Sunday, October 28, 2012

Harmony in Baking

I love baking.  Pumpkin breads, banana breads, muffins... I have an old bread machine that was one of my friends grandmothers and I was on that kick for a little while.  But what I don't like is all the white flour, white sugar, oil and butter that these delicious goodies call for (my favorite pumpkin bread calls for 3 cups of white flour and 3 1/2 cups of white sugar- yikes!).  I tried subbing in whole wheat flour and applesauce for the oil but I wasn't able to find anything for the sugar except a very popular sugar substitute found in a little yellow packet... which after some research I found that the stuff in the little yellow packet is a sugar molecule with a chlorine molecule surrounding it.  That's right- chlorine like what we put in our swimming pool.

O to the M to the G

That can't be good for you AT ALL!  Hello, chemicals??  Ack!

So I started doing some reading and talking to my husband's cousin S who is very much into organic eating and cutting out GMO food (genetically modified).  She recommended something called Xylitol.  I learned from my reading that it's a plant based sugar substitute but you need to be careful as to which kind you buy.  The kind I got from my favorite online shopping site with "the smile on the box" is made from birch trees in Utah.  There is another kind I found that's made from GMO corn from China.  Oh, no thank you.  It's less expensive than the one made in the USA but I'd rather pay the extra because frankly genetically modified foods scare me a tad.

I then stumbled upon something called... Coconut Oil.

....and the heavens open up and the angel's began to sing....

Why have I not heard of this before?  So when I was on my favorite online shopping site getting the Xylitol I also ordered Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

It came in a jar and looks just like what it is- solidified oil (but pure white).  But then you unscrew the cap and... ahhh the smell is out of this world!  Go to your favorite search engine and look up the health benefits for coconut oil.  Some say that it's beneficial to eat a tablespoon a day.  I will admit that I did taste a little right out of the jar.  It melted in my mouth and had a very pleasant coconut taste (duh).

I looked online and found a recipe for Whole Wheat Banana Bread With Coconut Oil.

Let's do this.

The rundown on the ingredients is very simple:

  • 1 cup sugar (I subbed Xylitol then added another 2 tablespoons after tasting the batter - I know, raw egg is bad but it's all in the name of baking science!)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed bananas (5-6 medium)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 2/3 cups soft whole wheat flour (I ran it through my food processor to make it finer - not sure if that's right but it worked out)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used kosher salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds because that's what I had but I'm sure it any would work)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ** I also added 2 tablespoons of milled flax seeds for the health benefits and because of the nutty flavor

  • The recipe said that it made one loaf.  That didn't seem right because I had a lot in my mixing bowl.  So I put it in 2 loaf pans and came out to be 1/2 way full for each pan.  It said to cook for 1 hour at 350 but I started checking it after 35 minutes and I think it only took about 45 minutes.

    It.  Is.  Awesome.

    Baking WIN!

    I don't feel super guilty having two slices for breakfast because it doesn't have any white flour or sugar in it and is filled with some healthy stuff.  I'm so proud of my win over "white foods."

    I am currently waiting for a delivery of Chia Seeds... another very healthy food that I am going to experiment with.  More to come in my kitchen adventures!

    See- this blog isn't all whiny and "woe is me."  LOL

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    "Just one of them things...that a girl goes through..."

    A coworker texted me today and asked if everything was ok, that I seem kind of quiet lately and a little down. Geesh I thought I was hiding it well! I think now that I don't really have anyone to talk to about all this that I'm just turning in on myself - I really need to blog more to get this all out. I walk on my lunch with two friends and one of them just got pregnant at the same clinic, doing the same thing that we're doing. We used to gripe, bitch and generally get our frustrations off our chests about all this infertility nonsense but now I don't feel comfortable doing that because she got that golden ticket- haha.  I am over the moon happy for her, even more so because I know of her struggles, I just don't want her to feel bad when I complain about all this crap that I'm still going through.  Does that make sense?

    8 days since our last IUI...8 more days to wait to get my blood test to see if it worked this time. Wishing...praying...hoping!

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    Infertility is a bad word

    Infertility is a depressing and lonely thing and unless you've gone through it you don't really understand. But even if you are unfortunate enough to experience IF I feel like once you achieve the long sought after "+" on the pee stick all the trials and tribulations of getting there become a distant memory. I don't want my friends to feel like they can't share their pregnancy or baby pics with me because I told them how heartbroken I am month after month when I don't end up pregnant... and when yet another friend shares their "happy news" how I struggle with being so happy for them but cry for us. I also don't want to come off as the "bitter friend" always lamenting about "why not us." Don't get me wrong, I am over the moon happy for all my friends who have been blessed with a little miracle, I really am. I love their little ones with all my heart and revel in sharing their joy with them but sometimes I'm just like..."when will it be our turn?"

    I'm kind I annoyed with the amount of money and years I spent on birth control pills. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for almost 2 years. We're on cycle 18 - my cycles for the first 9 mos. off BCP were 38 - 41+ days. That was beyond frustrating because I wouldn't even ovulate until CD25 (cycle day). I've been an avid temper since the start (taking your temp first thing in the morning before you even really move to track your cycles) and the alarm has been going off at our house at 5am since February 2011. Thankfully my husband is a deep sleeper!

    My OBGYN put me on Clomid for 3 mos... made my cycles a more normal 28-32 days but made me super hormonal! It's main purpose, I believe, is to help produce more follicles (which release the eggs). Prior to the meds we went through the barrage of IF testing. My hubs apparently has super sperm. His counts are off the charts. I, on the other hand, feel like damaged goods. After a very painful test called an HSG it was determined that one of my tubes is blocked. A surgery to explore and possibly repair the damage showed that the tube is unrepairable. I was crushed. After an unsuccessful 3mos of Clomid my OBGYN referred us to a Fertility Specialist (FS).
    I was then laid off from my job.

    I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that if its meant to be it will be (which makes this whole IF journey even more frustrating, but that's for a later post). To make a long story short I literally had a job interview lined up the week after I was laid off. I know how unbelievably lucky and blessed I am to have found my new job as quickly as I did. If I wasn't laid off I don't think I ever would have taken the leap to leave my prior company (there's that whole "everything happens for a reason" thing). I didn't realize how unhappy I was at my old job until I started my new job. So many positive things about this job compared to the other one but what pertains to this journey is that the medical insurance is phenomenal. Once again, I do know how incredibly lucky we are that my insurance covers so much. I waited until I was at my new job for at least 4 mos before going to see the FS. He is amazing. His staff is amazing. I certainly feel like we are in good hands. I know a few people who have gone through his program with success so I am optimistic about our chances.

    The first month he had me try the Clomid again but this time he partnered it with an IUI- basically where my husband does his thing, they wash the sperm and then they insert it into my uterus with a catheter. Not very romantic but after this long lets face it, sex has become more of a chore than a sharing of our love ("ok I'm ovulating so we need to have sex tonight, tomorrow and maybe the day after that and maybe one more day for good measure..."). I have been heavily monitored while seeing the FS (blood tests and internal ultrasounds) and it had come to light that the Clomid thins the lining of my uterus a lot (a side effect of the meds- and the fertilized egg needs to be able to snuggle into a nice thick uterine lining). I wasn't monitored at all with my OBGYN so that's why we never knew. Still went ahead with the 1st IUI because the doc said even though my lining was thin there was still a possibility that I could get pregnant.

    BFN (big fat negative). Sigh...

    Next month he put me on Femera, which is a breast cancer drug that just so happens to have the same effect as Clomid does without thinning the lining. Went for my ultrasound and low and behold my lining was amazing and I had a nice big follie in my left side... which is the non tube side. Crap. Since the biggest follicle (the lead) is the only one that gets released (in most cases except for when there are more follies that are big where they could all be released and then there is a chance for multiples) and mine was on the side without the working tube the cycle was cancelled. There is the "thought" that the egg could somehow be sucked into the good tube but my doctor says that's a "fantasy." I was, again, crushed.

    Onto month 3 - which is where I am now. Since the pills weren't effective he decided to put me on injectables. Gulp. That's right, I had to inject myself in the stomach for 8 days with a much stronger medication that forces both sides to produce follicles. There is a larger chance for multiples but since I only have one tube the chances for us is not as high. I was even more closely monitored and went in for blood work every other day. When they saw that I had a 17mm follie on my good side (yay!) I had to inject myself with an HCG trigger shot which forces ovulation. I then had IUI #2 two days later. The follie grows 2mm a day so by the time I had the procedure it was 21mm (which is optimal). My lining was also the best it has ever been (yay uterus!).

    I had the procedure on 10/17, 3 days ago, and I have to wait 16 days before I can go in for a blood test to see if I'm pregnant. The dreaded TWW (two week wait).

    So that's where I am now. The main reason for me starting this blog is because I feel like I don't have anyone (who understands) to talk to and sometimes I just need to get something off my chest. Literally all of my friends are pregnant or have babies (I'm not even exaggerating) and like I said above, I don't want to be seen as "Debbie Downer." My husband is amazing but honestly he is tired of hearing all about it. Of course he wants to have a baby but he is of the "it'll happen when it's meant to happen" camp. I feel that way too but now I'm more like, "when the f@*<% IS it going to happen already??"

    I realize I just wrote a small novel so who knows if anyone actually will read all of this but hey, I feel better (which is kind of the point). 

    This is me.

    My mom has always called me "Leo the Late Bloomer" after the children's book with the same name by Robert Klaus. Some of my many "late bloomer" moments are: took me a very long time to learn to read (and now I can't get enough), was the last of my girlfriends to get my period and generally go through puberty (8th grade). Didn't have my first boyfriend until college...didn't meet my husband until I was 29 (and kissed a lot of frogs in the process) and just found a job I really liked 7 mos ago at age 33... Generally in life it just takes me a little longer, it always has. I'm not sure why I thought getting pregnant would be any different.

    Do I think that anyone besides me is going to read this blog? I'm not sure and that's kind of ok because this is mostly for me to get all kinds of crazy off my chest for my own sanity and stress level. Don't get me wrong, I have been blessed with an unbelievably amazing husband, a supportive family and a wonderful group of friends. But I feel like I've gotten to the point where no one really knows what I'm going through and I can't stand the sympathy I get when people are like, "ohhhh you're still not pregnant? Don't worry sweetie it'll happen when you're not thinking about it!!" (like I can't not think about it!)

    Sidebar, people struggling with infertility hate that "it'll happen when it's meant to happen" and "just relax and you'll get pregnant" crappola.  I know it comes from a good place and some people just don't know what to say but when in doubt, don't say that.  Just give me a hug and tell me you'll be there for me.  xo