Tag Archives: hormones

Go the acupuncture

I’ve been having twice-weekly acupuncture treatments at a specialised IVF acupuncture clinic, and let me tell you, the difference I feel between this cycle and the last one is amazing.

Last time – lethargy, night sweats, thumping headaches every second day when I started Gonal-f, puffiness, achy joints, a revolting period, and just general not-feeling-greatness.

This time – perfectly normal. Really – perfectly normal. And I’m also on a higher dose of the Gonal-f – 600 units, which I think is a LOT. Ok, so I did have some night sweats in the first week, but I think even they have stopped. (I had continued to get the night sweats even last month – between cycles when I was not on any drugs – so not getting them now is great, especially since it’s about 35 degrees today, and hot at night.)

Let’s hope that it has the same positive effect on the final result…ie a big fat BABY. Actually not too big, I still have to carry it around for nine months, then get it out.

What’s the deal with acupuncture?

  • Apparently in clinical trials acupuncture has been shown to be quite effective not only for reducing side effects, but also to increasing the chance of success – so I can say empirically it has worked for the side effects for me.
  • They recommend you go for a treatment on the day of embryo transfer as it can help implantation – last time I went for acupuncture a few days AFTER transfer (and not to a specialised IVF clinic) so this time, I’m more prepared.
  • It prepares the uterine lining by improving blood flow and improves hormone levels. Last time my period was, in a word, yuck. This time, I’ve hardly noticed it. Awesome.
  • Apparently it can help women who have a history of infertility or miscarriage (can’t vouch for this one as I have no experience).

So I would highly recommend anyone going through IVF to seek out an acupuncture clinic that specialises in IVF. Apart from anything else, it’s really relaxing, which is crucial in this process.

And I’ve got a week and a half off work now, so I’m relaaxxxed…………. just need the timing to go my way – ie, day in hospital for egg collection next Monday, a couple of days to recover, then back to work Thursday with no-one any the wiser. (Though I may have to take the Thursday off the put the embryos back in… but you know, c’est la vie).

Right, now I’m going to meditate on lots of healthy eggs, and a healthy, happy, fat baby.

x

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Filed under IVF, side effects, Uncategorized

This week I have mostly been eating…

I take it back, the injections are starting to hurt. My belly has tiny pin pricks on either side of my belly button and is starting to look a little bruised, similar to what I imagine a junkie’s would look like if they  ran out of veins and had to resort to their belly. Sorry, yucky analogy.

They started to hurt last week when my period started and I assumed it was just my pain threshold lowering as it does during my period. I learnt long ago that having a bikini wax at that time of the month is not a good idea. Ouchy! My belly is also really fat – don’t know of this is from the hormones or just because I have been eating lots (lots) of fertility-enhancing foods, such as:

Adzuki beans (ask anyone who practises TCM or acupressure, adzuki beans are a universal panacea)

Sweet potato (low GI, high fibre, yummy and according to the book I am reading, guaranteed to get you pregnant. Well, not by sweet potato alone, but you know what I mean)

Wakame (full of iodione)

Quinoa (strengthens the kidneys in TCM, key to fertility and libido – this last sadly unneeded)

Walnuts (full of B6 which balances hormones)

Beetroot (yummy + boost kidney function)

Asparagus (aphrodisiac – again, sadly unneeded right now 😦 but apparently revitalises reproductive organs. It also flushes the system so should deal with my very puffy ankles – from the Lucrin?? Makes the pee very smelly though)

Sprouts (the equation is:  living food + attempting to create a living thing = baby)

Bananas (Phallic…?! craved them this weekend but they’ll send me broke with the price in Oz right now – $12 a kilo!! Made of gold clearly)

Anything green.

No coffee. Minimal tea.

One glass of wine per week (siiiigh. This is my dosage – the doctor said “three while I’m trying but not together”. Did she mean three in total for the whole time, or three per week?). Hmmm…

All in all I think I’m doing pretty well with eating well. Luckily I’m not a junk food person and like nothing better than a plate full of green vegies. I usually like to wash it down with a a bottle of red, but hey, it’s a minor inconvenience. Anyway, part of this process is about change, so maybe that means changing my drinking habits.

There had to be side effects didn’t there?

So now that I find the injections starting to hurt, I have to do two a day. I started the Gonal-f yesterday and have had a doozy of a headache all day today. I called the clinic this afternoon and asked if I could take pain killers because it didn’t ease all day and I was getting annoyed with it, I never get headaches. The nurse said I could take Panadol only – not Nurofen. I’m glad I asked. I would have either martyred myself through it  or caved and taken a Nurofen, so now I know – Nurofen no-no.

Other side effects experienced so far apart from the splitting headache:

Night sweats – hello menopause! For the first week I just thought I was hot because of the hot water bottle, but it’s the hormones stupid!

A period lasting an entire 7 days and counting. Bored with this now! So on top of the cost of the treatment, I have to pay for extra tampons. phlaaghg.

Cankles. Attractive.

Twitching in the vicinity of my ovaries. I suppose this is a good sign – my diagnosis.

Aforementioned fat belly. Side effect of drugs, not overeating.

A total lack interest in work. Oh – that’s probably just me and my general aversion to work, and the fact that I have more interesting things to read than financial analysis (surely not I hear you cry!).

Belief

I’ve been doing a beautiful 21-day “meditation challenge” through the Chopra Centre and yesterday’s meditation focused on the creator, which obviously really spoke to me.

Belief is so important to achieving your goals. The meditation reminded me that I set my goals, and I am the creator of my world, my reality. The theme of the 21 days is to continually ask the question, “Who am I?” – the eternal question on the spiritual path. So they have been asking – or encouraging us to ask ourselves – “Who am I?”. I have just sat with this question, without bothering to intellectualise it or mentally or cognitively answer it. Yesterday though a few descriptions of myself passed through my mind – daughter, sister, friend, editor, colleague, blogger, lover (whose?). Mother.

Mother.

It’s just there, in me. I am a mother. I didn’t have to think about it, it wasn’t what I thought I should think, I didn’t force it out. It just came. I am a mother. In about 10 months time.

Ooh – and just  quick post script. I just did day 8 of the meditation and this beautiful passage from the Upanishads was quoted, which is so apt for my journey – and all our journeys.

“You are your deepest driving desire.
As is your desire, so is your will.
As is your will, so is your deed.
As is your deed, so is your destiny.”

So our desires can actually be our destiny, if we flow it through our will and our actions, our attention and personal commitment.

So I have the desire, and I have taken the action (the deed), and now my destiny awaits. mmm. Juicy stuff.

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Filed under ART, IVF, pregnant over 40

Stresssss

Stressful afternoon. STRESSFUL!

I want a glass of wine. I really want wine.

The thing with this thing is, it’s not something you can flake on. It’s not a wishy-washy, turn-up-sometime-any-time, laid-back, whatevs kind of thing. Kind of un-Australian really. You can’t be late for an appointment. You can’t be late for an injection. If they say be here for blood tests at 8.36am, you are there are 8.36am.

My appointment today was for 3.30pm. I’ve made that appointment in easy time before but now the stakes are high. Timing is everything. So at 2.48, when I am still in traffic in the Eastern Suburbs – 20 minutes after leaving my home in the — Eastern Suburbs (sorry non-Sydney people) — FUCK, I try not to say fuck. I finally get to the M5 motorway – that fucking road will give me an aneurysm. 5kms in a tunnel, at 20kms an hour, surrounded by big trucks. Then more gridlock. I cry.

And this is after last night, when I had a bit of a panic attack about whether I had shut the car door properly – I got out of bed, went downstairs and checked. All fine. I’ not going to make that mistake again!

I was panicking because I thought they had said the doctor had to leave early, so I really had to be there on time. In the end I think I was 15-20 minutes late, and then the doctor didn’t even bother doing the scan (not sure why); I just had blood tests to check my hormones levels. I wonder what other kind of stressed out  hormones they will find in that blood, I was pretty wired.  The blood tests are to determine that the hormones that naturally occur at this point are partially blocked – what they call “down-regulated”.

ANYWAY. Another little esky full of goodies – Gonal-f, 450 units at the same time as the Lucrin. This is the follicle stimulating hormone  which will stimulate the growth of my eggs. I think this is the fun one. The one where your emotions go haywire. If I thought the Lucrin was pulling  my strings, I think the Gonal-f may be the real puppetmaster. I’ll let you know – I start it on Sunday.

And I seriously could not have timed this at a worse time work-wise. It is the busiest 3 weeks of the year for me, bar none! Although if I had started a month earlier, it’s possible that the egg collection would be about now, meaning I would have to take a day off, which would have been almost impossible to do without losing my job – I simply could not take time off work unless I’d been hit by a car. In front of my work colleagues.

So being pumped full of hormones during the busiest week (yes, the busiest 3 weeks, and next week is the busiest of the three – ha ha ha – timing IS everything)… this is going to be … interesting. I’m a bit scared actually!

I really want a large glass of velvety,peppery, yummy, stress-relieving red wine. But I have a herbal tea. Then meditate. Which was good, I felt calmer. But I still want that glass of wine.

Quick post script if it’s not too much information – the only side effect so far from the Lucrin is a ludicrously heavy period. I thought half my insides were shedding.

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Filed under ART, IVF