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Improve Fertility by Purging Plastics & My Allergic Reaction to CoQ10

Improve Fertility by Purging Plastics & My Allergic Reaction to CoQ10

If you haven’t heard about the book “It Starts With the Egg” by Rebecca Fett, then you are about to have your mind blown. I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews on this book. It is jam-packed with so much science on the subject of improving egg quality. I plan on doing a full review of this book after I finish reading it, but I couldn’t help but share one thing I did today, as suggested from the book. Fett suggests getting rid of BPA plastics in the home. I tossed practically every single plastic item we owned including utensils, dishes, cups, Tupperware, etc. I’m sending it all to the thrift store, instead of the landfill. Someone might as well get some use out of it, for those who don’t buy into all the hubbub about plastics.

 

To his credit, my husband actually brought up the idea of getting rid of the plastics a while back, but I didn’t really buy into it back then. I kind of thought it was a bunch of [pauses to look up synonyms for “crap”] baloney, bunk, drivel, foolishness, idiocy, bunkum, claptrap, hogwash, poppycock, ridiculousness, rigmarole, tomfoolery, twaddle, ludicrousness. Oh man, the English-major nerd in me got a kick out of that one, “poppycock” being my favorite. Claptrap coming in a close second, only because I’ve never heard that word and I think claptrap sounds like total balderdash.

 

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You don’t realize how much plastic you use until it’s all laid out.

 

So whether you believe all the vilification of plastics these days, the science does seem to show a correlation between high levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) found in many plastics we use with higher rates of infertility. I’ll leave all the overwhelming evidence for you to read in the book “It Starts with the Egg.” Since my fertility seems to be equivalent to aligning all the planets not only in this universe but simultaneously in every other universe, I might as well try another method to help improve my odds. I’ve only read a portion of the book so far, but Ms. Rebecca Fett finally convinced me with a slew of detailed information on the subject. I managed to pack up two garbage bags full of plastics. The only stuff left to replace are the water filter, the coffee machine, and measuring cups. I’ll also need to get some replacement spoons for cooking food, either wooden or stainless steel.

 

I’m reading the second edition of the book where she addresses the subject of how some of her readers became a bit obsessed with avoiding toxic items after reading her first edition. Some toxins are simply unavoidable in our environment.  Many women were following her advice like the be-all and end-all fertility bible to the point where some were developing neuroses trying to rigidly follow her advice. Which is understandable in a way, because many of us are doing everything we can to make our dream of having a baby possible. The bigger issue at play, we are trying to gain a sense of control over something that seems largely out of our control. Essentially what I am saying is to find credible sources, like your doctor and science-based studies, and make the changes where you can. At least that way you can look back and say that you tried everything possible, within reason.

 

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My dog stares warily at the plastic turkey baster while I gather up all the plastic dishware in the house.

 

You can’t always follow the advice you read online either, you have to talk with your reproductive endocrinologist. The internet is fraught with terrible advice. I could write an entire post on pro-pineapple and anti-pineapple opinions amongst those of us on the infertility boards. I find it kind of odd that the pineapple is the symbol for fertility, while there are articles showing inconclusive evidence on this, and others that flat out say to avoid the fruit. But that subject is for another time. Maybe this book will address the Great Pineapple Debate and I haven’t reached that part of the book yet.

 

Another thing to consider is the fact that well-substantiated medical advice on a particular subject may in fact be the exact opposite of what is good for you as an individual. Everyone has jammed CoQ10 down my throat, not literally of course because that would be rude as hell. I was using one brand of CoQ10 for a while, but they ran out of it at the store. No big deal right? I bought a different brand sitting there on the shelf that everyone online raved about and even my doctor recommended. I took the new brand of CoQ10 pill the same way I took my old brand. I didn’t think anything of it, but within 30 minutes both of my arms were almost entirely red and itched like crazy. I broke out into hives, for the first time in my life. I thought maybe it was the new soap I used since I do have sensitive skin. But sure enough when I tried the CoQ10 a different day (minus the soap) I broke out into hives again. Hives don’t seem too conducive to a successful conception if you ask me. I called my doctor and told her my ordeal and she believes that it is likely I’m allergic to one ingredient, most likely one of multiple oils in the pill, and that it would be better to switch back to the other pill once it’s available at the store. Needless to say, I stopped taking that brand entirely. The moral of my story is that your treatment should be individualized to your body, and you shouldn’t feel the need to follow a cookie-cutter approach, especially when everybody and your mother says “it’s the absolute best.”

 

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All the plastic items from our kitchen that are ready to go out the door.

 

I went off on a tangent there, but what I am saying is to do your own research of credible sources. Most importantly, you need to exhaust all your testing options to rule out a medical condition that could easily be fixed. But if you’ve ruled everything out with all the blood tests and ultrasounds, why not try something simple like getting rid of your plastics? Because you don’t have anything to lose.

 

Thank you for reading.

Catch up on past entries by clicking here for the archives page.

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Check out the website itstartswiththeegg.com to learn more about improving egg quality and how to get the book “It Starts with the Egg” by Rebecca Fett.

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Movie Review of “Instant Family”

Movie Review of “Instant Family”

 

HopingForBaby.com Rating: 5 out of 5

 

“Instant Family” is based on the true story about the couple Sean and Beth Anders, who foster three children and shows their process of adopting children from the foster system. Although I am not a foster parent, I believe this movie did an excellent job anticipating and answering a lot of questions for those of us who are considering fostering. This movie is geared more to the perspective of foster parents as opposed to the childrens’, some critics point out. But for someone like myself, who is interested in fostering, I found the movie to be very helpful and inspiring. Some reviewers had expectations of this movie to have more comedy, but I believe this was due to how the movie trailers were marketed. If you set aside the movie trailers and look at the movie itself, it is a great movie with both comedy and drama.

 

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This movie shows one couple’s story from the beginning (the idea to foster) to the end which was a successful adoption. The movie had a very special opening day, on National Adoption Day. The movie includes many light-hearted and comical moments as the couple bumbles through parenthood for the first time. There are also heart-wrenching moments where you could feel the pain of the children as well as their new foster parents who struggled at times. What seemed to greatly benefit the couple was the foster parent support group they attended. There they shared the frustrating moments, gave candid advice, and of course laughed at each others expense at times because they knew all too well what they were going through.

 

The support group was one of the most important aspects of the movie, in my opinion, because I didn’t realize before that such a resource existed. I am brand new to the idea of considering fostering, so I am still learning what is available to assist foster parents. In the movie they quickly went over the required training including First Aid CPR, basic parenting skills, and showed scenes of them preparing their home. The movie did a good job showing the general process of fostering a set of siblings, including the highs and lows. I highly recommend this movie to anyone considering fostering, because I know it helped me to become more open to the idea than I was before.

 

Click here to read the review I did on another way you can build your family with IVF called “Baby Makers: The Fertility Clinic (IVF Documentary).”

 

Thank you for reading.

Catch up on past entries by clicking here for the archives page.

ENTER TO WIN THE LATEST HOPINGFORBABY.COM CONTEST.

 

Image Credit: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7401588/

 

Results from 2nd Round of IVF: All Things Considered

Results from 2nd Round of IVF: All Things Considered

As you may have noticed from reading the entries just prior to this one, it was during Thanksgiving of 2018. So I’m considering this entry a super condensed version of the last six months (November 2018 – May 2019). But first, I want to give you the results of my 2nd round of IVF:

 

8 eggs retrieved

4 eggs mature/fertilized

3 abnormal embryos (genetic issue would have resulted in miscarriage)

 

As heartbreaking as it was to hear that all three of my embryos were abnormal, I tried to think of it another way. Instead I told myself, “I avoided three miscarriages.” Miscarriages are traumatic and costly for the subsequent surgeries. I have literally lost count of how many surgeries I’ve had because some surgeries were to correct the original surgery. I did the math. The cost of the surgeries and procedures after every miscarriage from natural conception equaled the cost of about 1.5 rounds of IVF.

 

So in my particular situation, the more “affordable route” doesn’t really exist if I want a child that is biologically mine. One of the biggest reasons I chose to do IVF is because I wanted to avoid the physical and emotional pain of miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. So maybe now you can see why I would reassure myself with the comment I mentioned before, “I avoided three miscarriages.”

 

I received that sad news in December 2018, and two months later on January 2019 I lost another pregnancy from natural conception, and I needed yet again another surgery. I was working two jobs and my hours were anywhere from 50-75 hours per week. I threw myself into work to stay busy and keep my mind off my emotional pain. I desperately needed to occupy my mind with something all the time. I was also taking a college class.

 

In the beginning of 2019 my Mom found out she had cancer again. My husband and I decided to wait on doing our Frozen Embryo Transfer from our first round of IVF so I could help my Mom. In March three people I knew died in a single week. I began to deeply contemplate what was important in life and began considering cutting back at work. The thing that stopped me from making changes was the high cost of my medical bills I still owed from the last IVF round and the surgeries from my past miscarriages. Our original plans were to do the Frozen Embryo Transfer in April 2019, but Kurtis and I decided to put the brakes on our plans so I could focus on helping Mom.

 

In April I had a migraine almost every 2-3 days, my stress level was increasing to the point where it was unbearable, yet I pushed on. I kept helping Mom, kept working both jobs, and kept going to school. My body was screaming at me to slow down. Around 4am on Easter morning I had to leave in the middle of my shift at my overnight job, because I was having one of the worst migraines of my life. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain in my life, I would say I was at a solid 9. I crawled into bed and told Kurtis, “I feel like I’m dying” and that’s how I truly felt. I didn’t want to go to the hospital and have yet another bill, so I hoped that sleep would help me.

 

Later my husband asked if I wanted to go to Easter brunch but I just couldn’t do it. Shortly after he left I started to really take stock of my situation. My pain was still a 9 out of 10, the sleep didn’t help, and I remembered my Grandma had strokes at a young age. I confirmed with my Mom later that my Grandma started having strokes in her 30s, and I’m 32.

 

And then I had a flashback to the day I noticed the enormous bulk-sized Excedrin bottle that sat on the desk of my high school Spanish teacher. I remember thinking, “she must have really bad migraines like I do too.” Two days after I saw that bottle on her desk we had a substitute teacher explaining to us that our teacher had a stroke and she would likely never be able to teach again. I heard that her stroke so strongly affected her that she was unable to recognize her students. Several months later I saw her in a store parking lot with a cane in one hand and a man stabilizing her other side as he helped her into the passenger side of the car.

 

I’m on blood pressure medicine that also acts as a preventative medicine for my migraines. At this point I was very concerned my blood pressure was high and maybe I was on the brink of having a stroke. A few years back I was on a birth control pill that elevated my blood pressure so much so that I was told by my doctor, “You are at stroke levels.”

 

So back to Easter 2019, my brain feels like it’s going to explode and I decide I need to go to the hospital. I took an Uber and left a voicemail for Kurtis that I was on the way to the hospital. They had put me on a cocktail of four different medications by IV line. I was very slowly beginning to feel better. I had a washcloth over my eyes almost the entire time I laid there in the hospital. Kurtis had forgot his phone in his car during brunch so he came right to the hospital when he heard my voicemail. I lied there wondering if this summer was going to be like the one I had about ten years ago where every single day that entire summer I had a migraine.

 

My co-worker was one of the three people I knew that died in a single week. He was only six years older than me and had a heart attack. Although I don’t know the circumstances that lead to his death I thought about him a lot over the month leading up to this terrible migraine I was having now. I was in a lot of pain and I also had a lot of fear. The doctor was asking me questions about my stress level, the type of work I do, and what is going on in my life that might be triggering these migraines.  The doctor said my blood pressure was very high. I told her I was on blood pressure medicine and she suggested I should double my dose, otherwise I will most likely continue to feel awful. On top of all of that I’ve been having stomach issues and grew concerned I was developing an ulcer. It has been a real domino effect that all came crashing down at once.

 

On that hospital bed I made the decision to make some major changes in my life. I quit one of my two jobs, and I recently reduced my hours at my main job. I also finished my class, somehow amazingly not dropping out this semester. I’m exercising more. I began to make changes with how I am eating (a work in progress). I saw my regular doctor, got a referral for massages for my neck pain (related to tension headaches), and had my first appointment with a nutritionist where I asked a lot of questions about the types of foods to eat and avoid to help with my blood pressure. I’m starting to feel better but I still have some headaches and had a couple migraines, but I’ve still been able to function okay. I’m on double to dose of blood pressure medicine, another to prevent migraines, and another to deal with a migraine the moment I start to get symptoms. I’m also happy to report Mom is now cancer free.

 

All things considered these past six months, I’ve dealt with a crazy amount of stress that I didn’t realize until my body decided to throw the towel in. I honestly feel that I was so focused on staying busy after the failed IVF and the miscarriage right after, that I had ignored my body’s signals that I was headed for trouble. My best way of coping (staying busy) turned out to make things way worse.

 

So here I am now, facing everything that went down and finding other ways to cope. I’ve been listening to music and binging on Netflix. The two weeks I was off work after my massive migraine I binge-watched the entire series of Nurse Jackie, an awesome show by the way. I couldn’t remember the last time I truly sat down and watched several shows in a row. Normally binge-watching is considered unhealthy, but in my case it was exactly what I needed to chill out.

 

How does all of that relate to my infertility journey? Imagine if I did the Frozen Embryo Transfer during all of that stress, there’s no way it would have been healthy for our little embryo. So our one and only embryo waits on ice for a while longer until I can get feeling better. I’m thinking in a few months I’ll head down to finally do the Frozen Embryo Transfer.

 

If you’ve read this entire post, thank you. If you skimmed it, I don’t blame you. So there you have it dear reader, you are all caught up on the whirlwind that is my life.

 

Thank you for reading.

Catch up on past entries by clicking here for the archives page.

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Day 20 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Egg Retrieval Day

Day 20 (Round 2 of IVF Stims): Egg Retrieval Day

(Entry written prior to posted date)

 

Today was the big day! I had my egg retrieval surgery and I am feeling pretty optimistic. I felt more calm this time second time around because I knew what to expect. The surgery takes about 30 minutes normally. After the surgery they let me know they were able to retrieve eight eggs, which is absolutely amazing considering my Low Ovarian Reserve/Low AMH levels. Earlier this week it was looking pretty bleak, with only one to two eggs that were mature, but then more little eggies started to join the party. In fact, they were able to retrieve three more eggs than they did the first time.

 

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Eight eggs retrieved!

 

So although they know the number of eggs retrieved today, they won’t know for sure until later how many of those eight eggs were actually mature enough to fertilize. They told me they would give me a call tomorrow with an update. I am very excited and pleased with how many they retrieved. They told me that 10 eggs are normal for someone my age (32 years old), so I am stoked that I am considered almost “normal.” Right now I am just resting in the hotel room while the anesthesia wears off. I’m hoping and praying for a miracle.

 

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Mom & I just before the surgery.

 

Thank you for reading.

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1 Day Before Retrieval (Round 2 of IVF): Positive Pregnancy Test

1 Day Before Retrieval (Round 2 of IVF): Positive Pregnancy Test

(Entry written prior to posted date)

 

Ah yes, the positive pregnancy test, of course this only means that the HCG trigger shot worked last night. If you are unfamiliar with the IVF process the trigger shot increases your body’s HCG levels, which is what normally indicates a positive pregnancy test. There are a lot of ironic things that happen during a round of IVF which can be interpreted as a cruel joke, a positive pregnancy test being one of them. There’s that part of me that wants to cry when I see the two solid lines on this test, because it’s a reminder of all I’ve been through and lost, but thankfully I’ve developed thicker skin that makes all of this doable. Out of all the uncontrollable events infertility causes, the one and only thing we can control is how we respond to it.

 

Sometimes developing thicker skin means moving forward and not dwelling too much on the past, which is what I am trying to do. So I tossed the test into the garbage and moved on with my day, content with the fact that the test shows I am ready for my egg retrieval surgery tomorrow. I was told that if it was negative that I would need to call them right away, but I’m on the right track so now I can finally enjoy a shot-free day for once. Yahoo! This human pin cushion finally gets a break.

 

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Gnarly bruising from all my shots.

 

I felt a little dizzy this morning but it went away fairly quickly. I’m happy to report I’m not dealing with slew of symptoms. Today we celebrated Thanksgiving with a Whole Foods meal. The Whole Foods is right around the corner from our hotel and they had all the fixings for a real Thanksgiving meal. All we had to do was throw it in the microwave. Mom and I had turkey, chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted zucchini slices, and pumpkin pie. I wasn’t feeling as bloated today so I didn’t feel as gross eating a normal plate of Thanksgiving food. I wish I could have celebrated Thanksgiving with Kurtis but my body decided it wanted to take it’s sweet time, delaying my return home due to slow growing follicles. But I am thankful that Mom is here for me.

 

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All my used IVF meds jam-packed in my suitcase. 

 

After we ate our surprisingly yummy meal we watched the Shark Tank marathon on TV. It seems like this show has been on constantly since I’ve been down in Seattle. I haven’t had cable in about a decade, so maybe this is a normal thing these days. Anyway, I do like watching Shark Tank, it’s really inspiring to see creative and bold people putting their heart and soul on the line for their dream. It’s something I feel I can relate to on a lot of levels. I believe the American Dream means different things to different people. What is my American Dream? To create a strong family that helps make the world better than it was before.

 

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A reminder for my sleepy self not to drink after midnight for surgery in the morning.

 

Thank you for reading.

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