Saturday, May 20, 2017

Meal Prep 101

You know I love organizing, so weekly meal prep takes that to another level. I tried "meal planning" where I would choose a few recipes to make for the week and shop for everything on the weekend, then cook as needed throughout the week. This was not very effective for me and I fell out of the routine quickly.

 I have always been fascinated by people who do meal prep where everything is cooked at once and ready in the fridge. After finding some Instagram inspiration I showed by husband, who to my great surprise said, "I'm in to help and do the shopping." Once I picked my jaw up off the floor I realized this could work on so many levels.

1. Getting to cook with Jeff, which I love, but he is so busy it rarely happens / it could be a weekly date activity (yep, we lead an exciting life I tell ya)
2. Healthy food ready at all times
3. More free time during the weekday evenings without having to cook and do dishes
4. An added bonus, it has to be a cost savings, with less eating out

I know this process will get easier as I figure out quantities and more efficient ways to do things. Some people put every item into individual containers ready to go for each meal, but for us, this was not necessary. I put snacks in individual containers ready to go and some lunches, but dinners could be in a big container to be plated as needed.

Here was my Instagram inspiration from

Week 1

I don't prep breakfasts as this gives me a chance to be flexible and decide what I feel like on the day. Most often I make smoothies or oatmeal with berries.

Lunches & Dinners
- turkey meatloaf (Side note: I actually hated this recipe, but Jeff enjoyed it - ketchup & turkey *barf*)
- chicken kung pao
- slow cooker honey teriyaki chicken (to die for)
- sliced peppers and snap peas
- brown rice
- vegetable quinoa
- salad (romaine lettuce cut and washed with shredded carrots)

- cut up pineapple & watermelon
- hard boiled eggs
- unicorn cookies
- apples and natural peanut butter (me)
- almonds (Jeff)

I would change up items for each meal, some days it was chicken on salad for lunch or chicken on quinoa for dinner. It was all there AND ready AND we ate it all!

Feelings after week one? LOVE this...but more cooked veggies next week.

Do you have any favourite make ahead recipes? 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

IVF Update: Retrieval #1 is done!

I struggled for a long time with writing this post, and you can see from my lack of posting I disappeared from the blogosphere for a bit. In February I went dark, I had a lot ahead of me and I didn't want to talk about it at the time. It was a tough month pre-IVF and then March rolled around and suddenly this thing I waited for a year to start, was here. My survival was based on living in the moment and trying to semi ignore everything that was happening.

This was blog was supposed to be an outlet and fun hobby for me so I thought I would share when I was ready. I figured it would be easiest to answer some of the questions I received most often.

How did the shots make you feel?
I have to say with the anticipation of waiting over a year to start this process, once it started I thought "oh, this is it?" It was not as bad/life changing as I thought it was going to be. The worst part was the early morning ultrasounds, waking up at 6 am to spend 30 minutes having an internal ultrasound was not my favourite #thethingswedo. I stimmed for 11 days total,  as it went on I started to feel increasingly tired and a little nauseous, but it was nothing to complain about. By the end I was uncomfortable, but I did not swell up like I thought I would...this came after haha.

Throughout this process I was doing weekly acupuncture and I know this made a difference in reducing stress, helping with energy levels and decreasing the drug side effects. For anyone going through IVF I cannot recommend this enough.
What kind of shots did you take?
I started with 2 types of injections, Puregon and Luveris. I have been poked so many times in my life I am fine with needles, but injecting yourself for a prolonged time is much more difficult. My first night I was a champ, but it got harder as the days went on and I started bruising and feeling not as good. My husband did the Orgalutran shots (that I had to do at 7am) so I could stay sleeping and he would just stab my leg ... it doesn't sound romantic, but it was. You reach a new level in your relationship and appreciation for one another during this kind of experience. I only took the Orgalutran for 5 days before the retrieval and 5 days after. The final shot before the retrieval was a trigger shot and it hurt like a son of a gun and I had a 5-year-old meltdown about it, but I think it was not my fault #hormones #hormones #hormones

Were you able to exercise?
I had to take a break from Crossfit and running, but I was able to swim and walkNo high impact exercise is allowed because you can twist your ovaries, which are so swollen and large. I can also tell you that energy wise I would not have been wanting to go anyways. I took 3 weeks off Crossfit in total as the recovery took a little time as well.
How did you feel after your egg retrieval?
I felt okay, but it was a sliding scale to awful that day! I did not take the recommended ativan as I felt relaxed going into the procedure, I was just excited to get those eggs out. They reduced my anesthesia in half as they were worried about my blood pressure and it is conscious sedation anyways so I was quite with it, TOO with it. When I saw the giant needle I said "WAIT....give me ALL.THE.DRUGS!!" ... they didn't. I am so thankful my husband came in with me for the procedure as I felt a lot of it and it was painful as heck, so he was able to calm me down. I don't think it was supposed to be so painful, but it was.

After the retrieval, we went back to the hotel and I sat in bed, because standing hurt. As the day went on I started having more and more shooting pains. I had to measure all my input and output and measure my stomach to ensure I did not go into over-stimulation. Imagine my poor hubby running around the streets of downtown Toronto to find me measuring cups to pee in, the poor guy! Late that evening I was in the worst pain of my life so we decided to go to the hospital...2 days, lots of morphine later they discovered I had a large hematoma and after a day of monitoring to make sure it wasn't still bleeding I returned back to our hotel room.
How may eggs were retrieved?
10 eggs, 3 were mature, 2 fertilized and by day five we had only 1...thankfully day 6 brought us back to two! Our little fighter! We were obviously very disappointed with these numbers. We decided to send these 2 for genetic screening, instead of doing another round of IVF right away, so this way if we got one genetically sound embryo we could implant this summer.
Did you gain weight?
Yes, I gained 6-7 pounds but a week later I was down 10 so it all balanced out. The bloating took about 5-6 days post retrieval to normalize. I wish I had brought along larger pants or even maternity ones for those first post retrieval days. I was walking around with my jean unbuttoned and unzipped, thank god it was winter time and less noticeable. I was certainly a hot mess! Can I just say though, since there really not enough positives in this process, that for 5 days following the retrieval my boobs swelled into the most amazing rack ever! You would have thought I had implants and if I didn't have a pregnant looking belly this would have been a real treat haha
What happens now? 

We sent our 2 embryos for genetic screening and on Good Friday the Dr. called with the news that we have 1 genetically sound embryo. Due to the type of screening they had to do for us, we even know the sex which is crazy to me, but also exciting! We were sad that we only have one, although flip it around, we have ONE! and ONE reallly good embryo is all it takes to make baby jones! 

We are going to be doing a transfer in June or August depending on my cycle as the clinic closes in July. 3 years and still chasing the dangling carrot of pregnancy! Thankfully on to the next phase in this long process. 

Okay, now that I have updated y'all (my friends reading this are like really Alexandra... y'all? #toobad) I can get on to more important my new weekly meal prep, I am obsessed!