Posts in The Overshare
Don't Forget to Leave Room For Magic

A few days ago I was chatting with a friend about infertility and how much we dislike the label, "infertile." She shared a story about a loved one that filled me with so much hope.

Someone close to her had been diagnosed with infertility at a pretty young age, which understandably was devastating. Despite her diagnosis, she never stopped trying. And years, I'm talking decades later, the woman spontaneously got pregnant, gave birth to a healthy baby (though she was well past the age that was thought to be possible) AND then got pregnant again and had another healthy little nugget of delight.

It got me thinking about how important it is that we leave a little room in our hearts for magic. That's not always easy to do that with all of our medical diagnoses, stats, predictive equations, risk assessments, and probability analysis that try to tell us how likely we are to conceive right down to the 100th decimal place, but it's so important.

Miracles happen every single day. Our bodies were designed to heal and find balance. I've seen, heard about, and read too many stories of folks who have overcome the insurmountable and have done the impossible to not believe in magic and miracles.

And if you take a look at your life or the lives of people you know, I'm sure you've experienced things that defy science too.

I'm a huge fan of science. I believe in the power of science. Maintaining my credentials mandates that I practice in line with science. But I also know science doesn't have all the answers. Yeah, I said it.

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Overcoming My Fear of Infertility

I finally had to allow the question lurking in the corners of my heart, mind, and womb to surface. "What if I can't have children?"

I was approaching thirty. I had read the articles and the question, "When are you going to have children? You're not getting any younger," was something I had been hearing more often (seriously folks, just stop asking people that question. It's rude and frankly, nonya business.)

My chances of conceiving were declining according to everything I read. My family history sure as hell wasn't reassuring. Hysterectomies due to heavy, painful periods that resulted in anemia. Premature ovarian failure. Fibroids. Not exactly the picture of optimal fertility.

While I didn't have any definitive proof I would experience infertility, I didn't have a guarantee that I wouldn't, either. And it was that uncertainty that left me unsettled and fearful.

I like to know what's ahead. It gives me a (false) sense of control. And there's nothing I like more than to feel like I'm in control, completely in control of my life, my body, and most certainly my fertility.

I knew I had to do something to overcome my fear of infertility. So I faced it head on. Below are the three steps I took (and continue to take) to get back the peace and confidence I had lost.

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Making Peace With My Period

Warning, oversharing ahead...

I lay on the floor, behind our orange velvet couch. Curled up like an infant, I gripped my belly in pain. My only thoughts, "I'm dying, I don't want my mom to worry. I'll just die here behind the couch." Melodramatic much?

My mom found me. And it turned out I wasn't dying. I was just having my first period. Oh!

Now, before you judge me, my mom, or the California school system, just know I had already read and reread the menstruation pamphlets from my pediatrician's office at least 10 times. My mother had already had "the talk" with me. And my teacher had already walked us through the wonders of puberty.

But somehow, everyone forgot to tell me how much it might hurt. And I failed to connect the dots. Blood in cotton bloomers and cramps = period, not death. Good to know.

After our first meeting, I was afraid of my period. I dreaded its arrival. Excruciating pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting certainly didn't fill me with the warm fuzzies.

Unable to use tampons, I had to wear bulky pads. Which may have been ok if I wasn't an active kid. In the SoCal heat, a bulky pad was far from comfortable.

It wasn't until I was 19 that I was able to successfully insert a tampon. While the menstrual product problem was solved, the painful cramps and tummy upset continued to kick my butt.

My PCP offered me the usual: birth control pills and NSAIDs. Though I turned down the BCPs, I happily accepted the suggestion to pop painkillers at the first sign of my period.

First I tried Midol. Total waste of time and money. Then Tylenol. A little better but I needed more. Finally, I tried Aleve. It worked like a charm... until it didn't. 

After years of bliss, Aleve turned against me. Suddenly, it stopped alleviating my pain. Worse yet, I would vomit nearly immediately after I popped that once magical little powder blue pill. 

I was 26. I had suffered for 15 years. And I was over it.

Tired of the pain, tired of missing work, and tired of assuring people I wasn't pregnant when I inevitably upchucked at work, I finally took matters into my own hands. I turned to the three things that never fail me in a crisis: prayer, Google, and PubMed.

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Healer Heal Thyself: My Journey Back to Health

One of the things I really want for this blog is for it to be a place of complete transparency. I refuse to pretend I have all the answers. I refuse to pretend I'm living out my recommendations and the benefits of them, while secretly gorging myself on chicharrones and looking and feeling like crap ran over by a dump truck. This is a no judgment, no faking the funk, own your mess place. 'Cause that's where healing starts. 

Alright, time to share my plan to practice what I preach and truly Live Fertile.

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Why I Chose Women's Health and Fertility Nutrition

Have you ever seen a woman give birth? It is one of the most powerful, touching, and downright frightening events this world has ever seen. It happens every single day, yet it is anything but ordinary.

After 40 weeks of being molded and sculpted out of sight, a new life readies itself to enter this world. Suddenly, it's time for the world to receive a beautiful gift. A woman bears excruciating pain, bares her most private of parts without shame, and pushes with all she has, all in hopes of finally locking eyes with the child who already holds her heart. But she rarely does it alone.

Surrounding her from start to finish are relatives and friends, all serving as mommy coaches and cheerleaders. There are doctors, nurses, and midwives providing medical care and support. She is cocooned by community, and most within her community are other women. It's been that way forever. Women have been helping other women give birth to and mother children from time immemorial. And from well before this blog was ever even a thought in my mind, I have longed to be a part of that community of women. I have longed to support other women along their journey to create and nurture life.

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