Sorry to leave you hanging, faithful readers! As usual these days, work has been keeping me beyond busy. And there seems to be no end in sight, which is different from past busy-busy-busy moments. Maybe this is just what life is like post-tenure. In which case, someone really sold me a sack of BS at the start of this academic journey.

ANYWAY. On to the news you’ve all been waiting for–let me rush to assure you that pigs have not yet flown, hell is not yet frozen over, and I am not, at ALL, in any way, shape, or form, pregnant. Nope, today is a very crampy and bleedy CD2.

Aunt Flo arrived rather abruptly yesterday and last night–the most abruptly she has ever shown up, in fact. Around noon, I suddenly (after a couple of days of no signs at all) had significant cramping, followed by significant spotting, and by later that same evening I was bleeding red. Usually my cycles take a little longer to rev up–I’ll have cramps one day, on-and-off spotting for a good 24 hours after that, then finally the real deal will start–so this definitely seems to signal another shorter and more efficient period, similar to last month’s quick and nearly painless one. This month I definitely have pain, unfortunately. Still, I’m guessing that the exercise and eating better has been doing good things for my lady bits.

On that note, I’ve now lost 19 lbs! Of course, I have had a rash of days with way-WAY-too-many-calories since reaching this weight, but so far I’ve at least maintained the 19-pound loss for a few days rather than going back up, probably because I’ve been doing cardio intervals almost daily. I want to tighten up on my calories for the rest of this week, though, so I can crack the minus-20 pounds barrier. From there it’s only 3 more pounds to my wedding weight, another nice interim goal.

As far as the title of this post, I have to admit that as I walked around during the 2ww this month contemplating what it’d be like if I were indeed pregnant, each time I thought of being pregnant I felt a little bit torn. I am having a lot of fun losing weight and getting in shape, and the thought of having to abandon my weight loss efforts right now is a little disappointing. I’d like to get closer to my goal weight before I have to gain it all back for baby! Do thoughts like this mean I’m not “really ready” for parenthood? Whenever I do manage to get pregnant, I know I’ll be happy, but when my period showed up yesterday I have to admit to a little internal sigh of relief–now I have at least one more month to focus on weight loss. Over the weekend I had to go buy a new, smaller pair of pants because all of my current work pants are too big. That is a FANTASTIC feeling, and I kind of want more time to experience it fully.

Because of academic-calendar timing issues, October and November wouldn’t be ideal months for me to get knocked up anyway, so maybe this month and next we’ll take it easy on the “trying” again. Meanwhile, I’m going to keep working out and eating better–and now G is on board too, so we are both making major health changes! I’m looking forward to seeing what the “new us” looks like in a few more months.

Signs…?

September 18, 2007

Well, today is CD20. This afternoon I had some strange period-like cramping, and then, while I was on the elliptical machine doing an afternoon workout, I could have sworn I was starting to spot (panties check later was inconclusive, though). I’m even feeling a little bit crampy as I type this.

It’s possible I’m on track for another short cycle, perhaps my shortest yet–I usually have symptoms like this no more than two days before my period starts, so that would mean real spotting tomorrow and bleeding on Thursday–a 21-day cycle, which is unheard of in the Land of Me. Especially when I’ve been working out, since in the past, regular exercise has lengthened my cycles by a few days.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that these are somehow signs of implantation, or even my uterus expanding because of the recent arrival of a tiny embryo. Then again, because of my cold we only managed to have sex one time pre-O this month, so that would be some tenacious little sperm and egg who found their way to each other in there.

But it’s certainly nice to imagine the second scenario, isn’t it?

Goooooaaaaallllllllll!

September 14, 2007

Just a quick post to announce that as of this morning, I have met my first weight loss goal: 15 pounds lost! Yay! I’d wanted to lose it by October 1, but thanks to my little bout with the common rhinovirus I broke through my plateau and took off the last couple of pounds between me and my first goal weight, a few weeks early.

I still have another 15 or 20 lbs to go before I’m at my fighting weight, but I’m pretty proud of myself right about now. Hopefully our fancy dinner tonight (pan-grilled, marinated hanger steak, arugula + tomato salad, and three glasses of delicious, delicious Rioja) has not undone all of my exciting gains! At least I got in a cardio workout today. And I’m still close to being within my general 1200-1400 calorie range, at 1450 total for the day.

Okay, off to bask in the Rioja glow. Good night! 🙂

As promised, I’m back with more on why I’ve decided to stop trying so hard to conceive. Warning, spiritual woo-woo talk ahead. But first, a practical update:

All that frantic working last week seems to have gotten me down, healthwise–for the past three and a half days I’ve had a nasty cold. It came on fast Saturday afternoon while we were at our second baby shower in three weeks (unanticipated plus: no time to angst over my fertility when I had a newly scratchy throat and runny nose to focus on), and forced us to cancel plans with my in-laws on Sunday. I dragged myself to school on Monday in spite of the cold, since due to Rosh Hashanah we had the rest of the week off anyway, so I knew time to rest was forthcoming.

I’m feeling a lot better today, but it’s CD14 and G and I haven’t had sex at all yet, which may make getting pregnant this cycle a tad difficult. Maybe we’ll manage some “I’m healed” loving tonight, though. He’s a bit depressed right now–about issues completely unrelated to sex/babies (more on that in another post)–so I don’t know whether he’ll be up for it, but we’ll see.

Anyhoo, on to my “not trying” plans. As you know, I’ve been reading this book, which talks about the idea of a universal Law of Attraction. From the book:

Every thought vibrates, every thought radiates a signal, and every thought attracts a matching signal back. We call that process the Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction says: That which is like unto itself is drawn. And so, you might see the powerful Law of Attraction as a sort of Universal Manager that sees to it that all thoughts that match one another line up. (25)

(Yes, they really do italicize Law of Attraction every time. You get used to it)

What this boils down to is that if you want something, the best way to get it is to “hold yourself consistently in vibrational harmony” (25) with your desire, so it will come to you. In other words, what you focus on will manifest in your life. The tricky thing, of course, is that often when we want something, say, more money, we focus on our current lack of money rather than on abundance and prosperity.

I have a lot of relatives who habitually say things like, “I am always/so broke.” According to the ideas in this book, if your constant focus is on how “broke” you are, how little money you have, then you’ll continue to attract that state of being, even if what you really want is to have plenty of money. But focus on the abundance that already exists in your life, the theory goes, and you will attract more of that to you instead. So changing your way of thinking and talking to something like, “I always end up having money when I need it” might start the process of attracting money instead of the lack of money.

I’ve seen this work in different ways in my own life, but I definitely have had trouble translating it to fertility. One thing that seems clear is that repeatedly focusing on infertility is only going to attract more infertility–and yes, I’ve considered changing the title of my blog–but I’m not exactly clear on what to focus on instead. How do you focus on something as nebulous as fertility? Or should I be focusing on pregnancy? As I’ve never been pregnant, this one is particularly hard. Should I focus on the joys of parenting, even though I haven’t experienced these yet? Or maybe on the joyful presence of babies and children in my life?

(See how easy it is to adjust to overuse of italicization? You probably didn’t even notice)

OK, so I still haven’t quite figured that part out. BUT, I did read something that rang very true to me. The book’s authors say, imagine yourself as head of a large corporation, with thousands of people working for you and helping to make your business successful. But imagine that you have almost no personal contact with your employees–instead you have a high-powered manager who does this work: “So, whenever you get an idea about something, you express it to your manager, who says, ‘I’ll take care of that right away.’ And he does. Efficiently. Effectively. Precisely. Just the way you like it” (280). Many of us, they suggest, might think to ourselves–I wish I had a manager like that for my life! To which they respond:

And we say to you, You do have a manager who is that and much more. You have a manager who works continually on your behalf called the Law of Attraction, and you have only to ask in order for this Universal Manager to jump to your request. (280)

But as the book points out, most of us don’t see things in this way. We “have this manager, but [we] continue to hold the responsibility in [our] own heart[s]” (280). In other words, we might accept the idea of the Law of Attraction, but we still assume that we have to do all the work. Which is like having a high-powered manager that you pay to sit on a beach somewhere while you hustle around doing everything yourself. And what is the point of even having a manager if you have to do everything yourself?

So, they write,

[S]etting goals is like delegating to the Universal Manager And achieving the vibration of allowing is like standing back and trusting your manager to set things into place, trusting that when something is required of you, your manager will bring your attention to it. In other words, when another decision [or action] is needed from you, you will be aware of it. (281)

This makes a LOT of sense to me, perhaps because I am a control freak who has a very hard time delegating anything. It’s in my nature to want to manage everything myself, which may explain why I was all over TTC from our first month of trying. A lot of people spend a few months NTNTC (not trying not to conceive), just having sex and “seeing what happens.” Not us! I’d been charting for 3 months before we started trying, I was using OPKs from month two or three, and scheduled sex was de rigueur for us from month one.

In other words, I was busy managing the process instead of trusting that it would happen for us.

Now, let me be clear–I’m not trying to say that infertility in general is merely a matter of people not trusting the universe enough, or vibrating wrong, or whatever. That would be more than a little presumptuous of me, and I am not so far immersed in the woo woo that I’m unable to acknowledge the role that medical issues like anovulation, hormonal imbalances, male factor, etc. play in 85% of infertility cases.

But it’s clear that I was not working from any such concrete diagnosis when we started trying, and yet I never really gave “just see what happens” a fighting chance. I’ve tried to control the process completely from the very beginning, mostly (again, speaking only for myself) out of fear that if I didn’t, it wouldn’t work. Which means my focus has, from really early on, been on potential problems with conceiving rather than on… well, whatever I’d do better to focus on that’s the opposite of infertility. I don’t have to run through all those italicized terms with you again, do I?

So, I’ve figured I will chill out and let “my manager” do some work for a while. That’s what I’m paying him for, right? I have totally been letting my manager lounge on the beach while I worked my ass off as head of this TTC corporation. No more. That guy is going to start earning his keep!

As far as I can tell, unless/until the doctors tell us otherwise, the only thing truly required of G and me to get pregnant is that we have sex (even I am not enough of a believer to trust my universal manager with an immaculate conception). As I said, we haven’t done much of that so far this month, but then, I don’t think I’ve ovulated quite yet either–the earliest I’ve ever ovulated, to my knowledge, is CD15–so hopefully rising above the mucous to fit in some sex tonight, and maybe tomorrow, will fulfill our end of the bargain.

And then I’m just going to sit back and let the universe do its thing.

Superfast update

September 3, 2007

I’ve really been neglecting this blog! And I still don’t have time to update fully, but I wanted to pop in with a couple of updates:

1. Period officially started on August 30. Boo.

2. This has been the least crampy, most manageable period I’ve had in ages, and I’m crediting  the regular exercise I’ve been getting. It seems that my reproductive system (and the rest of me) is functioning more efficiently. Yay!

3. More on this in a real post, but I’ve made a decision: from this point on (at least until we decide to involve the medical establishment), no more “trying.” No more OPKs, no more temping, no more scheduling rote babymaking sex. We’re going to try to fit in sex that’s actually sexy when we can, and that’s it. I will explain my rationale at length another time, but the short version is, I’ve realized that trying to control this process has not gotten me pregnant. What it has done is create a bunch of extra hassle and take up way too much space in my head. Why bother? Here we are at cycle 12 anyway.

4. The past week has been a bit problematic, eating-wise (basically, too many days when I went WAY over my 1200-1400 calorie range), although I’ve been keeping up with my daily or every-other-day cardio workouts. I even got up at 6:30am to work out on Saturday! And I’m loving this feeling of being fit, feeling really good about myself and about my health. So, this week is my week to recommit to limiting my calorie intake and eating more healthy foods, along with keeping up the exercise. Wish me luck!

5.  Hmm, there is no number five. Or maybe number five can be that work is kicking my behind right now. I’ve been SO crazy busy! And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. A few of the things I have to do in the next eight or nine weeks: finish drafts of two administrative reports I’m working on and continue revising those drafts, due Sept. 5 and then ongoing; read a tenure dossier that’s about four inches thick and write a letter evaluating the candidate, due Sept. 17; begin working as chair of a major departmental committee, and schedule our first meeting for Sept. 19; draft a panel proposal with one of my colleagues for a local conference, due early October; complete major revisions of an old essay of mine, for publication in an edited collection of essays, by early November; write an entirely new essay to present at a major conference for my discipline, by early December. All of this while keeping up with the reading, class prep, and grading in my two classes and running the seminar series for the fellowship program that I head up at my institution. Have I mentioned that life gets busier after tenure?

Not that I’m complaining. Actually, I love my job! I just wish there were a little less of it to love right now. As soon as I have a few minutes to myself I will update here more thoroughly, especially on my new “no more trying” policy.  Stay tuned.