After the Clomid Crazies hit, I was ready to take a different approach. We knew that more invasive, drug-induced processes were in our future, but we needed a little break from the craziness. I needed to be centered and focused so I could better handle the raging hormones.
**Disclaimer: I am not prescribing that you should or should not make the following changes. I am merely sharing my experience, and what I felt was right for my body and circumstance. I am happy and available to answer any questions you have to the best of my ability
First, I changed my diet. I wanted to eliminate as many chemicals as possible, so I switched to an organic, grass-fed type of lifestyle. I cut back on refined sugars and carbs, and made veggies (like the ones pictured below from Friends Food Family’s garden!) and lean meats the focus of my diet. Per my acupuncturist’s recommendation, whenever cycling, I stay away from raw veggies, and go for steamed or roasted. I also added better fats, like avocado, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil, and cut back on my most enjoyable fats, like gallons of ice cream. For my mental health, I decided not to go too crazy with this lifestyle, and give myself a break when I craved something not on the diet. I would say that I am currently on an 80/20 overall with this lifestyle (80% of the food I eat is on the good list, 20% on the naughty list). But, some weeks are more like 50/50, and potato chips are still my kryptonite.
I also added Juice Plus+ to my diet. My friend Laura had reached out to me about the health benefits, and I appreciate their limited ingredient approach to vitamin intake (30 fruits and vegetables). My prenatals have always made me nauseous, so I decided to give Juice Plus+ a try. Their motto is “one simple change” and I like that approach to good health. When you make one little change at a time, you take control of your health and just overall feel better. (Fast forward to present-day in our struggle and we had our first “A” quality embryo when my husband starting taking JP+!)
Next, I welcomed fitness back into my life. I try to take 10,000 steps a day, and am obsessed with my FitBit (challenge me!). It’s easy to let the stress, hormonal changes, weight fluctuation, isolation, etc. of infertility take you out of your fitness routine, and sometimes it still does, but I have made a conscious effort to incorporate exercise into my daily routine (somehow). If I don’t make it to the gym, I try to do an on-demand workout, or at least take a walk. I will say that through this struggle with infertility, I am afraid to go 100% at the gym like I did in college, or when I was “shedding for the wedding”, but staying active and healthy is a major goal of mine.
I also added weekly acupuncture treatments (with occasional cupping, not during tank top season, though) to my health regimen. Chace Acupuncture came highly recommended to me, and he did not disappoint. I went to acupuncture to be treated for infertility, in hopes of getting my body in balance before IVF, but I was pleasantly surprised at the other health benefits I experienced from acupuncture. Including, but not limited to, improvement in sleep, mood elevation, anxiety reduction. I love to sleep, I always have, but after acupuncture I get “acustoned”. I feel calm, relaxed, and I sleep like a baby. Sometimes, I may be a little too calm. Like, the time I came home from acupuncture to my finished basement being flooded and I couldn’t understand why my husband was freaking out about something we couldn’t control. Namaste. Oh, also, now I know how to breathe “correctly”. You’d be surprised how different it feels to know how to do that; the only way I can describe it is calming and centering.
Along with acupuncture, I added reflexology treatments whenever possible. My aunt is a licensed reflexologist, at Yoursole Reflexology, and, in my opinion, the best in the business. She let’s your feet do the talking, and works on your energy to get you back in balance. After my first session, as soon as I started to drive away, I burst into tears. I called to ask her what was happening and she explained that my emotions needed work that day, and to embrace the tears, acknowledge and work through them, and move on. She works wonders, and I highly recommend her. If you’d like her contact information, please let me know as she is by appointment only, out of North Attleboro, MA. Side note: she has also worked on some of my clients who were very ready to go into labor. All went into labor within 12 hours. Seriously, she’s awesome.
Another big change was that when I became a regular employee at my day job, I was blessed with better health care coverage. So, I gradually weeded out some jobs, as I had been working 80+ hours a week between 4 jobs to save for IVF. I certainly miss the extra cash, but not being so stressed out, always worrying about scheduling, and having a little extra time at home has been wonderful.
I was [secretly] hoping that making all of these changes would result in an “unexpected” natural pregnancy. We weren’t so lucky. But, we are blessed with healthcare coverage, and making these changes really got my body ready for what was to come next: IVF#1.
What changes did you make while trying to conceive, or to get ready for infertility treatment? Please comment below with your suggestions!
**You may have noticed that I stopped numbering these entries. Why? Because it’s fucking depressing to be in double digits of telling the story of our struggle with infertility. When I started this journey, I thought it might be a three part series, max. But hey, onward and upward.**