PREPARE for your IVF over the next month.

So whether you are a newbie to IVF or an old hat to it, I decided it was time to put together what I think to be, an essential guide to IVF preparation for for this new year.

When I say essential, its more ‘Gordons Guide’ to a successful IVF cycle…

STEP 1: Yes it was the Christmas Party time for everyone….

Believe it or not, having an IVF cycle in January is quite a challenge. Considering the following…..

Everyone else…. is super super excited about christmas… Excited to be with family… excited to meet up with old friends. To eat plenty… and to drink to be merry.. or something like that….

Where as for ‘YOU’ its going to be about drugs drugs drugs and medication, its going to be about hiding your meds behind the stuffing and ham in the fridge. Wrapping it in a paper bag in the hope….. no nosey relations decides to take a peep in that brown little bag behind the ham. Its about scheduling your nights out and running into the toilet of a dingy restaurant. Its going to be about injecting yourself like an addict. Not drinking the night before your ‘Down Regulation Scan’

And finally to top it all off… having the question of ‘ANY NEWS!!!!’ I see your not drinking, or ‘Go On Go On Go On’ have one…..

At your christmas party, which you don’t want to be at… seeing one of the interns getting sick all over the table as they drank way to much of the free booze on offer…. And of course the slimy middle manager boss staring at your boobs as they expand from all the medication that you delightfully inject into yourself every night at the same time…. bruised to an inch of your sanity….

10pm arrives and one of the girls decides to tell you her life story about she looks at ‘YOU’ and sees how much of a wonderful life ‘YOU’ have, the pretty clothes, jealous of your new handbag that ‘YOU’ bought last weekend…. (after finding out your best friend was pregnant again for the 5th time. WITHOUT TRYING…..) Whispering into your ear, in a slurred voice…. ‘IF IM HONEST, I wish I’d never had the little brats’

Internally you are ready to scream, but you smile, nodding at her ever gesture….

STEP 2) They know not what they say or do……

The only person that will ever truly understands what you are going through is ‘YOU’… No matter how much you try to explain to them… They won’t understand… They will never ever get it. So do yourself a favour don’t bother trying to explain it to them. And even with all your problems and difficulties. They think theirs are worse…. So be truly ok with them not understanding…. and definitely be ok with them not caring….

As you hop out of bed…. its 6.30am, your heading into the clinic for your 7.30am scan… On route armed with your 2 litre bottle of water that you’ve been ordered to drink to ensure they can do their scan….. (as Your body keeps telling you… ‘I need to pee, I need to pee, I need to peeeeeeeee’ your brain tells your body…… ‘Shut up, I need a full bladder for the scan’ and every mile now becomes an eternity…. Walking from your car in the most undignified way possible you reach the clinic waiting room, feeling like an extra from a ‘John Wayne’ Movie….

Its packed full of couples… No eye contact is made, and the receptionist has the look of a woman who has been to HELL and back… TWICE….

Slurping her ‘RedBull’ to shock her body into waking up from the ‘Clinic Christmas Party’ the night before… She also… Does not care about you…. But again…. Say to yourself…. Its OKKKKK…

STEP 3) You mind and emotions will mess with your Wellbeing… Artificially.

REMEMBER… Your on a lot of very strong medication and your body is being pumped full of artificial hormones…. There a lot going on in your body, especially your reproductive system. So try not to give yourself such a hard time… Its not like your eating a box of smarties…

Just imagine a man… yes any ole man… Now, lets pump this guy full of medication, starting with the down regulation meds, a layer of stimulation medication and then top it off with a trigger shot…Now, stop for a moment… Visualise this guy.. How do you think this man would be after all that… You are entitled to feel the way you feel. You are not going crazy… Its ok to be stressed. But whats not ok, is to be stressed about being stressed. Thats twice the stress…. So don’t do that….

STEP 3) Make a Plan for the New Year and your next IVF…

It can be really hard to take good care of yourself over the holidays and New Years. So plan it out. temptation is all around…. With a good plan, you can limit the amount of damage that you can cause to your system.

Normally we like to see three months preparation for an IVF cycle… And the reason for that. Well those beautiful wonderful eggs that are going to be collected by your IVF clinic next month are growing over the next 3 months. So the old theory of ‘You are what you Eat’ has a big place in our thought process…. So:

You are what you Eat…

You are how you Feel….

You are how you Exercise….

You are what you Think….

You are You..

So create an ‘Eat Well Plan’ for those three months, we all know when our diets are going out the door. It doesn’t need to be an insane, crazy plan. But you do need to take the 80 – 20 rule, 80% goodness and my favourite, 20% badness. And that goes for both of you. Sperm generates itself over 80 days or so…. And we want the best possible sperm on the day. If you’d like some guidance on an ‘Eat Well Plan’ for you next IVF cycle, click the link and we’ll send you our amazing guide.

Mini Exercise: So how are you feeling, ask yourself quietly for a moment or two..….

So what came up…. I bet it certainly wasn’t joy and happiness…. If it was you certainly wouldn’t be reading this blog. And women that come to me and my clinic are certainly not jumping out of their pants with fun and joy… Doing an IVF cycle is HARD…..

So take a look at the spectrum of emotions you are going through… And I know this is going to make me sound like a broken record… But a great way to understand how you are feeling through your IVF cycle is to do a journal…. I KNOW… 🙁 but its amazing just a few words written down every day will allow you to see a pattern of feelings…. And with that pattern it allows you to come to terms with it…

Maybe its Anger… are you feeling a little more on edge, or are you being completely consumed by sadness and grief…. So if we look at the following emotions:

Sadness

Grief

Anger

Frustration

Worry

Anxiety

Fear

Can you point out one emotion on that list that isn’t an appropriate emotion for how you are feeling and for what you are going through.. Let me tell you. Every one of those emotions on that list is NORMAL… When going through IVF its ok to feel sadness… Its so ok to be angry about where you are with your fertility…. BUT..

Whats not ok is if these emotions are filtering into the rest of you life… filtering into work, bouncing off family, disconnecting from friends…. You need to stay connected… The easier option is to disconnect from life, disconnect from family, disconnect from friends…. that will make this 1000 times harder… I know I see it every day…. If you take away the only solid foundations that are in your life… You will be consumed by the dark side of your emotions…. We all hear the stories of how couples never make it through infertility… The cause…. ‘Your Connections’ ‘Your Anchors of hope’ the ‘Foundations of your Sanity’

Steps 5, the medically community seems to have forgotten the process of diagnosis, they get so caught up with numbers like FSH, LH, AMH Progesterone, we forget to ask the individual some very basic questions…. for example. ‘Tell me about you period’….

Its such a basic and easy question, but seriously has any doctor asked you about it… Maybe they have….

Doc – ‘So what is your period like?’

Patient – ‘Normal I think….’

Doc – ‘Ok…. Thats Great.’

Sounds familiar…..

Now lets look at how I do it…

Gordon – ‘So tell me about your period’

Patient – ‘ Its Normal’

Gordon – ‘ So tell me what normal is too you, can you explain to me in a little more detail the following?

– How many days your period lasts for?
– Do you have any PMS symptoms?
– Are there any clots in your cycle?
– What colour is the blood?

of course there are an infinite number of answers here…. But here are 2 typical ones…

– Aine has a 2 day period thats very scanty, her period colour is red . She experiences night sweats before she has her period and normally can’t sleep the 5 days prior to her period.

– Jennifer suffered from a lot of PMS symptoms before her period she has no cervical secretions around ovulation. And the colour of her period is initially brown spotting for 2 days turning to back for 5 days and a little red blood towards the end…

So which of these two are normal? To Aine and Jennifer, they are normal, as its what they experience every cycle. But they are far from normal, these cycles are a representation of whats going on within the reproductive system. And both are showing possible issues with implantation. And thats where I come into the equation to help improve your chances of getting pregnant naturally or improving the possibilities of implantation through IVF. If I was to give one tip to improving your chances of a successful implantation it would be to look at your period. And get any issues resolved before your IVF.

Steps 6 and 7 are out this Friday…… If you have any questions do let me know and Id be delighted to help in any way I can. Gordon

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