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Supplements, Acupuncture, and Feeling Jaded

I emailed Dr. J, my traditional Chinese medicine doc, and told her I needed a break from acupuncture because the cycle got cancelled. She responded, “Why did it get cancelled? For what reason?” I wrote back explaining why. No response from her after that. No nothing. WTF?

I feel like ever since my cycle cancellation I see women left and right raising their AMH and antral follicle counts with supplements and acupuncture. They all claim supplements and acupuncture work. No. They. Don’t. If they worked, I wouldn’t be saying this right now. It’s just dumb luck. Or they smugly insist that I should have done their keto diet (I am very against keto) because that’s what worked for them! Even though they have no proof that’s what worked. Of course I’m still on my supplements hoping for a miracle, and I may return to acupuncture at a later time, again, hoping for a miracle, because I need to feel like I’m doing everything I can, but it’s just like life.

As with everything else in life, some people get lucky and blessed with an easy road. Some people work so damn hard and get nowhere. A smaller percentage work so damn hard and actually are able to change their path against the odds. Some people work so damn hard and then get lucky, and attribute their success to their hard work. This last group is the one that causes the most trouble for the rest of us. “Don’t give up ladies, sometimes it just requires a lot of work!”

All week I’ve been off my diet (but still making healthy choices at least) and avoiding the treadmill. Sometimes I panic thinking that I am ruining my eggs. Hah. That ship has sailed.

I know it seems like it’s too soon for me to be this jaded, but my two IUI cycles were with injectables, too, and they were cancelled. I’ve never even heard of someone getting an IUI cancelled over lack of response. I searched “cancelled IUI” and found a bunch of women frustrated that they had so many darned follicles. Seriously. Even with crappy IVF cycles they can get converted to IUIs. I can’t even do an IUI. And recurrent pregnancy loss is a bitch, too. My first loss was nearly four years ago, so this might be my first IVF but somehow none of this feels new to me.

I spent all of 2014 wanting to try to have a baby but told we could not because of the two methotrexate doses depleting my folic acid. I didn’t even know yet I am homozygous C677T MTHFR and should not even be treated with methotrexate though the alternative for me was a hysterectomy. I spent 2015 reluctantly putting off TTC but tracking my cycles in preparation, still bursting into tears randomly over the ectopic pregnancy. I didn’t start out trying to conceive with hope and positivity. I started out with pain and denial that anything bad might happen. I reassured myself constantly that everything was okay as I lost pregnancy after pregnancy after pregnancy.

So yeah, I’m a little jaded even though I haven’t been through a lot of ART cycles. But seeing women go through worse than this is inspiring to me that I can do this, too.

Update: my best friend from childhood is named Alice. We grew apart over the years but kept in touch and still talk and get together. She was the maid of honor for her new best friend, Gloria. Gloria hates me, has called me a “fat bitch” and gets angry when Alice and I hang out. I didn’t have any bridesmaids when I got married for a multitude of reasons, but it was nice not having any, yet it felt sad to watch Alice be the best maid of honor EVER to Gloria, because she is an awesome friend. Now Alice’s other friend named Cheryl has been going through IVF as well because she has recurrent pregnancy loss because of a genetic issue causing one half of her male fetuses to miscarry. Since she was able to get eggs, get them fertilized, and get pregnant multiple times I was confident she’d be successful in IVF. Well I just got notification on Pinterest that Alice created a new board called “Cheryl’s Baby Shower” and she is planning the most amazing beautiful baby shower for her. Yay, Cheryl, IVF worked for you. Now I get to watch Alice do an amazing job making an amazing baby shower that I am not getting to have. It’s so strange, I keep checking back and looking at the page the way I’d look at pictures of an ex’s new girlfriend when I was younger.

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26 thoughts on “Supplements, Acupuncture, and Feeling Jaded”

  1. I am so sorry for everything you are going through ❤ I hate when people try to give advice about shit they don't understand. It's like once someone gets through to the other side, they magically forget what it's like to be somewhat in your shoes. Seriously frustrating. I am sending you love and comfort ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ❤ I haven’t been as far down the treatment road as you and never will, but this really resonates with me. I’m a bitter betty and have witnessed the “miracles” that never happen to me. My first loss was immediate and devastating, and all the ubiquinol in the world can’t fix my eggs though I dutifully pop it. I’m sorry for your cancelled cycle and pregnesiacs and everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a Betty I may need to steal “bitter betty” as an apt self reference. Also, yes to pregnesiacs! I love that. I hope I’m one of those chill pregnant people/mothers if my time ever comes and I’m not lecturing people to do whatever I did the month I got lucky. I’m popping 800 mg of ubiquinol these days (a really expensive habit) and I think I have inherently infertile eggs, too.

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  3. People can be such assholes. And I completely agree with you on supplements and acupuncture – after so many treatments I think I should get a refund on all that crap. I did though go into acupuncture without looking at it as the thing that was going to help me get pregnant and instead as the thing that just helped me chill out for one hour a week…and yeah as soon as my last cycle failed my acupuncturist was nowhere to be found as well. And considering her specialty is fertility and prenatal acupuncture, there’s no way I’ll be going back to get it for other reasons, as there are constant bellies going in and out of that office.

    Every time someone says that never giving up is the key to getting pregnant I want to rip their eyes out and stomp all over them. 🙂

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    1. I keep thinking of you through all of this. Every time I see someone with failed DEIVF, I check to see how many times. Then yesterday I found a woman with four failed own egg cycles, six failed DE cycles, and two failed donor embryo cycles. I was like ding ding ding! How does she keep doing this? But I’m torn between this unfounded optimism like “Yes I will overcome this against all odds!” As though I have control, because I need that narrative to keep my sanity. But when someone else pulls that I get pissed off, like they are implying I’m just not trying hard enough.

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      1. I’d be curious to see that woman’s blog you’re referring to… Very intriguing for sure… I think we always had optimism because we had our Ethiopia adoption going on at the same time and when that program closed at the same time round six failed of donor egg IVF, I lost faith in just about everything.

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      2. It was in one of my Facebook groups, the source of most of my random internet ire. I just reread her post, and my mistake, she did 2 cycles with her own eggs. But still. She did an ERA for this last one with donor embryo and still fail. She’s tested for antibodies and all that. People are giving her stupid advice like “put your husband on supplements.” because her husband doesn’t have great sperm I guess, and she has low egg reserve. SIGH.

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      3. Ah ok… I was going to say if somebody else had gone through six rounds of donor egg IVF that failed I would definitely have to get to know this person! Yeah we had the ERA before the final one and I thought that would finally make the difference. I’m still confused at the fact that I got pregnant on the 4th cycle with 5 days of progesterone yet the ERA said I needed to do six days of it. It’s a clusterfuck no matter what.

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      4. Two cycles with her own eggs, six with donor eggs, and two with donor embryo. I wish she did have a blog so I could pry into her history and find out more.

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      5. I haven’t done Facebook for over 5 years, tried Instagram for about 5 minutes last month and seemed useless to me since I have a Blog and Pinterest already. I would be a total troll if I went back on to Facebook with all my mood swings from hormones during treatment (and after)!

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      6. Oh but for sure the optimism has it limits. Few people can maintain optimism after a certain point. My husband has reserves of optimism I have no idea where it’s coming from. I’m worried he’ll crash and burn hard one day if it ever looks like all avenues are definitely blocked.

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      7. Every once in awhile I think maybe I should go try the last Frozen embryos that are still in there but I also don’t want to subject my body to the torture of the hormones anymore… Amazing what we’re willing to put our body through even when the odds are against us. I can’t tell my husband that I’m still thinking about it about once a week, as far as he’s concerned he’s done with it. If our domestic adoption went through that would of course help me shut the fuck up, but in the meantime it’s just this empty hole… Not to mention my dining room that was converted into a nursery that’s literally 8 ft from where I’m typing.

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      8. I would feel the exact same way if I had two embryos, I think. But I’m an obsessive personality so I am not measure of clear thinking!

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      9. It’s hard since I’ve already used 9 embryos up of thinking that anything would actually be different… I’m feeling like menopause is just around the block and wonder if that should spur me to do something or if I should just let it go… For the first time in my life my gut is not telling me anything!

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  4. Im sorry you’re feeling so jaded. . I can completely identify. Your story is so similar to mine…. First IVF cycle cancelled due to lack of response, mthfr, miscarriages etc etc. I also did accupuncture but not with the goal of increasing amh. I don’t believe amh can improve in any meaningful way to be honest because your egg reserve does not change. I moved quite quickly to donor eggs and it was such a relief to bid farewell to my shitty eggs.

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    1. I was hoping the acupuncture would help with my antral follicle count, or response to meds, at least, and it didn’t. I’ve heard of this happening for so many other people. I wish people talked about the failures more.

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  5. Well I did 10 own egg failed IVF cycles (7 full cycles and three frozen transfers) with my own eggs before finally moving to donor eggs. I tried diet and acupuncture etc and nothing worked. It’s all a crap shoot. No idea how I got that one good egg that was my miracle toddler but it kept me going and going and going trying to find another one. I kind of wish I would have moved on quicker (hello IVF debt I am looking at you) but we all have to go through whatever steps we personally need to move on. Sorry you are facing this. It is near impossible not to be bitter. Xo

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    1. You are someone who has done it all with all the ups and downs and I just hope I have the zen but realist attitude you seem to have if I get to my goal. Seriously. I love that I can read your story for hope and inspiration without feeling like you worked an impossible miracle. Thank you for that.

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      1. I am so glad my story can provide any source of comfort. Truly my ultimate goal with this blog. And yes- those impossible miracles are usually more demoralizing to me than inspirational. Xo

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  6. One more comment- I found Lupron suppressed me. Have you done a cycle without it? (I think it is called an antagonist cycle or something like that using ganirelix or cetrocide instead ). Sorry if this is unhelpful repetitive info.

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    1. No it’s always helpful. My IUIs were just follistim or Menopur but I don’t totally count them. This cycle was Lupron and next she wants to try mini IVF. If that doesn’t work then I think she’s going to try an antagonist cycle.

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