Photocredit:@sohohouse – chose it because I loved it, and it’s better than an image of eggs!
The fact is, for me, it really does all come down to EGGS, EGGS, EGGS / EMBRYOS now. I mean I know it does for everyone, but given that we have tried nearly everything, had every test known to man and we still don’t know what happens to the little blighters once they are back in my gorgeous uterus, that’s what we have to really concentrate on. Not just me, I will hasten to add, Dwighty has to make sure those boys are also in tip top form as well. So now I’ve been switching a few things up to try and maximise the old “egg health”. These aren’t ground breaking solutions, and to be honest I’ve been doing a lot of it already, but what I’ve realised is at this stage in the game it’s all about the tweaking.
With this in mind, I found a great nutritionist (who also happens to live very close to my house, bonus) and booked up an appointment. This is the first time I have contemplated going to see a nutritionist throughout this whole process. I’m now thinking what the hell was I doing?! (and so are you probably). But hey we can’t regret what we didn’t do. The fact is, I am a generally fit and healthy person. We have always eaten a healthy balanced diet (for the most part), and the only real lifestyle change we had to make was ditching the booze, and let’s be honest a lot of what we need to do for our bodies during this time, is really just common sense (or is that just me?!). Obviously there are specific things if you have a specific issue that you are trying to address, but when you are in my position and “unexplained”, you often feel like you are throwing the kitchen sink at it, and just seeing what sticks! We eat shed loads of leafy greens, protein, pulses, rarely consume refined sugar (I mean we do occasionally, we are all human!), pomegranate juice daily and various other weird and wonderful items/ powders to supplement my diet. Over the last few years, I have cultivated my own “fertility diet”, drawing from various sources of inspiration, but what I was really interested in was whether I was actually doing it right (maybe needed some validation too;), and if there was any other item of the kitchen I could throw at this, aside from the sink, to make my eggs tip top ahead of round six.
Suffice to say I was pretty relieved, that after going through our diet, and talking about various facets of our treatment, she basically said, I don’t see there is anything I can do for your diet in general and that we were doing all the right things! Yeah!! (*maybe I should change my vocation!).
But what was really interesting was what she had to say about the supplements I was taking and actually a discussion around my thyroid.
Still with me?
Thryoid. Who knew how important this was in becoming pregnant, being pregnant and giving birth?! If any of you knew this going into treatment then I take off my hat to you, because I had no idea and I consider myself a fairly intelligent human being who passed GCSE Science with flying colours. I mean I know it regulates most of the body’s energy, and works bloody hard, but I had no idea what it does for pregnancy. During early pregnancy it’s crucial for the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system and the baby doesn’t start producing it’s own thyroid hormone until 18-20 weeks, so yours is still working extra hard. Apologies if this is sucking eggs for anyone (pardon the pun), but I would hazard a guess that there are a lot of people out there, particularly those who fall pregnant naturally, that have no idea!
During round 4 of treatment, my thyroid was tested and actually came back a little higher than ideal, so for rounds 4 & 5 I was on a course of Thyroxine to try and help reduce that level, but only during treatment, and like everything my dose changed a few times during a very short period.
So… when I saw lovely Jodie (I need to call her by her name because typing nutritionist every time is a bit tedious), she immediately asked about my thyroid levels. So we discussed them, and although my levels are actually “in range”, they are a little higher than ideal for making the babies, hence the Thyroxine. Ideally, so I’ve been told by my consultant, they like them to be between 1 – 2.6 for fertility, and mine generally sit around the 3.4 mark, therefore in their opinion very borderline and consequently I don’t fall into either camp of hyperthyroidism, or hypothyroidism. Therefore her first point of call, and the thing that she could add to my treatment, was how to bring that down naturally. Bingo! So the biggest things that I am doing right now, on top of the usual bits, are:
- Eliminating gluten (wheat, spelt, barley, rye) and dairy, as these may be having an effect on my thyroid and immune health
- Zinc rich foods to help with immune system and the thyroid: Oysters (don’t mind if I do;)), red meat (organic lamb and beef), pumpkin seeds; iodine rich foods: seaweeds. (nibbling on some ITSU seaweed thins as I type!)
- Opting for a fluoride-free toothpaste (found one it’s pretty decent – Aloe Dent) and using a water filter, as fluoride can negatively impact the thyroid. The water thing is a bit of revelation, more just because it tastes so clean!
- Avoiding raw green veg as these are goitrogens (substances that disrupt the production of thyroid hormones).
- And am using a collagen protein, instead of a dairy protein, in smoothies, porridge etc.
And I have to say it’s all good, although I am missing my raw spinach in a smoothie. However, the gluten/ dairy elimination has been a little trickier. It’s not that I even eat that much bread/ pasta etc, but I do have the odd avo and sourdough, and I do love a decaff flat white or a cappuccino (I’m predictably middle class). It’s the small things though, ie that dash of milk in your tea, and actually you don’t realise how many products DO have gluten in, it’s incredible, and how many places don’t cater for it! I take my hat off to all those who are gluten/ wheat/ dairy intolerant and who suffer badly with reactions from these, it’s a minefield! I’m doing my absolute best and have found some interesting products, and this is the bit that I do love, finding new things to try and experiment with. I found a recipe for dairy free/ vegan butter yesterday, and I think I’m going to try it out! (I did buy some for the interim ready made but if I make it myself I cut out even more crap!). I do honestly have to laugh at myself sometimes, if you had said to me three years ago I would be making vegan butter I would have laughed in your face, whilst clutching a steak sandwich and quaffing on a glass of red!
Interestingly, following the appointment, I had my thyroid tested again last week and it came back lower than previously but still borderline, so my clinic have decided to put me on Thyroxine before my treatment, which they have never done before. I did question this, not only because I was pissed off that it was me that had asked for the test and brought it to their attention (I mean how much money am I paying them??!), but also because now I’m thinking maybe that would have made all the difference??! (am pretty sure it wouldn’t have been the primary reason btw), but that’s how the brain works doesn’t it?! However, having discussed with my consultant, I realise the reasons why they hadn’t. So now I’m thinking a bit of Thyroxine and all of the above, surely my thyroid is going to be screaming at the top of its lungs “Keels, you are a legend! ”. I live in hope.
So the food stuff has really just been a tweak.
Still here?… Excellent!
However what was really interesting, and clearly I am already preaching to many who have made these changes and who are probably thinking I am mental for not doing having done this already, but hey, was the discussion around supplements. I didn’t really realise that some of the supplements I’ve been taking, mainly revolving around my Holland & Barrett loyalty card, are basically a bit shit, full of synthetic rubbish and it’s very likely that my body hasn’t been absorbing them at all. So we’ve shelved all of the H&B and am now on purely organic products with all the right amounts of good stuff in! Clearly I now think that the next round is going to work because of this, I mean of course it is, otherwise I want all my money back!
I’m now taking a multivitamin, with everything I need in, including folate (not folic! Which of course I had read about, but no one (including my consultant) had told me any different, sometimes blind faith is dangerous!), Selenium (in drop form), Omega 3 and Ubiquinol (but I’ve changed brands from previous). Dwighty is also now just on a chewable multivit that has everything he needs. We are set.
THIS IS A GAME CHANGER!… who am I trying to kid?! BUT you never bloody know do you? So I’d rather try some new strategies, and fail, than never be in the race at all!
Ps. I know that I don’t always use parentheses or quotation marks (in particular) correctly when writing these posts, but that’s just me and the way I write so yeah. It’s a Keelsism. Just wanted to point it out in case people were questioning whether I passed English… I did… a long time ago;)