Infertility Woes

I spent approximately 15 years of my life trying to create my family. As a good friend notes, “It took more than just dinner and a movie!”

I tried through a variety of methods including the old fashioned way, artificial insemination with Clomid and donor sperm, domestic adoption, international adoption and surrogacy using donor sperm and donor egg. I was fortunate enough to stop my journey there which resulted in two lovely baby boys.

Despite my protracted process, I never went through years of depression, sorrow or regret about my process. I don’t know what enabled me to pursue my children passionately, yet escape sorrow about not yet having them in tow. Interestingly, I did not even tell myself everything will work out in the end.

Early in my journey, I came in contact with several women 15-20 years my senior, who had little to no access to many of the baby making avenues available today. As a result, these women were unfortunately rendered childless. They were denied the baby of their dreams. Each of these women, who I met in shops and boutiques, cried on my shoulder as they told me their story, after I told them mine. I shuttered each time I heard such a story, because I was not through my journey and still didn’t know if I would end up like them, forever an auntie and never a mom.

Somewhere in the middle, I had the chance to participate in a group with women quite a bit my junior, who were frustrated and upset about not getting pregnant, when they wanted to be pregnant. I realized I didn’t really fit in this group because I was not feeling the amount of stress they were experiencing. I felt their distress was totally legitimate, yet still had no answer as to why or how I had been protected from sorrow and seemed to float somewhere else oblivious to this seemingly typical pain while pursuing my goal.

I did have some sense of wasting time and being out of sync with my peers, but it was never something that caused me to fall apart or end up curled up in a ball in my bed. All I can say now is, “Thank God I didn’t have to experience that part.” It would have made it so much harder to rally and move forward in my process.

Since my children have been born, I have become active in a Single Moms By Choice group on Facebook. Through this process, as well as, general discussions with women trying to conceive, I have become even more acutely aware of the strife that goes on when trying to conceive and coming up empty handed over and over again. Our group is highly responsive and champions each other, as well as helps in problem solving when needed. Our group’s focus is not only about getting pregnant and being pregnant and delivering babies, but also about helping each other once the babies have arrived.

The Single Moms By Choice that I’ve come in contact with are strong women who have decided that for one reason or another that it’s high time to move forward and create their families, without a man or a partner to share the journey with. Each one of us decided to have families without spouses or partners. We have all had a strong drive to mother that couldn’t be denied.

Many forces have come into play for those of us who have delayed conception while allowing other goals and dreams to come first. Some of us have not felt ready yet, or simply never found the right partner to embark on such a journey with. Delaying the process has been the outcome which, of course as the years pass by, reduces the chance of success occurring naturally, without some type of intervention. However, today as never before, there are so many more options available to help those who want to have a baby.

Once my children turned 5, I had frozen embryos to deal with. I found someone who was looking to expand her family after difficulty getting pregnant with her own DNA. She desperately wanted a sibling for her young son! Once all the legal documentation was in place, I donated my remaining frozen embryos to her. Despite adequate thawing, the transfer was not a success. The wished for babies would not be born.

Interestingly, my emotional response to donating my frozen embryos was nothing short of heart wrenching, despite the fact that I no longer had the resources nor wear withal to raise more children. Go figure? All I can say is emotions are funny!

It occurs to me now in retrospect that I saved up or postponed all of that angst until the bitter end, when I was giving up my last hold out for a fertile moment. I had two thriving boys, but no girl. Was my baby girl right there amongst those frozen embryos? I come from a larger family with six kids. What held me back from reaching for that last child? I can tell you in one word! Practicality! I already had my boys and they were enough. I was lucky to have two darling ones that call me Mommy. I really didn’t need to upset the apple cart. I didn’t need to spread myself thin. That said, I can tell you with certainty that it did hurt!

What I know is that facing fertility woes on your own is tough. Weathering the storm can be made easier by having someone in your court who cares about you and is ready to hear about all the nuances of the process as you set sail on your journey.

If you are feeling like you’d like to have a fertility coach at your side, reach out to me at Contact Lisa and we can schedule some time together by phone.

All my best,

Lisa

Lisa J Lafave, PHD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
The Fertility Coach at Coaching Rocks
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, OH

Leap Into Action!

Political Views of a Five Year Old

Giles: Mom I don’t want Donald Trump to be President.

Mom: Really dear?

Giles: Yeah, I think there should be a law that anyone with the first name Donald should not be allowed to become President.

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Giles was 5 years old when he said this.

Old School Bubble Gum

While chewing Eclipse Classic Bubble Gum for the first time in the car

Giles: Mom I really like this old school bubble gum!

Mom: Good dear!

Giles: I call things that are classic, old school.

Mom: That works dear.

All my best to you,

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
The Wellness Coach form Building Better Bodies Rocks
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Reset Diet to Detox Diet

All this time, I thought I was on the Detox Diet. Apparently, I was on the Reset Diet, which is far more restrictive, than the Detox Diet. Actually, I just learned that “Reset” is a new term, showing itself only in the last six weeks or so. There were always three different diets, with varying levels of restrictions from least restrictive, to more restrictive, to most restrictive. People were placed on one over the other depending on what types, and severity of medical problems they had.

Boy, oh boy am I ever thrilled! No one gave me an overview of the diet. No one explained that while you are on the diet, foods would be re-introduced back into the diet. So what does this mean for me practically? Over the course of the next few weeks, I will re-introduce apples, mangos, pineapple, and fruit and vegetable juices. This goes great with the additions that were made last week, such as steel cut oats, rolled oats, quinoa, brown rice, and wild rice.

After I have begun to recover from my knee replacement surgery, 6-12 weeks out or by mid April, I will be permitted to incorporate products like sour dough bread and some of the ancient grains like Teff, Amaranth, Spelt and Sorghum. Sounds like an interesting journey!

So it will be interesting to see how my body responds to the re-introduction of various food types. Given what we know about carbohydrate consumption causing fat to accumulate, it will be especially interesting to see, if I can lose weight on a regimen like this. I think I will lose weight, owing to keeping junk food out of my life, and concentrating on eating whole foods, without preservatives, sweetners, and other non-essential ingredients.

How about you? Are you ready to re-introduce any foods to your diet? Let me explain how you do it. Start out by not eating the food for 30 days or more. Next, consume no more than a half a cup of the food between meals. For many people this will be around 11:00 AM and then again around 3:00 PM. Then, document how you respond, over the course of the next 24 hours. Note feelings such as sluggish, gassy, bloated, diahhrea etc. Then skip a day, and repeat on day 3, noticing symptoms through day 4. If the food does not cause too many problems it can be back in the diet. If you have cramping and major discomfort caused by any of the symptoms you should stop consuming that food and try the procedure again in 30 days. Do not try to introduce more than one food in any 4 day period.

Best of luck!

Lisa

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
The Wellness Coach form Building Better Bodies Rocks
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Leap Into Action!

How We Got Fat and How We Can Reverse the Tide

Everyone and their brother is obese in the United States. But it seems just 50 some years ago, this was not the case! Even 30 years ago, most of us were not obese. If you are old enough think back to when you were young and remember how people looked. Few people were fat. Most were average size and some were thin. How did we all get so fat, in such a short period of time?

What accounts for this massive weight gain? Yeah, yeah, we all know the prosperity theory, that as a community prospers, they have more dispensable income, and can spend more on food. But has that really been the cause of our epidemic of obesity? Is it the times in which folks play computer games and watch TV, drive, as opposed to walk? Is our frank laziness the cause of this epidemic? It’s really crazy to think that we have caused so much destruction in ourselves, due to refusing to get out there and move. I know, meals in restaraunts have gotten larger and more accessible, but is this the real culprit?

According to Gary Taubes, the calories in greater than calories out theory of obesity is untrue and meaningless. He posits another theory for how we got fat. Taubes contends, eating more calories did not cause the problem, and eating less calories, or eating a restricted number of calories will not correct the problem of being overweight. Similarly, exercising less did not bring obesity on, and exercising more, or expending more calories will not result in weight loss.

Instead researchers have suggested that we overeat, because we have excess fat! Some suggest our fat stomachs are hungry and must be fed! Taubes points out that Rosalyn Yalow explained that insulin controls fat metabolism. Anything that causes fatty acids to enter the fat cells causes us to get fatter, and anything that causes fatty acids to leave fat cells causes us to get thinner. Insulin reduction in the system causes fatty acids to leave the fat cells. Thus insulin reduction leads to leaner bodies.

Taubes points out researchers know that insulin is released when carbohydrates are consumed. Thus carbohydrate consumption causes fatty acids to enter the fat cells, as well as the overall accumulation of fat. Taubes contends excessive carbohydrate consumption is the cause of the obesity epidemic.

Taubes suggests not all carbohydrates are created equate. Foods like rice, bread, and pasta, as well as, sugar are the ones that cause insulin to be secreted and fat to accumulate. This is why Paleo type diets, like Atkin’s diet, are so effective in creating weight loss. Paleo diets are heavy in animal protein, fruits, vegetables and seeds and nuts, yet restrict dairy and cereal grain consumption. These diets limit carbohydrate consumption and cause weight loss.

Taubes suggests further that when we began to see fat, as the cause of weight gain, we changed the food pyramid and recommended that 6-11 servings of starchy foods should be consumed daily. People who followed this schema, subsequently became fat. Taubes suggests that restricting carbohydrates is the solution to obesity. Taubes points out that we were well aware of this fine fact back in the fifties and sixties, but got led astray.

We used to cook our food ourselves, and not consume all of this prepackaged, chemicalized food. By doing so, we had much more control over what we put in our bodies. We all need to get back to those pots and pans out, and stop relying on fast food. We really did become a fast food nation, in the last 50 years, and it hasn’t been good for us.

So with this knowledge, about restricting carbohydrates leading to weight loss, front and center, the question remains, what are you going to do about it? If you are fighting the battle of the bulge, can you devote yourself to restricting carbohydrates, and possibly giving up the concept of restricting fat? After all, research shows that fat accumulation is not caused by fat consumption, but by consumption of excessive amounts of carbohydrates.

Restricting carbohydrate intake is the key to reducing obesity. Are you up to the challenge? Are you interested in reducing consumption of the “bad” carbohydrates that cause the release of insulin, and thereby make you fat? If the answer is yes, you are really doing yourself a favor! Not only will you look and feel better, but you will avoid a great deal of suffering, owing to diseases you will not have to manage.

Remember you can eat carbohydrates found in most fruits, and vegetables. You have to avoids sweets, and starchy vegetables, as well as, breads, cereal, rice, and pasta. Can you forgo pasta with marinara sauce, and replace this with spaghetti squash and marinara sauce? Can you eat more salads, with dressing that has no sugar?

Sugar will cause insulin to release, and fat to accumulate. By avoiding sugar, you can avoid fat accumulation. Research demonstrates that after avoiding sugar for several days, your body stops craving it, if you just stay away from it, in the same manner in which a heroin addict must stay away from heroin, and other drugs, to get clean. Handling this sugar addiction is hardest at first, and gets easier overtime. Initially it’s a bear!

We know that a whole host of illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis and Alzheimer’s are affiliated with being obese. By avoiding obesity, you can avoid many illnesses. We now know that excessive carbohydrate consumption causes obesity and disease. How are you going to use this information in your wellness plan? Write down three things you can start doing today that will head you on a path to wellness!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
The Wellness Coach from Building Better Bodies Rocks
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little a Brick in University Heights Ohio

Leap Into Action!

Do You Eat To Nourish Yourself or Is It More Complicated?

So just exactly what is it that you are seeking as you eat that next bowl of pasta, that next ice cream sundae, that next peanut bar, that next piece of cheesecake? Do you really think you will get that fulfillment, for lack of a better word, out of something you put in your mouth? The sad fact is you most likely won’t. Other, non-eating, behaviors are the ones that will scratch that itch.

Is it just a bad habit, this eating and seeking something beyond nourishment that we’ve learned from this rush rush society, in which no one seems to have any time to connect?

So often we seem to eat for entertainment, or enjoyment, or even boredom. We eat, even stuff ourselves, when we aren’t truly hungry, but looking, searching for something to calm that longing. Maybe it’s time to investigate that longing, or desire. What is lacking in your life and what are you filling with food that could be more appropriately filled by something else? Do you have any sense of that? Does that speak to you, or simply fall on deaf ears? For some of you, nothing is lacking and you are not eating for emotional reasons. For others, you are, and are not even in tune with it yet. Still others, and you know who you are, you’ve been eating for emotional reasons for years, with full knowledge of this behavior.

Your boyfriend breaks up with you, and you hit the grocery store, and by three kinds of ice cream, 3 kinds of cookies and comfort food for an army. You then go home, with the concrete plan to assuage your feelings of abandonment by eating cookies and ice cream. Or perhaps you got passed over at your job, and you know the person who got promoted is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Again, you seek solace in food. Likewise, you are fighting with a sibling, or a good friend, and can’t even figure out how the damn thing started. Food is your friend, waiting to provide comfort, as long as you seek it. The house you really wanted to buy after four years of searching got purchased right out from underneath you. Food is there. You’re pregnant after five years of trying. A celebration with your spouse at your favorite restaraunt sounds perfect. You are sales person of the year in your division, and a trip to the Bahamas with your spouse is your reward, complete with reservations at a five star hotel, with fine dining included.

Food is used to provide comfort when you are sad, anxious, distressed, or angry. Food is something you can control in a way you can’t control other life events. But it’s complicated, because it’s also used to celebrate in joyous occasions. Food is used in every culture, on the planet, as part of our rituals. Food plays a role in engagement parties, weddings, graduations, baby showers, sweet sixteen parties, birthday parties, retirement parties, Christmas parties, Hannukah parties, and Thanksgiving. The list goes on! We never cease to find reasons to celebrate. Eating occasions are everywhere!

So what type of emotional reasons do you eat for? Try to be specific. Can you remember a specific time when you ate, or overate, or consumed foods you wouldn’t have, had you not felt overwrought with emotion? What emotions seem to be triggers for you? Are there several, or just two, or three. Again, the more specific you can be about it, the better handle you’ll have on it, and the more likely you’ll be to be able to watch out for those behaviors to rear their ugly heads, under particular circumstances.

This investigative work could really help you out. You are changing your eating regimen, and when life hands you something you really have to grapple with, you need to know exactly where your Achilles’ heel is. If you know your weakness, you can set a plan in place to handle any obstacle, so you don’t get weigh laid from your new eating lifestyle. Preparation really helps perseverance!

For those of you still having trouble grasping this, let’s look at it from another vantage point. Do any emotions cause you to actually lose your appetite? We are all individual and different things affect us in different ways. For one person, the thought of a feared object, say spiders, or maybe flying, could cause them to first blanch, and then completely lose their appetite. For someone else, it could be some vulgar talk at the table. Just simply not for them. Their appetite is gone for the time being, and their meal spoiled. Given enough time, and the right circumstances, their appetite will resume, to be sure. For another person, illness or the change of season could bring on poor appetite. For me, the one sure fire way I will lose my appetite is when I first fall in love. Food just tastes how I imagine cardboard would taste. No flavor whatsoever and absolutely not of any interest to me! I literally have to get away from the person to eat, and sleep, so I won’t get sick! Go figure! But this is the flip side of eating for emotional reasons. It kind of conveys the picture in a sneaky way, for those who aren’t quite in tune with eating for emotional reasons.

If this has still all alluded you, please watch yourself, and your eating, with specific plans to notice what seems to precede episodes of overeating, or eating the wrong foods. Then specifically ask yourself, “Was I feeling sad?” Lonely? Distressed? Anxious? Angry? Bored? Fatigued? These questions will hopefully give you some insights, as to how you are using food, and what you hope to accomplish, by eating various foods. As you notice connections, please keep tabs in writing, so you can review it overtime.

Did you know that some people eat specific foods to put themselves in a specific state? They will eat pasta, or something heavy to calm down, and sugary foods to temporarily pep themselves up? Do you do this? Are you sure? Please watch your behavior, and record it over the course of the next month, to look for clues to ascertain whether you too use food in such a fashion.

Don’t forget that next forkful is unlikely to satisfy your deep seated desires. Working with a health coach may help you ferret out what would create more balance and less longing in your life. For the time being, I hope these clues will prove to be helpful to you, as you embark on your journey to solve what motivates your eating!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LCC
The Wellness Coach at Building Better Bodies Rocks
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Leap Into Action!

WHY Do You Want to Lose Weight?

So it’s the New Year, and you’ve decided to lose a few pounds. How are you going to do that? What exactly is your strategy? What has worked in the past? What has failed? Just exactly why did it fail? Can you re-double your efforts, and use that strategy again, or is it bound for trouble with a capital “T?” What else can you try?

Have you done any recent research on weight loss? As you likely know, nutrition is a fledgling science, with plenty of conflict regarding what’s the best way to go. If you find yourself feeling too confused to follow anything in particular, I recommend getting back to basics, and following three things you know in the bottom of your gut, that you should change, in order to eat in a manner that you believe would be consistent with healthier practices. Then follow those three guidelines, when grocery shopping, and as you prepare, and eat every meal.

How will this attempt be any different than all the rest? How are you going to stand out from the rest of the pack? I don’t mean to blow your mind, or burst your bubble, but only 5% of those attempting to change addictive behaviors, such as smoking, heroin usage, drinking, compulsive spending, gambling, over eating, or eating too much of the wrong stuff, fail. Sorry to say, but these are just the facts!

Are you ready to make a life long commitment to changing your lifestyle, or are you just bargaining for a little bit more time? If you are just prolonging the inevitable, the same problems will be staring you in the face next year, and you are likely to make the same resolution next year. All I can say to that is B-O-R-I-N-G. Don’t you want to make this year’s resolution a game changer?

What do you say? Is it time to make this problem vanish from your worry plate? If it is, then you are in for some hard work, and will have to make many long term changes. Most likely, one of the biggest changes will be about your attitude toward making these changes. Instead of focusing on feeling deprived, you will have to begin to ponder and think about what you will get in return. For each of us, it will a little bit different.

I guess it gets down to WHY you want to lose weight. What is really crucial to you? What’s in it for you? Generally, when you get in touch with your “WHY?” things get a little easier, and the tough tend to get going.

So let’s figure out your WHY! Do you want to look better? Are you into feeling better? Do you want to suffer with less disease? Live a bit longer? Get through more of your bucket list, before you move on to whatever after life exists in the cosmos? Do you want to move more, ’til the end of your days? Be less of a burden to others? Do you want to give back to the next generation? Do you want to spend more quality time with your loved ones? Do you want more fun, and less suffering? Are you trying to make a significant contribution to your field, before your time runs out? Do you want to run more? Ski more? Bike more? Fly fish more? Surf more? Explore more? Travel to the ends of the earth? What’s your thing?

You need to get in touch with your WHY, so that when you are in the thick of it, and temptation strikes, you can pull your WHY out of the back of your pocket, and look at it straight on. You’ll need to ask, “Is it worth it to give up this now, for that later?” Then you have a fighting chance at turning down the same old foods that got you in this mess in the first place!

Really and truly, if you know WHY you are doing this, you are more likely to be successful. So take some time right now to write down three of the top reasons you want to pursue this path. Then really think about the three options and rank order them in terms of importance. Write them out on a separate piece of paper, in the rank order, with the most important reason first. Now commit this reason to memory, and put the other paper, or document, somewhere safe, where you can refer to it, when necessary.

Without taking the time to really examine your WHY, failure is inevitable! So do your homework! It’s worth it, and so are you!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks,LLC
The Wellness Coach at Building Better Bodies Rocks.
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Leap Into Action!

Couldn’t Have Been Prouder of My Boys On Christmas 2015

As we approached the stairs, from the second floor, in my little brick, on Christmas morning in Cleveland, Ohio, the chatter my boys were engaging in would warm the heart of any twin parent, or parent of children close in age. Jarvie and Giles were explaining some things to me that were important for me to know, before we began opening our Christmas presents, which was going to happen momentarily!

Giles told me excitedly, “Mommy, we have decided that any gift, whether it says Jarvie, or Giles on it, is something we are going to share.

Jarvie added, “Mommy, it doesn’t matter what the package says on it. We can open any package, because we are going to share everything. So if it says Giles, I can still open it, and if it says Jarvie on it, Giles can still open it.

Giles went on to say, “Christmas is about family and sharing and the time you spend together, and not about gifts, so we have decided to share everything!”

What else could I say but, “Amen! or Bravo! or I love you boys?” All I can tell you is that, as I marched down those stairs, my heart was bursting with pride!

This stance completely alleviated any fears I had about any perceived indiscretions on my part, regarding the balance or fairness of the gifts provided! Sweet relief! What a gift this was on Christmas morning! Never forget, not all gifts come with a bow!

As my boys opened their Hot Wheels remote control cars, from my friend, Charrise in Virginia, they exclaimed “Awesome,” in unison! As they opened their Growing Crystals, and Tegu wooden, magnetic blocks, they related, “We are the luckiest boys in the world,” and “We have the best presents on the block!”

It was truly a lovely experience watching them get along and rip through their gifts squealing with delight!

To their credit, I must tell you, they followed the guidelines about sharing, they set out initially to the tee, throughout the gift opening, as well as, all day long, while they played with all of their newly prized toys! Truly spectacular!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Boys are nearly 6

Imagination is a Great Creative Tool

Tonight, I was hanging out with Jarvie and he told me that he thought imagination was one of our greatest tools!

With a very big smile on his face Jarvie explained, “If you need to construct something, you “imaginate” it first, and then just make it! So literally, imagination is your greatest tool!”

I told him, “I will try to remember that, when I need to create something in the future!”

I just love these little conversations with my young son. They warm my heart! I will really miss it, when he stops saying things like “imaginate!”

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Boys are still 5!