A question from Luna and my response to her got me thinking – what do you do, either doctor-prescribed or critical-to-your-sanity-self-prescribed, before and after your transfer/IUI/insems/good old-fashioned baby-making whoopee to increase your chances of conception?
As for doctor-prescribed measures, how much bed rest, if at all, does your doctor recommend? What about activity limitations throughout the 2ww? This, of course, varies from doctor to doctor and the extremes run from no bed rest at all to strict bed rest for 3 or more days post transfer. Whether or not it makes any difference at all seems to be a matter of opinion more than fact.
What I’d really like to hear about are the quirky things you might do to feel as if you’ve made your body and mind as prepared as possible to allow conception. In other words, do you do anything that likely has little to no effect on your chance for a good outcome, but you do it anyway because you’d feel slightly off, unprepared, or not in the right frame of mind? Do you listen to a significant song every day? Wear your lucky socks to the RE’s office on the day of transfer or IUI? Meditate to encourage optimal alignment of your chakras? Use positive visualization? Light candles and practice deep breathing to have delicate, pastel-tinted auras? Eat weird things because you once heard somewhere that someone’s friend’s brother’s cousin’s great-neice got pregnant from eating the same thing everyday for a week? Maybe you crawl into a mental hole of sorts?
My post-transfer protocol is bed rest the day of and lazy couch potato the next day. I can return to work on the 3rd day. There’s a list of things I should avoid through the 2ww, such as no lifting more than 10 lbs, no heavy exercise, no heavy chores, etc. I can say that for my first transfer (chemical), the RE didn’t require any bed rest. I just had to take it easy and could have returned to work that same day had it not been summertime. I didn’t run laps, but I didn’t do strict bed rest, either (stayed upright on the couch, walked to get my own meals and drinks, etc).
For Baby M’s transfer, I stayed in the bed laying at no more than a 45 degree angle for a solid 48 hrs with only a 15 minute shower on day 2 and potty breaks throughout. I didn’t have to be that strict on day 2, but I tried to do everything opposite of my first transfer. Of course that was more of a mindgame on my part than any prescribed treatment. As you know, that transfer worked.
From a technical standpoint, I believe that if you’re not cage fighting or practicing your Nadia Comaneci Olympic floor routine, your post-transfer activity has little to no bearing on whether it works or not. But I am a creature of habit (and mildly of superstition), so guess what I’ll be doing on the 2nd day past transfer?
Speaking of superstition, there is one in the surro-community that eating McDonald’s french fries right after transfer helps. My logical mind knows it’s a total crapshoot and if Mickey D’s held the mighty secret of assured fertility, they’d be a whole lot richer than they are and super-sized fries most certainly wouldn’t be on the $1 menu, but umm…guess who ate french fries after the last transfer? Guess who’ll eat french fries after this transfer? It can’t hurt and I’ll be hungry anyway, so y’know…ba da ba ba baaaa, I’m lovin’ it.
Bed rest and french fries are for the body, and Frankie Beverly featuring Maze is for the mind. We had a bit of a tense post-retrieval/pre-transfer moment the last time. We had a surprisingly low fert rate in comparison to the number of eggs retrieved. On the morning of day 3 I dressed for transfer not knowing if we would proceed on that day or push to day 5. After the RE called Former IM and Former IF they called me and explained that he had left the decision of a 3dt or a 5dt in their hands. The three of us talked it over and decided to risk pushing to day 5. I went into my closet to change and before I knew it, I found myself crying under the stress and uncertainty of it all. Then for no reason at all, "Happy Feelin’s" popped into my mind. I could hear the music as clearly as if it were playing from the stereo in my bedroom.
Why "Happy Feelin’s"? My mother had had three miscarriages and was told that because her testosterone level was abnormally high, it was doubtful that she would ever carry a pregnancy to term. Reproductive endocrinology and technology not being what it is today, the likely culprit is that my mom also suffered from PCOS. One day she decided to donate blood and as is the standard protocol, she took a pregnancy test, which to her utter surprise was positive. At that very moment, "Happy Feelin’s" was playing on a muted radio in the background. As if in an audio tunnel, she blocked out all other noise but that song, and she knew that that time, everything would turn out alright. I was born 9 months later. As a kid I always loved it when my mom told me that story (I barely missed being given the unlikely name ‘Happy’, thank God) and to me the song came to be a symbol of something finally going right after a long run of wrongs.
So it is no wonder why in my pre-transfer distress my subconcious mind fished out that song. My tears stopped and a feeling of peace washed over me. I immediately went to download the song and burned a whole CD of nothing but "Happy Feelin’s." Much to Frank’s annoyance, I played the CD on repeat through most of the 2ww. It helped keep my thoughts steered in the right direction.
Within a couple of weeks of matching with Mia and Urs I shared both stories with them and emailed a copy of the song and the lyrics. They were touched and scrambled to burn their own copies, which they play every day several times a day. When we first met in February (was it really only last month?) I gave to them CDs with "Happy Feelin’s" and some of my other feel good songs. We listened to the CD all the way to our consult and back, this past weekend, and we surely will through the intensity of the next three weeks.
So, good readers, what do you do for your body and mind to ready for trying to conceive? The simple fact that anyone has had so many attempts at conception that there is an established superstitious ritual speaks volumes in and of itself. The most interesting, explanatory, touching, thoughtful response wins a gift card to Mickey D’s and a copy of my CD. Hey – it’s better than eating two-day old creamed spinach and salami because that’s what worked for your friend’s brother’s cousin’s great-neice.