Mock Cycle Day 1 – The 411

ivf- mock cycle 1 ivf - mock cycle 2Today, I went in for my labs and the sonogram for the baseline for my mock cycle.  My lining is thin and I had two follicles on each side. My day three FSH was 10.8 and the LH was 6.  My E2 was 35. Tomorrow, I have to take Estrace three times a day and continue for 12 days.  On July 13th I go in for the final sonogram to see how my uterine lining responded to the estrogen. I am not looking forward to shoving little blue pills up my hoohah three times a day and having to rock panty liners to avoid “smurf panties”, but it is what it is, as they say.

I spoke with the donor coordinator today and one donor I liked became available !   The second donor dropped out and I have the option of making embryos with my donor sperm and freezing them for later transfer if I so wish.

I really am not that gungho about doing FETs.  It is my intention to be the sole recipient of the eggs from a donor and then do an initial fresh transfer of two or three embryos and freeze all others for additional cycles, if needed.  I really do not want to have the fear of (1) not having enough eggs to work with by sharing with another recipient and (2) having the added stress of worrying about the embryos surviving the thaw and also sticking if they do.

Additionally, in order to use this donor, I would have to search for and select a Black sperm donor, as the egg donor is not of Black or Native American decent.  I am praying that I do not have to change my sperm donor and that I will find a Black and Native American egg donor with similar features to me and who is also educated.

The egg donor coordinator had me email her pictures of myself so that she can begin a search for a donor for me.  They are running new ads for egg donors and will hopefully get a few in for me to choose from.  They have a ton of new applicants they are screening but none of them are Black.

We are planning for a September match and a late October retrieval and transfer.  I wanted to plan for a July due date so that is the plan right now.  I have to save up money like crazy so that I can pay these astronomical fees associated with this IVF cycle.   It is all going to be worth it when I have my little Valeries in my loving arms.   I can envision them already and have so much love for these babies and they are not even here yet !  I can not wait to have them cut out of, introduce them to NYC for a few months and then take them home to our new State of California !!  I am looking forward to taking my babies to the beach in the mornings for walks with Grandmom and Great-Grandmom in tow.  How I can not WAIT for that to be my life !

Valerie’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake – Recipe

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake


1 box Duncan Hines butter chocolate fudge cake mix
1 pkg fudge brownie mix Ghiridelli Fudge with Syrup pouch) or Better Crocker 10.5 oz Family Size Pack.
1 can(s) chocolate fudge cake icing
4 large organic eggs
1 c water or 1 c black coffee
1 c Canola oil
1. preheat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour bundt pan.
2. In a larger bowl mix, cake mix, brownie mix, oil eggs and water/coffee.
3. Pour into bundt pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
4. Let cake cool, transfer to serving plate. In a small bowl, add 1/2 tub of ready to use cake icing, melt in microwave 30-45 seconds until it is able to be drizzled over cake.

Homemade Organic Cornmeal – Recipe

cornmeal 1         Cornmeal 2           cornmeal 3


4 cups Organic yellow or white popcorn kernels


Vitamix Blender or Blentec Blender


Place 2 cups of organic popcorn kernels in the DRY INGREDIENT container for the Vitamix (or a Blendtec) Blender and put the lid on.  Start the blender on 1 and slowly increase to 10 and then turn the HIGH switch up.  Blend for 1 minute to 1.5 minutes, stir then pour into an airtight container.  Do the same with the second two cups and then combine.  Store in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer bag.  Allow to sit out on counter for 30 minutes to reach room temperature prior to using.

To Make Self Rising Cornmeal Mix:

3/4 c cornmeal  plus 3 Tbsp cornmeal

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Blend together with a wire whisk and store in an airtight container or freezer bag in the freezer until ready to use.  Allow to sit out on counter for 30 minutes to reach room temperature prior to using.

(c) Valerie Renèe

The Paleo Diet – The 411

What Is The Paleo Diet?

Assortment of paleo foodThe Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.

Building A Healthy Paleo Diet

Lean proteins

Lean proteins support strong muscles, healthy bones and optimal immune function. Protein also makes you feel satisfied between meals.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that have been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing a number of degenerative diseases including cancer, diabetes and neurological decline.

Okay To Eat Avoid
Fruits Dairy
Vegetables Grains
Lean Meats Processed Food & Sugars
Seafood Legumes
Nuts & Seeds Starches
Healthy Fats Alcohol

Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat

Scientific research and epidemiological studies show that diets rich in Monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats dramatically reduce the instances of obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and cognitive decline.

Saturated fat has been demonized by our health authorities and media. What is the basis for this position on Saturated fat? Are current recommendations for VERY low saturated fat intake justified? How much saturated fat (and what types), if any should one eat? Without a historical and scientific perspective these questions can be nearly impossible to answer. In this paper Prof. Cordain looks at the amounts and types of saturated fats found in the ancestral diet:

One of the greatest deviations away from our ancestral diet is the amounts and types of fat found in modern grain feed animals vs. the amounts and types of fats found in grass fed or wild meat, fowl and fish. What we observe is wild meat is remarkably lean, and has relatively low amounts of saturated fats, while supplying significant amounts of beneficial omega-3 fats such as EPA and DHA. In this paper Prof. Cordain and his team analyze the complete fatty acid profile from several species of wild deer and elk. The take home message is that free range meat is far healthier than conventional meat: Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: Evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease.

Paleo Diet

Health Benefits of a Paleo Diet

For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is all they need. Improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough.  Many people however are not satisfied with blindly following any recommendations, be they nutrition or exercise related. Some folks like to know WHY they are doing something. Fortunately, the Paleo diet has stood not only the test of time, but also the rigors of scientific scrutiny.

With a very simple shift we not only remove the foods that are at odds with our health (grains, legumes, and dairy) but we also increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here is a great paper from Professor Loren Cordain exploring how to build a modern Paleo diet: The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. This paper also offers significant insight as to the amounts and ratios of protein, carbohydrate and fat in the ancestral diet.

Come on! Our Ancestors lived short, brutal lives! This Paleo Diet is all bunk, right?

The Paleo concept is new for most people and this newness can spark many questions. We like people to not only read about and educate themselves on this topic but also to “get in and do it.” Experience is perhaps the best teacher and often cuts through any confusion surrounding this way of eating. Now, all that considered, there are still some common counter arguments to the Paleo diet that happen with sufficient frequency that a whole paper was written on it.

Does it work for diabetes?

A great question to ask is “Does the Paleo diet work?” Here we have a head to head comparison between the Paleo diet and Mediterranean diet in insulin resistant Type 2 Diabetics. The results? The Paleo diet group REVERSED the signs and symptoms of insulin resistant, Type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet showed little if any improvements. It is worth noting that the Mediterranean diet is generally held up by our government as “the diet to emulate” despite better alternatives.

Cardio Vascular Disease

According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Interestingly however, our Paleolithic ancestors and contemporarily studied hunter-gatherers showed virtually no heart attack or stroke while eating ancestral diets. The references below will explore these facts to better help you understand the heart-healthy benefits of a Paleo diet.


Autoimmunity is a process in which our bodies own immune system attacks “us.” Normally the immune system protects us from bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. The immune system identifies a foreign invader, attacks it, and ideally clears the infection. A good analogy for autoimmunity is the case of tissue rejection after organ donation. If someone requires a new heart, lung kidney or liver due to disease or injury, a donor organ may be an option. The first step in this process is trying to find a tissue “match”. All of us have molecules in our tissues that our immune system uses to recognize self from non-self. If a donated organ is not close enough to the recipient in tissue type the immune system will attack and destroy the organ. In autoimmunity, a similar process occurs in that an individuals own tissue is confused as something foreign and the immune system attacks this “mislabeled” tissue. Common forms of autoimmunity include Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Vitiligo to name only a tiny fraction of autoimmune diseases. Elements of autoimmunity are likely at play in conditions as seemingly unrelated as Schizophrenia, infertility, and various forms of cancer.

Interestingly, all of these seemingly unrelated diseases share a common cause: damage to the intestinal lining which allows large, undigested food particles to make their way into the body. This is called “leaky gut and the autoimmune response”. Here is a 7-part video series by Prof. Loren Cordain describing the etiology of Multiple Sclerosis. And please watch this TED talk by Dr. Terry Wahls, MD as she describes how she reversed her Multiple Sclerosis with a paleo diet. If you have an autoimmune disease you might consider trying the autoimmune protocol of the paleo diet.

Updates – The 411

baby - looking for somethingI miscalculated when my CD 1 (cycle day 1) was to be.  I am now at CD 34.  My menses are lost out there somewhere.  If someone has Aunt Flo’s number, tell the heifer that I am looking for her and when she finally arrives, we can go get that sonogram done as part one of the mock cycle for DE IVF !!

On Monday, my mom and I left for New York City for my upcoming annual physicals with my Internist and my OB.  On Monday, we met with my make up artist for lunch at an amazing Italian spot called Carmines.  The food is phenomenal !! That night, I took my mom to my favorite hangout to listen to Cheryl Pepsi Riley’s band, which two of my friends play in.  Some of my colleagues came out and hung with us.  It was a great night.

Tuesday morning, I had my first appointment with my Internist and he went over mounds of blood work from April on that I had done during stims.  He was very concerned about the amount of prednisone I have been taking and the length of time I was on it.  I have gained a lot of weight this past cycle because of the steroid.  I had to have additional labs done for diabetic screening as well as a full work up.  My TSH, T3 and T4 and a few other tests were run to determine the correct dosage of Synthroid I should now take.  The last labs done at the hospital when I was in the ER showed my T3 and T4 to be normal, but not my TSH.  Medications taken during stims make the TSH bounce around.  I will get the results by Friday.  My Internist is in agreement with me doing DE IVF and he signed off on my medical authorization form.

Later that morning, I had my OB appointment.  We went over my IVF treatments and the procedure I had done in January.  I got a referral for a 3D mammogram and got a sign off on the OB portion of the medical authorization form.

I have no idea why Aunt Flo is trying to be cute.  It very well may be because I am overly stressed out.

I am NOT looking forward to this move as I HATE packing and unpacking and having to find a place to put things.  It is no fun.

My mom is recuperating from surgery very well and is very sick off and on because of side effects of the radiation and back to back chemo treatments.  Her doctor warned her that this would be the case and that in six weeks she should start to bounce back and feel more and more like her old self.  She has a birthday coming up on the 9th !!

I hope everyone else is doing well.  I keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties – Recipe

turkey sausage
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1½ teaspoon seasoning salt or smoked salt
  • 1½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • pinch of clove
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • butter and olive oil for frying
  1. Place ground turkey in a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Mix together spices.
  3. Add spices to ground turkey and mix until spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat.
  4. Mix in olive oil to add extra moisture.
  5. Shape turkey sausage into small patties.
  6. Fry up a small sample patty to test out the seasonings. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  7. Refrigerate overnight.
  8. Heat a bit of olive oil and butter in a large skillet on medium heat.
  9. Place sausages into the hot skillet and cook until until browned and the middle is no longer pink.
  10. Cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the patty.
  11. Be careful not to overcook or the sausages will be dry in texture.
  12. Let sausage drain on paper towels.
  13. Serve or freeze.

(c) Valerie Renèe

Valerie’s Beer Battered Cod – Recipe

beer battered cod


1 8oz box of House Autry Seafood Breader (or 1 cup of seafood breader)

1 egg

24 oz Heineken or Guinness Beer

1 T Garlic Powder

1T Old Bay

1 c self rising flour (seasoned with old bay and seasoning salt)

1.5 lbs Cod Fillets (Wild Caught from Harris Teeter or Wholefoods)

Oil for frying


Heat oil in deep fryer

In a large bowl, put breader mix, garlic powder, Old Bay,  and egg and whisk in beer slowly and beat until smooth.

Drop desired size pieces of Cod into the mixture.

Once oil is hot, remove the fillets from the beer batter and dredge in seasoned flour then drop gently into the hot oil.

Fry until crispy.  Fillets will float to the top when done.

Copyright 2013  Valerie Renèe