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Journey to Conception

Journey to Conception

The following is the first in a series of posts from Angela Le, the founder of Fifth Avenue Fertility Wellness in NYC, co-written by one of her patients and WRNY contributor, Liz Pacheco.

Liz: Angela seemed to float into my life at just the moment I needed her. After month upon failed month of trying to conceive while temping, charting and using Ovulation Predictor Kits, I was determined to heal my body (and put a baby in my belly while doing it!). My husband and I didn’t feel ready for traditional fertility treatments and were seeking a more natural alternative.

When I finally found Angela, I was so nervous for that first appointment! I wondered if I would like her, if she would like me, or if she might find something terribly wrong with me. But she instantly put me at ease. I remember telling her that I was there with high hopes of getting pregnant but that above all, I wanted to be okay (okay with potential IVF, infertility, or anything that might come my way).

At that first appointment, we talked a lot about diet and Angela asked me to keep a food diary for the next week. I was confident that she would find me to be a healthy eater and that any food issues would be quick fixes for us. But instead she said my diet was filled with inflammatory foods, especially the carbs and sugars that were likely feeding the root of my fertility issue: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The journey to change my diet was one of the hardest things I've ever done but I was committed to giving it a go.

Angela: Liz came to me after she had been struggling to conceive for over a year. She was looking for an alternative to Clomid, a medication recommended to help induce ovulation in women with PCOS. After meeting Liz, it looked promising that I could help her ovulate, so we started by adjusting her diet. Part of my practice is using food as medicine and we soon discovered carbohydrates were exacerbating her PCOS. Liz struggled with the diet changes. It is never easy to let go when you are in the throes of something -- food addiction, fertility challenges, emotional stresses -- as a culture, we turn to comfort food to help ease what ails us. Liz worked through the challenges and came out on the other side. She started to feel balanced and at peace with where her fertility journey had taken her so far.

After Liz changed her diet, there was space created for the work that would lead to deeper healing. She started to feel the benefits of our sessions influence other areas of her life. We slowly added in meditation and similar exercises to promote mindfulness in order to nurture this new exploration. What happened next was life-changing.

Liz: It's hard to find words for what happened next without sounding like I just drank the KoolAid, but a transformation began to take place inside me. I started to recognize things about myself that I had never acknowledged before: my obsession with control and perfectionism, my relationships with family, friends (and food!) and the impact those things had on my physical body.

I look back on it as my summer of awakening with Angela as my cool big sister/guide through it all. Her down-to-earth approach offers the perfect mix of Eastern and Western medicine and makes her perfect for the job: during some appointments, we talked all about hormone levels, at others we discussed diet and supplements, and sometimes we talked about spirituality.

Most importantly, we forged a partnership along the way and I finally found myself at a point where I knew that I was going to be okay (but don't get me wrong, I was still anxiously awaiting a positive sign of pregnancy or even just ovulation!). Once I stripped away the rough foods and chemicals I was exposing myself to and calmed my racing mind, my body began to heal itself enough to be able to ovulate for the first time in months, maybe even years!

Angela: Empowerment is a huge part of the work I do with patients. Liz started to feel empowered through what had previously been a confusing and overwhelming fertility experience. As she became an active participant in her own health and wellbeing, Liz found herself looking at the bigger picture – questioning what would work best for her. She was looking inside of herself for answers and as a result began to take responsibility for her own health.

Liz: The spiritual journey that I embarked upon with Angela was one I never thought I needed. I have a supportive network of friends to lean on, great communication with my husband and a mostly blissful life in NYC. But I found that we all have emotional healing to do, especially when faced with a challenge like infertility. I’m not going to lie: the work I did with Angela was hard! There were lots of tears, bursts of anger and days filled with great disappointment when I didn’t see immediate results. But in the end, it was SO worth it! Yes, I ovulated (hurray!) but I was also able to forgive myself for my imperfections and to truly trust my intuition for the first time in a long time. A few doses of Clomid certainly couldn’t have achieved that.

Angela: Liz is a wonderful example of the powerful changes that can happen when a patient commits to their own healing process. Yes, there are often quick fixes for many conditions, but why not get to the root of the deeper issue? There is a real opportunity in infertility, and Liz seized it. She reconnected with herself and experienced profound physical and emotional healing, using her fertility struggles as a catalyst. For me, the biggest joy comes from Liz got pregnant on her own terms, while following and trusting her intuition – leading to results that will last a lifetime.

We’re happy to report that Liz is currently six months pregnant with her first baby! Although she says that her pregnancy hasn’t been a cakewalk, her continued work with Angela has kept her healthy and prepared for all that’s to come.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

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Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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