25 January 2011

Here we go again!

Today was my first appointment with the fertility clinic since my first round of IVF utterly failed. This was a good appointment. I asked my many questions I had and things were mapped out for the coming weeks.

My biggest question was "why did the first round of IVF fail?" And the best answer I got was that the quality of the embryos wasn't the best. They transferred two embryos into me, 1 of which was great quality and the other was ok, but not the best. The other 4 that they tried to grow some more just weren't of a decent enough quality to be frozen.

I also asked what I personally could do to make my chances of getting pregnant better/higher. The doctor said don't drink coffee. To which I replied, that I don't drink coffee (I don't think the one random cup a couple of times a year really counts) nor alcohol and I don't smoke. I do drink tea. She asked me what kind of tea I drink and I told her all kinds. The doctor said green tea would be my best option. I also clarified that I mostly drink hot water flavored with tea. I can use the same tea bag for 3 big cups of tea. I eat healthy, for the most part. And I get some exercise. She said there isn't really anything else I can do to make my chances better, except to relax, not stress (about anything). She said it with a smile and I sort of laughed.

I did ask about the gluten free diet I have been trying for the last 2 weeks. The doctor said that unless I test positive for celiac disease, it doesn't matter if I eat gluten or not. Do I continue eating GF or not?

I also asked about Mayan womb massage. At first she looked very confused and didn't understand what I asked. Once I explained a bit more, she just laughed and said that it won't do anything. :( My heart sank a tiny bit seeing her laugh, but I guess I expected it also. I think I'll continue my nightly tummy rubs.

And when I asked about acupuncture, she said that there are no conclusive studies to show that it helps, but it doesn't hurt either. I'm up in the air about whether to search for an acupuncturist now. Maybe since I'm in the process of IVF again I should wait until after. I'm not sure.

Sheesh, I've said a lot already and I'm not sure that I'm even half way done. lol

I had an ultrasound done (like every other time I've gone in). I still have an endometrial cyst on my left ovary. It is about 1.7mm, which is roughly the same size it was last time I had an ultrasound in Nov. Yay! If it grows to 2mm or more, I'll have to have surgery to remove it before I can continue any more treatments. Along these same lines, the doctor ordered some blood tests for me to check the activeness of my endometriosis. She said it would be a good thing to check again as it was a year ago when I last had it done.

The doctor was also able to tell me that I ovulated recently. I was a bit shocked by that as I have been using OPKs for the last week or so and never once did I get a + test. When I mentioned that to her, she said it isn't uncommon that the tests don't always accurately report LH surges or that it is hard to get the timing correct, for all women. For some women the tests show clearly. Good thing I only have 2 tests left.. I don't think I'll be bothering with them again.

As for the actual plan of attack for IVF this time around, things will be changed up a bit. Last time I did an injection of Procren to stop my body from producing hormones. This time around I'll be taking a nose spray, 4 times a day. (The stronger version of this stuff isn't approved in Finland, so instead of twice a day, I do 4 times.) This nose spray is a "softer" way of making my ovaries stop producing hormones than the injection.

Aunt flow is supposed to come like normal. And then I'll have my next appointment a day or two after she's supposed to arrive. At which time, we'll discuss the ovary stimulation meds. The way things are planned right now, harvesting and insertion should be week 8 (21st-24th of February). It'll all comes down to how my body responds to everything.

I can't help but be optimistic, with a bit of caution thrown in, again. So, here's to IVF attempt #2.

19 January 2011

Gluten Free & Mayan Womb Massage

Cycle #31, that's where I'm at right now. I called the clinic on Jan 6th (CD1) to let them know I wish to continue being in line for the IVF treatment. I have my first appointment of the year next week. I believe we'll just see how things stand right now and map out the plan to take over the next 4-6 weeks. I'll also be asking the myriad questions I have.

During the mean time, I've decided to try a few things of my own to see if they help with getting pregnant. They can't hurt at least:
1. Homeopathy
2. Gluten free diet
3. Mayan Womb Massage

1. I went to a homeopathic right after cycle #30 started. We discussed a lot of things about my health, body and so on. And from that we came up with a plan of what to do. She gave me some multi-vitamins and some calcium carbonate "sugar pills". (At least that is what I think they were, I can't remember their name in English.) I've been taking 4 of the little things on Wednesday and Saturdays. I don't eat or drink 30min before or after I take them.

But, I'm going to cancel my next appointment and not continue this line of pursuit as I just don't feel this is something I want so spend money on, nor do I feel it is the right thing for me. As hubby says, the sugar pills are just that, sugar (or whatever they are made out of) that have been waved in front of a bottle of the X-ingredient. That there isn't even anything left that resembles what they are claiming it to be.

2. I've heard and read that following a gluten-free (GF) diet can potentially help a woman get pregnant. Now, I've done a home test for Celiac disease and it came back negative. Plus, I don't really have any of the symptoms listed for Celiac disease, nor have I had any miscarriages. Although, I do have endometriosis, which if you have a sensitivity to gluten, that could make endo worse. Who knows! So far, in my week of of being GF I haven't really noticed too many changes in my mental or physical state. I think for me, the most noticeable change is that my stool is softer. (Yeah, I know, TMI. lol).

In addition, I'm not being a GF-Nazi, but rather just trying to avoid gluten items as much as possible and where it is easily visible (bread, cookies, cakes, pizza, sauces, etc). It's actually quite easy once you start looking at food labels. Stores here have a decent amount of GF products and restaurants generally mark their menus as gluten-free, lactose-free & vegetarian, etc, which makes it easy to eat out.

There is no evidence showing that a gluten-free diet will help the fertility of a woman that does not have celiac disease, though there is significant evidence that those women that do will benefit greatly from the change in diet. Not only can switching to the gluten-free diet help to improve the ability to conceive, but it also improves the woman’s ability to carry the pregnancy full-term.
Above paragraph taken from Natural Fertility Info.com

3. I briefly mentioned Mayan womb massage/Maya abdominal massage in my last post as something a friend told me about. I've Googled more on it and I've started doing it on myself. Mayan womb massage (Mwm) is a "gentle, external technique used to return the uterus to its proper position within the pelvis". It can help ease menstrual cramps and prepare the body for conception by helping to realign your uterus back into the correct position within your body.

I found an article from Mothering.com (March-April 2010) that explains about Mwm and a DIY-guide to boot! In this article it mentions the different positions our uterus could fall to and some of the repercussions of it. I've been told for years that my uterus tips backwards (retrovered), which is the same for the lady who wrote the article. And she tells that her doctors said it means nothing in the way of fertility, which is what mine have said also. Some of the symptoms from a retroverted uterus are blocked movement in the colon (resulting in chronic constipation, especially around the time of your period), the uterus can also put pressure on the sacral nerves creating low-back pain, which can also be intensified around the time or your period. While I don't think I am constipated, I do know that sometimes it is a bit hard. (I've always just assumed it was from the magnesium tablets I take for leg cramps.) And I have had low back pains as long as I can remember. I vividly remember having major pain in my lower center spine when my periods very first started.

I've felt some tiny cramps (not bad) and twinges in my abdomen area during this last week. I don't think I've had sensations exactly like this before. Sometimes they are short intense pangs and other times they are more dull.

Whether any of these things will work and help me get pregnant without added hormones, I have no idea. In any case, eating a GF diet and doing the Mwm is simple, not expensive and takes only a few minutes extra each day.

My next step, in addition to going to the clinic for IVF treatments, is to look into acupuncture.

02 January 2011

Happy New Year

Almost a month has passed since my first IVF treatment failed. I'm awaiting AF again. Thankfully this time I'm not too emotional, yet.

I did receive my letter from the clinic about how to proceed. I am in line for another round of IVF treatment. I will need to call before the end of the month to confirm that I want to continue to be in line.
Their estimated retrieval date is week 10 (Beg of March?).

I emailed my friend who had endo and asked what she did to help herself conceive. The following things are what she told me:
1. Acupuncture - to help control endo symptoms, then when TTC it was used to stimulate O and help with implantation. She also had acupuncture to help prevent miscarriage, then to deal with pregnancy symptoms and finally to induce labor.

2. Raspberry leaf tea. She heard about chasteberry, but I don't think she used it. She also head about Vit E being useful (but she didn't use any supplements). She did try eating a higher fat diet, more whole milk and avocados. Apparently dairy fat is useful in this one instance. Ice cream!

3. Mayan womb massage (I'd love more info about this).

4. She also said that they had decided to adopt. Her words: It's kind of a cruel truth that stress makes it harder and the more you want it the harder it is.

I'm going to look into acupuncture next. I believe one of my friends here in town has gone to someone, so I'll ask for a referral. Here's to hoping for a better year!