By: Ben LeDonni
I said it. “Through good times and in bad…” And I stand by it. But, it’s not always easy. And in my case they weren’t “good times”, trying to get pregnant. Some parts of it were good, but mostly bad.
When we had trouble conceiving, I reflected a lot and asked myself, how can I be the best husband I can be; that my wife needs me to be? Having gone through it, I can give you some answers that I think help.
– You support her, in any, and every way you possibly can.
I tried to be the rock. I spent many nights just listening to Kelly cry to me about how much she wanted kids. I felt her pain. I wanted them too, but I couldn’t show emotion, as I had to be the rock for her. At some point, I started going to every fertility doctor appointment. I accepted that there was a problem, and saw myself as the rock on which my wife needed to lean. I was sad, but I tried not to show her as much by remaining positive and assuring her that we had many other options if we couldn’t have kids. Miscarriages are tough. 2 is 2 more than I wish upon any couple.
– You make sure it’s not you.
I got tested, sperm count, etc. I also read up on increasing “mobility”, quit caffeine and introduced juicing. Fruits and veges brought me up to like 99% mobility, which was crazy. The doctor drew a smiley face once on the IUI tube with 99% circled. I felt like I aced a test. All details that we typically don’t shout aloud, but if you are reading this, you might be used to it.
– You commit to finding out what’s wrong.
We started telling everyone to try to get ideas. People are so reserved about fertility, when sharing information is how you solve problems. Some friends and family said there is no problem, quoting “The Secret” on staying positive. One friend told us to get tested for allergies. She said she spent 17 years trying to get pregnant, and did not, until she found out she had Celiac disease, changed her diet and… viola. We demanded the fertility doctor test us. Kelly was positive. She has Celiac.
– You embrace and adapt to the problem.
This is the hardest part. You now know there’s a problem. For many people this may be far worse. Some women can’t get pregnant and find out for certain. Others find potential solutions and rely on hope. We were in the latter category, now adopting a gluten free diet and adjusting to a new lifestyle. On a hope and prayer that this would finally be the answer.
… And it was. After 6 months of a gluten free diet, we did another round of IVF (one prior that led to 1 of the miscarriages) and got pregnant… with twin girls. We often joke that the diet worked too well. Did it ever? We had our boy, naturally, 2 years after our girls. We didn’t think we could get pregnant naturally. And, without 100% certainty, but with 99% confidence, we believe we have a gluten free diet to thank to the fact that we could.
Now, it’s still hard and we are still embracing the problem that is Kelly’s disease. I don’t have Celiac disease. I can enjoy a sandwich, scarf down a slice of pizza, and share in a celebratory wedding cake with friends, but my wife can’t. So, we adjust. I’ve learned how to cook gluten free, as she has, and our family has, and our kids will. And, we educate them on cross contamination, as Kelly gets violently ill from a drip, drop, drab or crumb of gluten.
And now, since we have tried to make our lives easier coping with the worry of cross contamination, we’ve started a business called Gluten Free Labels. It’s mission is two-fold. First is to educate people on cross contamination and aim to tell families that Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance (GI) is VERY real, and that trace amounts can cause huge problems. Second is to make it easier for a kitchen to stay safe for Celiacs and GIs. We’ve created attractive gluten free labels and silicone, oven/dishwasher-safe tags as a way to help cross contamination in gluten free kitchens (homes/restaurants/etc). We feel that through proper organization/labeling and some new products we are introducing, we could make life a lot easier for households like ours.
We’re on a mission now, educating and providing products to friends and family to keep Kelly, and other gluten free people, well, free of gluten.
1) If you are having trouble getting pregnant, get tested for Celiac disease. It’s a simple blood test, a checkbox on a form.
2) If you are a friend of someone that has Celiac or is Gluten Intolerant, be supportive & make accommodations for them. It’s a real problem. Get educated.
3) And, if you are gluten free, well, buy a couple sets of labels/tags for you and other family members to keep cross contamination down. Your money will go to a good cause, as we are trying to raise awareness… and get some money back from the two rounds of IVF that brought us our gifts from God – our girls 🙂