Fertility Treats for Fabulous Friday
Fabulous Friday. That’s what I’ve decided today is. Fabulous.
I’ve still got to work. And I love what work is for me. Still, it’s not all fun and games and it’s certainly not free, “Lisa” time.
BUT, I am making a decision. Today is Fabulous Friday. Not just get it over with Friday to get to the weekend. Enjoy all the big pieces and all the subtle nuances Friday.
What didn’t I notice in fertility treatment? With my head down, focusing on what was right in front of me about my diagnosis, prognosis, each shot and every procedure?
I didn’t notice all the loveliness in the world.
If you’ve read this blog before, I hope you all ready know that I am not shaming you for what is escaping your attention. That I’m not suggesting that you “pick your head up and enjoy the moments of your life”. We both know if you could do that, you would. We both know that you are doing the very best you can possibly do.
And that is very, very good. Yes, even if it means that you had a cup of coffee. A real cup of coffee. With caffeine in it. Gasp! Or a cookie. A genuine, full of sugar and fat and CALORIES cookie. Catch me, I’m swooning. Maybe you even had a glass of wine in the last month. Alcohol. Calories. Sugar. Oh my.
Yes, even if you have indulged in any of those things or others I’ve not mentioned, we know that you are doing your very best. We know that infertility, fertility treatment and waiting for results are a stress and strain that almost feels unbearable. And if you have “treated” yourself to something that someone, even one of us here at RMACT, has told you not to, that you are still doing your best.
After all, what’s the point of a treat if the end result is guilt and shame?
If you’ve had your treat, let go of the aftereffects of shame and guilt. Know that you are doing your very best. And know also that your very best is very good indeed.
So, no, I’m not shaming you about what you have or have not noticed recently. Any more than I am shaming you about a treat or two that you might have had that maybe is outside of the usual things that you ingest or partake in.
I’m here to offer you a few things to feast your eyes on that are not alcoholic, caloric, caffeinated. In other words, shame and guilt free.
A treat that you can sink your teeth into, so to speak.
Fabulous Friday. Yes it is.
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A Look at the Earth's Fertility through Summer Visions
The earth expanding all around. Colors, fragrances.
So much life.
Breathing into the hues and shades.
Drawing them in our mind's eye to preserve their shapes.
Feeling our way around to touch the very core of the summer's heartbeat.
The pulse is vivid.
Wide awake and alert.
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Fertility Prayers at Ladies Night In
We drew pictures in Ladies Night In at our Danbury meeting on Tuesday night.
It wasn’t my idea, although if you knew me well, you could have been right that it was my idea. It just wasn’t this time.
It was Carrie Van Steen’s idea. Give credit where credit is due.
Carrie was inspired by one of our brave ladies who suggested praying to the “Ovary God”.
In twenty-five years working in the field of infertility and fertility treatment, I never heard of or thought of an Ovary God. Or Goddess.
I kind of love the idea of one.
After all, why not?
Kokopelli, Fertility Deity
Kokopelli is a fertility deity most commonly associated with the Hopi tribe from the southwest. He was also a mischief maker. I never liked him. I never wanted to put my fate in his hands. He was too impulsive and too nonsensical.
I think I like the idea of a female God/Goddess directly related to the ovaries more then Kokopelli.
A generous, sweet, compassionate and funny Goddess.
All that and more.
If I get to design my own Ovary Goddess, then I make her purple.
And very, very lush.
If I were going to paint my Ovary Goddess, then I would use squishy, mushy, pliable oil paints with lots of medium. Lots and lots of layers of paint. I’d make her complicated and very simple and basic at the same time.
A Fertility Goddess for One Thing
A Fertility Goddess designed for exactly one thing. Creating an opportunity of new life. A possibility. Not a certainty.
Just a hope.
A hope with a lot of power behind it.
Not a gratuitous hope; a hope with depth and strength and resilience.
A hope with a physical form; one that occupies a space and place, with a specific shape.
Maybe your Goddess wouldn’t look like a physical ovary. Maybe your Goddess would take on some more spiritual or esoteric form.
I know one thing for sure.
An Ovary God or Goddess would not be punishing. No matter what you may think or be afraid that you deserve, no Ovary God or Goddess would do anything but their best.
We each get to create what we believe in; what we put our faith and hope in.
I chose to put my faith in a God and Goddess that support and love me.
What about you?
What does your Ovary God or Fertility Goddess look like? What do they act like?
Can you believe that creating something to believe in will support your fertility efforts?
If nothing else, believe in yourself.
I know I do.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Lessons in a Fertility Garden
The word fertility has such a sweet sound to it. When I think about the word, it conjures up growth; soil freshly tilled, turned, weeded, ready to be seeded and planted.
A few summers ago, I worked with a group of my friends on a piece of land lent to us by an elderly farmer, instead of joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which is a way of getting fresh produce each week from a farm.
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons (Southern Foodways Alliance)
You make a commitment in the beginning of the season, pay a certain fee up front and then get a weekly amount of veggies/fruit/herbs; whatever is ripe that week. That summer I got the privilege of working on the farm itself.
This was not a twenty foot square garden. I am talking about a 5 acre farm (tiny for a farm, but rather large for a garden). To give you an idea of mass, a twenty foot garden is 400 square feet. Put into perspective, one acre is 43,560 square feet; our "garden" was five times that size.
The idea behind the work was to grow enough vegetables for the families that were involved and for the different churches, homeless shelters, temples, etc. that help people in need. This part of the project particularly touched my heart as I heard about more and more people struggling in our economy.
So I spent 6 hours a week rolling around in the dirt and mud. We did everything by hand and used no pesticides. Weeded and mulched; back breaking work. Lots of fun too. An excuse to get down and dirty, easier to get dirty and get the work done. By down and dirty, I do mean, down. On my knees, because it saved the back, crawling around in the rich, deep, fertile soil.
What a miracle the planting was. These tiny little seeds that you could barely see in your hands. I admit, that for me, seeing is believing. Believing those tiny little seeds would grow, not only into a plant, but into food, was a true leap of faith for me. I know that this is how things grow; I have a garden at home and grow plants and flowers. It is still always a miracle that something that looks like a poppy seed grows into food and nourishment.
A Leap of Faith to Create A Baby
This is just what you are doing in trying to create a baby. Preparing your body, heart and mind to be as receptive as you can possibly be. That's also what you do when you take that leap of faith. Faith in yourself, faith in your partner, faith in your doctor and practice.
I know that you are doing everything you can to create a healthy, happy, calm place for a seed to grow. While you're at it, let hope grow along with that seed. Let the hope grow just as straight and true and strong.
And please do let us know how to help. It's what we're here for.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Trying to Conceive: Answering the Infertility Questions
If you're trying to conceive and it doesn't happen easily or quickly, you will have questions. We hear questions over and over again. Often they are the same questions, so the board certified reproductive endocrinologists and the clinical medical team at RMACT have taken some of those questions and answered them so that you can find reliable answers when you most need them.
Very often it does take up to a year to become pregnant. If you are under 35, with no known medical reason for not becoming pregnant, then that's a reasonable amount of time to try. If you are over 35, then six months is what is recommended before seeking help from a fertility specialist.
Meanwhile, here are a few typical questions if you are hoping and trying to become pregnant. We hope that your path to fertility is short and uncomplicated. LR
At what time of the month is a woman fertile?
The most fertile time of a woman’s cycle is just before or the of day ovulation. Ovulation usually occurs two weeks before a period starts, so it is necessary to count backwards from the anticipated start of the next period in order to find the most fertile time.
Take the number of days in the usual cycle (from the beginning of one period to the beginning of the next) and subtract 14. For example, a woman with a 32-day period would likely ovulate around day 18 (32-14=18), while a woman with a 28-day cycle would ovulate around day 14 (28-14=14).
We recommend every other day intercourse around the day of ovulation. That would mean days 12, 14 and 16 for women with 28 days cycles. It is best to have intercourse before ovulation rather than afterwards, so a woman who ovulates on day 14 would have a good chance of conceiving if she has intercourse on either day 13 or 14. For women with irregular cycles you can extend the period of every other day sexual relations.
Alternatively, women with irregular cycles may want to use an ovulation predictor kit, which can be purchased over the counter at most local pharmacies. This involves testing your urine around the time of ovulation using a detector stick, which gives you a visual reading.
Additionally, there are electronic monitors which detect ovulation by tracking two hormones (estrogen and luteinizing hormone) starting with urine testing on day one of your menstrual cycle. The methods that utilize urine predictor sticks or urine ovulation detector machines are usually highly sensitive, accurate, and reliable.
How can a woman tell if she ovulates?
The simple, inexpensive way of finding out the approximate time of your ovulation is to take your basal temperature (that is, your body temperature at rest) every morning and record it on a chart. You can buy a Basal Body Thermometer at your local drug store. Save all your charts so you can review them with your doctor. Three or four months of charting should be adequate. If your temperature goes up after the middle of your menstrual month you likely do ovulate. In general you ovulate about two days prior to the temperature rise.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
In Many Different Opportunities Will You Find Fertility
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
Grow something. Nurture it. Find what is needed to nourish and sustain it.
Find your own fertility. Beyond becoming pregnant.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
RMACT Offers Patients a Free Fertility Seminar for Couples
Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) has created something very special for their patients. An evening for couples to understand and explore their own individual processes about infertility and fertility treatment.
A Fertility Seminar for Couples
The journey to pregnancy proves to be less stressful, and more successful, when the medical care is a comprehensive and coordinated approach that involves both partners as a couple.
Join us for a FREE seminar on: Thursday April 11, 2013 5:45 PM – 8:00 PM
10 Glover Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06850
Concurrent Sessions: 5:45-7:00PM
For our Male Patients: For our Female Patients:
Optimizing Male Fertility Fertile Yoga - Come experience guided meditation meditation and deep relaxation. Consider this a mini vacation, clearing your mind and body.
Questions to Consider About Your Lifestyle and Fertility
Have you ever wondered…
• If there is a relationship between diet, exercise, alcohol, stress, tobacco, or other lifestyle behaviors that may affect our chances of conception?
• How does my body weight, high cholesterol, diabetes, or medications affect my fertility?
• Are vitamins, supplements and protein powders helpful or harmful to my fertility?
If so, join Dr. Mark Leondires, RMACT’s Medical Director, and Carolyn Gundell, RMACT’s Nutritionist for an educational seminar addressing these and many more issues.
For Everyone: 7:00 – 8:00 PM Support and Encouragement for You and Your Partner
Lisa Tuttle, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, will lead a discussion that is geared toward helping partners support each other through the fertility journey.
Topics to be discussed include: understanding the typical male and female reactions to infertility and how different they are, what to say and what not to say and coping with the stress of infertility and managing that stress in your relationship.
A light dinner will be served
Free Admission for RMACT Patients, but please RSVP to Jenn at 203-750-7484 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fertile Love - A Family of Two
We open our hearts to our beloveds and we create family. We are family, whether we are born to the same mother and father or whether we were born continents apart. We are family when our hearts connect. That bond does not disintegrate. Not with time or space or loss of communication or even death. We are family.
We are family when we are partners who have committed our lives and our hearts together. Our families are not created by enlarging to include a child. Our families are started through our love and committment. With or without a child.
Celebrate your family. In this moment. Your partner, spouse, beloved. Your sisters of blood and of spirit. Your brothers who hold you up and reflect your loving heart back to you. Your parents, the ones that brought you up and the ones that have helped you on different segments of your journey.
Fertility and Family
Our children do not make us a family. We are family when we love. Our fertility shines through our love, our ability to grow and explore new ways to be family.
We are family when we love. We are fertile when we watch our hearts expand to find the light. Our fertility is ours for the taking when we love. We are family, we love, we expand, we offer our hearts. To you.
In Honor of National Nutrition Month, My Fertility Hero is...
Every once in a while, when I am so inspired, I write to you about a fertility hero. There are people that just do that. Inspire. It could be Lindsay Nohr Beck, cancer surviver and founder of Fertile Hope, an organization devoted to fertility preservation. It could be a man or woman who goes above and beyond in their quest to create their family and keeps their sense of humor. And cheers up other people. And spends time with their nieces and nephews. It could be my fearless partner in leading Ladies Night In, Carrie Van Steen, who gives her whole heart to her patients.
Lately, I've had one on my mind. And, as it happens, it is March 1, the first day of National Nutrition month. The timing seems fortutitous. Meet Carolyn Gundell, RMACT nutritionist. Where do I start? From the beginning.
Carolyn Gundell and Nutrition
She has helped patients make substantial changes in their lives since she has joined the practice
Her nutrition expertise when it comes to weight loss, food plans and understanding the challenging endocrine disorders of insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and PCOS is unsurpassed
Carolyn has five board certified reproductive endocrinologists that she consults closely with to create plans for patients trying to conceive
Her passion has led her to create seminars, such as pre-conception health and how to be healthy once you become pregnant
She has led the charge to educate and support young women, NOT trying to become pregnant, who have PCOS and want to live their lives in as healthy a way as possible
Carolyn has established on-going PCOS seminars and support groups to support and educate women trying to manage PCOS and trying to conceive
- She is an integral part of our new program for teenagers struggling with the effects of PCOS
Those are the formal things to know about Carolyn. I'm lucky enough to have an insider view. Here are some less formal things that inspire me about Carolyn.
Those beautiful boards that tell you about pre-natal vitamins, PCOS and food? She makes them herself
When she broke her foot, she continued to see patients, lug around empty boxes to review ingredients with patients and never lost a step (pardon the pun)
She always has time to stop in at Ladies Night In, to chat or educate - at 8 pm, after a full day
She will often walk someone over personally, for Fertile Yoga
Carolyn will speak with any RMACT team member about food, diet, exercise. She gives of her time very freely
When there is no appointment and a patient needs one, she will always find time
She has more ideas on how to improve patient experiences at RMACT in 10 minutes than most of the rest of us do in weeks
Here a few comments from some of her RMACT colleagues:
Carolyn has inspired me very much.
I am trying to use some of her suggestions in my own life.
I am actually feeling the best that I have in some years with a better diet, vits and excercise. Thanks Carolyn! ~ Spencer Richlin, MD - Surgical Director of RMACT
Working with Carolyn Gundell as a part of the PCOS team has been truly inspiring. Her dedication, caring and willingness to spend time with each patient she cares for is remarkable. She will go the extra mile for anyone in order to help make their lives better. In addition, on a personal note, Carolyn is always there to help me in my own struggle with my weight and nutrition. ~ Diana D'Amelio - RMACT Physicians Assistant - PCOS and Third Party team member
Adjectives that I would use to describe Carolyn would include: passionate, dedicated, intelligent, resourceful, kind, and pretty darn amazing. Carolyn has changed the practice's thoughts and behaviors about eating and at this point hundreds of patients in the practice. Recently there's been a patient in our practice that I believe never would've gotten pregnant if she not met with Carolyn. Additionally she works hard and persistently for patients that are at risk from diabetes and significant obesity. She picks up things that the doctors don't pick up secondary to her inquisitive nature and unique relationship she has with patients.
She frequently teaches me things. She's always pleasant and positive and I feel thankful that I get an opportunity to work with her. ~ Mark Leondires, MD - Medical Director of RMACT
Carolyn shares a wealth of knowledge with a passion and energy that is inspiring. She works tirelessly to ensure the well being of her patients. Working with Carolyn is an enriching experience- I am always learning something new! ~ Eloise Downs - Registered Nurse on RMACT's PCOS Team
A final note about Carolyn. Lately, it's occurred to me that Carolyn is remarkable, in a way that I'm a little uncomfortable talking about. That's a word that's used a lot for her. Remarkable. Passionate is another word. Educated is a third. Those three words are probably the reason that she is able to connect so effectively with patients. When I look at Carolyn, I realize the point of looking past the physical being. Carolyn is a beautiful woman. She is also thin and svelte. I admire our patients and Carolyn's looking past one another's looks to see the person within.
When I first met Carolyn, I really wondered how men and women who were obese, overweight or even had just a few pounds to lose would take to working with someone who is a size 2. Her size intimidated me. Credit goes to her ability to make a connection despite the difference in outward appearances, for her to relate so passionately to patients who could be dismissive of her, but who are not. She finds the way, seamlessly into our patients hearts, to help and support them on their journey for their families.
I have a lot to learn from Carolyn too. I find I am in a large pool of RMACT team members and patients that are grateful we are lucky enough to have this fertility hero. Thanks Carolyn, for contributing your considerable self, size 2 or not, to the RMACT team and family.
Top 10 Fertility Health Do's and Don'ts
Too much information.
In the guise of giving as much fertility health information as possible, to be as thorough and comprehensive as I can be, evidently for some of you, I may be confusing. PathtoFertility, the blog you are currently reading has recently celebrated it's third birthday. Five blogs a week, fifty two weeks a year, times three; there's a lot of information here.
For those of you out there who would like to know the basic things to do and not do, it can be overwhelming. So, pared down, if you are not in fertility treatment or seeing a board certified reproductive endocrinologist and simply want the benefit of being as fertility healthy as possible, then here are the basics. If you become interested in any of the items listed, there are blogs on this site that will go in the why's, why not's, and other details.
Sleep a minimum of seven hours a night
Take a good prenatal vitamin with folic acid
Excercise mindfully. Walk, don't run. Yoga, yes, not hot yoga
Eat a healthy diet, with plenty of colorful vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, fruit, good oils
Drink plenty of healthy, non-caffeinated, non soda fluids
These are your bare minimums. Think of it as your foundation. There are many other ways to enhance your health and improve how you are feeling. Without these foundational elements, nothing else that you will do will have a lot of efficacy.
These Are Only Suggestions to Help You Get Pregnant
Having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine will not mean that you will never become pregnant. Or even that you will not become pregnant during the cycle in which you have those things. Nor will having a cookie or a bowl of ice cream. These things, after all, are not birth control. They will not create a miscarriage or an unhealthy embryo or fetus.
These are suggestions for you to be able to use as ways to create that stable foundation for a healthy pregnancy and baby. These are suggestions for you to become a healthier person, which is the foundation for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
We are all human beings. We all do the best that we can. Even with these foundation items, there will be times when you indulge. Forgive yourself and move on. In other words, do the best that you can. Be mindful.