I am a librarian, so naturally I tend to gather as much information as possible when facing a new challenge. You'd think I'd be checking out books from the library like crazy about infertility, but instead I've been buying a few select recommended books. The information in the ones I'm choosing seem so valuable to me that I want to be able to return to them again and again as we move through the different phases of our journey.
The following is a list of the books that I have found to be the most helpful resources so far:
Early in the Summer of 2011, a friend who was preparing to start "trying" for a baby with her husband soon told me about a book she had recently bought, What to expect before you're expecting.
She had it found really interesting and said there were sections on what to do when things didn't seem to be working.
B and I had already been undergoing fertility testing for the past six months, and still had no definitive answers, so I figured getting more information couldn't hurt and I decided to check this book out. I was able to get a free digital copy for my iPad in the British version. It was mostly the same (used stones instead of pounds and a few insurance statements were different), so I thought it couldn't hurt.
I read the entire thing in only few days! It shed a lot of light on the reproductive process and I was from there on out hooked on learning as much as possible about my reproductive system, fertility factors, ART, and now coping with infertility.
I learned about this book in August 2011, at a play date with all my college friends (I brought one of my furkids). Yeah.
My friend's sister happened to be there with her twin boys (the one I talked about in the "Why we didn't do IVF" page). She said the book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility was THE best book she'd encountered during her own experience with infertility and going through ART.
As I've said before, she's a doctor and been through it all, and frankly, I really just look up to her and respect her. I figured I better run out and get my hands on this book right away.
The book turned out to be all she promised and more. It really taught me what happens in my body during the monthly cycle. I learned why charting my basal body temperature and checking the consistency of my cervical fluid is so important, and what it can tell me about my fertility on any given day. I began temping after reading this book, and didn't stop until we had decided to do IVF and it didn't seem to matter any more. Giving up on temping was relieving one of many stresses I had to think about every day. Guess I better start again in a couple weeks with my first full cycle after deciding not to do IVF. Sigh.
In addition to teaching me so much about how my body works and the signs it gives me, this book also touched on infertility and ART treatments. It also provides information on how NOT to get pregnant by listening to your body's reproductive signals. Seems ironic to think about right now, but if we ever DO get pregnant and have a baby, I'll use this method for sure after the birth rather than ever going on BC again.
I saw The PCOS diet plan: a natural approach to health for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome sitting on the desk of my new RE down in IL back in December 2011. I don't have PCOS but I am hyper-sensitive to the condition because my sister, a cousin, and a friend all have been diagnosed with it.
I asked my RE what she thought of the book and if she'd recommend it. She said not only does she think it's very good, she is personal friends with the doctor who wrote it and respects her work. My RE especially liked the section with diagrams showing a plate of food with appropriate portion sizes laid out.
I went home that night and ordered the book off of Amazon.com. I am an Amazon Prime member and so it came with free shipping, whoo hoo!
On Christmas, I discreetly slipped the book to my sister. She was off of work the following week and called me to let me know she had been reading it and finding it super helpful! She was learning things about her condition that the doctors had never been able to make her understand. She was learning that because of PCOS, her body processes carbs & sugar than other people, and so it was really easy for her to gain weight, which is a cyclical problem because weight gain exacerbates her condition. The book seems to be giving her a lot of inspiration, and so I'm really glad that I'd come across it and was able to give it to her.
After visiting my new RE down in IL, I decided I needed to know more about the IVF process, since at the time, I believed B and I were going to be going through it in a few short weeks!
I found IVF: a patient's guide on Amazon.com. It was fascinating! It answered all my questions about every step of the process, what all the crazy abbreviations & medical coding that my RE, her nurses, and their paperwork were using stood for, and I learned about all the possible medications I might be using, and what they were for.
I stopped reading this book when things got crazy with the IVF costs, as I was emotionally and physically consumed with dealing with that, but if/when we have to consider IVF again, this will be the first book I turn to in order to prepare myself mentally and be my own best advocate in the process.
The day B and I decided not to do IVF, we ran a few errands together, hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm. We swung by Barnes & Noble. I wanted to look for a good guide about becoming a Vegan so I could make sure I'd been doing it properly the past four months and getting all the nutrients I needed. I'd wanted one for Christmas and not received it, so I decided treating myself to a new book would not only give me an emotional pick-me-up that I really needed right then, it might also help me to change my focus away from infertility.
Well, I did find a good book on going Vegan, which I'll discuss in my other blog, queenofshibas.blogspot.com, but while I was wondering the stacks, I naturally found myself in the infertility/self-help/health section. I decided it couldn't hurt to look for books about coping with infertility, or even moving on (since we'd decided that day to "move on" from IVF, at least for now).
That's how I came across When you're not expecting: an infertility survival guide. I began reading this book as soon as we got home and couldn't put it down! So much of the stories told by other couples matched B's and my experiences! I began reading excerpts to him out loud and even he agreed this may have been the best money we've spent on this entire project yet! It helped him to see how normal everything I was feeling and going through truly is. It helped him to understand why it hurts me so badly when relatives dismiss our infertility problem and tell us to just relax and it will happen. It helped him to understand why it ruins my day when friends and relatives, or even co-workers or celebrities announce their pregnancies. It helped him why I dread going to yet another baby shower so much.
I've only gotten through the tip of the iceberg on this book, since I've only had it a week. But I'm sure I'll be sharing lots of tidbits and experts from it as I work through it! It also reminded me of another book loaned to me by a friend (one of the women who told me she was pregnant last Monday, after the weekend we decided not to do IVF). It was about keeping your relationship with your partner strong as you face infertility together. I think I'm finally going to be ready to read that book with the attention it deserves soon, and be able to take more away from it then i could have before.
I had confided B's and my infertility problem to a co-worker in Fall 2011 because she works with HR issues for our department and we were trying to figure out the best medical insurance plan for us.
As it turned out, she and her husband have been struggling with infertility for years as well. She recommended the book, Making babies: a proven 3-month program for maximum fertility, to me, saying that she'd checked it out from the library and had been following the diet plan in it for a while.
At the time she recommended it, B and I were already moving on to IVF and thinking that natural methods were a waste of time for us.
Now that we have decided not to do IVF anymore, I'm thinking that I might be more open to the methods in this book again. Now that B and I will be doing another IUI, and possibly varicocele surgery, natural methods seem more relevant to us again. I purchased it from Amazon.com last week and it arrived right before I left town for a week and a half for a work trip. I'm really looking forward to digging into it when I get back and seeing if the methods it suggests are a good fit for B and I!