How I prepared for my IVF journey
Published on: November 06, 2020
A mom shares her personal experience of baby loss and her journey to prepare physically and mentally for IVF.
By Silky Kaur
The urge to pee after the embryo transfer, the bloating after injections, the wait for the phone call, I remember it all. If you have gone through IVF in your life, you can probably relate to it all.
I lost my first baby to a rare abnormality. Doctors said that there was always a 25% chance that our naturally conceived baby would have the same abnormality unless we went through IVF (In-vitro Fertilization) with PGT (Preimplantation Genetic Testing). This is when all the embryos made during the IVF process are examined for a range of genetic issues before transferring to the uterus.
I believe in living a healthy natural lifestyle and the idea of “making a baby” was a complete no-no for me, but the thought of facing the same problem again was also scary. Hubby and I eventually decided to go down the IVF road.
The decision was taken but the fear was real. I wanted to talk to someone who went through it but it was in vain. However, I was lucky to be introduced to one of the best fertility doctors in Bangkok. As I was not so keen on doing IVF, I was very nervous during my first consultation with him. But he was a godsend for me. He was exactly the kind of doctor I was looking for – kind, considerate, patient enough to listen to all my concerns, and someone who would explain everything in detail. He understood that our case history was complex, and told us to consult with some other specialists first then after a few months of preparation and waiting for genetic test results, we started the process.
I wanted to do everything possible to make it work in the first shot. So, here is my personal experience with the five things I did to prepare myself.
While we were waiting for our genetic testing results to examine the reasons for the previous abnormality, I wanted to start preparing my body for this intense medical process as it can take two months or longer for diet to have any impact on human fertility. I read many books about pregnancy and having healthy babies and made notes of things that I wanted to do. I didn’t follow everything but I tried the things that were “doable,” according to me.
I started with a three-day juice detox and then switched to more organic foods to reduce the toxin levels in my body. I relied more on homemade food, stopped eating junk food, and added different kinds of seeds and nuts to my daily diet (being vegetarian, this was very important).
I also tried to have some green vegetables every day, avoided refined carbohydrates to the extent possible and had a variety of fruits with lots of avocados.
As far as supplements are concerned, I took folic acid in addition to the iron and vitamin D3 tablet that I usually take for deficiency. I also had royal jelly, which some consider to be a fertility superfood.
I learned that there are different ways to take care of your body during the two phases of your menstrual cycle – before ovulation and after ovulation. So I incorporated some changes in my lifestyle right from the time I decided to do IVF, which was quite a time before actually beginning the process.
During Phase 1, I tried to avoid any activity that increases heart rate. But as I was sitting in front of the computer for long hours, I had to do something to get my body moving a little. My exercise time involved some stretching along with fertility yoga. I found a certified yoga therapist specializing in women’s health on Youtube. She offered custom fertility yoga sequences according to my needs, so she was my yoga instructor during that period.
During Phase 2, I tried to stay away from bumpy car rides, hot baths and aromatherapy.
For people undergoing IVF, the second phase is after embryo transfer. After the embryo transfer, I didn’t take complete bed rest but tried to take it easy at work. I also did yoga but only sequences specially designed for this waiting period.
Another important thing that I wanted to do was to avoid all kinds of toxins and chemicals like BPA, parabens, phthalates, pesticides, and PFOA. So, I switched to more natural personal care products to reduce my exposure to chemicals and toxins.
Castor Oil Packs
This is another thing I found that many swear by, and since it is a natural remedy, I wanted to give it a try for myself. A castor oil pack is an external application of castor oil to the abdomen with a hot water bottle or heat pack. It is recommended by alternative health practitioners to support ovarian, uterine, and egg health. I applied it before going to bed for a month before my egg retrieval.
My Husband’s Support
Often husbands don’t understand how stressful the entire IVF process is for a woman. When they get involved, they can relate better to what their partners are doing and take pride in contributing towards having a baby. I made a rule that my hubby would accompany me to all doctor visits and would be the one to administer all the shots to me. With so many things going on in my mind, this way I had one less thing to handle!
I was supposed to keep myself stress-free during the IVF process, but I had so many worrisome questions in my mind – What if I don’t get enough good quality eggs? What if I miscarry?
Sometimes you can’t help not think of the worst. Praying and positive affirmations helped me change those negative thoughts into positive ones. I did them at the end of my yoga sessions or before going to bed.
I don’t know what helped me to succeed. But I feel happy that I gave it my best shot, and now when I look at my baby girl, I can say that every not-so-happy moment was worth it.
Images by Hatham and Jon Looy on Unsplash.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is intended only for information purposes, not as medical advice. As with all health matters pertaining to pregnancy, please consult with your OB/GYN.
Pizzorno J. (2018). Environmental Toxins and Infertility. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 17(2), 8–11. Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6396757/
Environmental Causes of Infertility. Wayne Sinclair, M.D. Richard W. Pressinger, (M.Ed.). Graduate Research Project. University of South Florida Available online at: https://www.chem-tox.com/infertility
About the Author
Silky is the mother of a one-year-old and owner of Nick & Nishka, an online kids fashion store that sells multi-label clothing only made with natural and organic fabrics. Silky is passionate about healthy eating and raising her daughter to be a healthy and strong kid. You can read more on her blog at nickandnishka.com.
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