Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chiropractors and Infertility: Whodo Voodo or a Valid Alternative Option?

I've had a request to post how going to a chiropractor could help with infertility. Honestly, I had to take some time to figure that out myself. Let me preface that I am a chiropractic skeptic. I have never been to one before, until yesterday. I thought I'd also wait until I actually went to an appointment as well that way I'd have some first hand knowledge before making statements.

So according to the doctor (who I grilled with questions) the theory is that in our lives events can occur that cause our spine to compress against our nervous system. This compression can occur as early as during birth when our little bodies are twisted and pulled in an effort to bring us out of our mother's womb. Not only that but significant falls and impact activities, such as running, can affect our spine in different areas. The compression of the nervous system can prevent or muddle the messages that our brain sends to our organs to perform their regular functions. Conversely our organs send messages back to our brain and if the route is blocked then the brain does not get or only gets part of the message. So the theory is that our bodies could be telling us things about our organs or our hormones but these roadblocks are affecting the right messages from getting through; it's like one bad game of telephone that goes horribly wrong.

In my particular case I have compression in two major areas: the first cervical vertebrae that my brain stem sits in and my sacrum which is the last set of vertebrae above my tailbone. Here is a photo of the spinal column so you can visualize what I'm referring to.

So the chiropractor believes that my cervical vertebrae was probably damaged at birth. He said that its twisted and tilted to the right. A main issue with this is that since it's the first vertebrae the main messages from my brain are being affected before they can reach the majority of my body. From the photo you can also see that the sacrum sits right at my pelvis area. It is tilted in the opposite direction of my cervical vertebrae. This type of problem is, in his words, a major contributor to infertility. The reason is that compression in this area can prevent messages from my reproductive organs from reaching my brain. So basically I'm not getting my brain's messages effectively to my body and whatever gets down to my reproductive organs may be muddled as well and vise versa. I'll see if I can post my spinal scan to show you where my issues are at but I'll warn you that just because it's full of pretty colors does not meant that is a good thing.

The thing that bothered me was that at our initial meeting Dr. Troy appeared, to me, to be cocky about the number of people he's helped get pregnant. But he never asked about MFI or my FSH, TSH nothing. I would think this would be important things to consider in addition to making our spines 'healthy.' Especially since some of these things are not fixed via the spine.

Now, that being said, I had my first appointment with his wife, Dr. Heather. (Yes, they are a husband/wife chiro team) I liked her better than Dr. Troy. She was much more realistic and her view was let's get you as healthy as possible and even if we cannot help you get pregnant before IVF this may help make IVF more successful. Now doesn't that seem more appropriate? So she helped me be more open to the process and tear down a few walls I had up. I was also absolutely terrified of the neck-cracking technique. But they don't do that here, instead use a spring loaded tool-thing-y they call an 'activator' (pictured below).

They assessed my spine and noted that my right leg was 1/2 inch higher than my left. Not that I'm lopsided but that something is causing my spine and muscles to compress and tighten. I'll go with that; I can confirm that when I run my right hip bothers me and I have additional pain down my sciatic nerve on the right side. Plus I did notice a change in my gait on the right side over the last few years. I will being going three times a week for two weeks, then two times a week for 4 weeks, and then one time a week for a total of about 5 months. I'm a little worried about feeling very sore with this schedule. After yesterday my neck hurts and my left shoulder hurts

As for our testing? If Aunt Flow comes on time I'll be doing my FSH on Monday. If she's late I'll have a major issue because I'm going out of town for another business trip and won't be anywhere near a lab. I have never wanted to see the old red hag so much in my whole life.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Detour: Taking the Scenic Route

Ok, so you all know I am currently on my first trip of many for work. Hammer is back at the homestead and happened to have his first Chiropractic appointment. While at this appointment, Dr. Troy, gave him the low down on our treatment plan.

According to Dr. Troy I will need about 8 weeks to 'correct' the issues in my spine and that the actual fertility benefits would not occur until after that point. Then from there I would have about 18 weeks of maintenance treatments.

So how does this effect our IVF plan? Well I had originally agreed to give chiropractics two months prior to beginning BCP for IVF. Those 8 weeks of 'corrections' takes up those two months I agreed to. So Hammer has asked for me to give it a bit more time. Here is where compromising comes into play (Good thing I just took a course in negotiations!):

1. We go ahead with the chiropractics treatment plan - it might be good to do regardless
2. Hammer has his SA with strict morphology
- if results are bad and require ICSI we proceed with IVF as planned
- if results are good we continue with Chiropractics pending...
3. I have my FSH tested
- If results are bad and my ovaries are poopy we proceed with IVF as planned
- If results are good we continue with Chiropractics.

So basically if one of us has bad results IVF is a go in April and we still continue getting Chiropractic treatments. If both of us have good results from our testing then we delay IVF to allow for 8 weeks of 'corrective' treatments and try naturally for three cycles after that. Of course if nothing happens then we go onto IVF. This would push the IVF time line from starting around April 23rd to starting around July 13th.

I feel like we came to a good compromise. We are basing it on results of testing and not just stopping the IVF train. However, I do worry that this will end up being like our 6 months of trying post surgery which was unsuccessful (obviously). Honestly, I'm not happy about this and I think my preconceived notion about chiropractors is not helping my attitude. Not only that, I thought that we on the right path and following God's leading. Now Hammer is feeling lead to do Chiropractics and I'm completely uneasy about the whole thing. Meanwhile I'm trying to reconcile this with where I feel/felt God was taking us. I suppose if this works I will be glad that it all happened naturally but what I'm really worried about is if it doesn't and we delayed IVF for nothing. I don't want another year to go by without being pregnant and facing 31 still infertile is something I would rather avoid.

On a good note - I spoke with a couple that we are good friends with about our consultation appointment with Dr. Troy and his asking us if we had been prayed over. The wife ended up calling me the next day because she felt like God was telling her to ask us if they could pray for us. I almost cried because I was so touched at her offer, they are such awesome friends. While we have been prayed over I'm certainly not going to turn down an offer and especially when it comes with a tugging from the Holy Spirit. So I'm also going to ask for prayer over my attitude and that God will give us guidance.

And, that I need a miracle...

Therefore I'm officially changing my blog name to something more positive and meaningful to me and this whole situation: Expect Miracles.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dr. Troy

So our Chiropractor appointment today was...interesting. Both Hammer and I had our appointment together. Apparently when the doctor came in and interviewed us for a couple of minutes he said that we were totally in sync. He was impressed that after going through almost three years of infertility that we still were so connected as a couple. That part was really cool and I know that God has totally used this trial to draw us closer together. So for a complete stranger to notice was pretty awesome. He also asked us if we were Christians and if we had been prayed over, wow. I totally didn't expect that but it was pretty cool too.

He did an analysis of Hammer's back which we both thought would be totally messed up from his years of drum line and a history of a bulging disk. Surprisingly he was in relatively good shape. In fact the doctor said that he really just needed a few adjustments (like two or three) and that would be it.

On the other hand, I, apparently, am a complete mess. Excellent. I have an issue with my top cervical vertebrae which he says is twisted and tilted. And I also have an issue with my sacral vertebrae which is also tilted, just in the opposite direction. He was very confident that even if his adjustments could not help us get pregnant before IVF it would prepare us for a successful IVF cycle. He even teased that Troy was a very good name if we had not already picked our favorites. I have been promised much over the last few years so you can believe that I'm going to be skeptical until I see two lines, and I'm not talking about on a OPK.

He did say that as he does adjustment on my lower sacral vertebrae that I may have dreams of unhappy events from my past. This is the part where the Whodo-voodoo doctor warning light came on. But then he said that I had to stop drinking diet co.ke even the caffeine free kind. He would not say why, which bothers me a bit, but just that it was addictive. But I told Hammer that I would do this for him so I'm going all in.

I just find it odd that it always ends up being me with the undiagnosed health problems that causes me to be poked and prodded twice as much as Hammer. The guy doesn't exercise and only eats healthy because I make him and I'm the one with the health issues. Seriously? I'm feeling a, "It's so unfair" pity party coming on. Well I guess if I didn't exercise or eat right I'd be in even worse shape, right? Ugh.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spreading Grace 040-047

So I'm trying to catch up on my Spreading Grace and I DO have a lot to be thankful for this week. While I might not be able to list all 5 for each day I'll just put down the big ones that stick out.

1. Hammer's thumb being ok after a nasty run in with a broken glass - he was putting away the dishes, had a glass in either hand, dropped one and attempted to catch it using the other hand (with the glass still in it). When two glasses collide together = shattered glass everywhere. I was pulling shards of glass out of both of his hands and we debated going to the ER for stitches and instead opted for the super glue technique.
2. A big union meeting about the air quality issues - hopefully we'll get this resolved but for now they've been too scared to work on my floor (and we haven't felt sick all week, hmmm....)
3. Meeting friends again for knitting at Chocolate Cafe - oh yes, it is as good as it sounds
4. A day away from work at a Skills Building Conference - boring but better than the office
5. O'ing on Tuesday - right on schedule!
6. Our dog groomer - seriously, she comes to our house and grooms the dog in a trailer. He does so much better knowing he's just outside of our home. And he looks so cute!
7. Our IVF appointment - (see previous post)
8. Passing out early on Friday - I apparently needed sleep as I crashed at ~8:30 pm and didn't wake up until 7:30 am the next day
9. My cute card that Hammer made even though his thumb was still injured - we have a rule that we make gifts for each other on V-day. I made magnates with different photos of our doggie for him to use at work.
10. We went out to a movie, Taken - since we've been saving for infertility treatments we don't get out too often these days so this was much needed. And we did a matinee for only $3.50 a piece!
11. Our dinner out at our favorite Mexican restaurant - soo yummy!
12. Going out for ice cream after dinner and discovering that they had a V-day special - $1.00 cones; very generous cones too!
13. Dog sitting for my parents - their puppy is so cute and she is Moses' girlfriend so he kinda had a V-day weekend as well.
14. Those Hulu commercials - they crack me up, especially the part where the guy's brain is turning to mush and they do that awkward laughing exchange. It's so weird it's funny.
15. Knowing that I have Monday off - whooo hooo!

Hammer and I have our Chiropractic appointment on Monday as well so I'll try to update on how that goes. Also I have been thinking about changing my blog name. I don't really like the name I picked that much but just could not think of anything creative at the time. Here are some thoughts but feel free to suggest any names if you'd like.

Possible new names:
1. Expect Miracles (then if we get our BFP I can change it to 'expecting a miracle' plus I've made that my theme/mantra for this year)
2. Baby Steps
3. Praying for our Positive

Any suggestions?

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Well I apparently fell off the blogosphere but with good reason. It's crazy busy at work and I have to say it's starting off worse that what I thought it was going to be during the months of Feb-May, and the travel hasn't even started yet! I will survive this, of course, but taking care of myself becomes more and more essential.

My laptop is in the shop so that explains my slack with Spreading Grace and I'll try to catch myself back up here shortly. I've managed to run off with Hammer's work laptop that he brought home this weekend while his back was turned to be able to do some quick catching up on all your blogs as well as drop a post here too.

Reason, we had our IVF consult this Thursday! So much to post about it. First, I am sooooo thankful for our practice. Just sitting in the office and hearing their policies and treatment preferences and accommodations proves that we are in the right place. Hammer and I already have IVF preferences that if not accommodated for will make our break our even doing IVF. We are not comfortable fertilizing tons of eggs and then freezing them because we don't want to end up in the dilemma of making a decision on what to do with them. For us, we could not destroy them or give them away - it would be like giving up your child for adoption. And we've waited so long just to have our own.

So it was really comforting for me to know that they feel similarly about certain things. First, they prefer to do natural fertilization and only do ICSI if they absolutely have to. They only transfer a maximum of three embryos. period. They feel the risk to the babies and mother beyond three embabies is too great. I have to agree having worked with those babies. They also prefer to keep the numbers low because my doctor does not believe in selective reduction. Other docs at the practise have performed the procedure but he does not. When he stated that they can take a few embryos at the two cell stage and freeze them as back up we didn't feel comfortable knowing that there could be additional embabies waiting in addition to possible 3day or 5day embabies. We asked if they could just freeze 'extra' eggs that were unfertilized rather than risk being put in that situation. He said that was not a problem. You see I feel that my eggs sitting in a freezer that we don't end up using as being equivalent to a cycle that goes by without getting pregnant but actual embabies awaiting a decision on their fate, not so much. Those are just a few of the 'major points' of IVF that we needed to feel comfortable with before moving on.

As far as when we would start...well it appears that we will actually have three natural cycles before even beginning protocol for IVF (including this one). So in between Hammer has asked that we try going to a Chiropractor because a guy he knows and respects did it and he and his wife got pregnant. (I know, I know...it breaks my "I'm not your friend's sister's cousin's niece who tried x and got pregnant" rule but I love this man and this is the only thing he's asked me to try on our TTC journey - and it's probably the one thing I haven't tried so at least I can say I did try EVERYTHING, right?) That would put starting BCP around the third or fourth week in April for an estimated transfer in late May/early June. We have the standard blood work that will need to be done in the meantime.

Hammer: another SA with strict morphology - to see if we would need ICSI, freezing a back up sperm sample (apparently they do this for every cycle i.e. not optional), H.IV, He.p B, H.ep C, RP.R

Mrs Hammer: FSH, TSH, H.IV, Prolactin, H.ep B, Ru.bel.la, H.ep C, and RP.R

They also require us to see a fertility counselor which, while I don't think we need, is actually not a bad thing. It does weed out the crazies and the practice will delay or refuse a couple treatment that the counselor deems as not ready/appropriate.

I think knowing the results of the SA and FSH will be very interesting but hopefully normal, of any of the tests these are the ones that scare me a bit. So [deep breath] the count down begins!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Spreading Grace 039

1. Getting to sleep in on both Sat and Sun because we do evening church service - why don't more churches offer this? It's so awesome
2. SUN - which melts all the ice so hopefully I can safely walk into work next week
3. Simpson's second season DVD - better than watching Me.et the Pres.s
4. Looking forward to valentine's weekend - check out Bakerella for fun ideas!
5. Indian food - oh so yum

UPDATE: not so thrilled with SUN anymore because all the melting ice overwhelmed our sump pump and now our basement is flooding.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Spreading Grace 038

1. Sleeping in - awesome
2. Getting a lot done on my tastebook.com project - I'm converting all my cooking magazines into an actual cookbook so that I can recycle all the mags and only keep the recipes I use.
3. Christmas in February - also known as my parents finally getting the presents sent from my grandparents to Hammer and I, so fun.
4. Raisin' Cane's Chicken Tenders - now and ex-virg.in R.C's and totally addicted to the sauce...
5. Enjoying Toy Story on our pla.sma tv - such a cute movie

Friday, February 6, 2009

Next steps

n our fertility front I got our IVF consult appointment set up for next Thursday (Feb 12) so we'll be getting info on our IVF plan, tests etc. I'm excited to finally get things started even though there will be the delay with all my travels but there is nothing I can do about that part so I'm not going to let that bother me.

Actually being out of the office might be the best thing to happen right now. I apparently do not work in the healthiest building, which is quite ironic because it's the state health department. We have heating issues, cooling issues, cockroaches the size of my Dove soap bars (seriously I've not only seen them, I've killed them), asbestos etc. The list goes on and it's not pretty.

So they had a town hall meeting about the building renovations that have been going on for the last year. They have been mostly renovating the connecting building. While it's not my specific building they are connected by walkways. My cube is right next to the walkway door and I can hear and smell all the construction going on. So after I (and two other coworkers) tested positive for carbon monoxide (CO) and our building came back CO free, I started to get suspicious. We began talking about these strange symptoms we've all been having every afternoon - itchy eyes, cloudy head, dizziness, headaches. Many people have developed asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis. I remember a couple of months ago thinking that it was strange for me to feel so yucky at work but then perk up an hour or two after I went home - apparently where the air was cleaner. And I was not the only one. So I talked with my mom, who is an RN, about my test results and she said that the tests only look to see if something is preventing oxygen from binding to my red blood cells and not specifically for CO. So basically it could be any dangerous gas that is doing this. At the town hall meeting they told us that when they did air quality test during welding that the levels were in the unsafe zone.

Well guess what was going on right behind the walkway door near my cube - yep, welding. I remember smelling welding fumes and on those days I had MAJOR headaches, cloudy mind and dizziness. But we are like frogs in a pot of slowly heating water, oblivious to the chemical toxins that have been increasing all around us. These symptoms are subtle but signs of major danger and they mostly have left us thinking it was just due to stress or fatigue - we never thought of oxygen loss from dangerous chemicals, till now. The constructions foremen kept telling us at the meeting that the construction was isolated from the working staff but today I took pictures of the gaps between the floor and door and around the door frame etc. I can feel air blowing through the cracks and I could SEE the construction workers on the other side. Gases can certainly get through. Armed with incriminating photos and test results they had nothing to say but confirm that something was getting through and making us sick. I spent an hour with our union person providing all my evidence and even pulled up information on symptoms related to welding fume inhalation, which is VERY scary. Guess what one of the side effects are? Delayed conception and early miscarriage in women. Great.

I have to think of this as being a good thing that we are holding them accountable to getting the fumes out of our area so that when I do IVF I won't be exposed to that stuff. But just to be safe I'm going to be taking a lot of time off around then to get any of that stuff out of my system.

Spreading Grace 037

1. An unexpected union meeting about our building's construction and it's possible link to my elevated CO levels - and the plot thickens....
2. Finishing two more projects at work!!! - such a good way to end a week
3. Catching up on all your blogs - I have been MIA from blog reading so tonight has been fun
4. A call from my daddy just to say hi and that he loves me - aaawwweeeee
5. TGIF! - I am sleeping in tomorrow, oh yeah.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Spreading Grace 036

1. My Coworker for calling our natural gas company at work and having them come out - strangely though they found no CO in our building, hmm...
2. The training I conducted today went really well
3. Looking cute in my new cloths from Old Navy
4. A call from my little bro
5. Snuggling up to Hammer while watching the office

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Food for Thought

My brother sent me a link to this article today and it makes you wonder about what we are doing differently these days that may have an affect on fertility. Besides just waiting longer to start a family there has to be other things affecting so many couples. Here is an excerpt of the article:

Household Chemicals May Be Linked to Infertility

"Researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health have found the first evidence that perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs — chemicals that are widely used in everyday items such as food packaging, pesticides, clothing, upholstery, carpets and personal care products — may be associated with infertility in women.

Published online in Human Reproduction, Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, the study found that women who had higher levels of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in their blood took longer to become pregnant than women with lower levels....

...The researchers divided the women's levels of PFOS/PFOA into four quartiles and found that, compared with women with the lowest levels of exposure, the likelihood of infertility increased by 70 to 134 percent for women in the higher three quartiles of PFOS exposure and by 60 to 154 percent for women in the higher three quartiles of PFOA exposure...

...In addition to being found in household goods, PFCs, the class of chemicals to which PFOS and PFOA belong, are used in manufacturing processes involving industrial surfactants and emulsifiers. They persist in the environment and in the body for decades."

I looked up where PFC's are found in and it's just scary because it's everything from teflon pans, stainmaster carpet, household cleaners, food packaging, shampoo, shoes and clothing. But to make matters worse it's ended up in our water supply too. And it take 8-9 years to get it out of our system but since we are likely exposed to it all of the time we may never get rid of it at all. I did find a source on how to limit exposure:

  • avoid non-stick pans
  • avoid anything "stain proof" or "waterproof"
  • minimize packaged food and greasy fast food containers because they have a coating on them to prevent 'sticking.'
  • check your makeup and body care products for anything with the phrase 'fluoro' or 'perfluoro'

Spreading Grace 035

1. Hump Day!
2. Snow bypassing my city - although it dropped almost 8 inches on my parents
3. A canceled meeting - I have had too many meetings and not enough time to get my actual work done
4. Chocolate pudding with mini mint kisses - yum!
5. First night of my woman's bible study - which has been canceled because of the weather two times already

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Spreading Grace 34

1. The Masimo rep who discovered that I have been exposed to carbon monoxide - he did an LED pulse-ox test and saw my CO level was 6 and my coworkers were elevated as well. It appears we have a CO leak in our building. Nice...next stop, union.
2. Finally having time to catch up on the little things at work
3. Time for an after work run
4. Being able to work of my clomid 'puffiness'
5. Getting my kitchen cleaned up - ahh....it just feels better

Monday, February 2, 2009

Spreading Grace 33

1. That my response to work stress is to laugh because there is nothing else I can do about it
2. A coworker to laugh with
3. Getting a huge project done and off my desk, for now
4. A surprise night in to catch up on some much needed post-super bowl sleep - plans got cancelled
5. Leftover white chicken chili - yummy (it won 3rd place in the chili cook-off)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Spreading Grace 032

1. Old Navy seasonal clearance sales - I totally splurged today
2. Leftover Chinese food from Friday's Girls night out - yummy!
3. Cheese-its, need I say more? I've been craving them for two weeks.
4. Superbowl/Birthday/Chili-Cook-off Party tonight!
5. A great phrase from our worship leader today, "We always want to tell God how big our problems are but we should be telling our problems how big our God is!" - So true!!!