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.
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.
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.
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