From BabyCenter: Around mid-cycle (day 14 of a typical 28-day cycle), you ovulate — one of your eggs is swept into your Fallopian tube. In the next 12 to 24 hours that egg can be fertilized if one of 350 million sperm (an average ejaculation) manages to trek all the way to the Fallopian tube — from the vagina through the uterus — to penetrate the egg.
Once fertilized, the egg, now called a zygote, immediately closes its outer membrane to the rest of the 250 (on average) sperm that have made it this far. Then it begins dividing into identical cells as it sails down the Fallopian tube to the uterus, where it will continue to grow. You probably won't know you're pregnant for a few weeks yet, though some women swear they know the exact moment they conceived.
2004.08.19. fertile moon child
from the "you needed to know this, right?" files... I've been charting and calendarizing my cycle for a while now, ever since I stopped breastfeeding Everett. I'm one of those rare mamas whose ovulation stops completely during breastfeeding, even up to the twice-a-day point.
So when I restarted my cycle it was totally and completely up to my body to decide when. I haven't used those artificial hormones that destroy your body (otherwise known as birth control pills) for three or four years, and so nothing was going on externally from my body's own whims. I wrote everything down in my journal, and started to use the ovulation calendar so I could be accurate without having to keep it down in a book. I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility, an excellent guide for reading your body's signs to learn when you are most likely to be fertile.
[Slight tangent]: Taking Charge is a very useful book when it comes to describing, in detail, what's happening with your entire reproductive system. It diagrams your organs, gives you tools to use to predict the date of your ovulation so you can plan a pregnancy, or avoid one, it shows extraordinary detail when teaching you how to, say, diagnose your cervical fluid (not discharge! never call it discharge). It also has a lot of perspective in learning about infertility problems - basically, if you are having sex during your fertile time, and you don't get pregnant for six months, you need to look further than time, place and manner of intercourse. Where the book falls down is in helping you deal with things like, I'm breastfeeding and none of this cycle stuff is on schedule, or, my son is sleeping in my bed and I never, no never, have three hours of sleep in a row (she counsels that you MUST have had three consecutive hours of sleep before taking your temperature in the morning, and not have gotten up - try that with a screaming 18-month-old and report back).[end of tangent]
Once I had all this cycle stuff figured out, I got pregnant immediately. Then came the miscarriage and I figured my cycle would be totally disrupted. I opened my ovulation calendar again. The doctor told me I could expect at least six weeks following the miscarriage before my next period. But what d'ya know, three weeks later, exactly when the calendar said it should happen, there was my period again.
And here comes the weird part. I'd been reading The Red Tent, a soulful quasi-historical tale of Dinah, the only named daughter of Jacob/Israel and sister to Joseph (of the Bible). I was fascinated by the stories of the red tent, where the women went together to bleed each month, and in the discussions of pregnancy. The women knew they were pregnant when the moon came and went with no blood. I wondered if their cycles were perfectly in time with the moon - after all, they all bled together.
My cycle came, and I ovulated during the new, sliver moon. My period came, and I bled during the full moon. And yes, I was emotional and hormonal and a little crazy when the moon was full. And energized and focused during the new moon.
And so it goes. Today I saw that silver sliver of the new moon on the horizon. The signs match up - I am about to ovulate. It's time again, time to start dreaming of a new child. When the full moon comes and goes, I'll know.
2004.08.25. fertility hopes, fertility dreams
I timed it right, my husband and I did our conception deed on the day that was bright green on the calendar, and for good measure, a couple of times that week. My cervical fluid was still going strong.
I know we're very fertile, as a team, and I have a hunch I'm pregnant now. I'm eating my collard greens and taking my prenatal vitamins. I'll have a pear for bedtime snack. I'm ready.
If I am pregnant, my due date will be May 15, 2005. The baby will be born at the end of track season, I'll be hugely pregnant for the whole season. I may not be running from event to event, but I sure will get some respect from the athletes.
I have mixed feelings about being pregnant. I want very, very much to have another baby, as soon as possible. When I am with my very pregnant friends (all due this fall), they complain, and I feel sad that I'm not with them, that I'm not bitching about being hot and uncomfortable and cranky, too. I want that little brother or sister for Everett, who loves babies and needs a companion. I want someone to knit little hats and booties and blankets for. I want to know if it's a girl or a boy.
But, also, I am apprehensive of bonding with this not-yet-real child-to-be. I don't want to get too attached to being pregnant in case it happens again. I worry, about timing and insurance and money. I'm not brilliantly, blindly optimistic as I was a short four months ago.
Most of all I want that family, I want it so badly, I no longer care about the cute maternity clothes or the proud feeling of being mother-earthly-full of baby. I'm not eager for pregnancy as I was before. I'm now eager for a tiny baby, not for its tininess and its need for mommy and its helpless sweetness, but for its future, its joy when Everett first shows it how to "mark, set, go!" and the tussles over the bedroom and the camping trip we'll take when Everett's 5 and baby-to-be is 2. I want the reality of it all, the schedule I'm sure I'll set this time (breakfast at 8, lunch at 12:30, snack at 3) and the process of walking Everett to kindergarten while pushing baby-to-be in the stroller. I can see it. I can be that mama.
I can see the playdates we'll have, the oodles of great mama friends who will get together with our dogpiles of multiple children and have birthday parties where we'll tear our hair and cooperative preschools where we'll teach them nothing, really, except how to play together sweetly. We'll giggle over which children will fall in love, and which will play football together in high school. We'll agonize over the ones who struggle with algebra and rejoice over those who succeed in sports. I am that mama.
And in just two weeks, I'll know. Two long weeks, in which I'm sure I'll spend time worrying about bills that can't be paid on time and work that hasn't quite been finished. But in the background I'll be wondering if I can be that mama, if I will be that mama.
But I am, I know, I will be. God will make it so.