I am considering this the last real day before my blood test. (I honestly can't bear using the words "pregnancy test." Perhaps I'll pretend I'm being blood typed or something as I sit in the chair with my favorite salsa dancing lab technician. I don't know his name, he probably knows mine or my patient ID. All day he listens and sings out loud to old school salsa. I love it. It's much easier to distract myself while he croons.) I say the last real day because A) I am a child and have a warped sense of time and B) tomorrow is Good Friday and I have the day off of work. Tomorrow will be a fun day to simply fritter away. I might get my bangs trimmed and visit my grandma. It might be that wild and crazy. That is, after I complete the Stations of the Cross. Um, not really. I don't actually even know what that means in a practical sense. I figure it would require prayer and walking on my
knees on stone flooring.
My single goal for today is to be productive at work (good start, eh?). This is a formidable task since I spend much of my day sitting in front of the sickly glow of Dr. Google. Don't google today. There is nothing to be found. There is no magical combination of search terms to tell you if you're pregnant or not, or what medications you should be on next time if there is a next time.
Is it horrible to admit that I think there will be a next time? And that I'm not all that upset about it? Not really. I just expect it. When you've been on such a long road, it's very hard to imagine that you'll ever get to pull over and take a nap. Long distance trucking is an absolutely apt description for infertility.
On this last real day and last real blog post before my blood donation, I wanted to do a little product placement. Here's to you, Tylenol! The only drug I can take during IVF and pregnancy. Cures about 7% of what ails ya. Seriously though, this fertility haul has made me look a lot at my diet. I never ate particularly unhealthily but I have made a few real changes to my diet. First, I scrapped my dependence on caffeine. It hurt. Terribly. But just for a little while. I went from 2-3 cups of strong coffee a day to zero with an occasional cup of decaf to get me through the shakes. I weaned myself slowly going from full blast to half-caf to decaf and then nada. I drank green tea for a while, mostly decaf, but got really tired of it. It is an uninspiring hot beverage and, according to my acupuncturist (yep, I've gone all crunchy granola these days), too cooling to the body. These days I'm allowing myself black tea or homemade chai with almond milk in the morning. It's caffeinated but pales in comparison to a grande dark roast. Product placement #1 - Lipton Yellow Label and Twinings English Breakfast.
Another change has been my full acceptance of the fact that I'm lactose intolerant. No more grilled cheese sandwiches with creamy soup. Worst of all, no more ice cream (well, a very occasional treat). It's remarkable how grateful my digestive system is. Product placement #2 - Almond milk. Any brand. Thank you.
The most difficult change has been avoiding gluten. I don't eat completely gluten free. I don't have the patience nor the ill-effects of a true gluten intolerance to inspire me. While I'm certainly not any shade of Celiac, I have learned that gluten is an inflammatory and is thought to affect fertility. And since my fertility is certainly affected, I thought I'd give going gluten-free (or gluten-limited) a whirl. I don't know if it's affected much of anything. If anything, it's kept me from being so carb dependent. I know that this is not a change I'll incorporate into the rest of my life but it gives me a sense of control for now. One of the hardest things about infertility is the feeling that you can't control your treatments and the outcome. Diet is one productive thing to grab hold of. And with that, product placement #3 - a shout out to Ancient Harvest quinoa spaghetti, Udi's Gluten-Free breads, Pamela's cookies, herb bread from Marie Catrib's of Grand Rapids, MI and rice crackers. Ok, looks like I'm just as carb dependent as before.
Finally, phyto-estrogens. This is sort of a minefield and one I choose not to drive myself crazy with. I've got plenty of crazy. Soy is a phyto-estrogen and can negatively impact your hormonal balance when consumed in large amounts. So I simply limit my tofu and soy milk intake. That's it.
Is any of this making a difference? Who knows. All of the changes I have made simply feel like healthy ones. I haven't lost any weight and have only seen digestive benefits. I'll spare you the details. Much of this won't all stay with me when infertility is behind me. I miss coffee and bagels too much. Together and separately. Coffee and bagels, I will come back. Just not yet.
What diet and lifestyle changes have you made to reach a goal, fertility related or otherwise?