Before I even get started here let me give my big, huge DISCLAIMER: I have no medical background in infertility and by no means am I any kind of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Guru. I am quite simply a girl who went through IVF, researched a little, and decided to take a few steps, which may or may not have made my first IVF cycle a success! Many of the tips here have no or limited scientific correlation to a pregnancy subsequent to IVF. My train of thought, though, was if it wasn’t harmful and had led to a pregnancy for some, than why not give it a shot ??.
- No MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
The only restriction I was given from my infertility Doctor was to avoid MSG. I figured that just meant no Chinese food, which was no biggie for me, but for my husband, would be comparable to going to the electric chair. Seriously, though, MSG is in a lot more than you’d think. So once I began the meds, I read every label and made every waitress swear on the Bible that there was no MSG in whatever I was consuming. Literally, I’d look at a Tic-Tac label just to make sure. MSG wasn’t going to mess with me.
2. AAA (Abstaining from Aspertame & Alcohol)
Now this was a little trickier for me than the whole MSG thing and was not something I was told to do. But AAA is my own little acronym for what I decided to do the month of my cycle and obviously the next 9 months plus!
We all know that Aspertame is not healthy for us, but like anything we shouldn’t have its so damn good. Not having Splenda in my coffee actually made me give up my cup of joe during my cycle, pregnancy, and the majority of my year nursing. Let’s just say I’m making up for it now. Basically, I live off coffee and goldfish these days.
And if you think that was hard, imagine the alcohol part. I’m not a huge drinker per say. As one of my BFF’s mom once put it, more of a social drinker and “I’m very social!” ? To be quite frank, champagne and I became very well acquainted, especially during my infertility struggles. Another pregnancy announcement…pop a bottle! Baby shower…drink the champagne punch bowl dry! My mantra
was is kind of like “Save water, drink champagne. ” ??????
I just felt like cleaning out my system and not having the alcohol mix with the meds was the best choice for me. To be honest the alcohol part was easier than the coffee.
3. Leave the Avocado, Take the Prosecco
I decided to do a little research when it came to the point of moving forward with IVF. Afterall I was about to inject myself with hormones and wanted to know what impact it was going to have on my body. I must confess, I use the word research in the loosest sense. By research, I mean mostly googling. And good ‘ole Pinterest was flooded with this study (Link ??http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2168494/Avocado-diet-triples-chance-success-couples-undergoing-IVF.html). That’s all I needed to read to gather my Big Y coins and shell them out on that bag of avocados. By the way do you like my play on the Godfather’s “Leave the gun, take the cannoli”?! Nothing like a little mafia humor to keep you going. Speaking of humor…
4. Laughter Post-Transfer
I also researched a study that indicated that laughing immediately after transfer increased success rates. The theory as discussed here ?? http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/31/youre-kidding-medical-clown-increases-pregnancy-rates-with-ivf/ is basically that the more relaxed a woman is at the point of transfer, the more likely the embryos will implant.
Maybe the age-old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine” is true afterall. Regardless, I told my husband to gear up and put together a little comedy skit once our little embies were transferred. Turns out, joke was on me. All he had to do was tell the nurse I had him inject me with the progesterone, without changing the needle, and we were all on the floor laughing at her reaction.
I think acupuncture is one of those things you love or hate. I, admittedly, was skeptical in the beginning, especially because it wasn’t like I was going to treat an ailment or quit smoking. What I mean by that was, in the midst, I couldn’t tell if it was working or not. When people ask me my thoughts on acupuncture, my response is always it may or may not have helped, but at least it was about an hour of relaxation each appointment. That probably helped in and of itself.
If you’re in my neck of the woods, I’d highly recommend Craig at Kos Chiropractic in North Branford, Connectiut. The chiropractor, Jackie, was also fabulous and uber intuitive which had me intrigued to say the least. She’d recommend a certain colored panty to bring out my chakras and was very knowledgable about infertility and the IVF process. They both seemed experienced and were beyond supportive. At one point, Jackie told me to remember the number 4. I nearly almost fell out of the car door when I received our embryology report that said 4 out of the 6 mature eggs fertilized. How’s that for being on point?
6. Pineapple Core
This is a pretty common tip. Having the core of a pineapple supposedly can enhance implantation because of a particular enzyme found specifically in the core. For me, we cut the pineapple into fifths horizontally and I ate the pineapple and core starting on the day of transfer and four subsequent days. I love pineapple (especially with Citron vodka ?) so it was fine for me. A pineapple is a traditional symbol of “welcome” so just think of it as a way to welcome the embryos into your uterus. ?
7. R & R
I’m not one to slow down, but when it came to this, I knew I needed rest and relaxation. My egg retrieval was on a Thursday, so I decided to take Friday off. We ended up doing a day 3 transfer on Sunday. While I intended on taking that Monday and Tuesday off, I felt a cold coming on. I decided to take an extra day that Wednesday. I spent most of those days on the couch and took full advantage of being waited on. Even when I went back to work, I tried to not go a million miles per hour like I usually did. I worked with kids with special needs, many of whom had behavioral problems. Therefore I was extra cautious as if I were pregnant. Well I guess I was PUPO (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise) and luckily the otherwise never happened and I was just…pregnant!
8. Stay Positive
I know it’s cliche and easy for someone whom IVF worked for the first time, but there’s a power in positivity. I stayed positive because it was all I could do. Eleven eggs were retrieved and of those, six were mature enough to fertilize. As I mentioned before, four of the six fertilized. At Day 3, there were still four embryos but only three were quality enough to transfer. We transferred all 3, so literally we were at the end of the road with nothing left to freeze. At that point it was in God’s hands.
In our case, staying positive meant two things: no googling and no testing before Beta. Not being able to google meant less symptom spotting, less negative thoughts. Avoiding taking a pregnancy test before Beta also was key for us. I wasn’t testing too early and defeated not seeing the second line.
We remained as we had throughout our whole journey, cautiously optimistic.
This probably should have gone a little higher on the list, but I’ll admit throughout my journey there were many times I was mad at God. What did I do to You to deserve this? In the end, though, all we have is faith. As I sat there waiting for my husband while he was in surgery, all I had left to do was pray. After our transfer, all there was left to do was pray and, just like positivity, there’s a power in prayer.
Whatever higher power you believe in will give you strength and help you endure the process. If you’re ever in doubt that there is a God (or whomever you pray to), you’re faith will certainly be restored when you finally welcome your little bundle. Because pregnancy and new life are nothing short of miracles from above.
I thank God everyday for our baby and this blessed life. One day when Mikie asks and I have to explain the “special” way he was born, I will be certain to emphasize that God was key in bringing him to us . Afterall, Michael is “he who is like the Lord”.
10. Seek Support
There is nothing more reassuring when going through IVF than having someone who has been there. Whether it be a friend or complete stranger, find that one person who can share their story and guide you along the way.
If you’re approaching or currently undergoing an IVF cycle and have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out. Even if you just need a positive word, contact me. I’m available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram and Facebook you can private messgage me @onprayersandneedles.
Positive Vibes & Baby Dust ✌?️??✨