… of the month: ovulation day! ** Obviously. It’s way too soon for The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, although the stores don’t seem to know that and are already peddling their holiday wares. Sending a shout out to this all-important monthly milestone and the many accouterments that go along with. There’s a lot of bad in the world these days. Why not celebrate the little things?
Women (i.e., me) with one ovary really do ovulate every month! Like a person with one kidney, as soon as an ovary is removed the remaining ovary takes over the work of both. I’m amazed how God saw to it to design the human body with these capabilities. While it might be overtaxing to my lone ovary to be doing all the egg releasing itself during these last 13 years, I’m just grateful it’s still doing its job.
Here’s what a typical month looks like for me at ovulation, in pictures:
Let another two week wait begin.
** The most wonderful day of the month actually occurred 4 days ago. I delayed publishing this because it seemed too trite to post during either the hurricane or on the anniversary of 9/11.
It’s been three weeks since I last posted on here about our most recent early miscarriage. Since that time, I’ve started and deleted something like ten different blog posts. As I literally and figuratively run back and forth between deciding what to do next in my seemingly never ending fertility quest, all my thoughts get jumbled up together and I can’t focus on one post that actually makes any sense. Yeah. That’s where I’ve been at. Even though I’ve been all over the fertility map, I did manage to rein myself in and stick to just one topic in this post. Which is how I hope to be able to keep all my posts… But I make no promises!
I’ve also been at a place where dealing with yet another loss/failure has its tentacles wrapped pretty tightly around me. It should make sense that, coming back to my blog after a hiatus because of the m/c, that that’s exactly what I’d write about. But things “making sense” is not the theme of my life these days. And I can’t find the right words for how I feel because of what’s happened. So I’ll save it for another day. If ever.
Anyway, I immediately jumped back on the TTC train after this latest loss, as I did with the previous loss, too. There is no “waiting three cycles to try again” for this chick. Time is not on my side, so I won’t waste even a moment trying to get pregnant again. This doesn’t mean that I’m not fully grieving our losses, or that they meant so little to me that I can easily pick myself up and brush them off: just the opposite is true. But I also can’t afford to wallow in inactivity, because I’ve already been at this TTC thing for five years now and something’s gotta give. That’s 60 months that my biological clock’s been ticking, and time waits for no (wo)man, right?
Back at TTC means I’m back with all the accessories that come along with it (though, really, I never completely stopped). This includes fun stuff like BBT charting, rolling over in a semi-awake state early each morning to grope around for my thermometer. And even though my cycles and luteal phases are still all kinds of jacked up, I busted out my OPKs and religiously POAS (or, in my case, a Dixie cup cause I have terrible aim) first thing in the morning several days per month. I brew a few gallons of red raspberry leaf tea to stick in the fridge and drink every day of the week. I eat ovulation-implantation-friendly foods. I avoid alcohol, which I pretty much did beforehand anyway, and nicotine, which becomes easier as time goes by (*pats self on back*). Even my beloved caffeine has gone by the wayside, as I drink only 4 – 5 cups per week nowdays. There’s countless other little things us TTC-ers do in the name of getting pregnant, but you get the idea.
How much good does any of this stuff do me? Not sure. None of it’s worked for me yet. Maybe these things are just busy work, like when the teacher’s absent and the sub needs to find an easy way to keep the kids occupied. Either way, I keep doing them because it’s practically become ingrained in my DNA.
Now add to this list my latest craze: Vitamins.
I’ve always believed in vitamins to help treat medical conditions, and have taken them religiously for some time. Some docs doubt that vitamins do much to help, but Big Pharma isn’t the only dog in the game when it comes to fertility, IMO. Recently I’ve stepped it up and have gotten Really Serious about my vitties. Here’s what I take (Jake takes some of these things, too) every day:
But first off, I am NOT a doctor or an herbalist or anything even close to that. I do, however, work in the legal world, which I guess is why I think it’s important to state the obvious here and mention my complete non-medical prowess first. So, please, do your own research before starting a vitamin cocktail.
Multivitamin: I buy Ultra Preventative X which are a fabulous multivitamin that consists of 8 pills per day/serving. Sounds like a lot, but when you realize they contain: Vitamins A, C, D-3, E, B-6, and B-12; PLUS thiamine, riboflavin, niacin/niacinamide, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, potassium, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, inositol, choline, PABA, boron, vanadium, L-cysteine, betaine, bromelain, glutamic acid, L-Methionine, rose hips, lemon bioflavonoids, red wine proanthocyanicins, pine bark extract, hesperidin complex, rutin; AND organic root powders of beet, carrot, black currant, blueberry, broccoli, concord grape, green cabbage, collard greens, mountain cranberry, kale, parsley, pomegranate, raspberry, spinach; PLUS garlic, cauliflower, spirulina, chlorella, green papaya extract, blackberry, celery powder, black radish, apricot, green tea extract, and apple pectin you also realize that it’s totally worth gagging down 8 pills in one sitting!
Vitamin C:530 mg. I buy Ester C Plus which also has added pycnogenol, rutin, bioflavonoids, Quercetin, Echinacea root, and beta-carotene. Vit-C can help regulate luteal phase defects, which I apparently now suffer from. It also is somehow important for follicle growth and, once you’re pregnant, to nurture the corpus luteum. In men, Vit-C helps improve sperm count and motility. While Jake has no male-factor IF problems, added Vit-C isn’t going to harm his sperm, either. Like anything, of course, too much Vit-C can be bad. But if you use some common sense and don’t, say, down an entire bottle in a week, then Vit-C can have some real fertility benefits.
DHEA:I take two 25-mg. pills once a day. DHEA helps a woman’s egg health by converting itself into testosterone (say whaaa?!), which somehow helps chicks like me who have DOR. I don’t claim to understand how this works. In addition, DHEA is purported to help lower the m/c risk.
Co-Q10:One 400-mg. pill twice a day for me; one 100-mg daily for Jake. Co-Q10 is to male and female fertility what peanut butter is to jelly, what dog is to bark, what… okay, you get it. Co-Q10 is actually an antioxidant that reduces free radicals in your body. It is great for helping with egg quality and sperm motility. To really let your body absorb the Co-Q10, you’ll want to buy the ubiquinol version to get the most benefits and not the more commonly sold ubiquinone form. Dosage is important too: the 800 mg that I currently take is obviously more expensive to buy, but to take only 100 or 200 mg as a female is basically a waste of your money.
Vitamin D:5,000 iu daily. I buy this Vitamin D. I add Vitamin D because I have had my levels tested by my primary doc every four months and they were always low. I added Vit-D to my regimen in January and my latest blood work levels all came back within the normal range. Low Vit-D levels are very common for vegetarians, so my reasons for adding it isn’t related at all to my fertility cocktail. From what I’ve read, something like 40% of women have low Vit-D levels. If you live somewhere nice and sunny, then your levels probably aren’t as low as those of us who suffer through dark, unsunny winters.
In the fertility world, Vit-D does something I don’t fully understand with receptor binding that helps with estrogen production in women and testosterone in men. It also affects uterine lining for pre-embryo implantation. In men, Vit-D helps develop sperm cell nuclei and helps maintain semen quality and sperm count.
Fish Oil: Grrrrr….okay, in my defense, the only reason I’m taking fish oils right now instead of my more preferable flaxseed oil tabs (see vegetarianism blurb above; I heart my pet fish) is because Jake bought a big expensive bottle of fish oils that have been sitting in the pantry and will expire soon, and I can’t stand the idea of wasting all that money. Once the fish oil bottle is gone though, it’s back to flaxseed oil for me! If you geek out on things like metabolic enzymes that convert omega-3s and types of amino acid sources (yawn), you can read up on the differences between fish and flax oils online and how taking them helps with fertility. As for me, well my brain hurt just typing about it.
Low dose aspirin:One 81 mg./day. I started baby aspirin with Dr. C’s blessing during my FET but I wish I’d done it much sooner. It’s not a vitamin, but I’ve read up on BA therapy for IF and decided that the pros outweighed the cons and that I’d stick with it long-term. The last thing I need are blood clots to impede with trying to get pregnant. Plus, BA helps reduce inflammation (important for us endo sufferers), improves blood flow to the uterus, can help thicken uterine lining, and can really help with implantation and in the first trimester in general. I’m considering having another laparoscopic endometriosis cleanup surgery done soon, and, if I do, I’ll need to stop the BA before my surgery. But until then, I’ll stick with the BA because it has so many benefits.
L-Arginine: One 700-mg. daily. L-Arginine is an amino acid that has a ton of fertility benefits: It increases sperm quality, increases protein levels for vegetarians, when used in IVF can assist with poor responders (that’s me!), aids in making cervical mucous, and increases blood circulation to the uterus and ovaries. Jake and I are both taking this one in the same dosages.
That ends my list. I hope that, over time, all these added vitamins and amino acids and supplements will help with getting pregnant naturally. There are no more IVFs in our near future (that’s a post for another day), so all I can do is look for alternatives to medical intervention. That, and pray. Like the title to this post, there’s been a lot of praying going on lately. I hope that this list can help someone else who’s in the same boat as me. Anyone with some fertility vitamin success stories, please post them below!
The mindset in postmodernism is that objective truth does not exist. But in post-truth, the person believes that objective truth exists, but they subordinate truth to their preferences, or their comfort. In other words, one doesn’t care that truth exists or what the truth is if it doesn’t line up with one’s preferences. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" - George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Faith in Jesus Christ is our response to God's elective purpose in our life. These two truths--God's initiative and man's response--co-exist throughout the Bible. The gospel is "the message of truth" because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17). People have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed God’s truth for centuries. Some cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away. Truth determines the validity of one's belief. Believing a lie doesn't make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell