So, this time around, with my lovely little frozen babypops, I added two things. (I add and take away... things that have stuck are the orange underwear, and obviously good eating/no alcohol/avoiding chemicals whenever possible.) I decided that I would totally get rid of coffee--no decaf, no coffee at all (despite the report that even pregnant ladies can have 240 mg of caffeine per day). I also decided that I would try to replace as many personal hygiene products as possible with natural/organic options.
The Nefarious Coffee Bean
Just as a disclaimer, I have absolutely no proof on this one. It is entirely anecdotal based on several word-of-mouth conversations over the years, and I did not look up the facts/science/lack thereof at all on this one. I just dove right into this theory totally blindfolded. Supposedly, there is a compound in the coffee bean itself that can somehow interfere with fertility (implantation maybe? Not sure, since I have done ZERO followup research on this hypothesis). So it doesn't matter if you switch to decaf, if you are drinking coffee at all, it's less than ideal. I have always gone to decaf (or, after learning of the 240 mg thing, half-caf) during a cycle. But I never totally gave it up. It's not that I'm a coffee addict, I drink it on weekends and odd afternoons during the school year when I am beyond exhausted. So this is kind of a cheating variable, like giving up lima beans for Lent. But, I did drink some coffee each week before, and now I have been coffee free since a week or so before I started Lupron. Which is forever ago. Except... last week a certain national coffee chain with a mermaid on its logo introduced a new cold beverage--the Refresher. With flavors like berry hibiscus and cool lime, I assumed this was a tea-based beverage, like green tea. So I nabbed my free one Friday afternoon and it was so yummy. And then I went to the same store later in the day to get Bryce some coffee to wake him up for our fun evening out, and noticed an informational display for this new concoction, off to the side. And it turns out the secret ingredient is... PEOPLE!!! Haha, just kidding. But it's almost as bad. It's green coffee extract! Those bastards, they tricked me into drinking a coffee drink that did not look, sound, or taste like a coffee drink. I was beside myself. I had already ordered another one and it was already being made, so I couldn't say I didn't want it. All I could think of was that there was green coffee extract coursing through my veins already, telling my uterus to REJECT whatever goodness may come its way! It was too late. I had royally messed up this cycle. I was a mess, crying and angry and feeling very stupid for not even thinking to ask if it had caffeine or coffee in it. Bryce, that wonderful man, took my berry refresher of embryo death and we went to another store (so I didn't seem quite as crazy as I felt/looked at the moment) and got me a passion iced tea/lemonade. Definitely caffeine free. Definitely sneak-attack coffee free. But I still cried all the way to our pre-dinner walk. Every single time there is something that happens that could be a reason for a cycle not working or too much stress--from my cat needing to be put to sleep to delayed construction on my house to my grandmother's hospitalization. I guess I should feel lucky if the only thing that feels compromising in this cycle is a coffee mickey slipped in my drink.
Natural Hygiene Products Are a Mixed Bag
It started with body wash and body moisturizer. Starting months ago I swapped out those products for natural and/or organic products. See, I am a monkey-see/monkey-do person, which is why sometimes the mob mentality of support groups can be somewhat damaging to me. If I hear that something worked for someone else, I will jump on that ship, guns blazing. (And then usually I am disappointed that it didn't work for me, although I am holding out hope that THIS WILL NOT BE THE CASE THIS TIME!) This is where my red candles came into play, and my fertility idols/fertility stones, and my elephant statue that got carted to my transfers and even the diner where we had breakfast before one of our pregnancy tests, and where the coffee thing comes from. But, there's this friend of mine who is already pretty natural/organic and regards plastic like the antichrist, and she got pregnant this spring. And...during her cycle and especially her wait, she used only natural hygiene products if any at all. She went a little further than I am willing to go, doing baking soda instead of soap or shampoo and whatnot. What can I say, I am a little on the vain side. I have a closet in my bathroom with free makeup bags from a certain department store brand that are filled with tons of one kind of makeup each--the Lip Gloss Bag, the Eyeshadow Bag, the Lip Stick Bag, the Skin Product Bag (blushes, stains, bronzers, powders). I have a problem, obviously. So this particular project was a tough one to undertake, and I totally am not following it across the board. I still wear makeup (although as much hypoallergenic stuff as possible and my lip products at the moment must be organic/natural since they go in your mouth and I read a disturbing factoid that the average woman eats POUNDS of lipstick in her lifetime...). I still wear anti-aging moisturizer and eye cream. And I still wear sunscreen, because otherwise I burn to a crisp and while skin cancer is organic I don't want it. So, here is what I actually swapped out:
- Body moisturizer
- Body wash
The deodorant is flavored "Mexican Lime and Bergamot" and claims to have the rare organic antiperspirant element through rice powder, which "gently absorbs moisture." I should mention that my friend who did this successfully did it in early spring, not JULY, and it was not in the 90s. I should also mention that when I saw her recently she said, "Oh, I should have mentioned that I never sweat." OH HOLY JEEZUM, I have been so misguided. Because I sweat like a filthy, filthy pig. And I am so sad, because I was all ready to blame it on my often-demonized PCOS, but my friend is also a PCOS-er and so out the window that goes. I am just disgusting all on my own. This deodorant has a very strong smell. My armpits smell like lime sherbet. And then about an hour into the day if I have done anything more strenuous than read/nap on the couch, I smell like lime sherbet funk. And let me tell you, this antiperspirant claim is NONSENSE! I didn't expect much, since most natural deodorants don't even claim antiperspirant properties. That comes from aluminum in regular deodorant. Without the chemicals, I am a sweaty, limey, funky mess. I have to reapply every 4 hours or so and DEFINITELY before I go out in public. Poor Bryce, he has no idea what to say anymore. We're in the car and I ask if he can smell me (worst fear is to be the stinky person out in public), and he says "That's YOU??? I thought that was my FEET!" Which is horrifying, because I love my handsome, handsome husband but he has the sweatiest, stinkiest feet I have ever encountered. But I must persevere. Even though another friend of mine, one who has done just about every natural thing you can think of, yelled through the phone, "POISON YOUR ARMPITS! You have to poison the armpits. Nothing else works. Dear lord, POISON those ARMPITS Jessica!" But I can't give it up. I have to do due diligence, especially since I flubbed up the whole coffee thing. So, people I see in real life, I apologize for the stankus when I see you in person. Especially if it is a hot day. And we're doing something even remotely active.
So there they are, my strategies to sneak a little bit of power into this cycle. It's funny, because it's a frozen cycle--which means that there's nothing to prepare but my uterus. And then I have to nurture those blasts once they're defrosted and put back into me. But no worries about egg quality, no wondering how many embryos we're going to have. I already know. Three. There are three embryos that will snuggle in and hopefully at least some (if not, gulp, all) will stay this time. I mean, look at what I'm willing to do for these babylings--I am willing to smell like lime sherbet funk, all for the love of defrosted babypops. That's got to count for something, I hope...
PS - SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT... If you haven't yet, please go to www.resolve.org/vote and vote for the best blog Hope Award--for which I am one of five fabulous nominees!