Sunshine, exercise, therapy, and my new list of pills

It’s encouraging to notice what a little sunshine can do. All last week the sky was leaden gray, the color of the Midwestern winters of my childhood. But yesterday and today have been brilliant with sun, marked with sunsets gorgeous as stained-glass windows. I woke up yesterday morning to the sun in my eyes and a feeling of actually wanting to get out of bed. Huh. So I did. I felt lighter. The exercise bike looked inviting, so I rode it for 15 whole minutes (a breakthrough for me right now) and then did ten minutes of stretching in the sunshine, and 100 tiny circles with my arms while holding 1-pound free weights. I’m normally far more athletic than that, but it is what it is, and I’m accepting what I’m able to do happily. Then I drove myself to a coffee shop where sunlight just pours through the window and I sat in that sunlight for hours while taking care of a bunch of tasks and drinking a yummy coffee bought for me by a friend.

Sunshine. Can you tell it’s important to me? I’ve always been a heliotrope. (My next workspace must have windows; this is a promise to myself that I’m not allowed to break.)

I couldn’t get over how different I felt yesterday. Then it hit me: the day before yesterday, Dr. McKenna had extracted some remaining bits of pregnancy tissue. My HCG must have been extremely low, probably undetectable (as it was officially 5 on Nov 27th), but where there is tissue, so, too, there must be a teeny bit of hormone. I think getting rid of that tissue helped balance my hormones—and, therefore, my head chemistry—a little bit.

Today it was even sunnier. I had my appointment with my new therapist, I’ll call her Dr. Y, and I could immediately tell that she was a warm, nurturing human being, motherly, really. She seems to have a quick mind and is not hesitant to make suggestions (which I like).

I had brought up my interest in taking or Zo.lo.f.t to Dr. Shapiro (I took 5 mg of for only a few months between my 2nd and 3rd loss, an extremely low dose, but it was helpful) and he was in support of my going on an antidepressant again. But he suggested Zo.lo.f.t, 50 mg. When I brought this up with Dr. Y, she said that she was surprised I wasn’t already taking it, considering what I’ve been through. “You’ve gone through a lot in a very short period of time,” she pointed out, and a medication like Z.o.lo.f.t can help put me in a place where I can process what has passed and face the future with more calmness.

Dr. McKenna (my OB) was onboard all the way with Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Y, so he called in the Zol.o.ft immediately. I’m picking it up tonight. Wow. This is one of those moments that make me so thankful I am not working—there is no way I could have taken care of so much so quickly if I had been.

Dr. Y also suggested that she and I work on some relaxation techniques together, which I am all for. She was not comfortable having me wait a full week before seeing her again, so I’ll be back on her comfy couch next Monday. Deep sigh of relief. (My insurance is covering unlimited therapy—no restrictions on how often each week, at no cost. I’m still absolutely agog.)

I’ve also been working with Dr. Shapiro and my good nurse, Jennifer, on a supplement regiment. He agreed to let me go back on 2.2, which is something I was taking while trying IVF at CCRM. Dr. Schoolcraft had me on it 2 times a day, but Dr. Shapiro says there is no need for that, so 1x/day it will be. Fo.lg.ard 2.2—or Fa.B.B Tabs—are  made up of 2.2 mg folic acid, 25 mg vitamin B-6, and 500 mcg vitamin B-12. It’s generally prescribed for those with MTHFR, and I am MTHFR heterozygous—but as I’ve described in other posts, the current thinking re: RPL is that MTHFR has nothing to do with pregnancy loss. Still, if it can’t hurt, I’m going to take it. Jennifer called it in for me yesterday and I picked it up—5 bucks with my new insurance! Yes, I want to make out with my insurance right now. (Plus, I just called customer service, and the reps were nice and patient and helpful—wha?)

Dr. Shapiro retracted his suggestion of more Vit D3, but again, as it’s in that can’t-hurt-could-help camp, I’m going to take it. I don’t think my famished relationship toward sunlight is only psychological—I think there is something physiological going on. The last time I had the level checked (and this was even before a year in a windowless office) it was  low-normal—just barely in the normal category, and by some measures, in the low category.

Of course I’ll also be taking a prenatal. Mine is a raw-food prenatal (Vita.mi.n C.o.d.e) that I take 3x/day. I like it because it is super-soluable and I don’t have much concern about losing nutrients. Still on the baby aspirin, too.

So, the list of what I’m taking now looks like this. (I’ve tallied the vitamin totals at the end by adding my prenatal’s folic acid and D- and B-vitamin quantities  to what is in the D3 supplements and 2.2.)


1 Z.o.lo.ft 50 mg (the lowest dose possible)

1 baby aspirin

1 prenatal

1 1000 IU VitD3


1 prenatal

1 1000 IU VitD3

1 2.2


1 prenatal

1 1000 IU VitD3

Daily totals

Vitamin D: 4400 IU total

Folic acid: 3 mg total

B6: 27 mg total

B12: 506 mcg total

Must get home to vegetable stew, now. That’s another positive: I’ve been cooking again, and the stuff I’ve made tastes really really good. More on that later.
Leave a comment


  1. I’m so glad you are feeling better! I wish my hormones would level and give me some peace–hormones are the DEVIL. XO

  2. I’m so glad you are feeling better! I wish my hormones would level and give me some peace–hormones are the DEVIL. XO

  3. I am so glad you are feeling better. I always feel worse in the winter because of the lack of sunlight here in Southern Illinois. During college I did a study for social work about the hike in depression among those who live in northern states during the winter. Some psychologists will even prescribe to their patients for them to take a week or two vacation to somewhere sunny before prescribing medicine….i thought that was crazy since they weren’t paying for the vacation! And it’s not like insurance companies will pay for a vacation…LOL!!!!!

    • Now that’s one thing I think my insurance will not cover. When I lived overseas I noted that in certain countries national health care *did* pay for vacations of sorts—trips to local spa towns to drink natural mineral waters, swim, get massages, and relax. Unbelievable. That sounds like an interesting study! Southern Illinois—that sounds a lot like Ohio. Hope you get to sit in some sunbeams soon.

  4. Great developments! And yey to the free therapy and low copays! Hope things continue to look up!

  5. Yes to therapy, insurance coverage, and sunshine! I’m just happy to read and encourage any pathway to finding your way back to yourself.

  6. I am so glad to hear that you are feeling better and getting support. I’m heterozygous MTHFR, also, and regardless of the connection to RPL, my doc has me on Folgard and baby aspirin for the rest of my life. The way he explained it, I’m more susceptible to micro-clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Also, I don’t process folic acid or B-vitamins the way a person should, hence the mega-doses. I was on one 2.2 a day until I got pregnant; during pregnancy I take 2 per day, and I will drop back to one after giving birth. I guess my point is that I’m glad you’re on it for YOU, and it certainly won’t hurt when it comes to TTC, either.

    I’m hoping the skies continue to clear and that better answers are on the horizon.

    • Ooo, that’s encouraging! Makes me feel even better about being on it. There are heart problems on both sides of my family so anything I can do to help on that front I am definitely for. I’m glad you had good care and were guided to go on it. Dr. S is fantastic but he’s not much of a supplement guy so I have to sort of nudge my way into protocols…which is fine because I know enough now to basically manage a Vitamin Shoppe. Maybe I’ll think about upping the dose to 2 x/day if I get pregnant—hey, feel free to remind me if/when that times comes to do that. (:

  7. Kali

     /  December 13, 2013

    Yay! I felt a difference after a hysteroscopy to remove retained tissue–my HCG was still at 14 or so before the hysteroscopy. On the Zoloft, I hope it works as well for you as it has for the ladies in my group. They are all so glad they’re on it (or were before they got pregnant) and two husbands started taking it as well when they saw the difference it made for their wives.

    Another bonus of no HCG for several months has been weight loss–I just could NOT drop pounds after my last miscarriage, and I was quite a bit above where I had never been. I’ve since then been telling doctors not to tell me my weight. Well the other day a nurse told me by accident, discussing my BMI and the length of needles for my medication–and as of October 22, I was down 20 pounds from the peak during pregnancy! I guess the eating healthy and 6 week spurt of yoga DID help after all. I had to ask her if she was looking at my chart from 2012, lol.

    You wanted to know how I’m doing–my 2ww hellish thoughts have begun. Scrutinizing phantom symptoms (some of which progesterone caused before the transfer, particularly the cramping), almost all of which I’ve had during nonsuccessful cycles, comparing it to how I THINK I REMEMBER I felt during 2wws when I was actually pregnant. . . there is no solution.


    • Great work on that weight! And on taking good care of yourself. Jeeezis I am too heavy right now for my liking, with too much of it up front in my belly, so hit the exercise bike again this morning, did yoga, and am hoping that yes, having that little bit of leftover tissue taken out will make a difference. Of course there’s weight gain with Zoloft but what can you do, it’s the lowest dose possible, so maybe there won’t be too many side effects. 2ww is hell on earth and my only (lame) recommendation is lots of funny movies—I found them to be the best at getting my mind off things. Gahh, squeezing your hand and crossing my fingers!

  8. Wow I’m so happy you’re feeling a bit better. That makes me smile.
    1. I too am a sun worshiper. If it’s out I’m in it. The sun makes me feel wonderful. Certainly don’t get enough of it over here in the big smoke.
    2. I’m glad you inquired about antidepressants. A little help is a great idea. I tried to get some here and was laughed at then told I need to chill out. Thing is I think I could really use them too. I hope they start helping to take the edge off.
    3. Yay for therapy!
    4. Yay for not working!
    5. Well done on the supplementation regime. Looking good. There’s something about getting back on the horse that helps steer things in the right direction too. Every little thing adds up.
    6. Hurray for veggie stew!
    Sending you love and hugs sweetie xxx

    • He he, a very sweet list—a woman after my own heart (am a crazypants list-maker). Yay for your yays. Wish I could invite you over for stew. I’d dose it with Zoloft for you! Yeah, the literature shows that Zoloft in very low dose (50 is the lowest) is not problematic for pregnancy, esp if you wean off of it before third trimester. They should not laugh at your suggestion, gah! Thanks for the support, as always. xoxo

  9. 7. I think there’s something to the hormone remnants as well. A fresh clean womb encourages fresh thinking, fresh start. LOVE xx

  10. Glad to hear you are feeling a bit better. I’ve been on a vitamin D kick for a few years. My level usually comes back a bit low but the docs say its fine. Little do they know that I totally take 4000 or 5000iu/day plus whatever’s in the prenatal. Obviously I’m not pregnant so it,hasn’t exactly helped on that front but maybe it helps my mood whe it’s grey? Glad you liked the therapist. Having someone to talk to can help a lot.

    • that’s a lotta D…good for you for figuring out what you need. i have to wonder if it helps with mood. i feel like i’ve had more energy since i’ve started taking it. xo


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  •© the unexpected trip,, 2012-2017.
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  • About Me

    Me: 41
    DH: 38

    Fertility issue:
    Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
    6 pregnancy losses
    All early
    5 with my own eggs
    1 with donor egg

    Abnormal embryos

    Factor V Leiden heterozygous
    MTHFR heterozygous

    AFC: 2 - 12
    AMH: 0.2
    FSH: 6.8
    E2: 40
    LH: 2.8


    April 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac only). D&C to remove products of conception at 9 weeks.

    Oct 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac & yolk sac). Took Cytotec to induce miscarriage at 9 weeks. PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, night terrors followed.

    Winter 2012 -
    Two rounds of Femara/Clomid + IUIs at Columbia and RS of NY. The idea: to produce more eggs and increase chances of catching a good one. BFNs.

    April 2012 -
    Natural conception, first try. Ultrasound showed activity in the uterus, but no complete sac. Diagnosed with "missed abortion." Natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    June 2012 -
    Conception after 7 mg Femara for 5 days + IUI. Diagnosed with chemical pregnancy. Natural miscarriage at 4.5 weeks.

    August 2012 -
    Natural conception, without trying. Chemical pregnancy and natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    October 2012 -
    ODWU at Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM).

    January 2013 -
    IVF with Dr. Schoolcraft.
    Straight Antagonist protocol

    What he predicted:
    I will produce 11 eggs
    Good chance 1 will be normal
    30% chance 2 will be normal
    Transfer 1, then a 45% chance of success
    Transfer 2, then a 65% chance of success

    What happened:
    7 follicles stimulated
    6 mature eggs retrieved
    2 died during ICSI
    4 fertilized
    3 out of 4 embryos CCS-tested
    All abnormal

    Aug/Sept 2013-
    Frozen Donor Egg IVF at Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA)
    What Dr. Shapiro predicted:
    6 or 7 will fertilize
    1 we will transfer
    1 - 3 we will freeze

    Protocol: Lupron, Vivelle patches, Crinone

    8 frozen eggs from donor thawed
    6 fertilized
    1 Day-5 Grade A XBbb blastocyst transferred
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst frozen
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst frozen

    September 13, 2013: Pregnant

    Prenatal vitamins & baby aspirin,
    Vivelle patches & Crinone

    Beta #1: 171
    Beta #2: 706
    Beta #3: 7,437

    6 w 3 d: measured 6 w 1 d
    FHR: 80 bpm
    Fetus did not grow
    7 w: FHR 121 bpm
    8 w: heart stopped
    9 w: D and C

    Test results: We lost a normal karyotype male for unexplained reasons

    Quit stressful job
    Anti-inflammation diet
    Gluten-free diet
    Vit D, DHA/EPA
    Therapy/energy work
    Creative Visualization
    Art Therapy

    March 14, 2014:
    Double FET at RBA
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst

    March 24, 2014:

    Prenatals, baby aspirin, Folgard, Vivelle, Crinone, Lovenox

    Beta #1: 295
    Beta #2: 942
    Beta #3: 12,153

    1 fetus implanted

    Measured on track

    Fetal heart rate:
    7 wk: 127 bpm, 8wk:159 bpm, 9wk: 172 bpm

    Due date: Dec, 4 2014!

    NatureMade (USP Seal) Prenatals and 4000 Vit D3
    Baby aspirin
    40 mg Lovenox
    DHA and EPA
    Folgard 2.2

    Born: One perfect baby boy 12.4.14

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