Preparing To {Hopefully} Conceive

I’m now a few weeks into our IVF cycle and would say thankfully it’s not as bad as I had first anticipated. I am however a little bruised, a tad emotional, (who knew finding a parking space could be such a tear jerker?) and I am absolutely shattered; this is a level of tiredness above and beyond the norm! Other than that we’re both keeping positive and taking heed of the recommendation on my previous posts to live alongside IVF rather than in it.

I’m not sure if I’d call it a benefit but one positive element to requiring fertility treatment is that you have the time to get your body ‘match fit’ for conception. It’s given me space to get myself mentally prepared for the treatment ahead and I’ve been able to focus entirely on me; both from an emotional and physical perspective. When do you ever really get the opportunity to do that?!

Below I’ve outlined a few of the little things that I’ve done to prepare for fertility treatment but I think lots of them would be relevant to people trying to conceive naturally.

Acupuncture

Generally I’d look to Facebook for a recommendation but as I didn’t want to broadcast my fertility status to the world I had to resort to Google to hunt down an acupuncturist.

From testimonials I narrowed it down to two and disregarded one of them as parking looked to be a pain ( can you see a theme emerging?). I wanted to be as chilled out as possible-not stressed to the max.

I visited my chosen acupuncturist just before I started injections and although I have no idea if the little pins are doing anything to help me conceive, she has offered me invaluable and common sense nutrition advice and an incredibly friendly ear. The reassurance she has given is phenomenal and she’s so knowledgeable about the whole process. I really look forward to our weekly sessions and the one on one time with a comforting shoulder.

Exercise and Meditation

I started fertility yoga via YouTube back in the summer but as soon as I started the treatment I found my mind wandered and I couldn’t concentrate. Instead I’ve been walking more or less everyday to increase blood flow around the uterus.

On the recommendations of the lovely ladies here, I’ve downloaded Zita West’s visualisation and find it’s extremely relaxing. I think I’ve only made it all the way through the exercise once though as it puts me straight to sleep.

Nutrition

This is a tricky one. Getting hung up on food doesn’t help you live alongside IVF, which is something I’m really trying to do after the advice on my previous posts, however I’m a firm believer that you must do what you feel is right for you and in our situation we had an amazing turn of events. In January and February my husband’s two semen samples contained zero sperm, leading to the azoospermia diagnosis. On the advice of our urologist my husband reduced his caffeine intake to one cup a day in April and underwent genetic testing. In June the results of the tests indicated there was no genetic reason for this lack of sperm and it was likely to have been attributed to childhood illness. Surgical Sperm Retrieval was suggested although we were given only a 10% chance that sperm would be present if my husband went under the knife. We prepared ourselves for the news that we would no doubt require a donor.
In August after we received our NHS referral, our private clinic requested another sample and something amazing happened. WE FOUND SPERM. He has now completely cut out coffee and in his latest sample the numbers are up. Unsurprisingly neither of us are going near the caffeine now!

My lovely acupuncturist also recommended a few basic principles which have meant we’ve slightly changed our diets but haven’t found it a chore at all. Hopefully this means I’ll grow healthy, optimum eggs.

– Protein with every meal
– Cut down on processed foods
– Lots of fruit and vegetables
– Good fats such as avocados, seeds, nuts and olive oil
– Multivitamin containing folic acid for me and a male version for my husband.

I continued to read a lot more about nutrition in the run up to starting treatment and bought Emma Cannon’s Fertile book which I found really interesting.

Emotional Support

Emotionally I feel in a good place; I’m pretty level headed and focused on the task in hand but I did decide to take advantage of one of the counselling sessions at my clinic. With the surprise revelation they had found swimmers we sped on to treatment way quicker than anticipated and I arranged to speak to a counsellor to get my head around the new timeframe and the mixed messages we’d received. After one session I felt a lot more at ease and we decided to proceed with treatment instead of waiting until next year. The counsellor gave me some great advice too as I was getting frustrated with the sweeping sentiment of ‘staying positive’. She responded to this by stating ‘you don’t have to be positive all the time, just remain hopeful.’

So this is where I leave you all now; a little bruised but certainly not battered, slowly taking each day as it comes and together remaining forever hopeful.

Photography by Little Beanies

mm

A cautious optimist sharing her experience of IVF and ICSI. Making the most of the unexpected.

24 Comments. Leave new

Hi Jane.. thanks again for telling us about your experience.. i am finding the ivf process really isolating at times so I really look forward to reading your blog. The volume of information is at times overwhelming so it is great to get your thoughts. Nutrition has always interested me but I find lots of the advice conflicting. For example with supplements that Zita West suggests like maca powder i have been told by NHS to avoid… my sister (who has no nutritional training) gave me the best advice which was to “eat simply and mindfully”. Great to hear cutting out caffeine has had such a positive effect for you guys- my husband has cut it out but i still have 1 coffee a day.. perhaps that should go now? I have started acupuncture which i think is great.. and they are confident they can help with blood flow etc. I have problems with my tubes and they are being removed today which i am pleased (and nervous) about! We start injections in 3 weeks.. 😬 Thanks again for your blog.. it is so appreciated.. as are everyone elses comments. I look forward to reading them all. thank you Sarah

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Best of luck to you! I had a tube removed as it was severely scarred after childhood appendicitis and it actually made me feel relieved that the ‘problem’ was gone especially as I had a hydrosalpinx so there was lots of fluid that was interfering with conception. Good luck on your IVF journey and I hope the operation goes well x

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Thanks for sharing your experience and your good wishes Sam.. op was fine yesterday, bit sore this morning but feeling relived the “nasty bits” have gone. It does feel a bit final as both tubes are gone now but hoping this will improve IVF chances next month. X

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Oh Sarah, I just want to hug you.
Wishing you lots of luck with the procedure today and I hope you plan to take it easy.
Your sister has given the perfect advice about nutrition. I agree it’s so confusing and just causes you to second guess everything.
Hoping you have someone to confide in along the way. It can be so lonely but we are always here too. I feel very lucky to have been given this platform to share our experience.
Jx

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Thanks Jane.. all went well yesterday thank you. Bit sore but nothing that a day in bed wont fix! X

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Rest up and hope you feel better soon. Jx

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I agree totally with Sarah’s comment. This process can be so isolating and I love your instalments. I’ve found that both your posts and the many comments of support have had a really uplifting impact on me.
I’ve also got the Emma Cannon book and would highly recommend the Zita West fertility diet book too – great advice about what to eat at different stages of the process. I’ve found that infertility makes you feel so out of control and taking control of my diet and wellbeing really helps me feel a bit less lost!
All the best with your cycle Jane. I start my injections next week – I’m terrified but so excited to finally be starting!

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Best of luck to you on your journey. It’s a daunting process but can bring an incredible gift at the end. Wishing you all the best x

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Thanks Sam xx

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You and me both Rachel. I have found so much comfort in the comments. It’s made me realise there are so many other people facing these challenges too which I need to be reminded of as I felt very lonely at times.
The first injection is such a milestone but I promise you it will be fine. I got dressed up and went out for dinner straight after – it really helped me to think it wasn’t going to take over my evenings. Best of luck. Jx

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Wishing you every ounce of luck with the IVF Sarah, I did all of the same things as you, and again, my husband had zilch sperm to start with. A year later we had swimmers! Bizarre. As I type I am rocking my 6 month old son to sleep (hopefully😊) Keep going, keep hopeful, I have everything crossed for you. In fact I am getting emotional just thinking about it! Xx

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I do wonder how many men have had that devastating diagnosis Anna only to find when the sample is cleaned and spun that there is something there? My husband nearly fell of his chair when the consultant told us they had found some.
So wonderful to hear your success story and big congratulations on your son. Jx

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My husband had this diagnosis nearly five years ago now. We have since gone on to have two boys… One through IVF and the other as a very big surprise 20 months later (because we never for a moment thought we’d need to use protection). Sperm count is very changeable, it seems

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It’s staggering isn’t it? Congratulations!

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Char, this is incredible. I found very few success stories early in the diagnosis period. To read two in this post is amazing. Congratulations on your two little ones. Jx

How wonderful! It makes me emotional too thinking about it all. So pleased to hear you had an amazing outcome x

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Jane! Sorry. Wishing you and Sarah BOTH luck. Blame it on sleep deprivation 😂x

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Hi Jane…wishing you so much luck with your journey. I can wholeheartedly understand your parking dilemmas – it must be an IVF thing. I had 3 rounds of IVF – the first 2 were not successful and the second quite horrific having quite a few complications – however after giving up hope, we were the luckiest and successfully conceived our son.
Keep positive – you’re in a god place and doing all the right things, fingers and toes crossed for your miracle baby – its worth every ounce of pain, discomfort emotion, upset, and tears. Good luck, wishing so much happiness, xxx

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Thank you for your comment Emma. You were so brave to carry on with a third cycle after all the complications and it’s so wonderful to hear it all worked out in the end. Jx

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How lovely to hear you were successful x x

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The very best to you Jane! It’s such a journey and I think it’s underestimated how daunting it can be but love how positive you are. I stayed hopeful too and I now have a smiley, funny 4 month old little girl. I always want to talk about IVF and think medical science has just been incredible. Best of luck to you and your husband x

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Sam you are so right. Medical science really is incredible. It blows my mind every day to think that this procedure exists!
So pleased to read you have your little girl now. These success stories really do keep me going. Jx

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I know it blows my mind too! How lucky we are to have the opportunity to have the chance of a baby (if you know what I mean!) It makes me so upset that IVF is such a postcode lottery so not everyone can have it who needs it.
Stay positive and hopeful and I look forward to reading more about your journey x

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Sorry, I’m late to the party, but I bulk read articles here whenever I find the time!
Jane, it is so lovely to read from you again! I admire your mindset and the post is very informative as well as hopeful. I love what the counselor said, it really does ring true. I’m keeping both hand’s fingers crossed and press my thumbs (the German equivalent) for your journey!

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