Category: Advice Overload


Like I told you in the beginning, as I finish this IVF journey I may jump around.  Mainly because I will write what I feel at the moment.  I am about to head to bed and I am listening to Oceans by HIllsong United. This song is going to be important to me for the rest of my life because this was my song during my twin cycle.

As you can imagine after 2 failed IVF cycles we were feeling defeated. We still had our son and so we tried to keep things in perspective that he just might be our only one and we were grateful for that.

My husband needed surgery to extract sperm and not just any surgery.  The surgery he needed was going to be a Micro TESE and only a handful of people truly specialized in the surgery.  I went back to find the original article done on this surgery because if we were going to do it, we were going to the best. At this point we had already spent $50k in IVF cycles and had our sweet son to show for it, but two heart breaking failures.

That is when I found Dr. Bruce Gilbert in Great Neck, NY. http://brucegilbertmd.com/micro-tese/

At this point we were ready to drain our financial resources for another child (as this cycle ended up costing a whopping $48K.)  We made an appointment with him, as you can imagine he is booked out far in advance.  But of course getting there would not go smoothly.  Our flight got cancelled and knowing that we did not want to have to reschedule and push our cycle back, we flew in to Maryland, rented a car and drove 4 hours to get to the appointment on time at 8 am.  We were exhausted and that is when we coined our phase, “if this was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.”

I will go into more details about Mirco-Tese and the Cycle in a different blog but for now I just want to talk about the song.  So during the 5 months, I leaned on God with everything, I mean I could not have walked during this time if it wasn’t for him.  And anytime I started to doubt or feel weary, the song Oceans by Hillsound United would come on geh radio or pandora, and I would think to myself, there is God reminding me again to trust HIM.

Well I go up for the week of ER and transfer, and I am just praying that Oceans would play. I am listening to Hillsong United Pandora station, Christian radio, and NOTHING. The song that I have heard probably a 100 times in the last 6 months in my moments of doubt does not play for me one freaking time. I was so low, and so sad. Because even after transfer as I leaned on HIM, I am asking please give me a sign this worked, give me MY sign. Nothing. After almost 2 weeks of being in New York for ER, Transfer then 4 days of bedrest, I finally am leaving to go back home.  I drive to LGA, and I am thinking well, we did our best, but I don’t think this worked.

Then as I approach the airport, OCEANS PLAYS on chrisitan radio, and ends right as I park the car the rental car to turn it. I burst into tears, the ugly hyperventalating tears. People must have thought something terrible had happened because I could not stop crying. And I KNEW, I KNEW at that moment HE never left and I was pregnant. Then 8.5 months later I gave birth too 2 healthy, beautiful 35 week twins that needed no NICU.

Moral of the story: Never lose hope.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Love and Sticky Dust,

IVFwoes

Work Out Meme

Oh F^%& ya! 1 mile in 16 minutes and 45 seconds! Are you serious?? I can’t even. You know when people are like you will never regret a work out, well I do, every F-ing time I do it. Now I am a Christian woman, and cussing only comes out of my mouth when I am at my limits, but my gosh. I hate working out right now. Truly hate it. I know one day I will love it. But tonight I hate it.

When I started this IVF journey I was a hot, tight, 128 pound 26-year-old girl. Working out was more about seeing my friends at the gym, and running a quick mile and lifting a few weights and then head out to eat pizza and drink wine. I didn’t have to work out to stay in shape. Fast Forward to gaining 10 pounds of water weight every cycle (that is TIMES 4 people!) from bloat and fertility drugs, then giving birth to 3 babies, bedrest with twins for half of a pregnancy, gaining 60 lbs. with the twins, and that tight ass body was then 175-pound ball of fat, with diastasis recti, boobs that hang to my navel and twin skin that has its own zip code.

So, here I am 4 months out from my LAST IVF and I know that the times I have been successful I have been at my best mentally and physically. That has been my key to success. Back in November I knew I needed a mind reset so I did the Whole 30 eating plan. It is NOT a diet, but truly a reset. I lost 15 lbs. after completing Whole 30 and then another 10 lbs. after a month just by continuing my habits until I was 150. I kept almost all the weight off for the last 4 months but it has slowly started creeping up. I am now at 155. I don’t know what my goal weight is but right now all I want to feel is strong and healthy again in the next 4 months before I stick another child into my uterus praying that is sticks.

Until Next time!

Lots of love and Sticky Dust!

IVFwoes

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Dad Knows Best…

As you know two days ago I had my first real Human moment of the IVF process. I was down for two days. I even was getting to the point where I was letting negative thoughts creep into me head. I was having doubts that I was not pregnant, because I did not know how I should be feeling right now. I was trying not to question God on why we had to go through this. Beta is Thursday And I only had 2 more days to wait. Plus I knew I was going to “cheat” and take a test the day before beta to prepare myself for the “Not Pregnant” I was going to get.

Then my Dad calls. As I have gotten older, I have realized that my dad actually knows something. Most of the time I think he’s a little obnoxious, boisterous, and arrogant. He is a self made business man, and he does not take crap from anyone. Even to the point of embarrassment sometimes. Well yesterday he calls to check on me. My dad is not the type to call everyday so I usually pick up. While we are talking he brings up my Aunt’s death that rocked our world last year. He starts to tell me a story about a man and an angel. It goes something like this:

There was a man, who needed a place to stay. First he went to the richest person’s house in the village and asked if they could stay for one night. The rich man said, I guess you can but you will sleep in the outhouse and we will throw you the left over food that we have. The man was grateful and stayed in the outhouse, which had not been taken care of, and was dirty. He received scraps of food and was still hungry. He was never to enter the main house.

The next day, he went to the poorest house in the village and asked if he could have a place to stay. This family lived on a small farm and only had one cow. They made their money by selling cow’s milk in the market. They let him inside, gave him their room while they slept on the floor. He ate and drank with them at the table, and was taken care of. In the morning he wakes up to hear the couple screaming. He goes outside and asks why they are screaming, they said our only cow how died. How will we make money, we will lose everything.

What the couple did not know is that in the night, the angel of death had come to the house for the husband. The man talked to the angel of death and said, please do not take the husband, take the cow instead. That they need each other but do not need the cow. So the angel of death took the cow and left the couple.

The man said to the couple, do not question God for why this has happened, but ask what’s next? That you have each other, and that is what is important. The couple agreed, and asked God what’s next, instead of questioning how he could do this to them.

The man left the home, and the couple goes to clean their room. They see a large bag of gold lying on the bed. The couple runs outside to catch the man, but he has already vanished. Meanwhile, the rich man who had not let the man enter his home was robbed of all his riches that same night and was left with nothing.

So as my dad is telling me this, I start to think, seriously…The second I start questioning why, my dad pops up with this story, about not asking why things happen to us. But start asking what is next for me. In the end my dad said to me, it will all work out the way it is supposed. You just have to have a little faith, which is hard. Because IVF beats you down. But we have to hold on to something, and faith that everything will work out…thanks for all the support my twitter and BabyCenter friends…tomorrow is Beta!

I know Mother’s Day is very hard for a lot of infertile couples/women. It’s a reminder that you still don’t have a child. I have read numerous other blogs about how Mother’s Day effects them, and some have been sad, and some have been wonderfully positive. I am choosing to stay on the side of positivity. There was one blog I read about Mothering Yourself, that I found fabulous. In summary it basically was talking about how we are being a mother to ourselves during/though the infertility process. We advocate for ourselves, take care of ourselves, we do everything to ensure that our next fertility treatment can be as successful as possible, and lastly, when there is no hope, we still find a way to have it.

I got the most adorable card Mother’s Day Card yesterday from the The Huz. He put a little letter inside and it was the sweetest thing I have ever read. This was the last line of the letter. “I hope our children look back at the card and say, “why did dad send mom a Mother’s Day card when they did not have children yet’, it’s because we knew and we had hope.”

So I hope today is a wonderful Mother’s Day to all those hoping to make this the last Mother’s Day without a child.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Pamper Mircale Commerical – I just like all the babies! So Sweet!

Today on twitter I have read three different posts on how to tell the infertile couple you are pregnant. This is funny because for the last 2.5 weeks I have suspected that my sister-in-law is pregnant and not telling me since she knows what we are going through. I feel with this whole IVF treatment it makes your senses even more heighten to seeing and knowing symptoms of pregnancy.

I have 3 types of online support that I am using to get through this IVF cycle, obviously this one where I can blog about what is going on with my cycle. Twitter, where I follow other infertile couples on their journeys through IVF, and BabyCenter, which I have a little group of 11 girls who are all the same age as me 24-26, going through IVF this May cycle with me. After reading those blogs and talking to the girls on my BabyCenter group I have realized a couple of things personally about telling the infertile couple you are pregnant.

I think it depends where you are in your infertility journey. My group on BabyCenter group are all first time IVFers, only 2 have done IUIs, and a couple took Clomid. We have barely been on this journey. So we are still excited whenever we hear of someone being pregnant. However, talk to us a couple of years from now if we have not had any children, and have spent thousands and thousands of dollars, we may not be as excited. I think the infertility journey can definitely wear you down.

  1. I also believe it depends on age. At 26, I know that I will probably keep doing treatments until I either am done having kids, or I get tired. Either way I have years ahead of me that I could potentially become pregnant. In my cohort at Dr. T’s office I am the youngest by 3 years.
  2. For me specifically, we have a male factor issue that was easily identified. My husband did have testicular cancer at 6 months old, so we already knew with chemotherapy and medication there could potentially be a problem. It was very sweet one day his mom and I went to lunch one day and she told me that she was sorry for making the decision that affected his fertility. I told her, that if she didn’t make that decision I probably wouldn’t have such a sweet husband.

This is how I look at it. Right now I am at the age where everyone is getting pregnant. I am one of those people who truly believe that everyone has their own struggles, whether its school related, financial, family etc. The Huz and I have an extremely blessed life, great families on both sides and have not really had to worry about anything. So the way I look at it now is that our struggle is fertility, and if this is the most difficult struggle we go through, I’ll take it. The Huz is such a wonderful man, and I couldn’t imagine a better person to go through this with. So when people are trying to figure out how to be sensitive to the infertile couples need, I would look at where they are at in their journey, how old there are, and be sensitive to that. Every couple handles news different, just make sure you do your research before you drop the bomb.

Hoping everyone is having a great day! Peace, Love and Baby Dust!

I have read many blogs, forums, and posts about the benefits of pineapple during IVF.   Since I started researching IVF I have been sifting through information on the benefits of pineapple.  In pineapple the vitamin bromelian is the active ingredient and is supposedly beneficial for IVF. 

Then my next step was to Wiki it, this is the information I found about Bromelain:

Bromelain is present in all parts of the pineapple plant (Ananas sp.), but the stem is the most common commercial source, presumably because it is readily available after the fruit has been harvested. Pineapples have had a long tradition as a medicinal plant among the natives of South and Central America.

Today, about 90% of meat tenderizer is used in consumer households. Bromelain is sold in a powdered form, which is combined with a marinade, or directly sprinkled on the uncooked meat. The enzyme will penetrate the meat, and by a process called forking, cause the meat to be tender and palatable when cooked. If the enzyme is allowed to work for too long, the meat may become too “mushy” for many consumers’ preferences. Cooked or canned pineapple does not have a tenderizing effect, as the enzymes are heat labile.

Although available in some countries (not the United States) as a product under the name ‘Ananase’, bromelain has no scientifically accepted therapeutic indications as an oral agent. It has a reputation for various uses in folk medicine. First introduced in medical research in 1957, bromelain may work by blocking some proinflammatory metabolites when applied topically. Preliminary research indicates that bromelain may affect migration of neutrophils to sites of acute inflammation.[4] As a potential anti-inflammatory agent, it may be useful for treating arthritis,[5] but has neither been confirmed in human studies for this use nor is it approved with a health claim for such an effect by the Food and Drug Administration or European Food Safety Authority.

So, this is what I take from this, Pineapple is supposed to make the uterus soft, which will make the eggs stick, because bromelain is a meat tenderizer and an anti- inflammatory.   The medication that I did not know about until today Dexamethasone has some similar properties.  It is a steroid and an anti-inflammatory.  I am supposed to be on it for a total of 3 weeks. So I feel that part has been taken care of, through other research I read stated it is supposed to make the uterus sticky, I am not sure how I feel about that.  Anyright, the max amount to eat is supposed to be about one cup of pineapple a day. Then I read a blog by TheIvfGirl about what her Doc had said about pineapple a year ago.

The benefits of pineapple for IVF

by Beth

When I was going through my IVF protocol, my doctor suggested I develop a sweet tooth for PINEAPPLE.  Yes, pineapple!  (I only had pineapple in my cocktails prior to that.  Not kidding.)

Supposedly, eating pineapple starting on the transfer date will increase the chances of a success.  Sticky beans!  Baby dust!

FRESH pineapple.  And the fruit closest to the core.  So you have to crack that thang open and start slicing.

Pineapple is a bromeliad fruit and contains the enzyme that breaks down protein. And there may be some proteins in the uterus inhibiting the embryos from “sticking.”

This could be an old wive’s tale or a myth but I had my fresh pineapple (about a cup a day) and now I am obviously knocked up (swollen ankles!)  My doctor told me there is no concrete proof it works either but it could lend an edge to the whole procedure.

I stored my pineapples on the kitchen counter and NOT in the refrigerator.  Stays fresher.   And I ate it for three days – starting on the transfer date.

My remaining fruit?  Funnily enough, I used it as a meat tenderizer.   Which sorta makes sense as it broke down the protein in the meat.  Which is what might have been happening in my uterus.  Which is probably why, months later, all I want to do is eat cheeseburgers all day.

Hmmmm.

Then the second post I really like is this one and it also talks about Pineapple and Baby Aspirin.

How to have a successful IVF

By bdavis76, eHow User 

So you’re here. First of all, congratulations and I’m sorry. If you’re here, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Getting pregnant is an emotional rollercoaster and if you’re preparing for a successful IVF then you’ve been through quite a rollercoaster already. I’m not going to guarantee you will get pregnant from this IVF, but if you follow these steps you will know you’ve done everything in YOUR power to make it successful. Know that I am praying for you and so are many other people in this world.

1 Acupuncture for pregnancy preparation, once a week for one hour. If you haven’t started acupuncture, I highly recommend it. Realize that acupuncturists are unique individuals but they have a way of understanding your body differently than our doctors. Blood flow is key to creating a healthy womb and that is one area an acupuncturist can help. Make weekly appointments and try to keep it at about the same time and day every week. Talk to your acupuncturist as well. Fill him/ her in on where you are in this journey. You need a confidant who is not too personally involved.

2  No alcohol or caffeine once you start your first shot
It’s better if you wean yourself a couple of months before you start the IVF process, but officially ban alcohol and caffeine from your diet once you’ve started your first shot. Your body needs to prepare for pregnancy, so let it be as healthy as possible.

3 Shots – give your shots consistently, same time every day
The more consistent your shot schedule is the better your body can prepare and use the necessary medicines.

4 Rest – Shoot for 9 hours of sleep a night.  The more rest you get, the more your body can prepare for pregnancy and focus on that.

5  Pineapple – start eating pineapple once you start the Follistim shots (or whichever ovulation inducer you are taking) and continue eating pineapple until you are done with bedrest. Yes, the more pineapple the better. I recommend using it as a dessert for all three meals every single day. It’s healthy and there’s something special in it to help with pregnancy. Not sure what, but it’s magic.

6  Stop exercising – yes, that’s right, I said stop!
You’re body is going through a traumatic event AND it’s preparing to become pregnant. Working out takes that energy to a different place. If you’re dying to do something, walk. No sit ups! No weights! No bouncing! Your ovaries are growing and growing and they can actually become damaged. Protect them! Working out can come back into your life after the baby arrives!

7  Baby aspirin – take one once a day starting the day after retrieval Baby aspirin helps encourage blood flow through your body and specifically to your uterus. Help that home be nice and cozy for that baby (or babies!).

8 Gatorade – start drinking Gatorade on your way home from the egg retrieval and drink it continuously until you get your positive pregnancy test.  Your eggs have been taken, but your ovaries are now filled with blood. You are most likely going to feel some discomfort and maybe even some pain. Gatorade helps reduce that pain and lets your ovaries recover easier. If you have strong cramping pain, drink more Gatorade. Obviously call your doctor too, just to make sure they’re in the loop.

9 REST!!! – Take the entire day off of everything on the day of your retrieval. Even better, that the next day too.
Rest means, laying down watching old movies (and sitcom, Dawson’s Creek and Sex in the City were two of my favorites) and read novels (try to stay away from the pregnancy books right now).

10  Acupuncture – Make an appointment for the morning before transfer.

11 Bring in a relaxing CD to the transfer. Relax and think babies!

12 REST! The minute your doctor transfers the blastocysts into your uterus is the minute that your bedrest starts.  Bedrest means no stairs, no showers, no sitting up (except meal times) and stay on bedrest for four days (transfer day plus three more days). When you are riding home from the doctor, recline your seat all the way back and legs up on the dashboard. Your husband is your servant for these four days. Have a bell next to your bed. Yes, he will get annoyed, but it’s all worth it. The only time you should be standing is when you go to the bathroom. Don’t plan on changing for four days, or change while you’re lying down. If you are dying to brush your teeth, do it while you’re using the bathroom. I recommend watching Juno and Knocked Up with your husband during your bedrest – great bonding movies.

13 No lifting! – Stop lifting anything heavier than a book and don’t start lifting again until after your first trimester.

14 Continue weekly acupuncture through your first trimester.

15 Refuse stress – let your mind relax just like your body!

So after all this advice what to do!  I have decided not to stress.  I am not going to worrying myself over the hundreds and thousands of post of advice on a successful IVF.  I am going to make my own plan, and stick with what works for me.  If the key is to not be stressed, I am not going to stress over taking all the advice.  I made a program that works for me.  I am following my protocol, I already went to acupuncture once a week, so I am going to continue to go.  I get a massage weekly for relaxation, and I try my hardest to each healthy food.  I drink an enormous amount of water every day, and I may have a piece of pineapple if I am craving something sweet.  What I am not going to do is freak out, the key like I said before is to relax and diminish stress.  So I would say, make a plan that works for you and stick with it.  All we can do is hope for the best!