Showing posts with label Health and Fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health and Fitness. Show all posts

Fitness Update - Oh, The Flab

Flabby.

That would be the word to describe my stomach right now.

It doesn't look so bad when I'm standing up. That's one of the benefits of having a long torso. But when I sit down, I have a nice little roll of left over pregnancy flab. I've been doing workouts for three weeks trying to get rid of it, and it just seems to be getting worse.

It's a little depressing.

Granted, I haven't been eating all that well. There is way too much sugar in my diet right now. When I was pregnant with Wyatt I mostly wanted to eat healthy and/or salty things, but I guess now that I'm not pregnant anymore, the long lost sweet tooth has made a reappearance.

When I wanted to get in better shape before pregnancy, I would know how I was doing by what the scale said. If I gained a pound, I'd know to lay off of the smothered burritos. If I lost a pound, I'd know the salad I ate for lunch worked like a charm.

But somehow, someway, I actually weigh less than when I got pregnant (don't ask me how - all those extra calories I'm allowed to eat right now that I don't end up eating I guess). But the flabbiness remains. So the scale really isn't a good indicator of what kind of shape I'm in right now.

And honestly, I'm lacking motivation. It's hard to stay motivated when there's no good indicator of improvement.

Enter the blog post on fitness and the tape measure. Blogland can be a great source of motivation, and I figure a better way to determine how I'm doing is measuring my stomach at it's thickest point. Maybe if I can see the inches going away little by little, I'll have more motivation to keep going.

Now I know my stomach will probably never be as flat as it was before I had Wyatt - but there is a decent amount of pinch-able fatty tissue that I think I can lose. I just need to work at it. I want to look decent in my swimsuit this summer.

So here is the summary for the past week:

Inches around my stomach: 33.
Workouts: 4. But admittedly I wasn't really giving it all I've got.
Diet: Not so good. Way too much fudge and candy. I'm going to do better.

So, any suggestions for good lower abdominal exercises? Good workout videos (no time to go to the gym - I have to sneak in workouts during naptime)?

Somebody's Got To Do It

I was trying to figure out what to post for today. I'm afraid I didn't have anything prepared, and when Wyatt went to bed early last night, I decided I'd much rather read than write an involved blog post.

I decided to look at some of my unpublished blog posts. There are a few gems hiding there that never got posted for some odd reason.

This post, for example, was written in November 2009. That's a long time ago. I think someone must have given me a hard time about my job, hence inspiring the following monologue.

(For those of you who may be new to my blog, I'm a dental hygienist. People love to ask why dental hygienists would choose to scrape gunk off people's teeth for a career. It's like a broken record.)

Does anyone ever give any of you a hard time about your chosen profession?

Without further ado, here is the post I found hiding in the 575 posts I've written thus far in my blogging career. Enjoy!




Somebody's Got To Do It


"So did you just wake up one day and decide to clean people's teeth for the rest of your life?"

"I don't know how you can do this job day in and day out."

"What made you want to stare into people's mouths for a career?"

I've been asked these questions or various forms of these questions ever since I decided to be a dental hygienist. People ask me quite frequently why I would want to clean teeth for a living.

First I would like to point out that I do alot more than just cleaning teeth - I take x-rays, provide oral hygiene education to patients, screen for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment, perform oral cancer screenings, place sealants (which are kind of like little preventative fillings for teeth that have deep grooves), perform prophies (which are like basic cleanings), and perform root planings (which are deeper, more involved cleanings).

Besides the fact that I don't just clean teeth, I really actually like cleaning teeth. Especially when there is alot of calculus (tartar). What I really love is when a patient has big chunks of calculus that just flake off - so exciting!

I always like cleaning things when I can actually see the difference. Like dusting - if you dust a clean surface it's just not very fun, but if there is alot of dust it's so fun to wipe it off and see the difference.

Do any of you know what I mean?

However, I am not in any way condoning not flossing or brushing so that your hygienist's job will be more exciting. You know what makes a hygienist happy? An easy hour of the day. You know what makes for an easy hour of work? A bright, clean mouth. The secret to a happy dental visit? Keep those teeth clean between visits! And that means floss, floss, floss!

'Kay, stepping off the soapbox . . .






P.S. The newborn photos from one of our sessions are in! Stay tuned . . .

Baby's Day Out (With Me - His Mother)

Yesterday Wyatt and I took our first real shopping trip together!

It started out a little rough. I had to pull over to the side of the road for an emergency diaper change on the way to town. Then Wyatt got hungry a good half hour before I expected he would and cried up and down the aisles of Walmart.

A nice lady in the checkout line offered to help me put my items on the counter while I comforted him. You know how people are extra nice to you when you're pregnant? They're also extra nice to you when you have a new baby. I'm going to soak up the niceness as long as it lasts.

We went out to the car and I fed him - it went quite well, and it wasn't nearly so scary as I thought it would be.

After that he slept like a rock through the rest of our trip, and all the way home. I guess the shopping just wore him out.

I spilled my Starbucks drink all over the car. I only got to consume about 40% of it before the tragic incident occurred. It was kind of sad, because I had bought it as a special treat for our first trip to town together.

But I had a Diet Coke stashed away in the bottle bag, so I just enjoyed that instead! Not quite the same, but still satisfying.

I got this asymmetrical shirt at Gap, only in grey. It's a workout shirt. Fabulous, no?


Usually I work out in old, sweaty t-shirts, but I was so excited about my new purchase that I went home, fed Wyatt, then tried it out with the Shred.

Dare I say I actually felt cute while working out? I did. Gracious, with workout clothes that cute, I would almost consider taking up a more public method of burning calories, like running or something.

Notice I said almost. I'm sorry my marathoning friends, I'm just not a runner.

But I discovered I enjoy working out much more when I'm wearing some decent clothes.

And I can use all the motivation I can get. By some miracle the pregnancy weight came off within the first week, but that doesn't mean my stomach looks anything like it used to. I need to tone, tone, tone!

I topped off the afternoon by taking a shower and using my new coconut body scrub and honeysuckle and orange peel body wash that I bought at the store. I usually don't buy body washes, because I have far too many bath things as it is, but I saw these on the shelf and couldn't resist.



After my shower I felt quite pampered. Wyatt took a nice nap, giving me a chance to compose this post.

And to top it off we watched Biggest Loser together that night. I am in calorie-burning mode, I tell you!

Unfortunately, I'm also in calorie-consuming mode, but that's a whole other story.




P.S. I wanted to say a big congratulations to my dear blogging friend Jenene, who just welcomed her baby girl into the world early yesterday morning! She was like a labor rock star - I talked to her on Facebook Monday night, and three hours later she had her baby with no problems at all! And little Sohpia Grace is a cutie, I tell you . . . here's to many shopping trips and good times with your sweet baby, Jenene!

Six Months Preggo!

I'm officially six months pregnant! The belly button continues on it's journey to an outie . . .

The most exciting development is that Babykins is now considered viable, meaning if he was born right now he could survive outside the womb! Granted, he'd have to stay in the NICU for quite a while, but he could survive. That's really exciting to me!

This little munchkin is 8.5 inches long from the head to rump, or almost 12 inches long head-to-toe. He weighs about a pound and a half. He'll gain about 6 ounces per week now (my goodness!), and he'll start to build up more body fat.

He stretches and kicks me all the time right now, and I'm loving it! Many of the kicks are above my belly button, and I've even felt some movement just under my rib cage - we're certainly growing! Sometimes I feel him on both sides of my stomach at once, or up high and down low at once, so I think he likes to stretch his little legs!

I had a very odd experience this past weekend. I was sitting in my car and I couldn't breath all of a sudden. It lasted about 20 seconds or so, and my heart was pounding, then it went away and I was fine. Anyone have any idea what that might have been? I'm going to ask my doctor about it at my next visit. It was kind of scary, and there's been a couple other times since being pregnant when I felt like my heart was fluttering funny. You know I always appreciate your prayers.

I have to call the lab and set up my blood test for gestational diabetes. Hopefully I'll pass with flying colors - I'll keep you all posted.

I have been freaking out a bit about the weight I've gained. I don't know what's normal for six months in, but I've gained about 11-12 pounds. My weight gain goal is 25 pounds. I've been told that you should gain about a pound per week at this point. That means that if I gain a pound per week for the rest of this pregnancy, I'll go over my weight gain goal! So I need to slow it down a bit and try to improve my diet. I'm not going to beat myself up over it if I go over, but I really don't want to go over. I want to gain a healthy amount of weight. The little boy always measures big, so I'm holding on to the hope that it's not me, it's him!

I've been working on the baby quilt that I talked about making - I think it will turn out really cute! I'll show you all soon, I just need to get the front completed first. Then the hard part will be adding the backing and batting - I'm a little nervous about that.

I'm also debating on whether to paint the nursery or not. I want to paint it blue, but if we have a girl next, then I'll have to repaint it a more gender-neutral color, because our babies will probably share the same room for a while. I don't think my sweet little toddler will want to sleep in an upstairs room all by himself when we have another baby. And I wouldn't want him to have to come all the way downstairs if he has a bad dream, hence why they would share a room. So the question is, to paint, or not to paint? Or to paint in a neutral color instead of blue? Opinions?

Ever since finding out we were having a boy, Derek and I have been getting asked about baby names. There's a post coming up about that, but I'll just say right now that we have no idea. More on that later.

Oh, and I found some stretch marks. This was very depressing to me at first, but thankfully they are placed so that they'll still be hidden by my swimsuit after pregnancy. I was a little surprised, because I really haven't gained much weight - I can still fit into my skinny jeans (except they can't be buttoned because of the belly). But I guess I grew just enough - rats!

Here are the belly pictures for this week. I feel like I look so much bigger - am I really that large in person? I guess it's not bad, it's just weird to see pictures of myself with that big 'ole belly! I'm unmistakably pregnant now - except when I'm wearing my scrubs. Most of my patients still can't tell I'm pregnant unless I tell them.







Let's compare to a picture of me at 10 weeks pregnant, shall we?



Yes, my friends, that really was only 3 1/2 months ago. Oh my. I'm not going to worry about it though, because it means our baby is growing well!


P.S. I just went to this website with a Pregnancy Weight Gain Estimator to determine how much I should weigh at this point in my pregnancy - and it made me feel so much better. It told me I was two pounds under what I should weight right now.

Of course, it also thought I should gain 28-40 pounds, as opposed to the 25 pounds my doctor and I agreed upon, but still. It makes me feel better. Here are my stats:

Pre-Pregnancy

Weight: 120 lbs.
Height: 5 ft. 8 in.
BMI (Body Mass Index): 18
Weight Status: Underweight (here's where that 28-40 pound recommendation comes in, but my doctor and I agreed that I was at a healthy weight before we got pregnant, not underweight - I just have delicate bones).

Current

Weight: 132 lbs.
BMI (Body Mass Index): 20
Weeks Pregnant: 24
Total Weight Gained: 12 lbs.

That's not so bad, really. Here's the end-of-pregnancy weight break-down, which makes me feel alot better too:

Baby: 7-8 pounds
Placenta: 1-2 pounds
Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
Uterus: 2 pounds
Maternal tissue: 2 pounds
Maternal blood: 4 pounds
Fluids in maternal tissue: 4 pounds
Maternal fat and nutrient stores: 7 pounds

I can handle 7-8 pounds of fat to lose - and the rest should probably take care of itself within a couple months after the baby is born. Right?






P.S. Congrats to Brittany Ann at Living In The Moment - she just announced that she and her husband are expecting a baby! I know it wasn't easy for her to get pregnant, just like it wasn't easy for me, so it makes me so happy to hear the news!

Infertility And His Perfect Plans

Today I just wanted to reflect on how powerful our God is. I've been continually amazed over the past couple months by how He's been working not only in my life, but in the lives of those around me.

As you all know, Derek and I had trouble getting pregnant with this baby. Nothing I've been through has been quite so stressful, or painful.

I recently read this on a new blog I found: "I don't know how to explain the feeling of thinking, fearing, that you might not be able to conceive a child as a woman. It's such a sinking feeling. It's easy to obsess over. It makes you feel inadequate." That's exactly right. It can be a dark place to be.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

I know the Lord accomplished great things in my life through those months of infertility. He taught me to lean on Him, and trust that His plans, whatever they might be, were best. He taught me to look for the ways He was going to use this situation, and I felt assured that there is always a purpose, even when it's hard to see. I wrote several posts on my struggles, and I trust that He has used those posts to encourage others when they needed encouragement.

(If you are interested in those posts, see Babies And Being Content, The Fertility Factor, and To Trust Him (And A Good Cry) - that last one was actually written after I found out I was pregnant, but it's full of the lessons I learned during that time.)

One thing that really helped me through all those months of waiting were my "infertility buddies" as I like to call them. These were ladies that were going through much the same thing that I was, and we would spend time talking or e-mailing, encouraging each other and brainstorming on what to try next. I know the Lord placed them in my life - He knew that I would need them.

One of my infertility buddies was Amber. Amber and I went through almost every step of this struggle together. Amber was my very first follower and blogging friend, and we hit it off and ended up e-mailing each other regularly after that. She was the one who told me about the effects of the birth control pill (if you're pro-life, you need to click on the link and read that post), and we went off the pill at about the same time. We both realized we were having problems ovulating, and then we both ended up talking with our hubbies and deciding to try for babies right away. We both prayed for each other.

Then, by the Lord's grace, I got pregnant. His grace and goodness, not only in giving us this baby, but in the countless ways He showed me His faithfulness in the months prior to that, still amaze me.

". . . Pray for one another, that you may be healed." James 5:16b

Being pregnant only made my burden for my "infertility buddies" heavier. I know so many of you had prayed for me through those frustrating months, and my heart was heavy for my friends who weren't pregnant, but wanted to be. I started praying even harder for those I knew who were still trying, including Amber, who was being told by her doctors that she probably wouldn't be able to get pregnant without fertility treatments. (I hope you know that I still pray regularly for my dear friends who are still waiting for the Lord to grant them a baby - you know who you are).

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

God is bigger than a prognosis. He can do anything He pleases, and He likes to surprise us.

Amber is pregnant! No, she didn't do any fertility treatments - in fact she had nearly given up hope of conceiving and had determined that she and her husband may just have to adopt all their children. But the Lord had other plans, and His plans are always the best plans!

(Amber just announced her pregnancy on her blog - head on over there and congratulate her, if you're so inclined!)

After I had written this post, I was made aware of another blogging friend with an amazing story of God's grace and plan in this area. You might all remember Jaime? She moved from a Blogger blog to a Wordpress blog earlier this year. She and her husband have walked through infertility for several years, and she became a mother to her sweet little boy, whom they adopted. I couldn't believe it when I read it, but after they had decided it was time to adopt again, Jaime found out she is pregnant! Amazing, what our God can do . . . head on over to Jaime's blog to read her full infertility and pregnancy story and congratulate her too!

These are just two stories (three, counting mine) of how the Lord has worked in mighty ways in the lives of ladies I know. There are other stories that I'm not at liberty to share right now. Maybe sometime in the future.

I just wanted to encourage you ladies who are still longing for a baby, and wondering if that day will ever come when it's your happy story on your blog. God is more powerful than a diagnosis. He is the Great Physician. He is the Giver of Good Things. Whether He chooses to open your womb, or whether He chooses to reflect His ultimate plan of love and redemption in your life through adoption, He knows what He's doing. He is powerful. And His plans and timing are always perfect.

"He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;

He seats them with princes,
with the princes of their people.

He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.

Praise the LORD.
"


Psalm 113:7-9



A Chocolate A Day . . .


It's rich. It's decadent. It makes us happy.

It's chocolate.

Doesn't the thought of chocolate instantly make you feel better? It's my favorite stress food - I had a major financial stress breakdown moment this weekend, and a little chocolate did the trick. But stress relief isn't the only good thing about chocolate.

I was reminded again of the many benefits of chocolate this past weekend. Let's list them, shall we?

1. Chocolate causes the release of endorphins in your brain. Endorphins make you happy, decrease feelings of pain, and enhance your immune response, among other things (Resource 1).

2. Dark Chocolate can help lower your blood pressure, and it also contains lots of antioxidants (Resource 2). Antioxidants help fight "free radical" molecules and help maintain healthy cells and tissues. Recent research from the University of Scranton shows that chocolate contains more antioxidants than "tea, red wine, apples, oranges, and various vegetables" (Resource 3). The most antioxidants are found in cocoa powder, then dark chocolate, then milk chocolate.

3. Chocolate contains potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamins D and E (Resource 4). Since all these nutrients are found in chocolate, chocolate bars (particularly with dark chocolate) are not really just empty calories as some may think.

4. I think we all know how chocolate lowers stress. All you need to do is eat a bit of chocolate during a stressful day, and you immediately feel better, no? A recent study showed that eating some chocolate everyday did lower stress hormones in the participants - the same study also showed possible benefits for metabolism and microbial activity in the digestive system (Resource 5).

5. It's quickly coming apparent in recent years that chocolate in moderation (yes, you can't eat all the chocolate in the world and avoid gaining weight, unfortunately), mostly dark chocolate, can have many positive effects on a person's health. One study showed that a 1.6 ounce bar of dark chocolate is good for your body's blood flow and heart (Resource 6).

6. And finally, the possible benefit that I most recently read about. I read in American Baby magazine that if you have a little bit of chocolate every day, your baby will be happier at 6 months old than if you don't. I believe they got the information from a book entitled "Origins: How The Nine Months Before Birth Shape The Rest Of Our Lives", by Annie Murphy (Resource 7). Who doesn't want a happy baby, I ask you? I'm willing to give it a try!

I want to note right now that the health benefits of chocolate that I listed above are mainly associated with dark chocolate. The higher in cocoa concentration, the better. Milk chocolate doesn't have the same effects. In fact one study suggested that even milk eaten together with dark chocolate "may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate" (Resource 2). So eat your chocolate dark if you want to be healthy. That works for me, because personally, I like dark chocolate best!

I also want to note that if you eat too much chocolate without compensating for the calories in other areas, many of the possible health benefits are for naught. Gaining weight from too much chocolate isn't healthy. You have to compensate for the extra chocolate calories and everything will be golden, okay?

That said, anybody have any reservations left about having a little square of rich, decadent dark chocolate per day?

I didn't think so. Me neither.

Many happy, chocolate moments to you!




Resources:

1. Stoppler, Melissa Conrad, MD. Endorphins Natural Pain and Stress Fighters, 2007. Link: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=55001.

2. Denoon, Daniel J. Dark Chocolate is Healthy Chocolate, 2003. Link: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20030827/dark-chocolate-is-healthy-chocolate.

3. Information from Hersheys.com. Study listed as reference for this information:

Vinson JA, Proch J, Zubik L. Phenol antioxidant quantity and quality in foods: cocoa, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate. J Ag Food Chem 1999; 47: 4821-4824.

Link to article: http://www.hersheys.com/nutrition/polyphenols.asp.


4. Parkinson, Rhonda. Health Benefits of Chocolate. Link: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/westernhol/a/chocolate.htm.

5. Warner, Jennifer. Dark Chocolate Takes Bite Out of Stress, 2009. Link: http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/news/20091113/dark-chocolate-takes-bite-out-of-stress.

6. Denoon, Daniel J. A Dark Chocolate A Day Keeps The Doctor Away. Link: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20040601/dark-chocolate-day-keeps-doctor-away.

7. Murphy Paul, Anne. Origins: How The Nine Months Before Birth Shape The Rest Of Our Lives. Not Yet Released. Link: http://www.amazon.com/Origins-Months-Before-Birth-Shape/dp/0743296621.

8. Image from Hersheys.com.

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.

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.

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.


Getting Fatter

I have gained eight pounds since the beginning of the year.

Remember how I used to skip meals? And the fertility specialist told me I was underweight, and if I wanted to have children, gaining about 5% of my body weight (6 lbs.) would be a good thing?

Success! I knew I could do it if I put my mind to it.

I had an appointment about a month and a half ago with the same guy. Derek came with me, and he asked Derek if I had been eating, because overachievers sometimes exercise too much and skip meals.

He had me pegged.

But I was happy to report that I had not skipped a meal in a long time, and I had gained weight since my last visit. When I told him how much he looked quite pleased, and kept saying "Good, good," as he made a notation in my chart.

I am approaching a normal BMI! Hooray for me.

I can tell that I've gained weight. My jeans fit a little tighter than they used to, and I feel curvier. I'm not sure I'm entirely happy about that aspect of it. Derek likes it.

So what do you think - can you tell a difference?

Last year:


This year:


I think you can tell I've filled out some.

But it's not enough that people will start to think I'm pregnant when I'm not, right? Because I get a little worried that they look at me sideways sometimes, wondering.

As long as I can still fit into all my same clothes, I think I'll be okay.




P.S. Thank you for all the birthday wishes, everyone! They made me smile. I feel loved.

The Fertility Factor


Recently I started reading a book called Start Your Family: Inspiration For Having Babies by Steve and Candice Watters. It's basically a book that addresses the blessings of parenthood and our culture's increasingly negative attitude toward becoming a parent.

Chapter Five contained some startling statistics. I wouldn't consider myself ignorant of infertility at all - after all, I've been dealing with ovulatory infertility for the past ten months. But some of these stats were even surprising for me.

-For women, fertility begins to decline at age 27, the decline quickens after age 35, and by the time a woman is 40 her ability to get pregnant plummets. See Resource 2.

-At age 40, half of a women's eggs are chromosomally abnormal. By age 42, 90% of her eggs are chromosomally abnormal. See Resource 3.

-For men, fertility begins to decline after the age of 35. See Resource 2.

-Only about a third of couples who seek fertility treatment actually leave with a baby, and "that number can fluctuate dramatically depending on the reason a couple can't conceive naturally and the woman's age." See Resource 4.

-In-vitro fertilization treatments (the most technologically advanced method of conceiving, if all else fails) cost around $12,400, and women may need several rounds of IVF to concieve, if they conceive at all. "IVF simply may never work for some older women." See Resource 4.

Derek and I decided when we first got married that we'd like to wait two or three years to have children, just to give us time to get some debt paid off and get used to being married before adding a baby into the mix.

I think most couples today look at a variety of factors when considering when to have children. Those factors may include when they'll be in a good financial situation, when they'll be emotionally ready, where they want to be in their careers before they have children, and it sometimes includes a list of things that they would like to do or explore before having a baby.

But how many of us really consider fertility in our decision of when to have children?

No one really likes to talk about this for some reason, and those who do may be considered pessimistic. But the chances of conceiving decrease the older you get. You won't be infinitely fertile, and the hard fact is that you won't be able to have a baby whenever you want in life.

Why is it that we micro-analyze every other factor of when to have children, but we somehow overlook the most important and practical aspect of that decision - the question of "Will I still be fertile at the time when we want to have our first baby?"

I must admit that I am guilty of this myself. Before we were married, when Derek and I discussed our timeline of having children, the concept of how our fertility would decrease over time didn't even enter the equation. I can't believe I never thought of that before, as I think of it now.

Twenty-seven. Fertility starts to decrease for us women at the age of twenty-seven. I don't know where the rest of you young married ladies are, but that only gives me a few more years before it becomes even harder to have a baby. As if I weren't having enough trouble now.

Sure, there are alot of celebrities who have babies after age forty. But they are the exception, and we don't know how much time and money went into making that possible. Sure, there are many women who get pregnant without any help after 35, but the chances of that happening are far less than if they had started earlier (about 30% as opposed to 50%, Resource 2). And for many couples it just never happens, because they waited too long.

As for me, a woman in my early twenties who is already having struggles with her fertility, I urge you young married ladies out there who are in the midst of deciding when to have children to seriously consider your own fertility as an aspect of that decision. You may be one of those women who can conceive easily at a later age. But then again, you may not be. It's something every couple should have in their minds when making the decision of timing, and the goal of this post is just to get you all thinking about it.

I want each of you to experience every joy that life has to offer, and every blessing the Lord has to give you, but especially the gift of children. And I would hate to see anyone miss out on that blessing because no one brought the fertility factor to their attention when they were still young enough to do something about it.

I'd like to end this post with a quote from Start Your Family. I found this quote to be very encouraging, especially for those of us already struggling with fertility problems. We should be wise concerning our fertility and the timing of babies - but God is still (and always will be) in control, in spite of the struggles we face, even when they result from our own mistakes.

"As I wrote this chapter I thought my fertility window was closing - or more accurately, slamming shut - but then something happened.

Psalm 103 praises the God, "who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle." "He Himself knows our frame," the psalmist instructs, "He is mindful that we are but dust . . . But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him." (5, 14, 17, NASB). We serve a wonder-working God. That's what my doctors - all three of them - concluded when, after three sets of blood tests that confirmed my childbearing years were over, I got pregnant. They all said the same thing: "It's a miracle."

And so as my belly swells, even as I finish the edits on this chapter, I'm reminded that it's our job to be faithful to learn the facts about our bodies and make the most of our fertility. But I also know that God is sovereign over all. It's up to us to do what we can. Then we can trust Him for the rest. We are not without hope."


-Candice Watters, Start Your Family, page 89. Emphasis mine.








Resources:

1. Watters, Steve and Candice; Starting Your Family: Inspiration For Having Babies. Moody Publishers, 2009. Buy the book here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0802458300?ie=UTF8&tag=helgetmar-20&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=0802458300.

2. de Vries, Lloyd; "Fertility: Less Time Than You Think", CBSNews.com, April 30, 2002. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/04/30/health/main507580.shtml .

3. Gibbs, Nancy; "Making Time For A Baby". Time.com, April 15, 2002. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1002217-2,00.html.

4. Stenson, Jacqueline; "Have Kids? Sure . . .Someday". MSNBC.com, June 6, 2007. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17937795/ns/health-pregnancy//.

5. Image from the American Society For Reproductive Medicine Ad Campaign. Image has been cropped for easier viewing on this page. See original ad here: http://www.protectyourfertility.org/pdfs/4up.pdf.

Sharp or Dull?

Have you ever heard people say that you're more likely to cut yourself when you shave with a dull razor than when you shave with a sharp razor?

They lie, they lie, they lie.

I never get any nicks shaving with a duller razor. I don't get razor burn with duller razors either.

But almost every time I break out a new razor and shave my legs I nick myself. I used a new razor yesterday, because at some point razors become too dull and don't do any good. I nicked my legs three (yes, three) different places.

I promptly hopped out of the bathtub, grabbed a robe, and ran into the living room to get my camera, and I took a picture for the benefit of my readers.

You know you're addicted to blogging when you start taking pictures of your own bleeding injuries.



That's Ralphie in the background. I think he wanted to lick the wound clean for me.

I can watch someone else bleed all day long, but seeing my own blood run from a wound just makes me queezy. I got a little light-headed as I attempted to get a good picture of my ankle, and when I discovered another trickle of blood coming from my knee I was afraid I would pass out.

I think it was the combination of the blood and being over-heated from the hot bath water, because it's usually not quite that bad.

I put the camera down and just laid on the cool bathroom floor for a few minutes until the nausea subsided. A little dramatic? Maybe. But I've never passed out, and I don't intend to start when there's no one home to catch me.

Plus my sister was supposed to come over, and I couldn't let her come in to find me passed out on the floor in my bathrobe, blood trickling from my ankle. I'd scare her to death.

After I started to feel better and got back into the bathtub I discovered nick #3 on my right calf.

I don't believe that shaving with sharp razors is safer for a minute. I think the razor companies just tell you that so you'll think you have to buy more razors.

What do you think? Do you tend to cut yourself with sharp razors or dull razors more?

,

A Silver Crown of Horror Splendor

Last Friday I spent the night at my grandma's house with my mom and sister and aunt and cousins. It was just a fun, random sleepover and we had a good time.

However, as I was getting ready the next morning I noticed something odd about my hair.

I found a gray hair. Gray! On my head!

I could not believe it - I was thinking that it must just be a really light blond hair. I proceeded to walk out of the bathroom, holding the offending strand out in front of my forehead, and I asked my mom (hoping for a negative answer).

Me: "Mom, is this a gray hair?"

Mom (squinting): "Yeah, it's gray."

Me (slightly panicked): "Are you sure it's just not really light blond?"

Mom (after she proceeded to pull the hair out of my head): "Yep, it's gray. you know how you can tell? See how it's kinky? Gray hairs kink like that."


I'm going gray. I'm way to young to be going gray. I don't even have children as an excuse yet.

My grandma and aunt, who were watching from the living room, proceeded to tell me that at this stage I could just pull the hairs out to fix the problem, and not to feel too bad, because now I could be introduced to the wonderful world of hair color!

Thanks, guys. Thanks a lot.

I think I'm traumatized. But I keep telling myself that last month was really stressful, so that must be why. Right? Can't stress make your hair go gray?

I went back into the bathroom and finished fixing my hair. I actually found another hair that was half gray, but I didn't share that little detail with my family. One gray hair is enough, thank you. The rest must be kept a secret.

It didn't help that when I told Derek I had found a gray hair he told me he doesn't think he's ever found a gray hair yet. And he's seven years older than me.

Thanks, Babe. Thanks a lot.

On my twenty-first birthday I remember my dad telling me that it was all down-hill from there. I just didn't think he meant so soon; I was thinking in ten years or something.

Oh, Dad, you were right. Rats, you were right.

I guess I couldn't be naturally young and pretty forever. There is no fountain of youth.

But then again, Proverbs says: "Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life." (Proverbs 16:31). If my crown of splendor is beginning now, then by the time I'm seventy it will probably be magnificient!

Right? Right.


A Scratched Eyeball And The Woes Of Contact Lenses

Have you ever scratched your eyeball? My left eye currently feels like I scratched it. There is nothing quite like the discomfort of a scratched eye, especially when you wear contact lenses. All you fellow contact-wearers out there know what I’m talking about.

Last summer I went from wearing gas-permeable contact lenses to wearing soft, disposable lenses. I haven’t worn soft lenses since I was twelve years old. When I first started wearing contacts I had the soft lenses. But one day I dropped one, and when I found it a few minutes later it was shriveled and warped, and it never fit my eye correctly again.

So when I was around thirteen years old I went to the hard, gas-permeable lenses, which were much hardier. When I dropped one it could not be ruined unless someone stepped on it. If it needed a little moisture I didn’t have to use fancy moisturizing drops – I just popped it out, stuck it in my mouth for a moment to clean it off, and popped it back in. Ah, for the good old days.

However, this past year I’ve been having problems with my gas-permeable contact lenses. They kept getting these sticky, foggy deposits on them. I had to clean them about ten times a day, and sometimes I had to physically scratch the gunk off them with my fingernail. I suspect it may be because I went to one of those chain eye doctor stores for that pair, and maybe they were just cheap and more prone to problems..

At any rate, I decided I was done with that, and I gave the soft lenses another try.

You know how they say to change the soft lenses every two weeks? Yeah, right! I don’t have sixty bucks to be spending on new contacts every month and a half, so Derek and I make those babies last for about two months each. Maybe longer.

But soft lenses come with their own set of problems. My eyes seem very prone to scratching with those lenses – the gas-perms were better that way, because they were like a little shield for my eyeball. I have to be much more careful when I put on mascara now.

Maybe it’s not a scratch; maybe it’s a little infection going on because bacteria have started to grow on those over-the-hill soft lenses. Yuck! I hope not.

Either way, my left eye has been red all week, and today it was hurting me at work. If it’s just an infection from an old lens I’m hoping a new lens will make it all better.

If not, then my eyeball is definitely scratched, and I’ll have to wear glasses to work tomorrow. I think everyone at work secretly thinks I look funny in glasses. Sometimes I can pull it off and my glasses make me look sophisticated, but it’s hard to look sophisticated in scrubs.

Oh, for twenty-twenty vision! Or lasic eye surgery; lasic would work. I’m not opposed to artificially-induced twenty-twenty vision.


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How To Gain Weight

Do you all remember how a few months ago I said I was going to try to gain a few pounds? The reason was because I read that women with low body mass indexes can have trouble getting pregnant, and my body mass index was low, so I figured that might be why I was having issues.

Well, the whole gaining weight thing did not go well. I gained about four pounds for about a month, but then I lost it again – and I wasn’t even trying to lose it. For some reason food was just not as appealing once I knew I had to eat it.

Apparently if you skip meals because you don’t feel like eating you’re not going to gain weight. Part of the problem is that when I have to work I get pretty tired when I get home, and then I don’t feel like making a good dinner. Derek usually ends up having leftovers on work days, and I end up skipping dinner. And then sometimes I make dinner but I just don’t feel like eating.

Well, last week I went to see a fertility doctor to see what he thought. And guess what he told me? Apparently I’m too skinny, and he doesn’t think I’m going to ovulate unless I gain weight.

That’s the same thing I thought all those months ago – pretty smart of me, huh?

He recommended I shoot for three well-balanced meals a day, and no skipping. And here’s how you know he’s serious – I asked if I should try to work out to gain muscle or if fat tissue was better. He said that he wanted me to gain healthy weight, but exercising would probably be a little counter-productive. A doctor actually said it might not be good for me to work out too much. Yep, it’s that bad.

I guess it makes sense that you’re not going to ovulate if you don’t eat enough. I was talking to my mom about it, and she said that she thinks it was designed that way. If you aren’t eating your body knows that it barely has enough food to keep you healthy. Your body doesn’t want you to get pregnant if your current food intake isn’t enough to support you and a baby. Hence you don’t ovulate.

So I’ve been eating like crazy for the past few days. The doctor said if I gain about 5% of my weight it might help. That comes out to about six pounds. It probably won’t be too hard to put on the weight, but the hard part is figuring out how to maintain once I get there. I don’t want to keep gaining weight, but I’m worried that if I get to my goal and then cut back on my food intake again that I’ll end up losing the weight.

Gracious, I never knew gaining and maintaining would be so tricky.

I’m hoping that when I gain six pounds I won’t really look heavier. I’m a little worried that I’ll gain the weight and then people will look at me and think “Wow, Callie has put on a few pounds.” I know, I worry too much about what people think. I just have to remember that I’m not letting myself go, I’m doing it on purpose, and hopefully I won’t look heavier, I’ll just look healthier.

Any weight-gaining or maintaining tips? I know, that’s kind of a weird request. Also, any ideas for easy dinners? I need to think of some quick, easy meals or crock-pot dinners that I can make on the days that I have to work, so that I’ll actually eat. Derek will probably appreciate not having to eat leftovers on work days too.

As always, prayers are appreciated!


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Sick Day

Today I'm sick. It started yesterday - my nose was running the entire day, and everyone at work told me I sounded nasal-y. I felt really bad for all my patients because I was sniffling behind my mask. I was going to try to go to work again today (I get paid hourly, and it's hard to give up a day of work) but I took my temperature this morning and it was a whole two degrees higher than it normally is.

My mom stopped by the house to bring me a Mucinex, and she felt my forehead and pronounced it was indeed a fever. So I called in sick to work, and I have to spend the day resting.

It's really hard just to rest. This post is a case in point. I should be on the couch sleeping, but no, I feel like I have to update my blog. And catch up on reading all of your blogs. And wrap more presents. And make something good for Derek for dinner.

But no, if I'm going to get better I have to sit on the couch and just veg. I never realized what a workaholic I am.

I guess that's why the Lord had to command the Israelites to rest on the Sabbath, and not do any work. Because it really is hard to just spend an entire day resting.

It's an important command though - of the ten commandments, the Lord spends the most time talking about the commandment to rest on the Sabbath day. If He spent all that time talking about how important it is to rest from all our work, then it must be important to try to obey it.

I don't do a very good job of obeying that commandment. I can't remember the last time I just spent an entire day resting. But I guess now would be a good time to practice.

Wish me luck!

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The Flying Trapeze

Every Tuesday night I make something especially good for dinner and Derek and I sit down and watch the Biggest Loser. We're about halfway through this season now, and it's getting to the point where you can really start to see the difference after all that weight loss! Tonight is makeover week, and I'm totally excited to see how everyone looks after the makeover - this is my favorite week. I love makeover shows.

But what I wanted to write about is the workout with the trapeze that the contestants did on the show with Bob last week. Did any of you see that?

Gracious, that trapeze workout looks like so much fun! I want to do it. I told Derek that he should sign me up for one of those workouts, because it just looked fun. But Derek hasn't signed me up yet. I know the contestants were about to die after they did it, but I feel like I'm going to die after any good workout, so I might as well pick a good workout that I can have fun doing! I have no idea how to find a trapeze workout place though. They can't be that common, because I've never heard of it before now.

As I was searching for a photo to go with this post, low and behold, I found this video. Forget the trapeze workout, I just want to learn the flying trapeze. Doesn't this look like fun? It might be a little hard on my joints, but I'd suffer through!



I want to do it! I must have "a child heart and unfilled dream of doing circus". They say it's like a family trade - I bet we could go into it as a family. We'd have to think of a really cool name though.

Hmm, my next search may have to be "flying trapeze lessons" . . .
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