Thursday, September 27, 2012

Narcissistic Issues

I am going to get my hair cut and colored tomorrow. This is a very good thing because my hair is currently hanging limply around my face, doing nothing more for my appearance than a dish rag draped over my head. Really.

But it raises an interesting question. Can I spice up my boringness with some highlights? You’re probably thinking “Uhhh…yes of course. Please do.” But then, you don’t know my approach to maintaining my hair styles. We could call it…lackadaisical to say the least. Here’s how it goes. I cut my hair and color it. At the same time. It takes about 2-3 hours, because I apparently have a lot of hair and I think my stylist is a little slow. Slow cutting hair, not slow-intelligence-wise. So I sit through all of this, and she does a great job, and I come out looking better. BUT in order to maintain this “looking better” appearance, I would need to return sometime in, oh I don’t know, 6-8 weeks? Instead I would say I go back every 4-6 months. My poor hairdresser thought I had abandoned her the first few times. Now she just knows I’m lazy.

Annnnyhow, because of this laziness and aversion to sitting and doing nothing for 2-3 hours, I probably won’t be getting my hair redone for quite some time. What that means is, I could potentially be pregnant next time I need to touch up my hair. Because of that, I may want to go easy on the highlights and not create some technicolored mess that will be growing out with awesome roots. Right?

Ok, first let me say, after reading blogs and forums about people who are trying so hard to get pregnant and who struggle so much I feel very conceited, arrogant, and cocky to just assume I will be pregnant 4-6 months from now. I mean, will it really just happen that easily? I have no idea….

I have found myself posing a lot of these bizarre questions to myself lately. For example, I need new blue jeans. But I don’t desperately need new blue jeans. So should I buy them? I mean, really…if in 4-6, 6-8, 8-12 months I may not fit into them? What stupid things to think about. But I am thinking about it. I guess it goes back to the whole “being on the precipice” thing. The view up here makes you realize that a whole lot of shit may be about to change. But its weird. Because you don't want to assume that change will happen. It almost feels like jinxing yourself to plan for it. But me being me, I don't really know how not to plan for things.

Soooo back to the highlights (important stuff here). I never knew anything about the fact that “you can’t dye your hair while pregnant” thing. Now that could be due to the fact that I am completely clueless about a lot of things but especially clueless about pregnancy. But it could also be due to the fact that there is nothing wrong at all with highlighting your hair while pregnant but women like to overthink every damn thing and be super-duper organic and healthy and aware for their babies.

So I did a little research., which sounds important but could be just a good domain name, says “hair dyes are probably safe to use during pregnancy because so little dye is absorbed through the skin. However, it is still important to be cautious, therefore many health care providers recommend that pregnant women not use permanent hair dyes during the first three months.” Great. That tells me nothing. Basically, the risk is negligible, but likely does exist, so don’t poison your baby during the first trimester. (I’m sure they are very scientific) says basically the same thing, we’re not sure…but be careful…especially in the beginning. They also say, “It's important for women to feel good about themselves during pregnancy. Whether coloring your hair will make you feel good or cause you to worry needlessly for nine months is something to think about.” So they also threw in some stuff about the fact that, hey, you are still a woman and you should feel good about yourself. Okay.

So being someone who obtained a doctorate in philosophy, I decided maybe I should do some actual research, outside of just a simple google search. So I searched Google Scholar ;)


I found one study in the journal of Cancer Causes & Control (cheerful title) that did a very unscientifically-designed, correlational phone survey in which they asked women if they dyed their hair and whether their kids had cancer. Sad. They found an Odds Ratio of 1.6 that women who dyed their hair have an increased chance of having their children develop cancer. Unfortunately I don’t really remember how to interpret Odds Ratios (although I know it was a big part of Multivariate Statistics…please don’t tell my dissertation advisor!), but the authors interpret the OR as “moderately increased risk.” Based on their phone survey. Moving on.

I found a study in Food & Cosmetics Toxicology (scary title) in which poor, helpful little rat mommies were injected with hair dye. Nice. On day 18 of pregnancy (what is that in human years? 2nd trimester?), it was found that the baby rats exposed to hair dye had “A low incidence of exencephaly and prosoposchisis and a high incidence of skeletal malformations” if they were exposed on day 8 (I don’t know…first trimester?). Soooo yeah. My second glass of wine tonight has obliterated my ability to understand that. But it sounds like if you inject the hair dye into your blood stream, that’s not good for your baby.

One more. From the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. White rabbits (Baby Albert, anyone?) were exposed to topical use of hair dye (I wonder if they were Autumn Redheads or Brilliant Brunettes?). The results showed? Basically nothing at all. “In the percutaneous toxicity study there was no evidence of compound‐induced systemic effects.” Basically they found that there were no effects of topical application of hair dye to pregnant bunnies. Except of course, multi-colored bunnies ☺

Ok. So what do I conclude? I think I’ll ask my hair dresser.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's in a Blog?

I was reading some blogs today. I vacillate between blogs about pregnancy (or trying to get pregnant) and blogs about dressage. Which is ironically funny because 1) I am not pregnant and 2) I don't own a dressage horse. I guess I'm living on the edge of those two, mutually-exclusive dreams (i.e., getting pregnant and owning a dressage horse do not go well together!) so it's kind of fun to read through the blogs and just imagine. I especially like finding long, well-maintained blogs that have been going for many years. I then wade through the awkwardly-organized archives until I get to the very first Blog Post. I try not read the current posts, because that would be like reading the end of a book before you start it. Then, if you are lucky enough to find a well-written blog, you can sit and watch this person's life unfold right before your eyes; a speeded-up summary of the events of the past four years. In fact, I've been spending so much time reading blogs that I started to feel guilty that I haven't been reading any novels lately (I realized this when I got a nice email from the LAPL warning me nicely that my unread library books will be overdue in four days). But then I realized that there is no difference really between reading a blog and reading a memoir. Except of course, that a published memoir will likely have been edited nicely by a crew of people trained to make your writing more digestible and correct. Blogs are just a new type of literature (wow, that sounds corny). It's very unfiltered ranting and raving put forth by someone who is trying to....I don't know, share? connect? be heard? be validated?

It's kind of an interesting question. Why DO people Blog? Why am I starting this blog, for example? Especially since I really don't plan to share it with anyone that I know until I am pregnant and certain. So what I am blogging about is too private for my friends to read and yet I am putting in on the Internet? How strange is that? I guess, for me, it's a way of chronicling what I am about to start. The next stage of my life. If all goes smoothly and easily (knocking furiously on something wooden), this blog will be a story of getting pregnant and then raising a baby(ies?). And I'll be happy to share this with friends once I am past this odd no-man's land of trying to conceive (which, coincidentally, the blogs have taught me is called TCC)...just, not yet. So, basically I needed somewhere to write this all down. I am driving my husband and few friends who know absolutely crazy with stupid little details that I have learned about ovulation. I mean, honestly, you'd be surprised how little I knew about my own body before I started researching all of this. Would you believe I had no idea that you couldn't get pregnant just "any old day of the month?" If I had just read a little bit, I wouldn't have stressed so much about accidentally getting pregnant because I missed one birth control pill. Or just...because the birth control somehow ceased to work that month? Seriously?

Aside from wanting to be able to look back on all of this and see how the journey unfolded, and aside from needing a place to pour out my obsessive little thoughts, I also have another, secret reason for starting this blog. And I guess, since no one is reading this, I can admit my secret to the blank, unfriendly expanse of The fact is I really like to write. I've always had this secret idea that someday, in another life, I could be a writer. Whatever that means. So I guess this is my way of having an alter ego. Similar to slipping on thigh-high boots and black leather on the weekends - just not as exciting. And really, I doubt that this "secret" is all that secret. I mean, aren't all bloggers simply people who wish they could be writers? Why would anyone write a blog if they didn't enjoy the act of writing or secretly think they are kinda good at it? Just to torture themselves??

Anyhow, I guess the point is, maybe my thoughts on blogging are changing. Maybe bloggers aren't people wishing they were writers (well, a LOT of them are), but just people using a different forum to communicate and share their writing.

Finally, I want to share one of the blogs that I have been reading that really stands out to me. Some of them I read just for the pretty videos of horses half-passing across an arena and some I read because I just can't believe how fucking crazy these people are. But some of them are just really well-written. The one I am thinking about is at The author (and yes, she is an author) is amazing. First of all, she has maintained this blog since 2003 which is absolutely impressive and also gives her blog the depth of developing over years of time. Secondly, she is hilarious and extremely intelligent. I really value people who are damn smart and able to apply that to humor, because I think I am damn smart (I have a Ph.D., don't I?) but definitely have no clue how to be funny. Also, she is a great writer. Because no, being smart and funny don't instantly make you readable, interesting, or eloquent. And finally, her story is *amazing*. It unfolds like a movie or a great novel and I am only half-way through so please don't tell me what's currently happening! And yes, I realize that she may be upset or shocked to hear me comparing her life to a good novel, but it truly is riveting. What she and her husband and have been through is inspiring and she wrote about it with grace and humor. Nicely done. Anyhow, if you're interested in infertility, pregnancy, motherhood, or just good writing, check it out. Do it my way and start at the beginning.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sitting on the Precipice

I am exactly one month away from when I (we) will begin trying to have a baby. “Trying to have a baby.” Such an odd phrase. Like it’s hard work, or pure luck, or happenstance, or a skill you have to earn. Or maybe all of those things.

But here I am. Sitting and waiting. I feel like the waiting is an active state. I’m actually savoring it. Enjoy teetering here. I am happy and ready. Actually feeling myself prepare and grow and become ready. But at the same time I like being here, sitting on the precipice, enjoying the view but not jumping off.

Although I’ve always known I wanted to descend into motherhood I don’t think it’s something to be taken lightly. It is a loss and a gain at the same time. But isn’t it a luxury to have the time and ease to even ponder these? Don’t some women just fall into this without a question or a thought? It just….happens. Either out of expectation, surprise or accident.

But here I am, purposefully, delicately waiting. Waiting for an arbitrary date to begin trying. In the mean time, I am enjoying being me. Being a woman. A young woman. Unattached. Unconnected. Without constraints on what happens to my body or what I do to my body. (For example, the glass of wine I am sipping).

It is a nice place to be, overlooking this view. I need to force myself to slow down these next 28 days and just…enjoy. Say my goodbyes and prepare to meet this new person I will be.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Take Pill. Swallow.

Took the first pill of my last pack of birth control today. I know to some people that may not feel monumental, but for me it seems the last time I will be actively trying to not get pregnant. I’ve been on birth control since I was 18. That’s 12 years of trying not to get pregnant. I don't even know what my body will be like without the cocktail of estrogen and god knows what running through my body. Aside from the main goal of starting a family, I’m also looking forward to just letting my body be. Letting it ovulate and be a woman and all of that cheesy stuff.

It took me awhile to decide when to stop taking the pills, aka when to start trying. Hmm. I just re-read that sentence. It took me awhile to decide. Oddly enough, I don’t feel like my husband was a huge part of the decision. That sounds cold. But what I mean is, he gave me the go ahead, said that he was ready, and then told me it was my body and I could decide.

Making that decision was a weird experience for me. I’m sure for a lot of women it is simple. As soon as they get the go-ahead from their husbands/spouse/wives/partners/whatever they just stop swallowing that little pill as soon as possible. For me, even though I feel emotionally ready, it became an intellectual decision. Am I ready for this? Am I ready for things I will have to give up? How about the little things? My hobbies? My glass of wine?

So I started trying to find the “perfect time.” I found reasons why, months in advance, I might not want to be pregnant. For example, “oh such-and-such party” or “so-and-so will be in town.” Finally, my husband said, “you know eventually you will have to miss out on something because you are pregnant.” And I realized he was right. This isn’t about finding the perfect 9 months when there will be nothing exciting happening that I won’t regret missing. Yeah, right. So the question becomes simple. Are you ready?


Here’s how I finally decided. I looked at how many packages of birth control I had left. I found out I had exactly three. Three months seemed like a good amount of time to enjoy what was left of my time to be “not-pregnant.”

So, here I am. Down to 28 days. Here we go!