The journey that led us to Coco was three years long! Once we decided we wanted to grow our family, that journey began, although we didn’t know at first how long it would take. It was a path that resulted in 2 miscarriages and led us to do fertility testing to see if we could determine the cause of our losses.
I’ve shared about the testing I did after our second loss and the changes I made to help my body heal and prepare for another pregnancy. I gave myself a long runway to focus on my own health and optimizing my body before we tried again for the third time. Obviously, we were so blessed to have Baby Coco with our third pregnancy, and while I’m entirely hopeful that we cracked the code for my body and solved a lot of our past issues that may have contributed to our losses, but there’s a piece of me that worries that maybe Coco was just a lucky strike.
I’ve always wanted to have two children (if all things permit), and now that Coco is getting older, we’ve started to seriously think about trying again. But I’ll be honest with you… I wasn’t totally prepared for all that would emotionally come up for me when we started to seriously consider adding to our family.
After Coco, I knew I’d be willing to go through it all again, but that decision felt distant. Truth be told, I was just so thankful to have her, and we knew we wanted to wait a while before trying again. Now that the time has come where we’re seriously talking about the next steps, it’s suddenly started to feel real. And scary. While I’m super excited and hopeful, I’m also riddled with fear and hesitancy knowing our history and the pain that comes along with loss.
I decided this time that I wanted to be as proactive as I could going into another pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Coco, I struggled emotionally, not allowing myself to connect with her for fear of losing her. I also was miserably ill for the first five months of pregnancy, and that sidelined me from working (and functioning like a normal human being).
So, there were a lot of variables that left me with first-trimester depression. It was a time when I should have been filled with joy and hope, but I was overcome with such fear, it wasn’t possible. As we think about another pregnancy, I want to do my best to prepare my mind and body so that whatever the outcome, I know that I did everything I could to provide a home for another life.
Booking an appointment to find proactive solutions
The first thing I did was book an appointment with a naturopath that specializes in fertility. It’s kind of wild, but in the two years that I’ve moved home, I’ve only been to a traditional MD for my pregnancy–no regular physical or check-up, no illnesses (thankfully)–and so booking this appointment just for my overall health and an assessment of what I can do to optimize my health felt powerful and proactive.
My appointment lasted two hours as I got to know the naturopath, and we talked through my history and my current health, as well as my hopes and plans. At the end of our session, we did acupuncture (WHAT a treat), and she gave me this list below as my current plan for prepping my body for pregnancy.
You’ll notice that most of this plan is beneficial for overall health and wellness, and these are steps many of us can implement today, regardless of our future childbearing plans. We are waiting for my bloodwork to come back for further steps, but I loved leaving with a list of items I can start to incorporate into my daily life while we await the next information that will come with my results.
Here’s where I am personally starting:
01. Use Castor Oil:
Usage: Massage a dime-size over the liver region and pelvic bowl nightly. The idea of using castor oil in this way is to move it over the liver and assist in moving particles and help cleanse the body. Every night before bed, I just massage a little onto my skin and let my skin absorb it overnight. Castor oil has also been a staple in helping naturally grow my eyelashes, so if I have a clean mascara wand, I apply there, too! 😉
02. Dry Brushing Daily:
I’ve been dry brushing (inconsistently) for over a year. It’s where you take a dry body brush and sweep it over your skin in a rhythmic way to increase circulation, stimulate your lymphatic system, aid digestion, and help you relax. You do micro-strokes always towards your heart to move things through your heart to boost the effects, and I often put a little peppermint oil on my brush to get the added aromatherapy! It’s also a great way to exfoliate your skin!
03. Cutting Back On Caffeine:
I’ve never been a crazy caffeine girl, but quarantine did instill in me a two-cup-a-day minimum! My naturopath encouraged me to cut back to just one cup a day and to savor that cup, and I smiled because I knew it was coming. I shouldn’t need two cups a day (specifically my typical afternoon pick-me-up cup that may impact my sleep!), and so this has been an easier swap than anticipated. I’ve traded my morning lattes for black coffee with some cinnamon.
04. Warm Lemon Water in the AM:
In alignment with cutting back on caffeine, instead of hitting the Keurig first thing when I wake up, I’ve been heating up some warm water and squeezing half a lemon into it. This is supposed to help wake up your body, aid digestion, get you a dose of vitamin C, and help maintain the pH balance in your body. I actually love doing this daily, and it’s a great way to hydrate and feel good first thing when I wake up.
05. Up My Water Intake:
(Isn’t it cool how a lot of these build off of one another?!) I’ve gotten way better at drinking more water (as I reach for my jug next to me), and this was a good challenge. Every day I fill up the hospital thermos that I got when I had Coco, and it reminds me of giving birth and also to stay hydrated. Better hydration, check!
06. 100 Deep Belly Breaths OR Meditate 10 Minutes a Day:
I loved that this was on my summary, because couldn’t we all use more deep breaths and some meditation? I’ve been a little hit or miss on following through on this, but on the mornings that I do meditate (with the help of my Peloton app), I definitely feel more centered and ready to take on the day. I got one of those silly infrared face masks (the verdict is still out if it works), and I’m supposed to use it for 10 minutes a day, too. So, I’ll put it on and then play a meditation and follow this beautiful advice.
07. 1/4 Teaspoon of Spirulina Mixed into Water Daily:
I’ll be honest, I thought I could do this… but I just can’t. I should have ordered the capsules, but I got the powder and I tried to choke it down and I gagged so hard. So my plan here is that if I get back to doing smoothies in the morning, I’ll mix that in. Otherwise, Drew picked up some Chlorella tablets at the coop and I’ve been taking those daily instead. I know, I’m a wuss but I just couldn’t get past that smell and taste.
08. 1/4 Cup of Cilantro a Few Times a Week:
Full disclosure: She did ask if I liked cilantro, and I told her I like it in my margaritas (still counts?!), but this antioxidant-rich herb has properties to promote digestive health, and it also may help lower your blood sugar, fight infections, and promote heart, brain, and skin health. Seems odd, but it’s made me want to start a little herb garden!
09. Cleanse and Detox Tea:
I’ve been drinking one cup of this tea daily (and I actually love the taste), but our goal here is just to reset my body and get everything healthy and ready to host new life. This has been a great replacement for my afternoon coffee, and it’s something that’s been super easy to incorporate. Have you noticed a trend in the detoxing? My doctor really looks at liver health as a huge signaler for fertility and readiness for pregnancy, so we’re focusing a lot there.
10. Vitamin Regimen:
I’m terrible at taking daily vitamins and pills. I go through seasons where I’m super consistent, and then there are times where pill packs just store in our cabinets! This time, I’m fully committed. I got the Metagenics Plus One pill packs that are for prenatal and pregnancy, and I’ve been taking those daily and religiously, along with a probiotic and a liver support pill! I’ve gotten much more consistent here and I’m proud of myself.
On top of all of these items, we are waiting for additional bloodwork that I’ll get back soon, and we’re also testing my vitamin D (I’ve been critically low many times in the past) along with my triglycerides. That data will continue to guide our treatment plan, but for now, I am super thankful for these 10 items and how I have been able to naturally incorporate them into my daily life and start to create solid habits around them. The beautiful thing is, we’re focusing on optimizing my health, and these daily tasks are ways to put my health at the forefront of my mind through micro-habits that can yield giant results.
When I sat down with the doctor, she did say, “I wish more women would be proactive about their health and fertility! Most of the time, I only see people after a loss or when they are struggling, and this approach allows us to focus on your health and taking little steps forward to help prepare you mentally and physically for what will come next.”
I highly encourage you, if you are able to, to make an appointment to look into what steps you can take today to just be a healthier you! I’ll keep sharing this process as it unfolds, and I’m so grateful to be on this journey again.
My doctor asked to make sure I’ve gotten ride of hormone-disrupting toxic products, the answer? YES!