Hello again – a triumph to report!

Wow I thought I’d take a little break from blogging, as nothing really was happening, and suddenly it’s been two months!

So in some ways, nothing much has happened, but then in some ways an awful lot has happened.

To begin with HSG results – all fine. I was disappointed really, I was hoping I might have a blocked tube that the dye was going to push through and unblock and then suddenly I’d be all fertile and pregnant. However, this was not the case. When I picked up my results I was told all looked normal, but because of the pain I experience during my period (vomiting, fainting, unable to move) it was very likely to be endometriosis and I should book in for another laparoscopy. Following that, IVF would be the way to go.

Now I’ve already had one laparoscopy five years ago, and nothing showed up. I”m not keen to have yet another one, only for the same result to potentially come back. It took me weeks to recover from the first one, and I guess I just don’t feel ready for all that again. And if I do have endometriosis, they might be able to laser some of it off, and I’ll have a fertile window, but who knows for how long, and ultimately it will most likely come back.

I decided to go down a different route for a bit, implementing a massive diet overhaul and started taking Chinese herbs on top of my acupuncture. And do you know what? IT’S WORKING. I honestly cannot believe it, but for the first time in maybe 7 or 8 years, my period has not ruined almost two days of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I still need to take painkillers, but the difference is my body is responding to them – and just over the counter painkillers, not extra strong prescribed ones.

So this last weekend, when my period showed up (I had hoped it wouldn’t, even did a pregnancy test last week as was feeling hopeful, how silly of me) I WENT OUT on the main day of my period (usually the most painful). I went for lunch with friends, then later, my sister stayed, and I cooked dinner, and we watched a movie. I had a normal day. This is MASSIVE for me, life changing. My periods have interrupted my life for years and years: normally I can barely move, even getting to the bathroom is difficult, often I crawl around just willing time to pass whilst slowly going insane – I’ve even called A&E before.

What I’ve done: on top of the Chinese herbs, I’ve cut out all red meat entirely, and only eat chicken maybe once every two weeks if it’s organic. I have cut out dairy and also cut out about 80% of sugar from my diet (can anyone do 100%?!, surely not possible). So my diet has been mainly of fish and vegetables. Also (and I appreciate this is a bit nuts), I’ve switched my body wash, shampoo and conditioner to organic brands, with no added nasties.  I’ve also been using a magnesium spray which is meant to be a good way of boosting your levels as it absorbs quickly through the skin. Magnesium is meant to help with muscle relaxation and all sorts of good things – have a little look on Google if you’re interested! I guess the only downside is that I don’t actually know which of these things is actually working, or maybe it’s a combination!

I’m not saying it’s easy, or even possible to keep up long term, but I intend to keep it going for a good little while to see if my body balances itself out. And here’s my thinking, if my infertility is caused by endometriosis, then the inflammation is part of the problem. If I can reduce that inflammation and balance out my body naturally then who knows, maybe one day I can get pregnant. I know this is wishful thinking, but for now, the natural way is so much more appealing than going into hospital again for yet another procedure. As for the pregnancy thing, I’m not even thinking about it this month, I’m enjoying feeling fit and healthy and trying to listen to what my body needs.

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A Break Away

I fancy writing a positive post, and one about a different area of my life, not the trying to conceive part.

So M and I went to Amsterdam two weeks ago for a three night break. It was fantastic! The feeling of the place was one of calm, the moment we arrived I took a deep breathe and decided to forget as many of my problems as I possibly could. So many of our conversations lately revolve around not getting pregnant and DIY to the house (don’t get me wrong, that’s one of my favourite topics) but it was refreshing to go to an entirely new place together and explore.

On the first evening we found a little old fashioned looking steak house, the walls were mahogany wood and the ceilings were low. It was cozy and warm and the smell of the food enticed us in. M ordered a beer and I had a double gin and tonic. And I felt like “us” again. We chatted about what we would like to see in Amsterdam and what food we fancied that evening. M ended up going for a steak (wise choice in a steak house) and I opted for seabass. It was an amazing meal, and afterwards we headed to a bar called the Chocolate Bar (minus any chocolate unfortunately!) and had another drink before heading off to our lovely hotel.

All I thought about whilst I was out there was what I was doing at that very moment, be it eating (and we did a whole lot of that), seeing something new, or immersing myself into a different culture for a short while. We walked for miles and miles without realising, and the exercise felt great. We spent hours having brunch, which is one of my favourites meals. One morning we found a place called “Coffee and Coconuts” which was a converted 1920’s picture house. The building was vast and went up three floors. Our table was suspended by ropes and the food was eclectic! We chose the same off the menu, because it looked so interesting: mashed avocado with scrambled eggs on top, a coconut pancake with raspberry coulis and a little pot of vanilla yoghurt with granola. Very different to my usual porridge and just fantastic. One of my happiest breakfasts ever!

On a different note, we visited Anne Frank’s house which was emotional, and really helped me put my life into perspective. I cannot begin to comprehend what people and families must have been through during such a harrowing time, the fear and loss must have been unbearable.

Amsterdam is surrounded by water which had such a calming effect. We bought the most fancy chocolates (and most expensive) and ate them whilst overlooking a beautiful canal (I went for lemongrass, and have never tasted anything like it). We walked more and stopped in a pancake house for a bacon pancake and rum tea.

I haven’t even mentioned the bikes yet! My job is related to cycling and so I was so interested with how Amsterdam gets around. And let me tell you, it’s all by bike! Literally, hundreds of thousands of bikes, and you need your wits about you at all times, because more often than not, you’re in a cycle lane by mistake. The Dutch cycle along having their breakfast, talking on the phone, or chatting with friends, it’s such a standard way of life for them.

And so it was an amazing three days, and we will be back. I’ve shared a couple of photos below, incase anyone is interested.

I’m glad I wrote this post, just reminiscing about this trip has really cheered me up this evening

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A Cake Escape

A short while ago I did a cake decorating class. I have no real skill at baking and certainly don’t have the patience to do anything fancy at home, but this class was a freebie and I liked the idea of learning something new.

The class was a mixed group with a different level of ability. I was immediately excited when told to choose a colour for my rose. I initially went with blue as I wanted to be different, then I switched to purple, but finally decided on pink as there was a good chance that what I was about to make may not look like a rose and therefore would need all the help it could get.

We rolled out our icing and gradually added the colour – it was exciting to watch the icing become and deeper and more satisfying blush of pink with every drop of colouring I added. And then came the constructing the rose part – we broke off a number of tiny balls from our coloured icing and squished them all flat with our thumbs. Then, following the teacher carefully we started with one squished piece and gradually added the additional pieces to it, overlapping and moving it round as we went. Probably not the most technical explanation I could give, but it was much easier than I thought and I didn’t reach the “I hate this and I’m throwing it all in the bin stage”  – which is a plus for me.

Next we made the leaves, which involved pressing newly made green icing into little plastic templates. We were rewarded with perfectly shaped little leaves for our rose to nestle in.

And here is the end result, I was thrilled with it! It was lovely to lose myself for an hour or so in learning something new and to have something to eat at the end of it too, well that was just an additional bonus!

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The Patience of the Pomegranate

My last two posts have been about trying to conceive, so here’s one about learning patience, and my favourite subject of all: food.

So today I found a very large pomegranate in the supermarket – I love a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and so took it home to commence the battle immediately: me versus the pomegranate. A pomegranate makes you work for the good stuff- it isn’t like an apple or a peach where you give it a quick wash and it’s ready for consumption. Oh no, a pomegranate wants you to earn its juicy little red jewels. And so I began. I cut through the large fruit, and was immediately rewarded with a splattering of red juice all over my grey jumper.

Pomegranate: 1   Me: 0

I carefully and gently worked on busting out these red little beads for 25 minutes – talk about a test in patience! Red juice soon became a feature of my kitchen: on the floor, across the wall tiles and even on the light switch.

But it was worth it.

The end result was a bowl full of ruby gems which were simply amazing to add to my fantastic couscous salad (roasted flaked almonds, lemon, coriander and mint). Not that I can take credit for that – it’s from one of my favourite cookbooks, Home at 7, Dinner at 8 (@SophWrightChef ).

Lesson learnt? Sometimes amazing things are worth the hassle.

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