Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Eat This, Not That

November 1, 2017
  • Written by Madeline MacKinnon, Guest Blogger

What should you eat when you’re trying to conceive?

There’s always been a lot of confusion around this topic. Your doctors may say there’s not much you can do to boost your fertility by way of nutrition. However, there is plenty of reputable research that links fertility to food.

You may be familiar with  “The Fertility Diet”, which uses the second Nurse’s Health Study from 1989 as a basis. Since then, more research has come out to support the same hypothesis, as this paper from 2016 notes:

“[Our] change in diet composition, over the last 100 years, has been associated to decreased fertility rates in women over the age of 35… [The] proportion of different polyunsaturated fats in the diet significantly influences prostaglandin synthesis and ovarian steroidogenesis, both having crucial role in the reproductive process.” (Fontana and Della Torre, 2016)

One thing is for sure, food does impact your fertility. Our body uses nutrients from food to build our hormones. We also need nutrients to ‘metabolize’ hormones, meaning either convert them into usable forms or effectively remove them from the body.

A deficiency of a certain nutrient is enough to affect your fertility since hormone balance (especially progesterone, estrogen and thyroid) is such an important piece of a healthy pregnancy. So what particular nutrients should you be focus and what foods should you eat to get them?

Folate is actually one of the main reasons women take prenatal vitamins. Folate is important for preventing birth defects. Make sure your prenatal supplement includes ‘methyl folate’, which is more easily absorbed than folic acid. Get folate from avocado, kale, beans and swiss chard.

B6 supports general hormone balance and fertility. Get B6 from sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, turkey, cod, wild salmon, pistachios and banana.

Healthy Saturated Fats are important for you hormone levels and producing optimal hormones. Hormones are built from fat! Get the best fats from fish oil, avocado, and grass fed butter… All are important for fertility.

Magnesium is an often overlooked but it’s also important for fertility. This mineral helps decrease stress, relax muscles, and supports progesterone levels in the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle. Being deficient in magnesium has also been linked to frequent miscarriages. My favourite food-based source of magnesium is steamed swiss chard, which we included the the fertility recipe below. Other great sources are avocado, spinach, pumpkin seeds, black beans and pumpkin.

What to avoid?

When you’re preparing to conceive, you need to guard your body against chemicals and compounds that sabotage your efforts.

Processed and rancid fats
Starvation diets or low fat diets
Soy (unless it’s fermented, like tempeh and miso paste)
Processed grains and flours

The journey towards optimal fertility is one you work towards every day. Get all the nutrients you require from an easy to eat, easy to digest fertility smoothie!

My Green Fertility Smoothie Recipe

1 cup water
1 cup steamed swiss chard
½ cup blueberries
½ frozen banana
½ avocado or 1 Tbsp sunflower butter
½ cup organic plain yogurt or kefir (optional)
2 Tbsp collagen peptide protein powder

Optional Fertility Boosters
1 tsp he shou wu powder
1 tsp bee pollen (don’t use if you have a bee allergy)

Get Our Free Ovulation Protocol

We designed a custom superfood smoothie for you to take 3-4 days around ovulation. It has 100% of your RDA of folate, estrogen-detoxing compounds, progesterone-supportive nutrients, and herbal aphrodisiacs! Click here to get our protocol.

Want to learn more in a Master Class? Join the live Webinar on Tuesday, November 7th at 7pm MST.

About Madeline

Madeline MacKinnon is the founder of Natural Hormone Healing and is a highly sought-after, leading expert in the emerging field of herbal culinary arts, elixir making and tonic herbalism. She dedicates her time, energy and education to help women from around the world to balance their hormones naturally without the use of drugs.

Get more functional nutrition info on her website, follow her on Instagram or on Facebook. You can also join her online community, The Vibrant Health & Hormone Balance Sisterhood to get all you need to know about women’s health and hormone balance.

The Deep Correlation between Energy Metabolism and Reproduction: A View on the Effects of Nutrition for Women Fertility. Fontana, R, and Della Torre, S. Published 11 February 216.
Nutrients 2016, 8(2), 87, doi:10.3390/nu8020087

Babe In My Belly, Blogs

The Stork Brings A Stark: Second Trimester

October 24, 2017

I am beyond grateful to be pregnant. I thank God everyday for this tiny life growing inside me. However, pregnancy isn’t all strong finger nails, thick hair and glowing skin. Let me be clear. I’m not complaining about pregnancy. I totally get how lucky I am to be carrying a life. I’m just keeping it real because while it’s THE GREATEST GIFT EVER…pregnancy can also really difficult. I am documenting the ups, the downs and the “glow” (guys, it’s sweat), through my 40 weeks of pregnancy.

Read about my first trimester here.
If I could sum up the second trimester with one word it would be swellnausea. Ok two words- swelling and nausea. I took my first pregnant flight at 13 weeks, first week of the third trimester and basically waddled around and elevated the entire vacation. I wish I could say the swelling just magically went away like the nausea (hallelujah- 20 weeks later), but it’s still something I’m dealing with. I swell up through my calves, not just my feet and sometimes my hands. I very rarely am able to get my engagement ring on but my wedding band never leaves my sausage finger. And of course, staying off my feet or drinking a lot of water aren’t the magic tricks- spin class is.
I bought an at home fetal doppler early on and would try it out every night. It wasn’t until about 13 weeks I could find the heartbeat and find it consistently. It became my little nightly routine after dinner to go sit in the rocking chair in the nursery and listen to his heartbeat. It is the sweetest sound, like music to my ears. At my 12 weeks ultrasound my doctor mentioned I had a left anterior placenta and would probably feel kicking earlier than most. At 17 weeks I felt him and he hasn’t stopped (we’re thinking an athletic scholarship). The first few times I dismissed it as muscle twitches (in retrospect I don’t know why, I’ve never had a muscle twitch in my stomach?) because it did not feel like a “flutter”, which is how I had heard it described before. The twitches changes to kicks and then to rolls and my the end of my second trimester I felt like I needed protection he became so strong.
My absolute favorite part of pregnancy to date was the anatomy scan at 21 weeks. To see every teeny tiny body part of this mystery person you are growing inside of you is unbelievable. Everything checked out perfectly, he had 10 fingers and 10 toes and is (still) a boy. We lucked out, when the ultrasound tech finished she said the doctor may or may not come in to speak with us. Luckily he did and gave us another chance to look at our sweet babe. He also “razzled and dazzled” us (his words), and flipped the ultrasound to 3D for a few minutes. It was unbelievable to see our baby go from skeletor (but really the cutest skeletor EVER) to an actual human. That is a moment I will never forget and I will cherish forever.
I’m am sitting here thinking about all of the amazing aspects of pregnancy. It is truly a miracle that a woman’s body can grow and house a baby and all of the technology we have to SEE and HEAR the baby. However I have really struggled with body image and it hit me hard in the second trimester. I’ve always been very fit and taken pride in the work I put into my body. If my pants started to get tight I would reel in the eating and amp up the workouts and soon I would be back to where I wanted to be. Not having that control during pregnancy has been a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I feel like an alien in my own body and at times don’t even recognize myself in the mirror. This is something I am learning to deal with as I go but is very much a work in progress. I know it will be worth it in the end and after 40 short (but sometimes SUPER LONG) weeks, I can start to get back to my old self. Oh and if you’re wondering, the boobs have continued to grow with no signs of slowing down (how… really. How?)
At 28 weeks my doctor ordered my gestational diabetes test. I had heard so much about this test and how horrible it was. I ate my low carb breakfast (turkey sausage) and headed to the gym before. Well apparently it was a little too much protein because I ended up sick as a dog BEFORE I took my test but after about an hour I felt like I might actually live and headed to the lab. I was given a choice of a few flavors, I picked lime and chugged away. Granted, it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever tasted but I for sure favored it over a shot of fireball. I waited the hour, they drew blood and I was on my way. All in all it was pretty painless and not nearly as bad as I had been warned. Oh- and I passed with flying colors! And just like that, 12 more weeks until baby Stark is here!

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Faith in Endometriosis

October 16, 2017

Written by Cassaundra Escandon, guest blogger

Hi There, My name is Cassaundra, I am 27 years old, married to an amazing man for almost two years, I am a follower of Christ, LOVER of coffee, and spend my days supporting individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health.

As I am sure for a lot of you endo warriors who experienced or are currently experiencing this process- It was tiring, relentless, and painful. In 2011 I had an ectopic pregnancy that was removed (tube and ovaries stayed put at that time). Fast-forward to 2015- my life was not going as planned. As any woman struggling with endometriosis I was in pain beyond functioning daily. I had exhausted all of my resources (GI specialist, upper scope, colonoscopy, family doctor, blood work, ultrasounds, ER visits ect). With all the tests, prodding and poking the only conclusion I got was “there is nothing wrong”. Well, as all you ladies know far to well- I MOST CERTAINLY knew something was definitely not right. I am not going to lie- at this point I was feeling pretty crazy! Mind you, I had always had horrendous periods since the age of 9. That is how it had always been, making it the “norm” for me. This reoccurring pain that I had gotten over many years of my life off and on, had now become 24/7. The pain that I experience other than awful periods where I am in bed for days on high doses on Tordol and Muscle Relaxants is pain along the left side all in to my bowels. The pain is debilitating and no amount of medication takes it away. I have to lie on my left side (as in apply pressure), ride it out and standing intensifies it largely. I was at a loss. I was becoming not well enough to work or function at all in society on a day-to-day basis.

After speaking to my best friend’s mother (whose previous situation seemed to resemble my current) I went to my family doctor and had a referral put in to a gynaecologist. Fast-forward and I got the appointment, went in with my long list of avenues I had already exhausted (colonoscopy, endoscopy, blood work, ultrasounds ect.) and all the results. By the grace of God the doctor didn’t believe it could be endometriosis but agreed to go in and have a look (basically to quiet me up). At this point I was more than ready. I could not continue on living, working, planning a wedding (9 months away), enjoy being newly engaged, or being 25 this way. My surgery date was set for a month, so I waited. I prayed. I felt crazy -“what if there is nothing wrong inside? will this pain ever go away? am I going crazy? is this from all those years I was anorexic? what will people think if there is still nothing medically wrong?” and on my brain spun. The Holy Spirit just kept bringing me back to a place of peace, trust, love, and strength.

My surgery day came and I was terrified. I came out not knowing much until my follow-up appointment two weeks later. I found out I was not crazy, I did in fact have stage 4 endometriosis, adhesions, and a ton of ovarian cysts (one the size of an orange). I had a lot of cysts off and on over the years leading up to this point as well. My ovaries, intestines, and tubes where all stuck together by webs of scar tissue. I began taking continuous birth control for the next 8 months (until the wedding). We were told to consider freezing eggs, chances may not be on our side and that we needed to start trying soon. This was a hard pill to swallow. Both Sean and I have always wanted kids, the devil would try to fill my mind with “you need to start trying now, you’ll never have kids, what if you miss your opportunity”. Sean and I remained focus on Jesus, his will, and trusting that if it is God’s will for us to have a child, it will happen on God’s time. Trying for a child before marriage was not a part of God’s plan for us. Sean and I both knew that and God filled us with faith, strength, hope, patience, and love. God put focusing on preparing for a Christ centered marriage on the priority list, and a child to come.

I was feeling a lot of pain relief from the surgery other than awful periods. I had some days of flaring pain (but not 24/7). Slowly the pain started coming back and within two years the pain was so unbearable that I had to take a sick leave from work for three months until my surgery date arrived. I could not work, sleep, eat, or cope. My surgery date came February 23rd of this year. My fertility specialist went in cleaned up all the endo, adhesions, and removed my right tube (where I had the ectopic in 2011). The pain has most definitely been decreased. PRAISE GOD!! I also strictly follow the endometriosis diet and have been for a while. It’s my life saver. Truly that’s how I keep my pain at bay most of the time. I have made sure to really be strict since this last surgery. One night I was not very strict (a few ciders, and sugar icing) …Let’s just say it took me a week to recover. I find the most relief and can manage my symptoms with being gluten free, dairy free, refine sugar, and soy free. I eat chicken and fish, but not pork, beef or lamb.

I pray for each and every one of you warriors battling this relentless monster ENDO. I write to help myself clear my mind, identify thoughts, feelings and to hopefully be helpful to others going through similar situations. Know that no matter where you are on this journey, that you are not alone and that all of us ENDO SISTERS have each others back. If fighting infertility you also are not alone and what brings me comfort on the darkest and most painful days is that Jesus would never put such a strong desire in our hearts and not fill it. That is a promise and fact. Now the other side of the coin is- Jesus is in control, it is Gods timing, and we must wait. Wait for God to reveal his plan. I know one thing and that is I will be a mom. I don’t know when, or how. I don’t know if Baby E will grow in my belly, or someone else’s. But I do know I will hold Baby E one day.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

The Other F Word

October 5, 2017

Written by Jessie Bradshaw, guest blogger

Fertility Fertility Fertility…. At first this word scared me and consumed my life. I was embarrassed and I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it. All I could think was, why me? However, as time went on I realized I found comfort in sharing my story with people. I was tired of walking around with this secret. This was something real going on with my husband and me and I needed all the support I could get.

My husband and I just celebrated our two year wedding anniversary and these last two years have been one wild roller coaster ride. When I married Chad I gained a bonus child, Caleb. Man did I hit the jack pot with him. He is amazing. After watching Chad with Caleb I knew I couldn’t find a better man to raise a family with.

At first we started the whole not trying not to get pregnant. At about 6 months into this I started charting and doing ovulation predictor test. However, with no luck we were still not pregnant. Once the one year mark hit, it was time to seek help. I reached out to my OBGYN and they started me on clomid. Clomid affects everyone differently, for me it wasn’t so good. It makes me short-tempered, gives me headaches and hot sweats. It has gotten worse the more I take. During this time we did 3 rounds of Clomid and 1 round of Femara. I was reaching a point I felt like a number and not a priority at my doctor’s office. It wasn’t until a friend who had a similar situation and I got to talking. He told me if I was serious about having a baby I should see a specialist. I wasn’t even sure we could afford a fertility specialist. I heard it was expensive and insurance wouldn’t cover it. I felt selfish for wanting this. This could be money we could be saving for Caleb to go to college or take a nice family vacation. I went home that night and talked to Chad and he was on board. I was lucky to have married someone who wanted to have children with me and willing to do whatever it takes. I went ahead and made an appointment with our new doctor.

During these months I’m not going to lie, life was hard. I had many people ask if we’re going to have kids. At first we would tell people we would someday. I didn’t have the nerve to tell them we had been trying and I couldn’t get pregnant. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me and I was embarrassed. It didn’t help every time I logged on to Facebook someone else was announcing they were pregnant. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy for friends but I was sad for myself.

Our first appointment was in December and it was intense to say the least. That day they ran tests and went over our whole medical history. Our doctor told us our next step would be surgery. He had us schedule it before we left and I ended up having surgery in February. Over all it went well and wasn’t as bad as I expected. Once I woke up from surgery we found out I had a lot of scar tissue built up on my tubes and ovaries. We are still unsure to why I had scar tissue. My doctor said I could have had an infection when I was younger and was not aware of it. The doctor was able to clear one tube but the other was irrepairable. After I was recovered from surgery we started back on Clomid. The last 5 months we did 5 rounds of Clomid and added the HCG shot and had 2 failed IUI. The disappointment grew each month.Each month hit hard. Not only were we dealing with the Clomid crazies but also stress of marriage and fertility problems. During this time I felt like hardly anyone understood what I was going through. I felt like my world was ending and people just wanted to say nice things like it will work out, its timing, just relax, maybe you should stop trying so hard. When really all I wanted to hear was I know this sucks and it’s not fair. Most people would jump right into what about IVF or adoption. Both of these are definitely options for us. However, when you always dreamed of carrying your own child and the thought you may never get to experience, you don’t say, “Well you can always adopt.” We’re up for IVF. However, we can’t afford it right now. My doctor explains it best that IVF is like buying a brand new truck. The difference when buy a truck you get to drive it off the lot and IVF you aren’t even guaranteed a baby.

Chad and I finally reached a point that we weren’t going to let fertility run our life. We were tired of scheduling our life around our child who wasn’t even here yet. We try and focus our life on the things we can control. Suddenly life got easier for us. We still have our days of sadness and bitterness but this is the life we live and we can’t be sad all the time.

It’s been 5 months since surgery I really thought I would have been pregnant by now. It was finally time my doctor wanted to go back in and perform the HSG test to see if my tube was still open. We found out that both of my tubes were open. I think my doctor was just as surprised as I was. We decided to take a month off from meds. Which Chad was very excited about. He even thanked the doctor.

Here we are now 2 years since we started this whole journey and we’re still praying for our unborn child. I’m not sure what having a baby is going to look like for us or when it’s going to happen. However, I do believe with everything in my heart we will have a child come into our life and be a part of our family one day. We just need a little faith and whole lot of Jesus.

Blogs, What We Love

Harper Wilde

October 2, 2017

Hello lovely ladies of WTF community!

Jane and Jenna here from Harper Wilde. WTF is Harper Wilde, you ask?

Well, to make a long story short, about a year and a half ago, we started asking a lot of “WTF”s when it came to bra shopping. For instance, “Why-TF are bras so expensive?” and “Why-TF is bra shopping such a hassle and an invasive experience?”

We started looking into the bra industry, and instead of finding answers, we ran into more questions: why is the bra industry so over-sexualized? Why do bras have so many embellishments? Why is a product that is meant for us, typically marketed toward men?

This spurred a drive and a passion to create a better experience, better products, and a brand that women are proud to stand behind.

Enter: Harper Wilde. Harper Wilde takes the B.S. out of Bra Shopping. We make bra shopping as simple as possible with free home try-on and curated options, and make quality products at fair prices. Our mission is to empower women with our products and also by giving back to put young girls through school. We aim to lift up your ladies while helping to lift up the next generation of leading ladies (enter: “#LiftUpTheLadies).

We know that moms are the busiest women on this planet and bra shopping is the last thing on your minds. Who has time to spend 3 hours shopping for a bra? We want to give you that time back for the things that matter in life, and provide the most convenient online bra shopping experience. No stores, no measuring tape, no condescending sales associates. Just pick the bras you want to try for free, and they’re delivered to you at home, where you can try them on in your own time (whether that be in between nap & feeding times, work, etc).

We built this brand with one goal in mind – to help as many women and girls as we possibly can through our factory, supply chain, product, service, and donation. Education is so important for children, but can be difficult to access. We’ve partnered with Glamour magazine’s The Girl Project to help provide education to the 50 million young girls around the world who don’t have access to it.

We’ve read so many unbelievable stories on What The Fertility, and are inspired by all of you and this community. We’d like to give away a free bra to two amazing women of the WTF community to help save you some time, and make a difference while doing it. Head over to What The Fertility’s instagram to for a chance to get your ladies lifted! We will pick two entries on 10/6/17 and notify those two lucky ladies by email. Also, please head over to to learn more about our mission and join our Wilde Women community to continue supporting women and girls everywhere. Thank you for supporting us in supporting you and the future generation of leading ladies! #LiftUpTheLadies

PS. Need a laugh? Check out our video, where we show what it would look like if men shopped for boxers the way women shop for bras!

Babe In My Belly, Blogs

The Stork Brings A Stark: First Trimester

September 27, 2017

I am beyond grateful to be pregnant. I thank God everyday for this tiny life growing inside me. However, pregnancy isn’t all strong finger nails, thick hair and glowing skin. I am documenting the ups, the downs and the “glow” (guys, it’s sweat),  through my 40 weeks of pregnancy.

I found out I was pregnant at 3 weeks 4 days and it started out on the highest high. We had a few obstacles to get around while trying  to get pregnant (endometriosis, PCOS and crazy wild hormones). Needless to say, we were both on cloud nine and in complete shock that not only was I pregnant, but without medical intervention. The only symptom I had at that point was sore boobs and around four weeks  I cramping started. I knew cramping was a normal symptom of pregnancy but I was on edge for the rest of the first trimester. I took it very easy, got lots of rest and walked on eggshells. In retrospect it was silly and I totally could have continued my normal activities but I needed to do what I needed to do to keep my nerves at bay and stay sane-ish.

5 weeks 3 days. This day will forever be ingrained in my memory. This is the day morning sickness started. While it was a great reminder our babe was healthy and growing like a weed, why can’t your body just send you a note to remind you? Or maybe shrink your thighs? Mother Nature is funny like that. My sweet reminder lasted the remainder of my first and well into my second trimester. I am convinced a man named it because how many women are just sick the morning? I was sick morning, noon, night and would even be woken up by it from time to time. Luckily I was clued into the Unisom/B6 trick pretty early which helped take the edge off.  And shout out to new BFF simple carbohydrates, I gained the appropriate amount of weight while being so sick, thanks girl.
Our first doctors appointment was at 8 weeks 5 days and I was a nervous wreck. I could finally take the biggest sigh of relief after seeing our little tiny miracle on the screen, flickering heart, kicking legs and all. The feeling was indescribable and I wanted to ask if I could take the machine home with us. Everything checked out perfect and we decided we could finally tell our parents. My dad’s birthday was the same week as our appointment and we decided  this was the perfect time to tell them. We invited my them over for a drink (water for moi!) before heading out to dinner. We handed my dad his gift and inside the big box was a bottle of wine with a baby carriage and “January 2018” written on the label and next to it was a framed picture from our ultrasound.  Neither of them could figure out what it was and at one point my mom said, “oh it’s a picture of an owl!” After what felt like 3 hours they put it together and burst into tears and laughter so excited for their first grandchild. An owl though?

Sometimes I have to take a second and laugh. The way I pictured pregnancy, what I thought I would do, what I would look like, how I would feel, versus reality is night and day. In my imagination, I assumed I was glowing. My skin had never been better, my hair had never been thicker, nails were strong as steel. I snacked on carrots and celery and continued to workout everyday because #strongpelvicfloor. The reality is, this isn’t my reality. I swear I blew up the day I found out I was pregnant. The bloat, the bloat is so real. But also the rest of my body and as much as I want to blame it on bloat, its not. Imagine if Pamela Anderson and Dolly Parton had a daughter…hi, my name is Birkley. I had a client tell me recently, “Wow, that is going to be a well fed baby!” My skin has never been worse. Pre-pregnancy, I very rarely had a blemish and there hasn’t been a day since I found out I was pregnant that I have been blemish free. Also- what are veggies? I had such a terrible time with nausea that if something sounded good, I ate it. Nothing specific or in particular other than if it was a carb, I was eating it. I keep telling myself all of this means I am going to have a dreamboat of a newborn, right?

Probably my favorite memory of the first trimester was getting the results from the genetic testing and an added bonus, finding out the gender. My doctor went over the different type of tests that were available and we decided to go with Panorama (read about it here). At nine weeks a mobile phlebotomist (yup, as amazing as it sounds) came to my house, took a few viles of my blood and was on her way. About a week and a half later we had the results and our sweet babe was absolutely perfect and… a BOY. I was in shock. It’s all a blur but I might have called the medical assistant a liar since I was positive it was a girl. She was “stealing my beauty” to put it nicely, I was sick as a dog, The Ramzi Theory said girl, the Chinese calendar said girl and I could go on and on and on. All of the gender predictors pointed to girl. Just as memorable, this was also the week my bank account lost a lot of zeros and I started shopping. There are days I still have to pinch myself, I can’t believe I’m pregnant with a healthy baby boy.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Hope In Waiting

September 26, 2017

Written by Danielle Sedler, Guest Blogger

We’ve been waiting…and trying…and waiting some more. We are coming up on 5 years of trying to get pregnant. Three surgeries, 4 rounds of fertility drug assistance, and 2 rounds of IVF. We’re still waiting.
Throughout these infertile years, the only thing that has helped me through, is hope.
Hope in God to fulfill my yearning to be a mother.
Hope in God to heal my endometriosis.
Hope in God to fill my womb with a miracle baby.
I was pretty ashamed at first, to open up about the fact that we were struggling to conceive. But the moment I shared our struggle, it was so freeing and people have rallied around us in prayer. So many people have shared their own hope stories. And have held our arms up when we just haven’t had the strength.

My husband and I have been together since I was 15 and he was 17. When we first started dating, I had a large cyst on my ovary that had to be removed surgically. That was the beginning of this journey and I didn’t even know it. After we were married in 2010, we waited almost 3 years to start trying to conceive as we were both finishing college.
In April, we had our FET and transferred genetically perfect boy and girl embryos. My heart was guarded this time as our first one failed, hope was my driving force. A week later we got the call that I was pregnant. Every ounce of my body let out the biggest sigh of relief and excitement. This was it, we were finally going to be parents. I had terrible headaches at 1:00 pm every day, sore boobs, exhaustion like I never knew existed…but I loved every single second of it. And that pregnancy glow thing is real y’all, I totally had it.
Two weeks later we went in for our second HCG test to make sure my levels were rising. Sadly, my doctor got on the phone and told me he was sorry that my levels had dropped drastically and I was going to miscarry. I was numb and angry. I begged God to save our babies. I could not accept the news and told my doctor I was staying on my medications and I wanted to come in for an ultrasound to confirm there were no heartbeats. We went in and there was nothing. It is what science calls a Chemical Pregnancy, which I hate the term. I stopped my medications and 5 days later I miscarried.
The hole in my heart from our first failed IVF, just got larger. My dream happened, and then was all of a sudden gone. Why? How? I needed an answer. And this is where I will tell anyone going through fertility treatments, be your own advocate.
Don’t settle for having the same medication and IVF protocol as the gal next to you. Don’t settle with the “I’m sorry, let me know when you are ready to do the next embryo transfer”. Tell the doctor what you want and do your research.
We are going into this next embryo transfer taking charge of our journey and making sure certain tests are done. I’ve asked my doctor to be aggressive. I researched tests that should be done after recurring failed IVF’s and/or miscarriages. I recently had my natural killer cells tested to make sure I did not carry cells that would attack a pregnancy. Thankful that came back negative. Soon I will be having a thrombophilia panel done to make sure I do not have a blood clotting disorder. And after our next embryo transfer, I will have my progesterone levels monitored VERY closely to make sure they do not drop. We learned that progesterone levels are not checked with HCG levels at our fertility clinic.
Be your own advocate. Take charge of your fertility and what you want. Work alongside your doctor to ensure he isn’t missing something. It is a team effort and it is your money and your family you want to create. Even if all of the tests come back negative and all of my levels are normal, it is making this journey a little clearer knowing I am doing everything I can. It would be terrible to always have the “what if” factor alongside this already emotional roller coaster called infertility.
We’ve also started the process of becoming certified foster parents, in hopes of adopting through the foster system! More on that later.
So we continue to hope. Hope in carrying a biological child. Hope that God may already have a child out there for us through the foster system. Hope.
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” – Hebrews 11:1

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Think Before You Clean

September 20, 2017


When I was trying to get pregnant, my body was a TEMPLE. I didn’t drink, ate all of my veggies, got my 8 hours of sleep and didn’t clean the house. Just kidding. Kinda. Researchers have found a link between organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs because that’s a mouthful) and a decreased success rate in IVF patients. Unfortunately PFRs are’t just found in cleaning products. Check out this article and learn more about what exactly PFRs are and how to avoid them other than just not cleaning your toilet. Photo:

And check this out if you’re interested in information about how to clean up your cleaning products (who knew baking soda wore so many hats?).

Babe In My Heart, Blogs, Uncategorized

Hedgehog Healing

September 19, 2017

Written by Nicola Salmon, guest blogger
As I was sat across from my doctor the most unexpected words came out of her mouth, “You’ll never be able to have children.” At 16, I just thought that my irregular periods were down to growing up but after three years and several different investigations, I was given the diagnosis of PCOS (a metabolic and hormonal disorder), given the contraceptive pill and sent on my way.

It’s funny where life takes you, after suffering from PTSD later in life, I had acupuncture and it turned my life. I decided to study acupuncture as it intrigued me so much and as I was studying I learnt about lots of different ways I could look after my body. Not just with medicine, but with food, movement and other natural remedies. Throughout that journey I made tiny shifts and tweaks to my lifestyle, which over time improved my health and menstrual cycles.

My 3 lifestyle tweaks

I switched away from drinking tap water after I found out that it contains small amounts of oestrogen. With my hormones as imbalanced as they were, I decided to help it out by trying to reduce external sources.

This also led me to choosing organic grass fed meat and dairy when I could afford it as cheap cattle and other animals are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones which again affect hormones in our bodies.

The third biggest shift I made was reintroducing fat in my diet. I was absolutely shocked to discover that fats are the building blocks of hormones. Being on a low fat diet since I was about 13, it was no wonder that my body struggled to create the right amounts of each hormone. Healthy fats such as dairy, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado and nuts are such a great was to eat healthy and tasty food.

My story has a happy ending.

We had no troubles conceiving our 2 boys despite my constant worry and fear that having children would be so difficult for us.

In the end it was those tiny tweaks and shifts that helped my body heal. It wasn’t a complete diet overhaul. I didn’t suddenly start running marathons.

The problem is that these tweaks won’t work for everyone. We all have unique bodies, environments, histories and mindsets which means that you need to find your own tweaks to your optimal health. Sounds really hard right?

I promise it is really simple. All you have to do is listen.

Your body has all the information. Every sign and symptom is a sign post to tell you where to look. You can start right away by grabbing a pen and paper. Write down:

  • your sleep (when, how much, what was the quality)
  •  your food and drink (no calories counting! What you ate, when you ate and how you feel)
  • your energy throughout the day
  • your mood throughout the day
  • your movement throughout the day
  • where you are in your cycle right now
  • anything else your body is telling you (aches, pains, dizziness, dry skin etc)

Then the fun begins. Over time you’ll start to notice patterns. You’ll notice how your sleep affects your mood, or if you have a coffee after 3 you’re wired til midnight. Maybe you’ll notice that you get bloated 3 hours after eating bread or that when you don’t drink enough water your eyes get sore.

Really get curious about how your body works and you’ll be amazed by what you find. Then you can experiment. Start trying to do things a little different and notice how your body responds.

If you want a quick guide to get started with fertility journaling, you can download my free 7 day nurture fertility journal here.

Babe In My Belly, Blogs

The Stork Brings A Stark: The Test

September 14, 2017

I would love to start this out by saying the month I found out I was pregnant was different and I “just knew,” but the reality is I “just knew” every month. One month we were on vacation in Nashville and I was so positive I was pregnant, I made my husband take a picture of my (nonexistent) bump infront of the Nashville skyline. I also ate for two that trip (my jeans haven’t fit the same since) and I didn’t drink, because well, baby. Another month I had a meltdown because my (false) due date was the week of my best friend’s wedding and obviously I couldn’t travel across country 40 weeks pregnant.

I would take pregnancy tests in the afternoon because if they were negative I would make myself feel better by saying, “maybe it’s just because it wasn’t first thing in the morning pee,” and it gave me another 12 hours to hope that I was actually pregnant. I had this mind trick down pat. So, on a rainy Monday afternoon in April, I did just that. I stopped and got lunch (a salad with goat cheese), ran home and before I took a bite of my salad I took a test. I swore I saw a line. But I could always find a line if I wanted to, so I took another. Sure enough, another very faint line. 

Obviously I threw my salad in the trash as quick as you could say unpasteurized cheese (eye roll, first time mom, am I right?) and headed to the store to buy supplies to tell my husband. I had run so many scenarios through my head, how I would tell him, where I would tell him, what his reaction would be. I got pink and blue balloons to spell DAD and hid them in our guest bedroom. That night when we both got off work I called him into the bedroom where this was displayed. Josh is probably the smartest person I’ve ever met. His random knowlegede, vocabulary and mathematic skills blow me away daily. However, I will admit,  this day was not his sharpest. He stood in the doorway repeating “Dad…” and would look at me and say, “I don’t get it.” Bless his heart. After what felt like two years, he figured it out as we held eachother tight and cried tears of joy, excitement, fear and hope. And that is when we found out the stork was bringing a Stark.

What The Fertility

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