General

Going Paleo?

For the last four months, I have been going back and forth about transitioning to the increasingly popular Paleo diet as a means to improve my health (and possibly my fertility). I’m not normally one for keeping up with all of the latest trends and fads, but I think I need to really buckle down and try this one out. In fact, I have tried going Paleo before.

It lasted two days.

I just don’t have the discipline. There is a lot of preparation that is required and with everything that I generally have going on – I tend to feel overwhelmed and let the lower priorities on my list kind of slide. Before quitting my job, I also didn’t have the time. I spent most of my day at work, and the rest of it at school. I do love to cook, but there were some nights where my husband was lucky if I had the energy to make him a sandwich for dinner. Now that I’ve quit my job, I worry about having the money to eat fresh, whole, and organic all of the time. We aren’t huge fast-food eaters, but we’re very guilty of purchasing cheap microwaveable meals that aren’t much better for us than if we’d stopped at Wendy’s.

But I need to get it together. For years I have dealt with health issues that I suspect may be due to a slight gluten intolerance (can gluten intolerance be slight?). Now that I have proof of my soaring estrogen and plummeting progesterone levels, I can’t help but think that perhaps my diet is partially to blame. And my (potential) endometriosis could definitely be better managed if I were on an anti-inflammatory diet like paleo. There’s really just no reason for me not to try it. When you know better, do better.

I need to do better.

So I will be completely transitioning to the Paleo diet over the course of this month. I am going to get rid of (eat) all of the non-paleo foods in my house and not replace them. I am going to start stocking up on fresh, whole, and organic foods and learn the recipes for more paleo meals. I am going to come up with a system for when I get hungry in the middle of the day and need snacks that don’t need to be cooked or refrigerated. And by the time my birthday rolls around (the second to last day of this month), I will have transitioned into complete and utter paleo-ness.

I’ve heard plenty of success stories from people who have tried things like the Whole 30 and other paleo support plans, and I am hoping to see an increase in my energy levels and an improvement in the way that I feel on a day to day basis. I’ll need all the accountability I can get, so don’t be afraid to check in on me from time to time to make sure I’m doing the right thing!

And I hope and pray I will have the discipline to see it through, this time.

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Christianity, Infertility

Anxiety.

I am feeling so anxious today.

I went to the doctor last Monday and she laid out a pretty good plan for moving forward in our journey to become parents. As it turns out, in addition to the suspected endometriosis, I have incredibly low progesterone and abnormally high estrogen levels. The doctor said that technically, I could be conceiving each month and losing the child due to the fact that my low progesterone levels would make it nearly impossible for the baby embryo to implant into my uterus.

The first step of the plan she laid out for me is to have an ultrasound series from day 10 of my cycle until ovulation. The next part of the plan begins 3 days after ovulation, when I’ll start taking progesterone injections between 3 and 11 DPO. I’ll have a few more estrogen and progesterone tests this cycle, and if I’m not pregnant by May – I’ll have surgery to diagnose and remove any endometriosis.

I have scheduled the ultrasound series and am waiting for the pharmacy to call me and confirm the order for my progesterone shots. All of this waiting is so hard.

As an infertile, I feel like all I do is wait. I anxiously await the doctor appointments that I set, then I wait for the right time to carry out whatever instructions the doctors give me, I wait out the days between ovulation and my next period, and ultimately I wait for that day when my period won’t show up. My life is a never-ending waiting game. I am usually patient, trying to stay focused on the little moments that make up the mosaic of my life, but today I am anxious. I am so anxious.

This morning, Psalm 20 was part of my daily reading routine. I normally hate to take scriptures out of the context in which they were written and randomly apply them to my life, but I couldn’t help but feel like God was speaking to me through Psalm 20 this morning. Last Friday, I told God that I just can’t do this anymore. All of the waiting. Getting my hopes up for nothing. Seeing friends grow their families and not understanding why my body won’t work. Infertility has taken over, and I just want my life back. I’d begun trying to re-plan and re-envision what life could be like, sans children. I started asking myself, “would it really be so bad to never become a mother?” I figured I could make a career change, find new hobbies, keep my gorgeous figure for the rest of my life.

But I never feel right when trying to envision childlessness for myself. Even without the biological ability to have a child, I would certainly adopt. I know that I am meant for motherhood. Everything in my life has pointed toward it, from the different experiences I’ve had, to the things that interest me, to my line of work, right down to my personality. I am meant for motherhood. And I am closer to it than I have ever been.

So, I am anxious. I am aching with anticipation. I am desperate for relief from this particular hell that is infertility. But I will wait. And the first words I will speak to my children – after their births or adoptions or as they come into my home as my foster loves – will be the words I think God wanted me to hear, today.

May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; He answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise and stand firm. Give victory to the king, Oh LORD; answer us when we call.”

Infertility

Hopeful

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After what has seemed like an eternity of having unexplained infertility, I am kind of relieved to have finally been given some solid clues as to what might be going on with my defective reproductive system.

But first…

My husband and I got married in 2008, and stopped using birth control in 2010. I felt like God was convicting me of my usage of birth control, and although I didn’t quite understand why He didn’t want me using it – I threw it out.

I  thought for sure, after getting rid of my contraceptives, that I would get pregnant right away. At that time, I wanted to get pregnant and was open to it – but was also deathly afraid of what a child would mean for our finances and our (then) struggling marriage. Still, I knew that God had spoken to me about ditching the birth control – so I did it, thinking that I’d probably get pregnant soon and was eager to see how God would provide for us in the event that we had a child.

I have always wanted children – both biological and adopted. And I have, from the time I was 7 years old, felt a call to motherhood on my life. But it was during my first year off of birth control that my desire for motherhood grew exponentially. One month, I was two weeks late for my period and had convinced myself that I was pregnant. I waited as long as possible to test for pregnancy and was absolutely devastated when the test read negative. My first BFN (of many). I cried in a way that is totally out of character for me, and it hit me that my lifelong desire to become a mother had reached heights that I had not known were possible. We continued to spend the rest of 2010 and 2011 not trying and not preventing. And every month, my hopes were crushed at the beginning of each new cycle.

In 2012, my husband and I finally agreed to begin trying. Our marriage, at this point, had grown very strong and he felt ready to do more than just “not prevent.” This was music to my ears. Perhaps, I  thought, the reason we haven’t become pregnant yet is because our marriage was weak and we weren’t on the same page.

I naively believed that I would be holding a baby in my arms within the year. I began reading everything I could find on getting pregnant. I joined TTC (trying to concieve)websites, bought prenatal vitamins, and started charting my basal body temperature to pinpoint ovulation. And again, each month was a failed attempt. Failure after failure after failure, as the months grew into years.

It didn’t help that I studied children in school and was working with children each day for a living. Over the years, my prayers went from “Please God, let me get pregnant this time!” to “Okay God, let me get pregnant, but help me to still be grateful even if I’m not pregnant this time,” to “God, help me learn to deal appropriately with childlessness,” and finally to “Whatever you want God, let it be and help me to accept it.”

I finally accepted the possibility of infertility, and went to a doctor in 2013. She was incredibly rude. She brushed off everything I had to say, rushed me through the consultation, and shooed me out of her office with the advice to “just keep trying.” I didn’t have the guts to see another doctor until early 2014. She was a bit more helpful. She ran two blood tests and ordered an HSG (hysterosalpignogram), but in the end she diagnosed me with unexplained infertility and said there was nothing more she could do for me but send me to a fertility treatment center for IUI or IVF.

I wasn’t ready to give up on the idea that I should be able to get pregnant naturally, and I happened to meet some women who told me about NaPro –  a system that I could use to find the underlying cause of my infertility. I looked it up and found a Fertility Care Practitioner who helped me learn a new method of charting and of fertility awareness. It is through this program that I have finally been given what seems to be the reason for my infertility – endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrial lining that normally grows inside of the uterus begins to grow outside of the uterus. I don’t have an official diagnosis, because that can only be made through a laparoscopy, but during a recent physical exam, my NaPro physician said that she felt what is likely endometriosis in my pelvic area.

On one hand, it’s bad news. I don’t know how severe it is, it’s a disease that can only be managed – never cured, and more than likely I will need surgery to remove whatever tissue build up is going on in my abdominopelvic cavity. On the other hand, it’s good news. It means there’s something to fix. It also explains other unresolved health problems that I have had for years, and for which I have not been able to pinpoint a cause.

Honestly, I entered 2015 in low spirits. For the past (nearly) 5 years I have waited, and hoped, and prayed to (what has often seemed like) a wall. I have watched friends get married after me and grow their  families before me. I have started my period while at baby showers. I have received convincing – but false – prophecies about getting pregnant. I have watched friends’ babies grow. I have gone to work as a preschool teacher, day in and day out, with smiles on my face and welts on my heart from the emotional beatings I’ve been taking these past 5 years. I had begun planning a life without biological children.

So, though it may seem like bad news – this potential of having endometriosis gives me so much hope. I feel like we have made some progress toward expanding our biological family.

My next appointment is in February. And I don’t know what will happen from here on out, but I am just so grateful to God that I finally have something to work on.

Perhaps I will actually get a turn to love my own child.