Infertility Awareness Week

I really have no idea how many people read this blog. According to my stats page not very many haha but that’s ok because I write this blog for me. But today I’m hoping that someone who needs to read this post does. Someone that struggles with some of the same issues that M and I struggle with. Someone who needs to know that they aren’t alone. This week is infertility awareness week and while I personally don’t need a week to be “aware” of such issues as I live them everyday, the week is designed for women and families to be reminded that you aren’t alone. And that it’s a topic that you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of talking about.

I sadly know too many women/families that struggle with infertility and most of them do for different reasons. Some are like me and have PCOS, some have sperm issues, some are able to get pregnant but end up miscarrying, some don’t ovulate, and the list goes on. But we all have in common the fact that we want to start a family (or in some cases continue a family). We want the joy and struggles of being mommies and daddies.

I’m here to tell you today that everything you feel about that is ok. You are allowed to be angry. You are allowed to be sad. You are allowed to deal with this in your own individual way. I feel like I’ve been everything at one point or another. I’ve beaten myself up over the fact that it’s my fault, because it’s my body that doesn’t work. I’ve felt like a failure. Sometimes I even try to tell myself that I don’t want children just so I don’t have to feel so shitty about it all. I fantasize about being pregnant or rocking my child to sleep or imagine watching M hold his child for the first time. I have also felt jealous and envious of those that are able to have what I can’t. And then I feel guilty for feeling like that. But all of these feelings are normal and you shouldn’t feel bad for feeling this way.

But while it is perfectly normal to have all those feelings for me I learned that they are often too negative. I know for some trying to stay positive is like asking a fish not to swim. I’m not here to lecture you to stop being upset by the hand that you’ve been given. I’m just here to share my own story in hopes that you don’t feel so alone and however you chose to deal with your infertility is your own business.

For me personally, staying positive and hopeful is the only way I can make it through. I try to find the silver lining even if sometimes it’s a really really small one. The good things that have happened because of my infertility is the acknowledgment that I picked an amazing husband. One who is willing to do whatever it takes to give us what we want.  If that means giving up meat, dairy, eggs, and processed food he’ll do it. If that means spending a ton of money on medicine and doctors appointments he’ll work overtime. If that means rubbing my back when I’m in bed crying over my feelings of uselessness he will. If that means going through a mountain of paper work and training to have a part time foster child he will. If that means one day adopting a child he will. He’s amazing and as I’m writing this out right now I feel like I don’t give him all the credit that he deserves. I guess sometimes it’s easy to make this about me but I just realized it’s about him too so here’s a shout out to all the daddies that aren’t yet daddies and for all you do to help ease the pain. Another silver lining that has come from infertility is what it has done for my own health and wellness. I’ve made it my mission to create a healthy body (yes, it’s still a big work in progress) and even more importantly healthy habits to pass down. Infertility brought me to writing this blog which I love doing. I’ve always loved reading and writing and this finally gave me an avenue in which to do it. I try my best to stay focused on these positive things because there’s not much I can do about the PCOS. I’m currently do everything in my power that I can and if that fails then I’ll go back to medications and medical procedures and if that fails then we will talk about adoption.  Because despite it all I am hopeful and dare I say even confident that we will have a family one day. It may not be when or how I ever imagined it, it may include setbacks and rough patches but I feel in my heart it will happen one way or another.

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Bottomless Pit

I’m not sure what’s going on with me this week. I’ve been feeling off emotionally and food wise. Easter weekend went great in terms of eating our mostly oil free whole foods and the in-laws enjoyed it well enough. It’s a huge adjustment to their normal meal but they tried and we so appreciate that. 

I tried a new vegan sweet potato casserole recipe and it was so so good! I’m thinking of how I could make it without the 1/4 cup of coconut oil. We also had red pepper broccoli Mac and cheese which was good but needed to be warmer. And for a veggie side we had pan seared Brussels sprouts and mushrooms which were really yummy.
Oil free French bread from Costco was delicious warmed up in the oven!
I haven’t yet mastered an oil-free salad dressing that I like so we had this beautiful salad topped with a vegan French dressing.

Since leaving the cabin to come back home from Easter my food choices have been super out of whack. I hate long trips because I have to snack and at the gas station I ended up getting chips and Swedish Fish (I told myself as an Easter treat). Then when we got home we had take out of fried cauliflower gobi manchurian over rice. I had Monday off from school and thought I would be ready to start back at better choices but for whatever reason it has been a big struggle for me this week. I haven’t wanted to cook or bother to make good choices for myself. I’ve also been moody and off emotionally and I feel like there’s no reason for it. Everything in my life is going well and the weathers been nice and there is nothing I can rightfully blame this funk on. I’ve been eating oil popped popcorn all week and I even had Burger King French toast sticks and hash browns with orange juice. The only thing I can think of that may be going on with me is worrying about Jackson. He had his second knee surgery this week and I’ve been stressed about him and the cost of this surgery. He had surgery on Wednesday and the doctors say he did well so I should be happy about that. 

Also my mom is coming to visit this weekend which I’m excited for so I’m hoping it was just an off week and that next week when I’m by myself (Jackson will still be at the vet’s and M will be in Colorado) I will get it together. 

I did do some cooking like making the cheeze sauce (this time with white beans not cashews), chick pea nuggets, banana with raisins bread, and Mexican rice bowls. However I don’t feel like it did a good enough job of counteracting the sh#t I ate.

Chick pea nuggets with water sautéed broccoli and cheeze sauce.

Oil-free Asian Slaw was not too bad. It was definitely something I can improve upon from here on out to make the dressing more my taste.

Here’s to hoping this negative mood leaves as quick as it came on!

Cheeze Sauce Heaven

I’ve found the one. The elusive faux cheese sauce that can go on anything: macaroni, rice, potatoes, veggies, as a dip for chips… I’ve tried three other recipes so far in search for the one that does it for us. They all have similar components and contain varying amounts of potatoes, onion, carrot, cashews or plant milk, spices, and nutritional yeast. Now for recipes that all the include quite similar ingredients it’s actually amazing their differences in tastes, textures, and colors. Yesterday I made a sweet potato based version that I thought I was going to love but ended up HATING it! I was ready to give up. As fate would have it though I logged into the McDougall Facebook group today and saw someone posted a cheeze sauce that they raved about. I decided to give it another try on this new day and I’m so glad I did because, “it’s the one!” We both enjoyed the heck out of it as part of Mac and cheese topped with a sprinkle of panko. 

The color isn’t as orangey as some of the other sauces but the taste wins out!

And later we enjoyed it again as a dip for oven baked potato rounds and as a topping for mashed potatoes (didn’t get a picture of that one, it was eaten too fast).


Speaking of faux cheeses we also tried moxarella last weekend. The texture was definitely goey and warm and very reminiscent of mozzarella. It was perhaps too thick though as our chips kept snapping and breaking off as we tried to dip them in (first world problems am-I-right!?). The flavor was a paradox, both good yet bland. I wasn’t sure if it would be something I’d make again but then today those McDougallers were on fire by talking about how they use it to make quesadillas and for pizza cheese! The quesadilla version sounds great with some mushrooms and peppers! I will try it as soon as I can find some compliant flour tortillas, 

Plants…It’s What’s For Dinner

McDougall compliancy is still a challenge but we are also not aiming for perfection just yet. We are on a limited oil plan still so that we can stay compliant on everything else. The oil part will come when the time is right, probably around the June time frame.  Let’s talk about all the good things that have been happening with our bodies even though we aren’t totally compliant yet! I didn’t hold back in either of our descriptions below so if you don’t want to hear about bathroom habits or period details I’d suggest skipping the next two graphic paragraphs. I wrote down all the intimate details so that anyone who is struggling with similar issues as us can see exactly what’s different now.

M has had a reduction in overall pain. He has been feeling more well rested despite the fact that he hasn’t been wearing his CPAP mask at night. He has been off blood pressure medicine for about a week and so far his blood pressure has remained normal! He has also been off of Prilosec for two weeks and his heartburn/hernia issues have become manageable with food choices.  This is a huge accomplishment as it is his big goal to get off most or all of his medications. Here’s to hoping everything continues to stay normal! His bowel movements have remained normal and he no longer runs to the bathroom in the middle or at the end of each meal like before. He can eat bananas again! He had always loved the fruit but until recently hasn’t been able to eat them without being blocked up for days. He now happily chows down on at least four bananas a week. And to cap it all off he’s lost about 10 pounds.

For me I just realized yesterday that I haven’t had any plantar fasciitis pain in weeks, not even in the morning when I first get up which is when pain was at its worst! I know I read that inflammation conditions would decrease or go away but I’m truly surprised at how quickly it really did go away. I had a period last week that was the most normal one I can ever remember having! It starting one morning with no “pre-period” as I had called it, (I used to wipe red tinted colored discharge for about a week before a real flow would start. The first day was heavy, the second day it was medium, and the rest of the other three days were all very light. I had little to none of the clots that I had been having (I was never quite sure if they were either in the normal clots or uterine fibroids range). Also the last day of my period in the afternoon I had one brown wipe and then that was it. I didn’t have any of the “post-period” blood or messiness that I’d been having for up to 5 days post-period. This period started and stopped quickly, was a normal flow and color, and it made me so happy! I’m not sure what all this means long term and for possible conception but it feels good to have a win under my belt in this battle. I mean the reason I’ve been doing all of this from day one was to create a healthy body and reproductive system in order to start a family. I’ve shed many tears of frustration, anger, and sadness over the years that I was stuck with this stupid body that didn’t do what it was supposed to do and to have a victory (albeit small) still feels really good and reaffirms everything I’ve learned about this Dr. McDougall lifestyle. I’ve also lost 12 pounds since starting the WFPB way of eating. I got to “shop” back in my too-small-for-me bins and wear clothes I haven’t worn in two or more years.

Here’s some pictures as to what we’ve been eating the past couple of weeks. Also, full honestly this past week we’ve had some cravings for SAD food. M has been wanting fast food burgers or chicken. He says mostly for the convience factor of having something quick and delicious without having to think about it. I have been missing scrambled eggs and fried egg sandwiches I think for the creaminess texture. But we haven’t caved into those cravings yet and don’t plan to do so if we can help it. So yes, somedays we go out to eat and have French fries, or other oil tossed grilled/fried veggies and food but we aren’t beating ourselves up over it for now. Sometimes you gotta crawl before you can walk.

 

These don’t look all that amazing but they had a really nice crunch that I appreciated.

 

Fire roasted corn on the cob with no butter or oil just some salt and pepper and it was still delicious!
Black bean wild rice burgers with sprouts, avocado, oil-free vegan mayo, and an oil-free compliant hamburger bun.

Mushroom and spinach spaghetti sauce penne with vegan Parmesan and an oil-free fresh baked ciabatta bread chunk!
Quinoa and lentil tacos
Breakfast is still hard for me to figure out, especially something that is quick and easy for on the go mornings. I stick to toast and/or fruit.
This meal was so so good. The chips and taco shells were not compliant but everything else was.
Spaghetti and wheatballs…omg so good!!