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Coach Louise and Coach Julie

Dear blog reader,

Coach Louise began this blog with the intention that it be a place to share stories, ask questions, get support in a safe place of understanding and compassion, as well as a source for information on the topic of infertility, miscarriage, treatments etc. I am so excited to be taking over the administration of the blog and continuing on the mission of supporting you on your unique fertility journey. If you’d like to know more about me and what I offer, please click About Julie or visit Whole Vision Coaching. I’m so glad you’re here. Most importantly, I really want you to understand that you are not alone and this part of your adventure does not define who you are.

Having experienced the frustrations of unexplained infertility personally, I recognize that the experience can be isolating when the people around you don’t necessarily understand what you are going through. It is also often the first crisis couples come up against where there is really no control over the outcome. I want to connect with you and give you as much support as possible to lead a life full of joy and balance no matter the outcome of your pursuit of parenthood. I can also help to guide you and propose different alternatives that you might not have considered yet from a purely objective point of view.

Ultimately, I can offer you a space like a comfy sofa that you can fall into to feel comforted and reassured and so much more while on this unexpectedly challenging journey.

With love,
Coach Julie

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How to determine the quality of your eggs or sperm!

baby-in-vitro

Hi folks,

This is such a big question, but in truth there is a lot you can do improve the quality of either eggs or sperm!   It takes 3 months for follicles to mature into eggs, and also the same time for sperm to develop ready for ejaculation.    So it stands to reason that you want to give yourself at least a few months before you start seriously trying to fall pregnant to take care of things on your end!

Discovery Health did a recent documentary on men drinking a mix of fruit and veg smoothies twice a day for a few months, and the quality of their sperm increased dramatically.  These men were chosen as they were not successfully creating a pregnancy with their partner, and this was because their sperm was not up to scratch.   So even making that simple change can make the world of difference.   Often individuals, women and men included are not getting enough minerals and nutrients through their diet,  so this is a great place to start looking at how you can influence the outcome of fertility issues.

Minerals are also really important, so nuts like Brazil nuts are great because of zinc and selenium for men to produce healthy sperm.  Men, and women, need folic acid, so choose lot of green leafy vegetables to put into your smoothies, or juicing.   (if you’re juicing, which incidentally I love, make sure you are taking in enough fibre during the day, as juicing would not be enough)   Make sure you are mixing vegies and fruit as you want a really good mix of nutrients.  By the way asparagus has lots of folic acid!

I am by no means an expert but from my own experience and from all the reading and research I do, this seems to be a great platform to start from.

To add to the mix, do a little exercise too.  Don’t go crazy, and don’t do it in fits and starts – if you do that, it can potentially do more damage than good.   Fit regular exercise into your routine that gets the blood circulating.  Like walking or swimming.   For women, hard exercise is going to detract from the fertility process, so make sure you are moving but make it gentle.

Let me know how you get on!  Ultimately what this says to me, is rthat we really need to take good care of ourselves first!  Nature’s way of preparing us for taking good care of the little ones we will bring into this world!  And that we are able to do something before we resort to other methods and extremes.  Good luck!

Warmly,

Coach Louise

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Baseline tests for Fertility if you’re not sure where to get started

The possibilities...

The possibilities…

One of my coaching clients, lets call her Jane, asked me about some information regarding fertility.  She was addressing her concerns at being 37, and not being in the right place in her relationship to start trying for a baby, even though the topic was on the table.

One of the first things we can do is just have a couple of simple blood tests to create a baseline to work from.  It will give us an understanding of where we are in terms of our fertility.

Testing the FSH levels.   The Follicle Stimulating Hormone, stimulates the growth of the follicle to become an egg.  The harder the hormone has to work to stimulate this growth, the higher the hormone reading will be.  High is not good.  When all is working smoothly the FSH levels will be at a lower level.  If the reading is high, your RE (reproductive endocrinologist) or your OB/GYN will always read it as this level, even if you get a better reading the next time you have the test.  They are looking at worst case scenario.   I won’t give an indication of the levels for the readings as different clinics seem to use different methodologies.  Ask your doctor to explain which one he uses, and how it works.  From this test, it will indicate the quality and quantity levels of your eggs/follicles.

Estradial Testing, is to test the level of your Estrogen Hormone.  This is important for the lining of the uterus to thicken when trying to fall pregnant.

LH Testing, or the Luteinising Hormone, indicates the level of the hormone when ovulating.

Your doctor will also give you an internal exam / ultrasound to see that your uterus etc is all looking okay.

Your doctor might also ask you to go for an HSG (a Hysterosalpingogram) which is an x-ray using a contrast dye flowing through the uterus and fallopian tubes, to see if there are any blockages or abnormalities that might prevent pregnancy.   It can be a little uncomfortable, but is tolerable, and doesn’t take too long.

This is a pretty basic explanation of what they can do to start with.   Its not particularly invasive and may allay fears or at least give you a picture of where you are in your fertility at this point in time.

Also consider your what your values and needs are.  My client wants to be married before she tries for a baby.  She wants to try for her own biological baby.   She knows that if it works out that the timing isn’t right that she would be okay with this, as she sees her life as full and wonderful with or without children.  These are great questions to ask yourself.

Warmly,

Coach Louise

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PS.  If you are starting your journey and would like support and guidance along the way, consider joining the Fertile Foundation Powercircle starting at the beginning of November.  See previous post on the Fertile Foundation Powercircle.   This is an opportunity to take charge of your fertility.

PPS:  If you would like more information generally, have a look on the Resources page.

Peas! a natural contraceptive…and more.

Did you know that!?   In fact I believe the Japanese have a contraceptive made thats main ingredient is peas.   I frickin’ love peas!  So when I found that out, I was thinking well no wonder I can’t get pregnant!  Ok its a bit more complicated than that.  But I was eating them like I normally do, like crazy!  Well, I wanted to share that with you, as I have my last big bowl of peas, soaked in butter, as I start the build up to my next IVF.  Yummy.   Migraine has me laid low today, peas are a comfort.   DH is away on a course, so I will indulge… butter is an indulgence for me too.  I have generally cut butter and margerines out of my diet, even from sandwiches.  Its amazing how quickly you can get used not having it.   My cholesterol is an issue, and if you get pregnant, you naturally get even higher cholesterol!    Well, I have to say I would welcome that if it meant being pregnant!  In the meanwhile trying to do what I can to lower it – except tonight.   The rainy weather is causing a pressure system which is probably causing my migraine.

Hmm that makes me think, I will have to start curtailing the types of painkillers I use, to really be ready to for the IVF.   Not looking forward to dealing with that.  It means constipation – bad!!  Was that more information than you needed?  too bad! hehe!   So its actually is harder to manage the migraines when having to get ready to go through the IVF.  When I fell pregnant on my 2nd IVF ( miscarried at 6 wks 5ds)  last year, I was migraine-free for the duration.  What a great side-effect.   See, there are so many reasons why I should be pregnant!   For those of you who don’t have any idea of what cluster headache / occular migraine is,  I can have between 1 to 5 (sometimes more) migraines in a week.  It is one of the worst kind.  (yes there are lots of different types of migraine) and this type is generally diagnosed more in men.    Wow wouldn’t that be amazing – to be pain free for 9 months AND to have a baby at the end of it!    For some people migraines can get worse through pregnancy, but it has the opposite effect for others.   I found I was one of the latter.

I went to my Resolve support group last night for the first time in ages.  It was so nice to connect with Michelle and Sue, who were the only others that came, which was perfect because they were ones I wanted to reconnect with.  So we were able to have a good chat.  I hadn’t been for about 4 or 5 months, and didn’t realise how much I had missed it.   It really is a place where you can totally be comfortable talking about your experiences knowing there is understanding, empathy and no judgement.   Generally speaking, when someone hasn’t walked in our shoes, it is very difficult for themno to understand what we are going through, and generally anything they might say, can be irritating or inappropriate….. so support groups are a blessing.   If you haven’t been to one, or joined one, and have infertility challenges, do yourselves a big favour – join one!  Especially if you are one of those who is not willing to share your experience with anyone you know.  It gives you the outlet to talk to others with confidentiality and stops you from feeling isolated, which can easily happen with this experience.

Well enough rambling from me…

Next week, I will be setting up appointments with a couple of new IVF doctors… thinking of the clinic in Shorthills, NJ, and Weills-Cornell in NY.  My old doctor says he has done all he can….  a fresh perspective is called for! I am not ready to give up yet.  Besides we only found out I had a couple of gene mutations after my 2nd IVF and miscarriage!  So not giving up yet!

love to all on this journey,

Coach Louise

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Sugar vs Hormones – effect on Fertility!?

A acupuncturist friend and colleague who focuses on fertility and nutrition, Meg Richichi, mentioned the link between hormones and sugar levels.  I thought this was an interesting topic especially as I noticed a dramatic effect in myself when my sugar gets low……

Here are a couple of excerpts from some articles on this subject.  I hope you find it as interesting as I have.

 

By Erin Dummert RD, CD from the Diet Channel

 Good sugars and bad sugars

Why does sugar take the rap when hormones are really the problem? Sugar does cause the body to release growth-promoting hormones, but that is not the whole story. Sugar is very important to life. However, just as there are good fats and bad fats, there are good sugars and bad sugars.

Bad sugars, often referred to as simple sugars, are those in foods that do not offer any other nutritional benefit. Examples of simple sugars include foods like soda, sweets, sugar cereals, juice drinks, and refined grains.

Good sugars, or complex carbohydrates, are present in foods that provide nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. Examples of complex carbohydrates include foods like fruit, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

Nancy Appleton writes…     (here is the link directly to her page.. http://www.rheumatic.org/sugar.htm)

She provides a list of the things that complex sugars do……

Sugar can suppress the immune system.

  1. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body.
  2. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.
  3. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
  4. Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases).
  5. Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function, the more sugar you eat the more elasticity and function you loose.
  6. Sugar reduces high density lipoproteins.
  7. Sugar leads to chromium deficiency.
  8. Sugar leads to cancer of the ovaries.
  9. Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose.
  10. Sugar causes copper deficiency.
  11. Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
  12. Sugar can weaken eyesight.
  13. Sugar raises the level of a neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
  14. Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.                                
  15. Sugar can produce an acidic digestive tract.
  16. Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline levels in children.
  17. Sugar malabsorption is frequent in patients with functional bowel disease.
  18. Sugar can cause premature aging.
  19. Sugar can lead to alcoholism.
  20. Sugar can cause tooth decay.
  21. Sugar contributes to obesity
  22. High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
  23. Sugar can cause changes frequently found in person with gastric or duodenal ulcers.
  24. Sugar can cause arthritis.
  25. Sugar can cause asthma.
  26. Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections).
  27. Sugar can cause gallstones.
  28. Sugar can cause heart disease.
  29. Sugar can cause appendicitis.
  30. Sugar can cause multiple sclerosis.
  31. Sugar can cause hemorrhoids.
  32. Sugar can cause varicose veins.
  33. Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin responses in oral contraceptive users.
  34. Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.
  35. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.
  36. Sugar contributes to saliva acidity.
  37. Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
  38. Sugar can lower the amount of Vitamin E (alpha-Tocopherol  in the blood.
  39. Sugar can decrease growth hormone.
  40. Sugar can increase cholesterol.
  41. Sugar can increase the systolic blood pressure.
  42. Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.
  43. High sugar intake increases advanced glycation end products (AGEs)(Sugar bound non-enzymatically to protein)
  44. Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein.
  45. Sugar causes food allergies.
  46. Sugar can contribute to diabetes.
  47. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
  48. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
  49. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
  50. Sugar can impair the structure of DNA
  51. Sugar can change the structure of protein.
  52. Sugar can make our skin age by changing the structure of collagen.
  53. Sugar can cause cataracts.
  54. Sugar can cause emphysema.
  55. Sugar can cause atherosclerosis.
  56. Sugar can promote an elevation of low density lipoproteins (LDL).
  57. High sugar intake can impair the physiological homeostasis of many systems in the body.
  58. Sugar lowers the enzymes ability to function.
  59. Sugar intake is higher in people with Parkinson’s disease.
  60. Sugar can cause a permanent altering the way the proteins act in the body.
  61. Sugar can increase the size of the liver by making the liver cells divide.
  62. Sugar can increase the amount of liver fat.
  63. Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.
  64. Sugar can damage the pancreas.
  65. Sugar can increase the body’s fluid retention.
  66. Sugar is enemy #1 of the bowel movement.
  67. Sugar can cause myopia (nearsightedness).
  68. Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries.
  69. Sugar can make the tendons more brittle.
  70. Sugar can cause headaches, including migraine.
  71. Sugar plays a role in pancreatic cancer in women.
  72. Sugar can adversely affect school children’s grades and cause learning disorders..
  73. Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha, and theta brain waves.
  74. Sugar can cause depression.
  75. Sugar increases the risk of gastric cancer.
  76. Sugar and cause dyspepsia (indigestion).
  77. Sugar can increase your risk of getting gout.
  78. Sugar can increase the levels of glucose in an oral glucose tolerance test over the ingestion of complex carbohydrates.
  79. Sugar can increase the insulin responses in humans consuming high-sugar diets compared to    low sugar diets. 
  80. High refined sugar diet reduces learning capacity.
  81. Sugar can cause less effective functioning of two blood  proteins, albumin, and lipoproteins, which may reduce the body’s ability to handle fat and cholesterol.
  82. Sugar can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
  83. Sugar can cause platelet adhesiveness.
  84. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance; some hormones become underactive and others become overactive.
  85. Sugar can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
  86. Sugar can lead to the hypothalamus to become highly sensitive to a large variety of stimuli.
  87. Sugar can lead to dizziness.
  88. Diets high in sugar can cause free radicals and oxidative stress.
  89. High sucrose diets of subjects with peripheral vascular disease significantly increases platelet adhesion.
  90. High sugar diet can lead to biliary tract cancer.
  91. Sugar feeds cancer.
  92. High sugar consumption of pregnant adolescents is associated with a twofold increased risk for delivering a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infant.
  93. High sugar consumption can lead to substantial decrease in gestation duration among adolescents.
  94. Sugar slows food’s travel time through the gastrointestinal tract.
  95. Sugar increases the concentration of bile acids in stools and bacterial enzymes in the colon. This can modify bile to produce cancer-causing compounds and colon cancer.
  96. Sugar increases estradiol (the most potent form of naturally occurring estrogen) in men.
  97. Sugar combines and destroys phosphatase, an enzyme, which makes the process of digestion more difficult.
  98. Sugar can be a risk factor of gallbladder cancer.
  99. Sugar is an addictive substance.
  100. Sugar can be intoxicating, similar to alcohol.
  101. Sugar can exacerbate PMS.
  102. Sugar given to premature babies can affect the amount of carbon dioxide they produce.
  103. Decrease in sugar intake can increase emotional stability.             
  104. The body changes sugar into 2 to 5 times more fat in the bloodstream than it does starch.
  105. The rapid absorption of sugar promotes excessive food intake in obese subjects.
  106. Sugar can worsen the symptoms of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  107. Sugar adversely affects urinary electrolyte composition.
  108. Sugar can slow down the ability of the adrenal glands to function.
  109. Sugar has the potential of inducing abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual and to promote chronic degenerative diseases.
  110. I.Vs (intravenous feedings) of sugar water can cut off oxygen to the brain.
  111. High sucrose intake could be an important risk factor in lung cancer.
  112. Sugar increases the risk of polio.
  113. High sugar intake can cause epileptic seizures.
  114. Sugar causes high blood pressure in obese people.
  115. In Intensive Care Units, limiting sugar saves lives.
  116. Sugar may induce cell death.
  117. Sugar can increase the amount of food that you eat.
  118. In juvenile rehabilitation camps, when children were put on a low sugar diet, there was a 44% drop in antisocial behavior.
  119. Sugar can lead to prostrate cancer.
  120. Sugar dehydrates newborns.
  121. Sugar increases the estradiol in young men.
  122. Sugar can cause low birth weight babies.
  123. Greater consumption of refined sugar is associated with a worse outcome of schizophrenia
  124. Sugar can raise homocysteine levels in the blood stream. 
  125. Sweet food items increase the risk of breast cancer. 
  126. Sugar is a risk factor in cancer of the small intestine. 
  127. Sugar may cause laryngeal cancer.
  128. Sugar induces salt and water retention.
  129. Sugar may contribute to mild memory loss.
  130. As sugar increases in the diet of 10 years olds, there is a linear decrease in the intake of many essential nutrients.
  131. Sugar can increase the total amount of food consumed.
  132. Exposing a newborn to sugar results in a heightened preference for sucrose relative to water at 6 months and 2 years of age.
  133. Sugar causes constipation.
  134. Sugar causes varicous veins.
  135. Sugar can cause brain decay in prediabetic and diabetic women.
  136. Sugar can increase the risk of stomach cancer.
  137. Sugar can cause metabolic syndrome.
  138. Sugar ingestion by pregnant women increases neural tube defects in embryos.
  139. Sugar can be a factor in asthma.
  140. The higher the sugar consumption the more chances of getting irritable bowel syndrome.
  141. Sugar could affect central reward systems.
  142. Sugar can cause cancer of the rectum.
  143. Sugar can cause endometrial  cancer.
  144. Sugar can cause renal (kidney) cell carcinoma.
  145. Sugar can cause liver tumors. 

Certainly food for thought!…….  I know I will be taking a good look at my sugar intake, and making sure that most of sugar sources I have are natural ones!

curiously yours,

Coach Louise Crooks

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Can the path to parenthood be more joyful?

Joy!

Joy!

I asked myself this, when I changed the heading to this blog….. I think it’s the journey and outcome of a string of experiences, that can be joyful. Even if there might not be a ‘biological’ baby at the end of it… Just knowing where you are headed with certainty can bring joy! On an uncertain journey such as this, where emotions peak and trough continuously, the path of creation can be a joyous one! Managing the pain and suffering that the experiences can bring, bring forth a different you, one with more compassion, understanding, and wisdom, as well as hope, faith, and peace. Of course it does depend on how you view this journey, and what you intend to get out of it, besides the obvious. As a coach, I am able to soften the corners when you get to the hairpin bends in the road. I am the collaborator, the mother, the mentor, the assistant architect, the catalyst, the guide – someone you can depend on to be there, and to be what you need me to be. That can create a joyful journey through the maze of deliberation, and waiting. Yet, as I say this, I know fully well, the emotional upheaval this journey brings… I know some of the pitfalls, and I know I can shine a light on some of those and catch them at the pass. My journey is ongoing…. my thoughts are on the possibility of donor egg, but hope is still alive, my flame is still burning, I am not ready to concede. What will be will be.

philosophically,

Coach Louise

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Better Results From Frozen Embryos!?

Dear all

Here is a link to an interesting article about better results of healthier babies being born, coming from embryos that are frozen and thawed.    This was in the The Times in the UK today.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article4294441.ece

Let me know your thoughts!

results focussed,

Coach Louise

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