Warning: You’re about to learn a lot more about me than you may want to know. I’m looking at you, Dad.
When Jake and I were married in 2002, we discovered that hormonal birth control methods (e.g. the pill, the patch, etc.) turned me into a raving lunatic. In fact I’m pretty sure my dear, precious husband was questioning his choice of bride during those first painful months.
Eventually, we landed upon the method of “charting” to keep Seabass at bay. This entails watching a few of my body’s signals to predict when I will ovulate – information useful either for avoiding or promoting conception – and charting the results. All of our information for how to practice charting came from the fantastic book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. (By the by, I highly, highly recommend this book to all women, especially young ones. Learning how to read your body’s signs is incredibly empowering and helps minimize the frustration of becoming a pimply, weepy psychopath once a month.)
One of the signs to read during charting is my early morning body temperature. So, every morning when the alarm went off at 6:30am Jake would jam a thermometer in my mouth. Despite how unappealing that sounds, it was actually a beautiful way to wake up. I got to lay there for a full minute, completely still, while preparing to take on the rest of the day. When the thermometer beeped, we’d note the temp on a chart. If my temperature spiked one day, it was a sign that I’d ovulated. When that spike descended after several days, we knew I’d soon be visited by Aunt Flo.
When we left for our year-long trip around the world, we dutifully packed the thermometer and a chart, thinking everything would continue as planned. But it didn’t, because my ovaries didn’t drop an egg for 150 days. I would have believed I was pregnant if my temperature had ever spiked, but it hadn’t. You see, my sensitive reproductive system is a lot like a turtle: The slightest change or stress, and everything goes into lockdown.
Eventually my cycle re-emerged and my timid body managed to ovulate. It wasn’t until a few months after our return home that we decided to change our objective with charting and try to conceive. In Taking Charge of Your Fertility, the author describes how it’s possible to conceive on Monday, but not technically be pregnant (i.e. fertilized egg implanted in the uterine wall) until Tuesday or Wednesday. Furthermore, she states that the implantation process can be felt, and can be “a little uncomfortable.”
So it was with Seabass. We *ahem* did the deed on a Friday, but the fertilized egg didn’t implant and get me pregnant until I was shopping at Trader Joe’s on Saturday. Pushing my cart through the cheese aisle, I felt a sharp, searing pain not unlike a knife in my pelvis. It was so uncomfortable I couldn’t walk or move. So I just stood there squeezing a wedge of brie until it passed, about a minute later.
And I guess that’s when I first knew we had a Seabass on the way.