TTC Arsenal

fertility meds

Guys, this is just a tiny slice of the mega supply of supplements I have right now, in my desperate attempt to overcome my infertility.  I thought it might be helpful to get an idea of what I am using and the effectiveness of the products I will share as I use them.  This is just what came in a recent Amazon delivery, to be added to my regular routine.

I think it will be easier if I break up my supply into several posts, because it’s a lot of stuff and a lot of info to take in.  I should mention that in addition to the supplements I am using, I am also following a healthy whole foods eating plan, and exercising 5+ days a week.  All of the supplements in the world won’t help you if you aren’t being proactive in all aspects of your life.  I should also mention, for those that don’t know, that I suffer from PCOS which is largely responsible for my secondary infertility.

Secondary infertility is described as the inability to achieve or maintain a healthy pregnancy following the birth of one or more biological children.  What I have come to learn, is that it is typical for PCOS to really take hold and cause infertility in your mid to late 20’s.  This is exactly what happened to me.  I had two children and then came the nightmare roller coaster of miscarriage and infertility.

I had a Clomid/rainbow baby, and then quickly became pregnant with my youngest soon after.  The combination of breastfeeding, weight loss and somewhat normalized hormones coupled with perfect timing helped me with that.  Since then, my PCOS has flared out of control.

So now, I have my battle gear on, and I am fighting to regain what should be rightfully mine.  I have grown tired of being betrayed by my own body and decided to take action.  Sometimes you just have to get mad to get serious, and this year, my friends, I got pissed off.

Pictured:

  • Premama Fertility Supplement:  This is a drink additive that includes 2000 mg of myo-inositol and 200 mcg of folic acid.  I know I have tried inositol supplementation before with zero results.  Call me crazy, but I decided to try this supplement anyway with a daily tea I will talk about soon.
  • NAC 600mg (n-acetyl-cysteine): This is touted as a miracle supplement by so many for PCOS and has been on my mind for years but I never tried it before.  Until now.  Some benefits reported include improving insulin sensitivity, lowering testosterone and free androgens, regulating cycles and improving regularity of ovulation, supporting egg quality, and higher progesterone levels.  This supplement is in the sulfur family, and let me tell you, the capsules smell awful.  But if it can help me, you know I’m willing to give it a try.
  • OPK Test Strips: Wishful thinking, but I would like to be able to use these puppies, and I know you go through a ton of them in a cycle so I stocked up with a 100 count box.  I will go into more detail on OPK’s for cysters, as they are a whole new game, but for now, I am just well stocked and hopeful.

Stay tuned for more arsenal info, and hopefully I will be able to update that the crazy cocktail of supplements offers me some benefits.  PCOS is tough to navigate and there are so many promised miracle cures out there, it’s hard to know what is even worth trying.  I do a lot of research on everything before I decide to try anything, and of course, none of this is meant as medical advice, it’s just me being open and sharing my journey.  As far as dosages, that can vary wildly, depending on what study or article you read.  I tend to follow the research studies for dosage amounts, rather than the label on the bottles.  It’s all trial and error, really.  I try to be tuned into my body and adjust accordingly.

Until next time, friends!

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My Big Fat Fabulous Lie

Have you all seen the TLC show, My Big Fat Fabulous Life?  When it first came out, and it was revealed that the main character had PCOS, I was instantly interested to hear more.  So many women suffer from the disorder, and yet so much is still unknown about it all.

While I went in, hoping to see more light shed on the subject, it turned out to be much more of the typical unreal “reality show” circus.  Heavily scripted and just ridiculous, with the star of the show blaming everything on PCOS, making people who are really suffering look foolish.

The last few episodes were so ridiculous and over the top, it was sad.

It is insanely rare to get a false positive pregnancy test period, PCOS or not.  Further more, to get a positive pregnancy test, the body has to be secreting HCG (human chrorionic gonadotropin).  This hormone is produced by a growing embryo, and later the placenta.  Nothing else can create or mimic this hormone except for extremely rare types of tumors.

False ovulation test positives?  Yes.  Very common in PCOS, but that is a completely different hormone.  Ovulation tests react to LH (luteinizing hormone), or more specifically a surge in LH.  Because ovulation is so erratic in women with PCOS, the tests can pick up false surges, when the body is trying to ovulate, but ultimately does not do so.

There are so many women suffering from infertility, specifically tied to PCOS, it really sucks to play out a fake story line on a fake reality tv show for ratings.  In fact, it’s insulting.

Fans of the show, I don’t judge you for watching, but please don’t assume anything is real.  Enjoy it for the writing and the acting, but don’t take notes on any “facts” they sprinkle in for drama.

To my fellow cysters, yes, my eyes hurt from rolling so hard as well.  Fight on and be strong!

Now you see me….maybe…

Seriously flirting with the idea of vlogging, adding another element to my blog here, and a new way to interact.  I’m implementing a lot of big changes in my world right now, and as I’ve mentioned before, re educating myself on all things PCOS.  I’m learning even more than I did before, 8 years ago, when I first dove into my research, and feel like it could be helpful to share what I find.

Speaking of 8 years ago……

So, it never fails to hit me this time of year, as the date approaches, and this year is no exception.  Next week, on April 13, marks what would have been my third baby’s birth date/estimated due date.  I was so stinkin’ excited to have a baby with diamonds as their birthstone!!  Not to mention, we don’t have any April birthdays in the family yet!  This year, I would be celebrating 8 blissful years, but the universe had another plan for me.

I lost my baby early on, and went spiraling down into my unexplained infertility battle, that I would eventually find out was caused by PCOS.

I am fighting PCOS to this very day, and have recently gotten so over it, I have decided to really do everything in my power to show this nasty condition who’s boss.  (Spoiler alert: I’m the boss!!  The power is in my hands, and yours too, if you are in my boat!)

I want a happy ending to my tear filled journey, and if I can give even a tiny glimmer of hope of help to someone who feels the same way, who is going through the same thing….well, then I feel like it’s my job to offer a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, or even just an ear to listen.

That’s why I have been seriously considering vlogging, since I feel like I can better emote to you and speak like your friend, rather than just type the words to try and convey what’s in my head and heart.

I’ll have to see what my tech guy says, because I am thinking of just hitting record, spilling my guts, then sharing the video.  I get annoyed at the idea of editing anything or doing anything technical because, blah, it’s boring to me!  I am not a patient girl, I just wanna talk.  🙂

 

PCOS Awareness Month

pcosawarnessmonthbyjennka

What perfect timing to delve into the beast known as PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome!  So to start things off, perhaps we should start at the beginning and explain just what exactly this condition is.

PCOS is one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders in women, but is still a tricky thing to actually get diagnosed because of the many varying symptoms that can be confused for other issues.  Short story: Women with PCOS have multiple cysts on their ovaries, and those little suckers start a whole avalanche of hormonal imbalance.  Some of the havoc this imbalance can bring includes: infertility, acne, weight gain, trouble losing weight, thinning scalp hair, loads of extra face hair, oily skin, irregular periods, potential insulin related problems including diabetes and increased risk for heart problems, and unbelievably, with all of these fun ailments, anxiety and depression are also very high on the list.  Go figure!

I self diagnosed myself with PCOS back in 2008, after having a miscarriage the year before and being unable to get pregnant again afterwards.  My doctor later confirmed my diagnosis through ultrasounds and blood work.  I was given a prescription for Clomid, and 6 months later, I was expecting our little Noey Bean.

Now, I had heard that sometimes following a pregnancy, the hormones can sort of self regulate and was hopeful that we would be able to get pregnant again some day.  Because of our struggle with secondary fertility, we started trying to conceive again just before Noah turned one, expecting it to take possibly years before being successful.  When the pregnancy test came back positive three weeks before Noah’s first birthday, I was dumbfounded!  That pregnancy brought us Saraphina.  ❤

It has been our desire from the start to have a large family, and our “plan” does include more children.  So last year, we decided to hop back on the heartbreak train of TTC (trying to conceive).  Ironically, looking back, it would appear that the last time I ovulated, was the month before we decided to TTC.  Laugh or cry or scream, but I’m pretty sure that is indeed the case.

I have always had irregular periods, another sign of PCOS, but like most girls, I loathe that time of the month, so going months sometimes without is all fine and dandy with me, until you actually expect your body to work like it is supposed to.  Crazy, right?

I can tell when I actually ovulate in a cycle, because the resulting period is a nightmare. (heavy bleeding is another PCOS symptom)  Like, I’m talking, don’t leave the house, don’t move, don’t sneeze, just chill for 5 days or risk looking like an extra from the latest gorefest slasher flick.

On months when I don’t ovulate, I still get a period, but not really.  See, bleeding without ovulation is also known as estrogen breakthrough bleeding, or annovulatory bleeding, and while blood is involved, for me, it is a very miniscule amount compared to my usual “fertile” cycles.  I imagine it is what a “normal” cycle would be like, but without ovulation, it is a big fat bloody (or not so bloody in this case) waste of time in my humble opinion, and a reminder that I am broken.  Ugh.

I have more fertility books than I can count, including Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.  This book is amazing for learning about your body, how things work, charting your cycles, using a BBT thermometer, etc.  The problem is, having PCOS, a lot of it’s usefulness is wasted on me.  I have tried charting, but my charts are crazy, thanks to PCOS.  I can use ovulation predictor kits (opk’s), and while I will get a positive result, a spike in lutenizing hormone or LH, it definitely does not mean that I will ovulate.  My body has been gearing up and trying to ovulate for what feels like forever, but the hormone imbalance kicks everything around and instead, I get a positive OPK, no ovulation, and then a frustrating annovulatory cycle.

One of the biggest treatments for PCOS is weight loss.  *Insert big fat sigh of annoyance right HERE!*  The hormone imbalance is greatly against you with this battle, and I have been feeling that especially hard for the last several years.  It doesn’t mean I’m not trying though.  We have adopted a whole foods diet in this house, meaning I am making alost every single meal we eat from scratch, with the most basic whole foods we can find.  Loads of fruits and veggies and beans, all good healthy foods, no added sugars, or chemicals.  I wish I could say I dropped loads of weight and feel revitalized, but in truth, I don’t.  I know we are eating better, and getting better nutrition, something I have no desire to change, but I hoped it would help me more with my PCOS symptoms.

I have tried more herbs than I can name at the moment, but I will delve more into that in another post.  For now, I just wanted to give a brief history of my personal struggle, along with a tiny, short version of what PCOS actually is.  I will be continuing this discussion all month long, and of course, will be documenting our journey hopefully through a successful pregnancy in the near future.

Until then, be well!  ❤

Citrus Lane September 2014 Review!

We just got our September Citrus Lane box and I am happy to share with you all the fun little goodies we received!!  Let’s jump in!

clsep2014

This month’s box was quite heavy, and no wonder, because it has a big, chunky, wodden Melissa and Doug item included!!  This month’s box contained:

Red Shape Sorting Clock from Melissa and Doug

This is an awesome addition to the box, I am always so excited to get Melissa and Doug anything!!  This is a very substantial toy, serving double duty as a tool to learn shapes when the little ones are smaller, and to help establish time telling skills when they are a bit older!  I love the bright colors and am very excited to add this to our daily home school routine for my two little ones!

Pieces Foam Bath Puzzle from Boon

A bath toy that doesn’t squirt or hold icky water, woo hoo!!  This will be a very welcome addition to splash time, a fun, bright jellyfish design in a puzzle that sticks directly to the tub wall for bathtime problem solving!  This is very cool and Sara is huge into puzzles right now, so I know she will definitely enjoy this toy!

Little Red Hen Book & CD Set from Barefoot Books

We are book hoarders in our house, so I am always super excited when we receive a book in our box!  This one is no exception, and has the fun bonus of a story cd read by Debra Messing and even a bread recipe to add a super fun activity to go along with the well loved children’s classic!  Love, love, love!

Cinnamon Crunch from Somersault Snacks

Snack time!  This month’s box included a new treat I had never heard of, a healthy new snack that is nut free and made from sunflower and sesame seeds.  Crunchy, sweet, yummy….was I supposed to share these with my kids?  Oops!!  Hehe!  They are a very yummy addition to snack time, and definitely something I am looking forward to having again!

Free Box for a Friend!

We also got a coupon to receive a free box for a friend, a nice way to introduce someone to the awesomeness of Citrus Lane!

 

So ends another awesome month of Citrus Lane!  If you are totally jelly and wishing you had your very own box of goodies delivered right to your door each month, carefully curated just for your child, then click HERE and give Citrus Lane a try!  Shipping is always free, and you get an awesome array of goodies each month specifically for your child’s age.

 

There is also a great promotion going on right now, but ending soon!  Click HERE and be sure to enter code HALFOFF to get 50% off your first box!!

10 Storks Review!

Today, I have an exciting new subscription box to share with you, designed especially for the expecting mama!  What a perfect time to pamper yourself, and look forward to a new box of goodies each month throughout pregnancy!  This would also make an amazing gift for that special mama to be in your life (hint hint to all the expecting papis out there!).  Better still, with every single paid subscription, you also receive a free baby box filled with items valuing $30!  Let’s dive in, shall we?

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I received Box #4 for review, this is the magical time in pregnancy when the morning noon and night sickness starts to wear off and you can finally start to enjoy the ride a bit!

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The box was oh so lovingly packed, seeing all the pretty tissue paper and the neat little bow just made me smile instantly, such a nice way to package everything!

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And the box was packed full with all kinds of awesome, pregnancy stage appropriate items!

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Orchard Valley Harvest Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds

This was the first thing to catch my eye, yum!  Almonds are a great, low carb food, perfect for storing in your purse for snacks on the go.  The added dark chocolate is a great bonus, filled with antioxidants and yummy goodness for the perfect treat during pregnancy or anytime.

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Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Heartburn Tea

I love Earth Mama Baby Angel anything, so having the yummy heartburn tea was a welcome addition to this month’s box!  Pregnancy comes with lots of fun little discomforts, one of the biggest for me is always heartburn.  This delicious organic tea is the perfect herbal blend with a soothing mellow mint flavor that helps ease the discomfort of heartburn.  The tea is also caffeine free, so no worries!  Drink as often as needed!

 

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Mambino Mommy & Baby Calming Aromatherapy Oil

This tiny bottle is serenity in disguise.  Apply a small dab to each temple for relief with nausea, and continue use for calming effects both for mom and baby.  Organic oils are very potent, and just the tiniest of amounts proves very effective, so even in a small package, this bottle of magic will last a good while.  Also included were sample sizes of a few other products, Youth Glow Face Serum and Oh Baby! Belly Butter.  Awesome, pampering products that are safe and organic for the mama to be.

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Eucerin Travel Size Lotion

Perfect for throwing in your purse and moisturizing on the go!  During pregnancy, your skin can tend to be more sensitive and dry.  Having this in your purse is a great way to help keep that dryness under control in between doctor’s appointments and busy schedules.  Moisturized skin is happy skin!

 

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Neutrogena Age Shield Sunblock Lotion

Having more sensitive skin, means being more susceptible to sun damage and even sunburns.  This is a great, generous sized product from a big name brand known for keeping your skin healthy.  Remember to apply daily, even in the colder months!

 

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Oral-B Complete Glide Dental Floss Picks

During pregnancy it is super important to keep up with your regular dentist appointments and teeth cleaning routine.  You are more susceptible now than ever to bleeding gums, so keep ahead of it and keep those gums clean!  This is an awesome product to take with you on the go as well, great for a quick cleaning and breath freshening any time of day.

 

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Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy

The pregnancy Bible.  Seriously.  This book was written by doctors who are also parents, and covers absolutely everything you could ever want to know about your pregnancy.  Everything is explained very well, no confusing clinical terms, and being well informed will squash any fears you may have during your pregnancy.

 

Pretty awesome stash, wouldn’t you agree?  I think this would be a great box to look forward to each month, pampering during pregnancy should be a rule!  You can subscribe to 10 Storks for as many months as you like, start at anytime!  Each month is $40 and shipping is always free!  Don’t forget that with each paid subscription, you will also receive a free baby box filled with great products valuing $30!

You can get your very own subscription by going to the 10 Storks website HERE.  Enter code MOMLOVE for $10 off your first box!

If you aren’t ready for a full subscription, there is also a pregnancy survival kit available for purchase.

 

“Like” 10 Storks on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Follow 10 Storks on Twitter by clicking HERE.

 

I received this box from the awesome folks at 10 Storks free of charge for review purposes.  I was not compensated in any other way and I really do think this is an awesome subscription box!

Happy Birthday Noah!

My little Noah Bean is officially 3 years old today!  He was our Clomid baby, after our miscarriage.  It took nearly two years to get pregnant with him, and once we were officially pregnant, it was the scariest nine months of my life.

We suffered through secondary infertility after losing our third pregnancy.  It came out of nowhere and left me feeling broken.  Yes, I had two perfectly healthy, gorgeous, wonderful children.  I was lucky, and I knew that.  But after losing the pregnancy, well, it just leaves a hole that doesn’t ever seem to get filled.

I made myself and Abe crazy with charting and herbs and anything I could find to try and help us to conceive.  After countless hours spent researching through books and Google, I self diagnosed myself with PCOS and made a doctor appointment that confirmed my suspicions.

My doctor offered me hope.  She prescribed the Clomid after extensive testing and ultrasounds, and told me that if at any time I wanted to see a specialist, she would be happy to refer me.  She felt confident that she could help me, and her hope was enough to keep me going.

It was the fifth round of Clomid that was magic.  That, and I changed the days I took it.  My doctor prescribed days 5-9.  Through research, I read several studies that suggested days 3-7 might work better for women with PCOS.  Who knows, maybe it was just a coincidence.  That was the month I got that BFP.  That is also when the fear set it.

Every tiny little cramp or twinge had me rushing to the bathroom, expecting to see blood, expecting to lose my baby.  I prayed and begged God all day, every day to just please, please let me keep our little bean safe.  I bargained, I pleaded, I was a hot mess.

I started spotting.

Words can not describe the fear I felt.

My doctor ordered an ultrasound to ease my mind, and while the tiny baby, flipping around on the screen made me breathe a little easier in the moment, I did not enjoy my pregnancy in the least.  I was just too scared.  I’d like to say the fear went away when I was pregnant with Sara, but it didn’t.  Pregnancy is a terrifying time for a woman who has miscarried.

Noah was due on Halloween.  My doctor originally planned on inducing a week early, but she was on vacation that week.  Go figure.  We ended up going in a week later, where my giant, healthy baby was born.  (He was over 9lbs, ouch!)

The labor was long, and I had a nurse who told me my uterus was too weak to push out a baby, that I needed to prepare myself for a c section.  Well, my uterus happens to have that Latina attitude, thank goodness, and we proved her wrong shortly after she said that.  Neener, neener.

And now, the pictures.

How itty bitty do Matt and Bella look here!?  This is when Grandma brought them to the hospital to meet their baby brother for the first time.

On his way to his very first doctor appointment!  We brought him a cute 0-3 month outfit to wear home from the hospital, assuming it would be large on him.  Well, at nearly 24 inches long, he barely fit into it!  He was a big, healthy boy!

He was the happiest little baby, always smiling and giggling.  That was before he turned two.  He redefined the terrible two’s.

He looks so innocent here.  Looks can be deceiving.

My Noey.  He was supposed to be a Halloween baby, and I think he knows it!  He is obsessed with all things spooky, it is definitely his favorite holiday!

Happy Birthday, Noah!  We survived the terrible two’s, you are getting less and less evil with your baby sister, and you are awesome!  We love you to pieces, you brought happiness where so much sadness once was.

xoxoxoxoxoxo

National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I mentioned earlier this month that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Today, October 15 is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  There is a special candle lighting ceremony at 7pm in every time zone for parents, friends and relatives to create a wave of light around the world in memory of babies lost to pregnancy and infant loss.

For all of the sweet angel babies, and for all of the grieving family members, may you feel the love and the light from the candles as you will again one day in our arms.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Back in October of 1988, President Ronald Reagan designated the month to be Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month.  “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, their isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”  It’s not something people like to think about, especially people who have never experienced a loss and don’t understand the pain and torment a mother feels when losing her baby.

I have suffered personally through miscarriage myself, and unfortunately, know some pretty amazing, strong women who have suffered through multiple miscarriages and infant deaths.

It sucks.  It’s stupid and it just sucks.  No child ever deserves to die.  No man or woman should ever have to send their child to God.  There is no rhyme or reason, there is no silver lining, it’s just stupid and it sucks.

My thoughts, my prayers, my love and hugs to each and every person who is personally affected by pregnancy or infant loss.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Dr Seuss, Horton Hears A Who!

 

 

The DeodoMom Cream

It’s something that we all need and we all use.  There are endless choices in a huge aisle, so many different formulations and scents and powers.  So many chemicals.  What am I talking about?  Deodorant.

You probably never thought about all the junk the deodorant companies put in their products, did you?  Me neither.  Never a second thought.  Likewise, I never realized that antiperspirants use aluminum to essentially plug the sweat glands until the skin is shed.  Does that sound like a healthy way to be stink free?  I didn’t think so either.

The DeodoMom Cream has no aluminum, no alcohol/glycol, no fragrance, dye or parabens and is 100% vegan.  Instead, it uses magnesium hydroxide, a mineral safe enough to eat, and water to effectively keep you odor free.

But does it work?

There are plenty of products out there that are better for us and that claim to work just as well as the chemically ridden cousins, only to disappoint.  That is not the case with DeodoMom Cream!  I have been using it in the sweltering heat, running around, running errands, chasing kids, you name it, and not once have I been distracted by ineffective deodorant.  (Come on, you know it’s happened to all of us at some point.)

And I like the fact that it is fragrance free!  How many deodorants actually smell nice?  In my opinion, they all have a very metallic undertone to them, and if I wanted to smell like metallic baby powder….well, I don’t.  So….

DeodoMom Cream was created by a husband and wife team, specializing in toxin-free and hypoallergenic products for pregnant women.  Obviously, pregger mami’s aren’t the only ones who care about what goes on and in their bodies, so this product is awesome for anyone who is health conscious and trying to make better choices for themselves and their family.

There are two formulations of the DeodoMom Cream.  It is available in a roller, just like regular roll on deodorant, as well as in cream form.  The cream comes in a jar and is applied like a lotion to the underarms.  Men and women can use DeodoMom Cream, but men will probably prefer the roll on, what with all their arm pit hair and what not.

There are also several olive oil soaps available, each specifically catering to different body areas and conditions.

Check out DeodoMom Cream on their website by clicking HERE.

“Like” DeodoMom Cream on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Follow DeodoMom Cream on Twitter by clicking HERE.

 

The awesome folks at DeodoMom Cream provided me with free product for review purposes and so that I could share their awesome product with my readers.  I was not compensated in any other way, and I really do love their awesome, safe deodorant!