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"Uncharted" Territories

Trying to figure out when I ovulate over the last few months has actually been an eye-opening experience. I've been reading some books, including Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler, MPH, and I've started "charting" my cycle. So, each day I've been monitoring my basal temperature and cervical mucus (which I will refer to as CM from now on, to spare you the discomfort of reading the term "cervical mucus" over and over).

My pharmacy was actually out of basal thermometers (which I quickly realized are different from regular thermometers), so they had to order me one. Once I got it, I started taking my temperature each morning before getting out of bed. (Since the basal body temperature is your body's temp when it's at rest, getting up or doing anything before taking your temp, can throw it off.)

So my morning routine lately has been:

1. My alarm goes off.

2. My dog, Lucy, scratches on the side of the bed, asking to come up (sometimes my dog beats my alarm to the punch)

3. I pick Lucy up as calmly as I can so that I don't mess with the basal temp reading.

4. My dog sits on my chest, licks my face, and wraps her furry body around my neck as I try to roll over, and feel around in my nightstand drawer for the thermometer.

5. I grab the thermometer and pop it in my mouth (my dog sometimes gets a lick of the thermometer too), and I close my eyes until it beeps that it's done.

6. My husband, oblivious to the dog, my movements, and the beeps, remains passed out, by the way.

7. Once I'm ready to really get up and out of bed, I check the thermometer's reading and write it down on the little chart I have on the top of my nightstand.

The temperature stuff has been mildly informative. I think that mine seems to go in a fairly typical pattern (for the most part), meaning that it dips mid cycle and then goes up to a higher level until I get my next period (this dip and subsequent rise is around the time ovulation occurs).

But what's been really informative has been the CM. And I swear, I never thought I'd be paying so much attention to secretions down there. It's kind of embarrassing, but what can I say? I've pretty much embraced the whole thing, to the point where — just as when I get my period — I feel empowered and excited when I notice lots of CM and think that I can tell that I'm ovulating. Once again, it just lets me know that my body may actually be able to do this amazing thing of creating a life (sorry to sound so cliché, but this stuff brings it out in me). Anyway, I'm not saying that I know exactly when I'm ovulating, but I think I've narrowed it down to a five-day window most months. Everything is easier to understand AFTER the cycle is over, so in hindsight I can look at my chart and pinpoint ovulation better than I can while it's actually happening. But still, this is helping me get a handle on my cycle. And it just makes me feel like I'm making progress toward my goal of getting pregnant.

Do I sound crazy? I know some people just want to have sex whenever, and feel that whatever will be will be. But I like to take proactive steps toward my goal, and I'd like to have as much control as possible. So for me, monitoring this whole thing brings me closer to having a baby. I can definitely foresee getting sick of all this temperature taking and CM monitoring if I end up having to chart my cycle for many, many months with no resulting pregnancy. But for now, it's making me happy — and I think being happy is the best frame of mind I can be in if I want to conceive.

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