Archive for the ‘Alternative Therapy’ Category

Assisted conception, natural cycle..here we go

So today I am on Day 4 of my cycle, have contacted the clinic to let them know, and have made the first appointment for next week! This is a strange feeling this time round as it all seems to be happening so quickly, by the time I am Day 28 I should be pregnant…or not of course. With our previous IVF cycles (as most of you may know) it seems to drag on for a couple of months; filled with appointments, drugs and injections. This cycle, however, is a ‘natural’ one so I won’t be taking drugs or having any injections (woohoo!), just going for scans. I might be a bit weird but I find scans quite amusing; ‘oh look, there are my ovaries, and what’s that there..sneaking about… oh! it’s my bladder. Marvellous!’ Not everybody is lucky (?) enough to see their insides on a regular basis you know.

I have been told I will be given ovulation sticks to use daily and then when ovulation is occurring, they will pop in our defrosted, donated embryos. Ta da!! That’s pretty much it. After everything I’ve been through this is rather exciting and relieving. We’ve had an emotional couple of weeks too, so it’s nice that I can look forward to this.

At the weekend I visited my nearest-thing-to-a-sister-type-friend who has become an awesome health professional since the days when we used to play with Barbie dolls, and she helped me out with my latest supplement collection. I’ve actually asked her if she’ll write a fertility post for me so she can share her wisdom and advice to all of us, so watch this space. Her name is Gabriella Clarke and thanks to her I now have the following collection to keep me young and fertile;fertility supplements

  • maca
  • wheatgrass
  • royal jelly
  • l-arginine
  • pre-conception tablets including folic acid

This little lot is a total of 10 tablets and I switched from powder form to tablets on purpose as I had grown tired of the green smoothies I had to make. Not sure if that’s working out for me though as the tablets get stuck in my throat and make me gag! Yes I know, I need to man up.

fertility supplements

My morning fix

I have also managed a nice steady weight loss and have lost nearly a stone, so I’m feeling rather good about myself at present, healthily speaking. I’m also feeling very determined which I think is different to feeling positive. Feeling positive just means that I’m hoping this will all work, I’ve felt positive for some time now (apart from the occasional bad day of course), but feeling determined makes me feel like I have more control…and Jodie likes control! I’m determined to make more of an effort, determined to be healthier, determined to hit the gym, determined to lower my stress RAAAARRRR! 🙂 So I welcome this new attempt with open arms! COME ON! I’M READY FOR YA! 

My fertility plan 2012

Some of these things I have been doing for ages and some I started today;

  • no more booze at all!
  • decaffeinated tea or coffee (and avoiding fizzy drinks)
  • drinking more water
  • taking my supplements daily;
    – l-arginine
    – Royal Jelly
    – Conception Support tablets (including Folic Acid amongst other things)
    – Maca (in a small smoothie)
    – Wheatgrass (in the same small smoothie)
  • Eating super healthy and taking more control over my meals (my hubby does 90% of the cooking currently)
  • Yoga at least 3 times a week
  • Just Dance 3 at least twice a week  (got it for Christmas, yay!)
  • Meditation every evening (if only for 5 minutes when I go to bed)
  • Walking to work as often as possible (depending on the weather)
  • Trying very, very hard to deal with stress
  • Asking my newly trained massage expert of a hubby to give me a super-duper massage at least once a week
  • Wearing my new fertility goddess pendant as a constant reminder and nudge to me. I’m a big hippy deep down and I love the pagan symbolisms. This necklace represents my fertility and womanhood.
    My new Fertility Necklace

    Now I have typed it all out, it looks like a list of common sense to be honest, but I think I need to be this organised about it all in order to fully dedicate myself. I have been so neurotic over the infertility years and even had moments when I didn’t think I wanted to go through it at all, that I know I must calm down and take things steadily and slowly. Having this list makes it easier to go through I think.

On Monday January 23rd I will be having knee reconstruction surgery which will make me very immobile for up to a month, so the more weight I can get rid of now the better. This is another incentive for me. And I need to recover quickly in order for my body to be as ready as soon as possible for our IVF #4 to commence.

Today has been a good start; I’ve blitzed the house and worked up a sweat, I’ve eaten well and I’m about to have a relaxing bath tonight complete with Lush bath bombs! All good 🙂

Some alternative things to try …

Before you decide to have IVF or even whilst you are waiting for it, you may be keen to be ‘doing whatever you can’. Every month becomes precious, and every week becomes a charted minefield of ‘did I do this?’ and ‘did I feel that?’ and ‘oh sugar, I shouldn’t have done the other!’ I was (and still am) consumed with guilt over every glass of wine I drink, in despair over ever day I don’t work out, ashamed with every herbal tablet I forget to take and embarrassed to admit to myself that I could have tried harder or done something different. These emotions have become part of who I am now….and no..I don’t like it one bit. But every day I DO actually try something, I HAVE done my research and I WILL get there eventually. I’m just human.

So, here are some things that I have tried, some things that I take and some things that I’ve heard of but weren’t appropriate for me (but may be for you). In no particular order.

Wheatgrass

This is, quite literally, grass. I take it as a powder, 1 teaspoon in some juice or a smoothie and it costs £7.99 from Holland & Barratt. It tastes fine, nothing awful although it does look like green pond slime. It’s best to take it fresh as a shot, but I’m struggling to source some in the UK, it’s massive in the States and is slowly getting a name for itself here. Legend (aka Google) has it that Wheatgrass is given to infertile cows and gets them fertile again within 3 months. Yes I know, I’m not a cow, although I have been called one from time to time, but the websites are full of the following statements;

  • it can lower your fsh levels
  • if going through IVF, it can produce more eggs per cycle
  • it helps to balance PH levels in the body making a more suitable environment for ova and sperm
  • it increases oxygen levels in the body to improve cell and organ structure and acts as an overall fertility enhancer

Forums are also full of us women enquiring about it, but do your own research too.

Agnas Castus (also known as Vitex or Chaste tree berry)

Now I don’t take this but that’s only because my menstrual cycles are tickety-boo so I don’t really need it. I’m very against shoving everything down my neck ‘just in case’ because that can be more damaging. I also discuss everything with my GP to get a professional opinion. Back to Agnus…. this is what it can do for you;

  • Regulates periods
  • Restarts periods which have stopped
  • Helps with heavy bleeding
  • Increases the ratio of progesterone to oestrogen by balancing excess oestrogen

It’s good if you need ‘normalising’ BUT make sure you read up on its use before taking it (as with anything really)

L-Arginine

I started taking this after finding out about its protein building effects. I liked the idea that it could ‘help’ my eggies to be created with a bit more oomph, seeing as how my egg quality is our particular issue. I take one tablet a day, again bought from Holland & Barrett, about £5 for 50 tablets. It also claims the following;

  • increases blood flow to the uterus, ovaries and genitals
  • it triggers the pituitary gland to produce more growth hormone to aid in fertility

I have discovered one side effect of this amino acid L-Arginine….I don’t get ill! It sounds nuts, but whilst I’m taking it I simply don’t get colds. I stopped for about a month earlier this year as I’d run out and kept forgetting to replenish, and low and behold that was the only time I caught a cold. Might be a pure coincidence, obviously, but thought I’d share just in case 🙂

Maca

Maca is like a turnip and is food for the endocrine system, aiding both the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands (all involved in hormonal balance.) Maca has the ability to affect key hormones in both women and men without containing hormones itself, which is a relief as most assisted conceptions will pump you full of hormones. It claims to;

  • Balance hormonal levels in women.
  • Increase libido in both men and women.
  • Increase egg health.
  • Increase seminal volume, sperm count per ejaculation, and sperm motility

My husband has just bought some for me so I’ve yet to try it (it’s amazing how excited I still get at the thought of trying something new) as a powder form for sprinkling on my porridge. I’ll let you know how it tastes.

 

Spirulina

This stuff is like sludge from the sea, but as we all know, the worse it looks, the better it probably is for you (remember being force-fed cod liver oil as a child? eeurgh). Again I’ve had this in powder form and tried it in smoothies BUT I am ashamed to say I couldn’t do it. I don’t want to put anyone off, but it wasn’t for me. I think I will try buying some tablets though as it has the following claims;

  • it is rich in many vitamins and minerals to improve your overall health
  • it nourishes the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems, regulates metabolism, and repairs tissue
  • the nutrient dense algae contains a wealth of minerals, antioxidants and protein which feeds your eggs with the nutrients they need and alkalinizes your body.

 

Nettle Tea, Raspberry Tea, Herbal Teas in general

Certain herbal teas as you may already be aware can target certain conditions or ailments. Here are some ones for fertility;

Nettle Tea – it contains high amounts of vitamins A, C, D, E, and K plus riboflavin and thiamine, and is very high in the minerals calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulphur, copper, chromium, zinc, cobalt, potassium and phosphorus.  It is also high in iron and chlorophyll and an excellent source of folic acid.

Raspberry Tea – it tones the uterus, so can reduce the chance of miscarriage

Green Tea – two of the main ingredients in green tea, hypoxanthine and polyphenols, may lead to a higher percentage of viable embryos.

Always look into your herbal teas because I discovered that it’s not a great idea to drink too much of one in particular, and that having 3 or 4 different ones over a week is perfect. Oh, and you should by now, already by drinking decaffeinated teas and coffees, as caffeine is the enemy if you want to get pregnant.

 

Oh look at that! I’ve written a complete novel as per usual! There are loads more things to write about here, but I’m conscious that some of you may have fallen asleep by now. So I’ll say goodbye for now, and continue with this another day.

Good luck to everyone out there x