Category Archives: Healthy Life

Living More Sustainably: Vegetarian one day a week

I fully admire those that can live a zero waste existence. It’s certainly something to aspire to. I am just not there yet. However, I really believe that if a whole bunch of us start with just some small changes it will have a massive environmental impact.

Starting over a year ago now we have been implementing changes in our home to try and live more sustainably. Interestingly, I started implementing a lot of these and didn’t mention it to Hubby to see if he noticed and commented on it or if the change bothered him. None of the changes we have made so far have phased him at all.

I thought I would share one of these every now and then. If you like the tip feel free to implement it. I know these are not new ideas. I am just sharing what small changes I have been able to easily incorporate into our lives to make our family more environmentally friendly.

Vegetarian one day per week.

This is a great example of something I started to implement without Hubby even noticing. I did this at the same time I started meal planning. This was a beautiful change to make hand in hand. Not only is eating meat free once a week good for the environment, but meal planning reduced our weekly food waste and grocery bill significantly!

I did this for over a month before asking Hubby if he’d noticed we were eating vegetarian at least one night every week. He hadn’t noticed that, but he’d been liking the meals and the organisation of meal planning. It actually saved us a lot of time over the week as we were not having that daily “what do you want for dinner?” discussion and then spending time rummaging through the pantry for options hahaha. He actually got into the process and is now much more involved in our food choices and also dinner and food preparation YAY!!!

Here’s the thing… this doesn’t have to be a complicated meal. Often this is my simplest dinner of the week. Very often I combine this with pasta night. At the moment we are both loving the Rana range of pastas particularly the Ricotta & Spinach Tortellini and the Pumpkin & Roasted Onion Ravioli. Even better when I score the family pack on sale as this gives us two nights of dinners. Especially when I chuck in some brocolli and mixed vegies. My 11 months old loves these pasta dishes as well, she doesn’t eat pasta in other forms apart from these and lasagne so that’s another bonus for us.

Honestly once you look at a couple of vegetarian meals it is a lot easier than the pressure that people put on themselves to create incredible dishes. Yes, you certainly can do that. OMG there are some amazing vegetarian and vegan dishes out there, but there are also some quick fixes.

Loving the Wildly Good range for a quick healthy vegetarian or vegan meal!
Wildly Good Falafel bites in a yum salad bowl with sweet potato waffle fries YUMMO!!!!!


Baby Frittatas

I have been experimenting with frittatas trying to make one using oat milk for kiddo who is lactose intolerant. Frittatas are great for baby led weaning and getting protein (eggs) and a variety of veggies into bubs. I made these in a muffin tin as it was easy to portion out that way. You can also freeze these.

I will say that I think because of the oat milk it seemed to take longer to cook that when I normally cook frittata.

This recipe made 11, but I feel I overfilled the cases so would probably make 12.

Ingredients

1 small carrot
1 small zuchhini
pumpkin (I like butternut, but whatever you like)
4 eggs
1 cup of oat milk (can use normal milk if not lactose intolerant)

Method

  1. Cube your pumpkin, place on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 160C (fan forced) for around 40 mins (turn half way). I would let it cool a little before using it. You will need 1 cup (I used the leftovers to mix with other veggies for meals).
  2. Grate carrot and zucchini.
  3. Heat around a tbsp of oil and cook zucchini, carrot and pumpkin for around 2 mins.
  4. Beat eggs and milk.
  5. Add vegetables to the milk mixture and pour the mixture into your muffin tin.
  6. Bake at 160C for around 20-25 mins.

Notes

  • When I use normal milk this is more like 15 mins.
  • If lactose is not an issue for you, you could also sprinkle some cheese on top before you bake.
  • As an adult these taste good, but I had to add salt and pepper haha.
  • I leave the skin on my zucchini, that is up to you πŸ™‚


Banana Oat Pikelets

This is SUPER easy to make and it is quite possible you could make it without purchasing anything. I made this with stuff that was already in my pantry. Great for baby led weaning and they freeze well. Kiddo LOVES these! Honestly I kind of do too.

Makes around 16 decent sized pikelets.

Ingredients

1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 mashed overripe banana
1/2 cup oat milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Add dry ingredients to beaten egg and combine.
  2. Add oat milk, cinnamon and vanilla and combine.
  3. Add mashed banana and mix well.
  4. Heat a fry pan on medium heat, add a small amount of butter, or spray to prevent sticking then add spoonfuls of batter. When bubbles start to appear flip to cook the other side.

Notes

  • If you want a runnier consistency you can add more milk.
  • If you are not lactose intolerant then you can use normal milk rather than oat milk.
  • I served these strait up to kiddo. I also put them with strawberries and am planning to use them to introduce her to peanut butter.
  • These freeze well so in future I will likely make double batches (not going to lie I have stolen a few as well haha).

Healthy Oat Fruit Bars

I have been experimenting with Oat fruit bars/slice suitable for baby led weaning for my 8 month old who is lactose intolerant. We are trying to build up her tolerance a little by including very small amounts of lactose in her diet, but let’s be real, many of these types of things have dairy. So here’s one I have messed around with that made up a LOT of slice, she LOVES it!!! It also freezes great and I like it with a coffee or tea too, so bonus!

Ingredients

3 cups of rolled oats
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 1/4 cup A2 milk
1 1/4 cup oat milk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup of finely chopped dried prunes
3/4 cup of finely chopped dried apricots
1 mashed overripe banana
1 grated granny smith apple
2 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180Β°C (fan forced oven). Grease a slice tin – I use two medium sized ones as this is what I have.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Pour into slice tins. Bake in oven for around 45mins. You can check it’s done when it is firm and springs back to touch.
  4. Once it has cooled you can cut and serve.

Notes

  • This makes a LOT. I wanted this so I could cut into baby sized pieces and freeze. If you want a more normal sized amount you could halve everything, but I also did not want to waste half an apple and banana.
  • I used prunes and apricots, but you could replace these with any dried fruit.

New Life

My goodness life has changed. It has been a LONG time since I wrote here. Not because I didn’t want to. Life just got very crazy and my focus shifted drastically during this time.

Health journey wise I lost 48kgs and travelled overseas and was living my very best life. Every kg I lost was hard worked for. There were many reasons I wanted to undertake this health journey. One of these was to give us the very best chance of having a child. We had 4 embryos frozen and the plan was to wait until we felt my body was in the best shape (and we had saved enough) and then go back in for IVF again.

Well….. long story short… we found out last October that I was pregnant… suprise!!!

Much joy, worry, excitement, fear, etc. ensued. What can I say after 8 years of infertility and then being pregnant in the middle of a pandemic I was a barrel of emotions hahaha.

Little Miss C came into the world in May and she is perfect. I couldn’t believe it. So many joyful tears you guys. We had some initial issues with feeding which is a story I will save for another day, but generally she has just been a joy. She surprises us everyday and I still can’t believe how lucky we are.

I have missed writing here and now as I continue on my life journey as a Mum, wife, health and knowledge seeker I really wanted to get back here.

Can’t wait to share and to catch up with you all!!!


Where have I been?

Huge thank you to those of you who have contacted me to see if I am okay. This is why I love you guys!!! Thank you to everybody that has stuck in there with me! πŸ™‚

I know I have been neglecting this space and not connecting with you all as much as I should have, or as much as I would like. I don’t really have much of an excuse, life has just been insane for many months now.

 

After we froze our embies we decided to have some time off from the fertility craziness. The docs didn’t really want to transfer the embies anyway as they felt I was too big.

I spent some time really soul searching and thinking about my life journey and how far I had come and what I wanted the next year (this year) and the rest of my life to hold. You know… nothing too heavy right?! Haha

I know I mentioned in a previous post that I had spent a lot of time researching weight loss surgery and what it could do for me with in regards to my insulin resistance, PCOS and snail thyroid. I also finally found out why sometimes my outer thighs goes numb, it is a condition where nerves get pinched randomly (can be cured or greatly improved through weightloss). So I bit the bullet, after 10 years and numerous diets and lifestyle changes I agreed to have sleeve surgery in April.

What?! I hear you say, but it is already May! Yep, that’s right, already done.

I didn’t tell many people. To be honest after so many years thinking about it and researching to come to the decision that I thought was best for me (even though I was petrified and didn’t really want to do it) I really didn’t want to hear any more opinions. So my parents knew (turns out they told a few people), obviously Hubby knew (turns out he told people too) and a couple of my friends knew.

Managed to not have a huge panic attack before surgery, mainly by trying not to think about it and just going through the motions of preparing. Afterwards I initially questioned all my so called wisdom and research because damn did I hurt. Being someone who is very independent though I was determined that even though I had just had major surgery a couple of hours before I was going to the toilet. So I did.

I pretty much had a dream recovery, slight allergic reaction to the dressings after a few days and slight infection on the surface of one of the wounds. Food wise I have had no issues. Was having issues getting enough protein, but I am getting much better at that now that I have added soft foods back in. Eventually I should be able to have all the foods I have before.

I hear people label this “the easy way”, boy is that far from the truth. For me this was (and continues to be) harder than quitting smoking. You still have to do all the work in regards to healthy food and exercise. It is just a tool, a very effective tool, but it is on me to make it work.

I have been doing well so far. Since 19 March (I am including pre op diet where I lost 6.8kgs) I have lost 13.9kgs. I am not ashamed to say that I am SUPER proud of myself for that πŸ™‚

I know that for doctors the actual weight is what they focus on, but for me I am enjoying the non-scale victories just as much. The issue with the thigh numbness is already noticeably better which is amazing as I would get this multiple times a day previously – In the last 5 days I think I have had it once!!! I also fit into 2 blouses that I LOVED that no longer fit me. In fact they fit me better now than when I bought them! I am also much more comfortable in my car, not that I was uncomfortable before, but it just fits me better now.

It is a challenge everyday. You have to be super prepared food wise so you are not caught out. My father was suddenly taken to hospital last Friday (so a week today) and I was initially caught out a lot… loving coffee and quiches and veggie fritattas from a number of cafes at the moment for dinner as I am going straight from work to the hospital at the moment. Funny part is I can only eat about half, which then means either I get to make sure Mum has a decent meal or I get lunch the next day. Today I am stoked with my leftover pumpkin, spinach and ricotta quiche – you guys SOOO GOOD!

I find I am eating a lot more vegetarian meals. Not on purpose, just because I gravitate towards these meals as I enjoy them. I am glad though as I had been trying to move towards a more plant based diet prior to the surgery because it is supposed to be beneficial for the conditions I have. It does mean that sometimes I am not hitting the protein level I need to be so I have to be careful.

So now that I have bowled you all over with my crazy last few months tell me stories! I have missed you all πŸ™‚

 

 

 


6 year anniversary of TTC is looming

So the IUI was a bust. Unfortunately as AF was 4 days late my hopes had grown super high. I didn’t POAS because I really wanted that hope to last for a little bit longer. I started bleeding the afternoon before my bloods were done. I let the nurse know and said I was confused because I was extremely regular and I it was very weird for me to be more than one day off. Only to be told that Pregnyl can make AF late. *SIGH* I really wish they would tell you this stuff when they give you the medications. So I thought I would share it with you all so you may avoid being caught unawares…

So far I have learned that Pregnyl and progesterone (anything) can/will delay AF. Obviously everyone’s body is different, we may not all react the same… yadda, yadda, yadda πŸ™‚

As we come up to the 6 year anniversary of TTC in a couple of months I find myself questioning everything. Currently I have been TTC for 70 months, 70 failed cycles. That’s such a burden you guys. One of the most natural things my body should be doing and it won’t. I’ve never even had a BFP. I know people who have had 3 children in the time I have been trying to fall pregnant once!

Here are some of the things I am questioning:

Should I be looking at a different job which is less hours and stress so I can focus more on a health journey? Could I do a secondment at work or ask to go part time in my role for 6 months or longer? But all my pay goes towards an IVF fund which keeps us moving foward and I don’t really know if I could afford a pay cut.

I know in myself I could do amazingly well in this industry. I have been the library industry version of head hunted quite a few times and I am a hard worker who isn’t afraid of change or leaping outside the box. But any amount of success in this industry would not mean much to me if it meant foregoing the opportunity to be a Mum.

 

Recently I have asked myself a very important question…

Would I be willing to basically blow up my life if it meant we could have children?

The answer is yes.

 

Is this something I need to do? I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know.

 

What could this look like?

  • I have had doctors talk to me before about weight reduction surgery. I have never really considered it because it just didn’t feel right and I have met quite a few people for whom this wasn’t really a long term solution and they have had to have it redone down the track. During this cycle a nurse who has had it done at the FS office chatted to me about it. I asked her about the fact that we would not be able to do IVF during this time and she said we would still be able to make embryos and bank them, but that generally they will not allow us to transfer them for a year post surgery. I am very much in two minds about this, but will raise it with my FS on Thursday when we see her.
  • Leave my job or ask for reduced hours to concentrate on a health journey. This is something I have thought about quite seriously. It makes me really sad because I really love a lot of the people I work with. I would really rather not leave, but I don’t know that my job could be done in less hours. Part of me feels that something drastic like this has to happen though. I have a very sedentary life in this job and there are not a lot of ways to fix that.
    If I get the surgery discussed above I will likely have to have quite some time off anyway so who knows.
  • Completely retrain for another industry. This is something I have also thought about quite seriously. In particular I have thought about going back to uni and becoming a nutritionist that specialises in PCOS, IR and Diabetes. I have looked and have found it very hard to find specialists anywhere near me. I have also thought about going back to uni and becoming an specialist in the area of Autism. My nephew has Autism and I know a few other children who are on the spectrum too and there is a lot of talk by specialists of all the restrictions children on the spectrum will have. I would love to be a specialist who works closely with children with Autism to help them work through their own individual difficulties and overcome obstacles as well as develop techniques to help them navigate everyday life. Every single person is different, having Autism doesn’t change that, everyone is a snowflake and you need to treat them as such.
    Both of these options would include more work, stress and sedentary behaviour whilst I become qualified and established so I don’t know how realistic these choices are.

 

Has anyone out there blown up their life for this? Would love to hear your stories. Advise is also COMPLETELY welcome! I would love some!!!

 

 


Reducing waste

For the last few months I have been thinking on possible ways that I could reduce waste in general personally, at work and for our household. I have done quite a bit of research on this, because you know… librarian. Whilst I am dedicated to reducing our waste in a number of ways I wanted it to be something (at least to start) that does not require massive sacrifices every day.

This has been an ongoing project for me. We started with our home. Whilst we still have all the creature comforts we could ever need we did consider a lot when building. For starters the house was supposed to have a fancy architectural void from upstairs to down which not only wasted power as far as aircon went, it also wasted usable space and the extra windows meant extra cleaning as well. So it had to go. Our toilets and two of our outdoor taps run off recycled water which I am so pleased about (even though it costs more and often doesn’t work for hours at a time) and our mailbox out the front is built from leftover bricks we have from our home. As far as air conditioning goes we have ducted air con in our house that is separated into zones, so on hot (or cold) days we can set the air con to only be on in the areas we are using which is awesome!

Image result for literary eco bags

I have been using eco bags for shopping for awhile, but I have been getting pretty slack with them to be honest. I have been recycling the plastic bags at the Coles supermarket REDcycling point though when we do our grocery shopping so that is something. For my Australian readers that are not aware Coles have a REDcycle program. You can drop off empty bread, cereal and frozen food bags, plastic shopping bags and other flexible plastic packaging and it is sent off and used to build outdoor furniture for Aussie primary schools and pre-schools. I have been making a much better effort with the eco bags though. They now always go straight back into the boot when we unpack the shopping. My aim is to stop using plastic shopping bags altogether.

One of the other big changes we have made is to stop buying store bought toilet paper. We now have a subscription to “Who gives a crap”. They send a massive box of forest friendly world helping toilet paper every 16 weeks to our door. The toilet paper is great and we feel good about the fact that 50% of the profits go towards building toilets for people who have access to none. Find out more about them here. Just now looking at their site I have realised that they now do tissues and paper towels too!

who-gives-a

Food wise to minimise waste I have for the past 2 weeks written a food plan for the week and stuck to it. This means I do not buy more than I will need which minimises the amount of food wastage in the house. The last two weeks the food wastage in our household has been almost nothing. Such an awesome outcome. Is it a bit of effort? Definitely, but I think it is worth it too. The flow on effect is monetary savings and rubbish savings because we are not buying all the extra junk we do not need.

Hubby and I have switched to paperless billing and statements wherever we have been able to. We have been using prescription services like STAN and NETFLIX and borrowing movies from the library instead of purchasing DVDs which has saved a LOT of money and as cheap as this sounds it means we can have a wine and popcorn night at home instead of going to the cinema which costs like $80 at Event these days! We are also planning to swap to rechargeable batteries for all of our remotes etc. We don’t have many items that require AA and AAA batteries anymore, but it would be nice to be able to reduce the waste these create.

 

Future plans:

I would like to have a veggie and herb garden up the side of our house as well as a passionfruit vine and a lemon and lime tree, but those will have to wait for a little bit. I am also considering a compost bin as this would help reduce the grass cuttings from our massive lawn. Currently we are not able to mow our front and back lawn in the same fortnight as the cuttings will not all fit in our council bin 😦

I plan to buy items like basmati rice and vegetable oil and cleaning products in bigger packaging so there is not as much waste.

Image result for carrying bulk rice bag

Well maybe not this big, but you get the idea. Buying in bulk reduces the packaging waste.

I have purchased a reusable BPA free water bottle. This encourages me to up my intake of water as well as not waste plastic bottles or drink as much soft drink or juice because I always have water on hand.

Cleaning wise I plan to do some research (AKA hit the library books) to look at some more cost and environmentally friendly options. Already I have swapped to microfiber cloth which often means that many marks on the walls etc. come off with just some hot water and elbow grease which is grand!

I would love to hear any suggestions that you have. I am pleased that so far my efforts have in general saved us money because we have some very good uses for that πŸ™‚

 


Losing my habit

Many moons ago I was studying for my higher school certificate (HSC for the Aussies, final school exams that give you your marks to get into University for everyone else πŸ™‚ ), I had always had issues with exam anxiety. It wasn’t that I didn’t study or didn’t try, I just got in there and somehow convinced myself things were trick questions or they wanted more than what was on there or had blanks. It was a bad time. My grandmother was also very ill and going through cancer treatments.

One day I went to visit my grandmother with my Mum and the doctor chose that day to tell us that she would not be getting better. I blocked up all my reactions and when we left the hospital I kept striding towards the car until my Mum yelled for me to stop. I sat down on a short wall and started crying. My Mum had her cigarettes sitting next to her and I just took one and lit it. That was the day I first started smoking.

I was a pretty considerate smoker I believe. I stood away from people and crowds when smoking. I held the cigarette away from myself and blew the smoke away from myself to reduce the amount the smell stuck to me. I would also eat a mint, wash my hands and give a spritz of perfume after a smoke and like any decent person I binned my butts.

Because my hubby, siblings and mother smoke I have always found it very difficult to quit or cut down. I would also use smoking as an appetite suppressant and didn’t feel I could quit and lose weight at the same time and because I was always trying to lose weight I never really quit.

I always thought I would quit when I got pregnant. For many years of trying I didn’t think of quitting. Then when we found out how much IVF was going to cost us I decided I didn’t want anything risking it not working and I just completely quit on February 15 this year. One day I smoked the next day I just stopped, that evening I was sitting at a table whilst my Mum and Hubby enjoyed a smoke and a cuppa together and it was hard, but I didn’t smoke.

I have now not smoked for 155 days.

I am so very proud of myself. It was not easy. It was in fact very hard to break a habit I had for over a decade. I feel I am healthier for it. I used to always get bronchitis in winter, I have not (touch wood) had anything awful so far this winter (although I also had the flu vaccine for the first time this year). Whilst all my colleagues have been falling around me I have marched on with sometimes mild flu symptoms. I have been an asthma sufferer for years and since quitting I have not had one attack. Not one use of my inhaler. That is incredible to me.

Between quitting smoking and the IVF meds I did put on about 8kgs (my IVF doctor was not pleased) and my eating was just out of control because I was using food to fill the smoking hole. Last week I signed up with weight watchers to help get my eating back on track. In the first week I lost 2.4kgs so I feel like this was definitely a good move.

I knew going in that quitting smoking would be a long road. I was prepared to put on weight and wait for my body to get used to being without cigarettes before attempting to lose it and now I am ready to build a new lifestyle that does not include smoking.

It was a massive part of my life. My husband who generally succeeds at everything he does lasted half a day. I am not mad at him for this because I know how difficult it is. I believe in him and know he will get there.

I have had difficulty because I used to use a smoke as a time of stress relief. Suddenly removing that from my life I believe had a bigger impact than the cravings. To deal I replaced it with watching Netflix and eating chocolate basically everyday. As a chocoholic I must admit I loved this, but my fat jeans did not. They no longer fit 😦 It also did not solve the problem because I was avoiding de-stressing by submerging myself in another world. It was all still there when I turned the TV off at night.

After our fresh transfer for IVF failed I went into a dark hole. I knew I needed to make changes to help my mental health and help me heal from this devastating result. So we took a break from IVF to allow my body to balance out all the hormones and we vowed to stop having timed intercourse for a couple of months (anyone who has had to do this knows what it does to your relationship and we have been trying to conceive for 4.5 years now) and I decided to make some changes.

So what has this loss of habit brought me?:

I no longer have asthma symptoms, I can breathe easier, I don’t get sick as often and if I do I get over it pretty quickly.

My decision to change my lifestyle began 155 days ago when I quit smoking. I knew I was in for a long journey, but so far it has totally been worth it. I have been going to Pilates for 3 weeks and love it. Yesterday I added in some treadmill work before Pilates which my body was not used to, but was very good to me. Pilates has also helped my headspace. I plan to increase the number of times I do it a week because I feel that this could provide me with the de-stress I have been craving. Long soaks in the bath have also helped with this and finding ways to spoil myself a little that has nothing to do with food or smoking has helped with the de-stress too.

The combination of quitting smoking and having a break from IVF has hubby and I connecting like newlyweds, we are coming up on 9 years together and 5 years married and I can with confidence say that our relationship is everythingΒ  have always hoped for in a marriage.

Whilst I put on weight initially I am now losing it slowly in a healthy way and filling my body with awesome nutrition to support the beautiful embryo we have frozen just waiting for transfer.

Making the decision to lose this habit has had many positive impacts in my life. It was one of the bigger challenges I have faced in life and I am proud of myself for overcoming it.

 

Response to the discover topic The Things We Leave Behind

 

 


Raw: Infertility

Warning: this is going to be raw. I am not going to edit it and I am going to babble. I do not expect my thoughts to be flowing perfectly because that’s not what happens to my emotions when I think about this. This post is about the struggles of infertility from my perspective and I’m not gonna lie, there will be swearing and talk some people might find uncomfortable. Oh and it will probably be long. How long? Hmm… as long as I need it to be hahaha.Β 

I’m just going to say it, I am going to say what we are all thinking. Infertility is BULLSHIT! It is a horrible, no good, low down, nasty bugger of a thing!

contentbullshit

Source: iaintskinny.wordpress.com

One of my fears growing up was that I would be barren, I have no idea why I had this fear. There was certainly no precedence for it, but have it I did and more than once I have wondered whether my fear somehow brought on my condition/s (AKA PCOS, Insulin Resistance and a slow as all hell metabolism). You know mind over matter and all that jazz. Obviously this is probably ridiculous, but you think a lot of strange things on the IF journey.

The IF journey has a huge effect on not only the women involved, but also their partners. If they are open about their struggles it will possibly also effect their immediate family, other children they have and friends.

I often feel as though the word ‘infertility’ could be used synonymously with ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’ because in my mind there is no doubt it causes or greatly contributes to causing both. There is no way you could go through this process, this journey and not be affected by it, if I ever meet someone who says they aren’t I am going to ask what prescriptions they are on because I need to get me some of that!

Each month is this stupid mental and physical roller-coaster. Let’s have a look shall we…

From day one of your cycle (first day of Aunt Flo (AF)) you are cramping, in pain, yet dedicated to trying for a baby so you are already basal temping first thing in the morning and recording it down like a dutiful soldier (let’s not mince words here because you are fighting the war against infertility). For those who haven’t experienced this let me be more clear, we take our temperature and write it down, then chart it to figure out when we are ovulating. We do all of this first thing when we wake up of a morning before even sitting up in bed. We do this everyday of our cycle, which means we do this every day of the year, every year until we fall pregnant (or switch methods).

Once AF has finally disappeared a new game begins. Depending on how long you have been trying to conceive (TTC) you might be just basal temping, you might be using ovulation strips (you pee on them) to identify when you ovulate and there are many other techniques and/or medications you could be trying. Pretty much the further into the game you get the more you try. At this point I am more than 4.5 years into this baby making game… tenacity people πŸ™‚ So here is what I do. I temp every morning, once AF finishes we then start the sperm meets egg method which involves having sex every two days, from the 10th day of my cycle I continue basal temping and back it up with peeing on an ovulation stick. Once I get a positive result we ‘try’ three days in a row, then skip one day and then have sex again. After that comes the wait, you’d think this meant a holiday which I would totally deserve as all the above is pretty exhausting whilst maintaining a full time job, house and eating, pooping and now apparently exercising and whatnot.

“The two week wait” – this sentence wets the eye of even the toughest of the infertility community. The two week wait is the space between when you ovulate and the end of your cycle. It is completely torturous and the whole time you are asking yourself if there was more you could have done to ensure pregnancy and you are praying and begging whoever is in charge up there to help you out. Trust me, it doesn’t matter how non-denominational you are, at some point you will pray. Naturally stress, anxiety and angst is probably not good for a developing embryo, but hey there is only so much chocolate one can eat and we can’t have alcohol because we are trying to get knocked up. ‘Knocked Up’ I used to enjoy that movie, now it just pisses me off.

The closer you get to the end of the two week wait the more anxious you become. You pay attention to every little twinge in your body, do you feel nauseated? You cup your breasts trying to figure out if they are bigger or sensitive. You have conversations with yourself convincing yourself over and over again that there is no point in taking a pregnancy test early because the results won’t show properly. How long can you hang out? This past month I made it to day 29. I had no indications whatsoever of AF, no cramps or spotting at all. So I tested, and… nothing. Big fat negative (BFN). Naturally I was upset, an hour later I go to the toilet and there is AF. Meanwhile what is this ‘Aunt Flo’ stuff? It’s a period. I HATE getting my period, but I love when my Aunts come to visit. It is a period in every sense of the word and the words it gives you when it comes are “You period Are period Not period Pregnant period Again period!”

2ww

Source: sachablack.co.uk

Then with the beginning of your period you are back to cycle day 1 and get to start the fun all over again.

You would think this would be enough to throw anyone off balance right? Right! But just for the heck of it, let’s add on some more stuff.

Amongst all of the above you will need to be seeing probably a GP and a Fertility Specialist (because we are all made of money too) and they might put you on Clomid which turn your ovulation cycles into overdrive, imagine if a normal ovulation cycle is a Nicholas Sparks novel inspired film like the Notebook, well Clomid and it’s awesome emotional side effects are the equivalent of Arnie taking on the predator. You will be WAY emotional, in fact on day 6 of my first round of Clomid I cried in the middle of a restaurant you can read about cycle 2 of Clomid here and here.

If you have PCOS and/or Insulin Resistance you will probably be put on Metformin which can also have some amazeballs side effects. Seriously you guys they are so awesome… not. In a post called ‘The Metformin Effect’ I discussed the fortunate and not so fortunate side effects of this medication and also have some very handy hints on how you can handle them until your body is used to it and settles down.

jelly_beans_shellac

What is your fave colour?

If you have a lazy ass metabolism you will probably be put on something like Eutroxsig or Oroxine. This can be hit and miss and definitely look up the side effects in case you have a bad one. I was on Eutroxig at first and all my hair started falling out. Then I finally got changed to Oroxine and thank god the hair situation has calmed down.

Then you have the surgeries. Convinced I had endometriosis the specialist decided to do a laparoscopy complete with a uterus clean out, tubal flush and ovarian drilling (which is exactly what it sounds like). For me this was not fun. I also got an infection in one of the wounds which made me very sick and I still didn’t get a baby.

Then you can move on to IVF. This is where you spend your savings, or take out a loan/second mortgage, dip into your superannuation or just spend your future kids college fund on a variety of medications and medical procedures where they give you lots of drugs through needles to send your ovaries into crazy egg producing mode, you have a bunch of blood tests (more needles), then ultrasounds where they stick a wand up your vajayjay, then they put a massive needle up and through your vagina wall and into your follicles to extract said eggs (apparently some women are knocked out for this, but I got to experience it all in HD! Honestly one of the most traumatic experiences of my life to date), then you get to be completely angry at your partner because all they have to do is have a date with a sample cup. The sperm and eggs are put in a petri dish for 24 hours for their own date and then the angst begins again.

sperm meet egg

Sperm meets Egg

For me it went like this.

Because I had done wayyyy too much reading into statistics I decided that 11 would be a good base number… we got 9 so that was already disappointing for me. Overnight 6 fertilised which is more than 50% which is good so then I was happy. Come day 3 and 3 were looking good, come day 5 and only 2 were looking really good.

They transferred 1, more tubes and what not up my vajayjay freezing the other and sending a sample for genetic testing. Then I was sent home to start the dreaded TWW yet again (see above). My TWW did not end as hoped and there were LOTS of tears to be had.

Meanwhile your first period after egg retrieval and transfer is a painful SOB!!! Seriously it was SO BAD that the cramping disturbed my bowls and I had to leave work because the bleeding and diarrhea was sooo bad I could not be out in public!

Then there was more waiting to see if the embryo we had frozen was normal… 4.5 weeks later we found out it was THANK whoever is upstairs!

I truly hope that one day my journey ends with my husband and I having a child, but to date I can summarise my IF journey as follows: waiting, perfunctory sex, all of the NEEDLES and going broke. Not to mention the fact that I feel like my vagina should be charging admission at this point, she’s reaching studio 54 numbers now. And then there’s breaking your heart once a month when AF arrives or you don’t see that second line on the pee stick. I just want to earn my stripes!

There is still much for me to figure out like how to do those pee sticks without peeing on yourself… so hard to pee on teeny stick when you first wake up in the morning.

I have terrible days, friends, an unhealthy obsession with chocolate, fellow bloggers and a sick sense of humour seem to get me through. What gets you through?