The sugar monster

Hello, my name is Dani and I am a sugar addict. Phew. Glad I got that out into the open now :-s

After reading ‘It starts with the egg’ by Rebecca Fett I decided to give up sugar about 2 months prior our 1st IVF cycle.

It starts with the eggActually what I really gave up was simple/refined carbohydrates.  The science behind it all is rather compelling so I thought I’d give it a go.  It turns out that women who follow a diet of low-glycemic/slow carbohydrates have a much lower rate of ovulatory infertility.  Research shows that high blood sugar and insulin levels significantly decrease egg quality.  This in turn reduces the proportion of embryos that can successfully implant in the uterus, reduces IVF success rates, and increases the risk of early pregnancy loss.  As we have no clue what causes my infertility, I thought it has got to be worth a shot.

Well fat lot of good that did me!  Although, as it was my first time doing both the diet and the IVF, it is difficult to know what would have happened had I not followed the diet.  I mean, it was the first time I ever saw two pink lines, so there was definitely something that helped!! Whether it was the IVF or the diet we will never really know. I’m not willing to experiment.

Chris helped me and we made some general food choice changes.  We swapped out white rice and pasta with the brown and black stuff.  We bought quinoa, lentils and whole wheat cous-cous….all slow release carbohydrates.  Our portions also became smaller because we got fuller quicker.  I bought a bread machine and we made our own whole wheat breads. We got rid of the chocolate, cookies and other bads and replaced them with nuts, fruits and plain yoghurt.

After the news of our unviable pregnancy the comfort food came out and the diet went out of the window.  At first, everything was too sweet and I couldn’t eat much of it!  But it soon became easy to eat the bads, and we treated ourselves to whatever we liked.

Today we are back onto the path of a low glycemic diet and exercise.  I got a call from my nurse co-ordinator who went through some dates with me for our second round of IVF and we are looking at starting Birth Control Pills around my Birthday (yey!  Happy Birthday Me!  Have a BCP!!!), starting stimulation injections around about 7th Jan 2016.  So that is 2 months of healthy eating (minus Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays).

At the weekend we bought a new book called ‘the sugar free kitchen’ and we have stocked up the cupboards with the good stuff.

sugar free

Does it seem ironic that there is ice cream on the front cover of this ‘sugar-free’ cook book??!

Our menu for the week looks like this:

Breakfast:

  • Toasted oats cereal with banana and milk

Lunches:

  • Chicken salad (no change this is what we usually eat, we just vary the meat and vegetables week to week)

Snacks:

  • carrots, celery, pistachios, wholewheat cracker bread with butter

Dinners:

  • Avocado, bacon and chile frittata with peas
  • Quinoa, squash and pine nut salad
  • Flat bread pizzas with garlic zucchini ribbons and salad
  • Squash and chorizo quiche
  • Italian meat sauce with whole wheat pasta

Homemade Treats:

  • Raspberry and mascarpone ice cream, frozen yoghurt cups, Ginger and oat no-bake cookies.
Quinoa, squash and pine nut warm salad.  Actually pretty darn tasty and easy to make.

Quinoa, squash and pine nut warm salad. Actually pretty darn tasty and easy to make.

We are generally healthy eaters and cook all our own food from scratch anyway, but the biggest change is the treats.  I get the sugar-low cravings in the mid-mornings and after coming home from work….this is when I typically snack and eat a lot of sugary things.  So for the next week or so my body will hate me as I come off my sugar high.  Hopefully it won’t be quite as bad as last time :-s

We are also getting back onto the exercise.  I was going to be playing dodgeball this winter season, but the league was cancelled.  And our local yoga centre shut down.  So we have to motivate our butts to get moving.  Chris is still recovering from his sprained ankle earlier in the year so we can’t do anything too energetic like insanity….but we will do some P90X again.  We won’t follow the programme religiously, but enough to get a bit fitter than we currently are. So, here we go!

Bodies………………. ready??!?!?! Three….two……one…….*Whistle blows*

(If you ever watched the gladiators you should shout that sentence out loud in a Scottish referee type accent, if you have never watched the gladiators, I am sorry for my randomness but here is a video to help explain it)

NaBloPoMo November 2015

Half way through the two week wait and feeling low…

So this is it…the half way point in the 2 week wait (AKA the 2WW).  I am feeling a little low.  It is probably as a result of a mix of things – first of all, being stuck inside all weekend behind a computer, second of all, I am impatient being in the middle of the 2WW, thirdly I am fed up with the progesterone suppositories leaking everywhere.  Is there a chance that my feelings are related to hormones and medications?  Maybe, I can’t tell.

diesel worried

Diesel don’t look so worried, it’s gonna be OK

My lowness hasn’t been helped that I had two course projects due this evening.  Both were programming assignments….the first project I developed a web app that uses the CDC’s most recent data on Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Here is some info on it).  I was unable to fully deploy the app online before the deadline. It worked perfectly yesterday on my computer and all day today I have bee trying to figure out why it won’t go live. Sooooooo frustrating.  Hopefully my graders will see my code and be generous.

My second project was a little dull, statistics and investigating relationships in cars between Miles Per Gallon and transmission types (amongst other things).  I completed my report, but in the last hour before the deadline I could not get it to convert to a pdf file.  Such a simple task.  I am gutted.  I will have to re-take this module as it counts for 60% of the grade.

I will admit that I have screamed and cried at my computer several times this weekend.  I am not very good at not being in control of it!

Our cats, Sushi and Diesel, have been overly affectionate the last couple of days.  I am sure they can sense when we are down or ill.

Next week is a new week, no more snow, warmer temperatures, back to some gentle exercise, and the end of the week we are having friends over to watch rugby, eat some bad foods, and play some board games.  Something to look forward to.  With all that fun it will then be time to take the test. Which incidentally, will be the same day as our 3 year wedding anniversary – it would be a good present to ourselves if we got the big fat positive.  Monday Monday!!!

These guys help when I feel low

Sushi and Diesel being cute together, can’t help but me smile

go home cat, you're drunk
go home cat, you’re drunk – Classic Diesel

Sporting activities during the two week wait – stupid to do it or stupid to not do it?

Day 12 of the two week wait – and on day 11 I did something which might be stupid.

Chris and I are both keep active and we like to try new sports.  Here is a list of sports we have done over the last few years or so…

  • Rock climbing
  • Hiking
  • Skiing & Snowboarding
  • Yoga
  • Insanity exercise programme
  • P90X3 exercise programme
  • Dodgeball
  • Volleyball
  • Softball

SAM_0997Our favourite sport is anything which involves being outdoors – particularly if it is quiet and remote (much to my mother’s horror!).  We have had discussions about whether or not putting myself at risk from a big fall on a climb was worth it, and we decided to give climbing a break and spend more of our free time travelling to cities and taking the opportunity to do some siteseeing around Virginia.

We have missed climbing a lot over the last year.  We also skipped a couple of ski trips last year too, similarly, not wanting to put myself into a risky situation with a big fall.  But after the last year we looked back and realised that you can’t put your life on hold just because you are trying to conceive.  Although I didn’t wrap myself in cotton wool during the two week wait, I was very conscious about doing something silly in case I was pregnant.

So this weekend we headed west on a ski trip with a few friends.  I decided to ski the easier runs and not put myself in potential danger on the black runs this time round.  This was so much fun, I was in my element, enjoying being outside on the mountain.  The second day, Chris and I decided we would keep going with our lessons to learn each other’s sport.  I took a snow board lesson (my third one) and Chris took a ski lesson.

As I am a beginner on a board I knew I would be sticking to the bunny slopes – little chance of big falls here!  Perhaps a few bruises and bit of hurt pride, but other than that – safe as houses.  This was all until the very last run of the day.  I had two lessons that day, and suddenly snow boarding began to click (hooray! at last!!!!).  Well…..so I thought!  I felt comfortable picking up some speed (but not quite as fast as I ski, so I know what stupidly fast is), and as I came into the flat, I caught an edge and landed heavily on my backside – I was winded.  When Chris hurried over to me, I could barely breathe.  I cried.  I cried because it was such a stupid thing for me to do.  Also, my stomach and back was writhing with pain.  I can deal with bruises – but my abdomen just throbbed like hell, as if I had been punched in the stomach.

I know it is highly unlikely that this fall could cause a failed pregnancy this time – but why would I risk it for my selfish desire to do these dangerous sports??!!  When you try to look at other people’s experiences with these sports, I have not found consistent guidance on whether they should be avoided completely.  The only common guidance I found was to seek advice from your doctor, I suppose because each individual is different.  And this is exactly what I shall do next time I see her.  But I have read that after IUI, strenuous exercise should be avoided, so this could be a mute point if this month is a failure and we proceed with IUI next month.

When I am pregnant then I want to keep doing as much as is thought to be reasonable.  But what is reasonable?  I like this lady’s story about rock climbing when she was pregnant: Anonymous mom – I was a pregnant rock climber (www.mommyish.com) She talks about how she felt during her pregnancy and how people made hurtful comments (unintentionally sometimes).  You have to be a strong person to do this.  I’m not sure I can.

I found two books which I have seen a good few reviews about, these are going on my to read list:

Exercising Through Pregnancy by Dr James Clapp

Fit & Healthy Pregnancy: How to stay strong and in shape for you and your baby by Kristina Pinto