First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

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First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Crumpet » Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:07 am

Hi Everyone. I am planning to start my first IVF cycle. I go in tomorrow for my CD3 blood test and will get my protocol then. I am intimidated by the process, but also excited to try something different that has better success rates than natural or IUI.

DH and I are both in great shape. We're healthy weights with good diet and exercise habits. His sperm is great and my test results were great, although my AMH is low. The RE just said it was age (I'm 39). We've TTC for 6 months and had an IUI cycle for the last of these. I had a chemical in my second cycle.

I've seen a few people have shifted their diet and exercise regimen when undergoing IVF. What worked for you and are there any tips you have for a nervous first timer?

Also, if anyone wants an IVF buddy for this fall/early winter, let me know which thread you'll be on (or we can start a new one). I wasn't sure which one to hop on!

Thank you so much and baby dust to all of you who are still TTC. We're strong women. We've got this!
Me: 39
DH: 34
TTC #1 since: May 2016
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Me2please » Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:09 am

Hi Crumpet,

I recently went through an unsuccessful IVF that ended in a chemical pregnancy. We were dealing with MFI and my DH went on a crazy health kick - cut out sugar, dairy and wheat and did alot of green juicing and it jumped his sperm count up dramatically.

We are also both fairly healthy in general. Now it seems like we might be looking at an egg issue too as only 2 of my 10 fertilized embryos made it to 5 day blast, and then obviously neither of those made it to a baby. I am booked in for a laparoscopy as my RE suspects mild endo on my ovaries as the cause. I hope it is that because if so, it can be cleaned up and we can jump into our second IVF right away.

As for diet etc - I have joined my DH and cut out sugar, wheat and dairy and I have also been juicing for the last month.
I recently did a 3 day juice fast and I am thinking of doing another one this week just before I go in for the operation. Apparently this does wonders for egg quality and inflammation ahead of IVF - it's tough though.
During my last cycle I did not cut down on exercise during the TWW and looking back I think I was doing too much in general over the whole thing (trying to carry on as normal you know.) There was one day at gym after my transfer that my one side really felt painful while I was on the ellyptical machine. A few days later I started spotting. That memory still worries me a little.
I think this round I will keep exercising lightly until my retrieval and then just take a break!

I would recommend for you to also take it easy - especially after that retrieval and transfer :) In fact - when I do it over again I am going to take a few days off after my transfer and really just let things settle in.

I would love a buddy for round 2 which will hopefully be starting in around a month if all goes well. I am currently on CD1 for this cycle so will only start a month from now though and it seems like you might be starting your protocol this week? Good luck with everything!
Me: 34
DH: 34
Stopped contraception - Let's just see what happens since Oct '14
Actively TTC since May 2015
ICSI IVF #1 - July 2016 - ended in CP with no frozen embryos
Oct 2016 - Laparoscopy - endo discovered.
ICSI IVF #2 - Feb 17 - Let's make a baby!
Me2please
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Crumpet » Tue Oct 18, 2016 6:43 am

Me2Please -- I'm so glad you responded. That's great advice! Did you transfer both of your embryos? I suspect that we'll have egg quality issues also since my AMH is low. We're probably in similar situations and on a similar time scale. My RE decided that I should do one last IUI while he sorts out my IVF protocol. My period arrived super early so I also have some time to wait out before my insurance will help with the IVF. I think we'd be starting our protocol in November.

Your diet advice is great and I'm so glad your husband saw results! We cook nearly all of our meals from scratch using mostly organic ingredients. I have been baking deserts lately but once this batch of brownies is done, I'm going off of sugar. I don't have much of a sweet tooth so that won't be hard. Juicing is a great idea. Its something I've been thinking about but haven't motivated myself yet. I'll look up some good recipes. Do you have any you like?

Do you drink caffeine? I have been having 1 cup of caffeinated tea each morning and then herbal tea and water for the rest of the day. I'm wondering if I should cut out that 1 cup of tea though. That will be harder for me to do. I *love* tea!

Do you take CoQ10? I'm thinking about starting it. I did acupuncture this summer but stopped last month due to having such a busy work schedule. I'm wondering if I should start it again. I didn't love it but I didn't mind it either. Some women swear by it. Its hard to know if it will help or not!

As for exercise, I think you're right that we should take it easy late in the game. I'm going to exercise a lot now, while I can, and then take it easy. I love to run and rock climb so this aspect of TTC is the one I find the most difficult to deal with. What about you? How has your TTC process been?
Me: 39
DH: 34
TTC #1 since: May 2016
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Me2please » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:37 am

Hello Crumpet,

November is the same as me! It will be great to have a buddy to ride out the wait with too :) It really is the worst part.

I did transfer both embryos but things did not go well. First of all I found out that morning that we only had 2 that made it out of 10 - big shock. Only one of them was looking normal. My husband got called away before the transfer and I was alone, and then my cervix is narrow so they struggled a bit with the tube which was painful (apparently it's normally fine) I just didn't have a good feeling about the whole thing on the day and I sobbed my eyes out when it was done. I think it was just unlucky though and I feel so much more confident and relaxed going into this next round because I feel like we have more information and knowledge now to do this right!

Organic is great! We try and do that too as much as possible and I think it makes a massive difference. Juicing wise - everything green is the best. My go to recipe is kale, celery, cucumber, apple, lemon and ginger. I drink that every single day. On my juice fast I drink mostly that and then add one carrot and ginger per day. I try not to drink too much fruit juice but I do eat fruit.

I absolutely love coffee - I try to limit to one cup a day but my clinic told me 2 cups a day is ok. I think as long as you leave out the sugar and cow's milk (I used almond milk) it isn't too bad if you have one cup.

Vitamin regime - after I found out there is a potential egg quality issue I upped my vitamin intake and I do include CoQ10 now.
Vitamins I take now are: Omega 3, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Iron, Vitamin E, Folate, Staminogro (it's a vitamin my RE recommended) My hubs is on all the same things.

My ttc process has been tough to be honest - finding out about our MFI issue was a huge shock to both of us and the last thing we expected. That being after 1.5 years of frustration trying naturally. Then you kind of get hung up on that and I naively assumed that if we got sperm I would get pregnant easily with ICSI IVF. I had a great retrieval and then bam - my embryos started dying off at day 3. Having said that - the IVF process isn't as bad as alot of people make out I think. I found the injections ok to be honest and the retrieval and transfers are ok too. Not at all as intimidating as I expected!
The psychological side is pretty tough - especially when you get bad news, and financially it obviously takes a toll - but I tried my best just not to focus on that. I can imagine going through more that one gets mentally challenging and I have good friends that went through many before getting pregnant. I am hoping that is not the case for us though. I think the main thing is to be with a doctor and a clinic you trust. I saw my doctor yesterday and he has a plan, he has possible outcomes and I am comfortable with the way forward - which is just about as good as it gets in this whole thing I think :)

Good luck for the next IUI - I haven't done that as with our MFI ICSI is our only option. For your AMH - have your asked your doctor about DHEA? I know it's something that can be offered for egg quality. I do have a friend - 36 years old with low AMH and she got pregnant on her fresh transfer in April this year, so there is plenty of hope for that!

Sorry for the long essay - I am happy to talk to you all about my IVF experience so if you have any more questions let me know!
Me: 34
DH: 34
Stopped contraception - Let's just see what happens since Oct '14
Actively TTC since May 2015
ICSI IVF #1 - July 2016 - ended in CP with no frozen embryos
Oct 2016 - Laparoscopy - endo discovered.
ICSI IVF #2 - Feb 17 - Let's make a baby!
Me2please
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Me2please » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:29 pm

Oh Crumpet, are you on Instagram? I was introduced by a special friend from these boards, who just got pregnant on her IVF cycle. and it really is such a supportive community. I am on there as @loveandadventure21 it's a separate ttc account - and my account is private so you can retain your privacy. The community is really wonderful and I have really got a lot out of it.
Me: 34
DH: 34
Stopped contraception - Let's just see what happens since Oct '14
Actively TTC since May 2015
ICSI IVF #1 - July 2016 - ended in CP with no frozen embryos
Oct 2016 - Laparoscopy - endo discovered.
ICSI IVF #2 - Feb 17 - Let's make a baby!
Me2please
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Crumpet » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:28 am

M2Please -- I just wrote you a long, eloquent response and it evaporated! Here's a quick and dirty version:

Thanks for the Instagram recommendation. I'm not on it yet, but it would be great to connect with more people going through this. Its good to get inspired and into a positive place!

It sounds like you two have had a rough time. MFI is really challenging. A friend of mine is going through that and its been hard for him, particularly since he feels 'responsible' for their issues. I understand how he feels since I blame myself for my low AMH. It doesn't work like that but we tend to blame ourselves for things we can't control. Did you two pick out the donor sperm together? How did that work?

From what I've seen, egg retrieval is such a guessing game. Some people end up with nothing, while others end up with over 30. The dying off process is also bonkers with 20 plummeting to 10 or 5. Its hard to know what to expect, especially the first time. I guess the medication can also impact both the quantity and the quality of the eggs too. I'm sorry that your whole process didn't go well. At least you can plan for your next round knowing what to expect this time. And hopefully your DH can be with you through the process. I'm sure that would help a lot.

I've been working on egg quality since May. I heard about my AMH then during a preconception checkup. Even though we hadn't even TTC'd yet, we already knew it might be difficult for us. It was a bit of a shock. We used to drink 1-2 glasses of wine most nights of the week and we completely cut that out. Now I just have a glass or two when AF starts. That was the easiest change for me to make. Modifying my exercise has been rough. I was told not to run or rock climb during the TWW, which has been stressful for me. I've been told that some REs suggest reducing exercise even more during IVF cycles, which worries me. What did your RE tell you about exercise?

The shots don't sound fun but I know I can get through those. I'm more worried about the bloating/feeling terrible/constipated thing. Some people seem gain 10-15 lbs of water weight, which sounds really uncomfortable. I'm worried about all of this impacting my work, but I also worried about Clomid having that impact on me and its been mostly okay. Everyone has different side-effects. How did you feel during your cycle?

Thanks for the juicing kick-start. I had spinach/avocado/ginger/honey yesterday and today. Today I also used a banana since I have to have a late lunch. Both were delicious. I have to try your recipe too! I've also ordered CoQ10. I've been wanting to try it for a while but held off for some reason. My nurse told me it was okay to use it. I'm really hoping these modifications help with egg quality.

Are you and your DH trying naturally at the moment or are you resting up for your next IVF cycle? My friend with MFI and his wife got pregnant naturally, which they didn't expect after having years of problems. Fertility is so hard to predict.

I'm now on CD6 and tonight will be my third of five Clomid pills. I have an ultrasound scheduled for Wednesday next week. If it goes well, my IUI will be on Thursday. The beginning of these cycles go *so* fast. Its the TWW that seems to last forever!

Must dash to work...but will check in soon and hopefully I won't mess up my response next time! Good luck to you!!
Me: 39
DH: 34
TTC #1 since: May 2016
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Doodlemae » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:15 pm

Hi everyone. I am also about to start my first IVF cycle. I and 28 and my husband is 38. We have done 3 unsuccessful iuis and have MFI. I am currently on BCP and will begin my stim medications on October 27. Looking for buddies/support! I am pretty nervous but feel much better after reading others stories!
Me 28
DH 38- varying count and motility
TTC 2 years
6/16 IUI #1 50 mg clomid BFN
7/16 IUI #2 100 mg clomid cancelled
8/16 IUI #3 100 mg clomid BFN

October 2016 IVF-ICSI #1
11/7- 26 eggs retrieved
11/12- 4 blastocysts frozen
Transfer cancelled OHSS risk

FET scheduled for 3/26!

Transferred a 3AA blast on 3/26 :D
Doodlemae
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Crumpet » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:50 pm

Welcome Doodlemae! How long have you and your DH been TTC? Its a hard process whatever the length. I'm sorry those IUIs didn't work for you, but IVF is amazing and hopefully will work for you two. Have you made any changes to your diet and exercise routine to prep for IVF?
Me: 39
DH: 34
TTC #1 since: May 2016
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Doodlemae » Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:00 pm

Thanks crumpet! we have been ttc for about 2 years. We started seeking fertility treatment about 5 months ago. I had some crazy visual side effects from the clomid on my 3rd iui cycle and was told I could no longer use that medication. 3 months later I am still having some of those side effects! The next option for us was to try an injectable iui cycle or go straight to ivf with icsi. We choose ivf to give us the best chances. We always try to maintain healthy diets in our home. We try to stay away from processed foods and what not. To be honest, I started exercising regularly a few weeks before I started this cycle. This kind of confuses me because I don't want to push my body during the ivf but I don't necessarily want to stop exercising. I guess I will just continue and take it easy.
Me 28
DH 38- varying count and motility
TTC 2 years
6/16 IUI #1 50 mg clomid BFN
7/16 IUI #2 100 mg clomid cancelled
8/16 IUI #3 100 mg clomid BFN

October 2016 IVF-ICSI #1
11/7- 26 eggs retrieved
11/12- 4 blastocysts frozen
Transfer cancelled OHSS risk

FET scheduled for 3/26!

Transferred a 3AA blast on 3/26 :D
Doodlemae
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Me2please » Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:33 am

Hi ladies,

Welcome Doodlemae! IVF definitely is an exciting crazy process :) Are going to be doing ICSI with your MFI? Have they put your hubby on anything?

Crumpet - I know what you mean about the TWW. Also the waiting for this next laparoscopy and IVF cycle has dragged like you can't believe. How are you feeling on all the meds so far?

We have enough sperm to use my DH's thankfully. In fact his count went up so much on the last cycle that our doctor says we might get to natural conception counts one day and not to rule that out! We have discussed donor sperm (and eggs) and while I think it's a wonderful option for people it's not for us, so we will see how things go on this next cycle.

As for exercise ladies - this is what my doc told me. Carry on with exercise - good for eggs, good for stress. Don't start any new major training programmes (like suddenly deciding to train for a marathon) while in the middle of your cycle - moderate exercise 3 - 4 times per week. Don't do anything where you can get hit in the stomach - kick boxing for example. Your ovaries get quite heavy and a little sore in the cycle so I had to stop spinning even before retrieval, but continued with running and weight training.

After retrieval you are in a bit of pain for a day or two - then I felt ok and went back to gym. Doing it again I think I would take that time off and maybe just do walking until the pregnancy test.

Weight gain - I didn't gain anything but I was bloated and gassy and full with the progesterone. The estrogen made me feel soft and squishy. You don't neccessarily look and feel your best but I didn't gain any weight. You will be told to drink 2 - 3 litres of water per day as your ovaries use alot of water. Do that - it completely saved me.

Hope that helps you guys! xxx
Me: 34
DH: 34
Stopped contraception - Let's just see what happens since Oct '14
Actively TTC since May 2015
ICSI IVF #1 - July 2016 - ended in CP with no frozen embryos
Oct 2016 - Laparoscopy - endo discovered.
ICSI IVF #2 - Feb 17 - Let's make a baby!
Me2please
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Doodlemae » Fri Oct 21, 2016 8:00 am

Hi Me2- yes. We are doing ICSI. They did not put hubby on anything as his counts and motility vary. They are not terribly low, but motility has been as low as 10% and as high as 46%.
Me 28
DH 38- varying count and motility
TTC 2 years
6/16 IUI #1 50 mg clomid BFN
7/16 IUI #2 100 mg clomid cancelled
8/16 IUI #3 100 mg clomid BFN

October 2016 IVF-ICSI #1
11/7- 26 eggs retrieved
11/12- 4 blastocysts frozen
Transfer cancelled OHSS risk

FET scheduled for 3/26!

Transferred a 3AA blast on 3/26 :D
Doodlemae
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Posts: 120
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Crumpet » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:34 am

Doodlemae -- Its great that your husband's sperm can be used. I'm sorry about your Clomid problem. Did you have other bad reactions to it? IUIs are such a mixed bag. They help some people right away but just don't worry for other problems. It sounds like IVF was the right call for you.

As far as exercise goes, I think M2Please gave good advice -- its good to get some in but not to push yourself too hard. Find something you enjoy that isn't too strenuous for you and see if you can incorporate it into your routine. Maybe yoga, walking or hiking? It sounds like your diet is already great.

Me2Please -- Thanks for sharing your IVF experiences. It sounds like your body handled the medication really well. That's great news for you and very reassuring to me. I have heard a lot of bad stories. Hopefully IVF will be like HSGs and Clomid/Ovidrel/IUIs for me -- I worried about them beforehand because of what I had heard about them but they weren't bad at all for me.

I'm glad you are able to use your DHs sperm. I think its hard when you have to rule out one partner's genetic material (or both). I'm also not sure about using a donor egg if it comes to that. I'd rather try to bump up my egg quality and try other options before considering it.

Thanks for the feedback about the weight gain and pain. I had heard about the massive water consumption and so I've been training myself to drink more water already. I seem to have a tiny bladder so I'm trying to get it used to it before the IVF cycle.

AFM -- I'm on CD8 and taking my last Clomid pill tonight. I have an ultrasound on Wednesday, which will determine my triggershot/IUI timing. I'm keen to get a move-on with this, especially since I suspect that this cycle will be a bust. I've had some slight headaches, but nothing too bad.
Me: 39
DH: 34
TTC #1 since: May 2016
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Puddles-O-Cuddles » Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:25 pm

Hey ladies!
Y'all are welcome to come join us over at the "fall IVF" board...we're all over the calendar for start dates, some girls are a few days into stims and others (myself included) won't start until November, but we'd love for you to join us.
I wrote you girls a long message yesterday, but it failed when I hit submit and I couldn't recover it...I'm just writing this from my phone, but I'll do more personal responses when I have a real keyboard in front of me.
Anyway, just wanted to make sure to invite you to join us, and to wish you luck regardless! Fingers crossed for some babies next summer!!
Me, 32; Mild Endo, cystic ovaries, wonky hormones
DH, 32; High count, low motility % and low morphology
TTC #1 since Summer '15

IUI with Clomid(100mg), Estridol - April 2016 - BFN
IVF/FET #1- July/August/September - 2 embryo transfer -
BFN with no frozen embryos left
IVF/FET #2- November/December - Single embryo transfer scheduled for Dec 21st!
5dpt BFP! Beta #1 9dpo: 39.9; Beta #2 12dpo 135!
m/c at 7 weeks.
FET#3 scheduled for March 14th
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Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby Me2please » Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:57 pm

Hello ladies,

Crumpet - it's a pleasure. I think everyone responds differently but from my side that's how it was with the meds and exercise.
I also was frustrated to give up my exercise but now I've learned it's a small price to pay :)
I hope this cycle is not a bust for you! Fingers crossed you get a surprise. It's nice either way that you don't have to wait around for a cycle and you can still actually do something. This waiting these last 2 cycles has been just killing me!

As for other options - I think whatever people come to it's such a personal decision - it comes to you organically and naturally - whether it's to go with a donor or a surrogate or adoption or to choose to live child free. I know people in my life (not online) in the process of some of these and it's so exciting for them and it comes as a natural next step. For us - if these fertility treatments don't work adoption has always been on the table. It's something we are very open to and it feels right for us - even if they do work actually. So I think where ever people go it can end up being amazing. Where we are now I am hoping for a baby from this second IVF so much and it's my focus right now :)

Doodlemae - well ICSI sounds like it's definitely the way to go for you. My DH's MFI was pretty severe and we had an excellent fertilization rate with ICSI. He also improved his counts dramatically with diet. I know your hubs is already healthy - but he really got strict before the IVF and it made a huge difference. I wish you so much luck for this.

Puddles - thank you! I will jump back over there and introduce myself :)

Have a lovely Monday ladies xxx
Me: 34
DH: 34
Stopped contraception - Let's just see what happens since Oct '14
Actively TTC since May 2015
ICSI IVF #1 - July 2016 - ended in CP with no frozen embryos
Oct 2016 - Laparoscopy - endo discovered.
ICSI IVF #2 - Feb 17 - Let's make a baby!
Me2please
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Posts: 372
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:13 am

Re: First Time IVF: Diet, Exercise, and other Advice Please!

Postby WholesomeBabes » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:04 pm

Hey Crumpet, Not sure if you've seen the studies but there is quite a bit of evidence for consuming a higher protein diet to improve the chances of conception with IVF. Plenty of protein and plenty of good fats. So hard to stay positive and detach from the outcome at the same time hey?! Wishing you all the best. xox
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