IVF: What I did in Phase One {BCP & Antibiotics}

IVF: What I did in Phase One {BCP & Antibiotics}

In preparation for IVF, I’ve been reading many, many blog posts about real life expectations and experiences. It’s one thing to read a doctor’s website about the processes and procedures but it’s another to read true accounts. Both have something to offer.

I really wanted to give you all another source of information about IVF. I am in no way a doctor. I’m just a woman going through this for the very first time. Please don’t use my information in place of a physician’s instruction or account. My testimony here is for information purposes only. Just a FYI of sorts as to what happened during my IVF.

I will be writing a series of these for each phase. This first phase is the Birth Control (BCP) and antibiotic stage.

PRACTICAL ADVICE

  1. Your life won’t be too impacted by this phase. You’ll have some side effects from the drugs especially if you aren’t accustomed to them. But, as far as your day-to-day, nothing should be affected. You aren’t needing to change your exercise regimen, lighten your schedule, and you’re definitely not in the phase of having to see the doctor every couple of days. So enjoy the calm before the storm! Use this time to have fun and rest up a bit.
  2. BE PREPARED and do some research! I would spend some time creating an Instagram (IG) account and finding some TTCers out there. The TTC Community on IG is fantastic. You will need those ladies and couples as you go through this procedure. Plus, it’s been a good resource for articles and pictures of different journeys. I knew better what to expect during stimming (phase two) because of watching others post about it. What’s really cool is when you find someone who is walking the same path as you on almost literally the same day. That’s your cycle buddy – someone who starts stimming, has their egg retrieval, etc. on the same day as you (or close to it). You can reach my IG account at the bottom of this page via the IG icon.
  3. BCPs really are the devil. I had not been on a BCP for over a decade and in my normal everyday life, I don’t take any meds. So, starting this regimen just really messed me up! Know that weird things will happen in your body.
  4. PROBIOTICS are your friend! The antibiotics completely wiped out my digestive system. I knew this would happen. We all have taken antibiotics at one point or another and we know that they can make a person constipated. Yuck! So, I stayed up on my diet and ate probiotics to keep that part of me healthy.
  5. You WILL have weird dreams and nightmares! Expect it. It’s ok. It’s just the meds. This stopped when I finished taking these meds.
  6. DO keep your exercise regimen. If you aren’t already doing so, then at least take a good walk, play with the dog, go for a hike, something(!) and as much as you can. Doing so will help clear your mind, de-stress you, and work off any frustrations & nervousness you may be harboring.
  7. Water – drink a ton of it! Keep your body ridding itself of toxins!
  8. CREATE A FOLDER or BINDER! You are going to have a lot of paperwork, calendars, instructional sheets, lab orders, lab results, ultrasound pictures, and the list goes on. I found that I was quickly swimming in paper. So, grab a folder or binder. Get as OCD as you’d like with this and create a space to have all of your papers. I am currently in the stimming stage of IVF and have lots of appointments. I take that folder to EVERY appointment, even if it’s just labs or ultrasounds. Seriously, take it everywhere!
  9. Gather together a PERSONAL SUPPORT GROUP. You may not be blogging or posting on FB or IG your every infertility move like we are. That’s ok! And you may not have come out of the infertility closet yet, either. But, I highly encourage you to come out of that closet to a small group of people around you. Be selective in doing so. They should be folks with a gift for coming along side someone in their pain. People with a servant’s heart. If you’re private and want to keep your IVF happenings on the down low, then I wouldn’t choose someone who is a bit of a gossip. That’s just common sense. You will want these friends and/or family to pray for you throughout your process, be there for you as you’re going through treatments, and lend a helping hand. They are your cheerleaders. GO TEAM GO! As heroic as it would be for you and your husband to do this solo, we as humans can’t do it all. So, at the very least gather these people as prayer warriors. Then, decide from there if you want them to help in any other way. The girls I’ve gathered together for me personally (not Brooks obviously) have been so awesome in supporting me. It can be them asking me to coffee or me asking them to breakfast. It can be lunch dates, simple texts saying they’re praying for us, or coming over for prayer. It can be a shopping date, movie date, or a simple hug. A meal brought to your house or a bouquet of flowers. There are so many ways to support. This isn’t just for us Infertile Myrtles; it’s for anyone going through cancer, divorce, loss. It’s an all-encompassing principle – we can’t do this alone. #LOVE

BCP/ANTIBIOTIC SYMPTOMS

  1. Lots of vivid dreams, weird dreams, and nightmares.
  2. FOOD CRAVINGS! – holy mackerel I couldn’t get enough caesar salad and burgers! 🍔
  3. FOOD AVERSIONS! – Brooks and I usually eat eggs and bacon/sausage everyday for breakfast. But we couldn’t go near eggs the entire time we were on the meds. 🙊
  4. Constipation – take your probiotics!
  5. Nausea & dizziness – this made me crave breads and sugar. 🍞
  6. My boobs hurt 😣… OUCH!
  7. Headaches
  8. Feeling a little out of it; distracted; in lala land
  9. Loss of sleep – I would constantly wake up in the middle of the night.
  10. BLOATING – see below.
  11. Weight Gain – I gained about 4 or 5 lbs in a week’s time but then lost it very quickly. I also noticed that the weight was being carried in my belly only.
  12. Acne

Don’t let all this scare you. It seems like a lot but this all happened throughout the course of a month. Also, a lot of the above is typical PMS stuff. So, girls don’t be scurd! 💪🏼

Other Links:

IVF: An Intro & First Steps

IVF: What I did in Phase Two {STIMS}

IVF: Phase Three {Egg Retrieval}

Finding JOY in Miscarriage

So, How Much DOES Infertility Cost?

Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor! Consult your own physician before starting any new regimens (medicine, food, exercise, and the like). What was described above is my personal account of the IVF procedure. Your own experiences may look different (and likely will). This is to be used as a simple example & guideline for one woman’s procedure. Happy IVFing!

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Through an Unlikely Source, I Received Hope

Through an Unlikely Source, I Received Hope

As you’ve read before, Brooksie and I have been guided in a different direction in our efforts. It all started about a year ago when I fasted & prayed for a solid month. During that time, I knew God was saying “do these things”. It was the clearest direction in my fertility journey that I’d ever had. So, January 2015 I started implementing.

It was then that I started Eating Clean and am now about 75% Paleo, reduced my caffeine intake to nearly zero (with the exception of dark chocolate and a rare caffeinated coffee). In August, we saw a Naturopathic Doctor who has guided us in supplementing our health to prepare our bodies for conception. We’ve made drastic changes to my work life, thus reducing the chronic stress & anxiety that I had been experiencing.

Lastly, I started tracking my basil body temperature and charting through an app called Fertility Friend. In conjunction with this, I continue to use ovulation test kits (OPKs) as a back up and to confirm that my charting was accurate.

It was through these new tools and the knowledge that God has given me that I got a GLIMMER OF HOPE. You’re about to get a family life lesson, but stick with me because there’s good news in all this complicated mess. I promise to keep it clean and I’m not going to go all TMI on you…maybe only a little 🙂

If you don’t want the family life lesson, do pass go to “class dismissed” below.

I’m being careful with my wording on here knowing there are tweens and young teens who have access to my blog. Lord knows I don’t want their parents (my friends) calling me up giving me a piece of their mind. More importantly, I don’t want them to have a reason for their children to not have access to seeing God’s hands at work in my life…

Besides that, there are just some things that need to stay within the bounds of a marriage, AMEN?!?!?!

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DPO – Days Past Ovulation; Vertical Red Line – ovulation date; “Day” – cycle day

 

Now before you go all crossed eyed on me looking at this chart let me give you a brief explanation. This is basil body temperature (BBT) charting. There’s actually more to it but I’m showing you the non-TMI portion of it. 😀

You record your early morning temperature everyday. The goal of this is to help a woman pinpoint her exact date of ovulation so as to time things just right.

This chart can also tell you that a pregnancy has been achieved, a miscarriage has happened or that you had a chemical pregnancy. It can confirm that you ovulated and at what point during your cycle. It can confirm that you have a long enough luteal phase (the time between ovulation and menses starting).

There is so much in this charting that a woman can learn about her body. Our body is beautifully and wonderfully made by a God of order. And this is proof of that.

Do you see the solid red vertical line? That is the chart’s indication that ovulation occurred. All of the days listed after that are my luteal phase and are labeled as DPO (days past ovulation). The luteal phase is the last two weeks of the cycle where progesterone is dominant causing a temperature increase and an embryo would implant itself onto the uterine wall. Around 7-10 DPO is when implantation occurs.

See the 2nd thermal shift? That is an indication of pregnancy.
See the 2nd thermal shift? That is an indication of pregnancy.

According to my chart, I had a chemical pregnancy. This is when egg and sperm meet but the body doesn’t implant the embryo or it simply doesn’t survive. I had never heard of this before my research! It’s also been termed as an early miscarriage (one that takes place at 5 weeks or sooner).

How can I tell this from my chart? The presence of a second thermal shift. When there is a second thermal shift in temps, this is called a triphasic pattern (tri meaning three temperature phases). I’ve placed a black arrow at the point of the shift so you can see it. Also, you will notice that this shift happened 9 DPO which is the bullseye for implantation! The second shift lasted a couple of days.

In her book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, Toni Weschler, MPH says this:

A triphasic pattern of temperatures is virtually always caused by pregnancy. It is thought to be the result of additional progesterone circulating in the woman’s body and increases about the time of implantation of the egg about a week after fertilization.

So, here’s what likely happened this cycle: the embyro was attempting to implant (as indicated by the second increase in temperature) but for whatever reason it couldn’t. When it was not able to implant, my temperatures dropped back down to the levels of the first set of increases while staying higher than my pre-ovulation temps. From there Aunt Flo came with vengeance. Clear as mud?!?!? LOL

CLASS DISMISSED!

So, why am I so excited about a chemical pregnancy or an early miscarriage? This brings hope to my heart for a couple of reasons. One it helps me to see that God is working. It was this season and this cycle that He would have me track all of this and show me these things. What if I hadn’t tracked this cycle? I wouldn’t have known.

Another reason is that this allows me to say I am a mother. I know there are many who will disagree with me but my personal belief is that life begins at conception. From the moment that embryo is created, things start happening. As one article suggests, a “baby’s appearance, {gender}, and even some of his or her personality and intelligence are determined at fertilization*”.

Therefore, with the knowledge that there was in fact an embryo, it is with wisdom I can say life was created and I was a mother, if even for a very short time {a week or so}. Even still, to know that my body created this life and that God opened my womb if ever so briefly brings joy to my soul.

***I am not a medical professional. This is an interpretation of my chart based on my own research, studying, and consulting with others. It is through these resources and my own prayerful analysis that I came to these conclusions. I encourage you to consult resources and readings to interpret your own charting and to seek the Lord’s peace in your analysis & journey. Be blessed!***

*Parenting.com; pregnancy week by week chart

Other Resources: “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler