Tag: clean living

Back On My Path

Back On My Path

It has now been over 2 months since my miscarriage. For some reason my body takes some time for my levels to get back down after pregnancy. That means a longer waiting game for me to try again. My naturopath and I were ready to go. We had already gone full speed ahead into our aggressive treatment plan. I had already cleaned out most of the unnatural ingredients from my house and my life.

In the middle of June my period finally came. What that meant was for the first time since January I was able to retest all of my hormone numbers. Just to recap, 6 months ago my AMH was 1.2 and my FSH was 47. By now I had 3 different consultations with 3 different fertility doctors to see if there were any other options. I heard a lot of the same…AMH really doesn’t change and FSH changes slightly from period to period. They told me that even if I tried everything, I might be able to drop my FSH slightly. And I do mean slightly. They said even if by some miracle I got it into the high 20s, it really wouldn’t affect my chances of a successful pregnancy.

They told me I would receive my results within a few days. Ironically I got the call when I was in my naturopath’s office. I listened to the voicemail and couldn’t believe it. I listened again. The message told me that my FSH was 10.5. I had to call them back and make sure I didn’t hear it incorrectly. All of my hard work has paid off. I seriously couldn’t believe it. It has been so worth it. What also came along with these results was the news that I was now a candidate for IVF. I had been told that donor was my only option. Now, not just was I a candidate for IVF, but they feel like the chances of it working have gone up tenfold. Not just were my numbers looking better, we saw more eggs during my ultrasound. All signs are pointing up for the next stage in this journey.

Adding Oils to My Life

Adding Oils to My Life

‘Cleaning Up’ my life was feeling good. Knowing that my food wasn’t sitting on a counter of clorox made me feel better.

My next discovery was essential oils. I was somewhat familiar with oils in the past, but strictly for the use of making my house smell like happiness. I had heard how bad the plug-in air fresheners were, so I thought I would find a better way to scent the house. I had seen posts about essential oils, but not given them much time. With this more natural way of life, the essential oils came back in. I attended a seminar to learn more and was hooked. Who knew that you could actually use essential oils for more than happy smells.

I started with their basic starter kit. It was a perfect start. It gave me the the most popular scents and a diffuser much nicer than the one I had from Amazon. My first experiment was during the height of allergy season. I talked to my friend and she suggested lemon, lavender and peppermint. Lemon is a natural antioxidant, peppermint clears the sinuses (seriously, put it on your chest and it will be the best version of Vapo Rub you have ever experienced), and lavender is a natural antihistamine. My congestion was affecting my sleep so I put it all in the diffuser and got ready for bed. By the time my head hit the pillow my congestion was clearing, my room smelled amazing and I felt better.

I was hooked. I started researching different oil combinations on a mission of removing any medications in my life. One month in and I am not taking a single OTC or perscription medicine. I am using RC for congestion, Tranquil  and lavender for sleep, Thieves when I was starting to feel sick. It has seriously changed my view on so many things. I have now made my own lotions, night cream and cleaners. I truly feel the difference.

Re-Starting My Journey

Re-Starting My Journey

It was time to start over on my fertility journey. Well, in a way. The difference now is that I had a lot more information. Something else was changing as well. The more research into the natural way to fertility was also leading to research on how to lead a more natural life in general. We hear daily about all the chemicals, pesticides, toxins  and additives in our everyday lives. I quickly became passionate about removing these items from my life. Why am I am just focused on what is going to lead to me having a child. Why wouldn’t I want to be healthy in all aspects of my life. I eat well, workout regularly, why not round it out with a greener, cleaner life.

I started with some of the high offenders on the chemical list. First was deodorant. There are so many studies tying the chemicals in deodorant to so many ailments, including cancer. The brand I found that works the best while working out is Piper Wai (I bought it on Amazon). If you go back to my first post, you will see that I have already experience my brush with death with a stroke at the age of 35. I really didn’t want to challenge it again. If I could make a few lifestyle changes that could help prevent these things, why not try. Toothpaste soon followed.

The next big switch was the products around my home. It is not news to anyone that our cleaning products are jam packed with ugly chemicals. I think I always had in my mind, like with anything natural, that it wouldn’t work as well. The brand that I am completely in love with is Thieves. It is made by Young Living (the essential oil company). A cap full of the solution put in a sprayer with water literally works on everything. It lasts forever as well, since it is so concentrated.

My product search is ongoing and I will share as I find them. I am back on the fertility wagon as well. Dr. T and I have agreed to get even more aggressive. We set a goal. If we could both commit to doing everything she prescribed, our goal was an aggressive treatment plan over the next 3 months. Then we were allowed to try again. It was a lofty goal, but we were fully committed.

That Natural Route to Fertility

That Natural Route to Fertility

When I received the news of my infertility I spent the first week in a fog. I never expected the news. I had always been healthy. The fact that they could not give me a reason to why it was happening was making it even harder. One evening I sat down, laptop in hand and started to google. I searched low AMH, high FSH, infertility, donor, everything. I wanted all the information I could gather. When I asked my fertility doctor if there was any way to improve my hormones, they told me there was nothing out there that would move them enough to make a difference. I was determined to find an answer.

There was one commonality in my searches. I found success stories. Every one of them alluded to doing things the natural way. From that day I was determined. I knew I could make this work. I am now on the full naturopathic route to fertility. Just a month into treatment I was feeling optimistic. I was doing twice a week treatments of acupuncture, food baths and hydrotherapy. I was cleaning things up completely. I stopped all caffeine. I added a ton of greens, including a fertility smoothie every morning. I started different herbs and natural medicines. I was full steam ahead.

I was learning more about lifestyle changes that I could do on my own. In March I was running on all cylinders with my busy, stressful job. Yes, I know, stress is one of the worst things for our body in so many ways. The doctor preached the benefits of lessening my stress, meditation, solid sleep and yoga. All those sounded great, but I am a Sales Director at a large company. The stress comes with the job. I love the idea of meditation, but I really stink at it. Shutting off the brain is not a trait I possess. That doesn’t help with the sleep piece either. I do enjoy yoga, but had trouble finding the time to do it.

Then, it happened. It was a Tuesday. My parents were in town for their annual visit. I looked at my fertility app on my phone and realized my period should have started on Sunday. I pulled out a test and saw that little plus sign. I couldn’t believe it. I had only been on the natural road for a few months. I tried to control my excitement. I immediately called the doctor for my next steps.

I wanted to make sure I did everything right. I was super strict on diet, exercise, everything. At our 7 week appointment we heard the heartbeat. It was a feeling I can’t explain. It felt so real. The doctor mentioned that the fetus was measuring closer to 6 weeks. She didn’t seem concerned noting that there was no way to know when I conceived. I tried to remain optimistic. The following week I went in for my follow-up, and the bad news came. We had lost the heartbeat. For some reason, it was so much harder this time. Maybe it was listening to the heartbeat and how real it made everything. Maybe it was the fact that this was the second time. Miscarriage was common. Two was not.

To be fair to my naturopath, she wanted 3 to 6 months of treatments to prepare my body for pregnancy. By no means were we trying that soon, but let’s be real, telling a 37-year-old woman to refrain from getting pregnant is like telling a single 30-year-old in a room full of good looking guys not to look. You can say that you are you ok being single, but the opportunity is right in front of you. Though we weren’t timing it and trying….we were not, not trying. Let the journey proceed. I was not giving up.

Our Fertility Journey Begins

Our Fertility Journey Begins

Like so many these days, I found ‘the one’ later in life. My husband, J, and I got married when I was 36. When I met J I knew he was the one within the first few weeks. Everything was different. That way May. By the following October we were married.

We knew we wanted kids and talked about it from the beginning. I think I always had in my head that we would get married, and kids would come right away. I stopped any form of birth control a few months before the wedding. Month after month we tried. Month after month that period came. In January we decided to get more aggressive and began rounds of Clomid. It didn’t appear to change my hormone levels in any way. The next summer we decided to take a break from trying. They always say it happens when you aren’t trying. In July we received the best news. We were pregnant! It took longer than planned, but a year isn’t so bad. Then in August an ultrasound revealed that we had miscarried. It was hard, but now I knew we could get pregnant so I was optimistic.

The trying began again and we shifted from my gynecologist to a fertility doctor. Initial visits were very optimistic. By January he had become more aggressive with his testing. At the end of January he called me and asked me to come in. Something he couldn’t tell me over the phone? The nervousness was setting in. J and I went in a few days later. My doctor wasn’t there so the news came from his  partner, whose demeanor was a little brash and unfriendly. He put it to me straight. He told me that my hormone levels were really bad, I was pre-menopausal, I had a 1% chance of getting pregnant. We just sat there. This was news I never expected. The delivery of the news didn’t help. I wasn’t comfortable asking questions to this doctor. I just wanted to get out of there.

My AMH was a 1.2, much below the ideal level, which tells them that my egg count is low. My FSH was 47. So off-the-charts high that they said the eggs I did have were probably all bad. He told me I would never have my own kids. He gave me pricing and information on donor and asked if I was open to adoption. Open to adoption? My head was still spinning from the news. How can I think about next steps yet.

Nothing made sense. If I had a 1% change of getting pregnant, how did I get pregnant last summer? Nothing was ok. Nothing felt right. This is the day that truly began my fertility journey, and the day I decided not to settle for the answers that were given.

Time Heals All

Time Heals All

Six months after my stroke…after months of bruises and exhaustion due to blood thinners…I made the decision to have my heart repaired. Heart surgery was scary, but I couldn’t continue to feel this way. I finally got a second opinion from a surgeon who told me that it wasn’t too invasive and the results would be worth it. I knew kids were in my future, and pregnancy and blood thinners are not a good combination.

The surgery went well, but I still wasn’t able to talk about anything. It took me over a year to first write about my stroke. Then it took over a year to put it out there. I am not totally sure why. I am so fortunate for the my recovery. Every doctor and PT in that hospital that I worked with told us how surprised they were that my motor skills were coming back so quickly. They credited the shape I was in for my recovery. I know what a miracle it was.

It wasn’t that easy of a road. Though I was so lucky to walk out of the hospital on my own three days later, I could still felt the difference. My left side was not nearly as strong, and to this day doesn’t work quite as well. I spent quite some time having to think so much harder. It may sound funny, but I would easily switch words around in a sentence. I got good at covering it up, but I was always aware. I just felt like I was living in a bit of a fog.

So many people have that ‘scare’ that makes them take a good look at everything in life. I know I would’t have gotten through it without J, my friends and family. For some reason I felt the need to be more than just in shape and eating right. Over the last two years I gave gotten serious about ‘cleaning up’ my life. Removing toxins, chemicals, doing everything I could to be healthy. J and I were talking kids and I wanted my body and life to get back to the best place it could be.



How It All Began

How It All Began

First off, thank you so much for being a part of my journey. It has been quite an adventurous couple years. I have learned and grown so much, and appreciate everyone who has been a part of this journey more than they know.

I have lived what I would call a ‘healthy’ life for some time now. I have been active my entire life and have done CrossFit for 5 years now. I eat healthy and always keep nutrition on the mind. I try to be green around the house and recycle more that I throw out. In November of 2015 all of my healthy ways were tested.

It was Black Friday. I was sitting at restaurant with my (now) husband, J. We had just ordered our food and were a few sips of wine in when it happened. I was mid-sentence when the words that I was saying came out as a gibberish mess. I stopped, then tried to speak again, but the same mess came out. What was happening?! My brain knew what I wanted to say, but it was like my mouth didn’t want to say it. By that time J realized something was wrong. He grabbed my left arm and asked me if I was ok. I could see him touching my arm through the haze that was setting in around me, but I couldn’t respond. In fact, I couldn’t do anything with my left side. My blank stare into nothingness, the water dripping out of the left side of my mouth as my face started to droop and my inability to respond, quickly put J into action.  As we pull up the ER entrance we see a large sign on the building that says Stroke Trauma Center. What are the chances we go to dinner a 1/2 mile down the road from a stroke center. I might have to thank a guardian angel for that one.

Fast forward 3 days and more tests and scans that I can count when the doctors delivered the news. I had, in fact, had a stroke. A full stroke. Is that possible for a healthy 35-year-old? The EKG then showed a hole in my heart that caused a blood clot that went straight to my brain. As I took my required walking laps around the stroke wing, the reality of my situation and how lucky I was truly set in. How could this happen to someone in the shape I was in, living the healthy lifestyle I lived. What I found out is my health was my savior. They told me without a doubt that if I wasn’t in the shape I was in, I would have some severe residual side effects.

The following May I had heart surgery to repair the hole. They said this was important since J and I wanted to have kids soon. Blood thinners and pregnancy aren’t a great match. We will talk more about the fertility journey in the future.

It has taken me well over 2 years to talk about this. I have always been a strong person….and admittedly a little bull-headed person.  In my mind, the stroke was something completely out of my control…and something that make me feel weak. I am type A. No question there. To get my head around this was not easy. What I could get my ahead around was that I was beyond lucky for fortunate.