Miscarriage: to know or not to know why

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.38.50 pmWhen I was a kid, I was full of questions. My favourite thing to do was to ask, “Why?” When I was about five, I remember being in a shopping centre with my parents and sisters, the eldest of whom was pushing my niece in a pram. We had been riding the escalators all day and I kept seeing these big read buttons at the top of every escalator. I asked what they did but, given we were in a hurry, I was told not to worry about what they did because it was not important.

It was important to me though so at the top of the next escalator, when my sister was halfway down with the pram, I pushed the button.

The escalator immediately stopped, almost throwing its occupants off in the process. Dad then had to help my sister carry the pram down the remainder of the now-frozen escalator. Everyone was pretty mad at me.

I didn’t get it. Why were they angry when all I wanted to know was the answer to a simple question?

Of course, the button was an emergency stop button but I didn’t realise that at the time and I wasn’t satisfied with being told that I didn’t need to know the answer to my question. I needed to know.

I know my questioning nature drove my parents insane at times but, unfortunately for them, it is something that has stuck with me. For the most part, this has served me well but sometimes it causes me to create more pain for myself than is necessary.

In the case of wanting to know why I miscarried earlier this year, I nearly drove myself insane trying to figure out what caused it and how I could have avoided it or, at the very least, how I could ensure it wouldn’t happen again.

The doctors, nurses and midwives all said the same thing: sometimes we just don’t have an answer. I couldn’t accept that I would never know what caused our baby to die so suddenly just days after seeing their heart beating strongly, but it looked like that was exactly what was going to happen.

That was until last week when I went to my GP to get an iron test done. Those who know me well will be familiar with my struggles to keep my iron at a healthy level. Anyway, he was going through my history and saw that I never received the results of a test I requested when I was pregnant to find out if I had a mutation or defect of the Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase gene. The MTHFR gene for those who prefer to not overcomplicate things. Or the Mother F*cker gene, for those in the natural medicine field who know the havoc that mutations to this gene can cause.

What does the MTHFR gene do, exactly?

The body can’t do too much with folate in its original form, so it needs to convert (or methylate) it into a substance that it can actually use, and that substance is called L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate. The MTHFR gene is responsible for this conversion.

The MTHFR gene can be defective in a couple of different ways, with one mutation being known to increase the risk of blood clots, especially during pregnancy.

For people with this type of mutation (the heterozygous version, for those who are interested), miscarriages are common. It is thought that a blood clot forms in the placental blood vessel, causing the baby to be cut off from nutrients and subsequently causing you to miscarry.

This is the mutation that I have.

I think this is why our baby died.

Of course, I know all too well that there are no guarantees in this life, and there is every chance that something else caused the miscarriage. But there is something strangely comforting in thinking that I might have found an answer, even though I’ll never know if it is the answer. It gives me the opportunity I’ve been searching for to see what I can do to try to stop this from happening again. It gives me a direction to start with rather than flailing around in the dark, hoping I’m taking the right supplements and getting the best treatment. As anyone who is dealing with fertility issues – or any health issue for that matter – will tell you, having some information is better than having none.

The science is pretty new around all of this, which means there aren’t many prenatal supplements that include L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate, or even its precursor – folinic acid. My doctor isn’t even sure about what the best approach is!

After trawling my university’s scientific research database to read about the few studies that have been conducted in this area, it looks like the best thing I can do is take a supplement that includes L-5-methylfolate. I’ve found one that looks pretty good, so I’m going to give it a shot when we do decide it’s the right time to start trying again.

So instead of doing nothing and just hoping for the best, I’m trawling my uni’s scientific research database to find answers and I’m determined to get to the bottom of this.

I’ll never stop asking why.

Laura xx

Note: As always, I’m writing about my own experience. I’m not a doctor and while this post might give you the information you need to start your own investigations with a health practitioner, it should not be construed as medical advice.

I made the decision not to die at 25. Did you?

Filling my home with crystals and plants reminds me of the endless supply of energy that is available for us all to tap into.

Filling my home with crystals and plants reminds me of the endless supply of energy that is available for everyone of of us to tap into.

For years now I have religiously (pardon the pun) listened to podcasts of sermons conducted by Reverend David Ault, from the Spiritual Living Center Atlanta. If you haven’t listened to any of his sermons, may I suggest you do. He talks about the universal truths of spirit and humanity, without being confined to one religion,  and he does it with such reverence for the divine nature inside every person that you can’t help but be drawn into the message behind his words. If you’re looking for some inspiration to shake up your life, then Rev. Dave is your guy!

In one of his recent sermons, he mentioned Youtube phenomenon Prince Ea – a young guy who uses rap to talk about all things that make up the human experience. I noted his name down and, after finishing the podcast, I immediately set about watching every video Prince Ea has made and posted to Youtube, and he impressed the metaphoric socks off of me!

The video that Rev. Dave talks about in his sermon is called Why Most People Die Before Age 25. It only goes for three minutes and 43 seconds but Prince Ea manages to drop a tonne of truth bombs about life in that time.

The one that resonated the most with me was this: “The wealthiest place in the world is not China, not Dubai. It’s the graveyard. Because in the graveyard, you will find adventures not invented, businesses never erected, songs never sung, books never written, ideas never nurtured, people never realised… because, they were scared to take a risk.”

Woah, right! The truth in that hit me down in the deepest parts of my heart.  I asked myself, “What richness am I denying myself and the world because I’m scared?”

This blog (which, at that time had lain dormant for over a year) immediately came to mind. I could scarcely remember why I had stopped writing here to begin with. I knew I was busy but why had I decided to completely stop sharing my words with the world? As I sat in silence, I got really honest with myself and admitted that it was because I was scared.

I was scared that I had nothing new to offer the world, that everything worth saying had already been said.

I was scared that no one would find my words useful, that they would think I was stupid.

Most of all though, I was scared of showing too much of myself to a world that is trying to make me everything I’m not. 

Those fears haven’t gone away. They are still rattling around in the back of my mind but I have made the decision to, in the words of Louise Hay, feel the fear and do it anyway. Because, does it really matter if the words I write here only resonate with me? Does it actually change anything if someone doesn’t agree with what I have said? Will the pressure I feel to conform go away if I make myself more like I think society wants me to be? No, no and no! So, why would I keep hiding myself from the world then?

Someone wise (cough, cough, Prince Ea) recently reminded me that “There’s never been a statue erected for a critic.”

Amen, Prince Ea. Amen.

Love,

Laura xx

I ditched being gluten free to save my social life

Eggs on GF toast

Homemade eggs Florentine on gluten-free toast, courtesy of my lovely man.

“I don’t think I need to be gluten free anymore.”

I announced this to my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago through mouthfuls of avocado smothered gluten-free toast.

Three months prior, my fabulous dietitian Marieke Rodenstein had recommended that I ditch gluten to see if it would help heal the gut issues I had been experiencing. The list of reasons Marieke gave for this suggestion were long and hard to refute (and I was sick of feeling sluggish, bloated and generally not great) so I happily accepted the idea and after leaving her clinic, headed straight to my local organic grocer to stock up on all things gluten free.

After about a week of my new diet I found that my symptoms were starting to lessen and I was feeling much more energetic. I was still getting bouts of nausea and bloating but over the following weeks, these symptoms also started to fade.

For the next couple of months, I continued to adhere to a gluten-free diet and reaped the benefits. I had more energy than I’ve had in years (albeit, my iron levels were also on the way up, which would absolutely have contributed to this) and I no longer had to struggle to button up my jeans over my bloated tummy. In short, I felt great!

So, why did I decide I no longer needed to live out my days sans gluten? At the time, I told myself it was because I was about to embark on Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar program and that I wanted to only eliminate one thing from my diet at a time to really determine the cause of my issues. Sounds reasonable, right? That’s what I convinced myself, too.

It actually wasn’t until a couple of days ago (yep, you can call me Laura “Ye Ol’ Slow On The Uptake” Miller) that I sat in discomfort (and not just from the Mexican wheat-flour burrito I had just devoured) with the realisation that I had been lying to myself. I didn’t revert to eating gluten because of any misguided nutritional belief that if I gave up both gluten and sugar I would never know what was causing me grief. No, I started scoffing the stuff again because I was scared of having yet another food label slapped across my name.

Social functions were already fraught with uncomfortable moments of not realising that the delicious-looking arancini ball actually contained mince meat until it was already in my mouth. Now, they’d be even more stressful as I faced the choice of either accidentally chowing down on something with gluten in it, or dealing with the embarrassing prospect of being handed a Glad wrapped plate of special-needs dried out food, while everyone else swanned around with canapes.

When eating out, not only would I have to scour the menu for that elusive little fella called ‘v’, I’d also have to hunt out his even more rare cousin ‘gf’. My friends would groan as I’d say to the poor waitress, “Yes, I know porridge is made of oats but are they gluten-free oats or just oat oats? I can see that the bacon dish is gluten free but I don’t eat meat.”

Not only would I be Laura: that vegetarian woman, I’d now be Laura: that vegetarian, gluten-free, pain-in-bum, can’t-take-her-anywhere woman. Me, dramatic? Surely not.

Nope, it wasn’t happening. Not on my watch. It turns out my desire not to be a social outcast was far stronger than any urge to rid myself of the physical discomfort I was experiencing – at least it was, until last week.

Last week, when I finally found the courage to dig a bit further into the real reason behind my decision, I was shocked (and if I’m being really honest, I was disappointed) at myself. Here I was, studying to be a naturopath, passionately espousing the importance of listening to your body and finding out which foods make it sing, and I was doing the opposite. The exact opposite.

Isn’t it funny how these contradictions creep into our lives without us noticing! I am endeavouring to be more aware of when this happens so that my reality more closely matches my ideal life. In psychological terms, this is called congruence and achieving it is an important part of being a natural therapist. It’s also kind of critical to living a happy life. Sticking to gluten-free fare for now is the right choice. I feel it within every cell of my body.

So, I’m back on the gluten-free bus. I’m still giving up sugar (more on that soon) but I’ll resume my gluten-free ways and then reassess once the I Quit Sugar program is finished. I’ll take an honest look at how I feel and decide then whether I truly can go back to eating gluten or not.

And this time, the decision will be based on love for myself, not fear.

Laura xx

I’m back!

My 'I'm nervous but excited' face (in case you couldn't tell)

My ‘I’m nervous but excited’ face (in case you couldn’t tell)

Hi! Exactly one year, one month and one day after deciding to take a break from blogging, I’m back. And, in the interest of being totally transparent, can I just say that I’m feeling a bit shy about sharing my thoughts with you all again. You’ll be kind to me as I ease my way back into this world though, won’t you?

You might have noticed that things look a bit different around here than when you last stopped by. I’ve decided to commit what some bloggers affectionately term internet suicide by changing my site’s URL. Why would I undertake such a risky maneuver? Because I’m reckless.  Well maybe I’m a little reckless but it’s mostly because, while This Little Green Pocket will always hold a special place in my heart, I no longer feel like it represents what I want this space to be.

I’m more passionate than ever about the importance of looking at wellbeing from a holistic perspective. I want to delve deeper into all things health and put a microscope on what it takes to feel amazing on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.  And, with each passing semester of my Health Science Naturopathy degree, I learn more and more about what makes our bodies tick. I’m bursting to share my discoveries with you.

On that note, I introduce to you Miller Natural Health. This space will still be home to my beloved blog but, over the coming weeks and months, I will be rolling out some exciting new additions. So, stay tuned for that! (Check out the ‘I Love…’ menu for a sneak peak.)

I’m also taking a different approach to blogging this time around. In the interest of living my message of putting your health above everything else on your to-do list, I’ll be aiming to post a blog about once a week – instead of every day like I was previously. I’m going to let my intuition guide the schedule though so some weeks I might post more, some weeks less, depending on how I’m feeling.

While I don’t tend to place much stock in New Year’s resolutions I do place stock in being clear about how I want to feel, and this year my plan is to surrender. I want to feel at peace that I can’t do everything all at once, perfectly, every time, and relax into knowing that the important stuff will get done. The rest? It will work itself out – it always does.

So, what do you think of think of the site? I’m keen to hear your thoughts, so jump into the comments section or send me an e-mail!

Love,

Laura xo

I’m taking a break from blogging

I need some more time to be still.

I need to get back some space.

I don’t know whether it is the fact I’ve just started a new job, that my study has ramped up, that I’m about to move house or if my mind is just winding down after a busy year but every part of my being is shouting that I need to pull back my commitments a bit. This means taking a break from blogging.

At this stage, I don’t know how long this break will last. It could be one week or one year. All I know is that I need to stop pushing myself to meet the expectations that I imagine (because that’s all that is going on here: I’m imagining things) other people have of me. It has taken me a few days to even build up the courage to write this because I was worried that I’d be judged but I have finally realised that the only one judging me is me. So, it’s time to stop. Judging, that is.

I write about (and wholly believe in) living your truth, and putting your health and wellbeing at the top of your list of priorities. Lately I feel like I have been burning the candle at both ends just to keep up with everything I think I should be doing. I can’t keep the pace and that’s OK.

I want to really get stuck into my studies so that I can learn how to be the best naturopath going ’round and, to do that, I need to create some bigger pockets of space in my life and in my to-do list. I need to live my words and spread the truth that’s it alright to say, “I need a break”.

I need a break.

Thank you, dear readers, for your support and understanding. I’ll be back!

Laura

Judging me, judging you

Don't hide from your shadow.

Don’t hide from your shadow.

I had one of those moments yesterday where I found myself entering into battle with someone I barely know to make it clear that I thought their position on something was wrong, wrong, wrong. I couldn’t believe that they could be so narrow minded, so judgemental, so lacking compassion toward their fellow humans. And then it hit me: I was seeing my shadow self that goes everywhere I do. I too am narrow minded, judgemental and lacking compassion, and that’s OK because the perfect balance of the universe means that I am also open minded, accepting and so very compassionate. Holy wow, did that realisation shake me up!

This is how I reckon it works: our lightness can’t exist without shadows, just like day can’t exist without night. Everything we see in others is a perfect reflection of where we are at. It shows us where in our life we still need to dissolve our fears and beliefs that no longer serve us. It’s a beautiful tool and we should make more use of it.

I made a pact with myself a while ago that whenever I caught myself casting judgement at others, I’d shine the spotlight inward instead and work out what I was reacting so strongly to. We all have shadows. They are the parts of us that we disown and try to hide from the world but I’ve come to realise that in order to get closer to that true deep peace we all crave (well, I know I do), we need to embrace all parts of ourselves, including those that are hard to look at. And boy are they hard to look at.

I felt squeamish as I started dissecting my reaction to this person and I really struggled not to shy away from the icky feelings that came as I worked through it all. What came up for me during this exercise? Fear, mostly. Fear of being too opinionated, of not being open enough and of being a fraud. Once that fun little part of the process was over, I just sat with each of the feelings until I was cool with all of them. I had to eyeball my inner self and hang out in the shadows for a while until they stopped feeling so scary. And they did.

As you most likely already know, I’m a big advocate of using manifestation as a tool to create a life that hums along brilliantly and I also think it’s important to look at things in a positive light. We can’t hide behind glossy affirmations and false smiles though; we have to really feel the support of the higher spirit we speak to and of. Part of this is acknowledging the shade as well as the light, and giving a little nod of acceptance to the pockets of us that we sometimes try to hide.

Laura

Manifesting: important life skill or total woo woo?

Look for the magic in life.

Look for the magic in life.

Note: Sorry for the late-in-the-day post!  A 5:30am wakeup call to get on an early flight to Sydney for a business trip isn’t conducive to inspired writing. I want to always give you my best and to do that, I need to be awake. So, from my hotel room in Surry Hills, here goes…

There’s this game that I play whenever I’m about to enter a busy car park. I take a deep breath and press pause on the running dialogue of thoughts, then I visualise a free car park right out the front of where I need to go. If I really let myself sink into the moment and trust in the system, it works. Every time. The times that I think, ‘Ugh, how stupid. As if this will result in there being a free car park!’ I end up spending 20 minutes driving around, trying to find a spot. Coincidence? Sure, it could be, but this technique has worked enough times for me to suspect that something more is going on.

I was first introduced to the idea that thoughts become things (i.e. you create your world in mind) in my teens but I was too caught up in partying and hanging out with my friends to really take the key message in. A few years later, I was chatting with my beauty therapist about how I felt like my life had completely derailed itself and was heading to disaster, and she asked if I knew of The Law of Attraction. If you haven’t heard of it, The Law of Attraction is the fleshed-out, predecessor of The Secret. The way that the information is presented is a bit… well, left of centre… but its premise is solid. If your mind is gunked up with negative thoughts, or even if you just aren’t focussing your thoughts well, your life will reflect that.

You see, manifesting isn’t a blind crusade to only think positive thoughts at all costs. That’s not realistic and pretending like reality doesn’t exist isn’t helpful. The key to manifesting is to rewire your brain which, if it’s anything like mine, will leap headfirst into catastrophising (is that a word? Who even knows!) a situation. What this does is to tune your frequency into the bad vibes and stops you from being able to identify the opportunity in a situation, because there is always opportunity for good in a situation.

For me, manifesting works best when I pre-pave my path; that is, before I enter a situation, be it an important call, a meeting, or driving through peak-hour traffic, I take 30 seconds to visualise how I want the scenario to play out. I’ll just take a couple of deep breaths to clear my mind, then run a mini movie in my mind where the scenario plays out how I want it to. If nothing else, this super speedy exercise puts me into the right frame of mind, and when I’m feeling (and thinking) positive, I respond better to challenges, which results in a better outcome: the desired result is manifested. This is manifesting 101. It really doesn’t have to be all hippy dippy; it’s just about putting the right foundation down to help me to see the good things in life (and there are lots of them).

That’s the thing about manifesting: even if its critics are right and it doesn’t actually work, it makes me feel so very supported as I navigate my way through this crazy ol’ baby called life that I actually don’t think it really matters one way or the other.

If it makes you feel good then go for it! Life is way, way, way too short to be missing out on the juicy stuff because logic tells you it can’t be real.

Go get juicy.

Laura