DELVING BETWEEN THE TOES OF LIFE....I AM TOEJAM


2004-01-18 - 6:32 a.m.

WARNING! If you are a male you probably donít want to read this.

Since October I have been practicing fertility awareness as a form of birth control. In the past months I could have given it up, given up the tedium of sticking a thermometer in my mouth at the exact same time every single morning before I even get out of bed. I could have given up the routine of charting my temperature before I even make coffee, could have given up religiously checking my cervical mucus every time I go to the bathroom. And I could have given up living a life that is consistent (at least until I ovulate) so that I can get an accurate temperature reading in the morning. That means, keeping my house at a consistent temp. That means not drinking alcohol (unless I want to do it every day), that means getting the same amount of sleep every night. I could have stopped with all that because my boyfriend doesnít trust fertility awareness as a form of birth control. So there is really no reason I my body when I ovulate. It is scary to think this has been going on for fifteen years without my knowing it. There is a pattern. The day of ovulation my temperature drops really low. During the days after my period and before ovulation my temp hovers between 97.4 and 97.7. The day I ovulate my temp drops between 96.7 and 97.0. And the day after ovulation, well, thatís the really cool part, my temp will then shoot, in one day into the mid 98ís. And the morning of the day my period will start my temp will drop back down a whole degree. I am learning now to recognize the changes in my body. I am learning to feel for the temperature changes and what they might indicate. I am learning that most women will have the same luteal phase (the time after ovulation) every month (mine is fifteen days) but that ovulation itself can be hindered by things like stress, illness, even not enough sleep. Because your body wants your baby to be conceived into the best environment so it will stop ovulation if the conditions arenít right. So one month, if I am under stress, it might be day eighteen that I ovulate and then my fifteen day luteal phase which means that I would have a 33 days cycle. But the next month I might ovulate on day fourteen, with my fifteen day luteal cycle, meaning I have a 29 day cycle. This inconsistency makes some women nervous. Because they expect their period one day and it doesnít come for five more days and they are freaking out thinking they are late. But I donít freak out anymore because I can look at my chart and know I ovulated late and thus my period will come later than expected. It also helps because one of my biggest fears had been getting pregnant and not knowing for a few months. Because I know many people, my mother included, who continued to have periods for months after conception. I donít want to every accidentally get pregnant and not know because as I have said before, I think babies should have the best foundation, starting from conception, for a healthy life and I would never feel right, if I had a baby and for the first three months I had been doing the unhealthy things I do. But I donít have to worry about that anymore because I can see, monthly, that I am ovulating. And also, if you are pregnant your temperature will always be high. So I would never get that plummeting low the day I started my period. I would know I was pregnant within sixteen days of conception. I am learning that on the day of ovulation my gut burns almost. I used to think that was indicative of death, every month I would wonder why my gut was all cramped up and burning. I would wonder what I ate, or drank, or did to make that happen. It wasnít until I started charting and keeping note of what my body did that I realized that it was ovulation that made my gut do that. I never knew why I would get so thirsty at times that I would get physically sick even though I drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, every day. And then I realized that I get that dehydrated, sick feeling three days before my period will start. Itís so weird. As I said, I am almost freaked out that my body has been doing this for fifteen years without my knowledge. I think it is so important for women to be taught, from a very early age, how to do this. How to be aware of their bodies. I have a much more tangible grasp of myself from doing this. I know myself now. Before my body was just some cumbersome thing that carted around my mind, my emotions and my being. Now my body is something just as magic as my mind, my emotions and my being and I am beginning to understand that because of my body, and itís cycles, my mind, my emotions and my being are the way they are. So my body is no longer, to me, a vessel in which to carry those things around. My body is now THOSE things. I am whole.

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