Preparing for IVF

Yesterday was a very exciting day in the Taylor household—Simon gave me my first IVF hormone shot! After waiting for nearly six months to begin due to my thyroid, we are thrilled to have finally embarked on this crazy assisted conception adventure. For those of you who aren’t familiar with in-vitro fertilization, the “short protocol” that our Danish clinic recommended requires roughly two weeks of hormone injections, an egg removal procedure (they put you under for this in the States, but not in Denmark – wish me luck!), fertilizing the eggs with the partner’s sperm in a petri dish, and, lastly, insertion of one fertilized embryo (sometimes more) back into the uterus. We’ll freeze any extra fertilized embryos for future Taylor babies! My egg removal is tentatively scheduled for Christmas Day (merry merry!), though we won’t know if I’m pregnant until mid-January. The shot last night didn’t hurt at all (and I hate needles), so I’m in good spirits and feeling cautiously optimistic – there’s about a 50% success rate for women of my age. Below, for those that are curious, I thought I’d share how I’ve been preparing for our IVF adventure. (Image: Elephant Pull Toy)

#1 Research. When we got the news that it would likely require IVF for us to get pregnant (there were reproductive issues with both myself and my husband, go team!), I immediately ordered books on the (then very foreign to us) topic. I loved Zita West’s Guide, as well as It Starts With the Egg. Learning the basics helped me come to terms with our situation (I have always wanted lots of children and was pretty devastated) and feel slightly more in control. (Image: Letterpress New Baby Card)

#2 – Meditation. I finally bit the bullet and subscribed to Headspace. My goal is to meditate for at least 20 minutes per day. After just a few weeks, I’ve already seen improvements in my stress level, which is very important for successful IVF. (Image: Cloud Wooden Baby Gym)

#3 – High-protein diet. Studies have shown that high protein diets lead to higher IVF success rates. I’m trying to eat more plant and lean animal proteins. I’ve said goodbye to alcohol, caffeine, and my beloved Danish pastries (RIP). (Image: Crochet Beet Baby Rattle)

#4 – Sleep. I’ve always been a sleeping pro. Studies suggest 7-8 hours are ideal for IVF success, so I’m aiming to be in bed by 10:30 and up by 6:30. (Image: Elephant Night Light)

#5 – Self-care. I’ve learned to take it easy on myself and find healthy ways to cope with disappointment. When I found out, after nearly a year of our unsuccessful trying, that a close relative got pregnant on her first try, I dissolved into a puddle of sobs on our bathroom floor. The world just felt so brutally unfair. Everywhere I look on Facebook and instagram all my fellow bloggers have babies or are announcing pregnancies. I’ve unplugged more recently, not because I’m not happy for them, but because it’s helped me not to compare myself and to trust my own journey to motherhood. My recent solo trip to Morocco was a wonderful, restorative escape. (Image: Monogrammed Ruffle Baby Bib)

#6 – Vitamins. I’ve been taking prenatal vitamins for over a year now (we’ve been trying for quite awhile…) and am of course keeping up with them. (Image: Bear Nursery Mobile)

#7 – Hydration. Because I’m at high risk for hyperstimulation, it’s extra important I stay hydrated throughout the IVF process. Simon also thinks that drinking water is the cure to every illness (headache, cramps, life…), so he is always bringing me water whether I’m thirsty or not. (Image: Letterpress New Baby Card)

#8 – Acupuncture. I’ll actually just be doing this following the embryo transfer as there are no issues with my egg quality or quantity. Several women I know that have had successful transfers have recommended acupuncture and I’m looking forward to giving it a try. (Image: Jenny Lind White Crib)

#9 – Exercise. It’s rather cold here in Copenhagen, but I’m trying to get out and keep moving. I’ve taken some long walks with my Danish neighbor and her baby and they always leave me feeling happy and energized. Exercise also obviously improves sleep and lowers stress, which, as mentioned, contributes to successful IVF. (Image: Dino Wall Decor)

#10 – Reading. I’ve found I’m much happier and less stressed when I’m reading a great book. I’ve stocked up on some fun reads for the next few weeks. First up, A Man Called Ove. Our doctor told us to “Just take the shots, enjoy your lives, and try not to overthink things. Leave the rest to us.” I love this approach. We’re confident we’re in good hands. (Image: Polar Bear Rocker)

I would be happy to answer any questions and would be delighted to hear any tips you might have in the comments below! I really can’t thank you enough for all your support!

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35 comments on “Preparing for IVF

  1. Clare

    Best of luck to you! I’ve been listening to a podcast called Matt and Doree’s Egcllent Adventure, which you might find comforting if you and Simon are ever feeling like you’re the only ones doing IVF.

  2. Mimi

    I love your blog (I always look forward to the Daily Hunt posts and your holiday gift guides have been tremendous), and just wanted to say thanks for sharing this journey with us. I will be rooting for you.

  3. kaleigh

    Just wanted to send you positive vibes as you and your husband embark on this journey. You’re doing an amazing job by taking on all of these alternative modalities to help you out and I wish you all the best. Thanks for all the inspiration you share with us. xx

  4. Ellie McNevin

    Thinking of you! I know this is such a frustrating process, but praying for healthy Danish babies for you soon! You can always call anytime you want to vent. xoxox

  5. Charlotte

    All the good vibes to you as you begin this next step on the baby journey, Katie! Many of these tips are so helpful for dealing with the stress of becoming/being pregnant, IVF or not! Thanks for sharing xoxo

  6. Janice

    Nothing but best wishes and good vibes to you (been there, done that, have amazing teenage son to show for it all). Don’t fret too much about not being put out for retrieval (they don’t do it here in Canada either), It’s not as bad as you imagine. Just breathe a try to keep a sense of humour, it’s a difficult process but so worth it. xo

  7. Katherine

    Will be thinking of you and wishing you best of luck. Try to stay positive and visualize a successful result. I recently got pregnant after more than a year of trying. It has been absolutely the most stressful and challenging year of my life. Just know there’s light at the end of the tunnel and that today’s advanced reproductive technologies are such a huge blessing for those of us struggling with infertility.

  8. Jennifer

    I’m so thrilled for you! It sounds like the IVF process could help you prepare for the experience of childbirth. I have a little list of tips and tricks for pregnancy and newborn days I put together for when my friends have babies (I was the first). Having 2 babies in 2 years is definitely a learning curve. I’d be happy to email the list to you, if you’d like :)

  9. Kate Collins

    You are doing all the right things in this very difficult period of life. I remember the feeling of relief to finally be doing something so it seems like you are feeling that too. You are doing all the right things. My only tip is to have your husband come prepared with lots of jokes on the day they are implanting the fertilized egg(s). I read a study in India where they brought in a comedian during that point and the success rate increased. I had my husband, Graham, come armed with jokes for the half hour or so they have you lie flat after implantation. It was one of the most hilarious half hours of my life and it brought so much joy to a very sad situation. Two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant and we got our Josie. The Drs didn’t know if I’d be able to have a second (low egg count and no eggs to freeze). Low and behold, I got our Grace naturally 18 months later and now have our baby boy Rowan who is 3 months old (both natural). The Drs and I never thought I’d be one of those cases so you never know what’s in store. Thinking good thoughts for you!!!

  10. Katie Armour Post author

    Clare – Looking up the podcast now! Thanks so much for the tip.

    Mimi – Thank you! So glad you’ve been enjoying my posts!

    Stephanie – You’re too sweet. Always a treat to see your name!

    Kaleigh – Thanks for your well wishes. I have the kindest readers around.

    Ellie -Thanks love! We’re long overdue for a catch up. Soon!

    Charlotte – Ekkkk! Fingers crossed we get to the pregnant part soon! xoxo

    Shannon – Thanks love! Hope all is well in Texas! xx

    Janice – That is so good to hear because it’s the one part I’ve been quite nervous about. The test where they checked my tubes was so painful…I was afraid the egg removal would be a repeat. Will think positive! Thanks for sharing your story!

    Katherine – You make me feel so hopeful! I have been reading a lot about the power of positive visualization. Will give it a try!

    Jennifer – I would love to read your list! I need all the help/advice I can get! My email is theneotraditionalist@gmail.com xoxo

    Kate – Oh my gosh, your story gives me so much hope! I read about that study as well and have been planning to watch lots of hilarious movies to make me laugh a lot post-transfer. I’ll make sure Simon comes up with some jokes too, thank god he’s funny! Thanks so much for dropping by!

  11. Heather Bernard

    Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve followed you for years, pre-Matchbook! And wish you and your husband all the best with this journey.

  12. Katie Armour Post author

    Heather – From way back when! Thanks so much for your well wishes. Feeling so positive thanks to my sweet readers. Hope you’re having a lovely week. xx

  13. Phyllis

    Katie ~ you will probably never know how many people you’ve helped and encouraged by sharing this challenge. I’m sorry you are going through it but in this day and age, there is so much they can do. What used to be considered impossible is now common-place. {Also ~ loved your doctor’s advice!}

    I am praying for total success and that this time next year, you are in your darling home, with your precious baby, who will be surrounded by lots of love and told all their life how much they were wanted! xoxo

  14. Sarah

    Good luck with your IVF journey! After 2 failed attempts, we are expecting a baby boy in April! I wasn’t put under for my first egg retrieval either. It’s not the best, but you can do it! Thinking of you through this process!

  15. Jill

    I’ve been where you are and you are doing everything right and all you can do. Prayers from me and my beautiful twin girls that y’all are blessed this first round! And if anyone tells you to “just relax” you should “just punch them in the face.”

  16. Jamie

    Thank you for sharing! Kudos to you for your courage and good spirits through a journey that I imagine has been frustrating. Sending you good wishes and hoping that you and Simon get to meet your baby soon!

  17. Heidi A. Dooley

    As someone going through ivf & suffered a miscarriage this past Spring my only recommendation is to do genetic testing on your embryos after day 5. It ensures you have implanted a healthy viable embryo which increases your chances of a successful pregnancy & helps reduce a miscarriage or an embryo that won’t implant. A miscarriage takes a real emotional toll on you & can cause delays on starting to try again. Just advice from my experience. Wishing you the best of luck & hope your dreams come true in 2017!

  18. Liz

    Best of luck to you on your journey! Everyone’s path to motherhood is different and you just can’t compare yours to others hard as it may be.

    While I got pregnant rather easily my pregnancy was riddled with complications, for no real reason at all. Fast forward three years and a short NICU stay for my little one I have a beautiful, healthy, smart little one. I truly think that my sense of tremendous appreciation for him is partly because all we had to go through to get him here.

    Trying to give him a sibling and isn’t happening as fast as I’d hoped. Had I not had such a stressful pregnancy I would have started trying sooner. It just took a while to be ready again.

    Just curious, in case I end up needed reproductive assistance, do they tell you to give up alcohol prior to your cycle?

    All the best and I’m sure you’ll get where you want to be!

  19. libby

    Sending lots of good thoughts your way. After 4 IUIs we did 1 IVF and I now have a 5 month old baby and 4 frozen embabies! Definitely try to relax and take everything in stride. I also did meditation, yoga, and acupuncture ( i was going about one time per week for acupuncture and then went the day before and day of embryo transfer). XOXO

  20. Lisa

    Get some comfortable pants!! No one warned me about how bloated and uncomfortable I would get as the follicles started to mature. I could only wear sweatpants towards the end of the shots and for about a week after the egg retervial (ovarian hyper stimulation!).

    Good luck and thinking of you

  21. Elizabeth Midgett

    Wishing you lots of luck!!! We have had our own fertility issues so I can relate. I love how proactive you are! I had 5 IUI’s before a successful one (my son turns 2 next week) and are now trying for our second. Any who, Sending good baby vibes & fertile thoughts your way :)

  22. Noe Steadly

    Phyllis (in the comment above) really nailed my sentiments. Thank you for honesty in writing about your experiences. Despite the tough days you’ve been through, it is refreshing to see that you have found such a positive outlook on the steps you are taking towards IVF success. Sending you much love and happiness from your franklin family! xoxo

  23. Katie Armour Post author

    Phyllis – Thank you for your kind comment. I do hope talking about all this openly helps other to do the same. I know I’m not alone in facing this… Thanks again for your support!

    Sarah – Glad to hear the egg retrieval is bearable! And congrats on your little boy in April! You give me so much hope!

    Caitlin – Thanks so much! Hope you’re well. Your paintings are the highlight of my instagram feed! xx

    Jill – I have wanted to punch several people in the face thus far, hah! You must be having so much fun with twin girls! Congrats to you and thanks for sharing—have me feeling so hopeful!

    Jamie – Thanks for your well wishes! They mean so much!

    Heidi – I’m writing my clinic right now to ask about this. I’m not sure it’s something they offer in Denmark, but I’ve read how beneficial it can be. Thanks for the reminder! I am trying to prepare myself emotionally for the possibility of miscarriage, but I know that’s impossible given the heartbreak it must bring. Sending you a hug and hoping everything works out for you as well!

    Liz – I hope baby #2 comes soon for you! While our fertility clinic hasn’t really given us any strict rules on our diets, I have read that going alcohol/caffeine free for a few months prior to beginning fertility treatment can be beneficial. I’ve had a rare cocktail here and there over the past few months, but stopped completely now that we’ve begun the IVF process. Hope this helps!

    Erika – Thanks for the well wishes! Fingers crossed!

    Libby – This gives me hope! Congrats on your baby boy! I should try some yoga…haven’t done it in years and can barely touch my toes. Could be entertaining!

    Lisa – I am going to H&M to buy maternity leggings today! I’m at high-risk for hyperstimulation and have read/heard the bloating horror stories. I am just praying I don’t end up in the hospital needing my stomach drained. What a glamorous adventure this is! Thanks for the tip!

    Elizabeth – Good luck with baby #2! And you must be having so much fun with your soon-to-be 2 year old. Such a great age. Crossing my fingers fro you! So glad you said hello! xx

    Noe – So fun to see a familiar face! Hope you’re well and thanks so much for your happy thoughts. Fingers crossed! xx

  24. Annette

    Wishing you all the best. I’ve followed your Pinterest for years, and I’m so excited for you on this new journey. My husband and I tried for 3.5 years, going through every stage of the infertility process you can do. It was incredibly stressful and hard for a new marriage. My doctor recommended IVF, but with the costs, we decided to put a down payment on a house. The next year, my doctor who had been helping us through the process, heard of a study the IVF clinic was doing and told me to call and see if I qualified. I did, and the month we moved into our new home, we went through IVF and found out I was pregnant. I’m now a few days away from greeting our daughter, Addison, due on Dec 20th. She’s our miracle baby. Thank you for sharing your story. Infertility was such a lonely experience, I try to share my story, so women who are going through the same thing know they’re not alone and can benefit from what I’ve experienced. Praying for your family to welcome a beautiful baby in this coming year.

  25. Kate

    Katie, I’ve been reading your blog and following you for years on social media, and am a great admirer of everything you’ve done. I’m in a very different space in my life, so while I can’t offer any firsthand advice, I am sending lots of love, prayers, and good wishes your way.

  26. meg

    Just saw this so don’t know where you are in the process but good luck! We did natural IVF at New Hope in NYC (my one-year old is on my lap as I type this). They don’t put you under for the egg retrieval either and it’s really not bad at all (it’s a slightly crampy tug. I’m really excited for you!

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