So how did I get myself in top fertile form? Diet, stress levels, weight and toxin exposure all played a role in my less-than-ideal fertility status. Let me explain. Unlike Erroll who produced a regular supply of fresh sperm (each one taking just under 3 months to make), I was born with all my eggs in the one basket, my ovaries. Around 2 million of them, in fact. By the time I hit 41 years of age – the age of our third round of IVF – the invasive ICSI procedure – I was down to afew thousand. I needed these few to be really high quality. Moreover it was imperative that my body was able to produce the right balance of hormones to ‘mature’ these eggs ready ovulation.
Getting the right mix of supporting nutrients was key to this, as was regulating my weight (in my case, gaining two kilos, to shift me from 52kg to a healthier 54kg, where I became ‘regular’) and minimizing stress (again in my case this was an amalgam of ceasing long distance running, getting out of the blazing 45 degree midday heat for jogs, taking up acupuncture, meditating, praying and removing myself from high work-stress situations).
So I got busy with a varied diet. I became obsessed with essential fats – those found in oily fish like sardines, salmon and mackerel, and also in nuts. These I learned facilitate healthy hormone functioning, and I was desperately deficient.
Next I gave up on the caffeine. I was doing myself no favours by gulping mug after mug of green tea. Up to 20 mugs a day. Years of this. I think I was addicted. Yes, green tea is brim full of health-giving benefits, however there is caffeine in green tea. And those of us who are sensitive to caffeine then one cup should be the limit. Green tea also contains tannins (which can decrease the absorption of iron and folic acid), so for the likes of me trying to conceive then green tea was a major hindrance. I was effectively poisoning myself.
Next I rose above the high stress situations I was daily enduring. It did not help one jot that I ran a half marathon in the searing Dubai heat while on the second round of IVF (which obviously failed us). That I was as proud as punch I ran a sub-2 hour time is besides the point. The afternoon after my race I was back at the clinic asking the nurses to inject me with the various hormones in my IVF regimen. Nuts!!
And finally I had to gain some needed weight, so up I climbed to 54kg, and up I jumped in BMI. No matter how I perceived my fitness (very fit, lean, “healthy”, blah blah) it was not helping me be a temple to bear Erroll’s baby. I just had to eat enough and stop exercising so much.
All my efforts worked, finally! Stay tuned…