Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bikram, Salmon, Estrogen, Oh my!

I attended my bikram yoga class last night. I could not catch my breath. It was just one of those days. I was however able to get deeper into the poses and hold them for longer periods of time. The class I attend does two sets of the poses. I was only able to muster the strength to do one set each. Still a success though knowing I was able to hold the poses and stretch further into them. Note to self: don't sit down. Simply bend forward and let the blood rush to your head. Much easier than trying to stand after sitting.

As most of you know, I love to cook. Seeing as I'm in this funk, cooking helps me to relax and enjoy the little things. So after yoga, I headed home. I Like creating a meal I've never made before. I like experimenting. Somethings I discover amazing things, sometimes not so much. Thankfully last night was a huge success. Having gone from vegan to vegetarian (sort of, I still eat fish) after over a year of strict vegan, creating recipes has not been so easy. But I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. 

This past weekend we went apple picking at Nashoba Valley Winery. Yes, they have an orchard as well. (And they offer picnic lunches which was delicious by the way.) I did limit my wine consumption to one glass of their Cranberry Apple Wine. (It was lovely.) Just in case for some odd reason I'm actually pregnant. (Don't get excited.) So back to the apples. I'm not a fan of macintosh so we scarfed up the courtlands. Having a bag of apples, salmon and farm fresh veggies, I created this:
BBQ Apple Salmon, Fingerling Potatoes and Green Beans

Last night's masterpiece consisted of two pieces of salmon coated in chopped apples, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, honey bbq sauce, and Texas Pete's Sweet & Spicy. Amazingly delicious. Just enough flavor without over powering the salmon. Simply bake for 20 mins on 425 degrees, then 5 min broil.The roasted fingerling potatoes were coated in extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, salt and pepper. Cooked same temp and time as salmon. The green beans (to die for) were done in a frying pan. T of coconut oil, garlic, chopped onion, salt and pepper. Fill the pain with about 1/2" of water, bring to boil and throw everything in. Let water evaporate, bring temp down to low. 

All in all: successful dinner. However, the goat cheese brie and raspberry bites did not like to be bake. Apparently frying is the only way they are happy. Attempt #2 tonight.

While enjoying my lunch today, Dr. C's office phoned, following up on my blood draw from Saturday. Numbers are fabulous! Apparently the letrozole is helping keep my estrogen levels where they should be. Truly the test was to check my progesterone levels as well. He wanted to see if I would need a replacement supplement for insufficient levels. Not necessary! One less pill to take, thank goodness!

Now we wait. To be pregnant.

PS- Oddly enough, while typing this post, specifically the part about not drinking too much, Hallelujah just came on. Hmmmm, maybe September will be our month.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pulling out of the funk

So yesterday I was fairly depressing and I apologize if I scared any of you. It's part of the infertility "fun" I guess. Some days are better than others, and there's times you think you may punch the next person who asks "So when are you going to have kids?" I've come to realize it's never a good time to ask that. Just keep your mouth shut and when they tell you their pregnant, be ecstatic.

Here's how I plan to pull myself out of this funk:

1. Eat better. Food affects your mood whether you believe it of not. It's back to vegetables, salads and soups. No more toast for breakfast, smoothies it is. Fruit for snacks and protein, veggie and grain for dinner.
Today's lunch. Yum.
2. Bikram Yoga: Granted you really shouldn't do hot yoga while pregnant, unless your body is used to it. So here's getting my body used to it again. Thank you Groupon. Attempting twice a week.
3. Longer Workouts:  I know what you're thinking: You really shouldn't be so harsh on your body if you're trying to get pregnant. Trust me, I'm not. 90+ mins of moderate intensity cardio burns fat. (Quick high intensity workouts burn carbs.) Twice a week, you'll find me at the gym, on the treadmill walking. 5 min per incline level, then taper off the last 15 mins. It worked before.

4. Hike: I love hiking. I've been in my best shape when I hike. Overall, I just want to be more active on the weekends. Working out builds endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.


What are your plans to be happier and healthier?

Monday, September 26, 2011


I'm beginning to wonder if my endorphin blocking meds are really helping me. For the past week, I've been waking up extremely tired, and drag my ass through the day, anxiously awaiting the moment I can crawl back under the covers. To be truly honest with all of you, I've battled with spats of depression throughout most of my adolescent and adult life. I've always been able to handle it without meds, mostly working out and eating right. I still have my days when all I want to do is curl up on the couch. And that's what I did last week. At our appointment on Sept 9th, Dr. C had asked if it's possible I'm depressed. My immediate response was no. But I'm starting to second guess that. 

Over all, I'm very happy with my life. My husband has been truly amazing through this. My family is very supportive and those of whom are not, I've let slip away. My real friends have been there every step of the way. I keep myself busy. When I feel myself getting sad, I turn on Adele, blast it through the condo and cook. For some reason, music + cooking = happiness. 
And that is why I love her.

It's one of the only things that can turn my mood right around. Usually working out helps too. However, I'm severely lacking motivation to work out. I did however just realize I've put on 15lbs since last year. NOT OKAY! So back to the gym I go. Hubby also found a Bikram Groupon for me, so back to yoga it is. 

Stick Pose: Mine is actually starting to look like that!

I did manage one breakdown last week. As I was dragging ass to get ready to go to the gym, I turned to hubby who was trying to wait patiently. He could tell something was wrong. (We have that weird, don't need to speak connection.) I blurted out "I'm depressed." And then came the flood of tears. Needless to say, I stayed home. Grabbed a blanket,  Easy A and made myself a somewhat healthy plate of nachos. (Falafel chips, guacamole, onions, peppers, real cheese and Newman's salsa. Yum) I gave myself one pity day. I must say, it helped. Sometimes you need to take a minute to be sad. Wallow in your own misery so that you can pull yourself together and move on. 

Hilarious! I hope to be like her parents.

I've been trying to fool myself with pretending I don't care that we're not pregnant yet. For awhile, I was okay with it. I've been enjoying my freedom and the luxury of coming and going as we please. But we're ready. I'm ready. Without any doubt in my mind, I'm ready to have a family. 

So where's my baby?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is it my turn yet?

Life seems to have picked up speed yet again. Every time I turn around, it's Monday. The week flies with work keeping me forever on my toes. The weekends are a flash. Yet every day, I am reminded I'm not pregnant. Whether it's the daily announcements of friends or acquaintances pregnancies, kids photos, or the single line on my pee sticks, all of them seem to be wearing me down. The hardest part now, is watching my husband know how ready he is to be a dad.

We spent this past Saturday with my nephews. The oldest is 4 1/2 and the youngest is almost 3. So what do you do with them all day? Not being a mom but having plenty of babysitting experience, I decided to run them ragged all day. Starting with a trip to a local farm. 
Complete with a corn maze

125 ft slide

Pigs, cows, buffalo, horses, llamas, goats, duck races and pony rides. 
They had such a great time, they actually lasted 2 hours. 

We hustled them into the car and headed to Sal's for some pizza. Which conveniently was attached to an arcade. 

We ate lunch and played some games. Another two hours later, we headed up to the beach to hit up the playground. However one of the little munchkins fell asleep on our way up.

After they got sick of the swings
We went for a walk on the beach.

All in all, we had a great day with them. My husband was pretty nervous about being responsible for two little guys all day. However, by the end of the day, with both boys passed out in the back seat, we both realized just how ready we are for our own kids. It just feels right. 

Maybe this month......

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

2 Month Follow Up

Time has been flying by, so much so that we already had our 2 month follow up with Dr. C. Friday, Chris and I left work around 2:30 and headed to his office. Surprisingly he was running on time, and we were taken in after only 15 mins. (Trust me, I'm not complaining about the wait, he's well worth it.) 
Front and Back covers of Creighton Model Charting.

I still can not get over how thorough this man is. The nurse who has been teaching me the Creighton Model also works on Fridays at Dr. C's office. She was our nurse on Friday! Thank goodness, seeing as this past month has been all over the place. She looked at my chart and immediately knew something was off. We sat with her for a good 15 mins reviewing my cycle to be sure the charting was accurate. Then Dr. C came in. The blood work I had done right around ovulation indicated my estrogen levels are too high. So much so that they are staying stagnant with the progesterone levels. 

For those of you wondering what the Creighton Charting looks like, below is an example. (Not mine.) The numbers at top represent the days through a females' monthly cycle. This woman's is 29 days long with 8 days of menstrual flow. 
CrMS Chart 40-2
Red squares from 1-8 indicate menstrual flow. The green squares from 9-13 indicate dry/non mucus days, pre-peak. The white babies indicate peak type mucus from days 14-19. The P stands for the last day of mucus which indicates the woman's peak or ovulation. The green babies represent the three days post peak that a woman is still able to conceive. Then she goes back to green squares because of no mucus present. Below that is the estrogen and progesterone charting. You'll notice the estrogen (black) spikes then quickly decreases as the progesterone (red) is built up. The two peak and decrease. However my estrogen levels are staying at peak level and not decreasing.

This is my chart for the past 4-5 months. Each line is a monthly cycle.

From what I took away from my conversation with Dr. C, estrogen levels remaining high can cause spotting, light flow cycles, extended mucus throughout the month, a possible premature egg being released and a few other things. All things you can see in my chart above. So what's the solution? Most doctors would recommend Clomid at this point. Clomid helps your body to mature an egg and release it. However Clomid can thin the uterine lining and produce multiple eggs to ovulate at one time. Instead, Letrozole is now being prescribed by most NaPro  doctors. Why? For one thing it helps build up the uterine lining, thus allowing an embryo to have a great chance of surviving and nuzzling in. Letrozole also helps your body to mature and release one egg vs. about 5 from Clomid. 

This is why I love Dr. C: after 90 mins of discussing my cycle, vitamins, blood work, progesterone and estrogen, he gives you suggestions. When I asked him "What would you recommend?" His response was "I'm here to advise, what do you think is best for the two of you?" Chris and I decided to try the Letrozole. There are no side affects to baby if we get pregnant, it helps my body to it's job better. The only things I noticed after taking it: some hot flashes, slight lack of concentration. Nothing major that I couldn't handle. After all, once you try IVF meds, all these other things are a piece of cake. 

So this month as we continue to chart, I am now taking:
Vitamin B-6      -contributes to a healthy mucus
Vitamin D3       -assist T-cells and my immune system
Calcium            -I don't eat alot of dairy.
Prenatal            -good to start taking before trying to get pregnant, while trying and during pregnancy.
Magnesium       -helps with muscle cramping and contractions when pregnant
Iodine Plus 2    -assists in healthy Thyroid function
Letrozole          -helping to produce mature, healthy eggs
Low Dose Nalthrexone      -for healthy immune function, (endorphin blocker)
Levothyroxine   -assists my thyroid in creating appropriate levels

Chris has been advised to start taking ProXeed, which optimizes sperm health. However, it's $125 a month. Which may seem like a small cost compared to IVF. But keep in mind I'm taking all the drugs above, along with routine doctor's visits ($20 copays each time), and bloodwork, and I had surgery......they all start to add up. Plus the ProXeed takes 3 months to see any results. However, we will succumb to the idea and he will begin taking them as soon as they arrive in the mail.

As you probably figured out, we have not had any success these past two months. And although we have given up to the fact that this is not on our time schedule, we are still trying. My life no longer focuses around getting pregnant. I know some people have taken this as "we aren't trying anymore". That's false. We are very much still trying to get pregnant. But we have succumbed to the thought that we have no control over this. We can try as hard as we want to get pregnant, but that won't mean it's going to happen. We are simply living. We take each day as it comes. We meet with our doctor and nurse and continue to try new things. We are still hopeful that one of these methods will work. But if it's not meant to be, then we are okay with that. But we plan on trying every method possible. Fingers crossed.....

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hiking is Healing

Seven years ago hubby, my then boyfriend and I went backpacking through the White Mountains. The three of us, yes, just the three of us. My husband's girlfriend at the time couldn't make it, and he didn't want to miss the trip. So the three of us went. We followed the Appalachian Trail up Madison, peaked Adams, Jefferson, Clay and Washington. We hiked for three days and camped in the woods for two nights. It was quite the experience. We ended up getting lost the second day and spent 2-3 hours bush whacking to get back to the trail, never mind having to sleep above tree line on Clay because the sun was pretty much gone by the time we got there. It was some what of a disaster. 

So why have I agreed to do this again? This is why:
Appalachian Trail Lafayette & Lincoln 2006

That trip marked the day I realized I was dating the wrong guy. As we were climbing up Washington at 7am in the sleet and rain with my heels profusely bleeding, my boyfriend was hightailing it up the mountain. I was trying to be cautious with each step I took, so I wasn't moving very fast. I turned around to find Chris (my now husband) right behind me with one hand on my pack to keep me from slipping or falling. Boyfriend speeding ahead, friend holding my pack. What's wrong with this picture? Needless to say that relationship didn't last and I happily ended up with Chris. (Best decision I've ever made.) 
Top of Lafayette 2006

So it's been 8 years since that trip and it's the eve of our next adventure. Hubby requested for his birthday that we start hiking again.We had taken a break for awhile, not being able to find the time or money for the gear. It's so damn expensive! We've finally had the time and the funds so we spent the last month acquiring the appropriate gear and have done a few trial runs. Including Mount Osceola & East Osceola last weekend.
Top of Monadnoc Labor Day 2010

Tomorrow we are venturing out for our official first backpacking trip together. And yet again, it's me and two guys. (Still attempting to convince the other female of the group to join.) As the moments tick by at work, I can't help but think how fortunate I am to be able to do these things. There are so many people in this world afraid to try, or take a chance. They just sit back and watch everyone else take the risks. 
Alpine Adventures Zipline Tour Lincoln, NH 2010

I vowed a long time ago to not be that person. I vowed to be proactive and enjoy every moment. Life is short, too short. So why sit back and let everyone else have the fun? Screw that, if I want to do something, I do it. There are a lot of things I regret, but the one thing I don't, was taking a chance on a relationship with a friend. And he has turned out to be the best risk I ever took. He pushes me and challenges me every day. We may bicker and drive each other to the brink of insanity, but he is my best friend. And I wouldn't want anyone else by my side this weekend. 
It must be love.

Hiking is healing for me. It's one of those odd things my body was made for. When we started trying to have a family I stopped hiking. I've been afraid to push myself too far in hopes there is a little person budding inside of me. I'm done waiting. This trip is allowing me to live again, regain some sanity. Take my mind off the child factor and focus on my strengths and abilities. Focus on things I can control in hopes of letting go of the things I can't. I'm just praying the rain holds out.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

In love with change

As previously stated, things have been kind of boring lately. And for those of you who know me, I get really restless with boredom. So I took some initiative to change. 

Change #1: Hair really does make a huge difference. Why didn't anyone tell me it looked so bad?

Change #2: 4,000 Footers Club! Hubby and I decided we want to accomplish a membership into the 4k Club over the next year or so. 

Mount Osceola 4,340ft
Prior to the "hurricane" we headed up to Mount Osceola for a day hike. Hubby and some friends had done the hike a couple weeks before, but it's on the list, and we both have to peak it. So he agreed to join me. What a nice hubby. 
Mount Osceola 

Took 1hr:42mins to reach the peak. (Considering it took him and his friends 3 hours, I think we did fairly well.) We both carried packs weighing around 20-30lbs to acclimate our bodies to hiking with some weight.
East Osceola Mountain 4,156ft

Because we got up there so early, we were able to hike the one mile to East Osceola.  But I will say it was the most challenging part of the hike. At one point you were literally rock climbing up the extremely steep part. But we managed just fine. After peaking East Osceola, we headed back to Osceola for some lunch. Throughout the hike we kept running into other spirited hikers enjoying the pre-hurricane weather. I always loving talking to other hikers at the top. Some of them are pretty entertaining.

After lunch, we descended down the mountain with every intention of timing our pace. We were making great time, averaging about 1 hour to reach the base. About 40 mins in, I fell. Yeah, splat, right on some rocks. I'm still not sure how I managed this. The rocks were covered in moss and the moment I stopped really focusing, I slipped. Slammed my knee against a rock, bounced the side of my leg off another, pulled my left shoulder and hip trying to brace myself. Fabulous. 

 It was a lot worse than this looks. It's currently a lovely shade of violet while my shin is emerald.
Tumble Surprise

We got to the base with a total time of 1hr:42mins. Same time it took to get to the top. I was not thrilled. But we still stopped for dinner at Woodstock Inn & Brewery, so that helped. I had the waiter get me some ice and thankfully I remembered to bring a bandana and a plastic bag. 
Icing my poor knee.

I managed to ice it all day Sunday hunkered down during the storm. Still is a little sore, slightly nervous about this weekend. I have a feeling Ibuprofen and I will be having an affair on the mountain. Wish me luck.

4,000 Footers Accomplished:
East Osceola

Mountains Attempting this weekend:
West Bond
North Twin
South Twin

~Don't worry people, I've tested myself everyday. Still not pregnant.