Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Special Lady Cocktails

When I first was swept up by the internet infertility tornado, I remember reading forum posts from other hopeful women. Falling on a theme (as I often do), I obsessed over the ridiculousness of women taking all kinds of crazy pills - usually without having a doctor recommend them. OMG! DO YOU JUST TAKE ANYTHING YOU FIND ON THE INTERNET??? Some posts swore by the helpfulness while others confessed that they worried it may have hurt. Once discovered, some doctors gave full-on lectures how it was not appropriate for the poster's situation, only to find out that someone else (usually another doctor) in their clinic had told them to take it. Truthfully, I was personally affronted that such naivety and desperateness could drive women to arbitrarily take anything in an attempt to conceive.

The picture above is from MY house. That's right, Ms. Holier-than-thou is ...well, the same as everyone else.

At first it started small. My first pill was THE PILL, and I was told I would have to take it by my Indian doctor to make sure I was synced properly for my IVF treatment. Fair enough. I called my OB/GYN and promptly got a prescription. Let me mention here that I do not like taking birth control pills (bcp) as not only does it make me gain weight and experience occasional nauseousness, but sometimes I experience additional glum side effects (depending on the brand). Fine - whatever - I set my alarm on my phone to give me a daily reminder; particularly because my history of remembering to take medicine on a daily basis is pretty dismal. Especially BCP. Our local IVF doctor also advised to add a pre-natal vitamin (another item bound to make me nauseous) and I immediately relented as I ran to our local Publix.

Baby aspirin and acupuncture were added to the regime - the latter being something I normally would have scoffed at a year earlier. Doctor semi-recommend it and so I shelled out the cash. My husband gave me the big-eye, but I'm guessing he recognized my fervent look and said nothing. 100 bucks a pop for 6 weeks = not cheap. What can I say except I wanted no regrets.

IVF treatment #1 was dismal. 2 eggs retrieved, only 1 fertilized. Even that 1 took a damn long time to fertilize.

Now I am prepping for treatment #2. In typical fashion, I have been obsessively researching similar cases. Not just blog posts, but academic papers and any type of current research I can lay my grubby little eyes on. A clinic in India recommended 25mg of DHEA for 3 months. I rush to pull up the scientific documentation and realized all of the research is really based on a tiny Tel Aviv study. The study showed a significant difference in live birth rates with women who were poor responders and took 75mg of DHEA for 40 days vs women who did not. A follow-up study had additional encouraging results. Screw the 25mgs -I only had about 40 days till cycle, I was going to go full boat - 75mgs it is! [I would like to make a note here that I was not able to take the full 75mg initially because of side effects. I had to build up and even now I have minor side effects.]

Next I read how melatonin could also help woman with poor ovarian reserve and immediately I was hunting down more articles and recommended amounts. 3mgs seemed to be the magical number, but that amount knocked me on my butt. Still 1-2mg was doable and thus it was added. Combining it with the DHEA means I sleep really well, but I'm groggy as all get-out when I wake up. Heaven help me if I don't get a full 8-9 hours. Oddly enough, my friend says she takes 10mg all the time and it barely helps her sleep. What can I say? I'm a lightweight.

Did I stop there? Heck no! I was on a search that day and after reading some articles (which I can not find at the moment) regarding myo-inositol, my amazon shopping cart increased. Among other things, myo-inositol was suppose to help women with cyst issues and a giant cyst almost caused a no-go last cycle. My OB/GYN found a cyst last year and I began to wonder if some of the pain issues I had felt over the last year were cyst related. GIVE ME MYO-INOSITOL NOW!!!

There were a few other things on the list, but these 3 new items had good scientific data to back them up and they applied to women with similar (if not exact) conditions. The other pills I noticed my fellow women-at-arms were taking were either less scientifically regarded or didn't apply to me. Besides, as I mentioned before, I'm a light weight and I wanted to see how I was going to handle this new concoction.

Which brings me to last week. I'm not quite sure HOW I ended up at the Rainbow (read: hippie) Grocery store - but all of a sudden I found myself at the cashier's stand with CoQ10, some fancy fish oil supplements, and yes even some Royal Jelly that was well hidden in a jar of honey. And some awesome low-sugar dried mango. And a yummy nut mix. And Activated Charcoal that I told myself would be good to have on hand if my dogs ever get into something they shouldn't. Somehow I think my subconscious was trying for an easy excuse to get some for me. You know. Just in case.

"Just a spoon full of sugar..." (or honey) 


  1. Oh yes I remember the try everything approach - why not though! Not much you can buy from a health shop would have a negative impact and so it may well have a positive one. Loads of forum friends swore by acupuncture, perhaps everyone has something that helps them and you're on the road to finding what that is for you? Hope it goes well! Read your comment and wanted to say thanks! I thought I was being silly. Hugs x

    1. Thanks for commenting! Congrats on everything!

      Supplements are a funny thing and Consumer Reports did an article this month on some of the dangers, so I think it's a good idea for people to def do their research. DHEA is not good for some women and some other stuff I saw women taking were advised against for poor responders.

      That said, what I didn't know at the time I started reading all of this stuff is that most IVFers become primo researchers and that I needed to take a big spoonful of "get over yourself".

    2. Also, there is enough decent research for acupuncture to consider it and I don't regret doing it, I just don't think it helped infertility in my case. If I have to do a third try, I may consider it again. Just spending an hour a week in an extremely relaxing environment was mentally helpful.

  2. Ooh maaaan there's no umbrellas or sticks filled with fruit in this cocktail! I was a spoon full of honey and a slab of chocolate after it kinda girl, wishing you a easy time with the drugs and side effects xx

  3. I hate BCP pills too, same, they make me gain weight and make me feel moody and nauseous, I'm so glad I'm done with them. Good job on the supplements, I think they can only help, welcome to the club! :)


I LOVE comments - feel free to join in!
Unless you are a spammer and hawking your wares. Then you will be booted immediately.