Saturday, September 28, 2013

Vitamin D Follow-Up

I was finally able to speak live with the nurse from my GP's office and she has solved my Vitamin D "to-supplement-or-to-not-supplement" mystery!  Apparently the reason they don't recommend I take any supplements at this point in time is because:

(1) Vitamin D is a fat-soluble {not water-soluble} vitamin which means that it absorbs into the body and is therefore easy to "overdose" on {which I already knew but doesn't explain why they recommended I took the supplements before they knew I was TTC};

(2) Doctors are very hesitant to recommend any supplements other than pre-natal vitamins to those trying to conceive and/or who may be pregnant.  {Again, I already knew this but it doesn't really explain why all of a sudden they're not concerned that I'm deficient.}

(3) But most importantly, my levels were close enough to the normal range that my so-called deficiency is not that big of a deal.  Normal range is 32-100 and my number was 29, so I guess the potential risks of overdose outweigh the potential risks of deficiency.  This was the missing piece of the puzzle, and with this explanation I now feel more comfortable with the advice not to take the supplements.  I do, however, think I'll be sneaking in some milk or cheese more often than usual to give myself some piece of mind that I'm creeping towards the normal range without putting myself at risk.

One mystery solved -- LOTS more mysteries to go...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Vitamin D

Last week I had a general annual physical, which uncovered a Vitamin D deficiency in my blood work.  I received a message from the nurse informing me that recent research suggests Vitamins D is important to prevent certain cancers and autoimmune deficiencies, and advising me to immediately begin daily Vitamin D3 supplements of 2000 IUs.  The nurse was very clear that too much supplemental Vitamin D is not good so I should not take more than the 2000 IUs.  My prenatal vitamin contains 400 IUs though, and I didn't see a 1500 IU dosage available, so I called the nurse back to ask whether I should take 1000 IUs instead of the 2000 IUs.  Apparently when she got my message mentioning a prenatal vitamin, she checked my records and discovered my miscarriage.  She left me a very sweet, encouraging message, and said *not* to take the Vitamin D supplements after all.  What the?! 

So, I did the only thing I knew to do... I started Googling like crazy.  And what I found was frightening, to say the least.  Studies have recently shown that too little Vitamin D could potentially cause fertility issues, impede fetal bone development, cause growth retardation and skeletal deformities, and cause a generally difficult and higher-risk pregnancy {click here, here and here for more info}.  I also found some articles suggesting that too much Vitamin D is equally dangerous, but there doesn't seem to be consensus as to how much is too much.  So now what?

According to this babycenter website entry:
The National Academy of Sciences currently recommends that pregnant women get 200 IUs (5 micrograms) of vitamin D each day if they're not exposed to adequate sunlight (your body makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun).  Many experts believe this amount isn't nearly enough.  And the National Academy of Sciences is reviewing its guidelines on vitamin D, so they may change.
"I recommend that pregnant women take a supplement of 4,000 IU of vitamin D a day. And I recommend that lactating women take a supplement of 6,000 IU daily," says Bruce Hollis, professor of pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina, who has researched vitamin D needs.
From everything I've read so far, it seems the risks of NOT taking a 1000 or 2000 IU daily supplement of Vitamin D are greater {especially since I've been deemed as deficient} than the risks of taking such a relatively low dosage of supplement.  But then why did my GP's office warn against doing so???  What don't I know?  Perhaps they're just being overly cautious because they don't specialize in OB?

Today I called my OB's office to get a second opinion on the supplement question.  The nurse who returned my call clearly had no idea what she was talking about from the start.  I explained to her that my GP's office flip-flopped their advice once they found out I was taking a prenatal vitamin, so I wanted a second opinion given that I read online that such a deficiency could cause difficulties trying to conceive and during pregnancy.  I'm pretty sure I even stated outright that I was seeking clarification specifically because I was trying to conceive.  She was speaking in a very dodgy manner, saying that "less is better than more" with pregnancy, and suggested I try to get Vitamin D from food {which, by the way, is not as easy as getting extra Vitamin C, for example} and that my levels were probably low because I hadn't been on the multi-vitamin for long enough, and I should be tested again in a few weeks or months.  That's when I interjected to clarify that I'd already been on the prenatals for 6 months and was just diagnosed as deficient last week.  To which she responded:  "Oh, ok.  Let's see, you're 25 weeks along right?"  {Insert sharp gut punch here.}  I mumbled back that I'd had a miscarriage, which was surprising to her because apparently my "file is still open".  WTF does that mean and how is that possible, seeing as THEY treated me when I miscarried?!?!  I really hate doctor's offices.  Anyway... I ended the conversation with charlatan advice that I could "occasionally" take "a little of the supplement" while trying to conceive, but that I should stop taking it if/when I discover I'm pregnant.

I'm now totally confused AND really annoyed...

I'm tempted to take matters into my own hands and start taking a 1000 IU supplement every other day.  I mean, if I'm deficient, could that small amount really put me over the edge into the danger zone when there are doctors advising that 4000 and even 6000 IUs are acceptable during pregnancy???  Apparently healthy levels are between 32-100, and mine are 29.4, so although I'm not too far below the lower limit, there is a huge gap between the lower and upper limits.  I don't know what to do and really wish my doctor weren't being so dodgy about this stupid Vitamin D stuff!

If anyone out there has experience or information on this topic, PLEASE comment!  I'll take all the advice, anecdotes and even old wives' tales I can get right now!  ;)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Remember Them...

In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them
When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them
When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them
So long as we live they too shall live, for they are now a part of us as we remember them
Text by Rabbis Sylvan Kamens and Jack Riemer from Gates of Prayer, R.B. Gittelsohn

When I first came across this prayer, I had recently miscarried and so the words immediately brought my mind to my lost baby.  But the truth is, this poem could refer equally to any loved one that has been lost.  My grandfather.  My uncle.  My great aunts and uncles and family friends...

We also remember the first responders and emergency personnel who bravely sacrificed their safety and lost their lives 12 years ago in an attempt to serve, protect and save others.  These fallen heroes will always be remembered with great respect and sincere gratitude for their endless bravery and for the sacrifices they made for their fellow Americans.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Be Kind

So true...


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Early Pregnancy Symptoms?

{Just noting this down for my own records... feel free to disregard!  This is a really old post that I wrote up back in September but never published.... just want to publish it so the info doesn't get lost!  I'm using this blog as a way to connect with you fabulous ladies but also as a personal journal of sorts, so apologies for backtracking!}

I have Jury Duty tomorrow and really should be finishing up my work / figuring out how to get to the courthouse in the morning, but I can't help sitting here Googling symptoms and wondering {hoping really... }: Could I be pregnant???

I've noticed the following set of symptoms over the past week or so, and if I'm remembering correctly these are the same things I experienced back in April before we received our first positive pregnancy test!

- dull mild cramps
- gas
- tender breasts
- increased cervical fluid
- vivid dreams
- sensitive nipples/heavier breasts
- a touch of insomnia

It could be that my mind is playing tricks on me, like last month when I noticed morning-time nausea which I talked myself into thinking was morning sickness, even though it turned out I wasn't in fact pregnant.  Still no explanation for that nausea except wishful thinking... But this is a whole set of symptoms.  Am I pregnant?  Could it really be?  Or am I losing my mind completely?

I guess only time {and a scientifically-proven testing method} will tell...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

3 Months

Three months have passed since I heard my doctor inform me that I was miscarrying.  I have now officially been "un-pregnant" for longer than I was pregnant.  It's weird, because in some ways it seems like just yesterday that my husband and I were hopping around our bedroom taking photos and staring excitedly at a simple blue plastic stick, yet it also seems like forever ago.

Emotionally, I am doing a lot better than I started out.  In June, I cried nearly every single day.  In July, I still cried quite often {probably too often for my husband's liking}, and there were many days where I felt that would always be the case.  In August I began to turn a corner, and although there were definitely still tears, hidden away in my pillow, typing at my computer, or while alone in the shower, there were on average more positive days than painful ones.  It's now September, and I am doing my best to keep moving forward... trying my best to remain grateful for the blessings I do have in my life, positive about our future, and hopeful that this month, or some month very soon, we'll be lucky enough to get pregnant again.

"We cannot change yesterday, we can only make the most of today, and look with hope toward tomorrow." - Unknown

I'm so very grateful for all the support I've received over the past few months; from my loving husband, my golden-hearted BFF, and my many online group chat board comrades out there on the world wide web.  I don't think I could've made it through this experience {mostly} unscathed without you.
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