Tag Archives: IVF tips

When 3 Become 1 and 1 Makes 3


Sounds like some mathematics problem, eh? Math is not my thang by any means, but when it came to fertility, probability mattered. By the point of transfer, I think we were both in so much shock that we actually made it that far, that the thought of three embryos didn’t even phase us. To boot, Dr. Lavy and his staff had gotten us that far that we weren’t going to doubt his recommendations then…or ever.

Recently, I have seen a lot of posts regarding transferring one or two embryos and I have received some outreach on the matter as well. The truth is it all comes down to numberscircumstancenumbers~ well I guess both.  In the end your circumstance relates to your numbers, right?  If you have 11 frosties (frozen embryo babies)  then chances are your doctor is going to suggest transferring one.  If you’re on your third round of IVF, with only a handful of embryos left to spare, they’ll probably recommend using two.  If you’re us, everyone’s so dumbfounded how you even have embryos they say screw it, transfer them all.  Just kidding…sort of.  I mean our circumstances and our numbers were grim.  At the day of transfer we had 3 embryos quality enough to use.  Basically there was nothing left and it was a miracle in and of itself that we had gotten the two handfuls or so of sperm to even attempt IVF with ICSI at all.  Moreso, we were open, maybe even hopeful, to the idea of having twins.

While I had envisioned transferring 2 embryos on a day 5 transfer, that was not the case.  See, I couldn’t help myself.  I was still planning it all out.  Getting the call that we would be doing a day 3 transfer threw me off more than the idea of transferring three embryos.  Strange, right?  But as the doctor sat in front of us, scribbling as he usually did, he flat out said, “You won’t be having triplets.”  He knew our circumstances.  His recommendation was transferring three to get two or even just that “one”-it was the best probability.

That “one”.  If only you could see him morning, noon, and night like I do.  He is something special.  My husband has recently been joking that he thinks the doctor added a little something to the embryo because being this cute and perfect couldn’t possibly be from just us.  He amazes me each day as he combines words and “talks” about things we did the days before.  He’s loving and affectionate, wild and sassy all- in-one.  As his second birthday approaches, he’s a combination of that little infant that relied on me for everything and this autonomy-aspiring, mini spitfire who says “No, mommy” when I try to help him from tipping over the cereal bowl.  He’s our “one” that was chosen just for us to protect, teach, raise, and adore.  He’s the “one” who made us a family.

So as we dabble with the notion of turning 3 into 4, I get a lot of questions about if we try for another, will we have to do IVF again.  Yes, we most certainly will and more likely than not my husband will have to have the TESE surgery again as well.  We are not that infertile couple that had to do IVF the first time and then, as fate should have it, wound up pregnant naturally the second time.  I sometimes envision it, but then am reminded of the circumstance.  What’s the probability of getting this lucky twice?!

The “I” in Infertility


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There’s a very fine line between living with infertility and letting it take over your life.  The quest to have a baby can be consuming.  Compound that with infertility and it’s hard to see life outside of doctor’s appointments, bloodwork, OPK’s, two week waits (TWW) and pregnancy tests.  It can be difficult to not let it overcome you because infertility is a beast.  But I’m here, on the other side, to tell you that it doesn’t need to be your be-all and end-all.

It’s all about finding the balance in life, which can always be extra tricky when you’re dealing with a stressor of some sort.   Sometimes when the topic comes up, you might say “We are trying.” Other days you might feel like giving a 20-minute mini-lesson on your infertility diagnosis.  There are days when it’s just easier to wear a smile and yet other times when you need to let the tears stream down your face to get out a good cry.  Allowing yourself good and bad days helps to keep the balls juggling so to speak.  The moment you go too much one way or too much the other, the balls start to drop.

Much like anything that’s worth fighting for, you will also have to make sacrifices and not just the financial kind.    Infertility tends to plan some days and months {even years} for you because of the intense scheduling, especially when in the midst of an IVF cycle.  However, don’t let it dictate your life.  Don’t waste away your days waiting for that one moment. Do girls nights and spontaneous romantic weekend getaways.  Take on daring adventures, indulge in retail therapy, and pound back way too many shots.  The infertility doesn’t go away but at least life isn’t slipping by either.  Sure there will be times you have to “sit out” or say “Now isn’t a good time,”  but more often then not, the infertility will still be there and those opportunities won’t.  I found (and still find) myself so many times opting out of a bachelorette or putting off a vacation out of fear that a procedure or doctor’s appointment might come up.  But it’s important to remember, infertility causes you to make enough sacrifices, so do yourself a favor-you deserve it.

That’s not to say it’s easy, nor will there be times that you can’t help but fall victim to letting infertility get the best of you.  At those times, remember:

The “I” in infertility does not stand for identity. Infertility does not define who I am. It does not encompass all of me. Rather, it is just part of my story, as is being a daughter, sister, friend, wife, speech-pathologist, and so fortunately, a mother.

Since initiating this blog, I’ve had so many people, even my own dad, remark that they knew we were having issues but didn’t realize that it was that bad.  That’s because I didn’t want infertility to define me and I still don’t.  Even though I’ve overcome it, infertility is and always will be part of me.  As part of my story, I’m inclined to share it to help others.  So while the “I” in infertility doesn’t stand for my identity, I think I’ll let it stand for impact.  It has made a profound impact on the individual and, more importantly, the  mommy I have become.  I hope that, through this blog and a support group, I can use my infertility journey to make an impact.

My IVF Tips

 

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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 💉🎯.

  1. 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.

5.  Acupuncture

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.

9.  Pray

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 onprayersandneedles@gmail.com or on Instagram and Facebook you can private messgage me @onprayersandneedles.

Positive Vibes & Baby Dust ✌🏼️👶🏼✨