Category: Getting Started

Almost that time…

I haven’t posted too much recently because I haven’t had a lot going on on the pregnancy front, and I wasn’t sure how much of anything else anyone would want to read or I would want to share.  Some things are better left unsaid, you know?  Besides, I haven’t been reading many books, and work has kept me from having much time to think about anything else.

Anyway, it’s coming up on time to either pee on a stick or wait on tenterhooks for every woman’s favorite aunt.  I hate to do the latter, as she can be a less-than-punctual bitch when she wants to be, and I’m not known for my vast quantities of patience.  But I have some mixed emotions about the former.  I mean, I’ve never picked up a home pregnancy test in hopes of the response being anything other than, “Congratulations!  The carefree life of a college student is not yet over for you!”

I’m also not sure how I’m going to feel about the results either way.  I suspect I’m not going to be excited if it’s negative, and I doubt I’m going to be disappointed if it’s positive, but stranger things have happened, right?

More, I’m not sure when to take the test.  It’s supposedly most accurate when done first thing in the morning, but what if it’s negative and I get all depressed?  That’s not a good way to start the workday.  I could take it at night, but then I’d be wondering until I could get my hands on another one if the results were skewed by the fact that I didn’t take it in the morning.

No matter what, it looks like I won’t be making a decision tonight or tomorrow morning, as I didn’t make it to the store and therefore have no sticks to pee on.  But who knows?  Maybe said aunt will show up and render the whole thing moot.

The only thing I’m not sweating at this point is what kind of test to get.  These days, one is pretty much as accurate as another.  Even the Dollar Store ones.  So, provided my period doesn’t make a somewhat unexpected entrance, stage-right, I’ll stop by WalMart tomorrow and maybe have a new post by Thursday.


A Moment of Doubt

This weekend we went to my grandfather’s big birthday bash, complete with all my cousins’ new little ones.  I have second cousins who are eleven, not-quite-three, ten months and nine months (yeah, I know that’s a big gap), and the younger three were all there.  It was mostly awesome, kind of eye-opening, and all-around food for thought.  And maybe a few doubts.

You see, my dad’s family, at least this generation, is all about getting a later start on having a family, with the exception of one cousin.  By comparison, we’re really, really young to be thinking about having children.  Almost scarily so.  I mean, if they didn’t feel comfortable getting started until now, how are we supposed to do it?

Okay, it’s not that bad, but you have to understand the age schism in my family.  There are my older cousins, who are all in their thirties — actually, my oldest cousin is nearing forty.  There are my younger cousins, the oldest of which is getting ready to turn twenty-one.  And then there’s me, smack-dab in the middle at twenty-five.  So, for me to be thinking about having a child who will only be a couple of years younger than his or her cousins (second cousins?) but whose parents might be a decade older seems strange.

So last night I got home and I wondered: Are we really ready?  It took my cousins years to get to this point.

Fortunately, before I chased all of this too far down the insecurity rabbit hole, I remembered something.  I met Southern Honey when I was eighteen; we got married when I was twenty-four.  I don’t think any of my cousins got married until they were in their late twenties or early thirties.  So of course they ended up having kids later than us.  And we can do this.


To Chart or Not To Chart?

Reading some forum boards on getting pregnant has led me to question how women ever managed to get pregnant without charting.

Apparently no one just has sex until they make a baby anymore.  Much, much more preparation is required: First, you track your period for a few months to find out how long your average cycle is.  Then you start taking your temperature as soon as you roll out of bed in the morning.  Maybe you check your cervical mucus (and just think about how much fun is involved there!).  You keep track of all that so you can figure out when you’re ovulating, that way you don’t waste sex on days when you’re not fertile.

Additionally, you must read Taking Charge of Your Fertility and sign up with Fertility Finder.

If you don’t do these things, then your first post on any of these forums will be inundated with variations on a theme: “Read TCoYF!  Start charting!”  “That ovulation tracking ticker you’re using is useless.  You have to go to FertilityFinder and get one of theirs; just click on mine!”  “TCoYF!!”  “Chart!”  “TCoYF!”

After floating around a couple for a while, I started to get concerned.  What if we’re doing it wrong?  If I don’t chart, does that mean I’ll never manage to get knocked up?  If I don’t read the conception Bible, I mean Taking Charge of Your Fertility, will I fail at conception?  How did women have babies before the Internet?

(At that point I had a flashback to Catholic high school and irreverently thought, “Oh, that’s right, they used Natural Family Planning!”)

Then I got pissed.  You mean to tell me that I spent all those years in college worried that if I didn’t use condoms AND birth control pills I would inadvertently get pregnant when all I had to do was chart?!?!  Because obviously all these women must be right: You cannot possibly manage what our biology is designed to do — perpetuate the species — without a thermometer and a sheet of paper.  That would have saved me so many sleepless nights!

Okay, sarcasm off for a moment, the whole thing did give me some second thoughts.  Are we doing it right if I don’t chart?  These women couldn’t all be wrong, could they?  I mean, they care enough about getting pregnant to get together for a support network and to share resource ideas, so they have to know what they’re talking about.

So I stopped by FertilityFinder and signed up.  I played around with their ovulation calculator (don’t worry, I’m not about to share the results; that’s a little too personal, even for a blog about becoming a parent) for a while out of curiosity.  I checked out TCoYF’s website and perused its advice.

In the end, I still felt vaguely uneasy, but I realized that if thermometers, mucus checks and ovulation charts were necessary for the perpetuation of the species, we would have died out a while ago.  I do think I’m going to keep track in case we end up having trouble down the line, but I don’t want this to become a chore.

Last time I checked, making a baby starts out being about sex, and sex should be fun.  Charting seems to be the antithesis of fun.  I’m pretty sure it’s in the thesaurus as an antonym of “fun.”  And I have enough in my life that is the exact opposite of fun already; I don’t need to add another.

Why is it hot?

And, more importantly, why did our A/C pick now to go on the fritz?  All I can think of, as I stew in my own juices, is how glad I am that I’m not extremely pregnant at this moment.  I mean, how much more miserable would it be to be hauling around not only me but a whole other person in this weather?  *shudders*

Please don’t let me be hugely pregnant in the months of June, July or August… At least not if the A/C’s not working!

That said, the universe may be conspiring against us.  Southern Honey’s work is undergoing all sorts of changes, and the schedules are getting shifted all around soon.  He put in for a new position that, if he gets it, will have him working 3 pm-11 pm instead of 11 pm-7 am, Thursday through Monday.  So we won’t even have the same weekends and will pretty much not see each other Monday, Thursday or Friday, with limited time on Saturdays and Sundays.  If he doesn’t get it, his schedule will be all over the place, and there won’t be any telling when we’ll both be home.

It’s been a while since biology class, but I’m pretty sure you have to actually be in the same room at the same time to conceive a child.  😛

I think this is one of those “best laid plans” moments.  *grins*

And with that, I’m off to pretend it’s not 500 degrees in the bedroom.  I would just about kill for a sleeping bag and an air mattress right about now; it’s seriously nice outside.  Even with the windows open and the ceiling fans going, I can’t get it cooled out in here.  If I were hormonal, this would be a very, very precarious situation.

I have a confession to make: I’m a bookaholic. A bibliophile. A reading junkie with the strained eyesight to prove it.

A corollary of that is that I’m an avid researcher. When I start thinking about doing something, I spend a great deal of time looking for books on the topic and reading about other people’s experiences and discoveries. For example, when we got engaged, I must have read fifteen or twenty books on weddings and marriage, including one that was so firmly anti-marriage that I never did make it all the way through – the excoriating language for people like me who fall for what the author sees as the asininity of the institution left me feeling incredibly depressed and guilty for wanting to go through with such a patriarchal ceremony. (Obviously, I got over it.)

When we decided that we were going to start trying to conceive this year, I started looking for resources. There are hundreds of books on pregnancy and childbirth out there. I had no idea where to begin, so I asked the experts: moms.

I got some great recommendations and started checking out some from the local library to see if there were any I’d like to have on-hand full time one of these days.

The one I have found the most informative and well-written so far is Pregnancy For Dummies. The book is written by two OB/GYNs, one of whom is herself a mother and organized by trimesters, with a follow on section about serious problems that can occur during pregnancy.

I think what I enjoyed most about For Dummies was the straightforward way information was presented. The authors combined medical advice, reproductive education and anecdotes from real mothers in a well-organized and easy-to-read format. They also included more detailed medical data, clearly delineated from the rest of the text so that mothers-to-be can read or pass over it as they desire. (Nerd that I am, I read it all. I couldn’t help myself.) Best of all, they managed to deal with topics such as miscarriage, anencephaly, gestational diabetes and genetic disorders without being sensationalist or alarmist. In fact, most of that information was separated out into its own chapter at the end of the book, to be read only as needed.

I opted to give it a pass.

So far, of the books I’ve read, Pregnancy For Dummies is the only one that has gone on my list of books to purchase. I didn’t get the shivers reading about horrible things that might happen to my future child in utero. Instead, I found myself feeling reassured by the constant advice to call the doctor if I felt like something wasn’t right.

I totally admit to being freaked out by the amniocentesis diagram, though. And the description of the procedure required to get an epidural. Neither of those things sound pleasant, although at least the epidural brings pain relief…

The good: I found an excellent resource that didn’t leave me terrified that I’m going to have hideous complications or give birth to a mutant rat.

The bad: I can’t seem to find a copy of the new edition for less than about ten bucks, even online.

The ugly: That amnio drawing. Seriously. I completely recommend skipping that page. It still gives me the willies…

Growing up, I always thought I would go to college, get my degree, and get an awesome job.  Then I would meet someone, probably through work,  fall in love, and get married.  The idea of a children was so far down the line as to be this distant afterthought to everything else.  We would each be major wage-earners, a DINK family enjoying the good life.

What happened?  I met Southern Honey my senior year of high school, went off to college and did the long-distance thing for two years.  Junior year I moved in with him and spent the next two years juggling jobs, an internship, classes and my honors thesis to crank out my degree/  We got engaged and a couple of months later, I got my current job; two years later, we got married and I found myself less than three years into this position and ready to start a family by the time I’m 26.

I’m not sure where this surge of “Oh my gosh, I want a baby!!!!” came from, but it has made the past six months or so really interesting.  Before Christmas, having a munchkin was simply a general future goal we had.  Then we decided to start trying this year, and things changed.  I started doing some research, and I started feeling things that were completely unanticipated.

What I really wasn’t expecting about the whole situation was the almost overwhelming desire I found myself feeling  not to leave our little one with a daycare provider early on in his or her life.  The intensity of that emotion completely baffled me.  I mean, we aren’t even actively trying for a little one yet, so we’re talking at least ten or eleven months in the future, yet I found myself getting upset — I teared up over it once or twice! — about the idea of leaving my (hypothetical) six- or eight-week-old child in daycare while I go to work.  I was having separation anxiety from a being who doesn’t even exist yet outside my imagination.

I’m not sure how you can have separation anxiety from a hypothetical, but I managed it there for a while.

By the time I got that under control, Southern Honey had come to the realization that maybe he didn’t actually want to be a police officer.  We agreed that if he did not make it through the application process, he would be the stay-at-home-parent once the baby arrived.  That led to the second unexpectedly ridiculous emotional surge of mine: jealousy.  If anyone was going to stay home with our munchkin, why couldn’t it be me?

*rolls eyes*  Never mind point A from above, that I’m the primary breadwinner and still would be if he were a cop.  It was completely irrational, but it was there.  I didn’t say a word to Southern Honey, though.  He had enough on his plate with the fitness tests and the interviews; I did not want to burden him with it, figuring I would get over it.  Sure enough, it passed.

Southern Honey didn’t.  He made it to the final round of interviews — in the top fifteen out of almost 175 applicants — but wasn’t accepted.  So the plan now really is for him to be the stay-at-home dad, keeping a couple of night shifts a week, and he’s so excited that it’s absolutely adorable.  I think he’s going to be a fantastic dad, and I’m grateful that we won’t have to go to daycare from the get-go.

The good:

  • Having a post-partum game plan in place, even knowing that circumstances could change in the next year, means one less thing to worry about at the last minute.
  • I did a pretty good job of holding some totally irrational emotions firmly in check.

The bad:

  • That jealousy.  Where did that come from?

The ugly:

  • I turned into a quivering mass of emotions PRIOR to the hormone flood.  Completely unexpected.

Hi! Welcome to Southern Munchkin, a site devoted to the good, the bad and the downright ugly when it comes to making the decision to expand a family beyond two down here below the Mason-Dixon Line.

My husband, Southern Honey, and I got married in May 2009, after just over six years of dating. We then moved from Northern Virginia to a smaller college town in south-central Kentucky when my job offered me a transfer. As native Kentuckians, let me just say that the transfer was one of the absolute best things that has happened to us in the past seven years: We now live within about three hours of all our close family and long-time friends, and we were able to do something we would have had to wait years, maybe decades, to do in the big city: buy a house.

Now that we’re both out of school, working and living in an area conducive to having a family, we’ve been able to turn our minds to starting a family beyond the two of us.  By this time next year, we hope to have expanded our family from two adults and two cats to two adults, two (probably quite annoyed) cats and one toddling (okay, crawling… or maybe cooing) munchkin.

The Good:

  • I’ve found a fantastic OB/GYN at what appears to be a professional, friendly practice.
  • The local hospital offers an excellent selection of prenatal classes, including a grandparents’ class.
  • Sex is fun, and now we can have lots of it without worrying about the consequences!
  • Also, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: our munchkin.

The Bad:

  • What could possibly be bad about 40 weeks of alien invasion, potentially intense nausea, heartburn, constipation, and weight gain?

The Ugly:

  • Oh, yeah, I forgot the stretch marks and the hemorrhoids.  Not to mention the adult acne.