Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Toothcare + Conception

I am just back from my bi-annual trip to the dentist (although it has been two years since my last visit, due to our move from Denver to Houston and my general dread of dentistry).

I don't mean to bore you with the mundane details of my life, but this particular dentist visit was significant for one reason: It was the last official thing I absolutely had to do before Matt and I start trying to conceive.

Of course there are still significant things on our list, like have more conversations about whether or not we're ready, and we still need to figure out a sexual intimacy frequency that works for both of us (which will likely be shattered once I'm pregnant and once we have an infant...). But this was the last very concrete item on the list (since you don't want to get x-rays when you're pregnant).

I'm only at the beginning of my cycle, but Matt and I may very well start trying to conceive once the egg-white cervical fluid makes its appearance. Even though we're not completely ready, we recognize that this process can take years. It doesn't seem very strategic to wait until we are completely ready. If you're completely ready to have a baby (is there even such a thing if you're conscious of what it actually entails?), then each month of an unsuccessful conception attempt is a complete disappointment. If you're not entirely ready, then a piece of you celebrates the fact that you have more time to be more carefree and to just enjoy your partnership.

We've been having lots of readiness conversations, since I am more ready than Matt. Part of it stems from the fact that I am five years older than Matt (I'm 32), and I feel more pressure to start now (since fertility issues increase with age). Matt has been talking with friends and family and is starting to realize that most people don't ever feel completely ready to have children.

I want to be super, super careful not to let the conception process turn stressful. I'm going to keep taking my temperature on weekday mornings and recording my cervical fluid. If we decide to start conceiving, we'll probably have sex once a day during my fertility window. I'm not going to pee on sticks (waiting 4-5 minutes before getting in the shower gets really old really quickly). I'm not going to assess the state of my cervix. I'm not going to buy a fancy digital monitoring system.

As far as my dental hygiene goes, I begged my dentist to give me advice for beefing up my toothcare regime (since my family has really bad gums). Since I already brush two times a day and floss once, she said the next step would be upgrading to a Sonicare toothbrush. I asked her if I should also be using mouthwash. She said that is a good option, but she is hesitant to recommend too many "next steps." I also asked her if I should be using a rubber-tipped thingamabob to improve circulation in my gums (thereby strengthening them). She said that wasn't really necessary (although she finally conceded that it might be good to do it on the bottom, inside of my mouth, since that is my most neglected area).

I'm excited to take better care of my teeth!

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LawDoc said...

Hi there Sara,

This post is really hitting home for me because I feel so hemmed-in by the competing realities of my desire to have a successful career (with the time/commitment that requires) and the biological fact that my fertility won't last forever.

I hear some of that same concern and compromise in your post.

Realistically, having a child somewhere between 35-38 feels "right" with my personal and professional goals...but waiting that late seems like a biological Russian Roulette (I'm in my mid-20s now).

This is hard.

Paige said...

I definitely recommend the Sonicare toothbrush! I used to brush and floss everyday, and my gums would still bleed when I went to the dentist and they flossed for me. But having an electric toothbrush really strenthened my gums. The next time I went to the dentist they said, "You must be flossing more!"

Aamba said...

I have also heard from many people that you never feel totally ready to have a child.

I posted on a message board about trying to get my finances in shape first and people jumped on me, saying that you can plan and get things ready forever and never have a kid.

I guess there's a balance to be found. I made a list of the things I find to be essential before we can start trying and I put all those things on a timeline, so we have a date by which everything will be in place and we can start trying!

Davanie said...

My friends just had a baby - they became pregnant a little sooner than they felt 'ready' for. She was coming off of birth control and had heard it could several months to conceive. For them it just took one time :)

My aunt and uncle tried for 9 years to have a baby (after getting married in their early 20's). Eventually they resigned to the fact that they wouldn't be having kids. Then they got pregnant and now have 4 kids!

I think you're right in not wanting the conception process to get stressful. Probably easier said than done, but baby makin' will be more fun that way!

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