I want to take a post to talk about all the other things I was doing during this healing time. I was going to acupuncture weekly and taking whatever Chinese herbs I was prescribed at different times. But I was doing a lot more than that.
I was also taking a ton of supplements. I had been taking vitex since the beginning of cycle 1. Then at some point I added in Maca root and DIM for estrogen metabolism and d-chrio inositol because there was research that said it helped with PCOS. I was taking a prenatal vitamin for good measure and an omega 3 pill. I was also taking drops that I was given by my naturopath, probiotics, a b complex, vitamin c, calcium and magnesium, I can’t even remember what all I was taking. It was a lot. I was also trying to drink green tea pre-o and black tea post-o. And I was drinking chlorophyll to build blood. But it was worth it to me because I really thought I was doing these things to create positive change in my body. I was always at the health food store picking up new vitamins, minerals, herbs, and all sorts of stuff. This is what happens when you receive emailed newsletters from various natural healing websites. I am glad that these exist because I think they are all trying to help women heal naturally and most do seem genuinely concerned with our wellbeing and our health. But it does create a little bit of mayhem in minds like mine that want to do it all!
One thing I loved doing was castor oil packs! Both the acupuncturist and the naturopath told me to do castor oil packs. I mostly did them on my liver to clean out the excess hormones but sometimes I did them on my ovaries to break up the cysts. I did this almost every night because it felt so good. You just take a clean flannel cloth, cover it in castor oil, put it over your lower abdomen or over your liver and then cover it with a hot water bottle for about an hour. Cloudy and I watch tv most nights so I would just put it on there, enjoy my Grey’s anatomy, and then go to bed. It made me feel good and made me sleep even better.
I was also, of course, doing yoga. I was still teaching 2-3 classes a week but my home practice became centered on yoga for fertility. I did some research in this area and spoke with some of my teachers about good things to do. One really helpful resource is the book Fully Fertile. I Love that book, it has lots of helpful sections about diet and lifestyle. But I really enjoyed the yoga section. I used a few fertility yoga dvds they were nice because they were more relaxing htat what I was used to and helped me to stay grounded in my body, it helped me to learn to trust and love my body even though we were going through a tough time together trying to become more fertile. It helped me to relax when all of this seemed like too much. And it helped me maintain body awareness so that I could tap into my intuition about various techniques and supplements and the effects they were having.
Another great tool is Circle + Bloom’s visualization mp3s. I started with their Fertility for PCOS program. It consists of listening to a guided visualization every day to teach your mind to direct your body. It is super specific without being overwhelming. It is relaxing and I think it made a huge difference for me. In fact, the first time I ovulated was when I started using these and it was right around the time I was listening to the ovulation mp3. One thing I liked abut these is that it created a real knowledge of what was supposed to happen and when. I think even just having that knowledge and keeping it in the back of your mind that, this is what is supposed to happen today, really starts to change the way your body works.
I should talk about exercise a little bit. I wish this was something I had been a little better about. I have gone through periods of my life where I exercise to the extreme, making it an obsession of sorts. These times are always sandwiched in between doing very little to no exercise with the exception of yoga. Exercise helps my mind. My body changes a little bit between really toned and a kinda soft but my weight has never been something I have had to control. I am just lucky that my metabolism does a great job regulating my weight. But exercise helps my stress levels tremendously! And I know this, so why is it sometimes that the sloth in me takes over and I really want to to be lazy for months on end? Probably because I abuse exercise sometimes to the point of burn out. This is one area that in time I hope I strike a better balance. While all of this other stuff was going on this was one area where I was not obsessing and doing everything that I could. I would swim a couple times some weeks, maybe a bike ride here and there. But it was really inconsistent. I was too focused on everything else fertility and I think it would have eased a little of the stress of that time and maybe helped me to relax more about all the stuff I was trying.
I know that reading about all of this makes it sound like a lot, and it really was a lot. But it mostly felt manageable. A day in my life looked like this.
• Wake up
• 20-40min fertility yoga
• Make up whatever concoction I was drinking at the time and drink it
• Go to work (I was and am working full time as a roadway design engineer, shocker! I know)
• Take a handful of pills sometime in the morning
• Swim, or read/research, or bike, or nap most lunches
• Acupuncture on my lunch hour usually Wednesdays or Thursdays
• Hand full of pills sometime in the afternoon
• Go home, walk the dogs, feed Cloudy
• Castor oil pack during mindless tv
• One more handful of pills
• Go to bed and listen to Circle and Bloom
If I had any other audience reading this blog I know that this post would make them call in the crazy police. But I know that most of you have either been through or are currently going through a fertility struggle of your own. So I hope at least some of you can relate to crazy schedules and trying everything you hear about. I have read other blogs about women going to appointments to get their follicles checked by ultrasound every other day and taking pills that make them feel crazy, and shots and doing all of that on top of natural supplements, acupuncture and yoga. I thought about taming it down and making it sound like a lot less for the blog but that isn’t real. It isn’t a true count of what I went through so that won’t help me. And I don’t want to come across like it was easier than it was or like I was less crazy than I was. I mean, I didn’t feel crazy, but I’m sure to the outsider, all the stuff I was doing, looked crazy. So I just want to say to all of you that are out there trying to figure it out, you’re not crazy. You are a good mother, because you are already doing everything you can for your children.
I should give Cloudy some credit here too. He is so supportive of all of it. If I came home and said I wanted to stand on my head and pour cranberry juice in my who-ha, he’d say “What?!! Why?!!” and then “Ok, let me hold your legs”. He is great. He doesn’t make me feel crazy. He is interested in the things I want to do and what they can do for me. He is patient with my body and the delayed baby making schedule. I love you Cloudy!