You might have noticed that I barely posted in the past few years beyond a helpful hello or rather lame attempt at advice. You might also wonder why I’ve started posting with regularity after all this silence. The truth is that life kicked the hell out of me last year. Not only did I nearly lose my family but everything I hold dear….it was a very bad year for many reasons. As you know, I started a preschool in part to bury the pain of miscarriages but also because I love children. I didn’t want infertility to define me, I wanted life to define me so I set out with lofty goals and an insatiable desire to turn this sad, misery filled ship around (ie. my life). Up until infertility I was rather happy go lucky – it wasn’t always like that though. I’ve suffered from depression for most of my life (since I was 17). I’ve been diagnosed with dysphoria but I mostly managed the blues with exercise or keeping my mind so busy I couldn’t think about existentialist crises. After I met lupron, gonal F, menopur and spent what most people in the world make in a ten year period on IVF so that we could have our son, = life turned gray. Landmines were suddenly EVERYWHERE. I was continually wondering when the other shoe would drop, what other terrible thing would happen because, after all, hadn’t it all gone to hell? After I gave birth to my son I had a sort of disconnect, I was in physical pain, my anxiety shot up and I lost myself…and that was just the start. Here I was finally a mother and all I could do was worry and focus on what negative things might happen. I’m sure I appeared like a crazy person to my friends and family but they had no idea how to reach me or even where I’d gone. My husband watched as my life became exactly as I imagined – a nightmare. Miscarriage after miscarriage ensued and I was now in a race against time to preserve the few eggs I had. I’d turned 40 three months after my son was born and my clock was just about done ticking. My AMH was .04 (LOW). The final miscarriage (the little girl would be turning 6 in July of this year) was essentially my invitation to hell and I took it – that one way trip was all mine. Two weeks after I had my D&C and a filled out a death certificate for my 9 week old fetus (thanks State of Georgia!), I bent down to pick up my child and suddenly could not move. I was in bed for days and later found out that I had 2 bulging discs and one very degenerated disc in my back. They recommended surgery and I was in pain all of the time and….. I had a toddler. I had the surgery and then got back on the IVF horse. Somehow I managed to get two amazing CGH normal embryos but then my ovary was punctured. I was again put on low dose pain pills. The pills had made me feel ill so I didn’t take them often but I had to after this last episode or I would have likely passed out from the pain. Three months later I stopped taking all medication, I was done, but they were not done with me. I got very sick.. I was in bed for days, literally DAYS. My body had become dependent on these “low dose” pain pills (something that I was told would NEVER HAPPEN). I am still so angry about that bit of advice. Mind you, had I waited few days I would have been fine but I was about to start a school and I could not feel that sick nor could nor could I be on pain medication while working with kids. Instead a doctor gave me more medication which stopped me feeling sick and I resumed my life. Since then I have been a very strong advocate against pain pills but that is also a topic for another blog posting. Back to my embryos. After beginning the school my periods stopped. I have remained in a stress induced state for the past five years…and I’m not complaining. I absolutely LOVE what I do but I don’t know how to delegate. The past year has been hard especially hard because my pain has returned and with it some complications – eyesight loss in one eye, some strange autoimmune type symptoms that cause the cartilage in my body to become inflammed – polychondritis. I’ve mostly ignored the symptoms but now it begs to be looked at and treated but, I’m scared. Meanwhile my home life was anything but perfect. Working with my husband has been hard – but we do it. The truth is that last year we nearly fell apart. Between the stress of life and work it all started to come unglued and we both felt like we were not a team, quite frankly. Thankfully over the past few months we have found our way back to each other but it was not without considerable amount of work and we aren’t done..we never will be done. Our “undoing” was born out of a combination of things and had more to do with all the unresolved pain that both of us felt – from losing so much but mainly from not taking time to water our “flowers” – the beautiful life we have and the reasons we were drawn to each other in the first place. On Valentine’s Day I watched our wedding video. Memories and feelings of love just flooded through me and then I knew as clear as day that not only could I never leave but I just don’t want to, ever. Marriage is tough and but so is everything… We went through plenty but we can’t let it define us. We aren’t two infertile people who have embryos on ice – we are parents to a lovely little boy who wants a sibling but will be just fine if he doesn’t have one because…he has a family. An imperfect family but one that still has plenty of flowers to water. We also have laughter and so much love. There is more to this story but essentially as we enter springtime and “prune our proverbial garden” we are taking steps to rebuild the foundations of our marriage and of our friendship, I couldn’t be more excited nor more committed. So the next few months will bring news – it may not work but we are going to try. Like my son told me once “we are a family of never-give-uppers”. That much is so very true.
Before I got married and landed in the office of a Reproductive Endocrinologist (um, two weeks after my wedding but that is truly a story for another day – we don’t need to see the words “I digress” around here) I was a singer and a songwriter. I tried, I tried so, so hard (under the name Suzanne Smith). I loved every minute of it, I did. The photo shoots (yes, I had a real live record contract – three of them w/Polygram, Sony and Universal!). The guy who owned my label is Eddie O’Loughlin – famous for giving the world Salt n Pepa but so many others (including John Travolta!) – is one of my all time favorite people in the world. I love that man like few others – he once told me that I was just too nice to be successful. I think he was right. But wow did I have fun trying! I met coo, interestingl people, I wrote with Rick Astley (SUPER nice guy) and all kinds of artists from the 80s. I almost wrote with Lady Gaga back when she was just some girl…. I was photographed in closed down restaurants (Fez on Lafayette in NYC) and I was in recording studios almost every night of my 20s until the wee hours touching up vocals or rewriting lyrics. I don’t regret a single thing. Next Plateau/Universal still exists and Eddie is the head of A&R on the Voice television show. We keep in touch. Turns out I didn’t really want to be famous – I just wanted to sing and to be loved. Now I sing to kids and I am loved by my miracle 8 year old embryo…..so here is my new blog and one of my songs. I’ll post the others in the coming days as a few of my preschool kids have asked to hear the songs…they were missing! Then just the other day I found them. Kismet. http://suzannesmithsongs.wordpress.com is where I will keep them for now. I know, they are dated sonically but maybe Eddie will find “a voice” to record them and up they will go…or not. One thing harder slightly less difficult than IVF is the music biz – I don’t wish either on my worst enemy. No offense to my record biz friends…. :) And if you know any 20 year old kids who have a great voice, send me an email. HEY, you never know!!! Enjoy, I did….xo
So, about a month ago I tried a “potion”. I’d kept coming across articles and one day, while browsing the local CVS (I don’t know what is wrong with me but I can drop a few hundred dollars on air at CVS, DUANE READE, WALGREENS – lord, help me). I digress. So I wander from my favorite section (the enema section – more on that later) and see a list of magical pills and potions. I pick one up and see that it is not only the stuff I’ve been reading about EVERYWHERE (literally) but see that it comes in sublingual form so I was sold. I took it home, put a big old dropper full in my mouth and let it sit there for 30 seconds. It was around 6:30 in the evening and about 30 minutes later I was feeling UHMAYZING. Did I spell that right? I had energy, I loved the world, I wanted to conquer it! No, this was not an oxycodone. It was sublingual vitamin B12 and friends (ie. the other B vitamins that the world is talking about). I have friends that get infusions and daily injections but not me, I’m taking this stuff under the tongue four times a day and the results are now officially amazing.
Today was the first period I’ve had in ages and not only was it back to the normal consistency (few clots – sorry, TMI gross factor) but it was profuse (just like the old days). I have also been loading up on the Nori for iodine so the combo seems to have worked. So my magic potion – just some sublingual vitamin b with extra 12 has changed my menstrual world and that is a good thing…. A bunch of you have written to me about building linings through acupuncture and I am ALL for that – I should have said that my advice is for those women who have tried it all. Tamoxifen does improve most women’s linings and I’ve love to hear your experience with it and other methods – my RE claims to have had women get pregnant with a lining of 5 and doesn’t give much credence to numbers…but for me, I’m not transferring until I have at least an 8 with a triple stripe. It will happen but first I’ve got a heck of a lot of work to do. I’m going to be posting my idea diet for getting pregnant soon – I’m confirming that everything I write is correct first. Have any of you tried the iodine test yet? Please let me know what happened! I have been getting your comments but keeping them to myself so don’t worry if you don’t want the world to read what you send me. Good luck everyone and also let me know if you have try the potion and how it went….very curious if you have the same reaction.
A number of you asked so the answer is tamoxifen – I know NYFI in NYC uses it and another RE I met recently told me that he would use it to help women with lining issues. If you want his hame, I am happy to refer. I do not know this man well (he is dating a friend) but has had 20 years experience and believes that the HCG booster and having sex prior to transfer helps prime the uterus to be more receptive. If you need the name, I will refer you – just make a comment (I’ll keep it private). I’d recommend this guy but not until I know he is as amazing as he seems. Seems like tamoxifen could help a lot of women with lining issues. Not sure why they won’t give it a try – heck, we did Saizen (growth hormone) off label and that worked like a charm for me (not so much for others, it appears) so why not go with tamoxifen if it works (and it appears to work well!
I might not blog much but I’m always thinking, always researching and always talking about infertility, the science, the process and I keep my ear to the ground (I mean, I’m listening to A LOT of people). I need to post more about what I am learning because it seems, like so many other things in the world we live in, that information isn’t getting out there. People put so much trust in their doctors and the process that they don’t question why they have failure after failure. The internet is a dangerous thing – someone posts an article and it becomes the truth. Let’s take for example carrageenan (a substance used to thicken liquid – essentially a type of seaweed). There have been a number of studies linking it to inflammation (and inflammation leads to…cancer). What the studies do not tell you are that there are two types of carrageenan – and one is a heck of a lot more harmless than than the copious amounts of sugar one eats every day (which absolutely feeds cancer). I’m not saying the stuff is safe but the key is moderation and thoughtful research/discourse. Just because one person says something is true does not make it so. We have to become our own advocates and know how to uncover the truth. In our attempt to find a quick solution to something that ails us, pains us we often neglect the due diligence process. We get behind people like the Food Babe or Dr. Weil or anyone with the hope that their advice is going to fix whatever ails us. I’m getting somewhere, I promise.
It seems that there are a few smoking guns when it comes to infertility – diet and toxins that we are putting in our mouth are too big to ignore. Back in our great-grandparent’s time women started having kids in their teens and the AVERAGE age for their youngest child was 42. Plenty of woman got pregnant in their forties and there were no infertility experts back then nor were there petri dishes. Sure there were “spinster aunts” that never had children but the fact remains, the food was cleaner, the soil was full of goodness and pregnancy was far more dangerous to a woman than the items that they placed on their dinner plate. So the point of this FIRST topic on doing your homework is that you can’t trust anyone when it comes to your body. Not your doctor, not the internets, not me – nobody. You have to collect information like a scientist (and that is hard when you are feeling bat shit crazy on lupron) so I get it. I’m going to ask all of you who are struggling or even just starting this process to take a hard look at what you are eating and how you are living your life. Go and get a detailed nutritional panel to make sure you have enough vitamins and minerals in your body to sustain a pregnancy, get your uterus looked at professionally with a hysteroscopy by more than one person – because septums are a leading cause of miscarriage AND they are sometimes hard to spot depending on your cycle. And get a toxin panel (thank you, K) because many of you are running around with a high amount of nickel, aluminum, and all kinds of garbage that will either keep you childless or do damage to your fetus.
Try one little experiment – buy some over the counter iodine and rub a dab on the inside of your wrist(about 3 drops spread over a thin area of skin – about the size of your inner palm) Wait and see what happens. If that iodine disappears within six hours (per Dr. Bhatia of Atlanta) you have a deficiency – you really want to see it after 24 hours. Mind disappeared in 20 minutes. I’ve added a sheet of nori (for making sushi) into my diet and so much has changed. The point is that you cannot get pregnant if your body cannot sustain a pregnancy. Your fetus knows what kind of environment it will enter – a stressful, chaotic one, one in which there is little food for people who went through food deprivation and so on. The evidence is there that your mass of cells can decide if the environment is not a good one – if you don’t have enough folate for its development. So get yourself checked out by a naturopath. Make sure your body has what it needs to support a pregnancy. I’m going to list every single test that you should consider and why. In the meantime, get as clean as you can with your eating. I’ll share resources with you because I didn’t start this blog to hear myself talk – I want to help my fellow sisters (and brothers) in IF and help all of us work together to become parents (no matter how that happens). I’d also like to suggest that you do some research on the HCG booster – the evidence is looming that having an HCG shot prior to a FET primes the uterus to accept a pregnancy.
For those of you with uterine lining issues, write a note in the comments. I know a doctor who will help you build that lining using a drug that works – it is off label for building linings but many REs are catching on (just not fast enough).
I’m going to be posting more because I’m getting ready for potential transfer – but a lot of things need to happen first. I do believe in the power of intention and, on that note, I hope you will keep your thoughts positive and understand how powerful you are and how incredible your thoughts can be..if you believe something negative, you will attract something negative. I promise this happens to me ever single day and to you as well…..
Expect to succeed in this process but first, kick every tire. I’ll help lead you to some great articles and most importantly to the fact checkers, the scientists who are not paid off by Kelloggs or Coca Cola to tell you that something they add to their amazing food products is safe- but one thing – let me know when I am wrong. I have too many people reading this blog daily – literally thousands – looking for hope and advice and I cannot give out bad information. Expect to see a lot more of me – because what I am reading and experiencing is promising for the future and might help one of you. I didn’t go through all those shots and sleepless nights not to give back, and give back I will. Keep fighting the good fight.
Yep, that is ME! I let this blog sit doing nothing for an entire year. What a complete and utter waste.
I have plenty of things to talk about but at the moment they have little to do with making babies (I’ve put that in the deep recesses of my mind while I work on my nutritional profile – more on that later).
Life has taken a few twists and turns and my fate, and the fate of my embryos rests on things that are completely out of my control. I am going to have an update soon so if you pray, put me on your list, please. To say that the past year has been difficult is beyond the scope and meaning of the word. I am surprised by my resilience but then again, what woman in the face of adversity doesn’t normally kick ass? Well, mostly. Sorry for being vague – even some things are just too personal to share with strangers (I mean, fellow sisters in procreation!).
My son broke my heart into a million fragments the other day. We were having dinner alfresco (as we do) and he says “Can you please tell Ms. Chris that I have a baby brother who just got born?”. He had that sheepish, awkward look of a boy who told a fib and felt bad about it but didn’t want to be caught. I told him that I couldn’t lie like that and he literally BEGGED me. Ms. Chris is his long time babysitter and he apparently told her that I had a baby. SO, the next day MS. Chris’s sister (her sister is the cook at my preschool) comes to my office to ask about the new baby, Jack. I didn’t know whether to cry or to laugh hysterically so I did the latter. Gosh, this kid wants a brother or sister so badly that he is making them up.
I went to see a medium. I know. Desperate. I sat down and she said, “you’ve had six miscarriages”. I was a big floored because I think that she is right (it is either six or seven and I am pretty sure it is six). She couldn’t have known, she only had my first name. She told me that I was doing something different with education and that I needed to keep on going, keep doing it because it is the way things are supposed to be. A few friends visited and my grandmother. The details were so specific that there was NO way that it wasn’t real. She told me that I would have another child – a boy. She told me that I was not meant to have girls and that my maternal grandmother was proud of me for breaking the cycle (which means something to me – more on that later). It was a positive interaction. At the end I asked her how I was going to get pregnant and keep a baby and she told me “you are going to make it happen with pure intention”. I thought about it. She then said, “you have far greater powers than I do when it comes to making things happen by creating what you want with razor sharp intention”. So I’m holding on to what she said and believing in her words and my power of intention. I do believe that we create our reality and I do believe that you can literally do just about anything that you want to do in this life. So, if the aforementioned struggles can resolve, I will intend my son, now frozen in time, to join us. I still hope she was confused and meant to say that I’ll have boy/girls twins. Oh the greed! I need to just hope for anything. Being sad about it all the time does me no good but for now, I have all the emotions locked up in a little box in the deep recesses of my brain until I know which way my compass is pointing.
I promise to write more newsy blogs about infertility because I have a very strong opinion about diet and the ability to conceive. I want to write more but for now, please go out there and get your dose of vitamin D and make sure you are not iodine deficient.
Love to all my fellow infertile warriors – don’t give up, keep on keeping on. Anything is possible, I promise.
I’ve been busy (my normal excuse) but I am now determined to not let life control me but start controlling my life. Sooooo, we are pretty much deciding that I am going to transfer to me and see what happens. We cannot do the GC thing and I need to get this resolved. I really should have just transferred two years ago when the lining with 7 and triple striped. So back to acupuncture, continue along same low carb diet with healthy fats and try to get my uterus to agree. My son is just crushing me with the pleas for a sibling so I am going to give it my best shot and see what happens. These 500 buck storage fees are killing me, too. I did recently go to an alternative MD who was amazing. She took a ton of blood (20 mins worth!) and I was sick for two days after. Hello anemia? She found that I have an iodine deficiency (you can take a little and dab it on your wrist – if the mark disappears within two hours (some say six) you are deficient. You can easily fix that with a bit of Nori (throw in an avocado and some tuna or sardines and you have an easy and healthy lunch). Whatever you do, get your vitamin and nutrient profile especially if you are prone to miscarriage. Thyroid, lack of Vitamin D (which acts more like a hormone than a vitamin in that is affects just about everything you do) and other essential nutrients can cause problems so make sure you have crossed that off your list – and dig deep. Go to a rheumatologist for a thyroid check (Quest isn’t good enough for some of these tests – you need a more sensitive lab). I’ll be back with more news.
Finally – if you have a septum, GET IT REMOVED. I recently read a study that indicated an 80% failure rate for implantation when a septum is present. That piece of info was significant for me because (depending on the doctor) I have one. CCRM went in to look and does not see it but now I’m scared. I will cross that scary bridge when I come to it (and so should you). Ask for every test – beta integrin, you name it. YOU are in charge of your life and don’t leave this all up to the experts. They have 130 patients at any one time – do not expect them to remember ever little detail about your body (that is your job). Now go get googling…..I wonder if google would give me a fertility degree? I’m not up on the latest acai studies but it only takes a day or two? Oh, like I need another job. Hope you are all well and that success is knocking on your door!