If you are trying to get pregnant, here are a few questions you should ask your doctor on your next visit.
1. Could lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol, or stress be affecting my fertility?
2. Could my job or my partner’s job be contributing to our problems?
3. Are there any non-medical approaches, such as relaxation or meditation techniques, that could improve my chances of becoming pregnant?
4. Is it important to proceed with an infertility evaluation now, or should we wait a while longer?
5. What specific tests would you recommend to diagnose our infertility, and what do they cost?
The BFC team made a recent trip to Baltimore to attend the American Society of Reproductive Medicine annual general meeting.
At our clinic we are passionate about staying on top of our medical field.
These events also give us the opportunity, as the years have gone by, to confirm that what we do, not only works, but that we also stand out as a best practice clinic. On a professional level it is a fantastic opportunity!
It is wonderful to see new trends and see the data presented in so many various fields in this line of medicine.
What happens when work starts to impact your personal goal? While there I needed to log a 14K, 10K (twice) and a 5K. Hmmm not easy.
On the first day I woke up at 5 a.m. and went to the gym. I got in a 10K on the treadmill all the while staring at myself in some mirror.
It was hard!!!
I don’t have the best sense of direction and I didn’t know the city, so taking to the streets wasn’t an option.
Pounding that black belt I felt the panic rise a bit.
Just the week before I was telling myself to trust the training but now the training was being derailed. I got off the treadmill and had a chat with myself. There was no way these runs were going to happen according to the plan. The plan had to be tweaked. It took me the whole elevator ride back up to my room to accept this, but something still wasn’t sitting right. I felt like if I came off the plan there would be a fracture.
My eyes then caught a promotional flyer on the desk in my room. An exhibition entitled The Big Hope Show was being held at the Museum of Visual Art.
That evening, when my lectures ended, I went to the Museum and there on the wall was this quote –
“Hope attracts chances…”
Wow!!!! That’s what I was missing – hope!
I was placing so much emphasis on the time of the race I had forgotten that little word. With hope you can look at your fertility journey and use it as a tool, as an inspiration and a net to catch you when things get tough and don’t go the way you expect.
While leaving the Museum I thought of the week ahead and promised myself that even when things don’t line up I will look around for the small things to inspire me on this journey, I will have hope. I will keep going.
Ironically, the morning after my museum visit, the team ran a 5k and I ran my fastest time ever for this distance!
Hope, Inspiration, Team… I think these three combined is a new formula for my training!
I want to encourage you every week to look around and find something that inspires you, that gives you hope. It may come in the least expected way but if you seek it, you will find it!
Rachel De GaleLearn More
“Why are you doing this?”
My friend asked me that question this morning when I told her that I totally bombed this weekend’s run.
That question has had me pondering all day to the point where I totally scrapped what I was going to type for this blog and gave some real thought to the questions.
EXACTLY why am I running 21 kilometers?!
About ten weeks ago when I decided sign up for a half marathon, I set a goal to complete the race in a specific time.
All my runs have been focused on time.
TIME – anyone who struggles with infertility knows this is one of the worst four letter words out there!
Time – I struggle with this. I struggle with the process of time.
In order to get faster, run longer, and accomplish my goals I have to plug in the time. I have to be dedicated to the process…and that isn’t always fun.
Just like IVF, sometimes you start at IUIs, proceed to IVF and for some the next advance is to egg/sperm donation or adoption.
In the fertility world “time” is a big word.
Timed intercourse, the timing of medical injections, time of ovulation, the big two week wait.
TIME, TIME TIME! Honestly some days this 4 letter word trumps all others!
But the thing about time is that it is necessary for progression and we can’t fight against it.
This weekend time was not my friend. This weekend the clock was my enemy. Instead of coming in where my training was indicating, I ran the slowest times I have EVER run – EVER!
It was at 18k that the rain, sweat and tears all started to mix together and there at the top of that hill I stopped. I stopped my watch, put my hands on my hips and slumped over. Then out of the blue I heard this voice from a homeless man at the side of the road – he squeezed his fingers together and looked me in the eye and said, “ Dig deeper, only a little further”.
I wiped my face and with a grimacing smile and with every fiber of my aching body I put one foot in front of the next and slowly…very slowly I started down the last three km.
My coach says you run the first part of the race with your head, the middle with your personality and the end with your heart. In digging deep like that old man said I had to find what inspired me, what was in my heart. As my body screamed at me to quit and my head not far behind, I remembered a patient who came in the clinic last week.
She has not given up on her dream and her hope of having a family.
She hasn’t quit.
When you are at rock bottom you figure out some truths and my truth was that it was my patients who were inspiring me. There I was with my heart wanting to go ahead and my body failing me – but since that question this morning I have thought of that patient and the following lessons from that run:
- The first step is having that goal/dream and holding on to it even when the storms of disappointment come crashing down. A dream cannot be achieved however without action. To get the best results, you need a plan, support and the right tools. And then you need to get up and act.
- It is okay to tap out: As I got to the top of that hill and wanted to quit ever so badly, I had to take that moment. The moment to STOP. To stop and regroup my thoughts; to remember my goal and to remind myself not to give up. It’s okay to acknowledge that we can’t take anymore and just need to take a break and breathe; this action of “tapping out” can actually be the one thing that helps you more than anything to keep going.
- You have to do some of this journey alone: On Saturday no one could run that distance but me and like many of you, this fertility journey is yours and yours alone but what I will tell you is that you don’t have to do it ALL alone. As we finished the run I felt like my soul was destroyed and I was beyond upset. There was a very small group of people I could trust with my emotions and be vulnerable in that place. All of these people encouraged me and reminded me that one bad run didn’t take away from the entire process. When you are on your fertility journey there will be good days and bad days but we have to be intentional with pushing forward. When you look inside and see who you are and what you are made of it is here that your faith and your personality will strengthen you and give you that fuel to press on.
- Trust the training: Perhaps this is one of the hardest lessons to learn as it goes back to the time factor. I am very close to the end of this regime but I felt like my training had let me down. It was now that my friends reminded me that this is the exact time when you want to give up that you don’t. DO NOT GIVE UP – they don’t call this a journey for nothing! Stick to your plan. Make sure you are in the hands of the best fertility specialists to guide you through.
- Lastly, join a community of support: On Sunday I watched the Chicago Marathon and listened to stories of participants who through struggle after struggle made their way to the end of that race, many of them running for close to five hours (an unfathomable time in my world to be on your legs!). Ten members of our running group participated in that race and as each of their bibs cross that finish line I screamed from my kitchen with elation of their accomplishment! I was so proud of their success, many of them first timers. Find someone or a group who can identify with your struggles and who can encourage you. You will find inspiration to keep going when you surround yourself with people who are on this journey just like you. These people will find a way into your heart and the times when you need to dig deep they will be the inspiration to keep going.
So to answer my friend’s question as to why I am doing this – I am now doing this race now not so much for a goal time but because I am inspired by our IVF community and our fertility patients. You inspire me and to you I dedicate this race!
Rachel de GaleLearn More
Our team of experts at the Life Wellness Centre are always saying that to ensure you have a positive outcome during your fertility treatment, you need to reduce your stress levels.
When you live in a continuous state of high stress, your reproductive organs don’t receive the energy and nutrients they need to function optimally, particularly as we mature.
Optimising your fertility and increasing your chances of having a healthy baby demands balance in all areas to restore your body’s innate functions. And reducing your stress levels is the first step to improving your fertility.
Here are some methods that we have found to be quite effective:
Talk it out – if you don’t have a trusted friend on board whom you can vent to, it may be worth seeing a counsellor. It will allow you to let it all out and perhaps give you a fresh perspective.
Massage – this is something you and your partner can do for each other. You don’t have to be a professional masseuse; just the touch of the hands is soothing, reassuring and a sensuous prelude to lovemaking. However, a trip to a day spa for professional deep tissue massage is well worth it, and some spas offer couples’ packages.
Time management – schedule your daily activities in a way that you have time to really unwind.
Tea time – eliminate caffeine to reduce anxiety, boost your natural fertility and decrease the chances of miscarriage. Treat yourself instead to a relaxing herbal tea such as chamomile, hibiscus, lemongrass or linden.
Music – while cleaning the house or cooking or just doing nothing, put on some music that heightens your mood, relaxes you and soothes you and your partner.
Yoga is also very effective for relieving stress! If you don’t belong to a fitness club, you can rent or buy instructional DVDs.
Meditation – carve out a quiet space in your day to silence mind chatter and do some deep breathing.
Try it and let us know how it worked for you.Learn More
Have you ever started something in your life that is somewhat terrifying and a few weeks in you think to yourself what have I done?!
I am sure many of you who are on a fertility journey can identify with this feeling and thought.
To take what we call our “normal life” and throw it into the unknown can be downright scary and uncomfortable.
This fear in many cases holds us back from taking a step forward.
For me, this alarming moment came when I decided to sign up for a half marathon in the USA; for many of you reading this blog, it is your fertility challenges.
The struggle with my running always starts at the beginning – rolling out of bed, peeling my eyes open at 4 a.m. and lacing up is the worst part. On these mornings I run with two women who are FAST! I know every mole and muscle on their backs because that is what I see when we run – I only see their back as I am nowhere near as fast as they are.
We are in the trenches of training right now and it is not pretty! Waking up four days a week to hit the road before light even breaks. At this time you just grunt – no talking; mouthwash – not toothpaste; hair scraped back- not brushed. What I have discovered on these runs recently however is that there is an uncanny link between the fertility journey and running.
How many of you feel like you are lagging behind your friends who seem to just be speeding ahead of you? A few years ago they were the friends you laughed and had a drink with, travelled and partied with and now they have the partner, the house , the dog and a family – some with one, two or even more children and you sit there and think – what happened?
When this question comes, your actions will be determined by your decision.
A decision to act and seek help or a decision to let fear hold you back. Here in the office we talk with people every day and see fear hold them back from achieving their dream of having a family.
Scared to have that conversation with their partner when they know that something is not right after trying to get pregnant for a while. Scared to make that appointment with our IVF specialist and finding out what might be required.
But what my runs have taught me is reminiscent of that quote by Amby Burfoot that says:
“Running has taught me perhaps more than anything
else, that there’s no reason to fear starting lines…or other new beginnings.
Today, I want to encourage you that it is okay to be scared because what you are about to do is something very brave. When you make the life changing decision to start a family and to get fertility help you cross the start line…and you know what ?– you begin!
It is that first step that seems daunting, but once you start and you put one foot in front of the next and figure out the medical facts you can make a plan. And a plan that is backed up with action can turn your dream into a reality.
Join me for the next six weeks before my race as we encourage each other on our journeys. Let’s cross those start lines together. Let’s make new beginnings and set our goals.
And in case you need someone to squeeze your hand, my door is open, I am here and I want you to know – YOU GOT THIS!
– Rachel De GaleLearn More