9 Weeks- Dumplin’ and the Earthquake

Not a whole lot has changed since week 8. Taking the Diclectin 2x a day has been great for managing my all-day sickness. Yesterday, I forgot my afternoon dose, and was dry heaving all evening. That was some reassurance that Dumplin’ is still doing well and making me sick.

I was supposed to have a midwife appointment yesterday, but she called and rescheduled because she was at a birth and wouldn’t likely make it back in time for our appointment. I haven’t met this midwife yet, but she seemed nice over the phone.

After our ultrasound on Monday, I’ve been feeling a lot better about this pregnancy sticking around. My feelings of security are still wavering though. I joined a due date group on Facebook, and every single day, a woman posts about a miscarriage or no longer seeing a heartbeat. It’s sad, and also terrifying. On the other hand, at this point, we have a 98% chance of a successful pregnancy. I know that our case is unique, with the autoimmune stuff going on, but I’m hanging on to the fact that 98% is pretty damn close to 100%.

All day yesterday, and all day today (so far), I’ve had really loose stools. It’s not quite diarrhea, but more like the cat poops I tend to have when I just start my period. They are airy, and I pooped about 8 times yesterday. This morning, I have already pooped 4 times. No blood, no mucus. At first, I worried that it might be food poisoning, but I haven’t really had cramps or felt sick. Now I’m wondering if I have just been eating too much fibre? I have been living off pancakes for two weeks now, and then felt really guilty about my poor food choices that I replaced the pancakes with oatmeal and hemp seeds, and have been force-feeding myself salad and veggies at least once a day. Could this be the culprit?

My TSH is on the low side (0.3) despite lowering my dose of levothryoxine to my pre-conception dose. My endocrinologist called today, and wants me to lower it even further to only taking 25mcg 6 days a week (instead of 7). Does anyone know if working out increases thyroid demands, as I’m wondering if my levels are so good because I’m NOT working out. I’m considering exercising a bit again soon, but wonder if it would mess with my thyroid levels.

I’m considering returning to exercising soon. Nothing intense like I used to do, but mostly a yoga class and maybe some elliptical cardio. Then if that feels good, I’ll reintroduce some light weightlifting. The gym that I go to has regular yoga classes, but I’m not sure of what “restrictions” there are on postures during first trimester. I know a lot of you bloggers do prenatal yoga. Can you advise on what to avoid this early in my pregnancy? Merci beaucoup!

And finally… after 6 weeks of waiting… I had my first orgasm!Pregnancy has increased my libido somehow, and out of fear, I have been abstaining from any orgasm-causing action. I generally have a fairly high drive, and several times in the past 6 weeks, I have woken up to having orgasms in my sleep. And I mean, full-on, body quivering, uterus-contracting EARTHQUAKES! DW and I joke around that poor little Dumplin’ is grasping the walls of her amniotic sac, screaming “Earthquaaaaaaakkke!”. I spoke to the midwife yesterday about whether it was safe for me to be having orgasms now, and she said that when we have orgasms, oxytocin is released, which normally causes contractions like in labour, but that it isn’t until the 3rd trimester that we start to develop oxytocin receptors. That is why they often encourage orgasms as a way to encourage labour at term. For now, it means we’re all good to orgasm away.

Other than that, I’ve got nothing else to report. I’m still exhausted, I have headaches from the afternoon on, but otherwise, all is well. I’m looking forward to feeling better and better about this pregnancy as each day passes.  

IVF#2: To Exercise, or Not to Exercise?

This question plagues me every single time we get close to an FET/IVF/TWW, and to be honest, I am no where closer to a solid answer on this.

As most of you know, I am a very physically active person. I played multiple sports on a competitive level. My regular schedule of activity before TTC was intense hockey games 2-3 days a week, plus weight lifting 3-4 days a week. My body loved it, my mind loved it. Sometimes I wonder if that’s how I managed to keep my depression at bay without meds for so long.

When we started doing the IUIs, I continued playing hockey twice a week, weight lifted 2-3 days a week, and limited my exercise to regular daily activities during the TWW (no hockey, no weights). In between BFN’s, I would go back to playing hockey and lifting. In total, I had 4 BFNs from IUIs.

When we moved to IVF last year, I went down to playing ice hockey once a week, and continued weight lifting. Once my ovaries started becoming palpable from the outside (approx stim day 8), I stopped everything except for walking the dogs. We got lots of eggs that round. 21 mature –> 14 fertilized –> 7 day five blastocysts.

Embryo transfers 1 and 2 were DW’s, and she weight lifted once a week plus dog walks before the fresh transfer, and only dog walks during her TWW. After her 5 week miscarriage she joined me back playing hockey once a week. After her second transfer, she only did dog walks, until her miscarriage again at 5 weeks.

Prior to embryo transfer #3, I was playing ball hockey twice a week, and walking the dogs almost daily until the TWW. During pregnancy, I only did dog walks a couple of days a week, until 6 weeks when I went back to weight lifting, and then miscarried sometime during week 7/8.

I returned to the gym a week after my D&C at week 9, and for three months, lifted heavy weights and did compound lifts (squats, deadlifts) 3-4 days a week. I also did sprints 2 days a week. This is until embryo transfer #4, after which I did nothing but dog walks.

After embryo transfer #4 = BFN, I look two weeks off due to being depressed and Christmas holidays. For the past two weeks, I have been working through this high volume fitness competition program. I am on week three of the muscle building phase. Since I started it, I’ve packed on three pounds, but it’s hard to know if it’s just water weight from re-introducing carbs (from 15% to 35% of my macros), muscle mass, or gosh fat (from eating nearly 500 more calories daily than before). I am loving the program so far, and find that I am so hungry even with the increase in calories (from more muscles?), but realize that I shouldn’t be continuing this program once I start stims. The program has me lifting for 90 minutes 6 days a week, plus the 3 days of cardio that I’m not doing (I don’t want to create a calorie deficit). I realize that this is too much, and too frequent for a body trying to optimize reproduction.

Now, I’m trying to decide whether to limit myself to dog walks soon, or whether it’s safe to keep lifting, but at a much lighter resistance.

During my research, I find things like this, which has me thinking that since I have worked out regularly for over 15 years now, no matter what I do, my outcome will be the same. This study essentially says that women who have a history of exercising regularly for five or more years generally have poorer outcomes than sedentary women, regardless of if they exercised during IVF or not.

Then of course, there’s this, which has me totally thinking that I shouldn’t exercise during the first 18 weeks of pregnancy because of the greater risk of miscarriage, but then confuses me by showing studies that say exercise helps to prevent miscarriage. Though, neither really matters to me right now because my concern is about IVF outcomes.

The alternative medicine doctor part of me thinks that all strenuous activity (things that make you sweat, hold your breath, increase your intraabdominal pressure) should take a back seat during stims and the TWW because these kinds of activities drain the resources (Qi) needed to make and nourish developing eggs/embryos. From a primal/paleo perspective, these activities would mimic the unfavourable conditions of running away from predators, or having to hunt/forage, both of which indicate to the body that right now food is scarce and not a good time for baby making. Also, heavy lifting encourages the cycle of muscle damage and repair, which is the basis of muscle building. This increases the oxidative load on the body, and the resultant increase in metabolism increases the amount of free radicals floating around, which is also bad.

As for light exercise such as walking, and light cleaning, I believe these activities are good during stims and the TWW. They increase the circulation through the body, and get some good endorphins flowing.

What I would love to see is a study comparing consecutive IVF cycles- one with exercise and one without, with identical treatment plans, and what the resultant embryo numbers and qualities are. Too bad I can’t find anything like that, as it would shed some light on what I should do.

What I do Know
– I have already stopped doing cardio because it is counterproductive to try to burn calories
– I will keep my calories the same as right now (well-fed and higher than maintenance).
– I will definitely not put myself at risk of ovarian torsion.
– I will not exercise while my ovaries are healing from egg retrieval (last time took two weeks to have a non-painful poop)

Those of you who have done IVF- what kind of activity did you maintain during your stims? What kind of outcome did you have from your IVF? What would you do if you had to do IVF again? What was recommended to you by your RE?

Back to the Gym

Living in fear is no way to live.

But since the transfer, I pretty much stopped all physical activity, aside from dog walks every other day with my lovely ladies. If you recall, exercise is pretty much my only method of stress relief, and the two-week-wait is extremely stressful, so I’ve pretty much been shit to be around. DW has been great though, letting me go at things at my own pace, pick our activities, change my mind, complain, get frustrated, then pass out for another nap and start all over again.

In the past couple of weeks we did some fun things.

We:

– went to Ripley’s Aquarium on our anniversary
– have dined at our favourite restaurants
– seen two films in theatre: Lucy and The Hundred Foot Journey
– driven into downtown on numerous occasions for gelato from our favourite chocolatier, Soma

Other than that, I’ve preferred couch lazing and watching Netflix over socializing. We’ve finished Rectify (which was amazing), and I am still making my way through The Mindy Project. Once school starts next week, I will have no time to watch anything.

However, I finally emerged from the couch potato haze, and returned to the gym two days ago. My muscles were feeling wasted and listless. They needed a pump!

With almost twenty years experience lifting weights, it was humbling to have to limit myself to a lighter workout. My TCM doctor strongly urged against me working out at all, but honestly, I was going crazy. I had to. For my health, and the health of my pregnancy.

But this is what I did:

Three giant sets of the following circuits with no rest between giant sets:

Giant Set 1 (x 3 sets):
8-10 overhand pull-ups (assisted)
10 push ups (off toes)
10 body weight squats
10 ball hamstring curls

Giant Set 2 (x 3 sets):
10-12 chin-ups with a lat pull down machine
10-12 bench press with a bar only
10 slow Bulgarian split squats
Plank
10-12 seated row

20 mins elliptical on a very low level to get lactic acid out of my legs

It felt so good. I was so energized, and sooo sore the next day and took it as a rest day.

Today, I’m back at the gym, a little less sore, but ready to go.

This is what I did:

Giant Set 1 (x 3 sets):
10-12 barbell curl
10-12 barbell military press
10-12 rope press down
10-12 rear delt fly

Giant Set 2 (x 3 sets):
10-12 overhand bicep curl
10-12 upright row
10-12 overhead tricep extension
10-12 lateral delt fly

20 minutes elliptical
20 minutes swimming and stretching in the pool

I’m so happy to be back!

Tomorrow is our competitive ball hockey team’s championship game, as well as the league’s season wrap-up banquet. Our team is defending first place, and I have to come up with an excuse for why I can’t play but will be watching instead. This is a team that we have been playing with for almost 5 years, and we love these girls. It’ll be weird for me not to play, as I usually make every single game. We’ll see how it goes!

#30x30Challenge Day 1

So, I probably get more exercise than the regular person.

When a colleague at work mentioned the 30×30 Challenge, I bawked at it because I regularly spend more than 30 minutes outside everyday. To prove it, I plan on posting a photo each day on this blog. Feel free to join me in this challenge. It’s free! It’s fun! And it’s good for you!

Today, DW and I took our fur babies on our regular hike through the conservation park. I didn’t remember to snap a photo until we were almost at the very end of our walk. But I managed to get in a panoramic and a photo of the big dog all proud of herself for finding a deer leg.

To learn more, you can check out: http://30×30.davidsuzuki.org

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