Tag Archive | NaPro Technology

Food Allergies & Our Ability to Conceive Part II

Allergies word cloud

Three months after my food allergies were identified; I learned to live a life free of: apples, almonds, bananas, corn, all dairy including butter, all grains except rice, potatoes and soy.   Although I had made these changes, I didn’t learn about them in time for it to make a difference in my pregnancy. There I was, back in the office of Dr. M, my Naturopath, the doctor who had helped me identify my food allergies and MTHFR genetic mutations, copies A&C.

Though I was no longer pregnant, I was more determined than ever to get healthy enough to conceive again. In fact, the thought of having a baby to hold was what got me through most days.

I won’t say that I was excited about getting my results. I spent most days surrounded in a cloud of grief, my body still bleeding as my levels of HCG, the pregnancy hormone, declined.

At the follow up appointment, I was ready for the results of all my hard work.   Dr. M asked if I stuck to my diet. I replied I had, with the occasional unknown exception. I was bracing myself for bad news. I thought it hadn’t worked, I thought my efforts had left my values unchanged. I was surprised when Dr. M revealed the results.

proud-woman-in-red

“Your results certainly show you’ve been working hard. You’ve done as much in three months as some of my patients do in a year!”

I was so happy to hear something was working!

Although I was overwhelmed with grief from the loss of our child, this good news gave me hope that we might be able to conceive again one day.

It was two and a half months after our loss; and yet, my HCG levels had not yet hit zero; and so we were not allowed to try to conceive. Dr. C, my NaProTechnology doctor, suggested we wait three months after my levels hit zero to avoid having sequential miscarriages. The idea of going through another loss was something I couldn’t even handle thinking about! After a D&C we waited three months before we even considered trying.

couple grieving

Those three months were a time of healing for us. We cried a lot. Sometimes we walked around as empty shells that just went through the motions of everyday life. We didn’t feel much other than pain. We did the best we could to put one foot in front of the other. Thank God, we had each other! I can honestly say I would not have made it through this time without the support of my amazing husband, Frank.

Just as we were getting ready to try again, I received a letter from Dr. C, my NaProTechnology doctor, telling me he was closing his practice to help other doctors learn to treat patients with the respect and kindness for which he is famous.

I was devastated, again! There I was, about to get back on the TTC roller coaster, and my doctor was getting out of the NaProTechnology business!!! It was one of those moments that made me question my journey in life and whether I was following God’s plan for me or walking the path of my own desires and wants. I quickly reminded myself that while I am strong willed; I am not patient. The only reason I could have ever stuck on the TTC roller coaster after IUI, surgery for endometriosis, and a miscarriage would be because God was with me, giving me the strength to take each step down this path. I reminded myself of something I said to my dear friend, Jordan, a few weeks before she conceived her miracle baby: “God wouldn’t have gotten us this far, only to leave us here.” I wasn’t going to quit.

Still, I had a problem. I needed a new doctor. Thankfully, Dr. C had included a list of possible new NaProTechnology doctors in his farewell letter. I made an appointment for August and called Dr. C to request lab work. He authorized estradiol and progesterone levels to be drawn on peak plus 7, what we NaPro patients call 7 days after ovulation.

Analysis of blood in the hands of a medical

Analysis of blood in the hands of a medical

If you’re uncertain as to why my doctor ordered estradiol and progesterone levels, the short explanation is that based on those levels NaProTechnology doctors prescribe doses of ovulation assisting medications such as letrozole, to help compensate for any ovarian dysfunction. I was unable to conceive without this medication the first time, so I was fairly certain I would need to take the medication again.

The results of the estradiol and progesterone tests were very surprising. While I was previously unable to conceive without the assistance of medication, the initial peak plus seven blood draw showed that I wasn’t having this difficulty eight months after miscarriage. My post peak estradiol was 249 and my progesterone was 28.4. I was stunned. The test results showed my levels were above normal, they had reached the optimum range for conception. Other than my vitamins, I was taking no medications.

To put this in perspective, to conceive, the post peak level of estradiol should be above 120 and progesterone should be above 15. I had gone from sub-fertile to fertile!

My husband, Frank, and I were over joyed. It appeared that it would only be a matter of time before we conceived! We followed doctor’s orders, taking the vitamins, and mucus enhancers to compensate for the damage done to my cervix by years of birth control.

Month after month my peak plus seven blood draws continued to be in the optimum range. And yet we had not conceived. At my first appointment with my new NaProTechnology physician, Dr. R flat out asked why I was there with numbers like those.

Counting My Blessings…

As we are once again about to embark on our TTC journey, I decided to write a blog post about all the blessings in my life that I am truly grateful for. Saying there are too many to count would dismiss the beautiful blessings that are in my life every day. So here’s a brief list of the blessings for which I give thanks every day!

cross

 

  1. Faith

This list would be incomplete without giving faith its rightful place here. I’m not talking denomination, how often worship happens, or where it happens; I’m referring specifically to faith in God. Notice I didn’t say my faith? My faith has been far from rock solid through all this. I have questioned God’s plan for me more times than I can remember. I have begged him to reveal his plan for me. I often find his answers to me coming from my mouth in conversation with other NaPro sisters and friends.

God would not have gotten us this far, only to leave us here,” was my response to Jordan my dear friend and NaPro sister just as she was finishing her year of TTC and wondering if she might never have a child. She conceived her beautiful daughter in her next cycle. What could strengthen my faith better than my own NaPro mentor conceiving her miracle baby? Later, during my pregnancy, when another NaPro sister and I were speaking about her miscarriages and whether she should continue to try to conceive another child, I said, “What if your losses were God’s way of telling you that you can one day hold a child in your arms? What if that was God’s way of encouraging you to keep going, when you were about to give up trying?” Faith in God, in his plan, and in his mercy have given me peace and a way to understand this journey.

 

crafting woman

 

  1. Creativity

Whether it is in the kitchen, in paper crafts, or in my ability to plan engaging lessons for my students, creativity blesses and enriches my life every day. The ability to create delicious foods from grain free ingredients has made it possible to remove so many allergens from my diet without sacrificing taste or enjoyment. Sharing this creativity with others has blessed me with delicious meals, good company, and laughter that is often absent when one lives with the ghosts of infertility and miscarriage. I am blessed to share this gift with others.

 

Woman packing up boxes

  1. The circumstances which have caused me to leave the various school districts I’ve worked for.

As I am about to leave my school district, I can’t help but be thankful for the circumstances which have led me to this decision. As a matter of fact, each time I have left a district, I have grown in ways I never could have imagined. When I left my first district to go to the second, I was happy: the money was better, it was a more secure job, and then in my second year there, I pursued a masters’ degree in a discipline which I never would have considered had I stayed in that first district. When the second district eliminated my program, it was the pursuit of that degree that made me the most qualified candidate for the position which my third district was advertising. After being let go from the second district, I made the decision to continue my studies beyond the typical 30 credit hours required for a masters’ degree. The additional certification I earned, coupled with all the grueling work I did in the third district are the reason that I am able to move on this fourth and hopefully final school district. Like infertility, these circumstances are not blessings which I would have chosen, but there’s no denying the way each and every one of these unexpected circumstances have blessed my life

 

  1. Infertility

Yes, you read that right. I consider infertility a blessing in my life. It’s not as though it’s a diagnosis or phase of life that I would ask for; but I understand its purpose in my life. Had we been able to conceive with all the challenges we had three years ago, I would not have been healthy enough to be the mommy that I want to be. I would have been constantly ill with stomach aches that I thought were “nerves” or “acid reflux;” my endometriosis would have continued to grow and may have resulted in a hysterectomy at some point. I never would have known about my food allergies or allergies to petroleum based products. This would have meant that I could pretty much count on some type of cancer later on in life; either from an immune system that was weakened by constantly fighting endometriosis, from a gut that had been terrorized by allergens for decades, or by an endocrine system that was worn down and malfunctioned due to the increased amount of insulin and other hormones it needed to produce to try and digest all the undiagnosed food allergens as well as it possibly could. I am a better person because of my infertility.

 

4 dogs

 

  1. My furbabies.

For just a few cups of kibble a day, I am blessed with the unconditional love and companionship of four amazing furbabies. All of them have their own personalities and different needs. There is never a dull moment in my life because of them. Their antics, unpredictable surprises, and ever wagging tales bless my life with purpose, the ability to be a mommy, and an endless supply of snuggles and kisses.

Friendly Medical professionals

  1. My doctors.

It cannot be easy to pursue NaProTechnology, NaProSurgery, or Naturopathy. Traditional medicine which prescribes the pill, IVF, and the FDA’s latest diet as gospel, has a prevalent hold on our medical system. It is because of their efforts that we were able to conceive our child. It must take such a courageous person to stand up and make a career out of such fields which are familiar to so few. These amazing people pursue their passions casting aside their time, wealth, and even their families.   It is because of their knowledge that I have transformed from an infertile riddled with undiagnosed endometriosis, an innumerable list of undiagnosed food allergies to a physically fit fertile woman who continues to improve her health with every bite she takes.

8 week ultrasound expect image

  1. Our baby

Despite our loss, the grief that we feel is an expression of the love which we will forever carry. Though our baby only lived in my womb for nine weeks, his or her brief life forever changed the world by making us parents. We take comfort in knowing that the loss of our child was in no way due to our actions but rather the result of a genetic anomaly called a blighted embryo. From the moment we knew we were pregnant, I have given thanks every day for the beautiful gift of our child.

 

women hanging out

 

  1. My supportive friends, family, blog followers, sisters in NaProTechnoloy, and all those who have supported me during this loss.

At first it may seem strange to lump of all of these different individuals together, but for so many it’s impossible to distinguish who is more family than friend, or who might be a friend who is family. The lack of lines in between these groups is a true testament to the unconditional acceptance you’ve given me. This network of supportive individuals includes so many people with whom I used to have nothing in common; and yet God brought us together as friends through graduate school, the gym, work, church, other friends, or here on line. The unconditional support, friendship, and persistent silent companionship of these individuals has made me feel as though I am never without a friend on this journey.

husband

  1. My amazing husband.

My husband, Frank, has been my rock, my soulmate, and the yang to my yin. He completes me. His support and patience are ever present. When I need cheering on, he is there; when my own strength cannot hold me up, he gives me his; when there’s a new grain free recipe to try, he will at least always take a bite! He makes me laugh, holds me when I cry, and never lets me take things too seriously. He’s the best, and I am a better person because of his love.

 

Reflecting on My Identity After Miscarriage…

Sometimes I just can’t find the words to express all that is going on. One moment, I’m okay, the next moment I’m falling apart. With infertility, there were moments when I would tear up unexpectedly, and those still continue. Now, after miscarriage, there are moments when I just want to run away and hide.

The other night, my husband, Frank, and I were visiting friends at their campsite. We were having a nice time, hanging out, drinking wine, and eating delicious food. As we were getting to know the other guests, the dreaded question came up, “Do you have any kids?” Wow. There’s nothing that can take me back to that place of terror, fear, failure, and inadequacy like that question.  It was a total “deer in the headlights” moment.

deer in headlights

I don’t know how to answer that question. I hope one day I get to a place where I can be one of those moms who has children to gush over. But for now, as a mom without any living children, it’s a tough one for me. My standard answer is, “Our kids have cold noses, four legs, and tails.” After an initially puzzling moment, most people figure it out. If they have any tact whatsoever, they usually leave it alone. Thank God our new campfire friends didn’t pursue it that evening!

We had a great time at the campfire. Everyone was welcoming and the rest of the night went smoothly. We couldn’t have asked for a better evening.

campfire

The next morning, I got to thinking about my response to the question, “Do you have children?” My initial reaction was one of stone cold fear and terror. I don’t have anything to be ashamed of! So, why was I afraid? I was afraid of being judged. I felt that saying we don’t have children was the same as telling them we’re struggling with infertility.

 

Like it or not, infertility and miscarriage are looked upon as defects and eyesores which can be fixed as easily as any dent or bent fender. Not so.  Infertility is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Like heart disease, cancer, colitis, depression, diabetes, or any other legitimate medical condition: treating the symptoms won’t cure the disease; the disease itself must be treated! There isn’t a quick fix to this. It’s a long road we travel.

long road to travel

 

Many couples never experience a successful conception. Others conceive, yet never hold a child in their arms. The physical and emotional trauma we experience all for a chance at having a child, is not something that words can express. In my case, being a NaProTechnolgy patient adds two extra elements to this:

1. I’m in overall better health because of the treatment plan we’ve chosen; and

2. It’s even more difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t know progesterone from potatoes.

Perhaps that is why I have trouble answering that dreaded question, “Do you have any kids?”

Experiencing a miscarriage in January 2014 created a wound which will forever scar our hearts. It was as though we had been given everything we had ever wanted only to have it ripped away before we could even fully experience all its glory, joy, and splendor.

 

couple grieving

As painful as this was, and honestly still is, it has nothing to do with my identity as a woman, my self-worth, nor is it anyone’s business. So, why do people feel the need to ask if we have children? If we did, wouldn’t we share that information? I don’t ask people if they have pets. I let them tell me about their family.

 

If I ever want things to change, I have to be part of that change. That means, I can’t be afraid or ashamed when asked that question. I shouldn’t feel as though I need to make excuses or that I owe anyone an explanation. I need to be able to confidently say, “No, we don’t” and leave it at that.

The Never Ending Miscarriage

Just when I thought my miscarriage had ended, there I was, back in the throes of uncertainty, and waiting to see just where my wheel of fortune would land.

A while ago, I was positively elated.  After nearly 90 days of bleeding, I thought my miscarriage had ended, and I had what I thought was period.  At the moment I can’t really tell you if that was truly a period, all I can say is that I had the normal crescendo pattern that is characteristic of menstruation:  light bleeding which builds up to a heavy red flow, then tapers to medium, then light, and finally very light brown bleeding.  However after that “period” ended things started to get really weird.

Lost and Confused Signpost

On Monday, the first day of my April Vacation, I took a late shower and decided to spend some time taking care of my body.  As I was getting dressed, I felt water on my leg.  This was odd, because I remembered drying off fairly well, just a few moments before.  I didn’t think much of it until I felt more moisture accumulate and run down my leg.  One glance told me it wasn’t water, it was blood.

Immediately, I ran to the bathroom, sat on the toilet and watched way too much blood pour out of me.  I stayed there for a few more minutes as I bled, then grabbed the thickest pad I could find and got myself situated so that I could leave the bathroom.  I was stunned by the amount of blood I had left on the bedroom carpet, but forced myself to ignore the stains so that I could call Dr. C, my NaProTechnology doctor.

woman crying on the phone

I reached Dr. C’s answering service.  It was just after 12:00, and his office had closed for lunch.  I left a message explaining my circumstances.  Thankfully, I had been given the low down on bleeding numerous times during my miscarriage.  I set the timer on my phone, knowing that if I completely filled the sanitary pad within the hour, I would have to head to the ER.  I was beyond scared as I waited.

I bled and waited; waited and bled.  I doused the carpet in disinfectant and blotted it with a rag, trying to remove the blood.  Finally when the phone rang it was doctor C, my NaProTechnology doctor.  Dr C, is the amazing doctor who is responsible for us getting pregnant in the first place.  When other doctors said it could only be done via IVF, Dr. C helped us conceive naturally.  Despite the way our pregnancy ended, I will be forever grateful to him for helping us conceive.

Although my miscarriage had been handled by my local OB, Dr. C remained well informed of what was happening.  All my labs were copied to him, so he was aware that nearly three months after the baby had passed away my HCG levels hadn’t yet hit zero.  When he asked about the bleeding, I explained that I had what I thought was a period about a week prior to the unexpected heavy bleeding.

doctor on the phone

That’s when he said it, “It sounds like you’ll need a D&C.”  I had been through so much while trying to preserve my fertility and avoid unneeded medical intervention, only to be forced to the OR?  I wanted to vomit.

I asked if he was 100% certain, of course, he said no, and encouraged me to connect with the local OB.  I contacted the doctor with whom I had been working only to learn that she was on vacation.  The doctor covering for her asked that I go for yet another HCG blood draw.  We were hoping that it would show my levels had hit zero and that this gush was the grand finale of my monster miscarriage.

Twenty-four hours after the blood draw, I learned that my HCG levels had not hit zero.  They were still at 32.  Because I had experienced a period, we didn’t know if they were on their way up or down.  When I inquired as to the next steps in this process, the nurse said I should get another blood draw in a few days, and then have an ultrasound if there was still HCG in my blood.

I could see this headed towards a D&C.  Dr. C said it earlier, and I’ve never known him to be wrong.  I didn’t want to wait for another blood draw; I wanted to expedite this process.  I asked if it was possible to do the ultrasound instead of waiting.  After receiving the on call doctor’s permission to do the ultrasound, I made the appointment.woman having an ultrasound

 

By this time the heavy bleeding had stopped and started again.  It established a pattern of 6-12 hours between gushes.  The gushes included large amounts of heavy bleeding with clots of blood or tissue.  They continued through the day on Tuesday, into Wednesday, and through Thursday.

I’m not someone who waits around.  I persistently called the doctor’s office, telling them I was still bleeding, leaving messages for nurses, and asking for the ultrasound results. On Thursday, three days after I first called the office and informed them of the heavy bleeding, they finally told me I’d need to see a doctor.  They were darn lucky I hadn’t bled to death in the process.  Although, perhaps they were waiting for my situation to worsen and lead me to the ER so it wouldn’t be their problem.  I can’t ever know, but looking back on all this, I’m thinking it’s time to find another OB/GYN office.

Male doctor talking to couple in waiting room

Earlier that week, Dr. C, my NaProTechnology doctor, told me I’d need a D&C, and I was pretty sure that that’s what I was going there for.  Sure enough during my appointment, we scheduled a D&C for the following day.

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.

Thank God for keeping infertility a surprise…

Women often say that they wish they had known about their infertility years before trying.  Perhaps they are thinking that they might have been able to do something to change the situation they are in.  Not me, I believe that God has a plan for us all, and specifically that he has a plan for where he wants me.

 

Let me explain, I was pretty foolish in my youth.  I didn’t drink, do drugs, or anything else that was illegal, I was just really self-centered and concerned about me what my life would be in later years. In fairness, my family situation wasn’t the greatest, so planning for a life that allowed me to leave that situation was a priority.  My husband, Frank, and I have been together since our senior year of high school. While I was in college, he worked as an apprentice.  He proposed the day I graduated from college, and long before that we were already starting to plan our life together.  We both wanted to be parents, but agreed that children deserved to have certain things.  We both grew up without certain luxuries and wanted our children to have toys like big wheels, dollhouses, jungle gyms, and a yard of our own to play in.

dream of a family

If I knew that I would struggle with fertility, I would have done things differently, and not for the better.  While many women in college may not think about being a mom one day, I was already dating my husband at the time. When I finished college, we had already been dating for four and a half years.  I can imagine my 20 year old self, saying, “Why finish college?  I’ll never really need the income since I won’t be able to have a family! Why get married after all? If I can’t be a mom, then maybe I’m not meant to be married.”  Had I known that I’d struggle with becoming a mom, I may just have been stupid enough to push the whole idea of marriage right off the table.

Yup, that was me in my 20's!

Yup, that was me in my 20’s!

Regardless, of what the future holds for us, I know that I am a better person because of Frank.  He is my everything.  I know that without him, my life wouldn’t be even a quarter of what it is with him in it.  The life that we share as a couple is ten times better than any life than I ever could have built on my own.  I know this now, but could not have had any hope of comprehending this in my late teens or early twenties.  The me I was always concerned with, has been replaced by “us”  the amazing bond and promise that means we won’t ever be without support, love, or a reason to smile.

supportive husband

So, yeah, I was pretty stupid back then.  But honestly, it doesn’t matter.  I was smart enough to dream that Frank and I could have a life together.  Sooner or later, I know we’ll get there.  I believe we are where we’re supposed to be and there’s a purpose for all this.  Thanks for joining me on this journey!  Love, Catherine

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

Some Information About Charting:

IMG_0393[1]NaPro Technology asks that a woman monitor her own health by charting her bio-markers.  If you’re considering NaPro Technology, then charting is something that you’ll be doing daily.  It’s not a lot of work.  It involves monitoring your health by interpreting the messages your body is sending you through your bio-markers.

Before I go any further, let me say that this post is for those who are truly interested in learning to chart using the Creighton Model Fertility Care System.  It’s going to contain some references to anatomy, fluids, and what to do with them.  If you’d rather not read on, I completely understand and encourage you to continue reading the next post in the series on NaProTechnology which will only reference bio-markers and not explain how to document them.

Thanks for continuing.  So charting… When you chart using  the Creighton Model, fertility is defined by the presence of cervical mucus.  The closer to ovulation you are, the more mucus there should be.  The better the quality of your mucus, the better your chances of getting pregnant that month.

The basics of charting:

  • Any day of bleeding (red, brown, pink, or black) is a red stamp
  • Dry days- days without lubricative mucus- get green stamps
  • Lubricative mucus days get white baby stamps
  • The last day of lubricative mucus is considered peak day.  Mark it with a P
  • The three days after your peak day get green baby stamps.
  • All days with white baby stamps plus the three days after peak are considered fertile.

IMG_0392[1]

 

Determining the quality of your mucus:

Throughout the day, each time before you use the bathroom or shower, you’ll do a quick observation of your cervical mucus.  Observing mucus takes less than a minute, after a while it becomes something you do as a habit, though it does take some getting used to.  Before you go, you wipe from front to back across the perennial body (the space between your front and back door).  The perennial body is the only skin on your body that can tell the difference between the sensations smooth and lubricative.  I’ll talk more about that in a few lines.

Each time you wipe you’ll make decisions about the sensations you feel.  Is it dry? Is it smooth?  Both of these will get green stamps.  Is it lubricative? If so, it’s a white baby stamp.  Any bleeding gets a red stamp.

All mucus is not equal…

Before using the bathroom and showering, you’ll be checking for mucus.  After you decide the sensation, that is whether your mucus is dry, smooth, or lubricative, you’ll make an observation.  After you observe the mucus for color and shine.  You’ll try and grab some off the tissue using your fingers.  If you can get some off with your fingers, next you’ll see if it stretches.  The greater the amount of stretch there is, the better the quality of your mucus.

Recording on your chart:

Throughout each day, you’ll make observations about the quality of your mucus.  At the end of the day, you record your most fertile sign.  For example if you record smooth sensations 3 times, but lubricative 1 once, you mark the 1 lubricative sensation on your chart and use a white baby sticker.

Some Closing Remarks on Charting:

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t!  This was just a brief introduction to charting.  I’m not a NaPro teacher,  and for the record, they are way better at explaining charting than I am.  When you decide to go with NaPro you’ll meet with your teacher one on one and she’ll teach you to chart over several sessions.  She’ll check your chart and help you learn what to look for.  If you see abnormalities in your chart, she’ll help you get an appointment with a NaPro doctor and get on track towards better health and hopefully pregnancy.

If there is anything that I can help you with please do not hesitate to ask!  You can either reach me by commenting on this post or by messaging me privately through facebook.  I’ll do the best that I can to help you get started!

Best wishes to you on your Journey! Love, Catherine

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.

 

I had my laporoscopy, now what?

A laporoscopy is considered noninvasive surgery, and in truth it was noninvasive.  I was up and around and back to work in two weeks.  Yay for Dr. B!  He is the best NaPro Surgeon on the east coast—eh, I think he may be the only one.  Regardless, my recovery time was quick, my stitches healed within a week.  I was back to work within 2 weeks.  Standard recovery time with another surgeon is anywhere from four to six weeks.  So yeah you could say NaPro Technology wins with recovery time from surgery as well as results!

gianna center

You would think that all would be well to try again since I recovered so fast, but not so.  Dr. C. requested that we wait for two cycles after surgery to allow my body to heal.  This was difficult for us as a couple since I felt the best I had in literally years.

The only change after surgery was that I got tired faster than I ever had.  It took a while, but I was back to my normal energy levels about three weeks after getting back to work.  And by week four, I was less tired than before surgery.  I was able to get through the day without pain medication, my mood had improved and, I just felt like myself again!

I got lots of questions from friends and family.  They asked: “How could you have this for so long without knowing it? How did you recover from your laporoscopy so quickly?” And my favorite,  “How long before you can get pregnant?”  I wish I knew the answer to the first and the last questions, but I don’t.  I know it will take between nine and twelve months for my immune system to get back to normal, but I can feel my health improving day by day.