Time to Talk About Eating Low Carb

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I mentioned in my first blog that my fertility doctor is a big proponent of eating a low-carbohydrate diet to improve egg quality and results with IVF. He provided me with studies which I took home indicating that women who undergo IVF that have a higher level of protein intake have better outcomes/higher pregnancy rates than women who eat a lower level of protein/higher carbohydrate diet.

Also, my doctor recommends that women begin a low-carb diet at least 3 months prior to beginning IVF, so I figured the sooner the better I should get on board with this way of eating.  I want to do everything in my control to help with our outcome.

Monday, October 9th (just almost three weeks ago) I got back onboard with low-carb eating full time in a hardcore way. I plan to continue to eat this way for the foreseeable future and hopefully make it a habit this time. Truthfully, I have never really stuck to it fully and completely, although I have stuck to low-carb better than probably any other diet historically. I really love pizza, and pasta. Other than missing some carb-filled Italian food, I actually really enjoy low-carb eating.

The food is full fat so it is satisfying, and inevitably I don’t eat any processed junk, and I end up eating less. Also, as of October 9th I cut out my drinks with artificial sweeteners, like my daily Diet Coke! That was hard, but I did it. A lot of just plain water now. Oh and La Croix sparkling waters are yummy- no artificial sweeteners, no carbs, no calories. OK, maybe a little red wine at night too. Don’t judge LOL.

I also had mentioned in my first blog that losing my postpartum weight from my pregnancy with Alexander came off eating a low-carb diet, so this way of eating works well for me. I had gained 40 lbs. in my pregnancy and it took me roughly a little over 2 years to finally get the weight back off. I also found that a little bit of intermittent fasting helped me lose the weight as well and keep it off, and I’ll get into more detail on intermittent fasting another time. Pre-pregnancy, I wore a size 4. Post- pregnancy, I was a size 12. I’m now back in a size 4, and it feels good!

Anyway, so now I have the dual motivation of sticking to low-carb: to hopefully increase our chances of pregnancy with IVF, and also to keep my weight balanced as I embark on IVF (which many women reportedly gain weight on) and hopefully a next pregnancy, where my goal is to gain way less weight than last time, since it’s so darn hard to get the weight off after!

A typical day of low-carb eating for me is below. If anyone has questions or recommendations for low-carb recipes/tips, I’d love to exchange!!

Morning: Coffee with heavy whipping cream. I usually skip breakfast as this is my intermittent fasting period. I do a 16:8 intermittent fast most days. Essentially, I stop eating at 8 PM at night after dinner, and then I don’t eat again until noon the next day. Trust me that this was a big change for me and it was hard at first, but it really helped me shave off those last 10 lbs when I plateaued with just doing low-carb alone. I think I was still eating too many calories but intermittent fasting helped me reduce my intake and simplify. I don’t do well with having to cook too much or prep too much as I’m really busy and also travel for work a lot. I always ate breakfast my entire life. But I have grown to love skipping breakfast actually. It’s one less meal for me to think about on my way out the door and simplifies my life, I feel more alert and focused in the mornings, and I savor and enjoy every bite of my lunch so much more! That’s not to say I never eat breakfast. On the weekends we love to go out to breakfast and I don’t intermittent fast, and I enjoy a big omelette with meats, veggies, and cheese!

Lunch: Usually a big salad, with lots of veggies, and some kind of meat with full fat dressing like Ranch or Blue Cheese. I love Cobb salads especially.

Snack: Some days I will eat an afternoon snack. I usually do nuts in the afternoon. They have a lot of staying power and keep me full, and are very good for you. I usually do almonds, or cashews, or I have grown to love Pili Nuts.  I’m also currently addicted to Know Foods cookies. Sooo good and low carb.

Dinner: Typically I eat some type of protein/meat and veggie. Lately, I have been cooking more and trying new things. Earlier this week I used some frozen cauliflower rice and mixed it with grilled chicken, cheese, and salsa. It tasted like a Mexican chicken rice bowl and was delicious.

I know a low carb diet is not everyone’s cup of tea. But I feel good while doing it, it worked for me in the past to lose weight, and now that my doctor is recommending it for fertility, I believe in it in that much more.

 

Birth Control Pills: The Only Part of IVF That is Free- Thanks Obamacare!

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The first part of IVF is not what you would expect: I have to take a birth control pill for a little over 3 weeks before I can start my medications to stimulate egg production. It seems strange to be taking a birth control pill when this process is about getting pregnant, but the reasoning is that it will better allow my ovaries to respond to stimulating medicines and level out my hormones.

I was pleasantly surprised when the Walgreens pharmacist told me that my birth control was free. It had been so long since I took birth control that I forgot that Obamacare mandated that health plans provide contraceptives free of charge (a great initiative in my opinion). Looking at the very expensive costs of IVF that we have in front of us, I have to celebrate that this will likely be the only free part- haha!

Although, I am certainly grateful that Devin and I are fortunate enough to be able to afford IVF. Something that is not well known is that it is extremely rare for insurance to cover any fertility treatments, so everything is out of pocket. Unfortunately, our cost will be on the higher side than most patients, as I have a history of epilepsy and additional precautions for the egg retrieval will have to be taken. Most women can do their egg retrievals in an outpatient setting, but I will need to do mine in a supervised hospital due to my history of epilepsy which increases costs. Knock on wood though- I have not had a seizure since 2010 and my epilepsy medication regimen seems to be working great!

Aside from the high financial costs of IVF, the emotional investment is huge. I know both people that IVF worked for and people it didn’t work for. So, we have to be prepared for all outcomes. If it doesn’t work, I know it will be very hard on us, but in the end we will be glad we gave our dream of a second child everything we could.

For those of you wondering and into following OUR IVF journey, our general IVF schedule is listed below. It’s a longer process than I thought it would be. But, we are ready to be patient and do everything the right way so that we can increase our chances of this working.

I guess I have to state a disclaimer here. The lawyer in me can’t help it. If you choose to join us on this journey, be prepared for whatever outcome. It may work perfectly the first time. Or it may not work at all. Or it may work initially and then I may lose it. You will hear all of this if you follow the blog and our journey- both the good and bad. But I am so fortunate for all of the support from those that want to follow our journey- so THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

General IVF Schedule 

It will be an easier few weeks while I take the birth control, so in the meantime I will be blogging more about taking good care of myself and eating well before I start the madness of injections and medications prior to the egg retrieval!

October 27- November 20: Take Birth Control Pill

Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving): Begin stimulating medicines. Mid-November I have an appointment with my doctor to explain all of the medications/injections I will be doing. I know it is a lot, and may be injecting myself several times a day. I will likely need Devin’s help with the injections that go in the buttcheek!

Sometime between December 6-8: Egg retrieval procedure at hospital. We are hoping we can get at least 8-10 eggs.

Post Egg- Retrieval: Doctor will create embryos and genetically test them. With the genetic testing, we will even be able to know if the embryo is a boy or girl! The doctor will then freeze the viable embryos.

Sometime February 2018: Transfer of Embryo

Stay tuned!

 

My Kid Shit Himself, and then the Dog Ate It: Why I Started this Blog

On Saturday, Alexander had a #2 accident in his underwear while we were outside playing with his toys on our patio. Upon realizing that the poop was runny and literally running down his leg, I ran inside frantically to Devin to have him help me. Because a chunk of poo fell out of Alexander’s underwear onto our patio, I asked Devin to clean Alexander up and I would deal with cleaning up the poop on the patio outside while he did that. Well, before I got there to clean up….our dog Anna had done the cleaning up for me.

Yeah, gross. Sorry if I made you throw up, I hope I didn’t. I’ve digressed…….. So, why am I writing this blog and what is the purpose behind all this? Since this is my first post, I should explain that. Well, I’ve always been a wear your heart on your sleeve type of person. No matter what I’ve gone through in life, I have always felt compelled to be honest about my story. As I get older, I feel more comfortable with this realization about myself wanting to be the authentic version of myself that feels no reason to hide what’s true and in my heart.

I was provoked to start chronicling as we begin to start In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Devin and I have now experienced two years of secondary infertility (secondary infertility means the inability to get pregnant following the birth of a biological child) and one miscarriage along the way in that 2 years. It’s quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever gone through. Some say that going through infertility can be as tough on a woman as HIV or cancer. I can’t imagine comparing this to something life threatening, but it certainly has been a frustrating challenge for both Devin and I.

The fact is….the IVF very well might not work. I’m holding a positive attitude that it will, but in case it doesn’t, I don’t want to go through all of this and have it be for nothing. Since we are at it, why not help others who want to share in this journey with us? I hope that my courage in sharing our story helps others.

Also, from time to time, I’ll share some other blog topics. My fertility doctor has stressed big time that I eat a low carbohydrate diet and has supplied me with medical evidence demonstrating that a low carb diet can drastically increase chances of pregnancy, particularly with IVF.  Also, he recommends his patient begin on this diet as early as 3 months prior to IVF to improve egg quality. Therefore, I’ll be sharing some of my low carb journey along the way for those of you looking to share some of my experiences. I have done a low carb diet recently to lose my post-partum pregnancy weight, and I was a big proponent of it beforehand, so this works well for me.

Lastly, juggling a career, being a wife, and a mom is the most challenging but most wonderful part of my life. But of course, it brings challenges. Which is why I’m not ashamed to share that my Kid shit himself and my dog ate it. More stories to come, I hope you’ll stay tuned from my Blog.