Quick Fertility Update- September 2014

This one’s gonna be short as there isn’t a whole lot to discuss. However, I do have slightly good news 🙂 As noted in my last fertility post, I’m going to get my progesterone levels monitored each cycle even though TJ is gone. We want to see if there’s a pattern or whatever without any medication….so it’s solely up to my body 🙂

Anyways, I got a call from my current doc early in the morning before work. I knew the number on my phone (PRIVATE)….and took a deep breath to prepare myself for the results.

My progesterone was at 6.8 on cycle day 21. I am NOT using at-home ovulation test strips while TJ is gone; however, in the past, I have and I’d usually receive a positive opk around cd17-19…then you add 7 days and go in and get your blood drawn then. I was happy with this score because it’s the highest it’s been without meds! All of my progesterone results were below 2 (I believe I had one at 3.2) the past 9 months.

My current doc said it may have been a combo of gaining a few extra pounds and stress relief. I gained some weight, but how the fuck am I under less stress now to make such a change seeing that my husband is in a war zone across the world? However, aside from the constant worry and unexpected stressors (our computer took a crap on me and I can’t get our weed wacker or lawn mower to start), I’m actually feeling less stressed overall. While I was in school, I was constantly doing work to get ahead and ensure I got A’s on literally everything- I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t a complete idiot after many semesters of not doing so hot back in the day, haha. This definitely paid off, but looking back I was in constant fear that I would fail again. After I graduated, I was freaking out that I wouldn’t find a decent job, and that I’d get stuck working somewhere that I hated making minimum wage. Obviously I have slight anxiety issues.

Those were things that I felt like I had control over- so I stressed. My husband is constantly in the back of my mind, but this is a situation that I simply cannot control. I don’t even know what the hell he is doing over there! Of course, I have my absolute shitty moments and cry my eyes out, but there is honestly nothing I can about it but remind him how much I love him and that things okay around here.

Anyways, cheers to some higher progesterone. Although we don’t know the direct cause, and it could have been a fluke (as our pregnancy was said to be), I’m eager to see what the next few months hold. The ultimate feat will be to see if I have a “normal” cycle- meaning less than 35 days long.

 

 

I will write a post about thing I’ve done differently in the past few months. I’ve gained a few pounds and stopped running long distances and doing high intensity interval training (I still do bursts of sprints, but it’s not balls to the wall every other minute like it used to be) which was recommended by my general doctor and obgyn (along with several nurse friends). This is somewhat of a touchy subject seeing that every one is so incredibly different when it comes to this shit. Some women can run fricking marathons and get pregnant.

If you’re running excessively and not conceiving, I’d really examine your training as it can deplete hormone levels (which should be monitored if you don’t pregnant after several months of actively TTC). This simply blood test every month (or sometimes multiple times a month) can tell you so much. If you’re hormone levels are fine, then obviously there is another underlying issue. There is a TON of information out there that links working out and conception… so if you don’t believe me, Google it 😉 In addition, hormone levels should be monitored when using any type of fertility medication. Ideally, vaginal ultrasounds should truly be utilized as well because meds can create issues, such as over-stimulation of the ovaries. Why put yourself at risk? I’d never take medication and not be monitored in some manner, but that’s just me 😉

10423795_10103831135740198_912484577417837439_n

Parks are much different in El Paso 😉

 

Anyways, stay tuned for a post about that, as well as the emotional aspects that go along with it. I still plan on gaining about 10 more pounds by the time Tyler gets home (I’m sure well before then since it’s quite a ways away…wahh). Also, I’m happy to report that I started a natural menstrual cycle on cycle day 32! Not everyone has perfect 28 day cycles… and I’ll take anything around day 30. Now let’s see if it can stay consistent over the next several months 🙂

 Have you ever had to change parts of your lifestyle when trying to prepare or trying to conceive?

Have you ever been told to gain/lose weight and increase or decrease your activity level when trying to get your body on track for a baby?

Advertisements

Women and Quick Fixes

When I was around 20 or so, I went to the lady doctor for my yearly exam. I was told that the birth control I had been using was discontinued, and the doctor suggested similar alternatives as a substitute. Now, I can’t remember the name of this particular pill, but I was told by friends that it caused weight gain. I asked my doctor about this and I’ll never forget what he said: “Birth control doesn’t cause women to gain weight- hand to mouth syndrome does”. Some people may find this answer to be kinda brutal and I’m sure there are many that would dispute it, but I believed him and just laughed. I don’t care if he was right or wrong, but the reason I mentioned this is because we live in a society where looks are so imperative to people (not all, just making a generalization). It’s sad that I even asked my doctor that question, but I know I’m not the only one.

I didn’t really think much of this then. I’ve always been on the thin side which can be attributed to a few things. Genetics is the most obvious reason and growing up in a home where healthy, home-cooked meals were provided and playing outside was a daily activity has a lot to do with it (technology is awesome, but kids need to be kids, use their imagination, and burn off energy outside and not in front of the computer/TV every day). We rarely ate out at restaurants or picked up fast food (although I did love me some McDonald’s hotcakes growing up- my dad would get me some on my birthday, haha). It wasn’t until we got older that my parents would take us out for dinner on our birthday- my mom would cook our favorite homemade meal growing up. We didn’t eat perfect by any means, but my parents did a great job exposing us to a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.

I got to thinking about the doctor incidence and how I grew up after reading some things a few weeks ago. Pinterest is notorious for promoting these “thinspiration” and “fitspiration” photos of women with motivating quotes or the recipe for the perfect workout. Things such as how to get wash-board abs, an amazing ass, and model-like legs are typically depicted. I’m not going to get into whether or not these are right or wrong. That’s controversial enough in itself and really just depends on whether or not stuff like that motivates one to become active and healthy or helps enforce destructive behavior in attempt to achieve a model-like look.

I’m not a dietitian and am only speaking my opinion on this matter. I’ve touched on this before, but social media has done wonders for networking and connecting with people, but it also has it’s pitfalls- this stuff being one of them. Sure, I share healthy recipes and have written statuses about working out before, but you’ll never catch me promoting a certain type of diet or exercise routine that I abide by religiously because I don’t. What works for me won’t work for everyone though I do believe diet has a lot to do with weight/muscle tone and overall mental well-being. I’ve been criticized in a passive aggressive demeanor several times because of my body type. This is not only annoying- it’s hurtful. I shouldn’t have to feel bad because I eat healthy 80% of the time and indulge the other 20%. I shouldn’t feel ashamed because I actually enjoy “healthifying” meals and baked goods for my husband and me. Earlier last year (before the pregnancy) and the year before that I’d work out 4-6 days a week- cardio and strength training. I’d be at the gym for 45-60 minutes total – nothing extreme. I’ve continued to strength train but to a lesser extent and have almost completely cut off all cardio for the past 6 months or so (well I still walk/jog with my dog). I added more healthy fats to my diet (more avocado, almond butter, nuts, etc.) as I wanted to ensure my cycle was regular after the D&C. Also ladies- birth control can mask menstrual issues, especially if you have been on them for years. Just a warning to all of you girls out there.

I’m discussing this because I wish that more people acknowledged eating healthy, whole foods and that they’d stop jumping on board with fad diets and nix the over-processed crap. Obviously I enjoy processed foods every now and then and though that stuff is convenient, it’s simply not good for you. Our society is so wrapped up in appearances and concerned with weight and it’s actually quite sad, yet there is more junk available to eat then ever! Focusing on the health benefits of physical activity to help prevent heart disease, diabetes, etc. will help us now and provide children with a different attitude towards food and healthy living. I mean, remember Maria Kang, the lady whose “What’s Your Excuse?” picture went viral? This article gives some insight about it if you’re unaware. I have yet to experience a full-term pregnancy, give birth, and deal with the realm of motherhood, and I’m not going to get into whether or not I agree or disagree with it. However, what worries me is that some women see this kind of stuff and feel as though they’re not enough because they don’t look they that. They then fall into diet evils: weight loss pills, detoxes (I’m sure these can be good if it’s approved by your doctor), calorie counting/restricting, and completely undermining the importance of providing their body with proper nutrition so it can function properly. Or they start these crazy ass work out programs without taking a healthy approach. Cardio for 60 minutes straight will only get you so far, ladies! The problem is that we tend to want quick fixes in all aspects of life. I’ve been guilty of this too (school, for example) and it’s something I have to remind myself not to do.

I was all over the map with this post, but that’s how my thoughts generally flow…sorry. My hubby loves that quality about me 😉 Just kidding. Anyways, I guess my point is that one size does not fit all. Just because someone is on the thinner side, does not make them healthy or fit. I’ve always been yet I used to think running a mere mike was god-awful. I didn’t really start truly taking charge of my health until a couple of years ago and I still have so much to learn- it’s never-ending! Quick fixes don’t last and it’ll lead to discouragement and disappointment. Take some time out of your outrageously busy day and do some research on fitness and nutrition. Read articles written by doctors or registered dietitians. That’s what mama does while she’s busy watching some Real Housewives of Orange County, Kardashians, or House Hunters at night 😉

What are your thoughts on any of the topics I touched on?

Current Exercise Routine

Let me start by saying that I am by no means an expert when it comes to diet and exercise- I have simply found what works for me and this point in my life and what works for one person obviously always doesn’t always work for another. In fact, most of the time it probably won’t for a variety of reasons. I also haven’t always exercised or even enjoyed it for that matter. I was the freshman girl in high school looking for ways to get out of P.E. (having gym class 2nd hour and not wanting to look like a hot mess the rest of the day was probably the main contributor to this though!).

Growing up I never really participated in sports or other extracurricular physical activities. I did gymnastics for a few years, but the realized I was a head taller than all of the other girls. And I couldn’t for the life of me do a straddle jump over the damn vault. I did soccer for a year, but concluded that I was s terrified of getting hit in the face with the ball. Don’t get me wrong- this did NOT mean that I wasn’t physically active. I didn’t sit around playing video/computer games or watching TV all the time. The neighbor kids and I would play for hours outside after school and typically until dark during the summer months.  We had a swimming pool and if I wasn’t playing with my friends outside on our bikes or roller blades, I was in my pool or at the beach.

Anyways, when Tyler and I moved to El Paso last June and moved into our house, I was pumped when I saw that there was a gym two minutes from our home. I signed up a few days later and have been an active member ever since. School wasn’t starting until August and I didn’t know anyone here yet, so getting into better shaped helped me tremendously during that transitional time period. Though my routine has changed slightly since last year, this is what a typical week looks like overall:

Monday-Friday: 15-30 minutes of cardio. If it’s done on the treadmill (which it typically is) I do intervals. When running, I set the incline between 2-3 and my speed ranges between 8-9.5. I sprint for about 30 seconds, give or take, depending on how I’m feeling that day. I usually bump the speed up to 10 mph a few times during my workout, but I only hold that speed for about 20 seconds or less. I jog between 5.5-7 mph and my walk is between 4-4.5 mph and always on an incline of 4 or higher. Of course there are days when I just hold a steady pace running/jogging, but I feel like I’ve gotten so much more out of my workout when I incorporate intervals. Plus I’m lazy and don’t want to spend 40 minutes running 5 miles 🙂

I also do strength training throughout the week. I suck and don’t have a set routine though- I do arms, legs, shoulders, and back and rotate exercises focusing on these muscle groups. I use the machines at the gym, my free weights at home, and do sit-ups and push-ups.

Saturday vary. Sometimes it’s my rest day, Tyler and I do something active together, or Wrigley gets a longer walk/run. Sundays vary as well, but it’s usually either a rest day or a quick cardio or strength training session.

942004_10102564917222258_1032945900_n

Elephant Butte, NM

547228_10101720531058898_1680022265_n

White Sands, NM

I also do a lot of walking at school. My classes are really far from where I’m assigned to park, and while I don’t mind walking in normal weather, it completely blows walking a mile each way in 100+ degree weather.

The goals I had when I began working out consistently last year were to get in better cardiovascular shape (be able to run a mile without thinking I might die) and tone up my body. I can definitely notice an increase in my strength, and I’m pretty happy where I am at right now. I toyed around with the idea of attempting to run a half or full marathon (obviously after LOTS of training beforehand), but as much as I’ve tried to convince myself otherwise, I’m not a fan of running super long distances. Sometimes the thought of something sounds much better than actually doing it, haha. Tyler ran the Chicago marathon in 2010 (and barely trained might I add…crazy!), and a handful of my friends have completed half marathons. I should probably start small anyways and do some 5 or 10 K’s…who knows- it could be because I’m too damn lazy to train! I get discouraged easily so going balls to the wall for my first race would probably stress me out 🙂  There’s a Color Run here in El Paso mid September so I’m thinking I’ll have Tyler run that with me!

36183_159105547456298_6675332_n

Chicago Marathon, October 2010.

What’s your exercise routine currently like?

Do you like long distances or running shorter distances but with more intensity?

Have you ever done the Color Run?

While exercising (no matter what level) is important to keep healthy both physically and mentally, a nutritious diet has a lot to do with our overall well-being too. I’ll discuss some of my favorite healthy foods in another post though!