10 September 2013

My Goals for This IVF


We haven't started the hard core IVF drugs just yet.  They first have me take birth control for a bit.  It's all a part of the process.

But as we anticipate what is to come, I have been thinking of a few goals I have with this next cycle...


1.  Be as kind and friendly as can be to the nurses.  I am guessing they have hard jobs.  I know moodiness and stress are rampant among most IVF patients.  And I'm guessing that kind of energy takes a toll on the nurses and staff.  And so, if I can, I want to try and be kind and patient with them.  Somehow, the goal of doing this gives me a little bit of purpose as I go to and from all the appointments, which are about a 4 to 5 hour round-trip to and from Long Island.  And yes, any bit of purpose I can have is welcome.  :)

2.  Be on my A-game with reacting well to other areas that could be stressful.  To me, it's ALL in the reactions.  If I'm not reacting well, energy just gets depleted, and there is nothing left for the riggers of IVF or anything else that might come along.  And so, I work on reacting well to my side view mirror that just got nailed by a hit and run driver.  Or my fairly new desktop computer screen that just got shattered due to a falling poster frame that made the computer topple over.  And coming up we have three speaking engagements during the IVF cycle and also some big, big decisions to figure out.  So, it's on.  I'm working on reacting well to life.  Doing this deliberately is the best thing I've ever done for myself.  And if I didn't do this regularly, for sure the experience of IVF would be a mess.

3.  GRATITUDE, GRATITUDE, GRATITUDE.  FOR SOOOO MUCH!!!! There is loads to be grateful for.  I think it's safe to say we all could find so much to be grateful for.  I want to align with gratitude as deliberately as possible over the next few weeks.

4.  Go on walks.  I remember with the last IVF, I realized I should walk and walk as much as I could on days that I was able to.  Because on some days, walking was not an option.

5.  Take. My. Vitamins.  I can't tell you how much I now dislike swallowing handfuls of fish oil and antioxidants and prenatals.  Honestly, it gets old after nearly a decade now.  I have to force myself to do it.  Any ideas for how to make that experience more pleasant?

6.  And, once again, "ENJOY THE PROCESS."  :)
I've done it before.  I know it can be done.  Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy.  :)  It's still my mantra and it helps a TON.

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Do you guys ever set goals for yourselves in advance of an IVF or ANY possibly difficult upcoming experience?  Let's say a pregnancy, a school year, a tense family gathering, PMS, a stressful week, a medical procedure, a blind date, a social gathering, a move, etc.  Does it help?  


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44 comments:

  1. Hi Mara,
    I recently discovered your blog which is so refreshing. I too am in the birth control phase of my second IVF (also in Long Island) and am trying to make peace with this journey. There have been so many tears, but I know the best thing I can do for myself is to stay positive. Your blog has helped me with that, and I love the fertility meditations you described awhile back. I too am trying to enjoy the process. I wish you the best of luck.

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  2. This is unrelated, but where did you get your top?!

    I think with the vitamins, it's sort of all in the mind - imagine what it does for you and your body, maybe that will help?

    Good thoughts this round.

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    1. Thanks - love the idea.
      And the jacket is from H&M - but it's from several years ago.

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  3. I hated my fish oil prenatals. I found one (the brand I use is Melaleuca, http://www.melaleuca.com/ProductStore/ProductDetail.aspx?sku=3124 but I know there are other companies that make it) that blends it up into kind of an orange creamsicle flavored syrup that i ate with a spoon. You can also put it in yogurt or blend it into a smoothie. It was much easier to eat that then knowing I would be burping fish oil in 20 minutes. I would also put my chlorophyl in grape juice to make it more palatable, and I had a liquid iron supplement that tasted like apple/prune juice that was a lot more effective than over the counter iron supplements. I am always borderline anemic, so an iron supplement my body could really absorb was super important for me. Taking my supplements at the same time and in the same place every day also helped. And thinking about the benefit to my body and my baby made a big difference in my frame of mind. I also figured out that I should take my least favorite one first, and get it out of the way, so that I ended with whatever was most pleasant. It's not easy or fun, but I am grateful for all the wonderful helps we have to ensure our bodies can be at their optimum health! Good luck!

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    1. I really love the liquid vitamin idea. So Mara, why do you put what you do in a green smoothie, or why do you eat what you eat?.... To fuel your body, it tastes good, to feel your best self. So if the vitamins were in liquid form and you could add it to your smoothies, or your cocoa, then 1. you wouldn't forget because it's just another ingredient to make it taste great and 2. You know it's fueling your body with the other foods your consuming.

      I only struggle remembering my vitamins when traveling. Otherwise, it's a commitment I made when I had gastric bypass and now, 10 yrs out, it's so ingrained in what my daily routine is that I don't even think about it. Try a pill box if you don't have one, then you only have to get ALL the bottles out once a week, all the other days its pop the handful from 'Tuesdays' box.

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    2. My FAVORITE prenatals (I worked in a vitamin store when I was pregnant with my first and the reps always were giving me their company's so I have tried a few) is New chapter's whole food prenatal. They don't smell and they are not horse pills, plus they digest really easily for me! I also love the Nordic naturals prenatal DHA for the same reason!!! Either way good luck with your journey!! I agree that attitude plays a huge process in our journeys!

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  4. Sending much luck and good wishes your way as you begin your next round of IVF. And thank you for sharing your journey/thoughts with us on your blog.

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  5. Your "Enjoy the Process" image on that post was (and still is) my iphone wallpaper, and I see it every time I look at my phone. It is a wonderful reminder.

    Can I add another thing to your list?

    Pick a really good ringtone! My first IVF cycle didn't go well and after it I hated the song that was my ringtone. Even today that song brings up bad feelings in my brain and gives me anxiety. This time, I went for Alicia Keys "This Girl is on Fire" and it just empowered me and prepped me for whatever news was going to come from the other line, and it really helped boost my spirit.

    The cycle that I changed my wallpaper and my ringtone worked! I don't think either of those things made a difference, but they helped my spirit during a very stressful time!

    Good luck reaching your goals! Your spirit is so inspiring!

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  6. I've been taking the nature made prenatal multi with the DHA and omega-3 included. It's once a day and it has had much less of an aftertaste than the vitamins and supplements I took the last time I was pregnant (via IVF).

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  7. After well over a decade of prenatals, I totally understand how you feel about them! After every unfruitful cycle, I have found myself somewhat irrationally disgusted with all the pills I choked down. I project all my negative feelings on those pills! It's kinda ridiculous but I suppose I need some outlet. Ha. ha.
    I try to take them with my afternoon "treat". I usually eat something I just love as an afternoon treat (fresh summer berries in a little cream, fresh peppered mangoes in the spring, a bite of dark chocolate.... you get the picture). As Mary Poppins said "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down". I don't take the sugar part too literally, but I always try to mix doing something I'm not looking forward to with some reward that I am very much excited about. :)

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    1. That was going to be my suggestion -juxtapose yucky with nice. It doesn't even have to be food - it could be speaking to a great friend, or watching an episode of a show you are loving... you get the idea.

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    2. That was going to be my advice too!! I always take my vitamins with a treat (mine is usually a nice tall glass of chocolate milk). Makes the experience more enjoyable plus washes away any nasty vitamin aftertaste.

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  8. I just found your blog and I really enjoy your perspective. Going through IVF can be a challenge mentally, physically and emotionally - I've had two unsuccessful rounds so far. All 6 of your goals are excellent. I'm going to refer back here for my next round. :)

    As for vitamins, if I take anything other than gummy vites I get sick (almost flu-like). I've tried everything - organic, you name it. I think it is something in the binder for traditional vitamins. Gummy vites work for me, they taste good and they're effective. They have some ingredients that I don't normally eat, but I think the good outweighs the bad. Maybe it would make the vitamin process easier for you too?

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  9. I have found gratitude is like a bouy during the storms of life. Hang in there! We will keep you in in our prayers.

    P.S. I love that top too!

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  10. Mara, you're so great. Feeling love and gratitude for you and Danny as you go through this challenge right now. Sending good vibes your way.

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  11. You are such a precious inspiration. Thank you for the reminder that there is so much to be grateful for!

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  12. You're a doll! I love the idea of having a goal for an upcoming event. Sending prayers your way

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  13. I hear you on the vitamins! I went through a dry period with them this winter and spring--I can't fathom why I could work up the mental energy to complete fertility treatments, but swallowing one prenatal vitamin seemed like too big an emotional outlay.

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  14. Good luck and thank you for sharing! You've probably already tried this but take all the vitamins at night right before going to sleep. They've always made me sick and this was the best thing that helped me. Thinking of you!

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  15. Maybe switch to Flinestones vitamins? I kid, I kid.

    I'm with you on the whole monitoring-reactions thing. I try to tell myself that instead of just knee-jerk reacting to a situation/stimulus, I need to RESPOND.

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  16. I love all these suggestions for #5...taking vitamins! That is something I have been trying to figure out on how to make it pleasant! I will take all these suggestions and give them a shot! I currently have my fish oil pills in the freezer to attempt to make them less fishy when I take them...

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  17. I have to be honest, when I was going through fertility treatments, I found it too hard to think about gratitude. I felt like trying to think of all the things I was grateful for was being a little dishonest with myself, because the truth was that with every cycle that failed, I felt bitter, and I was too aware of what seemed like the unfairness of it to focus on my gratitude. That felt too outward focused when what I needed was the space to deal with something that was, for me, very private. At the same time, I did not want to be this bitter, disappointed person. So I made a deal with myself that I was allowed to feel whatever I felt, but I could not wallow in it. I had to keep perspective that no matter how much it hurt, I could feel it as deeply as I needed to, but then I had to let it go. I had to let it wash over me like a wave- I could be under it for a while, but I could not drown. As such, my goal was never gratitude, but grace and kindness. I sought only the grace to accept the outcome of each cycle, and the kindness toward myself to accept the full range of my human emotions- no matter how dark they sometimes were. Anyway, I eventually got pregnant, and am now 31 weeks, and due in November. Anyway, you both seem like you would make wonderful, thoughtful parents and I wish you the best of luck on your journey, no matter the outcome.

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  18. I'm about to start my first IVF cycle & I suppose my goal is to handle it with as much grace as possible. I'm just feeling so hopeful & nervous! Wishing you & others the best~

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  19. Hey Mara!!!! I know that you tend to avoid sugars BUT I HATED HATED HATED those awful fish oil pills, I would burp rancid fish for hours afterwards. I actually caved and bought the vita fusion prenatal gummies with omega 3 and they are soooo good-I actually look forward to taking them but they do not contain iron so I do still take iron pills.

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    1. You are so sweet, what wonderful goals! I just started distance running and the mantra that's really resonating with me is "find a way." It reminds me that the journey isn't always pleasant or easy, and if I can keep my eyes focused on my goals, I can find a way to persevere. Lots of love to you! xo

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  20. Well, I must say that after 18 years of trying -yep... 18 years... I am finally pregnant... And I am totally depressed. I mean, I love this child and I know that I will love this child, but I thought that all I would feel was joy, excitement and relief on being at least pregnant and... no... And I feel extremely guilty about it. Yesterday I spent a whole hour crying with a shrink and a doctor and they told me that it was normal after all I've gone through to have a hard time coping with my feelings and really realizing that against all odds, it worked and that I am going to have a child and even believing that we both will be ok. When I first realized I was pregnant I was ecstatic, and some weeks later the blues came. I've spent 18 years listening to " we are not sure if it will work, if your body can handle, if you can manage to conceive, we are not sure if you will be able to keep the baby, etc". Needless to say that I am totally panicked to loose the child and totally unsure if my body can make it. I was reassured to know that this blues and this deep questioning isn't my total responsibility - in the sense that I became a woman already listening to people question my capacity of mothering, so even if I did all I could to be one, the negative ideas are still too loud in my mind. But I know that I have a choice to make to live well this so wanted pregnancy... and I have to allow me to believe it will be fine. And know that even if it isn't, I am going to be fine. They told me it will take some time for me to "tame" the experience of being pregnant in my mind and heart, but I have some months to do so and that sooner than later, I will be totally enjoying the experience. I hope so! I spend the whole day telling my baby, that it isn't him/her, but me and that he/she is very loved. I just hope he/she can feel all my love, despite my fears and blues... Thank you, Mara and Danny for being an inspiration on CHOOSING LOVE and FAITH and VIRTUE no matter what! I am so hoping you can make it asap and that you experience immediately all the joy of it!

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  21. Praying for you. I love this post. We are possibly starting IVF in October and I think setting out goals like this is a GREAT idea. Thank you so much. Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy!

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  22. I'm not a frequent commenter (most of the time I have writer's block when it comes to commenting on blogs) but I am an avid reader and appreciate so much the insights and love you and Danny share here! Thank you so much for that!

    Every once in a while though something just hits a writer's nerve and this is one of those posts. :) Probably because the topic hits so close to home for us right now. We just finished the injections phase of our IVF yesterday and egg retrieval is tomorrow. This is 'round one' IVF for us so the whole experience was new. Ironically, not having ever gone through the process before I still had very similar goals to yours. We are praying for you and wish you a very smooth and successful experience!

    I've never been a grouchy person but had the same thought as you re: the nurses at the clinic. I could just imagine the interactions they must have with patients and made it a goal to be *extra* kind and even humorous on the phone to get them to laugh. I think they must really appreciate that because they seem very happy to call us. Intentionally trying to make someone happy and/or smile very day is a great goal to have in general, but especially as you go through an IVF because it reciprocates and helps you to feel happy too.

    Finally, in terms of vitamin taking: I hear you. There are times when my stomach wants to throw the vitamins right back out merely because there are so many going in! I found that juice helped the vitamins go down better but I didn't like the idea of drinking juice every day (too sugary) so started taking my vitamins with infused water instead. We bought two pitchers with the infusion core and put things like lemons & berries (our favorite is raspberry and strawberry), but even less traditional things like cucumber, melon and thyme combo, etc. Anyway, there are a ton of combos you can make up for infused water and it gives the water enough of a flavor that swallowing the vitamins is easier. Plus, you get the antioxidants and vitamins that come out of the fruit - it's a natural vitamin water without all the fructose and chemicals!

    In any event, have a wonderful IVF journey. You'll be in our prayers!

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  23. P.S. Oops, forgot to mention a couple other things re: vitamins.

    1. With permission from my OB/GYN and RE, I switched my prenatals from the prescription version they had given me to a vegetable-based brand called New Chapter. It's worked wonders. I love New Chapter. We use their Fish Oil and Probiotics as well. They even have a Honey-Ginger Tonic for morning sickness (when the time comes for it). Definitely recommend.

    2. Where I could, I also switched my vitamins to liquid rather than pill form. I take a liquid-based iron supplement, Co-Q 10 and drink Noni Juice along with my prenatals. The liquid form helps them go down easier as well as assimilate better in the digestive system (higher absorption).

    Good luck!

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  24. What an great reminder to have a positive attitude during the IVF process! This is my first round and I go in for egg retrieval tomorrow, so the emotions and nerves are running high right now. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy the process!

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  25. I loved your ideas on choosing your reactions and how that really does affect your entire energy level and mood. I have to try to remember that more as I am easily influenced by negative things that happen. I also love that you're taking the perspective of improving the lives of others as you go about this. That's something my husband is always doing and I'm trying to get better at. Every grocery store checkout person, neighbor, stranger on the street, etc. gets a smile and kind conversation from him. Almost without exception, they end up smiling because his enthusiasm is just infectious.

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  26. I love that you are thinking about the way you are interacting with the nurses and other office staff in your practice! It is just such a sweet thought, and a good way to turn positive energy outwards.

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  27. Love this post. Once again I'm so impressed with your decisions to live so deliberately. What a wonderful gift to give yourself and others. This also had me thinking about doing the same all day while home again with 2 kids (one sick from school). Of course not on the same level as IVF, but we all have our little hang ups, bad days and circumstances that are just tiring and can bring out our not-best-selves. Personally I know I could use the practice on these little challenges to help me tackle the big ones better.

    Hugs to you!!

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  28. I love this. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing!

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  29. When I get anxious or nervous about something (which I do frequently because I'm a worrier!), I try to ask myself if down the road, whether it is a day or a year, will this matter? Will the energy that I am putting forth in worry change the outcome, cause me necessary/unnecessary stress or just be something that is taking my energy.

    It has helped me to realize that negative energy and thinking just isn't helpful. And yes, sometimes there are things that you should necessarily stress about or put more effort into changing or worrying about.

    I'd like to think that this is something I gained from reading your blog. :)

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  30. Mara, THANK YOU for the beautiful words as always. I was just laid off from my job 2 weeks ago! So i shall heed your advise and write the next chapter of my life with gratitude, excercise and patience! All of us Vesci's here in PA will be praying for you during this next IVF cycle! We are proud of you and Danny for sharing with us. Thank you again

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  31. First time comment but have been reading your blog for a while! Thanks for the reminder. I am starting a round of IVF one more cycle down the road and this was a great refresher to set intentions. I believe this can be fruitful and the journey can increase life-learning whether it leads to a baby or not. I keep a small figure of a pregnant woman in my bedroom which was given to me during a surprise pregnancy in my late 30's. It used to make me a little sad so I was going to put it away when I couldn't get pregnant again, but I decided that I wanted to keep it to remind me to "bear fruit" and be productive, nurturing and loving others regardless of circumstances. Have you read anything on Enneagrams? I have found that integrating that knowledge about myself with my own faith traditions has been helpful in responding positively to challenges. On a lighter note...love your top--where is it from?

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  32. Praying for you in this difficult time! I am grateful that you shared this list. I am a busy momma who works part time, and although i know how blessed I am it gets hard to remember it sometimes, so I do make lists like this! I teach a very difficult group of kids so I make lists at school to remind me how to react positively to them. And when I'm home I make lists to remind me to enjoy every bit of that time. It really is all about our reactions to what happens in our lives and remembering to be grateful no matter what. Thanks for this reminder!

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  33. I recently found your blog, and I must say you are a true inspiration. I am currently in my wait period after my embryo transfer and scrolling through all of your past entries has helped me stay sane! I look forward to reading through your journey.

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  34. Love the idea of setting goals. To-do lists help me greatly, and i'll try and throw a behavioral element in there sometimes (like today's to-do is not to gossip about anyone in the office!).

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  35. I admire your intentionally positive attitude in challenging times. Lots of love for you both as you give it another go!

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