Monday, March 3, 2014

Prepping My Egg Factory

Ok y' I've never really been one for "holistic remedies" and what not.  I'm definitely not what you would consider a "health nut".  I do take care of my body though.  I exercise, I eat right, I get plenty of rest.  All that good stuff.  But in the months leading up to our IVF treatment, Jonathan and I have decided to do a few things to help "prime" my eggs and his sperm for the best results possible.  It's what we can do right now and not a whole let else other than wait and pray.  So March 16th is the 3 month mark.  That's exactly 3 months from our first appointment at OU.  On some of the forms it asks questions like "Do you drink?", "Do you smoke?", etc. and one of the answer options is "Not in the last 3 months".  Now we are NOT big drinkers and we definitely DON'T smoke, but since it seems like 3 months is kind of the "magic number" when it comes to the health of your body (maybe more specifically your reproductive system..."3 months" is usually the advised amount of time to wait after miscarriage to start trying again or after stopping birth control, etc.) we are going to start doing a few things starting March 16th to get ready for our "great adventure"...

Stop All Alcohol
Cold turkey...even red wine is out. 

Water Consumption
We will both be consuming the real recommended amount of water daily.  They sell these huge bottles of water here in Dominica that are 1.5 liters.  The plan is for both of us to down one and half of those every day.

I've read a lot about "fertility friendly foods" over the years.  I think there's *some* truth to a lot of it.  For instance, it certainly can't *hurt* to add more folic acid to your daily intake.  Also a boost in B12, C, D, and Protein can't hurt either.  But the other piece of that puzzle is the sugar intake/glycemic index.  I personally have put myself on the Sugar Busters diet before and saw amazing weight loss results.  I'm not really looking for weight loss per se (though that would be an awesome fringe benefit), but carbs and sugars interfere with hormone production and balance in everyone.  And if you've read my post about how my body responds to hormones you know that my body doesn't do all that well with imbalances.  I have a low tolerance for hormonal chaos you might say...  So our diet will be a low carb/no carb diet.  We'll be looking to add more whole grains and dark green veggies to the mix too.  We are lucky that living here in Dominica makes it pretty easy to go low carb since fruits and veggies are like the most abundant type of food here.  

Multi Vitamin Regime
I have taken prenatal vitamins for years.  1) So that I wouldn't miss a single second of giving my baby what he/she needed if I miraculously conceived, and 2) Because the vitamins in those supplements help your body to develop good healthy eggs.  I recently quit taking them for 2 reasons 1) Because they make me feel queasy, and 2) Because I saw this coming and wanted to conserve what I had left to start this "3 month push" since they're not that easy to come by here in Dominica (at least not with a reasonable price tag)  So I've got enough prenatal vitamins to last me from March 16th until we get back to the states on May 28th.  I'll begin taking those daily again.  Jonathan will be taking a men's health multi vitamin daily (which he already takes but not "religiously") and a Ginseng supplement.  

Relaxation and Stress Relief
This kind of makes me laugh a little since the next 90 days are going to be kind of ridiculous in this vein.  Jonathan will be taking his final exam for Semester 4, his comprehensive final covering all the material for the last 4 semesters, and his USMLE Step 1 exam (only the most important test he will take in his life...).  I will be selling, donating, and shipping home all of our household items, finishing up a school year with my kindergarteners, and getting us both ready to move back to the USA.  Whew!  So yeah... we are going to have to be pretty purposeful in trying our best to reduce the stress and anxiety that is inevitable in this situation.  I have a sweet friend who just got her certification in Thai Yoga Massage.  I will be going for a few sessions with her starting March 18th through about May 20th.  REALLY looking forward to that.  Jonathan will be going for some sessions with our other friend who is a masseuse for just some relaxation massage leading up to his tests.  Once we get back to the states, I'm hoping to jump on board at a Massage Envy or something of the like.  Not only will stress relief and relaxation be important leading up to our first appointment, but I will need some serious relief from it as we start this process.  I will hopefully be able to continue getting some treatments throughout the process of our IVF too...

So this is one of those holistic things that I think "Meh...could be a farce could be real...who knows?".  But a friend of mine who has been going through IVF and fertility treatments has recommended it to me for stress and anxiety relief through the process.  I won't be starting this until we get back to the states, but I figure it certainly can't hurt...

I haven't done much running in Dominica.  I don't enjoy it here.  The hills and the heat make a run more like work and I hate it.  And I don't do treadmills.  I take a hike up and down our mini mountain 2-3 times a day which definitely gets my heart rate up.  That's been enough to keep my weight maintained.  But I'm chomping at the bit to get back to the states and start getting back into a routine of running.  Running helps my level of stress and it certainly doesn't hurt that it boosts the health of my body too!  My friend Rachel and I are planning to help each other get into a routine and hopefully we can squeeze a race or 2 in before my ovaries are too huge from stimming that I start walking funny...

So there ya have it.  We are trying to be very purposeful in this.  If you're wondering why we haven't been doing all these things before since we've been trying to conceive, I'll tell you it's because it's literally HARD work.  And maybe yeah, we should have been doing this all along.  We've been doing parts of this regime on and off throughout this process of TTC (trying to conceive) and I'm sure the benefits to my eggs and his sperm have been the same.  Unfortunately there are unseen roadblocks to conception for us that seemingly require more intervention.  We are just trying to be very purposeful in prepping for this process since we actually CAN be.  Not to mention, if this round of IVF *isn't* successful (...thinking positive, thinking positive...) we don't want it to be because we didn't do everything in our power to make it successful.

I'm excited about hitting this "3 month mark".  It's beginning to feel more and more real as we get closer and closer to June 16th.  I am anxious and excited to get started.  There are days that I'm scared to death, yes, but most days I am just SO ready.  I finally feel, for the first time in a long time, like we are actually able to DO something.  We are both so ready to start moving forward!  A sweet friend of mine here in Dominica is helping Jonathan and I work on a pretty sweet project in conjunction with this "Great Adventure" we are about to embark on (not just IVF but the moving back to the states and wrapping up of med school, etc.)  I can't wait to be able to share that with you guys too!

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