Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Recipe (Raw Vegan): Strawberry Sweet Bread

by Kristen Suzanne in Bread, easy raw vegan recipe

I have a delicious recipe for you. Navitas Naturals was super cool and they sent me some products to try. Here is one of the recipes I made using their raw cashews, Twister Sprouted Omega Blend, and stevia. This recipe is totally fun and it’s especially perfect for the summer, when strawberries are in season. Strawberry Sweet Bread is loaded with nutrients… just look at those ingredients – so many goodies!!!! It’s great served with a nut/seed butter and fruit (as shown) for a wonderfully satisfying Raw vegan snack or lunch. And, it’s so EASY to make. When it’s time to send those kiddos to school, give them a super nutritious lunch by including this. You can put the chopped fruit in a little container and the nut/seed butter in another little container. Include a little spreading spoon and they can build their own little sandwich. Oh… and…. My husband LOVES this. I mean, like, REALLY REALLY LOVES IT! It’s great for the whole family. Enjoy!

Strawberry Sweet Bread

Recipe by Kristen Suzanne of

Yield: 6-9 pieces

1 cup raw cashews

1 cup Twister Sprouted Omega Blend

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 cups strawberries, chopped

2 cups zucchini, chopped

2 teaspoons ginger powder

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange peel powder (optional, but yummy!)*

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt

1/4 teaspoon stevia powder (optional, but yummy!)

*Available at

Grind the cashews to a fine grind using a blender or food processor (fitted with the “S” blade). Transfer to a large bowl. Add the Twister powder to the bowl and stir to mix the ingredients. Blend the remaining ingredients together using a blender. Transfer the blended mixture to the bowl with the cashew/Twister ingredients, and stir thoroughly to mix. Loosely cover the bowl with a piece of paper towel (or cloth towel), and let it sit on your counter for 2 hours.

Spread all of the bread dough on a dehydrator tray lined with a non-stick Paraflexx sheet (from Excalibur). It should be about 10″ x 10″ with a height (or thickness) of about 1/2″.

Dehydrate at 135 degrees for one hour. Reduce the temperature to 105-110 degrees and continue dehydrating another 8-10 hours.

Flip the bread onto a tray that is not lined with a Paraflexx sheet. Gently peel off the current sheet of Paraflexx being used. Continue dehydrating 10-12 hours. Cut the bread into desired size pieces and continue dehydrating another 1-4 hours, or more, depending on desired dryness. The goal is not to dry the bread completely if you want it like a soft bread. Strawberry Sweet Bread will stay fresh when stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up 5 days.

Serving suggestion:

I love serving this with a nut or seed butter (Manitoba Harvest’s hemp seed butter is shown in the picture) along with some diced fruit such as berries, orange, or banana.

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Friday, August 14th, 2009

Winners of my 13th Awesome Giveaway – Free Complete Set of My Ebooks

by Kristen Suzanne in Uncategorized

Congratulations CAITLIN, aTxVegan, Veg-a-Nut, and Janine!!! (I ended up selecting 4 winners because I was thrilled with the number of people participating.) Your names were chosen as the winners of my 13th Awesome Giveaway. The prize for each of you is a complete set of my 11 available ebooksYAY!!!!!! Simply email me so I can email them back to you.

Here is what Caitlin
had to say when asked, What inspires you to eat healthy?

i am inspired to eat healthy for two reasons. First, the way I feel. Second, I feel it is my obligation. As I learn more about our food and our bodies, and the environment, I can’t sit back and not act, I can’t knowingly put something harmful into my body. Our bodies are wonderful gifts.

Here is what aTxVegan had to say when asked, What inspires you to eat healthy?

What originally inspired me to eat healthy was a colitis diagnosis, then a soy intolerance, and then a gluten intolerance. So needless to say, it just feels right to eat healthy. What continues to inspire me is that I just turned 50 and people are always shocked when they find out, which is really nice. But I’m starting to feel some achy joints, so I never miss a session with my trainer, and visiting your blog and so many other healthy blogs keep me inspired and keep others inspired. Thank you for such a generous giveaway, Kristen. There is always so much more to learn about healthful eating.

Here is what Veg-a-Nut had to say when asked, What inspires you to eat healthy?

My parents, grandparents, brother and sister are ravaged with heart disease, cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, and more. I am the only one without any problems and want to keep it that way. I am trying hard to be a good example to my grown children and husband. One daughter has gone vegan a little over a year ago and is raising my grandson as a vegan. Nothing makes me prouder than to see my efforts paying off. For a few months now I have been pondering a very high raw diet, but have been lost with meals. I hope the good fairy is on my side and I win these books!!

Here is what Janine had to say when asked, What inspires you to eat healthy?

What inspires me to eat healthy? It used to be for selfish reasons: look good, feel good, amaze my friends and co-workers because I’m NEVER sick, stay slim without trying, the natural high you get after a awesome raw meal. I’d make food for my loved ones, hoping they, too, would eat this way so I would be promised a little more time with them in this life. Then the man I love entered my life. I kicked it up a notch so he, too, would feel the effects from our uber-healthy meals. I was motivated to try new superfoods and herbs so his aches and pains would subside. Watched as he felt better day by day. I dreamed of going to detox clinics with him, laughed together after our first colonic, ate and drank the weirdest things, and finally got him to say “I actually like your green drinks” (ah, success!!).

But until I tried to get pregnant, I never realized how important it was, not just for me, to be healthy. My whole life, my whole being, is now dedicated on eating the absolute healthiest way (w/out going crazy) because I dream of all the steps for my unborn child. I feel my uterus growing stronger, I sense my blood becoming richer, and when I am finally lucky enough that this world blesses me with a baby, that little pumpkin will have, beyond a doubt, the best chance in this world because it gets to develop in a clean, healthy, nutritious environment. Especially with autism, ADD, schizophrenia, and all these “common” diagnoses, I want to give my child the best chance in this world!

That is what motivates me now!! And you, Kristen, have given me strength for all your positive words.
(Janine-39, miscarried recently too and not giving up)

My next Awesome Giveaway is in September, so check back for details!

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Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Fertility Update – Hypnobirthing & My Imaginary Helper

by Kristen Suzanne in fertility

My good news to report is that for the first time in weeks, I feel really good and pretty much back to normal. My body is telling me that it’s on track and everything is healing. My miscarriage symptoms ceased yesterday (it was about a week long), the extra weight and toxins I was carrying around are going away, and overall, I just feel really good!

I know that I owe this in part to my organic diet (with plenty of fresh juice – see today’s pic), my plan of relaxation, husband-giving-massage, healing under the sun by day and under the moon by night, etc. But, I also owe this in part to hypnobirthing. Let me explain…

For those of you not up to date, here is my Fertility Adventure (The Full Story), My Update (when it started going downhill), My Response (Setbacks & Silver Linings), My Juicing Frenzy (healing, detoxing, restoring from fertility drugs and experiences).

So, here I am today… feeling wonderful. I did as promised and I wrote my birth plan (it’s at least down on paper and I can make minor changes as the months go by) and I’m belly deep in reading about vaccines (currently reading Dr. Sears’ book, The Vaccine Book).

One of the other things I had on my to-do list before getting pregnant, and for during the early weeks of pregnancy, was to start hypnobirthing classes (details on hypnobirthing here). My midwife and doula referred me to a lady named Sherry. I contacted her and she agreed that starting sooner than later was a great idea because I would learn useful visualization and meditation techniques that will help me right now… as I attempt another pregnancy with Mini-IVF. While we’re waiting for a class to start, she is working with us in a private situation and we had our first session on Sunday. It was glorious and I’m sure it’s one of the reasons I’m feeling wonderful.

Sherry taught me some proper breathing techniques of breathing through my nose for both inhaling and exhaling and the relaxed state of body that accompanies it. She gave me some pointers for visualizations… taking advantage of visualizing my healthy womb any chance I can get whether it’s waiting for the microwave to heat up my water or waiting in line at the post office. Taking time, even if it’s only 45 seconds to conjure up a delightfully lovely vision of having a pregnant belly or a calm home birth is very beneficial.

When I told her I was concerned that I’d have a hard time meditating intentionally, she suggested that I create a way to think about how my body is healing, if the healing itself is hard to imagine for me. For example, when I simply think of a healthy uterus, the vision is quick to come and go. I needed help in sustaining the picture in my mind. She offered that having an “imaginary” helper can facilitate this process. So, here it goes… don’t think I’m nuts – LOL – on the contrary, I’m having so much FUN with it! I’ve enlisted the help of Merlin. He’s a wizard and wears one of those wizard hats. Currently, he resides in my uterus and has been there since Sunday cleaning it up with his broom and magic wand. As I imagine him doing this, it helps me keep the vision in my mind and I have fun at the same time. Who knew that as an adult I could have an imaginary friend? Once he finishes tidying up my uterus, he’ll go to work on my blood, brain and all that good stuff in helping me prep my body for pregnancy. So… meet Merlin. (I bought a copy of this print so that I can hang him up in my office and always be reminded of my imaginary helper. I think he’s pretty bad-ass if I do say so myself.)

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Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Kristen’s Raw 13th Awesome Giveaway – Free Raw Vegan Recipe Ebooks!

by Kristen Suzanne in awesome giveaway, ebooks, Kristen Suzanne

For this month’s giveaway, I’m giving the winner a complete set of my ebooks!!! That’s 11 ebooks!

Want the chance to win? It’s simple to participate! All you have to do is answer the following question in this post’s comment section. The contest will end Thursday night, August 13th @ 11:59pm. I’ll enter everyone’s name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Friday, August 14th.
UPDATE! I’m excited to have so many people participating that I’m going to select THREE people to win a set of my ebooks.

What inspires you to eat healthy?

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Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Saturday’s Delicious Day of Fresh Foods – High Raw Vegan

by Kristen Suzanne in Brazil nuts, raw, vegan

All organic (except the coconut milk, but it’s non-gmo). :)

1 cup raspberries, 1 sliced banana, 1/4 cup coconut milk (not raw)
I started the day with this awesome recipe before heading to the farmers’ market for my weekly CSA of locally grown, organic produce. Yum Yum!!! I’m so proud to support our local farmer. It means the world to me.

1 tablespoon sprouted dehydrated sunflower seeds
These have lots of vitamin E in them… vitamin E is revered as the birth/fertility vitamin.

2 cups dehydrated, seasoned Kale Crispies
I love snacking on these. My mom and I had some in the car, thankfully, while we were running lots of errands this morning. We started at the farmers’ market at 7am. Then, we went to Whole Foods to do some shopping damage for foods we couldn’t find at the farmers’ market, and then we went to Sunflower Market because I refuse to pay $3 each for organic avocado at Whole Foods Market, I refuse to buy apples from across the world in New Zealand when there should be perfectly yummy apples from CA or WA (but Whole Foods doesn’t seem to carry hardly any of these and the very few ones they had were mushy feeling), and the final reason for Sunflower Market was that the coconut milk and coconut milk yogurt I like are much cheaper there! Unfortunately, Sunflower Market didn’t have good avocados so we hit up Trader Joe’s on the way home and found a bag of them there. So, as you can see, we were hitting a few different places and had to snack on something so we didn’t pass out from starvation! ;) Kale Crispies to the rescue!!!

1 quart Cucumber Carrot Vega EFA Green Juice
This was a delightfully refreshing juice made from 2 cucumbers, 4-5 carrots, 1/3 bunch of celery, 6 leaves dandelion, 1 tablespoon Vega EFA oil. I used my Breville to make this lickity-split.

2 Brazil Nuts

20 cherries

Dark Green Pretty Good Smoothie
I’m calling it this because it was pretty good – LOL. The recipe made about 5 cups. I drank 3 cups and gave the other two to my mommy. :) She really liked it. I used my mom’s BlendTec to make it (1 cup water, 1 head Romaine, 1 granny smith apple (cored), 1 lime (peeled), 10 strawberries, 2 large leaves kale)

Quinoa Protein Vegetable Mix (part Raw, part cooked vegan)
I made a big batch of plain red quinoa last night. Today and tomorrow, I’ll use it in a couple of different recipes. As you know, I’m upping my protein and fat a little to help prep my body for getting pregnant and having my next embryo transfer (hopefully later this month!) The recipe isn’t yet finalized. When I have it done, I’ll post it.

And… for dessert???? Drumroll!!!! I’m making my husband’s favorite… Rudolph Cherry Cobbler from my Holiday book and ebook.

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Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Raw Chocolate in the News – Sweet!

Here is a recent article featured on MSNBC.COM about Raw chocolate. Yum!

And, to celebrate the article, I’m featuring a Raw vegan chocolate recipe from my book, Kristen Suzanne’s Ultimate Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes. Double Yum!


By Kristen Suzanne of

Yield 35 macaroons

Let me just tell you… these have become a staple in my household. My friends and family frequently email and call me begging me to make these for them. They have a scrumptious flavor and awesome texture. Just see for yourself. They’re wonderful and so easy to make. Whip up a quick batch of these for the next party you attend and you’ll be a hit! Warning: These are addictive! :)

1 cup hazelnuts*

1 cup raw chocolate powder

1 cup dried coconut, shredded & unsweetened

1 cup raw agave nectar or raw coconut nectar

2/3 cup coconut butter

1/2 cup raw cacao nibs

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt

Using a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, grind the hazelnuts to a fairly medium/fine grind. Transfer to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir all the ingredients together well by hand, or use a mixer with a paddle attachment to make it easier.

Use a tablespoon measurement to spoon out the batter and place on a cookie sheet (I like using a tablespoon size ice cream scoop). Freeze for up to an hour and enjoy.

*My favorite way to make these is with hazelnuts, but if you don’t have those on hand, you could try other nuts or seeds.

Serving suggestion:

My favorite way to enjoy these is straight from the freezer or refrigerator. When I take them to a party, I put them in the host’s refrigerator, or freezer, until I’m ready to serve them. If they sit at room temperature they can get a little soft (but still yummy). An option to help prevent the softening at room temperature is to dehydrate them at 105 degrees for 16 – 24 hours right after you make them.

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Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Vegan Chipotle Burrito Juice

by Kristen Suzanne in fertility, Mini IVF

It’s Tuesday night… and it’s the end of day 4 of my juicing frenzy. I asked my mom, “If I get a vegan burrito from Chipotle, and I blend it and then strain it… can I call it juice?” LMAO. That was my sign. Time to stop my cleanse.

Each day of the cleanse and healing had its ups and downs. Some moments were a breeze and I felt strong (especially during the 1st half of the day). Other moments (late afternoon and evening) could be kind of tough. And, tonight, it got to the point where I know I’m done… at least for this particular juicing extravaganza.

So, I had my vegan burrito from Chipotle (not juiced), and a few bites of organic dark chocolate. (What can I say? When I go down, I go down in flames – LOL). I feel great. I restricted myself for four days, I had a nice squishy reward, and I’m ready to hit it hard with my organic, vegan, high raw diet tomorrow. In fact, I’ll make it a little extra high raw for the next couple of weeks so that I can continue to gently cleanse and heal my body from my fertility treatment.

I started my miscarriage today (bleeding). And, to my surprise, I have no pain or cramping. Fingers crossed it stays nice and easy.

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Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Juicing Frenzy – Time To Clean "House"

by Kristen Suzanne in green juice, Mini IVF

I’m embarking on a juicing frenzy that started on Saturday to heal, detox, and lose a little bit of excess fat. My body has been through a lot during the months of June/July and it’s time to clean house. Two of the drugs I was on for weeks were estrogen and progesterone (both fat soluble) – plus I was on other fertility drugs to develop my eggs in June (Yaz birth control for a few days to schedule my cycle, followed by menopure injections and oral clomid tablets). As a result, I’ve put on some icky toxic weight that I’m eager to release. Now, before people start commenting, “But Kristen, you need some fat to help get pregnant…”

Yes, I know. I will maintain a healthy weight. But, I also know my own body, and when I put on unhealthy fat and cellulite in a short amount of time, I know I have some toxins in me and I’m eager to flush them out… sooner than later. I can feel it.

I think it’s prudent to get as healthy as I can before the next treatment (details about my fertility adventure here). Knowing that I likely have some of these drugs stored in my fat, a juicing frenzy and liquid diet should help release them (sorry, but I can’t call it “juice feasting,” because it never feels like feasting no matter how much juice I drink… a real feast, for me, includes chewing – LOL). Plus, it should help my natural hormones get in sync faster, too, which is important before embarking on the next embryo transfer.

I’m drinking LOTS of freshly made green juices all day, but that’s not all. Here is a complete list of what I’m doing to heal my body before the next cycle with Mini-IVF:

1) LOTS of fresh, alkalizing, organic green juice (some have a splash of coconut oil or olive oil to better assimilate certain nutrients, and to get my calories up)
2) Red raspberry leaf tea
3) Kombucha (not a lot – 1 bottle every 1-2 days – it’s fun)
4) Miso soup (1-2 cups a day; some is soy-free, and all are organic)
5) Dry brushing before my showers
6) Rest for recovery
7) Sweating: getting some exercise at the gym and walking in the desert heat (I’m not going crazy though)
8) Stretching
9) Massages from my husband to help release toxins
10) And, I’m still taking pre-natals, probiotics, chlorella, DHA, and wheat grass tablets

I’d like to go 5-days for now, but I’ll start with 3-days and see how it goes. Today is day-3 and the process has been so-so as far as ease. I love food so it’s hard to give that up. But, having the variety of: miso soup (very healing), tea, kombucha, and different green juices is definitely helpful. Oh, and having a jar of watermelon juice every day is delightful and so very helpful with getting through the day (although I’m all out of it now – boo hoo!). But, don’t get me wrong, there are times that I already want to scream, “I want some f*#king food!” And, here’s a tip… don’t watch the Food Network channel when you’re on a liquid diet… it’s pure hell. Honestly, I don’t know how you 92-day juice fasters/feasters do it. God love ya!

Anyway, I’m staying flexible. I haven’t started bleeding from the miscarriage yet, and my restricted diet might have something to do with it, or maybe my body is waiting for the full moon. We’ll see; I’m just taking it day by day for now and healing. It feels really good.

I started on one of my goals (from this post) of researching vaccines. I started by reading Jenny McCarthy’s book, Mother Warriors. I figured it’d be a good primer for diving into such an intense topic and I’m glad I did. I flew through the book and picked up some pointers on a couple vaccines and treatments of autism. It’s easy to predict I’d be a fan of her book though because so much of it is about how diet can help some kids recover from autism… and I’m a big fan of using foods to heal. I’d be interested to hear some of your experiences or plans for vaccinations if you’d like to share in the comments section.

Today, I’m diving into working on my birth plan.

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Friday, July 31st, 2009

Setbacks and Silver Linings

Here is another lengthy post. I feel it’s important to continue sharing my thoughts and experiences at length because the emails and comments continue to pour in about how grateful people are that I’m providing so many specific details. First of all, thank you so much. I can’t express how much all of the love and support means to me. I also now realize more than ever just how many people’s lives have been touched by similar events, or may be in the future.

I’ve had a little more time to digest the news of my pregnancy loss and impending miscarriage. I found that yesterday, from time to time, I felt like a deer in headlights… a tiny bit of shock, some lack of motivation to do anything, and a little bit of feeling unorganized. That’s the best way I can describe it. I kind of just wanted to sit and stare at times. After talking over the possible next steps with family (details below), and being surrounded by an amazing, loving, and supportive husband and mom, I started to feel better with each and every hour.

It’s a different feeling of loss this time (at least so far) versus how it previously felt when we tried naturally and then I would get my period. Those times were extremely painful. But, this time… since we had some measure of success (that gives us hope), plus I know I have a solid plan on the very near horizon, and possibly just by the fact that we used technology to assist us… I just feel better and easier about the whole thing. Another helper (if you can call it that) is that we had some inkling that this could happen from the last two blood tests. I’ve had a week or so to wonder “what if?” So, overall, it’s just not as hard this time. Don’t get me wrong… there is definitely some disappointment and frustration, but… I simply don’t want to dwell on that. What would be hard is sitting around, being angry or sad. That would make it harder for me. Instead, I’m choosing to focus on the next plan for having a wonderful pregnancy and getting my baby. With that in mind, I’m aware that grieving feelings may arise… so, as my doula warmly put it, “Be gentle with yourself.” I will. Promise.

It’s a natural part of human nature that, when bad things happen, we adjust our perspective in a way that makes it seem not so bad. Call it cognitive dissonance (I prefer the “silver lining instinct”)… it’s a heck of a lot more adaptive and constructive than curling up into a quivering ball of uselessness. Rose-tinted glasses or not, I cannot help but realize that I now know more as a result of what has happened than I did just a month ago. Knowledge is empowering… I’ve been granted a certain gift of foresight in the form of knowing what it will be like when the nine-month countdown begins. For a few short weeks, what had previously been a possible future became an expected future. An abstract idea became my imperative reality. I felt a nervous and exciting urgency, sometimes scary, in the pit of my stomach. I now know what it feels like to lie in bed at night and think “holy shit… I’m going to have a baby! I have so much to do still and the clock is ticking.

One of the things I’ve learned this past year is that every time I’m given a fresh start to get pregnant, I find that I do things a little bit better each time. As the months go by, I’ve continued my reading and research… and as I learn more, I apply more. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve learned stuff I’d like to apply next time – such as… I want to make sure I’m eating enough protein (65-95 grams a day) once we make the next transfer. I don’t want to get any of it from organic soy products, rather I’ll concentrate on some cooked lentils, beans, etc…. with the remaining coming from Raw sources (sprouted quinoa, greens, green juice and smoothies, hemp and sprouted brown rice protein powders, nuts and seeds, etc). Of course, my diet will be mostly Raw except for the aforementioned cooked proteins. I want to make sure I’m getting plenty of vitamins A, E, and D in my diet as well as B-vitamins. To accomplish this, I’ll consume more sunflower seeds as well as olive oil and avocados (more about sunflower seeds and vitamin E in a moment). I’ll spend some more time in the sun. When I eat foods with beta-carotene in them, I’ll be more conscious about having a little fat with them to ensure I’m absorbing and assimilating it better (for example, I’ll add a little splash of coconut oil to my green juice with carrots). Those are a few examples. My diet is great and has been, but I’d like to fine tune it a little bit more. I’m not saying that had I been doing all of these things, I might have avoided a miscarriage. Rather, I’m excited that I can be even a little bit healthier and better prepared for it, which will benefit my baby.

Another example of lessons learned is that during this pregnancy, I started reading Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein’s new book, Your Best Birth. I’m a huge fan of their documentary The Business of Being Born (HUGE fan! I saw it last year when it first came out – rented it on Netflix, but I’ve since bought it so I can share it with family and friends). While reading their book, it was a tad stressful because the book goes into detail about the various ways of giving birth (hospital, home, midwife, obstetrician, etc) and as most of you know… more than anything I want a homebirth with my midwife and doula attending. I feel very strongly and passionately about this. Very. So, as I was reading the book, I realized that I needed to write a thorough and detailed birthing plan with variations for specific things (part for having the desired homebirth, but also part dedicated to the possible event of an emergency transfer to a hospital, and within that hospital part needs to have details for vaginal birth and c-section). I realized through reading the book while pregnant that I wish I had read it before getting pregnant, and I wish I had my birth plan already written. The hospital birth contingency plan will stress me out a bit to write. I also feel I need to visit the few hospitals I might have to transfer to in an emergency so I can get answers to my questions about their services and decide which one best fits my birthing plan. Again… something that could be stressful for me and would be better done when I’m not pregnant.

I also realized, over the past few weeks, that I had so many other things I wanted to focus on such as taking the various classes for the actual birth, specifically hypnobirthing (I plan on learning a few ways of assisting my birth and having hypnobirthing in my kit of tools for relaxing seems like a smart plan, even if I don’t rely on it completely). I think it would be prudent to start a class like that right away upon finding out I’m pregnant because the sooner I can master some meditation techniques, the faster I can use them to calm myself during potentially stressful times of the pregnancy. Also, I want to read everything I can get my hands on about breastfeeding (I have 4-5 books already). And, I want to immerse myself in the vaccine culture so that I’m well prepared in what kind of schedule of possibly reduced vaccination I plan to follow. I learned the past couple of weeks that not only did I wish that I already had my birth plan written, but also that I wished I already had a plan regarding vaccination. I originally planned on waiting until the end of pregnancy to dive into my stack of vaccination books. I now realize that I don’t want to do that when I’m pregnant. Vaccinations will be a tough, touchy, and controversial subject… not something I feel is positive about addressing while I’m pregnant. For my time while I’m pregnant, I just want to focus on happy thoughts and plans (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, strollers, etc) not contentious ones. I want to get the controversial planning done ahead of time.

My silver lining through these bumps in the road is that every time I didn’t get pregnant, or in this case with not holding on to it, I learned more, and for that I feel grateful. This time around, when I take care of some of these things ahead of time (before my next pregnancy) such as writing my birth plan, creating my vaccination plan, and learning hypnobirthing sooner than later, I’m setting myself up for a wonderful, relaxed pregnancy. I’m very excited about that. My smart doula also told me, “It is so so so hard to understand why our bodies do the things they do. And yet, we are asked to simply sit with the knowledge, knowing that our lessons – and the wisdom they provide – will unfold in time.” I love her!

Vitamin E and Sunflower Seeds
So, quickly about the vitamin E and sunflower seeds… Sunflower seeds are loaded with vitamin E (lots) and vitamin E is actually known as the birth vitamin. It’s great for fertility (conception) as well as helping protect against miscarriage. In fact, the Greek word “tocopherol” means “to carry offspring” – pretty cool, eh?

Next Steps
My doctor gave us a few options for the miscarriage. I can do it naturally (supposedly painful). Or, I can have a suction D&C, where I’m sedated, and they take some of the tissue for analysis (although the analysis isn’t guaranteed to provide any useful information). Or, I can have my gynecologist give me medicine to induce the miscarriage. I am opting for the natural route. Once I stop my current medicine (estradiol and progesterone), which I did yesterday, I should expect the miscarriage to occur in about three days. After that, depending on “how” the miscarriage goes (will I bleed for 4-5 days? Or will it be rougher and go for 7-10 days, in which case I may end up in the ER?) will help us determine whether we think my body is healed enough for another transfer right away or whether we should sit one out so my body can recover. Dr. Chang said that some studies show a slight increase for miscarriage if you get pregnant right after, but he also explained that opposing research suggests an increased pregnancy success by doing it right after because your body is “in the mood” already (my interpretive words). Personally, I’m feeling good about getting to it right away if possible.

Another thing that makes me feel solid about the next transfer is that I’m going to do it more naturally. Unlike last time, I had about 3 weeks of fertility drugs that I had been taking prior to the transfer. (As I mentioned in my previous post, the level of drugs I took with Mini-IVF was far less than with traditional IVF, which is great… nonetheless, I still had to take some drugs for the procedure, but future transfers won’t have that since we have the embryos.) This time around they can transfer it with my normal cycle, and the only drugs I might need are the ones for supporting the pregnancy. In my mind, this is a good feeling to know my body will be healthier for the baby (and for myself).

New Hope Fertility Center – Awesome Doctors & Staff
I’d like to take a brief moment to tell you how awesome Dr. Chang was on the phone. This was the doctor who did the egg retrieval and embryo transfer. Both of those times, he was so pleasant, patient, and took all the time I needed to answer my questions. I’m talking…. really patient and never for one moment made me feel rushed. On the phone yesterday, he was the same… amazing. He told me how the pregnancy didn’t look good and why. Then, he asked, “What questions do you have before we move on to the next topic?” I asked some questions, he answered them all slowly and thoroughly and then asked me again what other questions I had. He did that repeatedly through the conversation as well as giving me loads of confidence that we’re on the right track. He gave me many options for the various next steps, telling me the pros and cons of each. Then, when I told him of my desire for a natural approach, he was supportive. He made me feel like we’re totally on the same team. It’s not often that a doctor makes a patient feel so great… that her opinion truly matters… takes the time to address every little thing. And for that… I want to praise him. (I’ve learned from meeting with other fertility clinics that this is not always the case so I’m grateful to be teamed with a clinic who cares about my desires.)

And… while I’m at it… can I take a moment to praise two other people: Jessica and Melissa. Jessica was my first contact with New Hope Fertility Center, and she was an absolute doll on the phone. She helped us coordinate our planning, she answered my questions, and her response time for everything was very fast. Melissa is another sparkling gem there. She is at the front desk and I saw her smiling face every few days I went in. This gal was terrific. Every time I had a question, she either answered it (even though her role appeared to be mostly administrative, she had a solid grasp of the range of procedures and what they entailed) or she pointed me in the right direction to get the answer.

And, even though I’m not in a lot of contact with Dr. Zhang, the first doctor we met with and who is behind the scenes working his awesome magic…. he deserves praise for being as brilliant as he is. Without him, none of this would have been possible.

So! Back to My Plan.
Well! I’m going to enjoy a bar of organic, dark vegan chocolate for starters. (It’s been a long time!) I’m going to brace myself for the miscarriage and keep my feet up during this time (I might indulge in a small glass of organic wine during that – been a long time for that, too). Then, I’m going to get into my Raw lifestyle hardcore for the following 2-3 weeks because I have about 7-8 pounds I want to lose that I put on from the drugs and my increased eating of fat, etc. I’m going to exercise (I’ve been on restriction from this too so I want to get my body moving again). I’m eager to cleanse, feel light and energized, and get my lymph flowing. I am going to write my birth plan and vaccination plan. Then, we’ll head to New Hope Fertility Center in NY for the transfer and I’ll continue my clean eating, but I’ll add more protein and fat back in. I feel great about our plan!

Quick Update! I will now have 5-6 breastfeeding books. I just saw on amazon (and pre-ordered it) that Ina May Gaskin is coming out with a book on breastfeeding, Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding. YAY!!! Her other book, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is one of my favorite books and I highly recommend it if you’re pregnant or considering getting pregnant. I suspect her next book about breastfeeding will be equally amazing!

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Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Pregnancy Update – Not Good News

by Kristen Suzanne in Uncategorized

I just had a lengthy call from the doctor who did my transfer (Dr. Chang). The pregnancy is not a good one. The ultrasound shows a sac but no fetus. :( It was most likely a chromosomal defect (as is the case with most miscarriages). We transferred the embryo on day 2 and it was basically luck of the draw with which embryo to choose. For example, after transferring that one, we had 4 embryos growing to day 5, and 3 of those 4 embryos made it… therefore, even one of those embryos didn’t make it. Our day 5 embyros have a much better chance of success because they’ve proven to be strong.

My next steps are to stop medication, and then I’ve chosen to miscarry naturally (supposed to be quite painful). They’ll check my blood next week and possibly the following week. We then decide, based on how the miscarriage goes, whether we want to transfer in the next cycle or sit one out. There’s a lot more to the dialogue, but I won’t get into all the nitty gritty details. My spirits are fine for the most part, although I’m a bit let down obviously (and, honestly, I’m a tad pissy, OK, maybe more than a tad). I’m eager to move on to the next step.

Dr. Chang says we have 3 beautiful embryos (that’s a pic of them) and he’s confident we will have a baby one of these days soon. Most likely, if things with the miscarriage go well (seems weird to write something like that “miscarriage goes well”), we’ll be back in NY by the end of August for a natural transfer (no drugs this time… just following my cycle naturally).

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