Day 2: Dinner

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DW and I love good food, but dining out can be kind of tricky with my Celiac issues. Generally, we stick to asian restaurants (less gluten dishes), vegetarian/vegan/raw restaurants (because they tend to be more gluten-conscious), or dedicated gluten-free places. Mostly though, we cook at home. We keep it fun and fresh by making special trips to farmers markets or organic butchers with a meal in mind. I also bake a lot, as trying new gluten-free recipes is a hobby of mine, and I must say, my homemade baked goods are better than anything that I’ve tried in a store. Recently, I’ve been on a cornbread kick.

We both like all types of cultural food too, which I’m grateful for. We have friends who are strictly into “North American” food, and it is difficult to coordinate dinners out anywhere other than at a pub or chain restaurant. There’s this awesome Caribbean restaurant in a super shady part of town and I’m craving their chicken curry with rice and beans right now. We love Indian food, but have to watch out for gluten contamination. I have yet to find an Indian place in Toronto that I can trust to have gluten-free dishes. Damn, I’m craving Chana masala right now.

The last time we went out for dinner was our date night. It was about 12 days ago, and we’re due for another dinner out soon- maybe Valentine’s Day? We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day with gifts and special whooing, but it’s kind of fun going out for dinner and seeing all sorts of awkwardness as people in various stages of relationships try to romance each other.

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My 14 Day Blog Challenge!

Well I’m officially PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise), which is wonderful but also a bit like purgatory. Our beta isn’t for another 10 days, so I thought that now would be a great opportunity to create a blogging challenge!

I invite anyone who is interested to join. I made it 14 days, mostly to give people in their two-week-waits something to keep their minds occupied. I think writing is a great way to be creative and connect with other bloggers. I have always loved reading these kinds of posts.

How it works:

There are 14 questions to be answered, one each day, in the form of a blog post- it can be as short or as long as you would like.

It can include words, a video, or photos.

1. Copy and paste the “How it works” and rules provided.
2. Post the photo of the questions.
3. Tag me in your posts so I can follow you.
4. Answer a question each day.
5. Nominate one blogger friend each day to join in the fun (optional, but encouraged).

Have fun!

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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?

TWW Symptom Obsessions

For those who aren’t familiar with the lingo, #DP5DT stands for number of days post 5-day blastocyst transfer. If you want to convert it to days post ovulation (DPO), you add 5 days (because our little blastocysts have had a 5 day head start.

For example: 9DP5DT means nine days post five day blastocyst transfer, and is equivalent to 14 days post ovulation.

Now for DW’s symptoms:

Saturday May 17th (5DP5DT)- mild cramping
Sunday May 18th (6DP5DT)- fatigue, dizziness, trace spotting
Tuesday May 20th (8DP5DT)- mild nausea, dizziness

Fingers and toes are all crossed!

IUI#3: The Two Week Wait that I Slept Away…

The theme of this two week wait (TWW) is: exhaustion.

Throughout this TWW, I have napped every single day, and sometimes twice a day! Originally, I had thought it might be a pregnancy symptom, but after doing some research, it seems it may just be a side effect of the progesterone suppositories. Other than that, no other symptoms. No breast tenderness, no cramps, no nausea.

I have however, had insatiable cravings for Korean food. I’m not Korean, so don’t have a deeply rooted history of turning to Korean food for comfort, but have craved for (and eaten 3 times this week) gamjatang. In fact, I’m still craving it.

Did blood work today at the clinic (12DPO), and find out whether I’m pregnant. I caved however, and peed on a strip this morning, which came up negative 😦

This IUI seemed different than the rest, and I really hope it’s the one.

We find out in an hour.

The Two “Abstain From Everything You Like To Do” Wait

So the people around me suspect that something is up.

I’ve taken a few more sick days this month, and my coworkers are thinking I’m either terminally ill or pregnant.

I’ve missed, and will continue to miss a few more hockey games, so my teammates send me emails asking if I’m pregnant.

I have significantly toned down the intensity and duration of my workouts, so I wonder if the trainers at my gym are thinking that I’m pregnant?

This weekend I’ll be catching up with my family and in-laws at a dinner party. I will not be drinking. I betcha they will suspect that I’m pregnant.

We test in 11 days. Until then, I will be wondering if I’m pregnant.

I really do hope so.

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