Oh, What I Didn’t Know About Charting…and do now

chartThank you to the reader who insisted that I buy Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

I read the mammoth book in under a week and haven’t highlighted that much since undergrad. I went online to find copies of those charts and when I got my period on Tuesday morning started charting the TCOYF way. It’s probably the most detailed, slightly complicated chart that I’ve ever seen but, by G-d I am using it!

We also, quite easily, found a new donor who is CMV negative and is just as smart, funny, athletic and musically inclined as the donor we fell in love with. His sperm is a whole lot cheaper too which helps.

So I’m armed with my charting, Fertilitea from my neighborhood apothecary, acupuncture from a nice queer girl in Brooklyn, prayers and a little bit of luck. We’re still on track to start our first insemination in my November cycle.


CMV Status

According the Pacific Reproductive Services website “CMV (Cytomegalovirus) is a virus that occurs in about 50 to 85% of us and can cause flu like symptoms, which normally resolve without complications.” The website Medical News Today says “As CMV infection symptoms are commonly rare, many people do not know they have it. There may be complications if the patient is pregnant (danger to the developing fetus) or has a weakened immune system…CMV is the virus most commonly transmitted to a developing fetus…The danger is to the developing fetus (unborn baby), rather than the mother. If an uninfected woman becomes infected with CMV during her pregnancy there is a significant risk that the developing fetus will become infected. The National Health Service (NHS), UK, estimates that approximately 0.5% of all babies born have congenital CMV; The Mayo Clinic, USA, estimates 1%…

…Of the infected babies, only about 10% will have symptoms when they are born. However, the symptoms may be severe and can result in long-term complications, including learning difficulties. Another 10% of babies born infected will have no symptoms, but will eventually have hearing problems…
…Hearing loss – approximately 90% of babies who are born infected with CMV have no signs or symptoms. 10% of the 90% will eventually develop healing loss; in the majority of cases during their first six months of life. Levels of deafness may vary from slight to total. Half of these children will have unilateral hearing loss (just one ear), while the other half will have bilateral hearing loss (both ears). Children with bilateral hearing loss are much more likely to have speech and communication problems later on.
If there are symptoms of Congenital CMV (at birth), they may include:
Jaundice – the skin and sclerae (whites of the eyes) take on a yellowish color.
Red spots under the skin
Purple skin splotches or a rash (possibly both)
Enlarged liver
Enlarged spine
Below-normal birth weight
Seizures – uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may cause a physical convulsion.
Some of these symptoms are treatable. However, according to the National Health Service (UK), between 85% and 90% of babies born with congenital CMV will have one or more of these disabilities during their lives:
Central vision loss, scarring of the retina, uveitis (swelling and irritation of the eye)
Cognitive difficulties (including learning difficulties)
Deafness (varying degrees)
Impaired vision
Problems with physical coordination
Small head…”

Guess which couple picked out their perfect donor this morning over kisses and charting?
This one.

Guess who just reconfirmed her CMV status (negative) ?
This girl.

Can you guess what our favorite (and top 3 donors) are.
Yup, that’s right they’re all positive.

Have we talked about how difficult it is to find a biracial donor? Out of all of the sperm banks that can deliver sperm to the U.S there are about 15 biracial donors, of those 15 my partner and I found 11 that we like. Last weekend we narrowed the list down to our top 3 and finally, this morning, we picked our donor.
I’m not sure how I forgot this step; our fertility therapist told us that this was an important step and I meant to call the clinic to get my status, but they keep funky hours, or I forgot.

Mostly I forgot.

Until the day we picked our favorite, smart, seemingly funny perfect donor whose family is filled with artistic genes and music and creativity that we fell in love with…and some other biracial couple will use him and I’m sure they will be happy and we’ll pick out another donor (luckily there are three left).

Truthfully, it’s not the end of the world and we both know (because every lesbian conception book – yeah all two- warn you) not to fall in love with donors. We weren’t in love, but we definitely were in strong like and we’d narrowed down donors based less on things like high IQs and SAT scores and based them more on things like eye color and height, thinking about our families.

It’s not the worst thing that can happen on this journey and we are both incredibly blessed to have three remaining donors to pick from-one I’m really in love with ( I know). And truthfully, the donors left have cheaper sperm, though I’m not sure this is the place to cut corners.

I suppose what I’m saying is that it’s disappointing, but it doesn’t really change anything. We’re still charting, and charging better thanks to Taking Charge of Your Fertility and we’re still planning on starting to inseminate in November with the help of a fertility drug like Clomid…it’s a minor set back that, I’m sure, won’t make a difference when we hold our baby in our arms (Gd willing).

So there it is, make sure you know your CMV status ladies!

The Wonderful World of Jewish Baby Traditions: The Baby Shower

Evil EyeBoth Leah and I grew up attending baby showers and we assumed that when we had babies we’d have them too…until we learned that Jewish women don’t have baby showers.

Of course, many do, but many also do not for a wide variety of reasons that have a lot to do with superstitions around a baby.

Whether or not a baby is “real” human (did you know that babies that live under 30 days don’t get funerals)?

How vengeful Lilith will, at any time, come and snatch away your wee one!  

No naming the baby before the bris, you don’t want the Angel of Death to know his name and claim him.

Lost? Let me shed some light.

Superstitions: Jews are full of superstitions. There’s no sitting at the corner around a table (you won’t get married) there’s spitting between your fingers (puh, puh, puh). And when it comes to babies there’s a whole slew of superstitions.

First there’s Lilith, Adam’s wife before Eve. It’s said that Lilith was Adams equal. When Adam instructs Lilith to lie beneath him she refuses reminding Adam that they’re equals, created by Gd as such. Adam gets mad, Lilith flees and  becomes a demon who has dominion over all baby boys for the first 8 days of their lives and baby girls for the first 12 days of their lives. To ward of Lilith amulets are hung around the baby’s bed, as is red string.

Of course, Lilith is seen as a woman of power, equal to Adam not the lesser sex. Her power was frightening to the rabbis who, in my opinion, demonized her. Will be tying a red string to a crib? maybe.

So why no shower? Because according to Jewish tradition a baby is only a full human once it’s outside the mother’s womb. This is great when it comes to abortion rights, but when planning for a child, the thought is that you don’t celebrate (remember the no-no of wishing Mazel tov to a pregnant woman) the child’s birth until, well, the child’s birth. This means that when a traditional Jewish woman goes into labor she has nothing “ready” for the baby. There is no baby room filled with onesies and diapers. There’s not so much as a safety pin. These women’s friends and family go to work when labor begins so that the mother can come home to a baby room filled with onesies and diapers and the like.

It’s a lot for us to wrap our heads around. I mean, it seems completely unreasonable to not have a diaper, a few swaddles and a breast pump before the baby is born. What woman with a newborn wants to go shopping? We don’t have friends who can do this for us and while I suppose it’s something our mothers can do together to bond, I think they’d be too nervous and anxious and come back with more stuff than we needed or set up the room in way that makes little sense to us.

On the other hand, I can’t imagine having a room ready for a baby and Gd forbid (puh, puh, puh) the pregnancy be lost.

So no shower? Who knows, we’re still trying to get on top of  the traditions-don’t forget these too! But I think, at least right now, we’ve decided that we’ll shop for the baby when we’re in our 3rd trimester and we’ll keep the door shut… just in case Lilith has any ideas.

And Now we Wait

BBT…I just finished my September period cycle which means that we’re waking up every morning at 6AM for me to take my temperature.

Every morning my alarm goes off. I attempt to turn it off to keep Leah sleeping while not moving too much. I fumble with which ever hand is closest to the night table for the thermometer and push the button and wait for the beep. After a few seconds I put the thermometer in my mouth, close my eyes and think positive baby thoughts.



My body is healthy

My body is ready for a baby

My body will support a healthy pregnancy

We will have a healthy baby

I love my body

I trust my body

I…beep beep beep!

My eyes pop open and I turn over to find my phone, using its light to read the digital numbers.

This morning my temperature was 96.86, it was 96.66 the day before, 96.98 the day before that, 97.18 the day before that and 96.81 the day before that. Before then was my period.

TTCSo it would seem, according to these temps that the day that it was 97.18, the second day after the last day of my period I ovulated. But according to my apps that still don’t understand that my body simply doesn’t operate on a 28 (30, 31, 21) day cycle month after month, I should be ovulating tomorrow.

So I pee on sticks. But as you can see, peeing on a stick has been rather unsuccessful as well.

So what can I do? I’ve pulled out my bag of tricks.


I absolutely love (have a baby crush on) my acupuncturist. I love her soothing voice, I love her gentle hands, I love her hipster glasses…wait, professional…her ability to knock me out completely for a blissful 1-2 hour tiny-needle induced nap. While I’ve been seeing her for my back and knee, I’m starting to see her next week for fertility.

Herbs, Teas and Tinctures

I’m lucky to live down the street from an amazing, WOC-owned apothecary. I’ve been in to discuss my fibroids and desire to have a child and the woman there suggested a Womb Tea, three times a day. I make big cars of it and drink it as iced tea in the morning at at night.

Jewish Superstitions, Practice and Tradition

I’ll be posting something else this week on superstitions around baby showers, but for now I’m sticking with recitation of Psalms, and thinking about wearing a red string. It’s also, apparently, a good idea to be around holy things and to steer clear of things that are unholy or unkosher. We don’t keep kosher, but I suppose it can’t hurt to start thinking about it.

Affirmations, Visualization and the power of positive thoughts.

I’ve been keeping up with my affirmations. I’ve also added visualization. I visualize myself pregnant, I feel my pregnant body with my mind’s eye. I feel fertile, etc., etc.

Ovulation checking at our clinic

Our doctor suggested that we come in right away for ovulation tracking, but we declined. Our last appointment was in the spring and we planned on starting in November, so it made little sense to run to the doctor every morning for blood tests, but now that we’re approaching November, it seems to make more sense to me. So I’ll be calling them after my period next month to start making appointments to see the doctor.

Sending lots of fertility love to all of you Mamas-in-Waiting out there. We can do this!