Saturday, August 20, 2011

Exciting News!!

It has been a long time since I have posted, but all of my sacrifices have paid off...I'M PREGNANT!! We are so excited as anyone might guess. We found out at the end of June while on vacation. I had to take three tests to make sure it wasn't a fluke. Every time we saw that little pink line a wave of excitement and joy swept over us.

I was actually at my parents' house at the time so we decided to tell them right away. I think they were in disbelief because we had been having so much trouble. When my husband called his parents I could hear my mother-in-law screaming through the phone she was so excited.

I am currently 11 weeks and 4 days and everything has been going really well. I even managed to avoid getting morning sickness. Probably the best thing so far was when I was taking a class and was staying with my dad's cousin whose wife is a midwife. She was able to sneak me in the clinic, after hours, free of charge, and take an ultra sound. It's amazing how much movement and detail there is in just 8 weeks! I could see my little baby kicking its leg up, the heart beating away, and I could make out the arms. She was even better and could see the eyes, nose and lips, but I had a hard time seeing that. It was amazing. Thankfully I had my ipad with me so I was able to take video for my husband so he could witness it too! We tried to find the heartbeat, but it was too early to hear. She brought the doppler home a week later and we were able to hear the heartbeat too! It wasn't easy to track down because the baby was so tiny it could swim away. So we would find it for a second and then it would disappear. Finally after about 2 minutes of trying it finally stayed put long enough to really hear it. The heartbeat is about 150, which old wive's tales  say is a girl....we will see....

We do want to find out what we're having and we have an actual appointment to hear the heartbeat this week. We're so excited and it's so reassuring every time that everything is ok. Every questionable pain and discomfort always makes me question if everything is going well. Obviously people with PCOS have a much higher rate of miscarriage, but I think that we are almost in the clear. The ultra sound and the doppler really made me relax about having a healthy baby as everything looked so good at that early of a stage.

I encourage all of you readers to listen to my story. I was recently on the PCOS Challenge radio show with my NFP practitioner talking about Natural Family Planning. Besides the fact that I used "um" a lot, I think there is a lot of encouraging things for those of you struggling to conceive. Of course I can't guarantee that everything I did will work for everyone else, but the way I look at it, it's worth a try!

I want to continue to encourage all of you to not give up hope. I'm going to continue to post on here through pregnancy, and after. I'm curious to see what my hormones do after birth. Sometimes PCOS goes away after child birth, sometimes it comes back with a vengeance. There are lots of unknowns in pregnancy...I think that's what drives me the most crazy!! However, all I know is that things are going well now, and I just thank God for every day of this pregnancy!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Diet and PCOS

People often shake their head at me when I turn down the plate of chocolate chip cookies or don't take the huge slice of pizza. I can tell you this wasn't always me. Before I understood PCOS and started trying to conceive I was all about cheetos, pizza, ice cream, and pretty much anything that had anything to do with sugar. In my first year of teaching I lost about 20lbs simply from hardly eating because I was so busy.

It was in grad school that I started understanding myself more and started working out regularly and tried to keep my calories in check. I lost a little weight, but not a lot. When I got the news from my current dr. that conceiving a child was going to be difficult for me I researched everything I could on PCOS. I ran across Diane Kress' book Metabolism Miracle. When I read that this book was specifically for women with insulin resistance I had to have it.

I wasn't sure about the 2 months of low carb dieting, but I made it, and I felt great. I still follow this diet, with my own twist.

I've been doing a lot of reading on preservatives and additives that are in food. The more I read the more I am convinced that a lot of the problems we face as a country can be contributed to these types of foods. That includes those foods that slap low carb on the lable, but are loaded with a bunch of chemicals to replace the carbs. I started really questioning what I was putting in my body.

I started looking at a more whole foods approach. I read books on the way our ancestors ate and how we are so filled with toxins. I fell in love with Whole Foods recipes and started watching ingredients.

I never felt better. I can't be perfect all the time when I'm out to eat, but I feel a lot better knowing exactly what I'm putting into my body and using ingredients instead of microwave meals.

I would suggest checking out Naturally Knocked Up for some ideas of how to get toxins out of your life. I don't think you have to go overboard, but I do believe we live in a constant science experiment in our food.

If anyone has opened the world's eyes up to what's in our food it is Jaime Oliver and the Food Revolution. There are so many excuses we use to eat poorly. If we could just use better excuses to eat right think of where we would be!

So, even when I get the head shakes and the constant prodding of, "Oh one cookie isn't going to hurt you." I'm actually reminded...yes, one cookie will sky rocket my blood sugar! Here's what I've been doing:

Breakfast: Green Smoothie (See whole foods recipe)
Snack: Fruit or handful of nuts
Lunch: Organic Soup (Amy's is the best)
Snack: Fruit or Veggies
Dinner: Anything that is created not thrown in the microwave.

I haven't had dessert in a long time and really don't miss it. I'm not going to lie, it's not always easy, but I'm certainly not going hungry and feel a million times better! That in itself is worth all the eye rolls! :)

Friday, June 24, 2011


We go on vacation today, which I'm extremely excited about. Something to take my mind off of TTC. Google has become an awful thing for me. With every twinge, ache, or abnormality I'm searching if it is a sign. I've been soooo gassy, which is unusual, I've been tired (but been better the last two days), kind of moody, but not ridiculous, and my bbs are sore. However, I always keep thinking, many of these symptoms are simply increasing progesterone symptoms, which I take at the end of my who knows.

I felt some twinges in my uterus yesterday that I was convinced were implantation twinges. Who knows...

I found the website, Countdown to Pregnancy which lists every symptom you may encounter based on the number of days past ovulation. Needless to say, I'm checking that daily.

I'm trying so hard not to get my hopes up and not read into things too much, but it is incredibly difficult. At least I've gotten my yoga in everyday. I'm going to go for my run today..I hope it doesn't wipe me out like it did last time.

The two week wait stinks, but as I read on another post, "This precious gift from God is worth the wait."

The other thing is if I am pregnant I really don't want to tell anyone until I make it at least past 10 weeks due to the high percentage of miscarriages with PCOS. I think a lot of that has to do with lack of progesterone, so I'm pretty confident that my supplementation will help with that. However, egg quality can always be an issue too, so if it implants and the body decides it's not healthy enough it can spontaneously abort. The body is an amazing thing.

I guess all I can do is keep praying right?! At least I ovulated...that's what I should be thanking God for!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Birth control is not the answer

I've seen so many birth control commercials that make me shake my head. The Mirena commercial almost made me throw a shoe at the TV. They all sound so positive until you hear the 10 minute long list of side effects. The side effects for this Mirena made me cringe
  • Mirena may attach to or go through the wall of the uterus and cause other problems. If Mirena comes out, use back-up birth control and call your healthcare provider.
  • Although uncommon, pregnancy while using Mirena can be life threatening and may result in loss of pregnancy or fertility.
  • Ovarian cysts may occur and usually disappear.
  • Bleeding and spotting may increase in the first few months and continue to be irregular. Periods over time may become shorter, lighter or even stop.
MAY GO THROUGH THE WALL OF YOUR UTERUS!! WHAT?!?! And I'm willing to bet there are thousands of doctors prescribing this to all the unknowing people that believe this is the only way to treat whatever is ailing them.

Birth control seems to be the quick fix. Constant bleeding? We'll treat it with birth control. Not bleeding? Birth control. Acne? Birth Control.

I'm sorry, but doctors go to school for a million years and the best they can do is prescribe birth control?! This is all I ever heard and I didn't know any different. We are supposed to be able to trust our doctors. The doctors are supposed to be the ones doing all the research and telling us what will work best for us. They are supposed to get to the root of the problem and treat it, not put a band aid on it. Birth control for PCOS is nothing but a band aid.

Birth control shuts down your ovaries and just pumps you full of synthetic hormones that make you bleed. Tell me how that will fix PCOS? PCOS people have ovaries that are already not functioning correctly. Does it make sense to just shut them down completely instead of trying to fix the ovarian function?

BTW, if you look at the Mirena side-effects again you'll notice that it may cause ovarian cysts....oh good, so someone who may have been functioning normally will now end up with cysts.

Besides the side-effects they list, they fail to tell you that you may become suicidal on birth control, or may have shortness of breath, or may be so moody that no one wants to be around you anyway. These were just some of the issues I had while on Yaz. I wouldn't give Yaz to my worst enemy. Yet, despite my concern for all these side-effects the doctor I was seeing at the time wanted me to wait it out. Mean while, I was checking forums and seeing person after person who was having awful side-effects from this Yaz. Some had a stroke, some had deep vein thrombosis, and various other problems. Then while I was watching TV I saw a commercial come on from a law office regarding the safety of Yaz and that there was a civil lawsuit suing the company for these dangerous side-effects. If you noticed Yaz disappeared for awhile and now there is "Beyaz" ...interesting

I was seeing a heart and lung specialist for what I thought were asthma conditions. I was crying almost daily from something. I felt awful and had no motivation to do anything. Finally, after I saw that commercial, I had had it, I told my doctor I wanted out, so she put me on another birth control. I think I lasted 2 - 3 months before God put NFP in my life.

Interestingly enough after I went off birth control my moods stabalized, my "asthma symptoms" went away, and I felt so much better.

I feel like I need to make an on-going plea that people need to get off of birth control. Even if you don't have bad side-effects, synthetic hormones are just not healthy! It takes almost a year to get synthetic hormones out of your system to allow your own hormones to function normally.

Why are there so few people that are ever introduced to NFP? Why isn't this taught in health class as an option? Most people don't even know this is an option unless you're catholic, and even a lot of catholics don't know about it. Somehow the OB/GYN world needs to change their approach to treating female conditions. Why can't the natural world and the medical world unite a little?

I'm thankful that I now have a doctor that doesn't just throw synthetic hormones at me and works to find the root of the problem. She's open to me taking herbals and even does research on things when I find something that seems to be working.

Do yourself a favor and at least look into NFP if you're not doing it already. TTC or not, it is the best decision you will make! Check out these sites:
Creighton Model
Sympto-thermal method

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gotta have Faith!

George Michael probably said it best when he sang, "You gotta have Faith." It's easy to say to someone, "Don't worry it will all work out, just have faith." But everyday that you fight the symptoms of PCOS it's harder to keep that faith.

As I mentioned before, I've only been "officially Catholic" for a little over a year now. Even thought it was hard at first hearing homily after homily about how birth control is horrible, I believe it is what led me to where I am today; birth control free!

I've always had a strong conviction in my faith. I know that God is guiding me through this. The hardest thing for me is to be patient for what God has in store for me. When people start thinking about getting pregnant they don't envision it to be an uphill battle. There are the lucky few that get pregnant just thinking about it, but I think more times than not are the people that find it to be not as easy as they made it sound in health class. I kind of chuckle at the book title, "Every Drunken Cheerleader; Why Not Me?" Although that title is humorous, I would be lying if I wasn't thinking that quite often. This especially rings true working in a low income school where some parents can't stay sober long enough to remember they have kids. I constantly wonder why they were blessed with kids, but here we are struggling.

It's so easy to question our faith when things aren't going as planned. We pray and pray, but it doesn't seem to matter. It's times like these that I think back to a video Rain by Rob Bell. "God is close to the broken hearted....I love you...we're gonna make it"

Keep your faith. Find some way to pray, or whatever you need to do to find faith. I saw an interesting segment on Dr. Oz the other day, "Can Faith Heal?" God isn't ignoring you, he just has other plans for you. I love you...we're gonna make it!

Friday, June 17, 2011


When I first started going to the chiropractor with all my aches and pains and tight back she would always tell me, "You should do some Yoga." I would smile, but in my mind was thinking, "Yoga is for people who play guitars under trees, wear knit caps in the summer, and never wear shoes."

In all my research I ran across book after book that said, "Yoga for PCOS can be very beneficial." I wasn't completely convinced. How can breathing and standing on your head be beneficial? So I randomly did an amazon search on fertility yoga on Amazon. There's a couple out there, but Restoring Fertility was made to be done with the cycle, which being an NFP person made sense to me. I went to their website and looked at the FAQs and found a post that said two out of the three women instructors on the DVD became pregnant shortly after doing the series.....I was sold!

It's not the cheapest set you'll ever buy, and I'm not pregnant yet, but it is amazing how much better I feel afterwards. I've always had tight muscles, I'm not sure if that's a PCOS thing or not, but my back is always tight and during the school year that's where I carry all my stress. After doing 1/2 hour of this yoga my back feels so much better!

The website Restoring Fertility discusses PCOS briefly and how to do the set if you are not ovulating. It encourages people with PCOS to do the DVDs twice a day to help restore fertility. I was doing that for awhile, but quite honestly, that becomes a lot of time, so I tried to do it once a day. I wasn't always perfect, and there were definitely times when I said, "Screw it, it's not working." but when I started seeing some ovulation I started up again. There's nothing on these DVDs that's overly difficult. There is some intense stretching, but they are so good at showing and explaining modifications. If you're not ovulating you do the Follicle Development one or the Ovulation one until you see ovulation. Then you can start doing the cycle.

Some people might get results right away from doing Yoga. I know in the book Inconceivable: A Woman's Triumph over Infertility  She talks about the many benefits that Yoga gave her. I would recommend that book as a great inspiration to those of you TTC. It's not directly about PCOS, but is a great book about a journey through infertility.

If there's one thing I know about most of us with PCOS it's that stress is just a part of us. Not only do we deal with the every day stress of work, family, and life, but we also throw this syndrome into the mix. A syndrome for which there is not a cure and we are often sent fending for ourselves trying to find the answers. That's a whole added element of stress that we often don't talk about because we're embarrassed. So, even if you don't believe that Yoga will turn your life around at least try it for some stress relief. This allows you to have 1/2 completely devoted to you, and to allow you to free your mind of all the stress.

Believe me, "freeing your mind" is not easy. There's a couple different references used for the women's mind: a ball of yarn, spaghetti, or a ball of wire. All of these refer to the fact that one thought always leads to another, and another, and another. Watch your husband sitting in front of the TV sometime. His brain is referred to as a waffle, or boxes. Nothing touches in that brain, and there's even a little box where he can think about nothing. Men are probably amazing at yoga and relieving stress because they have the ability to think about absolutely nothing. My husband and I have a joke about me trying to be more like a man by thinking about nothing. :) It's not easy!!

Another book that helped me to focus more on clearing my mind was Fully Fertily: A 12 week Holistic Plan for Optimum Fertility. This books goes through diet and exercise, but really dives into Yoga. For me there were some parts that were a little over the top, but the main advise I took away was to free the mind during yoga by simply saying, "I'm breathing in, I'm breathing out." and try to keep your mind focused on that breath.

It sounds stupid, and I kind of felt stupid the first time I did it, but it totally worked....well mostly, I kind of thought I was amazing in able to still be saying that in the back of my mind while I was thinking about something else. I'm a work in progress :)

So, if you're not doing yoga, I would recommend adding it when you can. Even if it's once a week, I just don't believe that all these books would recommend it if it didn't do something. Keep the faith!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Low Carb Taco Seasoning

Tacos are an easy "go-to" meal at our house, but the taco seasoning you get at the store has sugar and things I can't pronounce. I've started making my own following this recipe.

1 t. chili powder
3/4 t. paprika
3/4 t. cumin
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. salt
3/8 t. garlic powder
pinch cayenne

Combine and add to 1 pound browned and drained hamburger. Add a little water, if desired. This will be drier than taco meat made with a commercial mix due to the lack of thickeners. It tastes just as good as the store bought kind and is a lot cheaper to make. Makes enough for 1 lb. hamburger (4.5 carbs for the whole batch)(4-6 servings - 1 carb each)

A package of Taco Bell taco seasoning has 18 carbs and Old el Paso brand has 30 per package.

I mix up a bunch of this and put it in a small jar. I just measure out 4 teaspoons of the mixture per 1 pound of hamburger. See recipe below.

This recipe makes enough for about 6 batches of taco meat:

2 T. chili powder
5 t. paprika
4 1/2 t. cumin
1 T. onion powder
1 T. salt
2 1/2 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. cayenne

Mix and store in a small jar. Mix well before measuring. Makes 24 teaspoons.

I just put my meat over the top of lettuce. If you're not dairy free add some cheese. YUM!!