Fertility Diet Cookbooks

{One of the hardest parts of this traditional Chinese medicine approach to TTC is how little there is written on the subject. I’ve certainly never come across a blog that details someone’s efforts to use diet, supplements and acupuncture to overcome their infertility. For that reason I want to write a few posts on what we’re doing and create a page with links to all of them so anyone can easily access what I’ve learned. I’ll be posting these on the weekends, when no one reads or comments anyway. Hopefully they won’t bore you all too badly). ;)

Our fertility diet is a strange combination of restrictions and allowances; we avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar (this includes processed sweeteners of any kind, including corn and cane syrup), processed foods, wheat, and dairy but we do eat meat, eggs, legumes, nuts and (very limited amounts of) tofu (but no other processed soy products).

Because of this rather strange mixture it can be hard to find cookbooks that have plentiful recipes. Vegetarian recipes have a lot of wheat and diary. Vegan cookbooks cut out the dairy but rely heavily on wheat and meat substitutes (generally made out of processed soy). And of course both of those avoid meat, which we can eat  (though we’re trying to limit meat too and we really only eat poultry, bacon and sushi (on special occasions). The closest diet is the Paleo diet, as you can eat meat and veggies but no wheat or dairy, but it is actually more restrictive as legumes and nuts are not allowed. Beans, lentils and chickpeas are big staples around here and we’re not looking to cut them out of most meals.

So yes, it can be hard to find recipes that fit our diet. Luckily, with sites like Amazon, where most cookbooks are available AND people review them, telling you how much wheat or processed soy is used, it wasn’t too hard to find a few great ones that we rely on weekly.

The Fertile Kitchen

This book is the only one I’ve found with our specific diet in mind. It’s a good foundation for eating this way as it explains the restrictions and includes some basic recipes. One possible concern is the fact that these people have no specific training in reproductive medicine of any kind. If I had just come across this book and needed to trust their judgement on why this diet would work, I wouldn’t follow it. But since I’ve seen many TCM practitioners who have explained the diet and the reasons behind it (sentiments the book echoes) their lack of credentials didn’t disuade me. It’s clear they too were taught these restrictions by others and as the purpose is of the book is ultimately to provide recipes, not to defend the diet, I think it is a good purchase.

12 Best Foods Cookbook

Jjiraffe gave me this and I’m so glad because I never would have found it myself and it is absolutely our favorite and most frequently used cookbook. While it follows no restrictions of any kind, there are plenty of recipes that work for us. I also loved reading about what makes the 12 best foods so nutritious; I always feel great knowing that I’m eating the best of the best that nature has to offer. Also, everything is super tasty.

Quick-Fix Vegan

What I love about this books is how accessible all the recipes are. There is nothing I appreciate more than a short ingredients list! Most of the recipes keep their promise keeping prep time under 30 minutes (there is one section with more time consuming recipes, which I actually like). This author sticks mostly to whole foods and doesn’t rely on meat and dairy substitutes that soy, like many vegan cooks do, which makes the majority of these recipes a good fit for us.

Pure and Simple

Another book that uses whole foods (and cuts out gluten! hooray!) is Pure and Simple, by Tami A. Benton (there are many cook books with that name). While I haven’t made many recipes from this book (I just got it recently), there are plenty that we can eat and they all look good. The couple we have made were also very yummy. The book lives up to its name, with lots of fresh veg and easy-to-execute recipes. (It’s seems this book is only available on Kindle at the time of this post. Not sure if that is a permanent situation).

These books, along with epicurious.com additions (when we need to finish up whatever is about to expire), have been helping us make this diet not only doable but enjoyable. If you know any other books or recipes that we might want to try out, please suggest the in the comment section. Happy and healthy cooking!

{A warning that Cooking to Conceive does not follow the diet AT ALL, in fact it relies heavily on whole milk products, siting studies that show they boost fertility–and has many wheat-based recipes. If you are trying to follow the TCM fertility diet, DO NOT get this book. I learned this the hard way. ;) }

Dream Interpretation

The Fertile Female encourages women to look to their dreams to determine what their subconscious might be trying to tell them. I have never been very big on assigning my dreams meaning. When I can remember them, they are incredibly strange. The only ones that seem significant are the ones I get when work is really stressful; dreaming I am a teacher who can’t find her classroom and is distraught that her students are waiting outside without her lets me know that shit at work is not great. But, of course, usually I already knew that before I had the dream.

My other big problem is that, a lot of the time, I don’t remember my dreams very well, if at all.

Saturday night I had a dream that I actually remembered when I awoke. Sadly I didn’t write it down right away and a lot of the details faded with the events of yesterday, but I do remember the gist of it. Mi.Vida and I were at a hotel and I wanted to have sex but things kept getting in the way. At first the room was really messy–or maybe it was the bed–I remember there just wasn’t the physical space necessary to do the deed. Then other things started getting in the way, though I can’t remember what they were. At the end there was another person in the room–I can’t remember who it was but I KNOW it wasn’t Isa or another child or ours–it was just a person who NEEDED us so we couldn’t possibly have sex. I woke up feeling really frustrated that one of the few times I was really in the mood, we couldn’t make it happen.

This post might seem like a classic TTC post, but I think it was actually about having another baby. I think there is a huge part of me (and I know Mi.Vida feels the same) that can’t imagine how we will manage with a second child. The last 2.5 years have been REALLY challenging in so many ways. And the last six months have just about done us in. The terrible twos are kicking our ass and I can’t fathom what they would be like with a newborn baby demanding the intense amount of care they require.

I honestly wonder if my body has been preventing a pregnancy because I’m so unsure that we, or even I, can handle it. Surely the fact that I didn’t try to do anything to help our odds for almost a year of trying has something to do with that. My ambivalence might be affecting things more than I realized.

Sunday I had lunch with an old friend, in my old neighborhood. As I walked around our rendezvous point looking for her, I saw a woman from my old street with her 3.5 and 1 year old girls at the playground. I stopped to chat and realized how haggard she looked. And I also realized that she had looked like that for the past year, since her second child was born. Actually, she looked like that when she was pregnant. In the past I was so bitterly jealous of her that I hadn’t really seen it, or chose to ignore it, but the truth is that woman looked like she had aged five years in the past 18 months. She looked like a sad shell of her former self.

After the chat I met up with my old friend that I haven’t seen since last May, at her wedding. As I filled her in with all that had been happening (she is actually really interested in secondary infertility as she is 37 and doesn’t feel she’ll be ready to have kids for another five years and knows how hard it will likely be to build a family then), I caught myself saying that it was probably a blessing in disguise that we hadn’t gotten pregnant yet because two-years-old had been really hard and financially, with the new house, we were totally strapped.

And that is when the meaning of my dream clicked for me. That was when I realized it wasn’t about my ambivalence about having sex but my uncertainty about whether we can handle a second child.

On the drive home I revisited our financial plan for having a second child. Originally I thought I’d take the year off, take Isa out of preschool (or enroll her in a co-op that cost significantly less than her current, full time preschool) and find a way to make $1-$1.5K a month in tutoring. The thing is, I haven’t been able to find ANY tutoring this year (one of the reasons we can’t afford treatments) and I feel much less (read: absolutely not) sure that I could make that extra cash, which we would NEED to pay for my and Isa’s heath insurance, my student loan payments and now the payment to my parents for the loan they took out to help us avoid mortgage insurance. If I couldn’t come up with that cash every month we would blow through what little savings is left and quickly be in danger of losing our home.

Last week I put in my letter of intent to return to my school district full time in the fall. It was a hard day for me, a reminder of the dreams that didn’t come to fruition in 2012. But since I’ve done that I’ve felt many moments of relief that I KNOW I have a steady flow in income next year, that I KNOW I will be able to pay my bills.

If we have another child, I would know neither of those things. If we have another child, money will become a very real and acute stress for us, on top of the other very real stresses of having another child.

Of course, there is always plan B, which involves my MIL retiring in January of 2014. At this point, even if I got pregnant next month (HAHA!), my FMLA leave would bring me to her retirement date, meaning we’d only have to figure out how to afford for three months without pay instead of eight, after which point I’d return to work and she’d watch our child full time. I have always assumed my MIL would be thrilled to watch our second child for a year and a half (by 2 years old, child care become much more affordable) but whenever I bring it up she says it better be my plan B, or she reminds me that she won’t even talk about that hypothetically. And fair enough. I certainly don’t assume my MIL will, or even should, watch our child for free. I just always thought she’d really want to, and that doesn’t actually seem to be the case. I don’t think I can bank on that anymore.

Now I’m not sure how to proceed. The rational side of me says these doubts are reason enough to put the brakes on the baby making train full stop. My heart says that we’ll find a way, just like we did when Isa was a baby (of course, my FIL stepped in and watched her for half days, basically saving our asses last year). For the first time in a long time, I’m considering stopping TTC all together. It’s a very uncertain place to be. All I am sure of is that I need to work through this ambivalence if I ever want to conceive, enjoy my last pregnancy, and make it through the newborn months with my sanity, and integrity, in tact. I have a lot of work to do.

What I Need

In the past months since we’ve been testing, and the two weeks since my diagnosis, I have been trying hard to determine what I need. Sometimes the answer is more clear than it has even been. Sometimes I agonize over what I should do.

When I first wrote about my diagnosis of diminished ovarian reserve here, commenters recommended two books: Conquering Infertility and The Fertile Female. I had only just recently heard of Alice Domar on Bitter Infertiles and was interested in her work, so I knew Conquering Infertility would definitely end up in my Amazon cart. Julia Indichova’s name I recognized and I was sure I had read at least one of her books, but I couldn’t remember if it was that or her memoir, Inconceivable.

I immediately ordered and started Conquering Infertility and was so thankful for its presence, in both the world and my life. I KNEW in my heart it was something I needed to read and my partner and I are already using some of the techniques to get us through this difficult time. It took me longer to look into The Fertile Female. When I finally found it on Amazon, I almost put it in my cart, but then I read an excerpt from the book and recognized it immediately. I had read those pages before.

After my successful pregnancy I packed up an entire book shelf of pregnancy and TTC books and stored them in my parents’ garage. Last weekend I went to their house and dug under crooked towers of crap to find that box. Opening it I was astounded by how many books on pregnancy there were. I was also disappointed that I didn’t see any books on conception, which I thought I’d packed there too. I didn’t see the simple cream-colored spine of the book I wanted.

As I searched through the contents of the box, marveling at the sheer number of pregnancy books that aren’t just published, but that I had actually spent my money on, I found one that was upright, forgotten in a corner with only the top of its pages visible. I pulled it out and there was The Fertile Female. I knew immediately that I needed to re-read that book.

At this very moment, stacked precariously next to by bed, are five or so books on helping natural conception or overcoming infertility naturally with traditional Chinese medicine, diet and yoga. All of those books were purchased and devoured during my first attempt at TTC. I saved them in case I would need them again.

But I found that I don’t need them this time. I already know everything they have to offer. Besides a few references to The Infertility Cure, the rest have remained untouched. And I have decided that, along with all but one of the pregnancy books, I will be giving them away to those who want and need them. Because I realize now, that I don’t.

The book I do need right now? The Fertile Female. Reading that book for the past few days has helped me see clearly that the path I chose on my own is the right one for me. And it is giving me tools to help me continue down that path in a positive way.

Over the past few days I have been agonizing about what to do with my cyst and my AWOL cycle. Should I go to my doctor to take BCPs and suppress my cycle so the cyst will shrink and disappear? Or should I let my body sort itself out, giving it time to heal itself on its own, but risking a protracted, anovulatory cycle? Should I request something to jump  start my period?

Finally yesterday I came to a tentative conclusion, determining that I will wait for at least one more cycle (I’m assuming some very light bleeding I noticed yesterday was a pathetic attempt at CD1 and counting from there) to see if I ovulate on my own, and then I’ll look into BCPs and suppression. After much agonizing, this feels like the right choice.

Reading Julia Indichova’s book yesterday I came across this part, where  she is speaking about a woman who realized she “didn’t know how to believe in herself.”

“I’ve gone to three different clinics and every doctor tells me to move straight to IVF, and to hike up my meds, but a woman I know just conceived with minimal stimulation. What if this is my last chance and I blow it?”

The first thing I say is that every choice you make takes you one step closer to your child. Each outcome, however disappointing, becomes the next guidepost. And if you learn to use your inner resources and begin to see each action as the next step on a pilgrimage, “blowing it” is simply not within the realm of possibility.

Reading this book has been so wonderful for me. For the first time since my diagnosis I’m allowing myself to really want another child again. I’m also allowing myself to accept that this path might not take me where I want to go, or how I want to get there, but that I must walk it and I can do so with grace. Surely there will be moments of paralyzing doubt, and crushing disappointment, there will still be tears of greif, but I am resolved to always follow my heart. If I do that, I can’t possibly misstep. And, more importantly, I can’t possibly regret where I end up.

In The Fertile Female Indichova writes, If we keep putting one foot in front of the other, one day we may discover that our child has been walking toward us all along. I don’t know know for sure if there is a child walking toward me, but I do know I will do everything in my power to make that possible rendezvous.

Scratch that plan

Thank you all for the outpouring of support, on both Jjiraffe’s Faces of ALI post and on my recent posts. Word cannot express how much I appreciate it. Your words of kindness, love and support have been a HUGE parts of my getting through this. Truly. The impact of this community on my journey cannot be underestimated.

Wednesday was a hard day. I couldn’t concentrate at work. I cried at the drop of a hat. It was clear that the birth of my cousin’s baby was exacerbating the issue, but it wasn’t the actual problem. And yet I couldn’t figure out what was bothering me so much. Besides the cyst (and the possible month or two more of BCPs) there hadn’t been anything new discovered or discussed at the meeting; why was I such a wreck?

It wasn’t until half way through yoga that night that I realized what was going on. I wasn’t comfortable with my doctor’s plan, or more accurately, his time table. It was all too fast. I had been expecting that three month waiting period. I had been banking on that opportunity to keep trying. I had my plan for us to really follow this diet, to continue with acupuncture and Chinese herbs, to maybe even get Mi.Vida to acupuncture too. I wanted us to have at least a few months of trying after all that before we moved on to treatments. I wanted to give our bodies a chance before we turned to Clomid or IUIs. And after the RE appointment, that was all going out the window.

The thing was, on Tuesday, I forgot about all that. The meeting went so fast, the doctor talked so much, there was so little time at the end to really say what I wanted to say. And even if there had been, I wouldn’t have remembered. There was something about sitting there, across from the doctor and his black and white outline of the female reproductive system, that just wiped my mind clean. It was like I couldn’t conjure up any coherent thoughts. I just listened, enraptured, to what he had to say. It was so odd, because I had heard it all before, and yet is all seemed so new and so foreign and I just felt so out or place sitting there listening to it.

And when the whole thing was over I was upset, agitated, but I couldn’t figure out why. Our doctor had been kind, helpful, positive, and productive with our time. He had talked about what treatments could possibly help us and what chances we had of them being successful. He had done everything we went there hoping he would do. So why wasn’t I pleased?

The truth is, treatments scare me. Not because of what they entail but because for us, they represent the end of the road. We can’t afford IVF and if we can’t afford that, adoption is definitely not an option. I doubt our marriage could survive TTC indefinitely, or even for a few years. I think that once we’ve exhausted our treatment options (which I guess will be 2-3 IUIs, 4 max) that’s it. We’re done. We’ll have no hope or another child.

And I’m not ready to be done. I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet. I’d much rather spend some more time and effort trying to conceive by ourselves before heading for treatments. I’d much rather undertake treatments feeling ready, in my heart, to attempt those last ditch attempts, ready in my heart to walk away if they don’t work.

The last year of TTC was grueling to be sure. I have a feeling that trying again, with the knowledge we now have, will be at least a little easier. I won’t have the same expectation of getting pregnant and I will KNOW what our next steps will be if we reach the end of our rope. I need to give myself, and my body, a chance again, before we pursue treatments. It’s just what is right for me.

Realizing that–in yoga on Wednesday night–I felt a huge weight lift off of me. I arrived home feeling lighter. I talked to Mi.Vida and found he was on exactly the same page. I went to bed relieved, almost happy. Yesterday was a good day. A really great day actually. It was maybe the only really good day of work I’ve had so far this (school) year. I can’t say whether it was the peace I felt about waiting on treatments that made the day good, or if it just let me experience the good that day had to offer, but I really needed that positivity right then, and it helped me feel even more sure of our plan.

Of course, we have a few obstacles in our way. We both agree that Mi.Vida needs to get another sperm analysis done (and if his numbers are significantly worse than before our whole TTC by ourselves plan might change) and of course he will keep his appointment with the urologist. I have emailed our doctor asking what the plan of action will be ie. THE CYST if I’m not planning on taking Clomid right away. I REALLY want to avoid taking BCPs if I can but I also don’t want it wreaking havoc on our already shitty chances of conceiving on our own. (If anyone knows anything about cysts and TTC, I’m totally ignorant about this stuff and would appreciate any info). And of course, there is the massive roadblock of my missing AF, which has been AWOL for over a month now. I’m not sure how long I should wait for her to show before I send a formal invitation (and I’m not sure what a formal invitation will look like–please don’t let it be BCPs! Please!). I’m hoping my doctor can help me with that too.

I will admit that I no longer expect, or assume, I’ll have another child. When I started this journey over a year ago I was certain I’d bring home another baby. That certainty has been strangled by our diagnosis. It no longer exists. I am coming to terms with the idea of a life without another child. I am slowly embracing that idea so that the possible reality of it doesn’t some day crush me. I’m trying to imagine our family of three in positive ways, rolling that version of my life over and over in my head until the sharp edges smooth enough to stop drawing blood. Someday, in that not so distant future, I may have to reconcile the dreams I had with the reality of my life, and I don’t want that moment to crush me. I want to be prepared.

In the meantime I will give this all that I’ve got, and hope that a miracle happens.

Managing Pretty Well

I had therapy today. It was the first time I’ve been since my “diagnosis.”

I realized after I’d been over most of it that I was actually doing pretty well. I feel like I was almost MORE depressed when I went in two weeks ago, before my diagnosis. And when I think about how much worse I was when I was only six month into trying for Isa (right before my ectopic), it becomes even more apparent how well I’m doing right now.

I mean, all things considered, I’m doing pretty well.

Am I scared? Yes, definitely. Am I anxious, absolutely. Am I angry? You bet. But none of those feelings are overwhelming. None threaten my ability to function. At least not right now.

Even my depression seems better, which flummoxes me, as I just got some really bad news. I wonder if the two short weeks of my diet have helped. Or if it’s the simple releasing of expectations that has made things feel so much more manageable. Whatever it is, I’m thankful for it. While the days still feel too long and sometimes too stifling, there are more moments when everything (or at least most things) feel alright. There are more moments when I feel happy.

Maybe it’s that I’ve stopped taking what I have for granted. I appreciate what I have more, now that I know it might be all that I get. I appreciate that the road to my daughter was not rockier, because I doubt the me of 3.5 years ago could have handled a diagnosis like the one I was recently given. That kind of uncertainty would have killed me.

(Maybe it’s just that it’s Saturday. ;) )

It doesn’t kill me now. That is what I realized in therapy today. I CAN handle this. I can manage these fears, this anxiety. I can compartmentalize my sadness and my anger. I can navigate my life despite this hardship.

Of course everything is not all unicorn farts and fairy queefs. There are still tears. There are still body wracking sobs. There is still breathtaking fear. There are still stoney silences. There is still the desire to retreat into the land of the loss.

But most days, I can manage the land of the living. Some days I even enjoy it.

When we first started testing I worried our issues would be unexplained and I wouldn’t know how to proceed. Ironically, we now have two possible explanations for our struggles and not knowing how to proceed is still my number one worry. That and being on a different page than Mi.Vida. I worry we won’t know what to do. We won’t be able to agree on an adequate course of action.

Luckily, those decisions don’t need to be made just yet. Right now we just need to get through the day to day. We need to learn to incorporate this diet into our lives without bringing a lot of stress along with it. We need to learn to be close to each other again, despite this massive shit storm brewing around us. We have to learn to find joy in the every day, because the future is never known to us and waiting for it to be happy is a futile exercise in probable disappointment.

I have to admit, I am proud of myself. It turns out I DID learn a lot about managing my anxiety and depression during our last attempt at TTC. It also turns out that all I did the first time was worth it–was probably necessary–to achieve that much wanted pregnancy. My therapist helped me to feel validated in the choices I made back then, even though no one understood them at the time. Recognizing that self-validation gives me strength to make the hard choices now, to dedicate myself to the difficult causes of eating better and making time for mind/body work.

There are still rough days ahead. Just today my grandmother pushed me to commit to travel dates to see her this summer. It’s assumed I will be there when my cousin is also in town, with her brand new baby boy (he’ll be six months by then) and her daughter who is younger than Isa. I don’t know if I can manage a week with my cousin, who started trying after me and will have a six month old before I’m even pregnant, but I also know that I can’t possibly avoid it. There will be other situations like that, difficult ones that make the it harder to breath and sleep and get through the days. I know this. And while I can’t be ready for them, I also realize that right now, I don’t have to be.

So many babies due in my reader. I am steadying myself for the complicated mix of emotions–the pure joy interconnected with desperate hurt–of “meeting” them in the coming weeks. I know it will be hard.

But I also know that I can do it.

For maybe the first time I really believe I can manage this.

Flattened

I’m sitting at my desk at work. It’s 7:53am. And I’m sobbing.

It’s all just too much. And I can’t keep up. And I’m a horrible teacher and my kids are suffering for it. And there are very large, very important projects that aren’t getting done. These are the kinds of projects that need to get done because if they don’t, whole communities of people will be upset and disappointed. And angry.

But I don’t know what I’m doing and there is no time to learn. There aren’t enough minutes in the day and I’m drowning in my obligations.

I’m just so angry that I was put in this situation. I’ve given this school nine years of my life. I built their Spanish program from nothing. And what do I get in return? They slash my program to 1/3 its original size and totally fuck me over with all these classes I don’t know how to teach.

And things at home aren’t much better. I spent 20 minutes of my commute talking my daughter down from some horrific tantrum. These days only mommy will do and when I’m not there my husband suffers mightily for it. He, like me, is totally overwhelmed at work. Since the Newtown shooting he has been working at a fevered pitch. This is truly the watershed moment of this movement. If change doesn’t happen now, it probably never will, at least not for a long, long time. And so it’s crazy at work and both his bosses are on vacation and both their outgoing message direct inquiries to Mi.Vida, who is totally overwhelmed with media inquiries and everything else. My man is amazing, but he doesn’t handle stress well and the whole thing is just leveling him.

And so here I am. Crying alone in my classroom, wondering how I’ll get through the day. And really I just want to TALK to someone and maybe get a hug but there is no one to talk to so I’m writing to you. You, gentle readers, are all I have sometimes.

I just don’t know what to do. I guess just keep putting one foot in front of  the other and hope no one notices my puffy read eyes, or at least doesn’t have the balls enough to ask about them (middle school students usually do, though) and assume that at the end of this school year I’ll have produced the things I’m expected to produce so that no one is overly angry at me.

See, now that I got all that out I’m feeling better. Talking really does help.

What I wanted to write about today–before I got an email at work and my head exploded–was how hard it feels to be standing still while I watch everyone else move forward. Posts about cycles starting or being scheduled, pregnancy milestones being achieved, birth plans being prepared for, newborn routines being established puts into sharp focus just how long it will be until we can even take one step forward, let alone several.

Mi.Vida still doesn’t even have a urology appointment, as it takes his insurance provider FOREVER to process referrals. When he finally does get an appointment it will probably be months away, and then, if there really is in an infection that needs to be treated it will be another three months after that treatment until his swimmers show improvement. That means it won’t even be the summer before we can even think about treatments. My daughter will be turning three before we can even think about trying in earnest to get pregnant again.

And now I’m sobbing all over again, just writing that.

Because that is the other thing about all these posts focusing on current or upcoming treatments, all their babies are so much younger than Isa. They still have a chance at bringing home a sibling that isn’t so much younger than their first child. I don’t have that chance anymore. It’s gone, as if by magic–in a puff of smoke–it no longer exists.

How did I get here, hoping against hope that my children could please, please just be four years apart? How did I get to the place where I can’t imagine any of this working? Where the idea of being pregnant again makes me laugh at myself because it seems almost absurd. I can’t even imagine it anymore. I’ve lost the expectation of it and with that expectation went my ability to even dream it might be so.

I’m sure I just feel so hopeless because of some (very, very, tragically) sad news from yesterday. Two things actually, equally heartbreaking. And because work feels so overwhelming. And because the intense needs of my daughter and the stress of my partner and all the things that press down against me threatening to flatten me into nothing. I know I just have to breathe through this time, even if those breathes are staccato-ed with sobs. I know these are champagne problems, especially in the context of this community. I know, especially after the news of yesterday, that people live through so much worse. But somehow that perspective just makes me sadder.

I don’t really know how to end this, but I must. There are projects to be started and they aren’t going to get done with our some tired, halfhearted attention from me. This is my life. I must go live it.

UPDATE: I got my AMH levels back and evidently I have the ovarian reserves of a 40+ year old woman. The RE says that although IUI isn’t necessarily off the table, he recommends we go straight to IVF, which we can’t afford.  So yay for this fucking day.

Reclaiming This Body

Thank you all for your very sage wisdom on the diet issue. It really helped me come to a place of peace on the whole thing.

I think I will continue with the diet, but I will do so because I want to give this to my body, I want to give it a chance to thrive, to take care of it after so many months of despising it so intensely. I want to find peace in my own skin, to nurture myself physically as well as emotionally.

The truth is I hardly recognize this body anymore.

Last night I went to yoga (for the first time in forever) and I was acutely aware of how foreign this vessel now feels. The extra 12+ pounds are cumbersome, especially in less forgiving clothes. My boobs are still swollen and sore; when I laid down they were a tender annoyance below me, always in the way. They felt like someone else’s breast, that is how wholly I failed to recognize them.

I’ve been spotting for four days. I never spot. My breasts are too big. My clothes don’t fit. After the BCPs and the testing, this body is aching to be reclaimed. And I want to do that.

The jury is still out on the group cleanse. I need to get more information. I want to make clear that it is not some intense all-juice-with-bits-of-boiled-cabbage-thrown-in kind of cleanse. Its purpose is to avoid common allergens and other foods that are thought to gum up the works by eating whole foods–mostly fruits, vegetables, meats and some ancient grains. It’s basically the diet I’m already attempting, maybe ramped up a few notches. There will definitely be smoothies, but I really like smoothies. So who knows. Mostly I need to look at my bank account and see if taking the hit is worth the collaborate support as I start this challenging overhaul.

I will admit that I do like the idea of a cleanse, both physically and figuratively. My body needs to detoxify from the stress of the last year almost as much as my attitude does. And this cleanse might be just the ticket. It doesn’t just focus on what to eat, but also on attitude and expression. There are mindfulness meditation exercises every day and chances to reflect and share those reflections. I have to admit, I’m intrigued and I don’t wonder if having something positive like this to focus on during this month of waiting and standing still might not be just what I need. Maybe this cleanse will provide just the opportunity I need to maintain this feeling of peace I’ve achieved.

Until I decide, I’ll be staying away from my old friends bread and cheese and saying hello to some nutrient-rich whole foods. Haha, if only it were that “easy.”

Wish me luck.