Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Quest for the Holy Grail

Aunt Flo arrived a bit early, so I started BCPs on Monday night. This pretty much describes how I feel on the left. I tried to see if there was a way to take less BCPs, but I'm invested in the date I chose for my FET transfer, so it means taking a crap load more BCPs, as in 30+ days. So far, so good. I think either the side effects haven't really kicked in, or this is a different type of BCPs than I took at the other clinic, and it's better for me. My mood is surprisingly good. I had a few freak out moments in making the decision to go ahead now with the BCPs, as in, "OMG, this is really happening and I hope it won't be like last time" freak out.

Here I am, groveling again. I'm kinda hoping it will be like this scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail:

Sorry to beg! If any of you gals have some spare meds floating around your closet that you don't need anymore, I would very much appreciate any donations. Although FET is a lot cheaper (*cough*) than IVF, we are still feeling the squeeze with Magic out of work right now (says as she averts eyes...). I will need the following:
  • Lu.pron, not generic
  • Vi.velle 0.1mg patches
  • P.IO
  • End.ometrin
Please e-mail me at phoebephoenixtalesatgmaildotcom if you can help.

A huge THANK YOU goes out to my two angels who have already helped me out. You know who you are! Wouldn't it be cool if we had a Sal.vation Army type place that would offer to pick up your left over donated meds from your house and distribute them to those who need them?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Gluten Free Fridays: Pork & Green Chili Stew

Some of my readers have asked me what is the best diet for egg quality? I think that you have to take fertility diet recommendations and find what works for you. Listen to your body after you eat certain foods. Do they make you bloated, for example?

I have had good results with Chinese medicine for gynecological problems. In Chinese medicine, it is recommended to avoid wheat, along with other foods, for optimum fertility. Angela Wu, author of Fertility Wisdom recommends the following:

  • Wheat
  • Refined Sweets
  • Dairy
  • Processed or bleached foods
  • Coffee and soft drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Iced, chilled, or frozen foods or drinks
  • Deep fried foods
Foods like wheat and dairy are considered "cooling" foods in Chinese medicine, and you don't want anything cooling off your reproductive organs! Wheat and dairy are also considered "damp" foods or phlem producing foods. These are kinda vague and mysterious terms to Westerners. When I stopped eating dairy, the first thing I noticed is that my nose cleared up. Very literally, dairy creates phlem. In the reproductive organs, I think excesses of these foods can exacerbate problems like fibroids and polyps. Cold, damp, and/or phlem producing foods basically restrict blood flow to the uterus and ovaries or life force energy flow to these organs, called Chi or Qi in Chinese. Wheat and dairy are staples in the average Western diet, so you can imagine what it does to our reproductive organs! When maximizing your fertility, you want to make sure you have good blood flow to your reproductive organs. Diet is only one of the key elements to improving blood flow and Qi to your girly parts. But enough blathering, let's eat!

Recipe Remodel

When I get bored with my usual meals and all my cookbooks, I get on the web and search for new recipes. This week on Gluten Free Fridays, I'll show you how to remodel a gluten laden recipe to make it gluten free and delicious. I found this recipe for Pork & Green Chili Stew on Rec.ipezaar (wwwdotrecipezaardotcom).



  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or more!)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1-2 lb pork tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or more)
  • 4-6 red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 (4-5 1/3 ounce) cans whole green chilies, roughly cut
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can hominy
  1. POTATO SOUP BASE: Heat oil in 2 quart saucepan, add all ingredients, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Set aside.
  3. PORK Dredge pork chunks in the flour mixture, heat vegetable oil in a sturdy Dutch oven or soup pot, and cook the pork in batches till browned.
  4. Once you're done, place all the pork back in the pot.
  5. Add the SOUP BASE, and potatoes,chilies,chicken broth,and hominy.
  6. Bring to a boil,then simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
  7. Creative Additions-- For a richer flavor, add sour cream to the soup base.
  8. Use shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack for garnish.
  9. Serve with tortilla chips or Saltines.
  10. I sometimes add Frank's Hot Sauce to MY bowl.
There are some obvious problems with this recipe, such as the flour the pork gets dredged in. I first substituted this with a gluten-free flour mix, but discovered this whole step with dredging the pork was a pain-in-the-ass, and tasted just as good without doing all that. Besides, who has time to do all that? I mean, having a baby the non-old fashion way is just plain expensive, so you have to work hard to pay off all those loans. You don't want recipes that have you laboring in the kitchen for hours. Here is my new and improved gluten-free, expedited version of this recipe:


Pork and Green Chili Stew


  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 clove garlic, minced, or more
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or more!)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder (or more); note, I use straight chili powder from this company, the New Mexico red mild. I like it because there is no other crap in it. You have to be careful with spices that there are not fillers you can not pronounce or contain gluten.
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of garlic salt or salt, to taste
  • 1-2 lb pork tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces (1/2" cubes); note: if you don't have time to cut up pork tenderloin, substitute with ground pork. This version is shown above in the photo.
  • season with garlic salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 4-6 red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 (4-5 1/3 ounce) cans diced green chilies
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  1. POTATO SOUP BASE: Heat oil in 2 quart saucepan, add all ingredients, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Set aside.
  3. PORK Brown pork chunks on medium heat with a little vegetable oil and season with garlic salt and ground black pepper. Cook the pork in batches till all is browned.
  4. Once you're done, place all the pork back in the pot with the SOUP BASE.
  5. Add to the SOUP BASE the potatoes, chilies, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes.
  6. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes to an hour uncovered until the potatoes start breaking down. Stir hard or stir with a sturdy whisk to let the potatoes naturally thicken the green chili.
  7. Serve with sides of your choice, like guacamole, Chocolate tortilla chips (I kid you not! Probably not the best fertility food, but it's better than a chocolate bar!), and brown rice tortillas. Don't forget some slices of fresh lime too!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Show & Tell: Gluten Free Fridays

On last week's Gluten Free Fridays, I featured squash in the New Mexican Stew recipe. I also shared a story about my squash purchasing adventures this past fall. Here's what's left of the 70 pounds of squash I bought. From left to right, we have butternut squash, a mixture of carnival and sweet dumpling squash, acorn squash, and one large banana squash that I have yet to figure out what I am going to do with. I've heard it tastes like pumpkin. Is that like weird meats that people say taste like chicken? In the front from left to right is the remaining pie pumpkin, a quickly shriveling buttercup squash, and one more acorn squash. Since I don't have a proper root cellar, all the green on the acorn and carnival squashes have turned orange. I've already eaten all the spaghetti squash, so they are not pictured here. Spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta!

It's a good thing I hauled out all the squash from the basement to photograph. A couple of these are past their prime and need to be eaten immediately. I found one pie pumpkin squash that had disintegrated into a moldy puddle. Lesson learned: the pie pumpkins do not keep and really should be eaten at Thanksgiving. That was my intention, of course. The butternut squash is holding up the best so far, as well as the acorn squash. The spaghetti squash seem to keep forever. I had one I bought in the fall of 2007 that I ate last fall, and it was fine. I'm trying to keep up on the carnival and sweet dumplings, that look exactly alike, but I bought so many of them, it's hard. These two squashes are like delicata squash, but moister, hence the reason I bought them and not the delicatas. I could not find my favorite squash this year, amber cup. It does not grow well in my state. If you ever find it, get it. It's like buttercup squash, but it's orange and tastes like pumpkin pie. Yum!

This Show and Tell is really supposed to be a shameless plug for Gluten Free Fridays. Gluten, including wheat, is often one diet item that many women are told not to eat if they want to improve their fertility. Infertility can be linked to undiagnosed celiac disease or gluten intolerance. I have the latter. My intention for Gluten Free Fridays is to offer some educational information on why gluten can be problematic for fertility and other health reasons, and to feature a gluten free recipe as well. It can be overwhelming to exclude gluten or wheat from your diet, but I'm here to tell you it's possible and you won't miss it! It took me a long time to say that, but I seriously do not miss eating gluten foods. OK, well maybe pizza, but I can't eat the cheese that goes on it anyways. My recipes are also dairy free, with options for cheese toppings. I also try to include vegetarian variations as well.

Any guesses on how many pounds of squash are left, as pictured above? I was a little surprised at the answer myself. I will reveal the answer tomorrow, so take your guesses in the comments!

Answer: And the winning number is...40 pounds!! The banana squash alone weights 10 pounds, so if you subtract that from the original 70 pounds, I've basically eaten half the squash. I've had this stash for 3 months and I still have half to go?! Oh my! I loved the commenter who guessed 75 pounds! They are multiplying like tribbles!!

Don't be scared away by Mel's Show and Tell title this week. It's really quite tasteful and touching, with a dash of humor thrown in!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Fun Decisions Begin

I thought I would have a few more days before I would have to think about this, but on the other hand, I'm really happy that Aunt Flo is here! I have this feeling I'm going to be starting BCPs on Monday, though I don't really want to be taking them as long as I'll have to take them. I'll discuss it with the nurse on Monday. I've got all the dates worked out on a spreadsheet. You need a friggin' Ph.D. to practically figure out this FET schedule. I thought IVF was complicated! I did briefly entertain the idea of a natural FET, but I'm not taking any chances with my less than optimal hormonal output these days.

The thing that worries me the most with this FET is moving my embryos. I decided that I am going to pick them up and take them to my new clinic. If I do it by courier, they pack the embryos up the evening before at around 5pm, and then they sit around in a tank of liquid nitrogen to be delivered by 10am the next day. My clinics are only 9.2 miles apart, so I'm going to do it myself. I remember when I was a bit worried when I physically moved my husband's sperm, which was a much longer distance. Back then, I didn't give myself enough time to do it by courier, so they packed his swimmers in dry ice, and I made the hand off myself. They had to be moved once more, that time in a liquid nitrogen tank. They seemed to have survived just fine, so maybe I shouldn't worry so much about my embryos since this delivery will be much less complicated. With so much at stake, it's hard not to worry. I'm kinda attached to those little blobs of cells.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gluten Free Fridays: New Mexican Stew

This week's Gluten Free Fridays is brought to you by Karina's Kitchen Recipes, a fabulous gluten-free blog. Karina's blog used to be called "The Gluten Free Goddess", which really, she is. I know this picture does not do this recipe justice. I usually like to actually cook a recipe before I post it on GFF. This picture was kind of an after thought, and is a picture I took at work today of leftovers from last night's dinner. Go over to Karina's blog if you want a more tantalizing picture of this recipe.

Of course, we must have a little story before we delve into the recipe. This past fall, I was on a quest to get the cheapest winter squash I could find. Our local Farmer's Market has gotten pretty pricey in the last few years. I was hoping the last one of the season would have some deals, but I ended up working that Saturday. The next day, November 2nd, I went to one local farmer's stand to see if they had any squash left. They were packing up all the squash they had left to sell off to Whole Paycheck Foods, and I asked if I could still get some. They said, sure, $30 for a box. Now this was a pretty big box. I loaded it up with butternut squash, spaghetti squash, carnival squash, sweet dumpling squash, one big banana squash that I still don't know what I'm going to do with, and one buttercup squash that I found hiding among some other funky looking squashes. I got help loading my ginormous box into my car, and the man said, "you got a good deal there. That box weighs at least 70 pounds." I though, "yeah, right." When I got home, I weighed the box. I almost threw my back out. Sure enough, it weighed 70 pounds. I probably have at least half or more of it left. If you have never seen 70 pounds of squash, let me assure you that it's a lot of squash!! I'm always looking for good squash recipes to whittle down my 70 pounds, and this is one is a keeper.

New Mexican Stew
by Karina Allrich at

This is verbatum from Katrina's blog, with a few edits from me in italics. You can get a nice printable copy if you go over there. Just scroll down to the bottom of the post, and it will give you an option for a printer friendly version.

I used ground turkey in this green chile stew recipe but you could also use chicken, pork, or black beans.

Turn on your slow cooker to high or low as you prefer. You can also cook this recipe on the stove top.

You'll need:

1 lb. fresh ground turkey, chicken or pork (or use 1 15-oz can organic black beans for vegan)
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder- hot or mild, to taste
1 1/2 cups peeled butternut squash, diced
2 large or white gold potatoes, peeled, diced
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 cup roasted chopped green chiles- mild or hot, to taste
1 quart chicken broth- or vegan broth
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Before serving:

Juice from 1 large juicy lime
2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
1-2 teaspoons raw sugar or agave nectar, as needed

First- brown the ground turkey in a skillet and pour off the fat, if any. Add the turkey to the slow cooker/Crock Pot and add the remaining ingredients- through sea salt and ground pepper. Stir to combine. Cover and cook- on high or low- according to manufacturer's instructions until done.

To cook on the stove top:
  1. Saute the onions and garlic until translucent.
  2. Add the squash, potatoes, carrots, and spices and give a stir.
  3. Add the broth, chilis and optional black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. While the soup is cooking, brown the ground turkey and add to the soup.
  5. I cook the soup until the squash and potatoes get so mushy, they breakdown when you stir the soup hard. This way, they thicken the soup and you don't have to add anything else to do so. This will take a minimum of 45 minutes. If you don't want the soup thick, you can cook it until the the squash and potatoes are soft, at least 20 minutes.
About 20 minutes before serving (about 10 minutes on the stove top), stir in the lime juice and cilantro; taste test (editor's note: I skipped this part, and it was fine, but probably tastes better with a little lime juice and cilantro topping. If you don't have time for this step, leave it out as optional). Add a dab of sweetener, if needed, to balance the spice. If you need a tad more liquid, add more broth. Heat through. Serve with warm gluten-free tortillas, blue corn muffins or yeasted cornbread. Serves 4.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


When I got home yesterday, it was there. I waited over a month for it, the recording from The Reading. I was anxious when I started listening to it. My heart was pounding. As I listened, I heard a lot of details that I hadn't remembered. The details were important. I'm glad I got the recording. Now, I'm transcribing the whole reading.

I'm feeling a lot better about our scheduled FET. I'm feeling more clear about where our sp*rit baby is coming from. I'm feeling a lot more confident. I need to go into it feeling confident. That's what our sp*rit baby needs.

You would think this would make me less of a basket case about the whole thing. Sadly, I melted down into a woe-is-me-everyone-else-is-having-their-babies tonight. I'm still anxious and sad about the whole thing.

I talked with Michael about the kind of car I'm shopping for. "If we have a kid, we are going to need more room because we will be shleping around a lot more stuff."

"And I'm going to need a bigger car, because she's coming."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

S&T: Spare a Comment?

Apparently, I missed delurking day, whenever that was. But then there was National Delurking Week, the second week of January. Oh, I missed that too. But I had fun trying to figure out when it was and looking at all the captions created for it. I'm officially extending National Delurking Day/Week to today, tomorrow, yesterday, the week after, whenever!! Do I hear a National Delurking Month for us procrastinators out there? You haven't missed your chance, if you still want to. Everybody's doing it, you know.

But seriously, I'd love to know who my readers are. We're having a party here at ToP and you're all invited!

Please don't be shy. Vote for your favorite delurking decal and say hi!

Who else is exposing themselves at Mel's Show & Tell?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gluten Free Fridays: Kale & White Bean Soup

If you have "unexplained infertility", you may consider getting tested for celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. One of my favorite websites for a compendium of gluten related diseases is The Gluten File. A couple of years ago when I was trying to get to the bottom of my intestinal and uterine problems, I got to know the author of this website through a forum on neurological diseases related to gluten. When that forum crashed, Cara, the author, lost a lot of her data that she had compiled through many posts. She then decided it was time to create this website, which is a wealth of information.

The Gluten File
Interested in the effects of gluten on fertility? Go to the right menu on the home page of The Gluten File and click on Infertility and Miscarriage. Cara painstakenly searches the PubMed abstracts regularly and links them on her website. Most of her links are from abstracts of published medical literature.

If you think about it, bowel health and reproductive health go hand-in-hand. If you are familiar with your anatomy, the female reproductive organs are sandwiched between the rectum and the bladder. I don't know who thought to put the baby making organs between two septic areas in the body. I think it's a bad design, personally. Take my anatomy for instance. Normally, the uterus lies over the bladder. I'm special in that I have a retroverted uterus, which means it's tipped back more near my rectum. I used to have leaky-gut syndrome, so I can't help but think that all that poo was leaking next to my uterus. This also happens to be the area I tend to get the fibroids, on the back side of my uterus where it's close to my rectum. I know, eww! You can also find information on Leaky Gut Syndrome on The Gluten File.

What's the big deal about Leaky Gut Syndrome? I'm glad you asked. Leaky gut syndrome can lead to gluten sensitivity, as in my case, as well as lots of other food sensitivity issues. Taking lots of antibiotics and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), like ibuprofen, can cause leaky gut syndrome. After my laproscopic myomectomy in 2006 to remove uterine fibroids, my intestines were a wreak. I took a lot of ibuprofen, which I thought was safer than the other heavy duty pain killers I was prescribed, but they destroyed my small intestines. I did not know this at the time, and I did stool test after test with my GP to figure out what I had. All the tests came back negative. I think my doctor was beginning to question my sanity. At one point, my doctor had me tested for HIV. I was a bit insulted, but I did the test to humor her. I knew it wasn't all in my head. I just had to find the right doctor to work with.

I finally figured out by doing my own research that my local hospital did not test for all possible intestinal pathogens. I got fed up and went to an acupuncturist who specializes in gastrointestinal disorders. I got the proper testing, and was diagnosed with bacterial dysbiosis, which means I had an imbalance of bad bacteria in my gut. He treated me with Chinese herbs, and the problem was solved. We also did a lot of work on my food sensitivities, and now I have it down to two food groups I can not eat, gluten and most dairy. At one point, I also could not eat corn, soy, and nuts, which made for a very limited diet. I still avoid corn and soy, but eat them occasionally. Most corn and soy in the US is genetically modified anyways, so I don't want to be eating it.

So what does all this have to do with fertility? You are what you eat. When I could not eat gluten or corn, I discovered that these two items are in EVERYTHING, at least all processed foods. I had to start cooking all my own food from whole ingredients, which in the long run was the best thing for my health. Crap in, crap out, I say. If you want to have good egg quality, look at what you are eating. How many times do you eat out a week? Even places like Whole Paycheck Foods do not use their top quality ingredients in their deli. You don't know what crap they are cooking with to save money. Plus, I know many people who are celiac or gluten sensitive who end up getting sick eating from there. If you don't have time to cook for yourself, then ask yourself why? You probably have too much going on in your life and are stressed out. Stress is the fertility killer.

A lot of women freak out when they find out they have high FSH or are told they have bad egg quality. The average lifestyle of a US woman is not conducive to reproductive health. We work too much, we do too much, we don't sleep enough, and we don't take time to relax or cook a good meal for ourselves. Exercise? Who has time for that? Or we do too much of it to fit into some image of a coat hanger skinny model that the media too often pushes off as desirable. Plus, we live in a toxic world. If we took care of ourselves and identified and eliminated the toxins in our lives, our egg quality would be a lot better.

I was one of those women I'm describing here. My uterine fibroids were a wake up call for me. I had an FSH of almost 18 and was told my eggs were toast two months shy of 39. I changed my lifestyle, cleaned up my diet, and did a lot of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. My FSH dropped and my RE couldn't figure it out. He chalked it up to a faulty lab test. My embryos at age 41 looked like those of a woman 10 years younger than me. One of the key things to turning my health around was getting to the bottom of my intestinal problems and healing my gut. It wasn't easy, and I had to work with a whole team of health care professionals to figure it all out. I'm hoping I can make at least one aspect easy for you by providing recipes for healthy meals. I'm notoriously bad at eating the same things over and over again, which is really bad for leaky gut syndrome. Luckily, I also get bored with what I eat and am constantly looking for new and interesting recipes. Enough talking, let's eat!

Kale and White Bean Soup

This soup became a staple in my house this year. We had an abundance of kale in our garden, and I was looking for new recipes to cook with it. This can be made with sausage or without. I make it both ways, depending on my mood. I will start with the version with sausage. It can be served with rice pasta or spaghetti squash, as pictured above.

1/2 lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage or buy links and take off the casings
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
5-8 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups chicken broth
one 15oz can of cannellini, white kidney beans, or great white northern beans, drained & rinsed
4 cups packed chopped kale (stems removed)
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice OR one 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 cube of frozen basil or 2 tsp of dried Italian herbs (can be a mixture of basil, marjoram, thyme, & oregano)

minced fresh parsley (optional)
grated romano cheese

1. If serving with spaghetti squash, bake spaghetti squash by cutting in half, scooping out the middle with the seeds, and placing in a baking dish cut side down with about 1/4" of hot water. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until done.
2. Start the soup by browning the sausage first. In a skillet, break the sausage up into bite size pieces and brown. Set aside when done.
3. In a soup pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
4. Add browned sausage, 3 cups of chicken broth (reserving 1 cup), kale, salt, pepper, Italian herbs, and half the rinsed beans (reserving the other half).
5. With the other 1 cup of chicken broth, put in a blender with the other half of the rinsed beans. Puree until smooth, and add to the soup.
6. Add tomatoes, if desired. Otherwise, add lemon juice at the end.
7. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
8. If you are not serving with spaghetti squash, cook pasta while you are waiting for the soup to finish.
9. Add lemon juice to the soup at the end if you did not add tomatoes earlier.

Vegetarian version:
Substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth or water.
Instead of sausage, use another can of cannellini beans. Blend one can of beans with 1 cup of water or broth, and put the other can of beans in the soup unblended.

Serve with grated romano cheese and minced parsley. Yum!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blowing Sunshine up My Skirt

Periscope up!

I was quite nervous today for my hysteroscopy. I didn't know what to expect since I had been asleep for my last one, as it had been done at the same time as my laparoscopic myomectomy. It was mercifully quick, though I didn't care for the blowing air up my who-haa. My new RE is so damn cheerful, I thought it was a nice metaphor that he was blowing sunshine up my cha-cha instead. I was relieved to hear, "everything looks good!" I was so nervous that I didn't sleep much last night, but I did not have a trauma reaction!! I hope I can finally sleep tonight.

We went over the dates with the nurse. For me, the transfer has to be at or 5 days after the new moon. We aren't getting anywhere near that fertility-sucking full moon. End of March it is, which I think is perfect timing for other things I have to get done before then which include:
  1. Buy a Car: I can't possibly do all these appointments without a car, though there are less with the FET - yeah!
  2. Shop for a Shrink: This may take as long or longer than Number 1. I have to have a good shrink in place BEFORE I get pregnant again. Lesson learned from last time: don't let your RE prescribe you antidepressants!
  3. Finish 2008 taxes: We have to get them done early this year to apply for college financial aid for my oldest stepson. Seems weird to be looking at colleges and trying to get pregnant at the same time. What's wrong with this picture?!
I think I will start my groveling now. Ladies, if you have any left over meds from your cycles, would you be so kind as to donate them to me? I need the following items:

Lu.pron (brand name, not generic)
Vi.velle patches, 0.1 mg
Pro.metrium 200mg or Endo.metrin

Please e-mail me at if you can help out. Many thanks.

Magic asked me tonight, "what is the next thing you are not looking forward to doing?"
Me: "Forking over a bunch of money."
Me: "Taking birth control pills."
Me: "Shooting up Lu.pron."

What is the next thing you are not looking forward to doing?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I'm nervous. Tomorrow is my hysteroscopy with the new doc to make sure everything is A OK in Uterusville. Then, the FET consult. Dates. Drugs. I don't know if I'm ready for this. We don't even know if FET is the thing to do. Maybe we should just start all over with fresh eggs? But can I go through all that stress of the unknown and fun life and death decisions? Can I leave my babies in frozen suspension forever?

On the bright side, I joined a new support group today and did not have a trauma reaction after telling my story. Whoo hoo! I practiced the techniques my trauma therapist gave me in which I cycled my nervous system. I could actually feel the cycling as I sensed into my feet and toes as I felt the intensity of the emotion rise up. I felt myself trembling to let off some of the energy. The night is still young, and sometimes the reaction is delayed, so we shall see. Maybe I'll have one big massive trauma meltdown in the doc's office. Nah. I usually can dissociate enough to make it through, though I may walk into some walls or some such delirious behavior. Can't I just stick red hot pokers in my eyes instead? It sounds so much more sooooothing.

I did figure out that some of my craziness this past weekend, in addition to the full moon induced lunacy, was a stuck trauma reaction. I think I was having this energy come up that wanted to move through. I was soooo angry. Then, I would crying for no apparent reason, just because it felt good. Magic wanted me to tell him what was going on. I said I didn't want to talk about it. The truth was, I didn't have an answer and was annoyed that I didn't know what was going on.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

More Lunacy

I felt like a lunatic today. I'm not PMSing, so that can't be it. I'm blaming the moon. I never do well during the full moon. The last full moon I had my car accident, and it was when the moon was closest to the earth. This full moon was the same situation, the closest the moon will be to the earth in 2009.

I saw an astrologer before my first IVF cycle. You do desperate things when spending $20k a pop on getting pregnant. I found out that the my most fertile time of the month is 3 hours after the new moon. It coincides with the cycle of the moon when I was born. I think this is why I don't do well during the full moon. My first IVF cycle was not timed right for the moon cycle, but I thought it was a bunch of hooey. After I did not stimulate well and I had my IUI, I was cursing that full moon. I knew it was screwing with my fertility. I won't make that mistake again.

And now time for Question and Answer from a couple of posts ago:

Q: Did the man who did your reading have any suggestions as to when would be a good time to do a transfer or what conditions were conducive for her to accept you?
A: I did get a vague answer about when to try next. Let's just say that Magic and I are in negotiation with our baby about when she will be ready to come.

Have you considered meditating before/after the transfer to encourage her to come to you?
A: I'm supposed to be doing this every day now. I slacked off for a couple of weeks, and don't usually do it when I am tired in the evening. I think this is vital, establishing communication with my baby now. If you want to hear it from the source, click on this link and listen to Podcast #17, "Why communicate with your baby?" You will find it under the right menu titled "Previous".

Q: In regards to the FET - have you considered doing an FET at another clinic - transferring the embryos to another place, that you have never been that has no feelings associated with it?
A: This is exactly what we have decided to do. I've been assured that the clinic that we are switching to does this fairly often. I didn't get any indication that it would be problematic in terms of using the medium that our embryos were cultured in from our old clinic.

It was difficult for me to switch. I had a lot invested in the old clinic. I also really wanted them to take responsibility for their actions, but I didn't really have any indication that they would. Therefore, there was no reason for me to stay with them, especially considering how hard it was to get a hold of my RE. I had to run the gauntlet through the receptionists and nurses. God forbid I had a life when my RE did call, and I couldn't take it if I was in a meeting at work. He would get a bit frustrated if he had to keep calling me back. I would reply, yes that pesky job gets in the way! I think the final straw was reading in my medical records about the conversation he had with another doctor I saw while I was pregnant. I was shocked that he was not concerned enough to call me about my mental state after this other doctor called him to inquire about the anti-depressants he had prescribed me. I was no longer his problem.

My new RE is very responsive via e-mail. Once I let him know that we were ready to proceed, he e-mailed me back that he would have his staff call me to schedule my appointments. I thought, yeah, right. Sure enough, they called me the next day. I can't remember that ever happening at my other clinic. Actually, I was kinda hoping they wouldn't call me. I don't think I am quite ready. I had a dream last night in which I was pregnant and having a panic attack.

Which made me realize I have not found a new psychiatrist yet. In addition to the tests I need to have done to prepare for my FET, I also have to find a new shrink. That task seems daunting to me, but an absolute necessity. I'm not going into this without a back up again. That really was lunacy.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gluten Free Fridays: Minestrone Soup

I'm cheating a little here because I'm actually writing this post on Saturday. However, this is what I ate yesterday on Friday. No, not a cupcake, minestrone soup. I recently added gluten-free blogs to my blogroll, as cooking and eating are two of my favorite past times. Blame my Italian genes.

I am gluten sensitive. I do not have celiac disease, but personally, I don't see much of a difference. If you can't eat gluten, you can't eat gluten. I guess with my gluten sensitivity, I do not get vilely ill if I eat a little bit of gluten. I might get depressed or I might feel achey in my joints or muscles. Gluten can cause a lot of problems if you are sensitive to it, including infertility.

Gluten 101
Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye, barley and oats that is responsible for making breads, pasta, and other baked goods stick together. Actually, oats itself does not have gluten, but it is usually contaminated with wheat, so unless you buy oats from fields and factories dedicated to process oats only (2 or 3 companies in US & Canada), just figure it has gluten. The oat grain and the wheat grain look almost identical, so it is difficult to process wheat grains out of oats. Wheat is slightly larger, though these pictures are not to scale:

Wheat grains

Oat grains

Modern wheat has been bred to have higher gluten contents than historical wheat varieties. Gluten is the sticky stuff that holds bread and other baked goods together. Plant breeders figure the more gluten the better, but modern wheat is harder to digest as a result. Some people can eat spelt or kamut. These are basically old varieties of wheat that have not been messed with like modern wheat, but wheat just the same. If you can't have gluten, spelt or kamut won't do either.

Interestingly enough, my little old Italian grandmother had asthma, so way back when people were not so savvy about gluten sensitivity, her progressive doctor told her she could not eat wheat, only rye. Rye has less gluten content in it than wheat.

Every Friday, I will try to include little tidbits of interest on the effects of gluten on the body. I know a lot of women who are told to avoid it if they have fertility problems. I decided to cut it out for several reasons, including mental health, digestive problems, fibroids and fertility. I recently found out I have osteopenia in my hips, which is the first stage of bone loss before osteoporosis. It's probably from all those years I had digestive problems and was not absorbing calcium properly, just another reason not to eat gluten. Enough talking, let's eat!

Minestrone Soup

I miss eating minestrone soup from a can. If you can't have gluten, you can make your own and it's much healthier than the processed canned stuff! I use gluten free elbow pasta. To date, I have not been able to find GF ditalini in the US, and I live in gluten free central. If you have the time, you can cook GF penne and cut them in half or thirds to approximate ditalini. Sorry, no picture, but trust me, it's good!

~1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter: substitute with ghee if you can't have dairy or omit
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large onion diced
1-2 medium carrots diced
1-2 stalks celery diced
1 medium potato diced
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1-2 Tbsp tomato paste to taste
1 small zucchini
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp salt, or to taste
4 cups GF chicken broth
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans in 1/2" to 1" pieces
1 15oz can kidney beans - drained & rinsed
1 cup dried GF pasta (Tinkyada brand elbow pasta works well)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (optional) or 2 cubes of frozen homemade basil pesto
black pepper to taste
Romano cheese to top (optional)

Add olive oil, ghee, & onion to a large soup pot and saute until the onion is translucent. Add garlic about half way through this.

Add celery, carrots, potato. Saute for another 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, salt, chicken broth, and tomato paste.

Bring soup to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-30 minutes. Veggies should be tender. In the meanwhile, start your water boiling for the GF pasta.

Add green beans, kidney beans, zucchini, and fresh or frozen basil. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. While this is simmering, cook your GF pasta separately and add to the soup after the soup is fully cooked.

Serve hot and top with freshly grated romano cheese. Yum!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sinking Feelings

I finally came to the realization, with Magic's help, that I can not go back to my old RE. I think it came down to feeling like I could not trust him or the embryologist to take care of me in the future. I also do not believe they would ever take any responsibility for their carelessness. I have thought about going back many times, rehearsed what I would say to them, and it feels too traumatic. As it is, I dissociated the last time I went to the new RE's office.

I didn't want to check my e-mail tonight. I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I forced myself to e-mail him today, my new RE, to tell him that we are ready to move forward with our frozen embryo transfer. I knew he would have answered. I didn't really want to know the answer, to know that I will be going back in that cold environment where I have to shut down my emotions. Where strangers do things to me that I really don't want to think about. And who knows what the outcome will be. It all makes me sick.

On the other hand, I want to meet her so badly. I hope she will accept one of our frozen embryos. I don't know if I can go through another loss. I don't know if I can go through another IVF cycle. I hope that she will come this time. I hope she is ready. I hope I am ready.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Year of Loss

New Year's Eve is usually a time to reflect on the previous year.  For me, it was just another blow, just another loss to top off an incredibly crappy year.  Let's review the year's losses:

  • lost my mind
  • lost my pregnancy
  • lost my equity, at least half of it
and to top it all off, New Year's Eve
  • lost my car
After waiting for over two weeks, my insurance company finally decided to total my car.  I was bummed.  My car represented to me something that I bought that I totally loved.  After buying a house that turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes in my life, I bought my car and I loved it.  

After The Reading with the author of " Ba.bies", I was very disoriented.  It was as if I was in that spiritual plane.  I should not have been driving, let alone been talking on my cell phone while driving.  My boss called me.  She was making sure I was going to take care of some things before I went on vacation.  I told her I was coming in.  I told her I would take care of those things, but she just kept asking me again.  She heard the whole thing.  She heard me screaming on the phone.  It was deja vu to me.  I had two premonitions about the car accident that week, two feelings of screaming on the phone while getting into a car accident.  I thought I was just having another anxiety attack, that my craziness was coming back.  I was distracted driving and made a bad judgment call.  But for whatever reason, I felt it was meant to be.  I have mild whiplash.  Parts of my face still goes numb, which kinda freaked me out at first, but I'm getting used to it.

I'm trying to look on the bright side of things. Although I loved my car, which was a 2000 Toyota RAV4, I'm thinking that maybe I should buy a compact SUV that has a better safety record, like a Subaru. My mothering instincts are telling me to buy the car with the better safety ratings and side air bags if I'm going to be transporting a baby around. Besides, it's just a car.  I can get over that pretty easily.  I would like to get opinions from my readers, so I will put a poll up. Which car should I buy?

Let's recap the good things that happened in 2008, and there were a few bright spots in The Year of Loss:

  • I learned a lot about trauma first hand.  I know this sounds like a weird thing, but the trauma of my pregnancy highlighted the trauma of my childhood.  The trauma of my car accident did not have any emotional baggage associated with it, so I am learning how trauma stays in the body and mind.  That's one reason why I think the car accident was meant to happen.  It's all this circle, and I think getting to the source of all the traumas in my life will ultimately be helpful.
  • Magic's hip surgery was a success.
  • Fluffernutter, my cat is still alive at 19 and still holding on.
  • I had one of my best gardens ever with a killer basil harvest, which I am still enjoying.
  • I sold my house.  I lost half my equity and more money just fixing up the place to sell it, but it's gone.  I won't be losing any other money on that.  I bought when the market was high just after Bush came in office and sold when the market was at the low just before Bush left office.  I needed the money in my equity and I didn't want to wait 3-4 years to the market to recover to sell it.  Plus, I would have had to sink more money into my house to keep it up.  Thanks a lot Mr. President.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out of office!!
  • I paid off most of my outstanding bills.  I'm out of debt, for now.
  • I found out I really didn't lose my mind.  From The Reading, I discovered that I was in tune with what was happening on this other spiritual plane.  Sorry to be vague, but most people wouldn't really understand.  Nevertheless, the whole experience sucked.  Oh wait, this is supposed to be the happy list...
I thought 2007 was bad.  2008 was worse.  Regardless, I do know that things could be a lot worse.  I just hope 2009 will be a better year for all of us who need it.