Hi! Since I shared THIS POST, I haven’t given you all much of an update. I have learned so much since then and I have a lot of information to share! I hope it can help some of you out there on your own baby journey.
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During our time of trying for baby T (18 months), we’ve done plenty of testing. According to the results, we’re both “exceptionally healthy”. The next options the doctors proposed were IUI or IVF. We personally don’t feel called to go in that direction right now so we decided to try continuing to get pregnant naturally. A couple of months ago I started getting a little stir crazy and decided to start doing some research on my own. Our doctors have all been really sweet and supportive but we felt like they all just did their testing, talked about the (normal) results with us, and then suggested IUI and IVF. There wasn’t really any further investigation. I’m just speaking from my heart when I say all of this so please don’t be offended if you chose to use these methods. For us though, we refused to believe that was the only way to proceed and get pregnant.
I started digging myself down multiple rabbit holes. The more educated research I dug into, the more I realized that we needed to start making changes in our home, despite our baby journey and especially because of our baby journey. At the beginning I thought to myself (and Stephen and my best friend said it too), “Is this really necessary? A lot of people can get pregnant on a whim!” Well, that is not the case for us.
We can always go back to that argument and question why it’s so easy for others to get pregnant but there is no point. Thank God(!) they were able to achieve that so easily but that is just not our story at this time. Among many things that I’m thankful for with this journey, this research has emphasized the truth to me that God wants us all to be as healthy as we possibly can be and to treat our bodies like the temple He created. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is proof of that. Stephen and I have always been “healthy” but the more I looked into our home and the products we use and consume, I was pretty shocked and thought, “Shoot. Maybe we aren’t as well as I thought?” I’ve also learned through my research that so many couples have made changes like these and have been blessed with a little miracle. Needless to say, we’ve made some changes around here too.
I’m going to break each of these down for you guys but to make it a little bit more simple, we focused on improving three areas in our home – our gut, our environment, and our mental and emotional state.
Diet + Gut Health
Of all the changes we’ve made, this one was the biggest (or tied for first). Our diet was probably considered “normal”. However, I have a sweet tooth and I realized that I was consuming sugar quite frequently. If someone brought in a treat to work, I’d eat it. If I wanted to bake some cookies, I’d bake them and then eat a few. Oh and I can’t forget to mention my nightly habit of having something sweet after dinner. For all of these years, my metabolism has had my back. I’ve never hit a point where I gained a ton of weight or felt disgusting really so I didn’t have a reason to make changes. Then I read the book, Body Love and REALISTICALLY evaluated my own diet and concluded that my endocrine system was having to work extra hard to keep my blood sugar regulated. Insulin resistance has been linked to issues with fertility among many other things and can even compromise egg quality (you can read more about that HERE).
Along with maintaining my insulin, I knew that I needed to get my gut in check. There’s tons of research out there to prove that most diseases and illnesses start in the gut. It is believed that fertility issues could be one of those too due to food intolerances people might have that they aren’t even aware of. Because of that, many fertility specialists first have their patients remove gluten and dairy from their diets. I’ve learned that some put their patients through an elimination diet, Whole 30 for example, while others just have them remove those two food components. To wrap all of these up in one and to make it the easiest for us, Stephen and I decided to start following the Paleo diet aka the caveman diet which essentially eliminates all grains, dairy, and refined sugar. Michelle has my favorite explanation of Paleo HERE. So far we have really loved it! We said from the beginning that we would only do this as a trial run (about 3 months) like the fertility specialists do with the elimination diets but I think that we’ll continue eating 80-90% Paleo after that time period simply because of how much better we feel while eating this way.
Like I mentioned, we didn’t want our diet change to be super complicated and although there are some odd ingredients in recipes that we didn’t typically have on hand, it has become really simple. Pinterest has an endless number of great recipes on there and we’ve tried only a handful of them. Here are some of our favorites so far – Nesting with Grace Paleo chicken pot pie, Paleo chicken/shrimp stir fry, all sorts of different salmon recipes like this one HERE and HERE, our favorite salad recently, and our favorite Paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe.
If you all are interested in hearing more about how we’re following a Paleo diet, I can certainly share more! In the meantime, here are some of my favorite resources –
- Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain (I want all of her books!)
- Michelle Tam’s Nom Nom Paleo
- I also found “The Paleo Way” on Netflix very interesting!
One more thing we did to reset/encourage a healthy gut was that we started taking a probiotic daily. We used Life 9, a probiotic by Young Living that we’ve really loved (I’ll share more on how to purchase these later!) as it promotes healthy digestion, immune support, and gut health.
Removing Endocrine Disrupters
It all started when I decided to take the plunge and start using essential oils in our home. I had used some that I bought from Sprouts in Arizona for a long time and a few blends friends had given me but it was never really anything serious. I really just liked the smell and “vibe” they gave off. Then I started to learn about the physiological reactions that occur in the body when using oils and was SHOCKED. Before that point I thought it was all a load of you know what. “Use xyz oil to promote joyful feelings.” “Oh come on that’s just stupid…” BUT YOU GUYS, IT’S REAL! Actual science has shown that a physical response takes place in the body. That’s amazing to me. The fact that there are some oils women should avoid while breastfeeding because it’ll stop their milk supply is proof that reactions do indeed occur in the body.
When deciding on which brand of oils to purchase, I quickly learned about how important the quality of the oils are. I had no clue! I looked into two companies that produce quality essential oils and ultimately decided to try out Young Living. Their Seed to Seal Promise is exceptional. Before we knew it, we had a starter kit waiting on our doorstep! I couldn’t wait to get started. We used our starter kit mainly to diffuse and make a few roller bottle blends. Then I got down the biggest rabbit hole learning about the endocrine system and how we are surrounded by and breathing in “endocrine disrupters” (the NIH explains them HERE). I’m not here to fear monger you. That is not something I want for this space. I do want to encourage you to do your own educated research though and to be mindful of the information you consume! Learn as much as you possibly can and make decisions accordingly for your family.
Since digging into research on endocrine disrupters, we slowly but surely have been replacing items in our home with safer options. For example, using glass or stainless containers for food instead of plastic. If we can replace a product we (used to) use that is potentially an endocrine disrupter with an essential oil/blend or product, we do. I also finally decided to replace my makeup (unfortunately another potential endocrine disrupter source) with Beauty Counter products. A big switch to safer products in every single thing we use is not something that we expect to happen overnight, we simply can’t afford that and it isn’t realistic for us but we are doing our best! I will do an entire post on what we’ve taken out and replaced our items with. Again, I’m not sharing this to scare you! I just know that some of you are very interested in this information so I’m happy to share.
If you have the desire to start making changes like these in your own home, the easiest one to start with is your cleaning supplies. I decided to completely stop using everything we owned. It was a really big deal for us considering we have an entire closet full of things we were using to keep our house “clean”. We ultimately replaced everything with Thieves from Young Living and Norwex wipes. For laundry, we switched to Thieves laundry detergent which we have absolutely loved. I’ll do an entire post about cleaning but I will say that these products are worth every penny!
One last thing that I’ve been doing consistently is rubbing a fertility blend on myself daily. I read so many testimonials about this blend and how it has helped woman conceive time and time again. They swear by it! If you have been interested in essential oils/Young Living and decide to order a starter kit, I will send you a fertility blend roller bottle for yourself! There’s going to be a whole post about the starter kit but if you are interested, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will answer any questions you have!
I highly suggest listening to the podcasts Get Pregnant Naturally and The Essential Oil Revolution to learn more about this topic and getting pregnant naturally in general. I have also loved the books The Healing Power of Essential Oils: Sooth Inflammation, Boost Mood, Prevent Autoimmunity, and Feel Great in Every Way and The Essential Oils Hormone Solution: Reclaim Your Energy and Focus and Lose Weight Naturally.
Spiritual Walk + Mental and Emotional State
We’ve made some big changes in our home as I’ve mentioned but I want to say again that I know this is all in God’s timing. He has the most perfect plan in place, I just know it. I do want to make it known too though that I struggle from time to time. Don’t be fooled… Hearing some iteration of the comment “you’re not pregnant because God doesn’t want you to be yet” makes my blood boil. That is not God’s character. He is not punishing me and He’s not punishing you. That is not our God. I believe in His timing and I believe He is sovereign but I don’t believe He is the author of things that cause pain. His very nature is goodness! Will we have to endure trials? Yes, we will! The God I know allows difficult and painful things like this in our lives because of the good that can and will come from them. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” Then James goes on to reiterate, “Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12 Experiences like these refine our character and draw us closer to Him. He might have us wait because He has a much better story already written but he certainly does not author the pain. So yes, comments like that frustrate me. I know they are probably trying to encourage us but it also sounds as if God is holding out on us and I don’t believe that is the case whatsoever.
Another big change that has impacted me mentally and emotionally was our decision for me to part from the corporate world. That was not only a big deal because it was life changing but also because my cortisol levels went from being through the roof to normal almost immediately after I gave my one month notice. I also have been really intentional about relaxing. Instead of staying up late working on blog content after work, I’d just stop working and go take a bath (hence why content was very slim during my last couple of months in the corporate world) or Stephen and I would hang out and watch TV, which is something we haven’t done for months and months. In the tub I love to practice meditation using the Headspace app (it’s so helpful!) and then read and/or talk with God. All of these things have helped me tremendously. In general, I’m less stressed out and simply at peace.
Stephen and I continue to read Supernatural Childbirth together. I can’t recommend that book enough! It mentions in there that it’s so important to speak life over you and your husband (it takes two to tango!). I am so thankful for our doctors but when it comes down to it, God is in control here and HE does not claim for any of us to be “inf…ile” so we don’t speak that word in our home anymore. It’s just welcoming the enemy to step right in and make himself comfortable. Proverbs 15:4 says, “The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit.” Speak healing words in your home!
We’ve also been using the Ava bracelet the last few months, thanks to some very sweet friends that we have! It took a few cycles (I’ve never been regular… It has always differed by a few days) to understand my body but much to my surprise it got the swing of things! I would definitely recommend it. It saves me from having to pee on so many ovulation sticks! HA! I also was getting so frustrated taking my temperature with a BBT thermometer every morning because it’s important to be really really consistent and well… I wasn’t. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of the Ava! If you want $20 off your own Ava click HERE.
Baby Related Resource Suggestions
A while back I asked for recommendations for baby related resources. I haven’t read any of them yet except for Supernatural Childbirth so I can’t speak on them but I wanted to go ahead and share them with you all in case you are interested! I received multiple recommendations from people for a lot of these:
- Funny Little Pregnant Things by Emily Doherty
- Shepharding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
- Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize
- Expecting Better by Emily Oster
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
- Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents by Gary Chapman and Shannon Warden
I really hope you find this post helpful. If you’re going through your own baby journey (or not) and have any questions, reach out to me on Instagram! Or if you could just use some prayers, reach out to me for that too! You all are so appreciated. I hope you have an awesome day!
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