereal for me. Thanks Babe.

So after I had finished my lovely cereal, it was time to get ready for bed. My back was feeling better from sitting on the floor, so I tried to stand up again by bending my legs to a squatting position and standing up from there.

I couldn't even get to the squatting position. It hurt to lift my left leg.

Well, just crossing my feet and standing straight up from the floor wasn't an option, so I tried the only other way I could think of. I bent my legs and kind of rolled up onto my feet, bum in the air, ready to straighten up from there.

Except I couldn't straighten up from there. I was stuck with my hands on my feet, unable to straighten, because my back hurt so badly.

I kind of broke down at this point. Rolled back to the floor and started crying my little heart out. It's really disturbing when you can't even do something as simple as standing up because you are in so much pain.

Derek was really sweet and concerned, and we prayed together. Then he got me a glass of ice water (my hubby is the best), and I gulped it down, which stopped the crying. After that I was able to ever-so-gradually work my way to my feet. It hurt like crazy to put any weight on my left leg, but I slowly did, and soon I was walking all over the house again. Once I get going, it doesn't hurt anymore, but I was really afraid I wouldn't be able to get out of bed this morning.

I did, but I could barely walk. Once I got going it was better again, but it still hurts to bend over or when I sit a certain way.

I called my doctor's office to talk to a nurse, but they haven't called me back yet.

So here I sit, waiting for the nurse to call back, uncertain as to whether I'll be able to get up, typing this post. I hope it wasn't too long and boring. I'd appreciate your prayers - I'm sure the Little One is fine, but I certainly can't function like this for long.

Thank you, Friends.

Now, I have to finagle myself into the shower. This should be interesting.


Febreze And Me


Febreze is my friend.

Pregnancy does weird things to your sense of smell. I smell things now that I'm sure no one else smells.

The other week the refrigerator smelled like garlic. I pulled everything out and cleaned it from top to bottom, trying not to gag in the process, and I could still smell garlic. Derek couldn't smell anything.

With the exception of the refrigerator, everything else smells like pickles. Work has been a nightmare, because every patient's breath smells like pickles. I think I might have to start making everyone rinse with Listerine before we start.

I smell pickles everywhere. Did I mention pickles are bad?

I'm not a stereotypical pregnant woman I guess, because pickles make me want to puke. I accidentally took a bite of a pickle in a hamburger the other week, and I thought I was going to throw up. Even the thought of pickles makes me want to puke.

Let's change the subject.

Back to Febreeze. Anytime I feel like something smells like pickles I grab that bottle and spray everywhere, then everything smells fine. I've been walking around the house with a bottle of Febreeze in my hand for a couple weeks.

I particularly like the Moroccan Bazaar scent right now. It's the perfect mix between summer and fall.

Thank goodness for Febreeze. Whoever invented the stuff, I thank you.



Photoshop Hates Me

Photoshop Elements 8 is not very user-friendly.

For one thing, it doesn't come with a user guide. What? Every other computer program I've ever bought comes with a how-to guide.

And the program is set up in such a way that it's hard to just sit down and play and figure it out. You can't do it. You need outside resources.

I rented this book form the library and it was pretty helpful:



The Missing Manual for Photoshop Elements 8.

But then I had to take it back before I figured too much out.

The whole "layers" concept really confuses me. I can't get them to behave properly in the program.

I'm so confused.

Thankfully my dear friend, Ashley, is coming over tomorrow afternoon to help me figure it out. She's taken some photography classes and had to work with Photoshop before, so hopefully with her expertise we can figure it out.

I'll keep you posted.


Real Life

We had a really busy weekend, and for that reason I didn't have much time to write a post for today, I'm afraid.

Friday night we went for dinner at a friend's house, and we had a wonderful time!

We stayed up pretty late, so we slept in the next morning. I spent the rest of the morning getting ready for the baby shower, and left at twelve.

Then we ended up going to a rodeo Saturday night with my family. We had a fun time. But then we stayed up really late again, and I slept in so late that I didn't have much time to do anything this morning.

Then I rode down to town with my mom and sister to pick up our other car, because Derek and I left one of our cars in town so we could ride home together. We were thinking we would be down there for church this morning, but we ended up just going to a different church that was closer because we slept in so late.

Then this afternoon I cleaned the house and made a cake, and made some phone calls. Then I read my book and just forgot about blogging.

All this to say, sometimes experiencing "real life" for a weekend is more important than coming up with a blog post.

Enjoy your "real life" today.








P.S. Here's some pictures from the rodeo! Derek and me and my family.







Friend's Baby Shower

Tomorrow I'm going to a friend's baby shower. This is the first baby shower I've ever been to being pregnant myself, so it seems to me it will be extra fun because of that! Don't you think?

Anyway, here's what I got for the mother-to-be. She's having a little girl.

From Target:



A cute little dress, a little barbell rattle, and baby headbands. The dress will fit the baby next summer, and the rattle was on their registry.


From Hobby Lobby:



Wall decor and a baby boa. My friend told me she really has no cutesy stuff for the nursery yet, just the crib and changing table. So I thought I'd get something for the nursery too. The boa was a last-minute decision, but I couldn't resist - every little girl should have a boa.

And I got away with everything for around 20 bucks. Not too shabby. I think that's a decent amount of loot for $20.



So what do you think? Did I do good?


First Ultrasound And Baby Pictures

Last week we went to our first doctor's appointment! I must admit to being a bit nervous before the ultrasound - I wanted to hear a nice strong heartbeat and see my baby.

I wasn't too worried, because I've had several pregnancy symptoms over the past several weeks - food aversions, light nausea, indigestion, a nice little pooch, and a crazy sense of smell. But it still didn't really feel "real" yet.



This is a picture of moi on a particularly nauseous evening - that's my emergency throw-up bowl on my head. Derek saw me sitting there like that and thought it was funny.

So we went to the doctor and got our first ultrasound. They wouldn't let me see until after they had done all the measurements, but finally they turned the screen, and I saw our sweet baby!



Our little Cinnamon Bear!

I think maybe it's just my imagination, but I feel like I can see the little face and the baby's legs all curled up in that picture. What do you think?

It was so beautiful. I think the baby must have been sleeping, because he/she wasn't moving around alot, but we could see the little heart valves fluttering!

And then they let us hear the heartbeat. I had heard that the heartbeat just sounds like a "swishing" sound on the ultrasound, but that was not the case with our little one - it sounds more like a "thwomp, thwomp, thwomp". Nice and strong! The tech was very happy with the strength of the heartbeat.



A good heartbeat.

Of course, because I had been following everything ver closely, I knew I was around 9 weeks 4 days, and low and behold, the ultrasound proved me right!

But I was very pleased, because actually the baby is measuring a day or two big of how far along I knw I was! I was praying that if there was a difference in measurements, it would err on the side of big - and it did! So we have a nice, big, strong baby!

Here's a couple pictures of me and Derek on the day of our appointment - there's a definite lack of glamor on my part - the whole doctor's visit really wore me out, so I just threw on some comfortable clothes and didn't bother to fix my make-up after I washed my face. But I still like the pictures!



Me and the Munchkin!



Our first family picture!

And here's the belly pictures I have so far (because I have to chronicle these things for future generations). I think you can definitely tell a difference between the first ones and the last one. That's because my uterus is really growing - I can feel it externally, and I can tell it's getting bigger! So it's pushing my intestines up and out - I'm definitely a little thicker around the middle now.





Week 4 (Hard to see - We've gotten better since then!)



Week 6



Week 8





Week 10

In that last picture, the size of the baby in the picture I'm holding is the actual size of the baby this week! It's so big - relatively, I guess. I'm amazed at the size, because I remember thinking about how the baby was the size of a grain of rice when we first found out. It's cool to think that my baby is actually that size right now and snuggled there in my belly!



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