IVF FERTILITY TTC every day is a new day

Monday Musing

When you are facing hard times, difficult things, I think it can be easy to forget that every day presents us with the opportunity to make changes.

Too often in life we get stuck in a rut – sometimes we don’t even know we are there, walking around with blinkers on – we just know we don’t feel as content as we should.

Sometimes we let our fear stop us from growing, taking a chance, making a change.

Most of us forget that we have the power to make that change. We let ourselves become a victim of a circumstance, feeling, experience or person.

We doubt our ability to change that, to take responsibility for it.

But we all have that power. We all have that skill. I truly believe that each and everyone of us has the ability to make our lives what we want it to be.

Yes we might need to ask for help and support sometimes. We don’t have to do it all on our own. We can do it slowly, bit by bit – by taking advantage of the opportunity each day brings!

Fertility struggles can over take your life if you let them – or you can fight back by taking advantage of the opportunity each day presents to do one thing to change how it makes you feel.

It might be something to acknowledge yourself.

It might be something carefree and fun.

It might be something related to supporting your fertility and taking it a step further.

Whatever resonates with you!

What opportunities are you going to find this week??

🙂

 

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Hypnobirthing Path to Birth Fertility

Happy Hypnobirthing Practitioner!!

I’m really excited this week as I have finally completed and become fully certified as a Hypnobirthing Practitioner! I can’t wait to start running my workshops!

It might seem like an odd choice for a fertility challenged woman to take on – choosing to surround myself with pregnant women and help guide and educate them on ways to have a positive birth…

But there’s the thing…

After experiencing fertility challenges for many years I have spent a lot of time thinking about pregnancy and birth.  Its no secret that my ‘silver lining’ for having trouble conceiving is a new found passion and appreciation for the wonder that is pregnancy and birth.

I am so amazed by what our bodies can do. I mean come on – we can grow and birth a human!!!

In pursuit of my pregnancy I have spent a lot of time getting back to basics – nutrition, exercise and also unpacking a lot of fear and self-doubt that has built up.

Its amazing to me how clinical and how fear based procreation has become. Instead of supporting each other with stories of hope and triumph – whether for fertility or birth – the trend of conversation I hear seems to be based on pain and misery.

Three years ago I was none the wiser – I wonder if I had of gotten pregnant immediately if I would have changed my view?

Maybe facing miscarriages and IVF has made me more fearless than I was before….but then again maybe its just opened my eyes to being afraid for no reason.

Birth seems to have become such a business. So procedural. So much fear for something that in so many other cultures is viewed as this amazing right of passage as a woman!

This instinctual, primal process that gives you the most amazing gift you can get – a new life that you created! – has gone from the fields or river banks to the stark brightness of hospital beds and drugs.

My chance to conceive a baby in a primal, instinctual way has been lost. Conception for me will be done under a microscope in a lab. Maybe that is what has kicked off my desire for my birth experience (when the time comes) to be the opposite.

Science and Medicine can do many amazing things. IVF is one of them. So is an Cesarean when its life saving for the mother and/or baby. We are very lucky to live in a time where we have access to so much advanced medical care in case of an emergency.

But most births are not an emergency.

Birth is something women have been doing since the dawn of time. We are instinctively wired to do it. But western society these days can drown out that instinct with fear.

When I started my research I was amazed to find out how much women aren’t told – and don’t know to ask – about options when giving birth. Everything from inductions, to pain relief, to cord cutting, to the shot in the leg to “help the placenta along” at the end has options!

Choices we are entitled to make, but often we are not presented with!

That’s when I found Hypnobirthing.

What I love about Hypnobirthing is that it is all about positive birth – however it unfolds for you, whatever you choose.

Steeped in the foundations that our bodies are designed to birth, Hypnobirthing is also about empowering women to know their options. It takes away the “unknown” of birth, and allows you to prepare for and visualise your birth well in advance.

Using a range of relaxation and breathing techniques  it arms women and birth partners with a tool kit that adapts to any birthing situation! Hypnobirthing is the foundation to making your birth the amazing, joyful experience its intended to be.

I love that its not prescribed, there is no judgement of your choices. It actively involves support from your birth partner and gives them a big role in how the birth unfolds.

Hypnobirthing allows you to approach your birth in a calm, prepared, positive and excited manner.

When the time finally comes for me I know this is how I want to approach my birth experience. How about you?

 

*Click to register for Path to Births monthly NEWSLETTER – packed with fertility nutrition, yoga, resources and mind-body techniques! Register before the 28th Oct for your chance to go in the draw to win a FREE copy of Path to Birth’s Guided Fertility Affirmations!

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TTC Infertility IVF start where you can

Monday Musing

This seems so simple – Start Where You Are. Use What You Have. Do What You Can.

But so often we complicate this!

We have a need to be perfect or a fear of failing. Well I can start that cos I don’t have all the things I need to finish it….Well I can’t do that, its impossible so I won’t try.

Truth is though – that strength we are looking for, those things we are missing….we are much more likely to find if we just take action. Just start.

The best way to learn, to know what works and what doesn’t is to give things a go.

No need to make it bigger than Mount Everest! Keep it simple – start where you are, with what you have and see what happens.

Yes things might not work out….but if they don’t we find out much faster. If we’ve done less and invested less we have less to lose and more to gain.

I’ve come to realise that if we hoard things up, and wait until we think they are just perfect before unveiling them more often than not things never get finished…. or they fail on such a spectacular level that its hard to recover from!

Fertility struggles are a little like this. If you go too hard too fast with all of the treatments and lifestyle changes when things don’t work it can be both devastating and exhausting.

Its ok to start smaller, to work with what you have and build on that. Each week do what you can to step forward. You’ll get there…the trick is to just start!

Have a great week doing what you can, with what you have, to work towards where you want to be!!

🙂

*Click to register for Path to Births monthly NEWSLETTER – packed with fertility nutrition, yoga, resources and mind-body techniques! Register before the 28th Oct for your chance to go in the draw to win a FREE copy of Path to Birth’s Guided Fertility Affirmations!

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IVF TTC Infertility Crazy Hormones

Crazy Hormones!!

I’m normally a fairly even tempered person. I’m not really overly or underly emotional. But the last three months something has shifted. I can’t stop crying!!

  • Happy tears
  • Sad tears
  • Angry tears
  • Wasn’t-that-cute tears
  • I’m-tired tears
  • Good-news tears
  • You’re-annoying-me tears
  • Why-can’t-I-open-that-jar-lid tears
  • Thank-you-for-being-nice-to-me tears
  • I-don’t-even-know-why-I’m-crying tears!

I have no control over when it happens, often it totally surprises me. Work, home, bus, tram, reading a book, watching TV.

Nowhere is safe!!

Its seriously bad – don’t be nice to me, you’ll make me cry!!

My hubby has been joking with me – “I was thinking of doing (insert nice thing) for you…but I didn’t want to make you cry!!”

I was starting to feel like a crazy person…its so unlike me, I felt like I was on a complete roller coaster.

I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out what was really wrong – CRAZY HORMONES!!

Three years in, and after nearly 6 months off this year, my body is suddenly reacting more to the IVF drugs.

I don’t know about you but for me the more rounds I do the longer it takes my body to ‘reset’ between rounds.

I guess one of the previous blessings of being a “poor responder” to the IVF stimulation was that the drugs didn’t really bother me before. Post-cycle it only took a day or so to feel ‘normal’ again.

These days though I’ve forgotten what ‘normal’ feels like!!

So what are my tips for managing CRAZY HORMONES??

Food

Now I’m not talking a solid ice-cream and chocolate diet here…(though a bit of hormonal indulgence is ok!!). The food we eat plays such a big role in balancing our hormones, and when ‘stimming’ it helps out body to process them too.

I find when I support my body with nutrient dense, fertility foods I feel much better.

Movement

Now I’m not saying run a marathon when you are tired, grumpy and hormonal. Sometimes a more intense burst of exercise can help – it gives a great rush of endorphins and is a way to release pent up anger or frustration.

However even a gentle walk, and especially some yoga can be just as beneficial for these things. Yoga also works to help balance our bodies and our hormones

Rest

Give yourself time out. More sleep. Have a bath. Read a book. Watch a movie. Meditate. Whatever floats your boat relaxation wise.

Especially in the thick of a cycle our bodies are working extra hard. The proper support in terms of relaxing and rejuvenating is really, really important!

Ask for Help

What can you let go of while you are feeling like this? Who can help you? We don’t have to be superwomen!

For the most part our family, friends and partners will be looking for ways to contribute and help as they are probably feeling a bit unsure of what to do to help you!

Deep Breathing

Feeling hormonal is not free licence to be a total bitch. Yes we should get some extra leeway, extra some support while in a cycle. But its not a free pass to be completely horrible all the time to those we love (or strangers in the street).

We are still accountable for our actions, and our actions can still hurt others.

When I feel an irrational emotion coming over me I try to remember to take a deep breaths and count to ten. Or walk away. Or get some fresh air. Or all three!

Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t…but its better than constantly being awful!! 😉

And if all else fails …clearly I choose to cry!! 🙂

What are your best tips for managing CRAZY HORMONES??

*Click to register for Path to Births monthly NEWSLETTER – packed with fertility nutrition, yoga, resources and mind-body techniques! Register before the 28th Oct for your chance to go in the draw to win a FREE copy of Path to Birth’s Guided Fertility Affirmations!

*Path to Birth’s blog is migrating to my new website soon! To register to follow my blog or ensure you don’t get lost in cyber space with the transfer CLICK HERE

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Path to Birth Fertility Affirmations IVF TTC Infertility

Win a FREE Copy Of Path To Birth Guided Fertility Affirmations!!

I’m SO excited as my Fertility Affirmations track is finally complete!!

I can’t wait to share it with you – it will be available for purchase when my website launches!

Set to relaxing music for easy listening Path to Birth’s Fertility Affirmations are designed to work with supporting a positive mind-body connection to enhance your fertility and support you emotionally during both natural conception and IVF!

Affirmations have been such an important tool for me in creating the mindset I want during my fertility challenges. They played a huge role in getting me to where I am today in one piece!

When starting the business I wanted to be able to include something like this in the hope my favourite affirmations would also help others!

In honour of the website and newsletter launch later this month I’m offering one lucky reader a chance to WIN a FREE copy of the Fertility Affirmations.

All you need to do to be in the draw for this awesome prize it to register for our monthly newsletter (packed full of FREE fertility hints and tips!) before the 28th October!

Don’t worry – all the other wonderful readers who are already registered will automatically be in the draw! 🙂

Click to register for Path to Births monthly NEWSLETTER!

Path to Birth’s blog is also migrating to my new website soon! To register to follow my blog or ensure you don’t get lost in cyber space with the transfer CLICK HERE

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Pregnancy Loss IVF Infertility

Monday Musing

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.

October 15th this week marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.

In my musing this week I wanted to take the time to acknowledge all those who have experienced such a loss.

It is estimated that one in three pregnancies will end in miscarriage – such a huge number across the world!

I love that there is a united time for us to come together honour the babies who could only stay with us for a fleeting time.

My losses bought with them such a range of emotions – joy at finally being pregnant followed by disbelief, anger, sadness and grief.

I carry my babies with me in my heart everyday – they will never be forgotten. Even with the pain of the losses, I will always feel grateful that those beautiful souls chose us for the briefest of moments!

October 15th – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day – asks that we light a candle in our window at 7pm for an hour – so around the world with the different timezones, candles will burn to create a wave of light to honour our babies for the whole 24 hours.

You can burn a candle for your own babies, or for someone you love…or even just in solidarity for all those out there who have suffered a loss!

I’ve got my candles ready to go!

Have a great week everyone!

 

 

*Click to register for Path to Births monthly NEWSLETTER – packed with fertility nutrition, yoga, resources and mind-body techniques!

*Path to Birth’s blog is migrating to my new website soon! To register to follow my blog or ensure you don’t get lost in cyber space with the transfer CLICK HERE

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MTHFR Fertility IVF DQ Alpha

What is DQ Alpha and How Might It Impact Your Fertility?

When another frozen embryo cycle with an A grade embryo and Natural Killer (NK) Cell protocol didn’t work my Doctor suggested we try one more genetic test.

Its was a test to see if we shared a match on a gene called DQ Alpha (DQa).

Despite originating from opposite sides of the planet, the tests came back confirming a match.

Seems that even when it comes to genetics it is a small world!!

So What Is DQa and How Does It Impact TTC?

The DQa gene sits on chromosome 6. Part of our immune system one of its key roles is helping the body identify and prevent foreign antigens from attacking and making us sick.

When it comes to DQa we each get a representation from our mother and from our father. These are represented in numbers – eg 1.02, 1.01, 05.05.

Having a genetic match for DQa actually doesn’t impact the health of your embryo or baby.

Instead a match impacts the connection between the paternal DNA contribution (sperm) and the maternal body (uterus).

Normally something in the sperm’s DNA sends a signal to the uterus that this foreign body (embryo) is ok, allowing it to implant.

In the case where the male DNA contribution of the embryo shares the same DQa gene as the mother this message is thwarted.

The uterus then fails to recognise the embryo as a separate body, instead seeing it as its own “self”. The immune system kicks in with NK cells to eliminate the embryo as it views it a risk.

In layman’s terms – owing to one number, on one chromosome, my body systematically attacks and rejects our healthy embryos as it can’t tell the difference between my own DNA and my husbands!!

My understanding is that DQa can be the cause of:

  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Failure to implant
  • The activation of NK cells in the uterus (in response to repeated implantation of DQa embryos)
  • Secondary Infertility (in response to a DQa pregnancy making it full term causing a build up of NK cells)

DQa Matches

Partial Match

In this combination one of the female and one of the male partners DQa numbers match. It does not matter what the numbers are – only that they are the same. Eg Female 1.02, 1.01 Male 1.02 05.05

In this scenario 50% of your embryos will carry the matching DQa gene.

Complete Match

This can be represented in two ways:

  1. The male and female have two individual numbers and both sets match – eg Female – 1.02, 1.01 Male 1.02, 1.01
  2. The male has two of the same DQa genes and they match one of the females numbers eg female 1.01, 1.02; Male 1.02 1.02.

In a complete match 100% of your embryos will carry the matching DQa gene.

Treatment Options

A 100% match often means your road to pregnancy will be limited. We were told if this was the case for us then our best options moving forward would be:

  • Donor sperm
  • Surrogacy using our embryos
  • Donor Embryos
  • Adoption

Thankfully our match is a partial one. The options are a little more open.

50% of our embryos will not share this match, and therefore it will not be an issue for them to implant.  However, as you can’t screen the embryos for this it becomes a bit like pot luck!

Our options presented were as for the 100% match, and additionally the option to undertake increased immune system treatments to help desensitise me to my hubby’s DNA.

This involves:

  • NK Cell Protocol
  • IVIG Blood plasma transfusions
  • Lymphocyte Immunisation Therapy (LIT)
  • Only transferring one embryo – making it less of a risk of losing both if one is DQa and the other is not.

LIT works like an allergy treatment by injecting the woman with white blood cells from her partner over a period of time until her immune system is desensitised to it and no longer reacts.

My Advice

  1. If you have had repeated failed cycles or miscarriages despite the NK cell treatment it may be worth getting tested for a DQa match
  2. Find a Doctor who specialises in immunologic causes for infertility – Similar to the NK Cell treatment only some Doctors are offering this treatment.
  3. At this stage of things the treatment is getting quite invasive and expensive. Take the time to consider carefully how you feel about the treatment rather than just blindly moving forward. Do your own research. Consider what options are right for you.

Dr Sher in the US has a good website about immune-related causes for infertility and discusses DQa.

Do you have a DQa match with your partner? What did you decide to do? How did the treatment work for you?

Fertility infertility TTC

Do You Feel Like TTC Is Overtaking Your Life??

Today I shared another guest post with the readers of Bubhub which is a fertility and pregnancy website in Australia.

I wanted to also share it with you, as its about something that has been one of the more challenging aspects of my fertility challenges to date….the battle to stop TTC overtaking my whole life!

If you are interested in having a read and finding out my thoughts and suggestions on the topic please click here!

I’d love to hear how balancing TTC with the rest of your life has gone for you? Do you have any tips or even anything you’d do differently in hindsight?

 

*Click to register for Path to Births monthly NEWSLETTER – packed with fertility nutrition, yoga, resources and mind-body techniques!

*Path to Birth’s blog is migrating to my new website soon! To register to follow my blog or ensure you don’t get lost in cyber space with the transfer CLICK HERE

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Infertility TTC Overcome Negativity

Monday Musing

If conquering yourself is the mark of being a mighty warrior this week I think I must be the mightiest warrior of all!

Trying to conceive (TTC) can throw at you moments/days/weeks that really test you.

Test your strength.

Test your sanity.

Test your sense of self.

It can take you to the brink, leave you unsure of whether to just jump over the edge or claw your way back.

I’ve certainly had my moments where I have nearly let self- doubt win.

Where I have felt it was all too much.

Where I have ignored what I am feeling or what I want until it builds up to boiling point and can no longer be ignored.

Where I’ve endured the hormone induced fogs where it seems impossible to manage your emotions.

So some weeks – like this one – becomes about conquering myself. Finding a way back to feeling like “myself” again. For me this involves:

  • Recalibrating –  Taking the time to get real with what is important at this time, and what is going on right now that has me feeling this way.
  • Accepting myself – I don’t have to be perfect
  • Asking for what I need – I don’t have to do this alone
  • Finding a way to laugh at myself – not taking it all so seriously

Sometimes this is easier to do than others….but always its worth it when I persist.

I learn more about myself, I gain more strength. I move from feeling annoyed with myself to feeling a sense of accomplishment!

What are some of the tools you use to conquer yourself in moments where you fall into self-doubt?

Certainty in IVF and infertility

The Quest For Certainty While TTC

Knee deep in a stimulated cycle lately its not uncommon for this thought to hit me – I want a baby so badly…but how much longer can I put myself through this??

I’m not sure about you but my experience has been that the longer our IVF process goes on, the harder it gets for me.

Sometimes it feels like walking knee deep through wet concrete.

When this comes over me I know I’m experiencing self-doubt at its peak. Even with a positive outlook to this whole process it takes a toll – I am human after all!

The doubts raise that question – what if I’m doing all this physical, emotional (and financial) suffering for nothing??

If only I knew for sure my baby was on the other side!

But when it comes to infertility there are no guarantees.

In life certainty provides a safety net for us. Think of all the things you would do if you were absolutely certain it would work out the way you wanted it to!!

I’ve come to realise that certainty in anything is often an illusion. Too many factors in life are outside of our control.

The quest for certainty often results in desperately trying to control these factors. For me this has only led to disappointment in myself, feeling more self-doubt, anxiety and negativity than when I just felt afraid of being uncertain.

So what has TTC taught me about managing the need for certainty?

 

Whatever it is, I can handle it.

I’ve had times where I’ve faced things and wondered if I would be able to handle them….but every time I have. It might not have been easy but I’ve always come out the other side.

Like any challenge while TTC you are going to have times where you press up against your current limits.

I say current limits deliberately – I know personally I’ve pushed and grown further than I thought I could.

In those moments where that question comes up I now know the answer to what I can be certain of – whatever it is, I can handle it.

Be Certain Of Your Goal But Flexible In Your Plan To Get There

I’m a planner from way back. I love things to be ordered and marching to my tune.

Fertility struggles are definitely not either those things!

TTC has taught me better than ever that the best laid plans can go wrong.

1+1 doesn’t always equal 2. We are all different and what works for 100 other people might not for me.

I’ve in the past been derailed by this. Defeated even. I was so certain my plan of action was going to work that when it didn’t I fell apart.

I’ve learnt that you need to be flexible. When something doesn’t work you must figure out how to roll with the punches. Don’t let it knock you out – instead change tack. How else can you get there?

Often The Best Way To Be Certain Is To Take Action

Our mind is a powerful tool – it keep us “safe” by letting us feel fear. When we don’t know the outcome that little voice comes rushing out to say – Stop, Danger, Be Careful!

There are times where that voice is spot on. But often its holding us back.

If we stop ourselves from trying purely for fear of not being certain of the outcome then the only thing we can be certain of is that nothing will change!

Action shows us what works and what doesn’t. I’ve learnt to stop thinking of the things that don’t work as failures – I now see them as learning opportunities.

I’ve discovered that what is on the other side of that fear is courage:

The courage to go on.

The courage to make tough decisions.

The courage to let go of the need for certainty.

How has the need for certainty impacted your fertility journey? What are your tips for how to cope with the uncertainty of TTC?