I wanted to get to this before I put it off any longer. I promised you a review of Circle + Bloom's IVF/IUI program, and so here it is.
(Before I begin, I should clarify that I paid out of my own pocket for the IVF/IUI program, I am not affiliated in any way with Circle + Bloom, and was not paid for this review.)
I first heard about Circle + Bloom through Jin's blog, The Truth is Out There. Jin at the time was trying naturally, after doing several clomid cycles. Pretty much 2 weeks after she mentioned on her blog that she was using Circle + Bloom's "Natural Cycle Fertility Program," she announced her BFP.
Hmmmm.... I thought to myself.
That was back in March. In July, Self published an article called "Breaking the Silence on Infertility." In that article I noticed some interesting information in this paragraph:
In a small study of 97 Boston IVF patients younger than 40, women who had participated in 5 to 10 mind/body sessions were 160 percent more likely to get pregnant after a single IVF cycle. And more than two thirds of women with a clinical diagnosis of depression got pregnant after these sessions, whereas none of the depressed women in the control group conceived. The meetings teach relaxation techniques to ease anxiety and cognitive-behavioral strategies to fight depression. "These results can absolutely be replicated," Domar says. "Isolating oneself during fertility treatment is not helpful to getting pregnant."
Hmmmm.... I thought to myself.
On July 17th, when I got my period, and my 4 last-ditch natural cycles before embarking on IVF were over, it was time to get the IVF show on the road.
One month later, on CD1 of my IVF cycle, I purchased the Circle + Bloom IVF/IUI Program. The program comes with 3 sessions to listen to pre-cycle, so I missed out on those (although I listened to 2 of them in addition to the ones I was supposed to be listening to).
So here's how the program works: There are 18 "sessions" total, 3 for pre-IVF; then one every 2 days (so one session for cycle days 1 +2, one for cycles days 3 +4, etc.); one for trigger/retrieval; one for the cycle days in between retrieval and transfer; one for transfer (IVF)/insemination (IUI); and then one every 2 days for the 2ww. Each session is 13 to 19 minutes long.
The sessions start by asking you to take several deep breaths, and then use several different techniques for relaxation. The most common relaxation techniques used are: 1) asking you to concentrate on relaxing each separate part of your body (toes, feet, ankles, calves, knees, etc.); and 2) asking you to imagine that you are in a warm bath, and then imagine each separate body part as it is soothed by the warm water. I found these relaxation techniques to be effective, especially the more sessions I did.
In the second half of each session, once you are very relaxed, you are asked to think positive thoughts specifically related to the part of the cycle you're in. So, during stims, you are asked to visualize your follicles growing and responding well to the meds. In the 2ww, you are asked to visualize the embryos implanting and growing. I found it very therapeutic to lie there in a relaxed state and think these good thoughts about my body and my cycle.
The only 2 complaints I have are that: 1) the woman whose voice you hear is, I believe, the founder of the company, and I'm not sure she has the best voice for relaxation; and 2) although mostly the descriptions used of the various things going on in the cycle were extremely accurate, when talking about the embryo implanting, it was often referred to as "the egg" implanting, and this bothered me a bit, but I have to give them credit that they got things mostly right.
Also, I was a bit worried, since this was an IVF/IUI program, that it would be too geared toward IUI, or try too hard to be totally fair to both IUI and IVF and end up just being confusing. But, if anything, this is actually more geared towards IVF than IUI, although not in a way that I would recommend against it for those undergoing IUI.
So, in summary, I feel that my $59 was well spent. Except for the fact that I didn't get my BFP. I guess that would have been the ultimate recommendation. But I do plan on using it on any future IVF cycles I may have.
And speaking of future IVF cycles, we are getting, little by little, closer to being accepted into this IVF study. We went down to Philadelphia for the first time in the 2ww of our IVF cycle for our initial consultation, then I went back a second time on CD3 after our IVF BFN for an ultrasound and bloodwork (which was considered "testing" and thus not part of the study, so I had to pay for); and then DH and I went back last week (my 3rd time, his 2nd) for a genetic consultation and IVF nursing consult. Now, we just wait for my next period, and then I'll go back for another ultrasound and bloodwork and THEN they will FINALLY submit our paperwork to the study and I will find out a couple weeks after that if I've been accepted into the study. If I am accepted, I'll start stims at my next period, so about a month and a half from now. Oh, and I've found out that they don't do any suppression before the start of stims: no lupron, no BCPs, nothing. This seems weird to me, and I assume it will mean that I end up having a lower response to the stims.
I also want to mention that if anyone reading this is interested in participating in an IVF study, you can go to www.clinicaltrials.gov and search for "IVF" and then, in the refine search tab, limit the studies shown by state to find studies in your area.
Oh, and I finally ovulated, it looks like, yesterday. Cycle day 25 for those not following my cycle obsessively. This is 4 days later than my last latest ovulation, and 9 days later than my average ovulation (average is CD 16, according to Fertility Friend). I was getting a bit worried, but I guess this is somewhat normal the first cycle after IVF. We had "relations" at optimal times and I am now hoping for a miracle, between IVF cycles, BFP. I am not, however, holding my breath on that one.