Changed my diet. Yesterday, in part 1 of this series of posts, I said that supplements were my first line of defense against infertility. That's not entirely true. I changed my diet even before I technically knew I was infertile. Dr. God Complex was a proponent of a protein-heavy diet. So months before we discovered the dermoid cyst, I was cutting down on or eliminating sugar, simple carbs, and high-glycemic foods. I measured everything and counted calories to make sure that 25 percent or more of my daily calories came from protein, and less than 40 percent of my daily calories came from complex carbs. It was really effective for weight loss; I dropped 30 lbs. in a short amount of time just by following this plan.
There were long stretches of time where I'd be really strict about these things. And then there'd be stretches where I'd fall clean off the wagon. Like when I lost my left ovary. After the surgery my hormones went completely cray cray and I was nauseated nonstop. For about two weeks, the only things I could eat without feeling sick were saltines, graham crackers, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Oh, and some soup. But really, that was about it.
I'm also an emotional eater. Right before we discovered the dermoid, a good friend of mine died unexpectedly. I actually had a painful dermoid attack the day of her funeral that I managed to get under control long enough to attend. Then, the attack returned toward the end and I had to go straight home, where I sweated, puked, and writhed in pain for hours. Point being: during this time, I put back on some of the weight I'd taken off.
After my infertility diagnosis, I got super-strict about everything. I switched to decaf, stayed away from all alcohol (I even stopped cooking with it!), traded Splenda for 100% pure stevia, and avoided most soy (I still used soy sauce on occasion). More weight came off. Not all of it, but enough that I needed to go down a couple of sizes in my bras and pants.
I went on and off this eating plan for the better part of two years. But I haven't actually tracked calories since last fall. A little over a year ago, I let myself indulge in alcohol on occasion. And I also started drinking regular coffee again this past spring, when I was off my antidepressants and exhausted all of the time.
Changed my decaf. I'd been drinking decaf for a long time when I discovered that most decaf becomes that way by using the same chemicals used in paint thinner. Coffee that is decaffeinated through the Swiss Water Method is the safest, as it is chemical-free. So I switched to Tim Horton's decaf K-cups, which are really, really tasty.
Here's a funny side note: I started using K-cups last December, when I got Mr. Hope a Keurig. But it wasn't until two months ago that I realized K-cups are in plastic, and that boiling water washes over them, releasing all kinds of fun plastic-y chemicals into my coffee. This literally years after I switched almost all of our food storage containers over to glass, and not letting Mr. Hope put anything plastic in the dishwasher.
Yeah, I can be dense sometimes.
Detoxed my body seven ways from Sunday. At some point in this process, I became convinced that the overall rise in infertility was due to poisonous environmental factors (including those pesky plastic chemicals). So I went on this detox kick: I drank hot lemon water every morning (still do, actually - it helps with bloat), brewed detox tea, ate detoxifying foods (this Lemony Toasted Quinoa and Cabbage Salad is still a fave), and took detox baths. None of it was noxious, but I also didn't see any evidence that it aided in my fertility, either.
Meditated. I'll confess: I never bought the full Circle + Bloom set. But I did try listening to the freebie track while taking my detox baths. Me + dulcet tones + visualization = sleep, not fertility.
Let a nerdy white guy stick needles in me. Many IVF clinics work with acupuncturists, as it has been shown to aid in conception, especially when paired with assisted reproductive technologies. Research touts acupuncture's stress-relieving properties, as well as its ability to increase blood flow to reproductive organs. I can't speak to the latter, but when it comes to the former, I have to say: I never felt all that relaxed.
My first session came free as part of the program fee I paid to Dr. God Complex's clinic. Then I purchased Groupons to get additional sessions with the same guy, only at his normal place of business. He was like a martial arts cowboy and I really liked him. I tried doing acupuncture at the start of cycles, around the time of the trigger shot (when I did IUIs), before and after transfer (with the IVF). Nada.
Think I'm done? Nope. More craziness to come in Part 3.
Read Part 1 of this series here.