The Faux Hippie's Guide to Fertility: Eastern Meets Western
"On the road again"...the lyrics of that incredibly annoying honky-tonk country song pop into my head when I think about the next few weeks for me. I've taken a month break from my fertility journey and although it felt REALLY good (I mean REALLY REALLY good), it also started to feel as though I'd given up and so I'm on the road again starting today.
I need to keep going and not allow the fear of failure to hold me back. Who knows? This could be the month, but this could also be the first month of another 60 months with no end in sight. I cannot control the results. All I can do is control my actions. So, as a self-proclaimed faux hippie, I'm putting my alternative approach out there for anyone else struggling with infertility. To clarify; a "faux-hippie" is someone who practices an 80/20 approach to hippie. I am only part hippie as I still shave, bathe, wear make-up and shop high fashion.
1) I start my day with a shot of Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar. It tastes like fermented ogre ass sweat, so I add a splash of Trader Joe's organic cherry juice or a splask their green smoothie. You only need about 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to do the trick. According to my research, apple cider vinegar helps to balance out the PH in your (ahem) so your husband's baby makers have a fighting chance.
2) I also drink organic raspberry leaf tea every night. It has a multitude of nutritional benefits and is rumored to help with cysts, endometriosis, and increase overall uterine health. Add a little bit of raw, unfiltered, local honey if you want to sweeten it and fight allergies at the same time. Raspberry Leaf Tea benefits
3) I try to eat "paleo" 85% of the time and eat organic, clean foods 95% of the time. I do, of course, eat out at restaurants from time to time and I can't control what's in the food there, but even then I try to stick to mostly meat, fruits, vegtables, and almond milk or goat's milk. I will NOT drink sodas, eat candies, or eat anything with trans fats, preservatives, or additives. This is not only good advice for hopeful mammas, but for preggo mammas, and all mammas. A toxin-free lifestyle is a crucial step towards conception so clean it up, ladies!
4) Acupuncture! Do not underestimate the power of acupuncture. Even if you can't believe that sticking needles in your skin clears your pathways and increases energy flow, believe in the benefit of laying flat on a warm table in the dark, alone for 50 minutes listening to music that seems to be the soundtrack for your life. Your thoughts flow freely during this time and you're able to reconnect with your body and reenergize. However; if you choose to add this to your fertility plan, choose someone with all the right letters behind their name and do your research. I see Sadie Minkoff from www.reprodructiveacupuncture.com, where all of the therapists have Master's Degrees in the field and specialize in fertility and reproductive health.
5) Abdominal Massage: I learned this one from a holistic healer I started seeing awhile back. I do my own abdominal massage nightly, but I would also suggest seeing a professional 1-2x a month at the beginning and middle of your cycle. Take two fingers and start at your belly button and move slowly down towards your ovaries and back up to your belly button in a clockwise motion. This increases blood flow to the reproductive area. The pros will add pressure by your femural artery in order to send blood flow to the uterus, but I don't trust myself with that one yet.
6) Slow down on the workouts, but don't quit entirely. I'm a runner, a kickboxer, a hard core gym rat, but I've realized this doesn't work for the hopefuls like us. I've learned to slow down. Walking briskly at an incline, lifting light weights, pilates, yoga, etc. are all great stress relieving workouts for mothers-to-be. If you can get outide it's even better. I created a playlist that I can sing to and I love walking around the countryside as the sun sets. Connecting with nature is always a bonus!
7) Castor Oil packs: I've found these on the internet and I'm going to start using these every other day. They were recommended by my acupuncturist. Apparently castor oil has century-old benefits for a plethora of health issues including infertility. It's benefits include detoxification before conception, improved egg quality, increased uterine health, fallopian tube health, and healthier ovulation patterns. The process consists of soaking a flannel square in castor oil, laying it across your bare pelvis, and covering with plasic and then a heating pad. I'll be doing this one laying in the sun or the bath tub because I imagine castor oil doesn't smell well and could stain. Castor Oil Therapy
8) Glower Essences (don't roll your eyes): Hibiscus Flower essences can be dropped into your water or tea up to 4x a day to clear your chakra (um...which I have no idea what that is), but I'm at the point where if someone told me to snort cow dung up my nose to get pregnant I'd probaby do it. I've been told about the power of hibiscus essences from various people ranging from holistic healers to fertility specialists, so I've decided to give it a go. Here's the link for more info on these. Hibiscus Flowers for Fertility
9)Get a full body Swedish massage the day before, on, or after ovulation. I get a "trigger shot" on Day 10 of my cycle so I know exactly when I'm going to ovulate and I'm almost always a basket case from the pressure so I'm adding a massage on Day 11 this month so I'll remember to relax. We'll call this the "Relaxate, Ovulate, and Procreate" massage.
10) Get a bad ass fertility doctor! All 9 of the things I've listed above are fantastic on their own if you're either new to trying or you've had minor difficulties, but if you're like me and doctor after doctor has given the, "This could be a long haul, but bare with us" speech, then combine the above options with Western medicine and get yourself someone that knows what they're doing. I see a 3rd generation Fertility Specialist named Dr. Kavoussi. He's a no-bullshit, take no prisoners kind of doctor and I trust him entirely. His staff is very well educated, they always answer the phone, they know you by name and struggle, and they call you back with answers to your questions within hours (no matter how neurotic your questions may be).
Dr. Kavoussi has created a cocktail just for me that consists of 3 pills a day for 5 days, an injection a day for 3 days, and a trigger shot on day 10-14 to cause ovulation. I've responded very well to this protocol two months already and I'm willing to give it a few more tries before I take a break again.
All of the above items may seem like alot of work to some people, but for me, it's not. It helps me feel in control in a situation where it's very easy to feel completely helpless. I've just never been into to playing the helpless victim role. I'm more into taking charge. I'm going "Rocky Balboa" on infertility!
Chelsea Vail, MA, CCLS, owner of Whole Heart, in Austin, TX
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