Ten years ago, my husband and I thought about having a baby. Within two months we were pregnant. So easy you say? Not so much. After getting pregnant, things went well until week 25. I found myself in the backwoods of Oregon and in labor. I didn’t feel the contractions that I was apparently having, and I was shocked to find myself suddenly struggling to stay pregnant. After being put on a few drugs that made me feel like a jittery crazed woman, we were able to make the drive back home (12 hours away) with me laying down the whole way. To keep this short, let’s just say that I spent the next three weeks in labor in delivery trying NOT to have a baby. The contractions never stopped and at best, they were 8 minutes apart. I was on magnesium sulfate for the entire time and while I felt like I was on fire and couldn’t sweat, I had a super human tolerance for it and was semi-coherent. At 28 weeks, my membranes started leaking, and all drugs were halted for fear that I was at risk for infection. My son was born just hours later and was a whopping 3lb 3oz (actually quite large for a baby at 28 weeks gestation). After a harrowing ten weeks in the NICU, he came home with only a few side effects of his prematurity (reflux, apnea monitor…).
Three years later or so, we felt like the amnesia had kicked in enough to attempt to add to our family. Doctors felt as though the preterm labor and delivery were unexplained, and that it would be perfectly acceptable to get pregnant again. We started trying for another and found ourselves with almost three years gone and with no success. It took awhile for the denial to wear off, but we finally got the message that something just wasn’t right.
We went through all of the diagnostic hurdles and were labeled with “unexplained secondary infertility”. After four rounds of IUI, two fresh cycles of IVF, three frozen IVF cycles, one chemical pregnancy, and two miscarriages at 9 weeks (chromosomally normal baby boys) we sit here now over 6.5 years after starting the TTC journey totally empty handed, having considerably less money, and on a roller-coaster of hope and hopelessness.
In August 2013, we had four frozen embryos waiting for us, but with a body that seemed to lean toward rejecting them, we were exhausting all other diagnostic options. This led us to Dr. Rydfors. He has this magical theory that I have mild PCOS (never been diagnosed before), which has led to insulin resistance (although I don’t show pre-diabetes or diabetes on the Alkaline A1C), which has led to a lot of inflammation throughout my body. He feels that the inflammation led to my son’s preterm delivery and also our difficulties in getting another baby to “stick”. The Treatment: Paleo Diet, Metformin, and a boat load of supplements. Since many in my support group and otherwise have shown interest in my Paleo adventures, I figured I could put them here. I hope that I have something to offer others when it comes to the infertility struggle (I feel like we have done it all and have plenty of experience with which to share).
Since starting paleo, we have found an “immunological” diagnosis for our issues with the Beer Clinic. The paleo concepts still apply as inflammation is a huge part of immune response, so I maintained that through our most recent cycle. We are now down to three frozen embryos. As a result of the dietary and lifestyle changes recommended by Dr. Rydfors, my body is in great shape, and I went into our frozen embryo transfer very healthy. Unfortunately, despite an amazingly good start and a protocol including neupogen wash, lovenox, and IVIG, we had another miscarriage at 9 weeks. The chromosome testing showed that we miscarried a chromosomally normal little boy again. Back to the drawing board. Our options are now Neupogen injections or LIT in Mexico. Both equally controversial and without assurances. Still hoping against hope that one of these three remaining embies is our take-home baby.
I also thought it might be helpful for people to go on a Paleo adventure with someone who LOVES food and has always struggled in that arena. The desire to have a baby is probably the only way I could ever motivate myself to go on this dietary/lifestyle journey. If you have ever been touched by infertility, you know what I mean. We will do absolutely anything humanly possible to achieve this goal that for others is so simple. It is a daily struggle with raging hormones and emotions. There is also the agony we put our bodies through in an effort to bring another little person into the world that we can love and hold in our hearts. Here is my journey.
Be forewarned, I have a crude sense of humor with very little filter. If I offend you, then go away!
I miscarried again on my last embryo transfer (January), and we are done using my body as an experimental pin cushion. I was getting IVIG infusions every few weeks, doing constant blood tests and monitoring, using experimental Neupogen injections, blood thinners, shitty steroids that made me fat again in short order, and the list goes on… I’m done. Almost seven years of trying, and I am done trying to get my body to do what seems to be impossible. It’s time to be done. The fantasy of being pregnant needs to be put to rest. I’m tired.
My infertility has totally consumed and defined me, and I’m putting it to rest. My body is now artificial hormone free, and that is how it will stay. I will still envy pregnant women and those who joyfully announce a pregnancy without fear of loss, but I will get through it. I will find ways to be happy for them as I have always done.
I will still tout the benefits of paleo, as I have seen what it not only can do for me (weight loss and marked improvement in blood work), but so many others in my infertility paleo group. Many of them are seeing improvements with weight, autoimmune disease, fertility, and general well-being. It’s great to see people who thought it would be impossible to go paleo, do the “impossible”, and love it.
This blog started off as a hobby. Now, it has over 200,000 views in a roughly 22 month period, and is averaging 10,000 views per month. I’m going to keep posting the paleo lifestyle as I feel it has so much to offer. The blogging journey has absolutely been cathartic for me, and I won’t be going anywhere in that regard. Thank you to everyone who has kept up with me and my blog updates, pinned my recipes, and left comments of encouragement. I may be at the end of 7 years of infertility, over 50,000 thousand dollars out of pocket, 8 rounds of IVF (two with a surrogate), 3 chemical pregnancies, 3 miscarriages, and more pills than I can count, but the one thing I walk away with is my paleo blog. I hope that others can find hope and comfort in the food and in my story.