Tag Archive | endometriosis

Miscarriage, Honoring the Child We Lost-Part II

It has been more than a week from the day we were supposed to hear our baby’s heartbeat.  Unfortunately, that was not to be.  Instead of hearing the number of beats and guessing whether our baby would be a boy or a girl, we were told that our baby passed away.  This is the most devastating loss I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.  In this series of blog posts, I’ll be sharing some of the stories which I hoped to share with our child one day.  Thank you for walking this journey of healing with me…

weeping woman

My First Pregnancy Appointment…

After I learned I was pregnant, I had to vist Dr. C, my NaProTechnology doctor.  It was a Wednesday, which meant his office closed at noon.  Although he agreed to see me regardless of the time I arrived, I wanted to get there as soon as possible.  Oh, and I was on cloud 9– because after two and a half years of trying to conceive, surgery, months of vitamins, and charting every little detail day by day, I had become a mommy!

 

I packed my charts, pre-natal vitamins, fed the fur babies, and made it out the door as quickly as I could.  Needless to say, there were a few details that escaped me on the way up.  I thought I was being careful.  I used the Google Maps App to get to Dr. C’s office.  No matter how many times I go there, I can’t seem to remember which exit to take, so having Siri give me directions makes life easier.

mobile phone

Anyway, there I was 60 minutes into the 90 minute ride to Dr. C, driving from the primary highway on to the secondary highway, when bam! I got pulled over.  I was exceeding the speed limit and so was everyone else on the road.   I’m not so familiar with the area, so as far as I was concerned I was just keeping up with the flow of traffic.  The cop however did not see it that way.

I waited until he came to my passenger window and asked me if I knew how fast I was going.  Then I lost it, seriously lost it.  If you’ve ever had a five year old try to tell you something he or she is excited about, that’s pretty much what happened.  Instead of telling the officer how fast I thought I was going, I shrieked, “I’m sorry officer, I just found out I’m pregnant this morning I have to go to the doctor to get a progesterone shot so I don’t lose my baby!  See, here’s my chart, there’s my prenatal vitamins, I didn’t realize I was speeding!”  The poor cop had no clue what to do.  Apparently the response I gave is not one he gets very often.  He was silent for a moment, then asked who my doctor was and where he’s located.  Apparently he was satisfied with my answers, because he didn’t ask any more probing questions.  He did ask if it was an emergency.  I couldn’t lie, so I responded: “It’s not something that has to happen this minute, but I need the progesterone shot because I’m high risk for miscarriage, I don’t want to lose my baby!”   I was totally ready to show him the pic of my positive pregnancy test complete with time stamp, but it didn’t come to that.

progesterone shot

Thankfully, the cop let me go with a warning, and I got to Dr. C’s where I got the low down what was going on inside my body and the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy.  I learned that my immune system would fight the baby, as it recognized it as a foreign protein, but that the baby would be producing calming countdowns to counteract my immune system.  In addition to the typical no alcohol, no second hand smoke, and no caffeine, I was also told that I could not consume cold cuts or soft cheeses because of listeria, a bacteria which could be harmful to both my body and the baby.  I was told that fish was a must, but due to contaminants, fresh water fish were prohibited, as were shark, mackerel, and swordfish,  tuna was limited to only one can per week.

We talked a lot about the possibility of miscarriage, not because Dr. C thought it would happen but because being aware of possible causes would help to prevent it.  I was told that both caffeine and alcohol would not only harm the baby, but also increase the risk of miscarriage, as would not getting enough sleep.  It was also important that I continue my regular exercise routine of walking 3x per week for an hour at a 3.5 mile per hour pace. I could totally do all these things, because it was worth it, I would do anything on the planet if it meant I could be a mommy!

coffee

Bring on the restrictions and the decaffeinated coffee!  I was pregnant, my leave of absence had done its job, and I was going to be a mommy!   I was on cloud nine!  I knew it would be a while before we could officially announce that we were expecting to the world, but there were a few people who we just had to tell right away.

That night, I called Jordan and told her the good news.  It was because of her and the courage she had more than a year ago that pregnancy was even possible for us.  We both cried tears of joy as we talked about the coming nine months and how our children would forever be the best of friends.  We dreamed such amazing dreams as we talked,  and I told her how excited I was about being a mom.  “Catherine” she said, “You’re already a mom!”  That thought filled me with such love, joy,  and hope!  I was already a mom, loving my baby with every breath I took, nourishing it with every bite I took, and protecting it with every possible danger I avoided.  I was doing everything possible to take care of our baby; I was truly blessed!

I’m not giving in to the infertility blues!

As I begin a new cycle, I’m tempted to go to that dark place where despair, inadequacy, frustration, and doubt lurk.  Like many women living with infertility, I’ve been there a few times before; regardless of how many times I’ve been there, it’s not a place I’m going today.

despair

There’s no magic reason, no drug or therapist that is responsible for this choice, it’s just me.  As I look at my situation, I have much to be thankful for. Thanks to a NaproTechnology, we have the best chances we’ve ever had!  For the first time that I’m aware of, my body reached the optimum zone for fertility: my estradiol level hit 399 before peak day, optimum ovulation requires it be between 300 and 400; my peak plus seven estradiol level was 116 and my progesterone was 28.  I couldn’t ask for more in terms of chemistry.

And yet I’m not pregnant.  Wish I knew why!  There are some things we’re not meant to know and of course, everything comes in God’s time.  I may very well be like my grandmother (and her mother before her) and give birth after 40.  Who knows what God has planned for me?

baby steps to big dreams

It’s tempting to allow the thought that God does not have motherhood in his plan for me, but I’m not going there, not till I have to.  I will enjoy every beautiful day that is filled with my husband, Frank, and our four beautiful fur babies.  I will appreciate my students for all the joy and richness they bring to my life.  I will appreciate the irony that I have more young women without mothers in my class than ever before, I will be the confidant they need because it gives me purpose on this journey.

I’m not out of hope yet.  My doctor defines that as completing 12 cycles at optimum levels without conceiving.  One down eleven to go.  That’s eleven more tries, eleven more months for my body to get healthy enough to nourish another life.   I feel that I owe it to my body, mind, and soul to give this all I’ve got.

This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  I’m not going to quit or even entertain the thought that motherhood is not in my future.  Why?  Because I’m surrounded by an amazing supportive network of friends, coworkers, church family, even some biological relatives, and of course my amazing husband.  They’ve been my cheerleaders, carried me when I couldn’t get through on my own, and offered innumerable prayers on my behalf.  Their encouragement keeps me going.

friend meme

It would be so easy for them to focus on their own tiny circles and just inquire now and then.  Yet their support is steadfast.  I am blessed to have them in my corner.  During those times I have ended up giving in to despair and allowing myself to feel the letdown of a new cycle, they’ve pulled me out and reminded me what I’m working towards.

Knowing the effects of stress and negativity on the body, I’m not giving in to them.  I refuse to do anything that could make me less healthy.  I’ve given up grains, dyes, artificial foods, changed my lifestyle, and I can see the physical manifestations of these changes.  The evidence that my treatment is working increases by the day.  I won’t do anything to jeopardize that.   I firmly believe that I am on my way towards motherhood and better health.  Nothing, not doubt, stress, negativity, nor despair will jeopardize that.

Reflecting on a year of infertility part III

I tend to be long winded; I actually started blogging to have an outlet to express all that was going on throughout this journey through the muck of infertility.  I was pretty sure that my husband, Frank, and my close friends were getting tired of hearing all that I had to say about what was happening.

keyboard

Here’s a quick recap: My NaProTechnology Dr diagnosed me with endometriosis and an allergy to grains.  I had surgery to remove the endometriosis and was back to work in two weeks.  I am so glad that I chose to make the drive to New Jersey and have my Surgery at the Gianna Center at Saint Peter’s Hospital.  I was back to work within two weeks and was told to wait two cycles before trying to conceive again.

While I waited for my body to heal, I observed some amazing changes in my chart.  My cycles became more regular in length, there was less pain associated with menstruation, and when I say less, I really mean that I went from a 10 to a 1.  I had less bleeding at the end of my cycle and the bleeding that used to happen mid cycle completely disappeared.  I still had some unusual tail end brown bleeding, which my doctor suggested might clear up as my body healed.

Since we had been told not to try to conceive, there was no pressure to wait for a positive, there was no disappointment.  I just enjoyed observing the positive changes in my body.   The weight I grained before Dr. C figured out my grain allergy was slowly coming off, I was starting to recognize my body again.

weight loss

Menstruation happened with minimal pain.  The once crippling cramps and abdominal pain that began two to three weeks before menstruation were replaced by two days of abdominal discomfort.    This reduction in pain was due to taking an OTC medication called pycnogenol, a natural anti-inflammatory derived from French maritime pine bark.

Things were going great, my pain was down, I felt better overall, but my weight loss had stopped.  I cut out chocolate for a week thinking that I might be overdoing it with sweets.  Even then I didn’t lose an ounce.  Something was up, it was time to hunt for grains again.  I had been trick by grains hiding in kielbasa, bullion, flour blends, and even shredded cheese.  But I was almost certain I had eliminated them all.

Still I had to try and see if there were a few I missed.  I went through my cupboards and fridge but everything in there was grain free.  I checked the chocolates I was eating, thinking there might be corn starch or corn oil that I had missed; still nothing.  It wasn’t until Sunday night when I was loading up my medicine case for the coming week that I thought to check the medications I was taking.

rice flourMy vitamin D3 was grain free, as was my magnesium, my glucosamine, my kelp tablets, my B6 and my B complex, and my prenatal vitamin.  It was down to the pycnogenol.  And there it was, hidden inside a tiny 100mg capsule, rice flour!  The capsule was smaller than an average pain relief pill, there had to be less than ¼ teaspoon of rice flour in there!  However much there was, it was enough to nix the weight loss.

I got back on vitacost and ordered a brand of pycnogenol that did not contain rice flour.   Of course the brands that were grain free cost three times as much as the other brands.  I decided to see how I felt without pycnogenol.  Big mistake.  For a moment I forgot all of the pain that endometriosis was, but it only took one cycle without pycnogenol to remind me.  While it’s true that I was feeling great after surgery, a few weeks off the pycnogenol and that all changed.

It took my husband, Frank, to convince me that my body and my health were worth the extra money.  So, I ordered the new pyconogenol and within two weeks the pain was gone.  Let me tell you, the expense was worth it!  If you are living with endometriosis, please ask your doctor about pycnogenol, it allows me to live almost pain free.

Reflecting on a Year of Infertility Part II

 

(Fair warning, this is one of those posts that’s a bit more medical than others.)

naPro poster

My first appointment with my NaProTechnology doc was in October.  It was so different from other doctor’s appointments!  Dr. C, my NaProTechnology doctor, listed to what was going on with my body, he said that what told him was substantiated by the data on my Creighton Model Fertility chart.  I learned so much about what was happening with my body that day.  I learned more than I had ever learned in an hour (and that includes what I learned in Grad school).  I was diagnosed with endometriosis and a grain allergy during my first visit.  I felt like a deer in headlights when Dr. C said I needed surgery.  How could he know?  How could he be so sure?  He explained that my chart plus my history screamed endometriosis.  Without giving you a life story, here’s what I was dealing with:

  • Long cycles that had consistently gone between 30-50 days.
  • Pain that began two to three weeks before menstruation and steadily increased in intensity until about 12 hours before menstruation.
  • Mood swings that began 2-3 weeks before menstruation and increased in intensity till menstruation.  At times they hung around till I was done bleeding.
  • 7-14 days of red bleeding plus brown bleeding before and after menstruation.
  • Weight gain and bloating that began more than a week before menstruation.
  • Constipation that began a week or two before menstruation and got worse the closer I got to menstruation.
  • Breast pain and increased breast size beginning more than a week before menstruation.  Sometimes it was so painful that it woke me up at night.
  • Extreme fatigue bordering on exhaustion for more than a week before my period.
  • Contracting Mononucleosis.  Apparently that was a sign of how weak my immune system was.
  • All of these symptoms lessened during the 15 years I was on the pill and then returned within 12 months of being off of it.

Dr. C said he didn’t know why other doctors had missed this.  Knowing what I know now, I don’t know either.  All I know is that I went to a NaProTechnology doctor looking for answers and I got some.  I was excited and I was terrified.

I couldn’t say yes to surgery before discussing it with my husband, Frank.  He is my rock, he is my everything.  He has been so supportive on this journey.  He agreed that I needed surgery for my health, never mind that it improved our chances of achieving a pregnancy.

We wanted to have the best experience possible with the procedure, so when we were given a choice of surgeons we explored both options.  The first was the best available surgeon in our area, but he was not a NaProTechnology surgeon.  The second was a NaProTechnology surgeon who was about 4 hours away.  After a visit to the first surgeon’s office and a phone interview with the NaProTechnology surgeon, it was an easy choice.  I chose the NaPro surgeon.  It was an easy choice.  Even though I met with the first surgeon in person, he made me feel like a number, like to him I was just a uterus that happened to have a face attached.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he’s good at what he does, but it felt like I was patient X whom he had treated a thousand times before.  By contrast, the NaProTechnology surgeon listened to me.  He told me what he would do during surgery.  He explained that there were many possibilities of what he might find and then explained what he would do in each situation.  He treated me as if I were a unique person, I felt as though he really wanted to help me, the person, not the uterus with a disease.

Maybe I’m being overly dramatic, but let me just add, that the recovery time with the first surgeon would have been 4-8 weeks, and my NaPro surgeon said his patients typically returned to work within one or two weeks.

It took a while to get a surgery date. Between the phone consult and the day of my surgery my pain increased tenfold. Two days before surgery I was taking 12 advil, and that was barely keeping the pain dull.   We booked a hotel room and drove 4 hours to the Gianna Center, my NaProTechnology Surgeon’s office.  I had an exam and an ultrasound.

I have to stop for a moment and tell you how awesome my surgeon is.  The guy is as close to Luke Skywalker as any human can be.  His office and surgical techniques are state of the art.  First it was an ultrasound, then he wanted to do an exam.  Since we were in the ultrasound room where the lighting wasn’t good he pulled out a speculum.  I’ve seen plenty of speculum before, but this one was different, it had its own light source.  You thought I was kidding when I told you he was Luke Skywalker?

Surgery was scheduled for the following day.  I was nervous and excited.

Click here to read Part III

Reflecting on a year of infertility Part I

Napro II

It’s been almost a year since I first heard the dreaded word.  A nurse who thought she was out of earshot told a doctor, “Your patient is a little upset about her infertility, but she hasn’t really been trying very long.”   That’s how I learned my diagnosis, by overhearing a conversation I should not have heard.

It was like someone had reached in and ripped out my uterus and rendered me broken.  That’s how I felt, just broken; like the Barbie after her head popped off, something that just couldn’t be of much use in its current condition.  I’ll spare you the story of how much I cried.

I held it together in the office and asked what my options were.  I was told that before IVF, IUI was successful, but first we needed to have some tests.  It was an SA for my husband, Frank; and an HSG for me.  We were both pronounced pretty normal.

We went full steam ahead with IUI.  It wasn’t something we were excited about, but it was something we were willing to deal with to get a baby.  We were told we had a “good chance”.  The unfortunate part was all the drugs they pumped me full of during the treatment.  I got 50mg of clomid on days 5-9 and had two follicles, but they were small.  I also got two hundred mood swings, and was pretty psyched that my head did not do an exorcist style spin.  After turning into a screaming banshee, the HCG shot made me feel as if I were getting the flu, I was sure I was pregnant.  HA!  AF came and went.  My doc told me that I had some unfortunate side effects and should try again.

I got 100mg of clomid on days 5-9, then the HCG, which made me even sicker than the first round.  My cycle started to get weird similar to the way it was when I was in my teens.  I asked the doc about it, could the abnormalities in my cycle have something to do with our failure to conceive.  I got a “maybe but we really can’t be sure, every woman is different.”  I’m surprised that I didn’t ask him which cereal box he pulled his degree out of!  But, I was desperate and the treatment he was giving me was all that I knew existed.

Round 3 wasn’t much better.  I was more ill than in rounds one and two.  As the day for the HCG shot approached, I just knew I couldn’t do that to my body again.   I never made it to the HCG shot.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t put my body through such agony again.  I called the nurse and asked what my options were.  I was crushed when I was told that IVF would be the next logical step.  That seemed so illogical.  IVF would mean pumping me full of even more of the drugs that seemed to be slowly killing me.  There was no way that I would consent to that.  My heart told me that no good could come from feeling that way.

My friend, Jordan, mentioned that she was a NaProTecnology patient.  She had endometrosis and was scheduled for surgery.  She explained the differences between NaPro and the way my doctor had been treating me.  As a result of her treatment she felt better and was healthier, while I had never felt more ill in my life during my treatment.  What did I have to lose?

I started charting my biomarkers using the Creighton model fertility monitoring system.  My charting consultant agreed that I needed to see a NaPro doc asap as my chart showed some serious abnormalities.  I know I’ve written similar posts where I elaborate on how awesome Dr. C was during our first phone conversation–I’ll try to keep it brief.  I immediately started taking vitamin D3, magnesium, and a B complex vitamin.    I was feeling better before my first visit. Click here  to read Part II

An Introduction to NaPro Technology:

NaPro picMany of the ladies following my Facebook page have inquired about NaProTechnology.  What is it?  Is it expensive?  Where can you find a NaPro Doc?  What can NaPro do for you?  NaPro has done a great deal for me up to this point.  To read my personal story, check out these posts: A Friend Introduces me to NaPro Technology, First Experience with NaPro Technology, First Visit With My NaPro Technology Doctor, Surgery the Moment I’d been Waiting for, I Had My Laporoscopy Now What?, and Time to Try Again.

This post is not about me.  It’s about you.  In this series I’ll try to answer some of those questions as I educate myself and pass this info on to those who need it.  Whether or not NaPro is right for you is something you have to decide for yourself.  Whatever choice you make, you deserve to have all of the information available.  I’m happy to share some information about NaProTechnology with you.

What is NaProTechnology?

NaPro Technology was developed by Dr. Thomas Hilgers who founded the Pope Paul VI institute for the Study of Human Reproduction.  Whether you’re Roman Catholic or not; you’re probably aware that the Roman Catholic Church does not support the use of birth control.  This was first articulated in a document called Humanae Vitae, which was written by Pope Paul VI in 1978.  NaPro is a reproductive science that ethically observes, diagnoses, and treats a woman based on the unique messages her individual body is sending through cervical mucus.

NaProTechnology stands for Natural Procreation Technology.  If your Rhythm Method alarm is going off, please hear me out before you make your decision.  Like many other methods of tracking a woman’s cycle, NaPro Technology patients chart their cycles using bio-markers.  You start by charting your biomarkers (cervical mucus) using the Creighton Model Fertility Monitoring System.  The charting is color coded and helps you identify days of peak fertility and infertile days.  The system can be used to achieve or to avoid pregnancy.

chart sample

How Can NaProTechnology Help a Woman Living with Infertility Achieve Pregnancy?

Once you chart your biomarkers, you’re able to observe patterns in your cycle and compare them to the patterns which indicate good health.  If you’re like me, you have limited medical knowledge, and may not know what to do if you chart doesn’t follow a regular pattern.  That’s where NaPro Doctors come in.  It’s their job to read your chart and interpret the messages your body is sending.

Through charting, my NaPro Doc was able to diagnose endometriosis that other doctors had missed for 15 years.   I’m not saying that every woman living with infertility has endometriosis, that’s for the NaPro doctors to diagnose.  All I’m saying is that they’re good at what they do, really good.  By reading your individual chart they can identify what is happening inside your body.  Once they identify it, then they treat you as an individual based on what your chart and blood work tell them.

Want to Learn More About Charting? 

Time To try again:

NaPro chartAfter my surgery, I was almost relieved that my doctor made us wait two cycles before we began trying to conceive again.  I didn’t experience the two week wait.  I was actually happy to get my period.  It was exciting to watch the changes in my chart and compare pre-surgery abnormality to post surgery improvements in health.  I didn’t have any more bleeding mid cycle.  I had less brown bleeding before and after menstruation, my cycle length decreased from 37 to between 24 and 28 days.  All because of one surgery! I was in heaven.

Then it was time to try again.  Ug.  I know that without the anticipation and let downs, we’ll never have a chance of conceiving.  Still, trying again meant that we’d be let down month after month until we achieved.  Because we’re using NaPro technology, we’re not using the good old give it a try and see if it happens method.  NaPro isn’t artificial reproductive assistance, but it’s not your grandma’s wait and see eitther

D3I am taking various supplements to help my body ovulate and be an ideal environment for a baby to grow and develop in.  I take 8000IU of vitamin D every day, 500mg of B6, and 500mg of magnesium.  I get my blood drawn every other day before ovulation to check my estradiol levels, then a peak plus 7 blood draw to check my estradiol and progesterone levels.  Dr. C. had me on hormones before my surgery, but I’m not taking them anymore.  He thought that my body would be able to function normally after surgery.  Both my chart and the lab work confirm that he was right.

It’s pretty awesome knowing that my body is getting healthier.  I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life.  I have no fatigue, no pain, I should be grateful!  Truly, I am.  But no matter what, I know that I won’t experience that feeling of completion and fulfillment until I hear my own baby’s cry.

The Top Ten Reasons Infertility & Endometriosis Are Diseases I’m conquering, They Are Not Who I Am!

With Mothers’ Day Fast approaching, I’m trying to stay positive.  Thanks to all of you who have made me smile and cheered me on this journey.  Your support is awesome.  I decided to pause and count my blessings by creating my own “top ten list”  of reasons that infertility will not define who I am.  Feel free to comment and add your own reasons infertility will not defeat you this weekend.infertility meme

infertility does not define who I am

The Top Ten Reasons Infertility Will Not Stop Me!

10: I can Drink a toast to my pregnant friend while she looks on and salivates!

9: I strut around in my skinny jeans from 3 years ago and look pretty flipping awesome!  (I’ve lost 11 lbs to date)

8:  Eating ice cream for dinner doesn’t mean I’m setting a bad example.

7: Sleeping in till 10AM on a Saturday because I feel like it makes me healthier and gets me closer to pregnancy.

6: I don’t have to give up my crafting habit to pay for toys or baby expenses.

5:  I’ve gotten a minor in gynecology just by reading articles, blog posts, and web pages.

4: I’ve found a community of amazing women to support me on this journey.

3: I have made a lifelong friend who has forever changed my world! (Yeah, Jordan this is you!)

2: I am a healthier person who will be a better mother when this is all over.

1: I am blessed with the most amazing husband who loves me and supports me through everything life can possibly throw at me!

It’s Our Day! Celebrating Infertility Survival Day!

I’ve been living with infertility for nearly two years now and I still feel like a newbie.  Every time I turn around, there’s infertility warriorsomething new to learn.  I never knew we had our own day!  Why shouldn’t we?  We deserve one!  I love that it’s called Infertility Survival Day and not something froo froo.  We are warriors combatting illnesses within our own bodies! These are illnesses that threaten our health, wellbeing, and our overall pursuit of happiness.  Shame on our doctors for not finding these before we show up at their doors inquiring as to why we are unable to conceive!  We are not accepting excuses, we will not accept anything other than real answers and treatment tailored to our individual health needs!  Heck yeah, we are surviving this!

So how did I celebrate today?  Okay, I didn’t.  I didn’t even know about it until about 1:00 when I checked Facebook after Church.   After which I went out into my garden and started clearing away leaves, and debris that had been deposited over the winter.  I’ve been working on this for the last few weekends and I’m about ¾ of the way done.

About half an hour into my work, I took a break and sat on our front porch with my husband, Frank.  He asked about my health, having observed an improvement in my mood and my ability to tackle projects around the house lately.  He was right.  I hadn’t thought of that.  I know that I’ve been feeling better, there’s no denying that.  But thinking back on how I used to feel before surgery reminded me that the same gardening I did today would have knocked me out only a year ago!  Something as simple as planting two flats of flowers would have rendered me useless for the rest of the day!

clearing leaves from the gardenBut today, I worked in my yard, and I still have energy to prep my meals during my grain free power hours this evening!  This is huge for me.  I am able to live and enjoy life again!  And, may I say, I hope the doctor who told me that my lack of energy was caused by depression is happy to learn that she was wrong when I tell her it was caused by endometriosis at my annual appointment over the summer!

Sorry for that little rant, but I can’t help but feel a bit of vindication in knowing that I will be able to share this with her face to face!  But; back to the garden.  I’m going somewhere with this…

It occurred to me that my work in the garden today is rather metaphorical.  While I was clearing away debris to allow for the growth of new life, I was caring for my garden in the same way that my NaPro surgeon and NaPro doctor are caring for me and my fertility.   Think about it… The endometriosis was growing in my abdominal cavity and was around my tubes, ovaries, intestines and colon, virtually strangling me from the inside.  Thanks to Dr. C and Dr. B. I’ve been freed from that strangulation and my body is now preparing to nurture new life.  It seems that I celebrated our day without even knowing it.

 

Join the Movement, the causes of infertility affect us all!

awareness ribbonWhat do I know? I’m just a blogger living with infertility.  Before I was diagnosed with endometriosis and ovarian dysfunction,  there were a few times when I actually thought I was pregnant.  I was so excited!  I knew it was too early to test, but I researched everything I could about how I should take care of myself during pregnancy.  I committed to making dietary changes immediately.  I was certainly surprised by the list of restrictions!

Have you ever looked at the list of foods that pregnant women are discouraged from eating?  You may be aware that they’re discouraged from eating raw or undercooked food.  That makes sense, as bacteria might make mom and baby ill at a time when they both need to put their energies into growing and developing.

  • Unwashed fruits, veggies, and salad bars as well as raw eggs and rare meats

Okay probably not so healthy either food does need to be properly cooked in order to be safe.  Not to mention the pesticides and chemical that are used for growing them.   I’ll admit, raw eggs and rare meats can carry bacteria, they’re probably not the best for a mom and growing baby to consume.

mercury levels

  • Fish heavy in mercury such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and albacore tuna

Hum? These fish are heavy in mercury.  Doctors believe the mercury could damage mom and baby’s development.  I wonder, what effects might this mercury have on my developing ova every month?

 

  • Soft cheeses and cold cuts

What?  Apparently they’re a breeding ground for listeria, a bacteria which can only be killed by heating it to a certain temperature.  This bacterium is linked to miscarriage and still birth.

·         Anything packaged in plastic containing BPA (Bisphenol A). 

This chemical has recently been removed from many plastics we come in contact with.  However unless a container is labeled BPA free, it probably contains this chemical.  In 2010 the EPA stated that there are “substantial uncertainties” about the effects of BPA on human health.  YIKES.   My doctor recently informed me that BPA is also used to seal the lids of canned goods.  Be careful, this chemical is everywhere.

  • Anything containing Aspartame.

Aspartame which is a new name for an old product which was once called Nutrasweet.  This product was once pulled from the market because of a high incidence of cancer in rats. Yes it was determined to be dangerous to rats and is the leading sugar substitute in the US.  It’s everywhere!  You’ll find it in yogurt, sugarless gum, beverage mixes, seasonings, cookies, diet foods, and it’s one of the first foods that doctors discourage pregnant women from eating.  If it’s bad for rats it’s probably not so good for your average human either!

 

The doctor I see has added to this list.  He recommends nothing with soy, no matter how small of an amount.  This includesforms of soy while you’re trying to conceive and while you’re pregnant.  He says that soy contains so many phytoestrogens (the plant form of estrogen) that as a woman it puts your hormones out of balance (this is the same reason why menopausal women were encouraged to consume soy for a while, the estrogens in soy replaced the estrogen that their bodies could no longer produce naturally).   If there isn’t a proper balance between your estrogen and progesterone levels, your body can’t support or sustain a pregnancy.  Soy also disrupts your immune system and your digestive system.  You may have heard that Asians have been consuming soy for centuries and have no negative effects.  There’s a bit of an untruth to this.  Asians have been growing soy for centuries and using it for animal feed.  Soy was considered UNFIT for human consumption with the only exception being during times of famine when it was fermented into tofu.

I’m wondering, what are the effects of all these foods and chemicals are on those of us who are trying to conceive?  It seems to me that the health of a developing ovum is just as fragile as that of a developing baby.

Avoiding all of those chemicals and bacteria is a huge task for half the population to undertake, it’s probably even impossible for some.  There’s a bigger issue here.  If these chemicals are proven to have negative effects on fast developing cells, why are they even used at all?  They’re dangerous to mothers and babies, and they may just have something to do with our infertility, as well as the overall increase in poor health over the last few decades.

Whether you are living with infertility or you know someone who is, the causes of infertility affect us all.  Demand change.  Join the movement.

join the movement