For some time I have felt the need to write about some of the different things that I did leading up to my IVF cycle that could have helped it work. One will never know what exactly did the trick. Mostly, I just give all the credit to God and figure it just FINALLY was the right time for us. Nonetheless, the further out I am getting from our cycle, the more I seem to forget. I never thought I would say that as we lived it for so long – the shots, the oral medications, the vaginal suppositories, but I am.
So, let’s get to it…
One of the first things I did upon discovering that I might have endometriosis earlier this April, was to get on what I am calling a anti-negative immune system regimen. There are some negative immune things going on in endo, I sought to counter these effects with:
DHEA 20mg. I took a very low dose. DHEA had many positive effects apart from increasing the better parts of my immune system and decreasing some of the unwelcome parts. (I could go into so much more detail about DHEA and get all scientific, but don’t want to lose you, so we’ll stick with my better/unwelcome parts analogy. ) Apparently it also helps with egg quality. (Somehow, according to our RE, all our embryos turned out “perfect”, so I’m thinking this really helped.) Was my RE really on board? Not really, but they let me stay on it. There are a lot of clinics around the country utilizing DHEA as part of their IVF protocols. In my humble opinion, I think we will begin to see more of it.
DHA. Found in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, I took some additional DHA on the side. Also, to help out my immune system and improve my egg quaility.
Vitamin D – 2000IU. I increased my Vitamin D intake as it also appears to modulate the immune system.
Melatonin 3mg every night to help improve egg quality.
…I figured if endo was preventing my embryos from implanting or attacking them prior to even reaching my uterus, well, it was time for me to take the offensive position and get it UNDER control. I will never really know how my immune system was really functioning as I did not undergo testing. Nonetheless, I felt these changes were very important and there was enough literature out there to support them. On a side note, as much as I loved my RE, he isn’t really into the whole immune system side of things and only begins to delve into these things in women with recurrent miscarriages. He kinda laughed at me when I brought it up early in our treatment, but I carried on anyway.
Next, I ordered a book. IVF Success Program.
This book was GREAT! Definitely overwhelming and there is NO way you can incorporate everything into your life. But it provides all the research on everything from diet to exercise to medications to acupuncture to little changes that can make all the difference in having a successful IVF cycle. A few changes I made as a result of reading it were that I started going to acupuncture again. I went once a week and then on the day of my transfer, I had acupuncture before and after. I tried to incorporate more pH basic foods into my diet including cucumbers, red peppers, kale, etc…while decreasing pH acidic foods such as red meat in hopes to encourage more positive changes in my immune system and overall fertility. She also recommends drinking mint tea everyday…so mint tea I did. I am not going to get into all the research here. Too much to talk about, but I really liked the book. She also goes over the whole process from starts to finish, the different medications you are on and all of the tests you will endure. There is a yoga book included, as well as a menu planner, and a journal to track your experience. She also talks about the research behind the eating of pineapple core for 5 days post transfer….
Thus, that is what I did. Pineapple core post transfer for 5 days! Just the core. The bromine helps with implantation.
I had NO caffeine whatsoever, no alcohol, and apart from a few luna bars each week, did not consume any soy products.
I was on bed rest for 2 days post transfer and was not allowed to exercise or have sex until we had our positive beta. Our RE wanted my body in REST mode. Walking was okay as long as it wasn’t too strenuous and I kept my heart rate under 140bpm.
These are the main things I did to improve our chances of success. I really believe they helped as our embryo quality was “perfect” on all of our embryos according to our RE and embryologist. Also, I felt really good throughout our cycle and think the acupuncture and diet changes really helped with that. Yet more than anything, I prayed…a LOT and left the whole cycle in God’s hands. I realized pretty early on that worrying would get me NOWHERE. I had no control except to take my medications and eat as best as possible, the rest was up to my body and God. I knew that if He willed it to happen that it was going to happen. I just had to keep the faith, keep the trust! Of course, I got anxious from time to time and fretted and worried and googled, but as quickly as I would see my mind spiral out of control and count us out for this cycle, I would try to take captive these thoughts and replace them with ones of faith and belief. Mind over matter. I was NOT going to let my worries get the best of me.
Of course, I realize that my RE deserves a great deal of credit too! Oregon Reproductive has an AWESOME protocol and amazing doctors and I feel SO blessed to have received care under them!
Post transfer, I was on Endometrin 3x daily, Estrace 2x daily, and Aspirin. I am still on the Endometrin and Aspirin and only finally got off the estrogen last week. I am hoping that starting next week I will get to begin my wean from Endometrin. I still take my 2000IU of Vitamin D and prenatal with DHA, but stopped all other medications.
Anyway, much credit to Dr. Hesla and his colleagues.
Hopefully, I didn’t leave too much else out. If so, I will add it in later. I have really enjoyed other bloggers post of things they have done to improve their success so thought it important to contribute my own! All the best to all of you! I am praying for so many of you and am so thankful for this community!