Sunday, December 7, 2014

things I did differently this cycle.

Today's FRER line is nice and dark, and I finally had the guts to take my Clearblue Digital. Even my Wondfo is clearly positive today, though still not nearly as dark as I feel it should be. Regardless, I'm guessing this is the last one of these I'll need to post unless things start getting crazy light.

You can see a weird break in the dye run on the 9DP5DT test, toward the bottom. But look how dark the top of the line is! P.S. It might be time to start tossing some of these, huh?

Yesterday, I found this chart, which gives an estimation on the likelihood of miscarrying based on the number of days pregnant you are. I printed it out and hung it on our fridge, and now Mr. Hope and I are crossing off days together. Since yesterday, our odds of miscarrying went down from 29.2% to 28%. Or, as I like to think of it, our odds of carrying this pregnancy to term increased from 70.8% to 72%.

I've been thinking a lot about what I did differently this time around. You know, besides the obvious "adding a donor blast from a 30-year-old mother into the mix" thing.

I didn't take DHEA. When I started seeing Dr. Smiles in October 2013, he had me start taking DHEA. I'd been on it almost four months for IVF #1. I discontinued it after IVF #2 and never went back on it.

I reduced my number of supplements. For IVFs #1 & #2, I'd been taking L-Arginine, alpha lipoic acid, and selenium in addition to the stuff I'm still taking now (most notably Ubiquinol and forms of B vitamins that work well with my MTHFR mutation).

I changed my diet. I'm now a BIG fan of the EZ Diet. And honestly, it wasn't THAT hard to give up flour, baked goods, sugar, potatoes, bananas, and yogurt. (I say that now, of course, before Christmas kicks into high gear.) I can't say for certain how much this changed things, but eating this way certainly feels healthier.

I ate a LOT of avocados. I'd read about a study funded by the NIH that showed that a diet high in monounsaturated fats and lower in saturated/trans fats was 3.4 times more likely to result in a child from IVF. I love me some avocados (before the EZ Diet, Mr. Hope and I used to have avocado toast for breakfast quite frequently), so I figured it wouldn't hurt to ramp up my consumption. Nearly every day of this entire cycle, I'd eat half an avocado with breakfast. The day of transfer, I ate half of an avocado before and another half after. Again, don't know how much this helped things, but it certainly wasn't a burden to eat yummy avocados daily.

I was on a (somewhat) different protocol. This was the first cycle that I primed with estrogen (I took it for 8 days prior to starting stims). I stimmed with four vials of Menopur in the morning and four at night, same as IVF #2. But Dr. Smiles changed up my progesterone; this time I do a PIO shot every other day and a pessary every night. I think I respond better to the pessaries, which I used during my three IUIs and some natural cycles as well. I also take estradiol twice a day; I may have only taken it once a day on previous cycles but can't remember.

I skipped the acupuncture. My previous two IVFs, and for a couple of IUIs, I tried acupuncture. I didn't find it all that relaxing and it never seemed to do anything to help my lady business. I have heard of other women who did it and weren't successful, then did a cycle without and were.

I asked to trigger with Ovidrel. I've always used generic hCG for a trigger, but I am really bad about sucking all of the meds up with the long needle. So, this time I asked to switch to Ovidrel. It's a preloaded syringe and a subcutaneous injection instead of a muscular one.

I insisted on transferring blasts. My previous two IVFs were with Day 2 transfers. In hindsight, I could see that my first embryo was kind of uggo (cells weren't exactly even, and there was already fragmentation on Day 2). My second embryo was better, but still so young. I really rolled the dice on this one by insisting on growing everything out to blast. And I did so fully expecting to have nothing of ours to transfer. The gamble paid off, big-time. I mean, our one little embryo made it to blast! Even if it didn't end up implanting, you can't ask for a better chance than that.

I didn't do bed rest. This is a big one. My clinic recommends 24 hours of bed rest after transfer. I did mostly bed rest after IVF #1 (we had tickets to a show that night, ones I'd purchased seven months prior, so I did a little bit of walking in the theater) and serious bed rest for IVF #2. I never felt like bed rest was the right thing to do but Mr. Hope insisted. This time, I told him, I wasn't doing bed rest. I'd take it easy, I said, but I needed to move around to make sure the blood was getting to my uterus. He reluctantly agreed. And I did take it easy, for the most part. There were a few rounds of Celebrity where I was doing charades that got me a little schvitzy, but hey - guess getting my heart rate up a little was ultimately a good thing.

Here are some of the other things that I didn't do that I had on previous cycles:

  • Eat pineapple core
  • Avoid raw foods (I've been chowing down on salads like a boss)
  • Avoid cold beverages
  • Yoga
  • Mediation
  • Fertility massage

I will probably never know what did or didn't make a difference, but I wanted to document these things here because it's the kind of stuff I loved reading on other people's blogs.

Anyway, there you have it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm actually feeling tired enough to fall back asleep!

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