Hope for Waiting Arms – Infertility Support Group

Thank you to Emily from Hope for Waiting Arms for contributing her knowledge and sharing with us about her fertility journey. I happily refer many of my Fertility Tranquility patients to her support group and they love the support and group of women they meet. – Dr. Whitney

My husband and I live in Minesing, we have been married for 7 years and unexplainably “infertile” for 6 of those years. We tried to conceive for a few years with no success, then my extreme impatience led us to quickly pursue adoption. We felt strongly that if we weren’t able to conceive then we would adopt. Our biggest dream was that we would become parents and it was ok with us if we weren’t biological parents. When we were “tested” after our official year of trying, we were told that everything was fine (right) but we felt strongly that we didn’t want to wait any longer without moving forward with the adoption process. If God allowed us to become pregnant, we could always stop the process. Fast forward 6 years and we have never seen two pink lines on a test. The adoption process wasn’t easy but it made me feel like I was able to move our situation forward by filling out some paper work or making a phone call.

Adoption as an Option

Adoption brought us on a whole other emotional rollercoaster but in the end it was so worth it. We now have two beautiful, miracle adopted children that we were able to bring home from birth. They are now 3.5 yrs and 1.5 yrs. We also have a teenage foster daughter that recently joined our family.  We gave up control of building our family a long time ago and we are grateful to receive the children that God brings to us. We have open adoptions with our children and it has opened our eyes to what a beautiful thing it can be when two families come together through their love for a child. There is a mutual gratitude for the gift that we have both received in different ways. We always prayed that through our difficult situation, we would be a blessing to someone else. We now also get to love on our birth families, who have had a broken road lead them to placing their child for adoption.

Supporting Others

I was inspired to start Hope for Waiting Arms to provide encouragement, resources and support to women who are struggling with infertility and the family-building challenges that follow. I found that all of the specialists that we dealt with to be great in their designation but everywhere we turned seemed to be lacking in emotional support. I started to feel sorry for my husband that he was the only person I had to lean on, and that he had to see me cry SO often.

I hope this community helps to fill that need for support. We need each other when we are going through this. We need to surround ourself with people who get it, people who have been there and have persevered to build families.

Blogging as Healing

I found the blog to be a great way to share the resources, our adoption experience and encouraging articles that I found on our path to parenthood. The blog is great but I still felt that there was a need for a more tangible support. I started to meet people that were also struggling in this area and thought that it would be better if we could all be there for each other and not just pass on my own experience.

Our In person support group “Waiting Arms Community” was started November 2017 and is held in Midhurst once a month. It has grown quickly in the last 6 months. We get together and share our experiences, our ups, our downs and everything we are learning along the way.

Fertility Wellness Retreat

This fall we are hosting our first Fertility Wellness Retreat in Muskoka. We have an amazing weekend planned, full of fertility resources, professionals in the naturopathic and counselling industry, a fertility focused menu, workshops,  coping strategies and guests who are sharing stories of hope. Its going to be incredible and there are a few spots left. If you are interested in coming, click here to visit our website for more information.

We are also launching our newest group this fall, Adoption Play Group which will be a place for adoptive families and anyone interested in adoption to share about the process, openness, raising adopted children and anything else that comes up related to adoption.

I hope that in some way Hope for Waiting Arms can support you on your journey to becoming a parent. I’m so sorry that you are here, but I’m glad you found us.

For more about my story, encouragement for you and info about our meet ups go to our website www.hopeforwaitingarms.com

Emily

What’s up with Bee Pollen?

Hey there,
I’ve never taken bee pollen as a supplement however a number of patients have mentioned it over the years so I wanted to see what was up with Bee Pollen?

What is Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen is considered a highly nutritious food because it contains a balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, enzymes, and essential amino acids.
Pollen comes from various plants, including buckwheat, maize, pine (songhaufen), rape, and typha (puhuang)
It’s not the same things as  bee venom, honey, and royal jelly.
Bee pollen contains more amino acids and vitamins than many other amino acid-containing products like beef, eggs, or cheese.

Bee Pollen Uses

Orally, bee pollen is used for general nutrition, as an appetite stimulant, to improve stamina and athletic performance, for premature aging, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), hay fever or allergic rhinitis, mouth sores, rheumatism, painful urination, prostate conditions, and radiation sickness. It is also used orally for weight loss and obesity, bleeding problems including coughing or vomiting blood, bloody diarrhea, nosebleed, cerebral hemorrhage, and menstrual problems. Bee pollen is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) problems including constipation, diarrhea, enteritis, colitis, as a general tonic, diuretic, and for alcohol intoxication.

Topically, bee pollen is used for skin care in skin softening products, and for treating eczema, pustular eruptions, and diaper rash.

 

Safety of Bee Pollen

Bee pollen has been safely used in clinical trials lasting up to 30 days. So that means if you’re using it longer than a month – consult your health care provider and consider cycling on and off of it. Alternating with other products.
There is some concern that bee pollen might have uterine stimulant effects so you may want to avoid it during your period as it might cause a heavier flow. And you probably want to stay away from it if you’re pregnant.
Preliminary evidence suggests that a specific combination product seems to decrease some symptoms of PMS including irritability, weight increases, and edema when given over a period of 2 menstrual cycles.

Dosing of Bee Pollen

An initial theoretical dose is 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon, once per day. The dosage may be gradually increased to 1-2 teaspoons one to three times per day (anecdotal). A spoonful at breakfast, preferably taken with a piece of fruit: the fruit fibers (raw hemicellulose) reinforce the activity of the fresh pollen.

Adverse effects

Hypersensitivity to pollens included in commercial preparations has been observed. Symptoms include allergic reactions such as gastrointestinal upset, rash, erythema, asthma, hay fever, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. So start small especially if you have allergies or are sensitive to other products.

Pollen Allergies?

Bee pollen supplements can cause serious allergic reactions in patients who are allergic to pollen. Allergic reactions can include itching, swelling, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and anaphylaxis.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about it, you probably want to chat with your health care provider to double check it’s for you. And then start small.
And if you’re struggling with any of these health conditions we mentioned above, book a free meet the doctor visit with one of us to see how we can help.
Talk soon,
Dr. Whitney
Source – Natural Medicines Database

Cosmetic Surgery for Your Eggs

Hi there,

Make your eggs new again! The latest, greatest research can turn back the time on your eggs.

Well, kind of. Older women who are struggling with getting pregnant often have issues with the quality of their eggs. Their eggs are as old as they are. I have older women ask me, should I bother to keep trying? Well, here’s another option that will keep them in the game a bit longer.

IVF

If they are doing IVF – invitro fertilization – they may have embryos that just don’t make it. The cells may not have the energy they need to do all the rapid divisions needed to make a baby.

In recent clinical trials, Fertility Clinics, including a progressive one in Toronto called TCART, are experimenting to sort of make the old eggs new again.

The mitochondria of the cells are the “powerhouse” of an egg to give it the energy it needs to function optimally. Researchers have found that the ovaries possess cells like stem cells where they can take newer mitochondria and then inject them into the older egg. Egg with young mitochondria meets sperm.

This new technology has some good anecdotal success and we are waiting for official results.

In the meantime, taking some supplements like CoQ10 and eating foods with CoQ10 can improve your mitochondrial function.

Talk soon,

Whitney

Source: Globe & Mail Fertility Treatments

To ultrasound or not to ultrasound

Hi there,

20 Weeks Whitney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somewhere between week 18 and 20 pregnant women usually go for an anatomy ultrasound to check how baby is doing and maybe find out the sex of the baby.

I had mine a week ago and we found out it’s a…..drum roll please…..sorry, you’re going to have to wait a little longer before I tell you. Yes, that was mean.

My ultrasound was with a new tech who was being coached by a more experienced tech. It was a nice experience because they were chatting about this and that about my baby. So I got to see and understand a bit more about what I was seeing when I was craning my neck to watch what they were doing for an hour.

Is ultrasound safe? 

It is generally believed to be safe for mom and baby, is painless, gives results quickly, and is convenient, however because “a form of energy and, as such, demonstrates effects in biological tissues it traverses (bioeffects).(1)”

50% of physicians and obstetricians polled believed ultrasounds in low-risk pregnancies should be kept to 1-3 and 70% disapprove of “keepsake/entertainment” ultrasounds (2). However, is this based on fact or generally held beliefs?

The risks of ultrasound are thermal and mechanical.

I tried to find more research about the exact mechanisms and some definitive answers for you but this was very challenging. I think this topic is a whole thesis that I could spend a lot of time on.

My general philosophy is to strive for the least amount of intervention necessary. If you need another ultrasound for medical reasons I think that’s very important. Discuss the risks and benefits with your health care provider to help you make up your own mind.

I thought I would just put this out there as food for thought.

Stay tuned for more highs and lows of pregnancy….I think my heartburn has just started and there is still so much time to go! I’m in trouble!

Talk soon,

Whitney

 

Sources:

1. Semin Perinatol. 2013 Oct;37(5):295-300.

2. J Ultrasound Med. 2007 Mar;26(3):319-25.

 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Blueberries

  1. There are about 30 different species of blueberries
  2. Blueberries are native to many parts of the world, especially in the Northern Hemisphere – North America, Europe, and Asia
  3. They are a very good source of Vitamin C, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber
  4. The health benefits are mainly due to the anthocyanidins which are amazing antioxidants. Tufts University rated 60 different fruits and vegetables for the antioxidant capability and blueberries had the highest rating.
  5. Blueberries for the brain – the antioxidant activity may protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
  6. They are used to improve vision and protect against age-related macular degeneration and may protect against cataracts.
  7. They help with urinary tract health. Blueberries have the same compounds that are found in cranberries that stop E. coli from binding to the urinary tract which is the most common cause of urinary tract infections
  8. Blueberries are also traditionally used to treat both diarrhea and constipation. They help with constipation because of the fiber and they help with diarrhea because they contain tannins with help to firm up loose stools.
  9. Don’t wash blueberries until just before eating. Washing will remove the substance on the skin that keeps it from degradation.
  10. When using frozen berries in recipes that don’t require cooking, thaw the berries first before using. If using them in cooked recipes, use unthawed berries to maximize their flavour.
  11. Bonus number 11! Have you been to Blueberry Hills Farm? http://www.blueberryhillsfarm.ca/  Pick your own blueberries from their pesticide-free patch.

Source – The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods – by Michael Murray N.D.

Blueberries

Getting kids to eat veggies

We have become quite removed from our food chain in today’s world.  Drive-thru windows, convenience foods, and ready-made meals make it easy to forget where our food comes from.

It’s also easy to forget what fresh food tastes like.  Fresh as is as nature intended.  Farmer’s markets are making a comeback as is the eating local movement.

 

Mommy has to get the strawberry stains out after a successful pick your own berries day :)

Mommy has to get the strawberry stains out after a successful pick your own berries day 🙂

 

We have taken the approach with our kids to immerse them in fresh food.  To connect them with what they eat.  Here are a few ways to engage your kids with food:

  • Plant some food.  Kids are more eager to try foods that they had a hand in growing.  Let them pick some seeds, plant them, and care for them.  You only need a small area of your yard, or use planters on your deck or porch.
  • Take them to the farm.  Sign up for a CSA and pick up your food weekly.  It’s a great way for them to see how a farm operates.
  • Go to the ‘pick your own’ farms.  Berries in early summer, pumpkins in the fall.  Help them understand that food grows from the ground not in the store.
  • Let them get dirty!  Watering the garden and picking weeds can be made to be fun.
  • Check out the farmers market.  Your kids can often try different foods right there and the farmer’s can tell them some cool stuff about what they are eating.

Salads all around!

Our little gardner