Fertility Charting for Beginners

Today’s post is going to be a guide for fertility charting for those who just want to be educated about their bodies, ultimately with the goal of conceiving. I took Human Reproduction as my capstone senior year of college and that was the first time I realized how little women are taught about their own bodies, so when it comes time to try and conceive a child we can often be surprised when it doesn’t happen after having unprotected sex for the first time.

When trying to conceive (TTC) I feel like there are generally two different categories of people – the
“not trying, not preventing” crowd and the charting crowd, which obviously can be split into various degrees. Both ways are valid ways of conceiving but for women with various health conditions or have had trouble conceiving in the past, charting can be a more definitive way so see what’s up with your cycles.

This is going to touch on some of the basic things that you can chart when starting your TTC charting journey. This isn’t going to go in depth on things like menstrual flow changes or luteal phase or other things. You can make charting as simple or complicated as you want so today we are just going to cover some basics. I really recommending using a paper chart from the book “Taking Charge of your Fertility” or the Fertility Friend website and app.

PERIOD

The first most basic thing you’ll want to chart is the day your period starts and stops. The first day of your period is considered  “Day 1” of your cycle. The textbook example of a cycle is usually 28 days but there is a lot of normal (and abnormal) variation that can make this number inaccurate for many woman. If for some reason you don’t have a period (like me, due to PCOS or other issues), you can still track the following changes, just note that you may or may not ever be ovulating. We might cover this in another post.

TEMPERATURE
Your basal body temperature is another thing you’ll want to keep track of daily. Subtle changes throughout the month can clue you in on the start of each new phase of your cycle. In order to get the most accurate results, its important to record your temperature first thing in the morning. For the first part of your cycle, you may see some changes from day to day but overall you’ll hover around the same average unless you’re ill. During ovulation, the temperature will drop slightly followed by a rise in temperature the next day that is sustained until the end of the cycle.  It’s a common misconception, I think, that the spike in temperature signals ovulation but actually, it signified that it has already happened. The rise in temperature after ovulation is the start of your luteal phase.

You can use any kind of thermometer to chart temperature, typically the infrared forehead kind are not recommended. I find orally to be the easiest for me. Readings with two decimals are preferred but the cheaper thermometers usually only go to one decimal place which can be sufficient for most.

CERVIX
For many woman, temperature charting, or temping, can be enough to help you determine your most fertile days. For others, temperatures aren’t so clear and other signs are useful in determining when ovulation has occurred. Checking the cervix requires getting up close and personal with your body on a daily basis so if you weren’t comfortable with touching yourself before, you will be after charting. No pun intended. There are three main things to take note of when checking the cervix – position (and opening), texture, and fluid. Often it takes a cycle or two to really get used to the changes and what they feel like.

To check your cervix, you’ll want to insert a clean finger into your vagina at about a 45 degree angle towards your back. The cervix is round and honestly sort of looks and feels like the head of a penis. First take note of the position. If the cervix is high, you’ll have to insert almost the entire finger to be able to reach it. At a lower position, it is much easier to reach. You’ll also want to feel around for the opening – is there a small hole or is it closed? Next, gently press on the cervix and note its texture. Is it soft like a flaccid penis? Firm like a hard penis head? Or somewhere in the middle? If you don’t know what a penis feels like then perhaps think of the difference between your lips and the tip of your nose. Finally, swipe a finger around the cervix and inspect the mucus. Cervical mucus is categorized as either dry, sticky, creamy, watery or egg white. In general, around ovulation the cervix will be soft, high, open, and wet. Watery and egg white mucus are considered fertile, with egg white being the gold standard. Egg white mucus is easily distinguished by its ability to stretch between your fingertips without breaking. This should not be confused with arousal fluid, which is different although it has a similar consistency.

OVULATION TESTS
Ovulation tests are typically referred to as OPKs or ovulation predictor kits. Most drugstores sell some form of these but typically its more cost effective to buy the strip tests in bulk online from somewhere like Amazon.  These work very similar to pregnancy tests in that you dip the stick into a cup of urine, wait a set amount of time, and read the result. The different is that for the strip type tests, two lines does not always equal positive for ovulation. Ovulation would show the dark control line as well as an equally dark test line.  If one of the lines is fainter than the other, this is not a positive test.  OPKs are useful if you find your cervical signs and temperatures don’t match up. When the ovulation test shows positive, it usually means you will ovulate within the next 24 hours, not that you are currently ovulating.

WHEN TO HAVE SEX
All the statistics say that sperm can live in the vagina up to five days but really this is under ideal conditions which not everyone has. Experts agree that you have the highest chance of conceiving when you are intimate two days before, the day before, and the day of ovulation.

RESOURCES
Taking Charge of Your Fertility book
Cervix photo gallery (NSFW)
Lots of great resources and community for voting on your test if you can’t tell!
Fertility Friend log

Sand Cloud VIP Box Review – #savethefishies

So lately I’ve been engaging in hour long instagram browsing sessions.  During these times there are two online stores that I continuously see ads about – Sand Cloud.  Normally, I get mildly annoyed with seeing the same ads over and over for products I can’t afford so I never really looking into it much but recently, I bought a couple things because I’ll be honest, they do have super cute stuff.  I thought I would do a review of the products today and share some discount codes(!!) with y’all.

Let’s talk Sand cloud.
Sand cloud is a company that I think originally started making turkish-style (the really thin-easily traveled with) towels.  Now they have tshirts, hoodies, long sleeved shirts, water bottles, and some jewelry items.  They focus on feminine and boho designs usually featuring at least one of three themes – tie-dye, zen-tangle, and/or sea life,

The best part about Sandcloud is 10% of every purchased is donated to charities that help marine conservation. #SaveTheFishies is their whole thing.  Charities donated to include Marine Conversation Institute, Surfrider Foundation, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, and more.  Shirts ranged from $28 to $48, Towels are around $50 but you can get an XL version for more. They have a glass water bottle with a cute wooden screw top that is on sale for $28. It’s one of their best selling items. They are always offering sales of some amount or another and you can find discount codes everywhere (including one in this blog!). They also have a rewards program where you earn points per dollar spent and can cash them in on future purchases. You can also rack up points by sharing on facebook and following them on instagram. It’s super easy to earn $5 towards a purchase.

Recently, they launched a VIP box which I decided to try out. The VIP box is a monthly shipment that retails for $30. Downside to that price is you aren’t able to use your reward points or discount codes. It’s still a great deal. It comes with a long sleeved shirt (although it might switch to tshirts as summer is coming) and a pair of socks.  Some claimed theirs came with a keychain or button pin but mine did not. I did however receive a few cute promo stickers. Here’s what I got:

A post shared by jamie.goes.places 🦀 (@ambassador.jamie) on

March’s theme was a polar bear. I wasn’t honestly stoked about this when I heard as I recently moved to Savannah and it’s not quite polar bear season well…ever. However, I actually loved this design as soon as I saw it. The sunset colors are gorgeous and it doesn’t feel too winter-y. If you’ve had long sleeved shirts (or hoodies) that are unisex adult sizes and are usually sold with like school emblems or something. This shirt fits like those but is an ever-so-slightly thinner material. It features the pretty design on the back and the circular sand cloud logo on the front. The socks are thick like well-made thick not make-your-feet-sweat thick and they actually fit me a lot better than other tube socks do.  I wear a size 11. I did see some people with like size 7 and 8 feet complaining that they were a tad big on them, so keep that in mind if that’s something you’re picky about.

For transparency, let me just say that I am an affiliate, and I do get points/commission if you buy from their site using my links or codes or whatever. BUT. I literally am obsessed with this site and everything on it. I’m a member of the private rep group and this company is super involved with keeping customers and reps up to date on launches, constantly coming up with new products, and educating/facilitating things like beach cleanups. It’s seriously the coolest thing to see. I’ve never been a part of such a positive community.  They are based in CA which tragic because I would definitely like to get more involved with the company if they were in the southeast. Either way, I’ve already been inspired to do my own mini-beach cleanup and I’m becoming more aware of the single-use items I use that I could do away with (#saynotostraws).

You don’t just have to live on the beach to buy things from here. But loving animals is recommended. If you’re done ready and ready to check out their awesome merch you can CLICK HERE to go to their website.  And if you’d like to save %15 off your purchase, use the code JAMIEADA15

Leave a comment with your an item on your sandcloud wishlist!
Curious as to what’s on mine? – this shirt is number one, the water bottle linked above, this awesome aztec blanket, and the silver whale tale ring. And probably a lot more tbh. xD

P.S. I live 20 minutes from the beach now?! so stay tuned for more beachy posts. 🙂

 

Drugstore Pale Skin Foundation Collection + Swatches

    Hey all! So today I’m bringing you my foundation collection including swatches.  First, just a little background on my skin. I am approximately an NC/NW10 with dry to combo skin. I tend to get moderately oily on my forehead throughout the day but nothing crazy.  Dry patches around my nose/upper lip and occasionally around my jawline.  I am very pale with slight yellow undertones. My foundation journey has been a struggle to say the least. I find that the palest shades in almost all foundations are either too orange or too pink on my skin. Out of this batch, the fourth swatch, Fit Me Matte+Poreless in 110 Porcelain is the best match that I have. It is every so slightly too pink, like so slight, but I make it work.  
    The last two foundations here are not really “pale skin” foundation but I did include them because I was tan for a brief while and it gives you something to kind of gauge the light foundations against.  These swatches are kind of thick, so in the images you can see that they are mostly dried with some wet spots so keep that in mind it might change the color somewhat.  The oxidation is also apparent.  
    These swatches are also helpful if you’re looking into the Fit Me line by Maybelline.  Its so important to keep in mind that all of their formulas are different, even if it says the same shade. For example, the fourth and fifth swatches are both 110 but you can see the dewy+smooth foundation is really a full shade darker. Also, both six and seven are both 120 but the stick foundation is much much more pink undertoned.  I know this logic applies to a lot of foundation brands with different formulations so make sure to test things out first when you can or keep your receipts so you can return what doesn’t work for you.
    The next post will be a haul of all my asian foundations and bb creams that I’ve purchased recently and some impressions. I’m so excited to get my shipment so stay tuned for that!
    Foundations from left to right.
    • NYX HD Concealer in 01
    • Wet N Wild Photofocus Foundation in Ivory
    • Wet N Wild BB Cream in Light
    • Maybelline Fit Me Matte+Poreless in 110 Porcelain
    • Maybelline Fit Me Dewy+Smooth in 110 Porcelain
    • Maybelline Fit Me Stick in 120 Classic Ivory
    • Maybelline Fit Me Dewy+Smooth in 120 Classic Ivory
    • Rimmel Lasting Finish in 200 Soft Beige
    • Maybelline Fit Me Matte+Poreless in 228 Soft Tan
    In natural lighting, late day.

    In front of ring light.