10 Facts that you may or may not know about making and NOT making babies…
- Fact: his little soldiers can hang out in your baby maker for like 5 days if everything is healthy and hospitable. Which means that if you have sex 2 days before your egg shows up his sperm are still on the scene waiting for your ripe egg to burst in. Now you’re pregnant.
- Fact: your baby egg is only viable for 24 hours. But if even just one swimmer gets in there that’s all it takes. Congrats, you’re a mom.
- Fact: The baby egg comes out of your ovaries which ARE NOT actually connected to your fallopian tubes. There are little fingers reaching from the tubes to your ovaries waiting to catch the egg and then swallow it down the tubes. Why does this matter? Because it adds to the further wonderment that anyone conceives, and it’s why the little follicle (I call it the egg pimple) has to burst open and spit the egg out to get it over to the fingers of the tube waiting to catch it. Which some women can feel!
- Fact: It IS possible to feel ovulation. Example: some months I get this pain in my left ovary region that feels like a tiny side stitch, but way down in my baby maker. The “pimple” on the ovary holding the egg swells to get ready to burst/throw the egg, and the ovary itself can swell a bit too. For some reason I feel it more when I ovulate from the left side; I think maybe all my stuff is slightly more squished on that side so it makes it easy to feel? Also, I knew I was ovulating because my cervical fluids were totally like egg-whites and that’s a huge indicator. Actually, last month for the first time in my life I had ovulation spotting on the day I ovulated. How was I sure I was ovulating? More on that another time.
- Fact: Typically you ovulate one egg from one ovary once a cycle. Sometimes lightening strikes and you ovulate MORE than one egg and maybe even from both ovaries. Now you have fraternal twins! Mozeltov!
- Fact: sometimes it SEEMS like you have two periods in one month, but it could be ovulation. Bleeding with ovulation is totally normal, but seriously rude. Quit leaking, body. But it’s because of the waves of hormones happening! It can cause a little (or more than a little!) endometrium to “slough off” or as I like to say, “fall out.” Sometimes it’s brighter red, almost pink, than your period literally because it’s fresher. So if you think you have really short cycles and that your period comes every two weeks you might just be ovulating. And because so many of us have hormones that are totally out of whack (thanks toxic world) it can be wonky and disguise itself as a full blown period with many days of bleeding and discomfort.
- Fact: the baby isn’t conceived in your uterus. Nope. It’s conceived in the fallopian tube and then keeps sliding down into your uterus where it attaches to the wall of your uterus in all that lovely endometrium (egg baby food) you’ve been making to protect and nurture your little sac o’ cells. Unless of course no little dudes got to it. Then it just vacates your body along with all the endometrium that you didn’t need to use. My period is a message from my body, “No baby this month.”
- Fact: the 28 day cycle is a load of crap. We’re all so different! If you’re one of those who actually has a 28 day cycle then congratulations you’re actually the weird one. (I say that with loads of love for all my “normal” besties.) The different phases of your unique cycle have different waves of hormones that create different actions during your _____ day cycle. Don’t listen to doctors who say that it’s not good to have a long or irregular cycle. You’re fine; you’re being you. My cycle is usually 32-36 days. Sometimes it’s 30. Sometimes it’s 40. There is NOTHING WRONG with me. It’s simply how the hormones in my cycles work, and the simple fact that my pre-ovulatory AND post-ovulatory phase can vary. What changes the length of the pre-ovulatory phase? All the usual suspects: stress, activity levels, amount and consistency of sleep, changes or type of diet, your in-laws visiting, travel, getting sick, a larger than normal credit card bill…you get it.Having irregular periods is ok AS LONG AS all your other symptoms are healthy. If you have other symptoms that are trying to tell you something your irregularity could be another clue of hormonal issues. This is why it’s so important for you to know your body rhythms so you are able to decipher between, “OMG SOMETHING IS WRONG !” and, “Chill this is usual.”
I’m not as clear about why the POST-ovulatory phase can vary. That phase only varies a few days (1-3) for a healthy woman, and for many women not at all. I used to think that it was static. Like, if I had a 13 day post-ovulatory phase I would ALWAYS have a 13 day post-ovulatory phase. Nope.
Fun side note: that means that I (me, Tabitha) am only able to conceive a baby for 5/40 days on my longest cycle; assuming that his dudes can last for 5 days in there.
- Fact: if you can know your body and the signs telling you, “Hey, I’m ready to make a human this month,” then you can either avoid or achieve pregnancy without birth control or doctors. How’s THAT for empowerment?! Your body is a sassy little feminist giving you everything you need to make sure your uterus stays exactly how you want it; full or empty.
- Fact: His dudes really do matter. If he’s got little stallions charging in there you best watch out. Conversely, you can be ovulating like a champ, but without his little guys: NO BABY. His overall health and wellness is just as important to both the making and avoiding. The life expectancy and speed of his sperm can change through his life, and is also affected by all the usual suspects that your pre and post-ovulatory phases are affected by. The healthier he is, the healthier his dudes are. (Usually, as long as there aren’t other ball issues.) This is not helpful for those of us trying to NOT make babies, which is why there are many jokes in our house about hot-tubs, tight undies, laptops, and yellow food coloring as birth control.
Important note: if you are experiencing imbalances that throw off your rhythms, cycles, and symptoms my heart goes out to you. I’ve been there, sister. It sucks. I’m also here to tell you that you WILL BE WELL and you ARE ABLE to heal your body’s systems. It might take 8 years *cough, like me, cough* but you CAN. If you’re struggling with anything having to do with this I would LOVE to talk to you and encourage you with easy, little ways to start the process of healing.