I decided DH needed to be a bit more involved in this process, so at the weekend, while I was filling in the forms for XXXX clinic, I got him to fill in the order form for our supplements. With the hair analysis, they had told us what they wanted us to take and in what quantities, but then we had to work out how many tubs of each thing we would need and place the order for them.
He spent a happy hour or so with his calculator before announcing that the grand total price for our four month programme of supplements would be a shade over £500. Eeeek! Still, when you've already spent £12,000 on two failed IVFs and heaven knows how much on ten months of acupuncture, 21 months of prenatal vitamins, hypnotherapy CDs, brazil nuts, sweet potatoes and whatever else anybody told you was good for conception, another £500 is just a drop in the ocean. If we ever do have a baby, it's going to be wearing hand-me-downs and eating gruel, and it'd better start saving up for university when it starts getting its first pocket money, because we won't be able to help...
On Monday, I phoned our order through. The lady I spoke to was lovely, and very insistent that I should understand the importance of both of us sticking to the programme. She said they often have trouble with the men, and if I could persuade my husband to stick to all the instructions then they might have to ask if they could clone him (after all, they already have some of his DNA in the hair sample!).
I commented that I was surprised we both had low zinc, as we've been taking supplements for a while. She looked at our results and said that manganese is required to help metabolise zinc, so because we both also have low manganese, we just haven't been metabolising it. Supplementing one thing without balancing it out with something else can also cause levels of the other thing to drop, so the zinc and selenium supplements could actually have caused some of our other levels to drop.
She said it was very important to take the supplements at the right time of day and the right distance from each other so that they don't interact and stop us from absorbing others. We have a strict regime of pills to take at breakfast, lunch, supper and bedtime - and she announced that we need to have at least four hours between each. This is a problem for the evening ones, as we usually get home around 7 and then I have to start cooking - meaning we'd have to stay up till about midnight every night to fit our bedtime pills in. Since we get up at 6:15 on weekdays, ready to leave home at 7, I'm not prepared to do that on a regular basis.
She suggested that we have a sandwich at 5:30 and take our suppertime pills then, giving us plenty of time to take the bedtime ones and still get a decent night's sleep. Apparently some of the supplements, particularly the zinc, which we're due to take at suppertime, make you feel sick if you take them on an empty stomach, so we definitely need to have the food with them.
So for the next four months, we're going to have a new regime. We'll head off to work in the morning with TWO packed meals - a lunch of salad, frittata, quiche, or whatever else I can think of that's healthy and isn't a sandwich, and a sandwich, perhaps with some soup, to have just before we leave work. Then when we get home in the evening, we'll have more free time to go for walks or do other things (which will include preparing packed lunches), and we can have a piece of fruit or some other little snack at bedtime. And there's enough flexibility in our timetable that we can still live a fairly normal life at the weekend.
I think we can survive that for four months...