December 8, 2008
For this week’s Show and Tell, I present the various vitamins and supplements that I take daily. The list has gotten progressively longer over the years.
First, a little story. After M/C #1, a friend gave me a gift certificate for a day at the spa. Massage, facial, pedicure, and being wrapped up like a burrito for an hour (don’t ask). I usually have long-term relationships with spa personnel, but this time I saw a new esthetician. During the facial, she started making small talk about vitamins. It was obvious that she was looking for a new brand of vitamins and had been asking all of her clients.
Her: Do you take vitamins?
Her: Oh! What kind?
Her: What brand?
Me: They are from Trader Joe’s.
Her: Oh, the women’s blend?
Me: A different one.
Her: Which one?
Me: (sigh) Prenatal.
Her: Oh! Are you pregnant? Oh how exciting!
Me: I was.
Her: Huh? What do you mean? Did you just have a baby?
Me: I miscarried last week.
She didn’t say another word for the rest of the facial. Sometimes I feel bad for making people feel bad with the reproductive truth, but often I do not — when their questions are persistent (as in this case) or inappropriate (as in many other cases), if they keep asking they will get an answer. Unless they are a friend or family member, in which case they will get diversions and lies.
And now, the supplement roundup.
I’ve been taking prenatal vitamins for the past 7 years. I went through several brands until finally settling on these. The coating prevents the fish food taste that most multivitamins have, and they have an adequate amount of key nutrients like folic acid and iron that will become crucial if I can ever get and stay pregnant.
I actually started taking omega-3 supplements at the suggestion of my esthetician (not the nosy vitamin one), but they have obvious importance for pregancy. As a vegetarian, I don’t consume fish, the most common source of omega-3. It also isn’t easy to find omega-3 supplements that aren’t fish-based. Aside from my desire not to consume any animals, I also have concerns about the decimation of the world’s fish supply. One common vegetarian alternative, flax, apparently doesn’t convert to DHA and EPA well enough. After much research, I finally stumbled upon these great algae-based pills from Switzerland. See, fish don’t make omega-3 fatty acids; they get it from the algae that they eat. So, it makes perfect sense to skip the middleman fish and go straight to the algae.
Although there isn’t solid scientific evidence, I take 50mg per day just in case the rumors are true about improving eggs and other aspects of fertility. Since it’s water-soluable, I deem it to be in the “probably can’t hurt, and may help” category.
Pure wheatgrass juice smells just like cut grass, but the taste isn’t as bad as I feared. Not good, but not as much like eating grass as I imagined. (Was I the only one who tried a blade of grass as a child?) Sometimes I’ll get a wheatgrass shot from the organic juice bar, but usually I drink green juice blends rather than pure wheatgrass juice — more convenient, and less grassy.
Prescribed by my acupuncturist. They have really helped regulate my cycle, but they obviously have not helped the system enough to result in pregnancy.
Of course, that’s the case for all of the above. I don’t expect any of them to work magic, but I’d like to think that together they’ll up my chances for the next IVF cycle — if not a lot, just enough.
If you’d like to see what else people have brought for Show and Tell this week, head over to circle time.
November 13, 2008
In non-hysteroscopy news, I am headed to an infertility support group today. I’m frankly still a bit surprised.
Over four years ago, after miscarriage #1, I decided to put TTC on hold, because I just couldn’t handle any more heartbreaks for a while. Even so, during some sleepless nights I would still seek out information about infertility online, trying to come up with a plan of attack to use once I could muster the strength. In my research I determined that support groups and acupuncture both significantly improved the success rates of treatments. I decided that once I got back on that horse, I would do one or the other.
I chose acupuncture.
Not only did I choose acupuncture, but I decidedly chose acupuncture over support groups.
I have nothing against support groups. In fact, I attended a support group briefly in college for a non-infertility issue (was there really ever such a thing?). It was amazing. It was a life-changing experience. But it seemed strange to join an infertility support group when I was specifically on a break. “Yeah, still nothing to report this week. I’m still not pregnant. I’m still avoiding the doctor’s phone calls. Oh, I did have to go to the drugstore and buy some more condoms!”
Yeah, so acupuncture made much more sense. I have been receiving regular acupuncture for over four years (initially every 3 weeks or so for a couple of years, and then weekly for the past two years). Even though I was taking a break from TTC, I decided to start acupuncture to get the energy flowing, figuratively and literally. I also thought it could help some other chronic issues like back problems. After a year, I added Chinese herbs to the mix, since some practitioners believe that herbs have more impact on fertility than acupuncture. I am a big fan of both, and I have seen some clear impacts on my cycle and my overall well-being, but obviously I still have nothing to show for the thousands of needles and thousands of dollars.
And so I ended up in the infertility blogosphere, which has been the virtual equivalent of a support group. I have been entirely satisfied. The nature and content of my sleepless nights has entirely chnaged, and there are far fewer. Thank you all.
And then, last week, a support group essentially came to me.
I already know a couple of the members. I wouldn’t have sought one out at this point, but I couldn’t say no to this one. I think it could be really good. I’m curious to compare and contrast the online and IRL experiences.
I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow. And then the next day, I head to the hospital for surgery. It’s quite a busy week in terms of infertility! Especially considering that I’m not even actively trying to conceive this cycle.