It’s almost a year after we conceived and our lives are forever changed. How could they not be? In one moment we were given everything we ever wanted, only to lose it a few weeks later. The weeks which followed our miscarriage were filled with the most raw, indescribable pain we had ever experienced. There was nothing we could do, we just held on while my body went through the process of losing our child. We were hopeful that things would happen naturally and at least I’d be able to avoid surgery. That was not to be. My body took forever for my HCG levels to decline. I ended up in surgery almost four months after the loss had begun.
Shortly before I learned I was pregnant I made an appointment with a Naturopathic doctor to investigate food allergies. Thanks to Dr. C, my first NaProTechnology doctor, I knew that I had a grain allergy; however I was suspicious that there might be other allergies which were keeping us from conceiving.
By the time of my first appointment, I was already pregnant. It was Christmas time, and we had received the best Christmas gift ever! There was nothing else would could ask for!
My appointment happened to be on Christmas Eve day, I went with the thought that good nutrition would be important during my pregnancy and whatever knowledge she gave me would make my pregnancy a healthier one.
At the appointment, my Naturopath, Dr. M, explained that there were two types of allergies: IgE allergies, the kind that result in anaphylaxis; and IgG allergies which are sensitivities and cause a high amount of inflammation in the body. When there’s inflammation in the body, conception can’t happen since reproduction is the first thing the body shuts down when it’s in distress.
She explained that by identifying the food allergies and removing them from my diet, my pregnancy would be easier, and my baby would be healthier. That was enough for me! My husband, Frank, and I had tried to conceive for almost three years; there was nothing that I would not do to ensure we had a successful pregnancy.
I was a bit surprised to learn that there wasn’t any different in what she had planned for me than had I not been pregnant. I still had to do the blood draws, identify the allergens, then return in two weeks to get the results and make a plan to get healthy. We celebrated Christmas and rejoiced in knowing that we would soon be parents. I ate even more than usual at Christmas dinner; as I wasn’t sure which foods would be off my plate after my allergy tests results came in.
Before I ever thought of visiting a Naturopath; I learned that I had an allergy to grains during my first visit with my NaProTechnology doctor in October of 2011. At first I wasn’t very sure about that, but since I had gained 24 pounds in a year, and no other doctor or nutritionist could explain why, I figured I might as well try to get grains out of my diet and see what happened.
It was hard, but I lost ten pounds, and found more energy than I’d had in a while.
Even though I had eliminated all grains from my diet, I still hadn’t lost the 24lbs of weight which I gained without any dietary changes. Deep down I wondered if I had missed something.
Since my, friend, mentor, and NaProTechnology sister: Jordan, conceived her baby after working with a naturopath, I figured it was one more thing I could at least cross off the list. If it worked, our prayers would be answered; and if not, we would know that we had done absolutely everything possible to make conception happen.
After the New Year, my Naturopath presented me with the list of foods my body was reacting to; and I nearly hit the floor! I had been eating these foods forever! Because grains had already been eliminated from my diet, I was relying more heavily on other foods, and boy did my allergy results show it!
When a person is not allergic to a particular food, their sensitivity results will be below 2.0, any result above 2.0 indicates an allergy which is causing an inflammatory response.
My test results showed that I was allergic to:
- Casein (the protein in dairy—good by cheese and butter!)
- Egg whites
- All grains except rice & barley (no wheat, no oats, no sorghum, no amaranth, quinoa, teff, or any other grains)
After the doctor scraped me off the floor, I didn’t know what to say. How could I be allergic to these foods and not know it?
Dr. M had also done another test, CRP, which showed that the high levels of inflammation in my body were actually putting me at a higher than average risk of a heart attack. I also learned I had a genetic mutation which needed to be treated through diet and supplements. I have two copies of the MTHFR mutation, one A and the other C. Dr. M explained that my healthy habits of exercising 3x per week, and abstaining from all grains had helped us to get pregnant despite these defects. But there were still some effects of these mutations, such as constant fatigue, which I did not have under control.
There was no way that I was going to stand for all that, I was going to learn to live without those foods and take the supplements she prescribed no matter what! After discussing my already grain free diet with Dr. M, I explained that I had already developed my own recipe for grain free bread, and that eating it made me feel normal. Although it contained eggs, she gave me permission to continue eating it if that was my one and only cheat.
She explained that my health would not improve over night, but by following her treatment plan, we would decrease our chances of miscarriage, and increase our chances of having a healthy baby.