Wednesday, April 11, 2012


At 2am, I bolted upright in bed with the realization that I'm (in all likelihood) less than 90 days out from starting my one and only IVF cycle. This totally freaked me out. After laying in bed for an hour with my thoughts, worries and fears swimming in my head, I finally got up. I took my ipad to the couch and began researching, preparing and reading forums. One thought was driving all of my energy: no regrets.

I have no control over whether IVF works for me. Or how my body responds to the drugs. Or whether my little embabies decide to implant. But I can prepare my mind and body as much as possible to give myself the best possible chance for success. I just don't want to look back at a failed cycle (if that's the way it happens) and think that if I had done something different...maybe it would have worked.

After hours on the computer and several articles about your egg quality being affected by stress, circulation and diet, I feel immense pressure to get myself ready immediately so my body has a chance to adapt to the new routine. Things I'm going to incorporate are:
  • yoga (3x per week)
  • acupuncture
  • daily meditation
  • additional supplements - zinc, selenium, fish oil, COQ10, L-Arginine
  • adjustments to my diet
This is the most challenging area because the right thing to do to improve my fertility is unclear. One article says if you're a vegetarian (which I am), add organic meat to your diet. Another one says that the Paleo diet is best and gluten should be cut out. Yet another states that if you have endometriosis (which I do), dairy, gluten, sugar and red meat should be avoided. Some swear by juice fasting while other sites caution against it. It's truly overwhelming. But most articles say that you should avoid caffeine (been on decaf for 3 years) and cut out all alcohol. Although giving up wine will be the hardest part for me, it won't be as hard as living with the knowledge that I didn't do everything I could if my cycle fails.

In the end, does any of this really matter? I don't know. But I don't want any what ifs. Did any of you feel this way before embarking on IVF?


Mrs. H said...

Before our first cycle I educated myself as much as possible. I added supplements (based on Schoolcraft's book) and some recommended by my Accupuncturist. I stopped drinking alcohol since the beginning of the year and well I don't drink coffee or anything with caffeine. Though we eat vegetarian 95% of the time 5% of our diet includes meat of some sort or fish. I totally understand you wanting to research and prepare yourself the best way you can. I think you should also get your RE's advice on things you could possibly do. Good luck and I hope your cycle is successful.

sass @ (In)fertility Unexplained said...

I did, and I do feel that way. It's so hard to know what really matters, and in the end I was causing myself so much stress with all the research that I decided to put an end to it. The only think I'm doing this time around is trying to be kind to my body (but I'm not following any "rules" anymore).

Oh, and...90 days is so soon!!!

Katie said...

It is all just so overwhelming. We are about two months away from our first ivf cycle and I struggle to not think about it ALL the time. I too want to do whatever I can for it to be successful and am trying to find the balance of doing what we can, to trusting God that it will work if it is his plan. I also struggle because there is SO much information out there and so many decisions with the whole process too. thinking of you in the next few months!!

Nicole Marie said...

i should probably go read your infertility etiquette post before commenting on this one...
but... i'm all with you on the living with no regrets.
but remember to not put so much pressure on yourself.
Just do the best you can .

Lauren said...

I think this a good plan. You can't guarantee that you will get pregnant even if you do all these things, but doing these things CAN improve your chances. I actually have read in a bunch of places that if EITHER partner has any alcohol during an IVF cycle, the chances of success decrease by something like 50%!

It's absolutely worth doing everything you can, especially if it's your only IVF. Like you said - no regrets.

Becky said...

While I'm not going down the road of IVF yet, I made a lot of these changes myself 3 months ago. Eliminating caffeine and alcohol, going to acupuncture and taking a giant cocktail of vitamins and supplements. I'm not sure if it's helped my egg quality or not, but I do feel much healthier and I love having the knowledge that I am doing all I can possibly do so that I can move forward with no regrets as well. I hope you find these changes to be positive and hopefully they will help contribute to your egg quality as well!

The Bird said...

I didn't know you were a vegetarian with endo! I am, too! I am going crazy with all of the dietary suggestions I have read as well. After several years of unexplained gastrointestinal distress (this predated our now known infertility/endo diagnosis) I started cutting out gluten last August. My stomach feels GREAT most of the time now. It is not hard as far as feeling full or satisfied with eating, in my opinion, but it is very hard to maintain weight/gain weight. I have lost 7 pounds since August and am trying to gain them back before my laparoscopic surgery in June. I am considering adding fish to my diet but am having trouble deciding what to do because I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years!

And I switched to whole milk yogurt and as much organic dairy as I can (I also consume WAY less cheese now that I can't eat Triscuits. ha!). As for sugar, I get most of mine from fruit and ice cream since I can't eat most baked goods anymore!

If you decide to try limiting/cutting out gluten, let me know and I can send you some links to great recipe sites:)

I still drink coffee (1-3 times a week) and alcohol (very occasionally, usually at social functions).

Good luck in preparing for your IVF...your yoga, acupuncture, meditation and all of that sounds amazing. It really sounds like you are taking care of your health in the best ways possible:)

DandelionBreeze... aka NYMum said...

I completely agree with you and live by this principle as much as I can... all your ideas sound great :)) I've also heard conflicting advise re diet... but I guess that whatever you think will help you to feel the best, without stressing you too much or leaving you feeling deprived is the best thing. Lovely to be preparing for this cycle with you and will be cheering you on :)) xoxo

Samantha said...

That sounds like a good plan! Pray a lot too!

iwant2ski said...

I took some steps to prepare for IVF, but didn't go what I consider "overboard." I did wean myself off coffee, stopped drinking once I started the fertility meds, and eased off my insane, push-myself-til-I-wanna-puke Boot Camp workouts and just did more moderate cardio and weight training. Other than my prenatal vitamins, I didn't take any special supplements, make any radical changes to my diet (which is pretty healthy anyway), or otherwise alter my lifestyle. Really, the things you're talking about incorporating are "no harm no foul" in my unprofessional opinion. You did say one very, very important thing though that I would hope you hone in on: "I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER WHETHER IVF WORKS FOR ME." That was pretty much my mantra during my process! If it's not going to work for you, it's not going to work for you, and it's not going to be because you didn't drink pureed kale or because you ate a piece of caged chicken. Totally my personal opinion, but I was not willing to buy into the hype or non-evidence based theories on diets, supplements, etc. Worrying about whether I would be eating all the perfect foods and taking all the perfect herbs and meditating in the most perfect way etc. etc. etc. was NOT something I personally could bring myself to do. I would have driven myself more nuts by doing that and therefore most likely would have done myself more harm than good. And let's be honest, if the IVF doesn't work for you (which it will, so this is a hypothetical), you would probably kick yourself and say "DAMMIT, I did the organic meat diet and I KNEW I should have done the juice fasting diet!!" -And you know darn well neither of those would be the difference between pregnancy and not. I say do the common sense smoking, alcohol, skydiving, cut out the caffeine for practice's sake...acupuncture and yoga and stuff won't hurt of course...but don't consider your more unusual or drastic lifestyle changes to be the things that will make or break pregnancy. Whatever will be will be. xoxo

Aly @ Operation Baby said...

Hey! It's so nice to meet you. I've not tried acupuncture, just due to finances at the same time as our IVF - it's all a bit much, but I've cut out alcohol, most caffeine & am supplementing it up. Gosh, I hope it works.

daysofserenity said...

you should check out this article about decaf drinks...pretty informative. This is not our one and only IVF cycle, but I want to do this as few times as possible and I went into this with the attitude of no regrets also. I don't want it to fail and then have to fight guilt about what if's.

makeyourownluckblog said...

I just found your awesome blog and have been reading past posts. Love it!

Had to comment on this post because I totally agree with you on doing everything in you power to have no regrets. When I went through my IVF and FET I followed every single thing the doctor told me to do (or stop doing). I ended up losing twins at 9 weeks but I had no thoughts of what if. It made me feel a lot better to know that there was nothing I could have done to change what happened. So much about infertility is out of our control, it's nice to actually have something I can control. Although, it is really hard to give up some things,especially coffee and beer :).

So happy I found your blog, I look forward to following your journey.

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