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