Two Good Eggs

Two cracked eggs find the sunnyside (and funny side) of trying to conceive

Those Chinese may be on to something…

I am not sure what the next two weeks will hold, but I am officially back in the TWW.

As I mentioned before, we ended up taking November off from IVF treatment due to a variety of reasons that we felt were pushing us to take a break.  I have been visiting an acupuncturist, and have altered my diet a bit to reduce hormone-affecting food, as well as added some herbal supplements to aid in fertility concerns.

As promised, I’m including at the end of this post the dietary and herbal supplement recommendations that my acupuncturist provided.  Disclaimer – I am NOT a doctor, and can only speak on behalf of what my practitioners recommended specifically for me.  Before you try any new treatment that could affect your health or fertility, please consult your own doctors, therapists or other practitioners.  This is info-sharing only – not a prescription.

As for me, this cycle I’ve been taking the following daily:

  • 2 prenatal vitamins
  • 1 iron supplement
  • 3 25mg DHEA pills
  • 1 Co-q10 pill
  • 1 Acidolophilus pill

From a dietary perspective, I’ve eliminated:

  • all diet coke and soda
  • all artificial sweeteners in beverages
  • a significant amount of enriched flour and white carbs
  • cheese
  • a significant amount of other dairy
  • non-organic meat

Did it help?  The verdict is still out.  But, I feel very certain that I did ovulate this month.  In fact, I’m positive I felt it when it happened, which gives me hope that it was a strong O.  Sometimes I don’t feel it at all.

And, (TMI alert), my CM this month arrived in copious amounts.  For the past year, I have regularly had 1-2 days of EWCM; and even then, I usually have to check internally to find it in its limited amount.  This month, it made its appearance known externally in my britches, and required multiple wipings  during the potty visit.  And, it lasted for FIVE DAYS.  Whaaaat?!

Additionally, I’ve been going to acupuncture twice a week, and I can truly feel energy flowing to my uterus and groin areas during those sessions.  Whether or not that helps is yet to be seen, but I do think it’s stimulating the area to increase bloodflow and make a happier environment.

So, regardless of whether we get pregnant this month, I truly believe I’m making good choices and creating a less hostile environment.  So, if we do have to turn to IVF again in December, maybe my body will be more receptive.

I’ll keep you posted.

Any other success stories from following a similar routine?

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If God was holding court, I’d clearly be the court jester.

I’m convinced that one of my purposes in life is to be comic relief for God.  I envision God sitting up on his cloudy throne, surrounded by his “good” old boys, watching me go through my crazy journeys and saying “Hey y’all, watch this.  I wonder what she’ll do!”

Sort of like Adam Sandler in “Big Daddy” throwing sticks in the paths of the roller bladers.

My acupuncturist highly recommended that I start taking low-impact stretching yoga twice a week in an effort to help increase blood flow to my uterus and ovaries, re-channel energy and overall de-stress.  She specifically told me to use this time to clear my mind, stop thinking about baby making and just release my stress.

Monday, I tried this for the first time.  I went to my first yoga class since we began trying to conceive.  Now, I’m no stranger to yoga.  I’ve done it plenty in years past.  I’m familiar with most of the common lingo.  Relaxation pose.  Downward Dog.  Upward Dog.  Cat.  Even Cow.  I was ready to make this yoga my bitch and leave refreshed, with a clear mind.

I joined the class, and laid down into relaxation pose.  Nice, nice.  Deep breathing, I’m relaxing.  Mind is clearing.  Wonderful.  Remember to thank doctor later.

The teacher asked us to move from relaxation pose to sitting pose.  We begin stretching our necks, sides, getting warmed up.  Transition to downward dog.  Cow.  Cat.  Ahhhhh.  My back feels great!  My breathing is deep.  I haven’t thought about anything except stretching.

Then the teacher says, “Assume Happy Baby” pose.

Say.  What?

Assume.  HAPPY.  BABY.  POSE.   Seriously?

I had never heard this before, and looked around to see what my classmates were doing.  Sure enough, they all looked like happy effing babies.  You know how in cartoons when a character is hungry, they envision their friends as giant, walking turkey legs?  Yeah… so, my classmates all looked like this:

But all I saw surrounding me was this:

Breathe, breathe, breathe.  This is an odd coincidence.  Keep breathing – don’t lose focus.

So, I became a damn happy baby, and kept breathing.  We stretched our legs and back in this position, rolled over onto all fours and awaited further instruction.  The teacher broke her silence with, “Now, roll into embryo pose.”

What. the. $*#!

Again, having never heard of this pose, I look to my classmates for example.

Here come the giant turkey legs again.

Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?

Before I can even process this, we’re back to

At this point, I’m almost laughing at the irony of this.  Here I am, doing everything I can (against my nature) to release and let go – take things naturally, cleanse my mind and THIS is what greets me.

I am convinced that God was the puppetmaster for the yoga instructor that day.  I hope that my yoga class at least made Him smile.   I’m just trying to figure out if he was having a little fun, or trying to tell me that this may actually be worthwhile.  Maybe both?

Do you believe in signs? 

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Rotten eggs, sharp objects and renewed hope

I apologize for being MIA for a bit.  When we last met, I was awaiting the results of my first IVF cycle.   A bit has happened since then.

First, I went in for my 4-day scan and learned that I was not responding to the meds.  Cyrus the Cyst was gulping all the meds and my follicles were unimpressive.  They turned my IVF into an IUI, and before the end of my TWW, the evil witch cackled her way into my bathroom.

I thought I had prepared myself emotionally and mentally for the likely unsuccessful first attempt.

I was wrong.  It hit me pretty hard.  I was devastated.

Then, I spoke with my doctor on Monday to find out next steps, assuming I’d get a ray of sunshine and a little “hang in there” pep rally.  Notsomuch.

Turns out, after the increased stim dosage my estrogen should have ‘risen exponentially’.  Instead, it actually DROPPED.  I asked what causes this.  He flat out said, “Bad eggs.”

That hurt.  Bad.  I was broken.  My body is broken.  My heart – broken.   He tried to polish the rough edges by saying that my reserve number is still normal “for my age”, and I do still have some good eggs.  It’s just that the proportion of bad eggs to good is high.

Next steps:  Try a much more aggressive protocol.  THE most aggressive protocol.

We were toying with the idea of taking November off from IVF because all of the shots would be scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving.  With family in town, and a 12lb gobbler in my fridge, the idea of hiding 14 boxes of shots behind Tom the Turkey was less than appealing.  Plus, the stress of entertaining, etc., was getting to me and I just felt like we might need a break.  Then, like Captain Hook, I heard that incessant ticking of the clock chasing behind me like a crocodile.

The day before we were supposed to go in to learn the “most aggressive protocol”, we got a call from the financial manager at the fertility clinic.   They’re receiving some conflicting information from our insurance company.  After being assured by the insurance company directly that our treatments were 100% covered, the payments are coming in at 50%.  Until they could get it ironed out (which they “hope” to do this week), they are required to collect 50% at the time of consultation “just in case” the insurance doesn’t come around.   Translation – they required $4,000 at our appointment the next day “just in case”.

For those who don’t know me personally – I do NOT have a money tree in my backyard.

We need more than 10 hours notice to come up with that kind of money (especially after expecting that our treatments were covered).  We decided this was a sign that we should, in fact, take November off from IVF.  Give the doctor’s office a chance to reconcile with the insurance company, get our finances in order “just in case” and just relax a little.

So, I took a cue from Sunnyside and scheduled some acupuncture last week.  First time I’ve ever gone, and I freaking loved it.  My acupuncturist specializes in fertility issues and did more than turn me into Pinhead.  She talked to me about my diet -not in a “you should drop a few pounds” kind of way (lucky for her).  Rather, she enlightened me regarding how certain foods contribute to ovulatory issues, some chemicals raise your estrogen too much, some supplements reduce inflammation in your uterus, etc.  I was totally intrigued.   So,  my personal treatment plan for the next month is as follows (please understand this is a VERY abbreviated summary of the detailed information I received)

  • eliminate ALL diet coke (I may die)
  • eliminate ALL cheese (inflammatory food)
  • eliminate as much dairy as possible (inflammatory, and estrogen-adding)
  • begin getting 90% of my protein from organic vegetables; any meat protein should be organic (non-organic increases estrogen)
  • eliminate at least some of my white carbs (too many white carbs (like the diet coke, too) cause your body to not use insulin correctly, which can affect egg development and ovulation)
  • switch to a food-based prenatal vitamin
  • add DHEA 3 x day (25mg each)
  • add Co-q10 1 x day
  • add acedolphilus pearls 1 x day
  • drink herbal tea and water
  • twice a week acupuncture for the next 4 weeks
  • twice a week yoga

I have a lot of information on WHY all of these suggestions were made (based in research at Harvard, as well as doctor/patient testimonies).  I’m happy to scan and email to anyone who is interested.  It’s very intriguing, and makes a lot of sense.

Also, she recommended a book called, “Making Babies – a proven 3-month program for maximum fertility“.  It shows the correlation between natural treatment (like Chinese medicine, herbs/supplements, acupuncture, etc) and improved fertility.    I can’t vouch for it yet, but I’m currently reading it.  I promise to do a book review of it when I’m done, as well as an update on how this new diet/program is affecting me personally.  If I find that the book is valuable, expect to see it in a giveaway soon.

So, that’s where I’ve been.  And where I’m going.  It feels good to have something different to focus on, so that we don’t feel like we’re pushing pause completely.  And, it feels good that what I’m doing now is addressing the insurmountable stress that has been building over the past year, and more specifically, the past 3 months.

I don’t know where this path will lead.  If nothing else, maybe I’ll be healthier.

Have any of you had success with acupuncture or such dietary focus?  I’m interested in all of your stories – successful or not.

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