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5 Ways to Prepare For Your 1st Cycle of IVF

When I embarked on my first (and thankfully only) cycle of IVF, I had just about accepted that this was the card we’d been dealt and I had to just suck it up and get on with it. But that ‘can do’ attitude came with a huge amount of self-molly-coddling, and I did everything I could to give myself the very best chance of success.

This was our ONLY chance and if it didn’t work, I told myself that at least I’d have closure on the whole trying to conceive situation – at least until we could save up enough money for round 2. 

With the mental and physical demands of IVF, infertility and everything else that comes with it, I decided to be completely selfish and not give a damn about anyone or anything else until I knew the outcome of the cycle. The thought and the fear that it might not work could have consumed me if I allowed it to, but at the same time I had to prepare myself for a negative result. Looking back to those teary, emotional and life changing months, I can’t even recognise the person I was. I was as strong as a lion ready to face the self-injections head on, but as weak as butterfly with one wing trying to fly. 

My life now, is the life I prayed and longed for for so long. I’m glad I was selfish, especially during those crucial days of egg retrieval and the two week wait. I often wonder, if I had done things differently…would we have had a different outcome?

Everyone will approach IVF in different ways, but here are few tips that might help along the way.

Find a good acupuncturist
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is used in Western countries to treat a whole host of different health issues, but there is a still a huge lack of awareness as to the benefits that acupuncture can have on a woman’s (and a man’s) fertility. 

Acupuncture treatment is the use of fine needles that are inserted into specific points along the body, called meridians or channels to activate the Qi (energy) and restore good health in particular areas of the body. To someone who’s never had acupuncture and/or has a phobia of needles it can sound quite daunting but a good practitioner should totally put you at ease, and it is an incredibly relaxing and calming experience. Starting acupuncture a good 3-6 months before a cycle of IVF can really prepare your body and get those little eggs all lovely and healthy! 

It is worth doing your research and trying out a few different acupuncturists to find one that you’re really comfortable with, and if you can find someone that also specialises in fertility then you’re on to a winner. The acupuncturist that treated me during the months leading up to my IVF treatment was incredible and he ended up being somewhat of a therapist to me. At every session, he’d ask how I had been and what I was feeling that week. It gave me a chance to outpour my frustrations and emotions and help me see the light at the end of the tunnel when I just couldn’t. If you’re fortunate enough to live within a commutable distance of Wokingham in Berkshire or Twickenham in London, then Attilio D’Alberto is your man, and runs clinics in both of these locations. 

Otherwise, it’s wise to make sure that whoever you choose to see is registered with the British Acupuncture Council.

Stock up on gel ice packs
These are an absolute Godsend when it’s time to self-inject. The thought of putting a needle into your own tummy/thigh is so much worse than the reality of actually doing it, as the needles are super fine…and this is coming from someone who had the most irrational pathetic fear of needles. However those little suckers do sting a bit and popping an ice pack on to the injection site immediately afterwards really does help take away the sting and prevent bruising.  

Take a break from work
For me, this was THE most crucial thing I did during my IVF treatment, but for some, this could be hell on earth. I had an incredibly stressful, fast paced job that required me to think at a gazillion trillion miles an hour, with little to zero downtime. Having a break from work was critical for me to give the treatment the best chance of success. I was super lucky to have such an understanding boss who I divulged no details to, other than that I had some ‘girl stuff’ to deal with, and who in return didn’t ask one question until I was fully back in the saddle 3 weeks later, with my little bun cooking away.

Buy some lucky socks for egg collection day 
Realistically, cute socks are not going to make any difference as to whether you have a successful cycle of IVF or not, but if nothing else, they might make you smile in the morning of what can be quite a nerve wracking day. Etsy have some really cute designs, and they also have designs for embryo transfer day too.

Stock up your fridge on fertility friendly foods
If you’re at the point of starting a cycle of IVF, chances are you’ve already done your research as to what you should and shouldn’t be eating, but here’s a list of my top 5 that I stocked up on during the treatment and the 2 week wait:

  1. Walnuts
  2. Avocado
  3. Black sesame seeds
  4. Spinach
  5. Beetroot

IVF isn’t a journey that anyone will enter into lightly, and there can be lots of twists and turns along the way. Surrender your fears and put your dreams of having a family in the hands of the specialists. Take every day/hurdle/bump in the road as it comes.

You are probably exactly where you need to be right now.

Trust the process.

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  • Reply Andrea

    How much time do you suggest I take off from work? What time in the cycle?

    August 16, 2019 at 4:44 pm
    • Reply Sleep Play Love

      As little or as much as you need. I took time off work from egg collection to test day and for me it was the right thing to do as my job was so stressful. My honest advice would be, do what feels right at the time, be kind to yourself and don’t feel guilty if you do need some time out. Good luck, I truly wish you all the luck in the world! Feel free to drop me a message if you have any other questions, I’m always happy to chat about this x

      August 16, 2019 at 5:19 pm

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