The Question I’ve Been Waiting For; 1-Month Low-Carb Check-In

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I knew it was inevitable and just a matter of time before Alexander would start asking for a brother or sister. It was his 3rd birthday this weekend, and ironically timed with his birthday was the first time he asked us this question. He asked me while I was at his pre-school picking him up, and then later on he asked his Dad the same day before going to bed. He actually said he prefers a sister.

Truthfully, I dreaded the day he would ask this question. How do you explain to such a young child that it’s something that you want to give him, but it’s just not happening and you have no control over it?! Thinking of this day and how I would explain this to him was such a dreaded moment.

Devin and I enjoyed our sibling relationships growing up (and continue to enjoy/benefit from these relationships as adults) and this is a huge reason why we want to give Alexander a sibling so badly: so he too can experience having siblings. Not that there’s anything wrong with being an only child, and I know there can be many, many benefits to only having one child. We just…always envisioned he would have what we had growing up: a partner in crime and sibling to confide in and learn from. And we never expected that we would experience secondary infertility.

So, we still hope we’ll answer his wish, and our wish. In the end, hearing this question from him did not hurt as much as I anticipated in my head. I was prepared for the question, and knowing we are about to begin more diligent efforts to make this happen with IVF made me feel more calm about all of it. Next week I will see the fertility doctor and attend a 1-hour appointment to teach Devin and I how to administer all of the fertility medications. I will be ready to take notes! Black Friday begins the actual medications. I will keep everyone posted…….

As for my 1-month low carb check-in: It’s been 1 month since I’ve made this my full time way eating again. I feel really great and lost 6 lbs this month. I don’t really want to continue to lose more weight as I’m pretty happy where I’m at now, so I started eating breakfast again and I am no longer intermittent fasting to keep my weight more stable.

This way of eating has had numerous great effects on me. I feel healthy and more energetic, and it has caused me to cook and experiment more in the kitchen.

I learned a lot from this past month. I remembered how much I love low carb eating and how it can be really wonderful if I make efforts to change up and vary my meals. Also, there are so many great low-carb products on the market these days that make this way of eating much easier.

I also remembered that cheating makes me feel like shit. This past Friday night, I decided to eat 2 pieces of pepperoni pizza. Because truthfully, I was feeling bored of my usual meals and if I was going to cheat, pizza is what I wanted. So I ate the two slices, and it was quite tasty going down. But for 2 days after that, my stomach was not right. I will not go into details about that- lol. I think the gluten/wheat in the pizza put my stomach into shock after eating no refined carbs/sugars for a month. It made me want to stick to this way of eating that much more. Clearly, my body was rejecting that food for a reason.

So continue on I will….with a heart full of hope and belly full of bacon.

Happy #loveyourlawyerday

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Today apparently is #loveyourlawyerday. I didn’t always know I wanted to be a lawyer. In my younger years, I said I wanted to be an author (I loved writing poems and short stories, particularly in elementary and middle school). I always instinctively knew I wanted to be a mom though; that was without a doubt from day one. It’s interesting how our lives end up–where life takes us, and how our passions ultimately guide us through life. There was no part of me that said to myself at any point that I would choose between family and career– I was going to have it all.

Writing is such a big part of lawyering, so naturally my profession ended up being a good fit. I started college as a business major but was not 100% certain about it. I took a political science course as one of my first general education courses, and fell in love with it. I immediately switched my major to political science. I LOVED my political science major; I remember brimming with excitement to go to class and I even shared that enthusiasm when writing my 30-40 page long poli-sci papers, as crazy as that sounds.

By the time I hit my junior year of college, I was like wait, what now? What the hell does one do with a political science degree? I thought about working for the Department of State, but the thought of having to spend a few years in a third world country was scary. It seemed that law school was the logical next step unless I wanted to be a teacher or work for the government overseas, and so I went to law school.

During law school, I envisioned I would end up doing products liability or wills and trusts. But, after the recession in 2008 which just happens to be when I graduated law school, jobs were majorly slim pickins’. I ended up finding a corporate counsel job doing Medicare compliance in Bradenton, FL. So I packed up my chihuahua and my tiny 500 square feet apartment from law school in Miami and made the move. It was scary- I moved from a big city to a small town where I did not know a soul. But it all worked out in the end.

I really had no idea what I had got myself into but really needed a job, and knew that being a corporate counsel would be a good gig with normal hours. Nine years later, I absolutely love what I do.  I love that I get to be creative, help people, and my field is anything but stagnant. It’s constantly growing and changing, and keeps me on my toes. I love that a huge part of my job involves relationships with people and clients. It is rewarding and a lot of fun.

Enough about how I got here and now onto why you should care about #loveyourlawyerday. It’s not always peaches and roses for us. The job market is flooded with attorneys and I still know many people I graduated with or that went to law school that are struggling to make decent money or find a good job. I also know many that literally  in a heartbeat would trade in their $200,000 debt and return their law degree if they could. We also suffer the scrutiny of people making comments that they hate attorneys and making jokes about us, that is until they need us and then all of a sudden we are lifesavers.

I have been criticized several times throughout my career- literally- for thinking too much like a lawyer. And here is me thinking, WTF, is that not what you hired me to do? Or for being too “black and white.” As I think to myself, OK fucker….you will thank me when that attention to detail pays off.

My first boss out of law school literally bought me a pair of thong underwear, that creepy sucker. And then a later boss basically assumed once I had a baby that I would not be coming back to work, because ya know…chauvinism took over. I came back to work from maternity leave brimming with enthusiasm more than ever, because I now had not only a husband to make proud, but also a son. I really want my son to grow up knowing that women can have it all. I will show him that. We can be lawyers. And moms. And we can do it with finesse.

So lastly, do love your lawyer. Because no one is easy on us and the job is not as glamorous as many people think it is, particularly for us lady lawyers that also have even more important “clients” at home. We work our asses off, but it is ever rewarding.

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!

 

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.

 

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