I’ve Gone ‘Full Buffalo’
For reasons I’m not totally sure of, my husband started using the phrase “full buffalo” to describe this latest leg of our journey to get pregnant. Best I can tell, the saying is a mix of history and something from Dances With Wolves—where the Native Americans use every piece of the buffalo and the white dudes don’t—with a side of “great white buffalo” from this movie, as a means to describe a big ol’ conquest/goal. To us, it means in essence, a number of other colloquial phrases, too: all in, the whole enchilada, bringing it, the whole shebang. Basically, a full year into trying to get pregnant with no success yet, it’s game on for us. FULL game on.
And not like in a crazy Annette Bening in American Beauty “I will sell this house today!” kind of way, but in a let’s-make-the-most-of-my-treatments way. We’re taking all the steps we can to boost fertility and increase our chances. I’m currently on my third round of Clomid, and my body is reacting well to the drug, minus thinning out my endometrial lining a bit. And, just recently, we’ve progressed from regular sexy time to an IUI to make the most of the swimmers swimming. So, in a way, we’re kind of full buffalo in the doctor’s office. I mean, we’re talking about me taking estrogen, getting multiple transvaginal ultrasounds to check out my follicles, popping progesterone and my husband getting frisky in a doctor’s office and getting his sperm processed. (Side note: FBM Erin commented on the irony of getting it “processed,” as most of the stuff in my life is far, far from processed. Hey, you HAVE to laugh at this stuff or you’ll go batty.)
We’ve also gone “full buffalo” in the lifestyle department. We’ve started meditating for 10 minutes every day (I cannot recommend this book enough for tips on how to do so. It’s totally practical and realistic—and it works.), I’m getting more healthy fats in my diet, I’ve swapped my daily cup or two of coffee for green tea, and I’ve cut my alcohol back to half a glass of wine, if I even have anything at all (in the past month, I’ve probably had two full drinks). I’m stopping to take deep breaths whenever anything stresses me out in the least, I’m doing anything I can to laugh more, I’m making sure I’m getting eight hours of sleep a night, I’m avoiding gluten and other foods that might cause an inflammation response in my body, and I’m thinking all kinds of happy pregnant thoughts.
The other big change I’ve made is to my workout routine. In what I’ll dramatically call “an intervention from the universe,” I was recently assigned a freelance article to write about fertility and exercise. We’ll share the link once it’s published, but suffice it to say that while there’s not a lot of research out there about normal-weight women and high-intensity exercise (most of it is about women with too low of a body fat percentage, of which I am not), I found enough to say enough’s enough with the super-hard stuff. Doing so was really, really hard (I LOVE my CrossFit-type workouts) and I really miss my gym buddies from my morning classes, but now that I’m a few weeks into doing only moderate workouts—yoga, weight training, super easy jogging, walking—I’m feeling really, really good. I may have loved my 5:30 a.m. bone-crushing workouts, but there’s no doubt they pump out cortisol in me, which is the stress hormone that pretty much shuts down reproductive function. So, yeah, full buffalo. (Interesting side note: The research I’ve seen shows that high-intensity exercise is okay and good for women who need to lose weight. Talk about confusing!)
My husband is even joining in on the fun. To up his sperm count, he’s taking all the steps I am, and we’re modifying workouts at home together. Not only does this give me company, but it also gives me a coach to make sure I’m not working too hard. (Wow, is this not the opposite of most people’s problems?! Again, the irony.) And being at home allows him to take off his pants pronto post-workout. You know, gotta keep the junk as cool as possible.
Yes, we’re still on the journey, and we’re still settled in for the long ride. But something deep inside me says that we’re almost there. That these changes and sacrifices will make a difference—and they’re just the beginning of many as we transition into the role of parents. I don’t know if it’ll be this cycle, but I think it’ll be soon. I don’t want to jinx it, but I do think the full buffalo has powers…we’re in it to win it or at least give it the best shot possible.
Have you ever gone “full buffalo” with anything, be it getting pregnant, getting fit or anything else? Do tell! —Jenn
Good Luck Jenn –
It took us well over a year to conceive as well, so I understand your journey. 2 years if you include where we weren’t ‘not’ trying. But the last 6 months with fertility treatments. Just wanted to say we got pregnant twice with an IUI – once on a round of clomid (unsuccessful pregnancy) and one with Gonal F – that stuck! We are currently pregnant on a round of injectables (Gonal F)and IUI.
Also, I did acupuncture for a good 6 months as well. It really helped my cycles. Not sure if you are interested in trying that as well.
Hang in there sista, you are almost there!!!
“Full Buffalo” LOL! We’re not TTC yet but any time the topic comes up I have to recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. It’s a big book but very easy to read and understand, something any woman would benefit from reading whether they’re TTC or not. I read it when I was 27 and finally understood my cycle and what it all meant. Having that understanding doesn’t automatically up your fertility, but it can help you feel more empowered in that you know and understand what your body is doing, or not doing. I found it fascinating!
Best of luck in your TTC journey! I have heard good things about acupuncture as well.
Thanks, ladies! I’ve tried acupuncture once and liked it! I’m now trying to find a local place I really like…I’ve heard such good things about it!
I’ve never commented before, but I’ve been following along on your journey. While my husband and I aren’t actively trying to get pregnant yet, it’s on the horizon. So you can imagine my concern when I suffered from post pill amenorrhea. I believe that it was mostly due to over exercise b/c sure enough, after 6 weeks of cutting out all intense workouts like plyo, running, weight lifting and just sticking to a routine of yoga and walking along with acupuncture and no more caffeine/alcohol I got my period back! It wasn’t easy and I SO MISS hardcore workouts, but I’ve grown to love my new routine.
While I know you have a period, I am sure these changes will only help your fertility. Too bad all of us can’t do crossfit and get pregnant at the same time! You’re definitely making some smart choices. Please keep us updated and I’m thinking of you and your husband!!
Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful comment! I suffered from post-pill amenorrhea for almost five months, so I feel you. Sending good thoughts your way, too! 🙂
It was about 5-6 months for me too. It doesn’t sound like a long time in retrospect, but when you’re in it and have no clue how long it will last, it feels like forever. I’m sure you feel the same way about trying to get pregnant!
Hi Jenn–wonderful post, spot on. As someone of a normal weight but who exercised a lot and suffered from, I believe, Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, your workout changes and emotional struggles around it are exactly what I’ve been through. There’s a GREAT thread on Fertile Thoughts with a wonderful community of women supporting each other. Though it sounds like you cycle normally now, you may find some other interesting stuff on there or be able to recommend it to others who need support in making lifestyle changes. I commend your 100% commitment! It’s crazy how complex this journey can become…who would have ever guessed?!
Exactly, Rose! I’ll check out that thread. There really is power in numbers.
And to Tracy and Sarah, I have tried acupuncture once, but I haven’t been able to find someone here local who I feel really comfortable with. Still looking! 🙂
Thank you for your support, guys. Means the world to me! 🙂
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