therapist pricking skin with needles during treatment procedure

These mid cycle posts feel kind of funny, because I don’t have news to share necessarily. Everything right now is fuelled by hope and unknowns.

I started my stims on Saturday Nov 11th for our third egg retrieval. I joked last cycle that I could do egg retrieval stims forever, I just hated transfers. But then we had a cycle failure, and now it all feels a lot more stressful to endure with the knowledge that it very well could fail again.

“Think positive thoughts!” they say. I have tried my friends, oh have I tried. I do have hope, but it’s not blind. It’s realism with a sprinkle of hope. Annnd maybe a sprinkle of pessimism at times. But I swear I try to keep it skewed towards hope.

The thing that surprises me about this attempt is that I am in it, but it doesn’t feel like I am in it. I guess I have gotten slightly desensitized to the act of injecting myself multiple times a day, and I have gotten so used to being on this rollercoaster that it all just feels normal to me. That is a bit sad to think about. I never wanted this to be my normal.

So far the medications this cycle have been tolerable. My priming meds had zero side effects, which is WONDERFUL, because I had primed with birth control previously (this time testosterone and estrogen), and birth control is my nemesis. It did such a number on my mood and thoughts. I felt depressed and moody constantly. I felt normal, maybe even better than normal on this new combo. I stopped my priming meds on November 7 and began my stims on Nov 11.

Stims so far have been… okay. This time I have to take injections in the AM and PM (diff meds). Right now, one injection in the morning, along with 5 pills, and then supplements (19) mid day, and another two injections and 2 pills before bed. I felt great day 1-2. Day 3 I started to get fatigued and also got really stomach sick (could have been IBS, but it hasn’t been bad lately so not totally sure). It sure beats constipation though, which I know is on its way. Day 4 (today) I have been wiped of energy entirely. Just tanked. Walking the dog was a feat and I was yawning all day.

There are a few things/rituals I am doing this cycle. I figured I’d share my routine here in case it helps anyone on their own journey.

– I am taking 8 million supplements (I’ll do a deep dive into these in my next post). I will mention that my doctor has me on CoQ10 (Ubiquinol 600mg a day, taken 3x daily, and 2x 81mg Aspirin – not recommended unless your doctor directs you)
– I have been doing acupuncture with a fertility specific practitioner who also did IVF herself, initially weekly during priming, and now twice weekly during my stim protocol. Some people doubt the effectiveness of acupuncture since it doesn’t give super immediate or visible results, but studies have shown it can help with blood flow to the uterus, and it has benefited those doing embryo transfers (some studies below).
Exercise – I have been *trying* to do a minimum of 20-30 mins of low intensity exercise daily. Whether I am working my butt off at a photo session, or walking the dog on a brisk walk, having the goal helps. This also gets the blood flowing.
– My acupuncturist (actually, her alternate who I booked during her time away) suggested doing a hot foot bath in the evening, covering up to your lower calf with hot water for 10-15 mins, then laying down and elevating the legs above the chest/head for 10-15 mins. Apparently in Chinese medicine this can be shown to help with blood flow and getting fluids moving through your body/liver. It also helps with sleep!
Fluids – Lots of them. I am notorious for not getting thirsty but during stims I have to be careful with my liquid intake, or I’ll get suuuuuper constipated. More on the in the next point.
Fibre. So much fibre. I try to add things that are bulking agents to my diet during stims, whether its psyllium husk, or more nutritionally dense things like chia seeds, hemp seeds (this combo always gets things moving along), peas, etc. It’s better to have soluble fibre or bulking nutrient rich foods than things like colace, restoralax or similar. Pro tip – start fibre long before you *need* it. Even with my regimen I still get painfully backed up by retrieval time.
Sleep – Sleep as much as humanly possible. I sleep a lot anyway. I have always been this way, requiring 8-9 hours minimum a night – during stims I sleep 9-10 ideally.

So my schedule has basically been monopolized with all of these tasks each day. If I am lucky I have time to go to the bathroom or get some work done (jokes, but it feels this way some days). It makes me wonder how so many people do it. I am grateful I make my own schedule and have nobody to answer to but myself and my clients (who are the best for the record).

What are your rituals/habits for Egg Retrieval in IVF? I’d love to hear them!

Acupuncture studies for IVF and FET:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *