"They're all that fits me right now!"
Day three and all I wanted was a really great pair of overalls. I haven't owned a pair since I was 13, but as the bloating settled in, the idea of a no waste band solution was starting to look really good.
After deep diving into the oh so handy google-verse, probably better than bothering the nurses and checking on the side effects of Menopur and Gonal-f, I felt confident that the excessive bloating and constipation were an unwelcome, but completely normal, gift from both. Just have to hope it doesn't last for the entire cycle.
You'd think the second time around I'd have it all dialed in, but the truth is, there's something to be said about ignorance being bliss. Now, with every passing day, I try to remember if I felt this way last time and I wonder things like "is the medication working?" or "am I hydrating as much as I did last time?" when in reality I had no idea what I was doing last time and everything worked out just fine.
As with everything I do in life, if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it to the best of my ability.
So yes, I am indeed competitive about egg freezing. I actually asked my nurses last cycle how many eggs they'd seen retrieved at one time. Probably not a question they get asked a lot, but I think they've started to realize I'm full of questions they've never been asked before. The answer was 43. Yes, 43. I did some research, and, well, that's a crap ton of eggs. So, what did I do, I decided that we were aiming for 43 eggs, to tie the record. I didn't want to be greedy and ask for 44. While I clearly did not manage to have 43 eggs retrieved, it didn't stop me from cheering my eggs on with that goal.
While your doctors are busy monitoring your blood and adjusting your medications, it can feel a little bit like there's not much you can control about the outcome. Like, let's just sit back and cross our fingers that the $10,000 we just dropped on this is going to pay off. For me, it's not a great place to be. I need to feel like I have some amount of control over the outcome whether it's real control or not. So, I did a bunch of research prior to my first cycle about ways to support my body, and my eggs, before and during the egg freezing process. It just felt silly to not do everything I can to encourage a successful outcome - which for me admittedly also involves me actively, and vocally out loud, cheering my "eggies" on.
I started taking Pre-Natal Vitamins about 3 months before I did my first cycle. They say that eggs take roughly 3-4 months to mature, so starting your vitamins well ahead of time is definitely important. I haven't stopped taking them since. I also read that CoQ10 can help with egg quality, so I take one of those daily as well. There are different types of COQ10, but from everything I read it appeared that ubiquinol is the best type to take.
While hydration is important in life period, since we're made up of 60% water, it's something I'm admittedly sub par at (just ask the two guys I hiked the 30 mile Pemi Loop with back in 2020, or pretty much anyone I ever trained for triathlon with). Yes folks, I am bad at something. It's, not shockingly, really important during the egg freezing process to stay well hydrated.
Since I frequently get reprimanding for not being more conscientious about hydration (I had two doctors this year yell at me, not kidding) I take it very seriously during the whole cycle. I limit my caffeine intake and switch to one cup of organic decaf coffee in the morning. I also load up my diet with extra fruits and vegetables so I can draw not only the nutrients but also the hydration from those. And, when it comes to just consuming liquids, I have a few tricks that worked for me in my first cycle:
Carry a water bottle everywhere and make sure I'm refilling it every 2-3 hours (yes, I'm aware normal people do this every single day)
Buy cold pressed coconut water in individual size containers, so I can track exactly how much I've consumed and it's always chilled
Drink an electrolyte drink (for me it's NUUN tabs dissolved in water) in the evening after I have all of my shots and before I go to bed
When it comes to eating, it's recommended that you add extra protein to your diet. While I normally eat a decent amount of meat, mainly fish, I try to make a concerted effort to consume protein in different forms throughout the day. It feels like a lot, more than I'm used to, but studies have actually demonstrated that reducing carbohydrates and increasing protein helps increase success rates in both egg quality and IVF.
Apparently loss of appetite is also a thing that happens to some people. Definitely not a problem for me. If anything, I experience the opposite. My metabolism is on fire, especially an hour after I have my shots at night. Even if I eat a huge healthy dinner I feel like there is an insatiable void in my stomach. So much so that I went to bed with crazy hunger pains last night, knowing full well that I had definitely eaten plenty during the day.
Just do it. Lots of it. I believe they recommend 7-9 hours nightly. We all know how important sleep is to pretty much everything, but it's also key to helping the follicles and eggs succeed. I'm not mad about this or the fact that I have no job at the moment (for another conversation) and have the flexibility to spend a lot more time resting than normal.
Just don't do it, or do way less of it. I've backed off of running, and exercise in general, a lot in the last 6 months. Apparently studies have shown that high impact activities, like running, are not excellent for fertility. Whether I'm completely onboard with this idea, or not, I listen, begrudgingly, to what my doctor says. Zero chance I continue to listen once these eggs are out of me :)
During the cycle, once I've started my meds, running is an absolute no-no for me. Since I have a lot of follicles, and should produce an above average number of eggs, I'm at higher risk for certain things. One of which is my ovaries getting twisted around one another as they swell up. I'm not kidding, this is a thing. The idea of that is even painful to imagine and would have horrific consequences on future ovary function, so I'm not looking to take any risks there.
I do keep moving though, because I think moving and making your blood flow is as important for me mentally as it is physically. I just move in different ways than I'm used to. Mainly, I take long walks. They're truly unsatisfying. I'm not going to lie. I walk for an hour, burn less calories and go the same distance as I would in a 20 minute run and I never manage to break a sweat. I'm sure you can feel the joy in my voice. But, it is what it is and for a month of my life (I've got to wait for my ovaries to shrink afterwards), for the sake of these darn eggs, I deal with it.
Long story short, there's a lot more to freezing eggs than just showing... and I still really wish I had a pair of overalls.