We’re about halfway through our break from IVF. I’ve been through two periods since our second failed transfer and will be calling the clinic at the start of my next, hopefully in early October, to start IVF #2. We’re both taking daily doses of antioxidants, vitamins, and supplements to hopefully give our embryos the boost they need to be awesome. I’m down 10 pounds from diet and exercise and am 10 pounds away from the weight I was when we started this whole mess. So overall…in a good place. I’ve done a lot of reflecting lately, and I’ve been thinking of things that I wish I had know before we started this process. Maybe a little reminder as we head into the next unknown.
- It’s ok to be scared. Of everything. The injections, the endless appointments, the emotions, the failure. IVF in general takes a very strong and brave person to do, but you don’t have to feel 100% in control and fine every step of the way. This shit is terrifying and it’s ok to let yourself feel it.
- Don’t keep everything inside. I am terrible at this. My husband had no idea what was running through my head for most of this and he was desperate to be let in. My default coping mechanism is to shut down and I am determined to not do that this time.
- Involve your partner. For me, I wanted to do all the injections myself, basically to prove to myself that I could. Again, my husband wanted to be a part of this, so his job every night during the stimulation phase was to mix the menopur for me. I’d prep the Follistim pen and run into the bathroom the inject that and he would get the next one ready to go for me. Later, during the PIO phase of the process, he was in charge of prepping and administering the butt shots.
- There are days you are going to feel like complete shit. The last 2 days of stims before the retrieval were the worst. Amazing how things measured in millimeters can bloat you up like a balloon and make you feel like death. The morning of the retrieval, the last thing I remember saying before being knocked out was “Get these fucking things out of me please.” I am a classy lady.
- Stay the fuck off google. Seriously. I always tell myself this (and utterly fail at it)…reading the experience of some chick on a forum from 2009 is probably not going to help your situation. Trust me.
- Your sex life will suffer. There are times you aren’t allowed to have sex and times you’re just so damn uncomfortable. Our intimacy took a nosedive and that was really hard (no pun intended) for me. No one had prepared me for that.
- It’s ok to grieve. This is our new normal. We are never going to get to just have sex and make a baby. Our new lives involve endless doctors appointments, insane amounts of money, and a very clinical and sterile approach to procreation. It’s ok to be overwhelmed. I still am.
- Get comfortable with your body and having it only display. I cannot remember the last time I went to a doctor’s office and DIDN’T take my pants off. More people have been all up in my business in the last 5 months than I care to admit and it doesn’t even bother me any more. I’m now perfectly capable of chatting mindlessly with the doctor about dinner plans while she’s got an ultrasound wand up my twat. Skills, ladies and gentlemen.
- Ask questions. Write them down. If you’re like me and paying out of pocket, you are spending over $15,000 to pay someone to try to make you a baby. Honestly for that amount, the front of the RE’s office should be lined with a goddamned red carpet, but we’ll save that for another rant. You are paying for their services and you deserve and have every right to be satisfied.
And the most important thing I wish I’d known?
10. It might not work.
Sure, I’d done all the research and I knew the odds. I knew this was never a guarantee. I was 30 when we started this process, still “young” in IVF years. I was pretty much good to go, reproduction wise. Our issues were entirely MFI. So with ICSI plus my age, our clinic gave us a 60% shot at success. We were so damn sure this would work on the first shot. But it didn’t. Out of 12 mature eggs, we only got 2 embryos. Two transfers. Both failed. We were destroyed both times. Like…what the fuck just happened? And now we are on to round #2. Which might also fail. And that’s not ok. At all. But it’s a reality. One I wish I had better prepared myself for.
I’m still optimistic. Multiple doctors have told us it’s a numbers game. And that there is no reason to believe this won’t work for us. So we’re staying positive. If this cycle doesn’t work, we’re both pretty satisfied that we’ve tried our hardest and it will be time to move on to embryo adoption, because we won’t be able to afford a round #3. So as I reflect before round #2 I’m back to zen. This is a new cycle. A new start. A new chance. The only one we’ve got so dammit I’m going to make the best of it!