Monthly Archives: April 2015

Why don’t you just relax?

I went to the hospital yesterday. No, no, don’t be alarmed. I go at least twice a month.

My doctor prescribed me 8 Femara pills to take on the 3rd day of my cycle, and once you get into the 8, 9, 10 range, I have to go get a vaginal ultrasound to make sure that the ovaries are not being overstimulated or releasing more than one egg at a time. (Ha! More than one egg. Pfft, evidence so far indicates that is not a problem.) The ultrasound has to be done as soon as you have identified the sign of ovulation has happened. The sign of ovulation is when your mucous dries up; most people have about a week of mucous, getting more and more of it until it is egg white consistency, stretchy, and abundant. The next day, you are totally dry. That means that the day before the dry day, you probably, maybe, ovulated.

In me, I have a problem with producing mucous. I make myself drink at least 3 quarts of water every day. I fill up my large insulated thermos and 2 quart mason jars with water every morning at work, and by the end of the day, they have to be gone. Yes, I know water in quart mason jars looks like moonshine. No, I don’t have moonshine on my desk at work. Yes, I’ve tasted moonshine. No, I didn’t like it. (p.s., could you please come up with something original? I’ve only heard “moonshine?” probably 25 times since starting this. kthnx)

I have started taking Vitex and Evening Primrose Oil, which are supposed to help with that problem. The EPO can only be taken in the first part of my cycle, before ovulation, but the Vitex can be taken throughout.

So, back to the day that is dry. That means, yesterday was probably your Peak day. But, for me, I don’t know that yet. Because of my patchy and slight mucous, maybe I’ll get some later that day? Maybe not. Can’t tell yet. So, wait another day, and if dry two days in a row, then 2 days ago was the Peak day.

Ok, so patchy mucous and shifting days of ovulation. I’m not using the calendar method here, I’m measuring and observing. My peak day could be anywhere from day 14 to 17 after ovulation. It used to be day 25-30 after ovulation. Dieting and everything else I do has shrunk that down to about normal. But it is ever shifting. That means, of course, scheduled intercourse. It sucks. Hate to break it to you. Here, let me give you some homework. You have to have sex next Thursday, Saturday, and then the Monday and Wednesday after that. Nope, don’t care if you are tired after work. Nope, don’t care if you got home late. Nope, don’t care if your kid is crying. Nope, don’t care if you and your husband had an argument. Nope, don’t care if one of you tripped in a hole (hey, that happens a lot around here) and hurt yourself. Sorry. Get it done. Then, add in that maybe when you thought that the mucous was as good as it was going to get, and then you have a dry day, but then you have another day of mucous. So, tack on next Thursday and next Friday as well. You have a chance to get pregnant on days P+1, +2 and +3 (slight on days 2 and 3), so, maybe for good measure, Saturday would be necessary. There, you’ve just scheduled 7 nights of sex in 10 days.

I know, I know. That sounds awesome. My husband must be ecstatic. Let me tell you bob, maybe the first couple months is that way. Now, do that every month for 3 years in a row. I’ve also heard that an egg only survives for about 24 hours before it can’t be fertilized anymore, and that sperm relies on mucous to survive in the womb. That way, if the sperm is there and the egg is released, the egg can be fertilized if the sperm is still viable. But…lack of mucous is a problem. Maybe we should just try to do it for 7 days in a row.

Well, anyway, you think you’ve ovulated. So, you have to schedule the ultrasound, but I’m only by a hospital 3 days a week. Luckily they radiology department has been great at taking a phone call in the morning and scheduling me for sometime during the lunch hour. The radiologist is not in to read it in the afternoon. I watch the screen and the tech tells me what is there, but I have misinterpreted what she says badly before, and completely lost it, emotionally, until the phone call comes in the next day and I feel like a dumb ass for reacting that way.

Apparently, it is ok for one ovary to produce an egg every month, and the other to sit there like a a lazy bum. My left ovary has done the job for 4 months in a row now. I always thought it rotated duty every month, but my doctor says that is ok.

Then, on day P + 3, or what you think is P + 3, I start injections. HCG shots under the skin, which I do, and Progesterone in the upper hip area (top of the ass cheek, to be precise) in the muscle, which DH does for me. We do these on days P + 3, P + 5, P + 7 and P + 9. On day P + 7, I have to get a blood test to see what my progesterone and estrodial levels are. I haven’t seen a pattern yet. My highest progesterone has been up to 42, my lowest 10 or 11. This month was 22.

Yesterday, when getting my blood tested, the oh so helpful lady at the hospital told me “why don’t you just relax? I’ve heard so many people say they stopped stressing about having a baby and it happened for them.” SMH. Do people really think that is helpful? Really? Does this same tech say to cancer patients to just relax? Does this same person say to someone with a swollen and bursting appendix to just relax?

This is a real physical problem, lady. This isn’t in my head. If all I do is pinpoint the exact day of peak fertility and just have sex on that one night, I still have 9 actions I have to take during the month at specific times in order to have a chance of getting pregnant. Nine! Femara, identify peak and have sex, stop taking EPO, 4 days of shots, blood test, ultrasound. Let alone the handful of pills I take every night. And drinking enough water. And watching my diet. And charting, forgot about that. Those things are daily, so I can’t count those in the “specific actions” count.

Sigh. Relax and maybe I’ll be surprised. Ha! Here’s the thing about that. If I DO get pregnant and am not keeping track of things, maybe I won’t know early enough. I have to take progesterone to help support my pregnancies or I might lose them. Even waiting a week or so before starting the injections could cause me to miscarry. So, even if I could relax and forget everything and not chart when I ovulated and not figure out when my period should start, if I forget for a week or more after that, well, I could end up losing another baby.

I don’t think intentionally losing track of things is in my cards.

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Seed starting in newspaper pots

I started starting my seeds in my newspaper pots today. I’d say I’m maybe a few weeks late, but since I don’t plan to transplant anything until the middle to end of May, I’ll be ok.

First, a bit on what to start your seeds in. I’ve had good luck with Miracle Gro potting soil with Moisture Control. It is available at my local stores and it really wicks the moisture up to the plants. Since I am going to be bottom watering, that is important.

I had some left over from last year, so the first thing I had to do was moisten it up. It was bone dry, and some of it was in chunks.
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It is surprising how much water it will soak up and still not be sopping wet. I simply transferred to my biggest pot and added water. Using my sauerkraut technique (squeeze the heck out of it), I got the water to incorporate into the dry material and eventually got it to clump up when I squeezed it, but not be soupy. This is the consistency I like.
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I like to plant into pots big enough that I won’t have to transplant them. I don’t have time to fuss with it, so I just figure that I will transplant them into the ground before they get root bound. To make my holding trays, I take a pizza box and reinforce it with duct tape as necessary.
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I then slip it into a large garbage bag. The point of this is that the cardboard will not get wet, so make sure the garbage bag doesn’t have any holes. Also, it needs to be large enough to cover the entire pizza box, including up the sides. “Watering from the bottom” means that you will eventually fill the plastic covered pizza box with water and let the newspaper and potting mix bring the water up to the roots of the plant, so it must be able to hold water and it needs to go all the way up the side of the box so it won’t spill over. One of the garbage bags tonight was big enough for the whole box to fit in, but the other one wasn’t, so I cut it so that the box wasn’t inside the plastic, but the plastic instead was just on top of it. It’ll work fine.

Then, fill the pots with the damp soil and pack down slightly. I fill all of them first, and then worry about what I am going to plant in each of them. I was able to fit 6 in each column, and I got 12 across, so this one pizza box holds 72 pots. They will help hold each other up, and the funny thing is, that when I just put the empty pots in, I could only got 5 across, but when I got the soil packed in and I was able to push them up against each other, I was able to get 6.
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I then started to plant. Cabbage and broccoli were first up. They should have been started earlier, but no use crying over that. I planted 18 broccoli plants, and 36 cabbages, 18 from Gurney’s and 18 from Jackie Clay. I put two seeds in each pot, and when they get going for a few weeks or so, I will see which one is growing best in each pot, and carefully cut the other one away. That way, each pot will only have one plant to support.

The last thing I planted in this flat is some Jimson Weed (some? Ha. 18 of them). This is a flower that my husband’s Grandma has in her yard, and it is just beautiful and so fragrant. The flowers bloom towards evening, so it is perfect for me. I don’t go out in the yard before work or church, and Saturdays are a big house chore day for me, so I don’t ever get out to the garden until afternoon/evening time. They have large, showy, white, tube like flowers and a lot of dark green foliage. The plants themselves get very large. Grandma C gave me some of the seeds last year from her plant, and so I’ve been holding on to them since then. I didn’t know how many will actually germinate, so I planted 2 or 3 per pot. This plant is said to thrive in dry conditions, so how perfect is that in this dry, droughty season? This is a picture from a few years ago in her yard. The picture quality is awful, but I hope you can tell how large and showy the flowers are!
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So, why am I planting flowers? It’s vegetable planting time, yo. Well, because. My best friend has the most awesome yard I’ve seen. She gardens for vegetables, has started an orchard behind her house, and the front of her house keeps getting deeper and deeper flower beds. I bet she has a 6 foot deep bed of flowers in front of the house, and it just looks so great! She buys bulbs and flowers when they are spent and at a deep discount, plants them, and they come up the next year, and every year after. She gets delayed beauty, but for cheap. I saw it a few years ago, and I’ll admit. I was jealous. But then I decided, hey, why be jealous, be inspired instead! So, since then, I’ve started thinking about adding flowers to my yard.

I started out by putting newspaper down on the grass on the north side of our house, wetting it down, and then putting deep straw on top of that. I did that a year and a half ago in the fall, and I just let it go over the winter. Then, last spring, I dug in it, and it was very loose soil and almost all of the grass and weeds were gone. Grandma C brought over some bulbs for some early small white flowers, and we planted those last year, and I got some geraniums from work last year in a hanging pot. I split those up, got 3 plants out of the it, and planted those as well. I was planning on starting more flowers, but I just never got around to it. I tried planting the Jimson Weed out there, but I didn’t get any to come up. I think it was too dry to germinate, and I do awful watering when they are seeds. I then added more newspapers and more straw and left it for the rest of the year, until now. Now, it is basically bare ground, but on the north side of the house so it isn’t baked and cracked like the rest of the ground is. Covering it again is on the list.

So that was some long winded background to the question of why am I starting flowers now when the vegetables need to get in. The answer is, if I don’t start them now, I might not ever get them started. I plan on starting some flowers in each flat I start, just to make sure that I don’t wait until everything else is done, because by then, I might be too busy and put it off too long.

I ran out of potting soil before I got the second flat filled. This pizza box only holds 5 in each column, and I ran out right when I finished the 8th row, a little over half way to filling this flat. I planted 15 Kale, 15 Celery (both from Gurney’s) and the rest in daisies. As an aside: Holy moley, celery seed is small. I basically dusted those in: took a pinch, sprinkled it over each pot, and then kind of poked them into the soil. I’ve never planted celery before, so we’ll see if they take.

I only have one heating pad, so I just put it under the first flat, and once those have germinated and are poking up, I’ll shift it so that I am heating another section of the boxes. I got this from Gurney’s a few years ago.
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Finally, last thing I do is put plastic wrap over the top of the flats. The seeds need to be damp, but not soaking, so I won’t water any more until they have poked up over the soil. I put plastic over the top so that the moisture won’t evaporate, put it on the heating pad, and let them be.
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Now, I just need to get more potting soil, and spend some more time making pots. I’ve got okra, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers to start for sure, more flowers, and if I have time/space, I’ll put in some cucumbers, and both winter and summer squashes. Might as well start everything now, before the hubbub of late May gets here.

I don’t need to set up my lights just yet. The seeds need to sprout and get 1/2″ or so tall before they need any lights. DH is telling me he is going to weld up some light holders for me, and we’ll see how that goes. I might have to apply some interesting engineering to the problem if he doesn’t get it done. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention and all that.