Monthly Archives: December 2013

A Birthday Wish

 

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Today was a special day. My darlings 30th birthday. He is the most incredible person I know. Hardworking, patient, supportive and loving. I cooked him a cooked breakfast consisting of his favourite- bacon, eggs, hash browns, baked beans and garlic butter mushrooms. I gave him a birthday card, which revealed to him the 2 clues to find his birthday presents. A subscription to Truckin’ Life and the DVD series Outback Truckers. It’s easy to see that the way to his heart is through food and after his 3 girls (myself and our 2 pets- Jemma the dog and Trixie the cat), he loves trucks!!!

We celebrated this milestone birthday a few weeks ago with family and friends at a combined Engagement/30th Birthday party, so we spent the day at home. He painted the spare bedroom- a chore we’ve been needing to cross of our to-do list. He is on holidays at the moment so it was the perfect opportunity to achieve this task. I cooked him his favourite meal for dinner accompanied by dessert- curried mince with roast vegetables, and caramel malteser ice-cream cake.

Turning 30- a milestone birthday. Most 30 year olds I know are:
a) happily married and/or
b)  have kids

While yes, we are happily engaged and soon to be married, I just wish I could have granted my darling the achievement of being a Dad by 30. Earlier in the year, it seemed this dream would be accomplished, but it was soon taken from us. It just means we now have a new goal to work towards now… Making him a Dad by his 31st birthday!!

I love you very much my handsome man!

My darling at the beach with our fur baby Jemma.

My darling at the beach with our fur baby Jemma.

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Cutting his 30th birthday cake at the party.

My Daily Ritual

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Being infertile has a devastating effect on one’s mind. You continue to wonder if there is anything else you can do to increase your chances of conceiving that much wanted little blessing. I am always continually reading and trying to source what other options are available to me that just may boost my depleted egg count and fertility. At the age of 28, I have a very poor AMH count of just 4. AMH ranges from between 50-0.  According to this graph published by my fertility clinic (Queensland Fertility Group), I am in the area low for my age- below the 25th percentile. I would do anything in my power to make my body the healthiest it can be, and produce good quality, strong healthy eggs- especially if it gives me just the smallest chance of having that precious baby.

Each morning, I begin my daily ritual of taking my usual dose of vitamins and minerals as recommended to me by an acupuncturist, naturopath and midwife. Each morning I take 15 tablets!!!! Anyone would think I was drastically ill taking that amount of pills, and then another 9 at night-time. The concoction of vitamins I take are listed below.

  • Natal Complete Multivitamin- this vitamin was recommended to me by my Acupunturist as an alternative to the ever popular pregnancy vitamin called “Elevit”. Elevit contains a high dosage of Folic Acid (800mcg) which may be unnecessary as your body only needs 500mcg to be not deficient in Folate. Elevit also does not contain ANY Choline and too little B12, which are both required for Folate to be absorbed and activated by the body. Hence why I was recommended to use the Natal Complete Multivitamin- it contains adequate amounts of Folic Acid, B12 and Choline so it can be absorbed and activated by the body. I take one tablet in the morning.
  • Royal Jelly- Again recommended to me by my Acupunturist, it is recommended to take between 1000-2000mg of Royal Jelly per day. It is made from Bee Pollen and is rich in amino acids, lipids, vitamins and proteins. I specifically take it as it can help to increase egg health. You should not take Royal Jelly however, if you are allergic to bee stings or honey.
  • CoQ10- Co-Enzyme Q10 is usually taken for heart health, and plays a key role in energy production, particularly in the cells of both eggs and sperm. Levels of CoQ10 can diminish as you age, resulting in reduced cellular energy, which can impact on fertility. CoQ10 can be used to enhance fertility and also functions as an antioxidant, decreasing the damaging effects of free radicals on the reproductive system. My naturopath first put me on CoQ10 to assist with my energy levels, but now I also take it to assist with fertility. I take three 50mg tablets both in the morning and at night.
  • Omega 3 (DHA)- Fish Oil- according to my Acupunturist (Kirsty Eng Fertility), Omega 3 is an essential fertility nutrient as it aids in balancing hormones, promotes ovulation and increases blood flow to the uterus. I take two 100mg tablets both in the morning and at night.
  • Vitamin E- Vitamin E increases fertile mucous and improves egg quality. I take one 1000iu tablet in the morning.
  • Evening Primrose Oil- Evening Primrose Oil increases fertile cervical mucous too, helps promote ovulation and regulates menstruation. I have read elsewhere that this should only be taken up to ovulation, as if it is taken in the luteal phase, it can cause uterine contractions which can cause the embryo to not implant. I take two 1000mg tablets both in the morning and at night up until ovulation.
  • Fab Iron- Decreased fertility has been linked to low iron stores. High iron stores aids in thickening the endometrium. Fab Iron is more absorbable than iron tablets bought from the pharmacy, and does not cause constipation or nausea. I take one 100mg tablet in the morning. It can be bought in liquid form too, but I don’t like the taste of it! According to my fertility type- Blood Deficient- additional iron can also help enrich the blood.
  • Folic Acid- It was recommended to me by a practicing midwife that I take an additional Folic Acid supplement on top of my pregnancy multivitamin. Folic Acid should be taken prior to conception to limit the incidence of neural tube defects. I take one 500mcg tablet at night, as apparently if it taken in the morning when you will then consume tea, it can cancel the Folic Acid out.
  • Spirulina- I have only just started taking this additional supplement. I read about it in the book called “The Baby Making Bible” by Emma Cannon. Seaweed is good for my blood deficient fertility type. I am always open minded to giving new things a go and have recently just started taking this supplement. I take three 500mg tablets both in the morning and at night.
  • TCM Supplements- on top of this daily routine of pills, I also take a traditional chinese medicine supplement from my Acupunturist. At the moment I am taking Ba Zhen Tang which is a Qi and Blood Tonic. From learning about my fertility type, I am also Qi Deficient. Qi is essential for balanced emotions and as many as 70% of women show signs of Qi Deficiency!
  • Food and Herbal Teas- Finally, my daily ritual also includes a strict diet of particular foods which are recommended for my fertility type. Lately, I have been ensuring I eat plenty of spinach leaves, avocados, eggs, apricots, sprouts, mushrooms and chicken to help nourish my blood. I also drink Nettle Tea and Dandelion Tea as these teas are also meant to help nourish the blood. Red Raspberry Leaf tea is also good, but can only be consumed up until ovulation, as it can cause uterine contractions too, resulting in any possible embryo/s not implanting.

I wonder if women who do not have fertility problems fuss so much over taking a daily ritual of what seems like a thousand pills? I long for the day when I don’t have to take so many pills, but for now, I am happy taking them, as I know it just may help us have our rainbow baby!

Christmas through the eyes of a woman who has miscarried and is infertile…

Christmas… a time of celebrating the birth of Jesus, giving and receiving gifts, spending quality time together as a family, eating copious amounts of delicious fattening food and beverages,  enacting family traditions, a time of laughter, joy and being merry. This is the typical Christmas. But for me, a woman who has miscarried and currently travelling on the treacherous path of infertility, this Christmas was different… very different.

Rewinding back to last Christmas (2012), I remember purchasing many gifts for family members, fussing over what scrumptious food I was going to bake, and ensuring time was spent with both sides of our family. We spent Christmas Eve with my family who were camping at the river over the Christmas period. We enjoyed some delicious nibbles, some alcoholic beverages and a dip in the river. And of course we exchanged gifts.  On Christmas Day, we spent time with Troy’s family- again enjoying a delicious home prepared lunch and exchanged gifts with each other, many of which were unnecessary materialistic commodities- which at the time I did not realise. How naïve I was back then.

This Christmas was very different, and I don’t know whether it will ever be the same for me again. We spent the morning with Troy’s family where I prepared many dishes for our hot lunch- consisting of glazed ham and a selection of flavoured vegetables, with dessert being a Berry Trifle. In the afternoon, we went to my parents house (who will be moving towns in the coming weeks) for drinks and nibbles. The whole day was an emotional time for me, and I fought back the emotions, knowing that none of these family members really recognised how tough such a joyous holiday occasion would be for us.

It all started in the lead up to Christmas. Shopping. In a huge shopping centre. All you could hear playing on their sound systems were Christmas Carols. Immediately, they made me feel glum. How was I meant to be happy and sing these Christmas carols, when our angel is not with us, and we have just FAILED our first IVF cycle due to my shocking egg count? Then I also had to face the influx of shoppers. Many of which were women shopping with their broods of kids. Yes, I could cope with that. But the thing that was extremely hard to cope with and made me feel like I’d been slapped across the face was the scenes of women threatening their kids and abusing them if they didn’t quit asking for stuff and stopped being naughty in the shopping centre. It was like a hole in my heart. How can these women act in this manner, when all I want is the glorious gift of being a MUM? Something that they honestly don’t treasure and value.

The emotions continued to play havoc. Instead of visiting Troy’s family like usual, we had to change our schedule of events again to cater for our emotions. Being around Troy’s brother and their new baby which was born around the same time as our angel SHOULD have been due was just too hard to fathom. They still have not recognised our miscarriage or said sorry.

We should be parents, celebrating our first Christmas together with our beautiful baby, but instead we are empty handed with heavy hearts. We didn’t even put up the Christmas Tree this year, give anyone gifts, as the expense of our cancelled IVF cycle has left our bank accounts empty. Not even each other. Our gift to each other will be trying another IVF cycle in January. It hurt that no family members recognised our angel on Christmas Day. We did receive a card from a friend I have made on the SANDS facebook group (which supports bereaved parents from Stillbirth and Miscarriage). It brought so many smiles to my face, the fact that SOMEBODY had taken the time to recognise how hard the Christmas period would be, having lost our angel earlier in the year. Of course other bereaved parents are the only ones who understand how hard it is!

Thankyou to Sam Igoe for sending us the much appreciated Christmas card and photos that recognised our angel.

Thankyou to Sam Igoe for sending us the much appreciated Christmas card and photos that recognised our angel.

Front of the card

Front of the card

Believe it or not, even preparing the food for Christmas even made me feel emotional. I remember as a child, each Christmas my mother would make us the most delicious trifle for our dessert. It was one of the things I most looked forward to at Christmas time. This Christmas, I decided I too would make a trifle for our Christmas dessert. Bad move. It left me yearning. For the gift of being a Mum. And being able to pass this tradition down to MY children. But no. No children were able to enjoy my delicious trifle. How I long to be able to pass these traditions down to my babies and make Christmas a special time for them.

The Berry Trifle I made

The Berry Trifle I made

The visit to my parents house in the afternoon was perhaps the hardest part about Christmas. My niece and nephew Keira and Kaiden were there. They are the most adorable children I know and I love them to pieces. They were the only people I bought gifts for this Christmas, as I wanted to make Christmas special for them as children. I remember how excited I was receiving gifts as a child, so I wanted to make sure they got spoilt, and felt the real magic of Christmas. They both opened their presents and adored them. Kaiden spent hours with his Uncle constructing his new marble run. Keira couldn’t wait to colour in her new backpack in readiness for Kindy next year.

The hard part came later on. We had decided after our cancelled IVF cycle that we would splurge out and have a few drinks with my family at Christmas. It fitted in well, considering they would soon be  moving towns, so it was the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind and enjoy one last gathering together. We struggled. Neither of us have consumed alcohol in the 2 years we have been trying to conceive. Even after our cancelled IVF and looking so much forward to having a few drinks, it just felt wrong. I knew how big of an impact alcohol plays on fertility and couldn’t bare to think what one session of binge drinking was likely to do to my body. I have recently had severe endometriosis surgically removed which resulted in 3 laparoscopies, so was terrified that the alcohol might in fact trigger the endometriosis to grow back. I just didn’t enjoy the whole experience.

To make matters worse, I also experienced my first cycle post the cancelled IVF cycle. The clots (TMI) and severe cramps have left me worried that there is something wrong. It definitely is not like my normal cycle. I know that all the injections and hormones have probably made me extremely messed up, but I can’t help but think that the follicles have now formed into cysts (which I have read about) or the endometriosis is growing back. It has been going for 4 days now. I hope it settles down soon as we are wanting to start our next IVF cycle at the end of January.

Later into the evening, everyone started to feel the effects of drinking. More drinks were had, everyone started smoking like chimneys (everyone smoked except us), and everyone was having a merry time- except us. Here we were, left feeling disappointed with ourselves. Our family members could all smoke and drink however much they liked, and were still fertile and healthy. Discussions were based around my niece and nephew (who wouldn’t want to talk about them though- they are just so damn cute!) as they stole the limelight with their antics and stunts. They are just cute little people and made everyone laugh- including us! They have a fantastic way of brightening anyone’s day. But it still made me feel empty though, another reminder of what we are missing out on, and don’t have.

Christmas… a day of happiness for some, but we are just glad it is over. A day full of so many emotions. I wish I could go back to the time when I loved Christmas. There is probably only one thing that will make me enjoy Christmas again…..children.