Mid-Cycle Update

I don’t really have anything to write about, but these things are on my mind, so I thought I’d scribble them down while I had a chance.

The summer hols are here in two days, and I have the boys 24/7 for 6 weeks, so I won’t be at the computer much until September comes around. Also, this blog is a really accurate diary for me, of our journey and our struggles, so it seems right to update when we are actively ‘trying’.

Our fertility clinic appointment is on 8th August. And my period is due on the 6th August (must check cancellation policy…).

This month, we’re in with enthusiasm:

  • GLUTEN FREE for almost 3 months now :-)
  • I’m drinking a ton of water each day
  • No alcohol
  • Trace amounts of caffeine (white tea only)
  • Daily green smoothies
  • Lots of fruit and veg
  • Less meat
  • Vitamins and probiotics
  • Daily meditation
  • Lots of BD (obviously)

Also, my latest craze (’cause you know I’m crazy about natural methods), is lunaception. Basically you leave a dim light on three days a month, and then sleep in (as close as) total darkness the rest of the month. Apparently, women’s bodies tend to cycle with the moon (ovulate on full, bleed on new), and it can help irregular cycles, etc. etc.

I already have cycles like clockwork – I’ve been a 29 day girl all my life. But I thought about it a lot, and apparently farmers sow crops with the new moon because it makes their roots grow stronger. Isn’t that amazing? And midwives say maternity wards tend to be busier around the full moon… So I wondered about the effects of the pull of the moon on the human body… and you know, I’m not heavily into this kind of woo woo thing, but what if there is something in it?

So, instead of just leaving a light on for three days from day 14, we’re actually going with the REAL moon cycles and sleeping with the curtains open for three nights a month on the three nights around the actual full moon.

At the moment, I’m quite a long way out from ovulating on the full moon, but I’ll update on this further down the line.

So.

DH is on his way home tonight with sperm friendly lubricant (and I didn’t even ask him to buy it – how cool is that?), which we’re also going to try out.

I’ve got a faint line on my opk, so ovulation should be within the next few days.

Isn’t this exciting?

Can you believe it’s still something I am interested in after 27 months and 5 miscarriages?

No, neither can I.

But I have a good feeling about all this, all of a sudden.

So we’re going with it and we’ll see where it takes us.

Pulling Out The Big Guns

arnie

We have made an appointment at a fertility clinic.

Never in a bazillion years did I think I would ever say this. Hell, I don’t even know what on earth they might be able to do for us.

But time is ticking away – it’s been 27 months now. And I’m turning 40 in December. I’ve been trying for a third baby since I was 37 and although I’ve gotten pregnant five times, and said I’m going to stop trying way more than five times, we’re still here, still stuck, still hoping.

So, the date is August the 8th.

We’ll go in, we’ll talk to the consultant, and we’ll see what they say.

I’m kind of hoping that we can just speed things up – it’s not so much GETTING pregnant, it’s STAYING pregnant. But since my coeliac diagnosis, I have this weird feeling that I won’t miscarry any more.

But it could take 6 more months for a natural pregnancy to happen. I am thinking maybe IUI will give us a head start – the best sperm, a better chance. Then it’s up to my body to see if it will hold.

So there we go.

I’m CD5 at the moment, so we’ll fit another try in before we see anyone (and probably another try after that unless they move with lightning speed).

I feel a mixture of relief and trepidation. Relief at finally asking for help.

Trepidation that nothing and no one can help me.

Recurrent Miscarriage Study

I’ve temped every day this month, mainly as reassurance that after my mammoth 66 day miscarriage-a-thon, my body has returned to normal.

And it has! So normal, in fact, that I got a triphasic chart on cycle day 23, even though I turned out to be not pregnant (not the first time that’s happened).

Ha.

I shed a couple of tears over it, but nothing too drastic.

Then, out of the blue the other day, a lady called me about a study I registered interest in a few months back, looking at stress and anxiety in women suffering 3 or more miscarriages. Anyway, I’ve agreed to take part, if I should become pregnant again. Which I found a bit odd, like it was someone else who was  nodding on the phone and saying Yes, I’m definitely interested.

I guess it kind of means I still have the intention of getting pregnant. Even after everything we’ve been through.

Having been at this for 27 months now, I have neither enthusiasm nor desperation left.

It just is.

So, that’s about where we are now. Waiting and wondering.

My youngest will soon give up his nappies, as he’s now using the toilet before bath time. It will be the first time I’ve been nappy free in almost 5 years.

But on the positive side, I have two children (not babies), who I can really talk to now.

I wish I could muster more enthusiasm for you, or for The Cause, but right now, I can’t.

My Cyst, Running, The Weather, Miscarriage, Gluten and Life

I had a scheduled ultrasound today, to check up on the 6cm dermoid cyst they found a couple of months back.

Eight weeks ago the consultant looked at me with an apologetic expression (presumably given everything I’d been through), and said it would almost certainly have to be removed surgically.

Sigh.

But I went back in today, with a lightness in my heart, and a certainty in my step, and a feeling that it was all going to be OK.

I just knew that everything was going to be OK, you know?

While I was in the waiting room, I saw the woman in front of me come out from her scan. Her partner was smiling and she was clutching an ultrasound picture. I felt tears stinging my eyes… I had hoped for that so many times. It was jealousy, welling up inside me. And anger. But then, I thought about what a good thing it was to see someone coming away with good news for once. That there are good things happening all around us if we choose to see them that way.

The consultant called me in, and while she talked to me about the weather, she gesticulated with the vaginal probe, which had a giant blob of lubricant on the end. I alternated eye contact with her and the probe.

The examination finally commenced.

She peered at her screen. Grey haze swirled around on it.

She twisted the vaginal probe this way and that, and finally she said…

Remind me which side it was on?

IT WAS GONE.

Ka poof!

Vamoosh!

My cyst has completely resolved, and my ovaries showed several developed follicles from ovulation.

The consultant was surprised. She said maybe it wasn’t dermoid, maybe it was haemorrhagic. Either way, it’s gone.

I am functioning completely normally again.

I walked out of their with my head held so high, got into my car with my heart in the sky, and burst into sobs of relief.

And when I got home, I went out for a run.

Day 1, Week 1 of the Couch to 5k program.

Because I no longer have to worry about ovarian torsion from vigorous exercise, or a ruptured cyst, or any other horrible thing that is statistically most likely for a cyst between 5cm and 10cm in size.

I pulled on my tightest running trousers (have I mentioned how incredibly FLAT my stomach is, now that I no longer eat gluten??), stuck my headphones over my ears and off I ran (er, and walked).

The sun was almost out when I left.

Two kilometres in, it started to rain. Big fat drops.

Then it actually hailed. It hailed on my bare head.

I got soaked to the skin. My clothes and hair clung to me like leeches.

And then I heard deep, loud, rumbling thunder off to my right.

I wondered about the correct protocol for running in a storm…

rain

But I carried on, through the rain, and hail, and lightening and thunder, I kept up those 60 second sprints every 90 seconds.

And just as I was running the last one, the weather shifted, the rain died away, and the sky brightened.

And then the sun came out in all its glory, and shone down on my wet body.

sun

Maybe it was just the euphoria of running, maybe it was the relief of the good news from my scan, but I found such meaning in those 30 minutes.

They were like a tribute to the last two and a half years of my life.

I turned the corner of my street, and saw that my husband was standing at the end of the front garden, holding DS2. DS1 started running towards me as fast as he could.

Mummy you were out in the storm and we were watching it!

I picked him up, walked back to the husband and hugged both of my kids close.

As my brother once said to me about life:

It tests your mettle, it really does.

Yes, little bro. It certainly does.

me

Well Hello There Wednesday

I’ve popped in for a 10 minute catch up. I’ve read a handful of posts, will scribble this down and then head off again.

Like Mummy Flying Solo I think bullet points are the way forward!

  • Valerie’s Health and Fitness challenge has been awesome. I’ve not touched gluten at all (and never will again, given I found out I was coeliac just before starting). My eczema has completely gone. My heart palpitations have gone. My rosacea around my nose has gone. I even need less sleep. It is incredible. Life-changing in fact.
  • Long time readers will know that I blog completely anonymously – no one knows or follows these posts that I know in real life. Well, I’ve just started a new blog, which is me FOR REAL. One that I am not super-paranoid about others finding out about. I am planning on running my new blog to start generating an income at some point. And I’m also working on an autobiography (delusions of grandeur, ha ha!), that I’m going to promote through that blog. I have finally realised that me is me. I will pop back and share this with you soon.
  • I’ve broken up with some friends. They made me feel bad about myself such a lot and in the end, I realised I was done with seeing them. We all met up once a week as a mums group and I decided my time was up. I texted and explained in a diplomatic but honest way and just like that I was out. And I feel so good about it.
  • I have an appointment next week to check up on my 6cm cyst. I finally stopped bleeding 67 days after my miscarriage, and since then all has been quiet. I am hoping that the cyst has resolved as I am very reluctant to opt for surgery. We will see next Wednesday.
  • That’s about it. Life is good. And I feel good about life.

I miss you all, but will be blogging less frequently here, I think. At least for the moment.

I have been away before and returned in force, so never say never ;-)

Much love, Rx

Gluten Free in May

Super quick update as things are busy busy.

I haven’t touched gluten this month and two things:

1) My eczema is gone. GONE!

2) My stomach cramps, tenderness and bloating are gone too.

TOTALLY brilliant.

Just three weeks ago I was waking up at night because my body was itching so much. I was so uncomfortable and miserable. Now the skin is almost completely healed – no redness, no itching – just a little bit of dryness left if you run your hand across it.

Incredible.

As for giving up sugar as well…

I’m sitting here drinking a hot chocolate, so a big fat fail on that one. Ha!

We’re off on hols next week, then it’s half term, so it may be June before I’m back properly.

Keep up the good work challengers!

A Healing Month

So, first up, I really need to do an end of month review for my 12 goals… but that is the subject of another post.

Instead I just wanted to check in and say how much I’m looking forward to May, and my Health and Fitness Challenge, hosted by Valerie at Atlanta Mom of Three.

I had already decided I was going gluten and sugar free, before I got my (almost) official coeliac diagnosis yesterday. But after what my doctor said, there is no way I’ll be going back to gluten. The real challenge for me this month, is going to be going sugar free.

My sugar addiction is still alive and kicking. I was sugar-free for several weeks at the beginning of this year, and have somewhat slipped off the wagon since then, but overall my sugar consumption is less than it has been in previous years.

It’s a hard one to kick, and I know the cravings will be bad, but I will get through it.

May is going to be the month where I start the long process of healing my body after a lifetime of eating gluten. It’s going to be a time of nourishing food that will hopefully begin to repair any intestinal damage, and make bloating and pain a distant memory.

I am looking forward to managing those cravings and coming out the other side.

For the first time in my life, I feel that I can finally proceed with a dietary approach that I know is right for me.

It is at once a relief and a challenge. And I am so grateful to have finally found the answer to the feeling of something just not being right.

Peace and love to you all,

Rose x

Post Miscarriage Chart

And just because.

Here’s how messed up my body has been after this miscarriage. All six previous times I ovulated two weeks after I miscarried (in fact, DS1 was conceived two weeks after miscarriage #2!).

This time around, my body has just gone haywire:

marchchart

Why am I temping?

Because I want to know if there is any chance that things are getting back to normal. Not in the interests of trying again (my husband hasn’t been allowed anywhere near me since we lost this last baby), but in the interests of being normal again.

I’ve been gluten free for 6 days, and interestingly I finally got a +ve opk on day 4 of being gluten-free. My temperature was up this morning, but the jury is still out until I see tomorrow’s temp, given how erratic they have been (can you even ovulate when you are still bleeding??).

I’m guessing my new friend, the massive dermoid cyst on my right ovary, is probably affecting this too.

Anyway, as you can imagine, I’m pretty damn fed up of it all. For my entire menstrual life I have been a 28 day kind of girl so this really has been an endurathon of annoyingness.

Coeliac Disease, Miscarriage, and Me

Today I went back to the doctors to go over the blood test results from my Coeliac test 20 months ago.

Well.

It turns out that on the four markers they checked, I was out of range for three, but the fourth was normal. The one that was normal was the most important: anti-tissue transglutnase.

I was clinically deficient in calcium and potassium, and I had a very high (way out of normal range) level of serum C reactive protein, which indicates inflammation or infection.

It is commonly accepted in the coeliac community that the antibody test can come back negative if you are IgA deficient, and sometimes even if you are not, and you can still get a positive gut biopsy and be diagnosed as a coeliac.

The doctor that reviewed my results 20 months ago was a stand-in doctor who I saw because my usual doctor was away.

My usual doctor said the following.

  • With those results I should have had a repeat test or further investigation
  • It was, in all likelihood, a false negative, given my low calcium and potassium levels
  • They could do a gut biopsy, but I would have to eat gluten every day for two months beforehand (longer if the NHS waiting list is busy).
  • Essentially, he stated that I am almost certainly coeliac, but if I am reluctant to eat gluten going forward the best thing to do is to stay off gluten for six months and then do a dietary challenge.

I came home and my head is all over the place.

Why didn’t I follow up on these results 20 months ago?

Here are some of the symptoms usually associated with coeliac disease (taken from ceoliac.org.uk) that I have experienced:

  • severe or occasional diarrhoea, excessive wind and/or constipation – YES
  • recurrent stomach pain, cramping or bloating – YES
  • anaemia – YES (childhood and pregnancy)
  • tiredness and/or headaches – YES
  • mouth ulcers – YES
  • depression – YES
  • infertility – YES
  • liver abnormalities – YES (unexplained liver inflammation during illnesses. Tested for hepatitis – all -ve)
  • repeated miscarriages – YES
  • joint and/or bone pain – YES
  • neurological (nerve) problems such as ataxia (poor muscle coordination) and neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet) – YES (neuropathy)

Out of this list it doesn’t take a genius to guess which one of these jumps out at me the most.

Repeated miscarriages

20 months ago, when the stand-in doctor wrote “Normal, no action” on my file, I’d just suffered my third miscarriage.

AT THAT POINT she could have called me back to try to find out why my other results were so out of line.
AT THAT POINT I would have had the energy for a biopsy, for stuffing my face with gluten. I would have done anything for that third baby.

Today, 20 months, and four more unexplained miscarriages later, my fight is all gone.

I refused the gut biopsy today.

I stopped eating gluten 6 days ago and (I write this with tears filling my eyes), my insomnia is better, my eczema has dried up and softened, my stomach is flatter than it’s been in years, and all my pain and bloating and soreness is gone.

Once you start eating gluten-free your intestine starts to repair and a biopsy will be inconclusive. There is no other definitive test.

Six weeks ago I lost a developmentally and chromosomally normal baby boy. A boy! With no explanation. Sad expressions from doctors and nurses, all unable to explain why my body keeps rejecting babies. 46 days on and I am still bleeding.

Would I have gone through this if the doctor had called for the biopsy 20 months ago?

Would I be sitting here now with a baby on my lap?

It’s almost unbearable to think about. A casual dismissal of some of out range results that could have changed the course of my entire life.

But.

Life goes on, if you’re lucky.

And I am lucky.

My doctor’s advice was to stay off gluten for 6 months. Ha. I will never touch it again.

Could I sustain a pregnancy now?

I don’t know if I even care. I remember the nurse on the ward telling me to never give up. That she had her daughter at 43.

But even while she was saying it I think I knew that I didn’t have any more fight left in me for babies. The increasing age gap, the stress of worrying, the stupid trying and stupid waiting and stupid scheduled sex, and my broken heart: held together with scraps of tape after losing so many pregnancies.

I feel beaten.

And for that I am crying today, even though I think I finally have my answer.

Gluten and Sugar Free Challenge

health-and-fitness

After some thought – and the gathering of willpower – I have decided to take part in Valerie’s Health and Fitness Challenge during the month of May. See her post for how to join in!

During May my challenge is to be gluten-free and to avoid all sugar (including fruit sugar).

Why?

This month, when I tried to do 30 days of being vegan, although I still ate lots of fruit and veg, the increase in carbs (specifically gluten, I suspect), gave me horrendous bloating, stomach aches and even pain by the end of three weeks. Not only that but my eczema got itchier and redder, and I found sleeping through the night became almost impossible. The last few days were a pretty miserable experience.

I have mentioned my previous suspicions of Coeliac Disease, which was officially ruled out despite a positive home test, so I was already thinking along the lines of going gluten free as a trial when the wonderful Rachael of Mummy Flying Solo mentioned a book called Grain Brain to me (by David Perlmutter MD).

Wow. I read this book cover to cover in a few days. It is essentially a fairly primal approach to eating (for those unfamiliar with primal or paleo it’s based on lots of veg, with meat, fish and eggs for protein, sparing dairy and fruit, and no grains). I’ve used a lot of primal recipes over the last 18 months as I have long suspected an issue with gluten, so it’s something I’m already comfortable with. This book, combined with my recent experience of eating a lot of grains has motivated me to completely cut them out for the month. I tried going gluten free once before and lasted just 11 days. A few days after I started eating wheat again I suffered a chemical pregnancy. Coincidence? Who knows.

This time I’ll be following along with lots of other May challengers and hopefully we can all support each other to get through the month with our new resolutions intact!

In addition to going gluten-free I’m also cutting out all sugar (including fruit sugar). This is specifically to see if being gluten and sugar free helps my skin, and it’s a long overdue experiment (despite heading towards 40 at breakneck speed I still suffer from spots and pimples, not to mention eczema on my body and small patches of rosacea around my nose and lips).

I have a few exceptions to the no-sugar policy: xylitol, stevia, raisins and honey are ok in small amounts.

No particular reason for choosing these other than I have them in the house and they will be my go-to products in the event of cravings.

So, the issues I’ll be hoping to see an improvement on, and will be tracking in my posts are:

  1. My skin
  2. My bloating
  3. My belly fat (I am a classic apple shape – the unhealthiest kind to be!)
  4. My eczema
  5. My sleep

I’ll be blogging at the end of each weekend (realistically it will probably be Monday, or even Tuesday morning for me), along with everyone else on the challenge.

Good luck all!