I’ve posted once about our decision to start IVF and the questions we asked ourselves and our doctor before beginning the process. Now I’ll get more into the details.
This whole process is about eight weeks. The medicines are the most confusing part of this so far. I’m pretty clear on the physical medical procedure and the science (stimulation of ovaries, egg retrieval by the doctor, mix the egg with sperm in the lab, grow embryo, transfer back into uterus, hope for implantation). The science is really amazing to me. It is so complicated, so time sensitive, so intricate and delicate, that I am constantly in awe of how babies are actually able to result from such a fragile process. Conception is nothing less than a miracle, no matter which way it happens for you. I firmly believe that.
Keeping the medicines straight is hard. I have six total medicines. Three are in a shot form, two of which I have to give myself every day for about two weeks. The shots are about as painful as a bee sting. Sometimes my skin gets irritated from them. My stomach is bruised purple and yellow from the twice daily needle sticks – even with all my fat rolls! The rest of the medicines are to take later for egg retrieval and to support a pregnancy.
Timing is very important now. I am now going into the office every few days for ultrasounds so that my stimulation progress can be monitored. Each time is exciting and also stressful. I just want to get on with it, and it’s SO frustrating to have to add another few days of shots because the follicles aren’t quite big enough yet. Some evenings I look at my poor stomach and think – I cannot stick another needle in me. Then I take a deep breath and get it over with as fast as possible before I start crying.
Once the follicles reach the appropriate size, I will give myself a timed shot that will force me to ovulate and go into the doctor at a specific time to have the eggs retrieved. It is possible that not every follicle has an egg in it or even a good egg. And it is possible not all the eggs we get will turn into embryos. Again, I am amazed by how complicated this process is. I’m praying we get even a few healthy eggs, especially given my age.
And I am anxious. I am scared how I will react if it doesn’t work. I am scared that if it does work and I get pregnant, we still might not end up with a live, healthy baby. So much of the outcome of this is a great unknown, and that is terrifying.
I thought I was going to be ok with all this, but I am getting overwhelmed. It is rotten to look at a needle and think: this is how I have to (hopefully) have a baby. There’s no romantic weekend out of town together for an anniversary that will several weeks later surprise us with a pink line on a stick. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes I feel really selfish. I am anxious that it won’t work. Mostly I am just plain tired of the emotional roller coaster. I had no idea how hard this was going to be – on my body or my heart.
Advice for this stage of the game:
- Get a journal to write out your thoughts.
- Get a planner to keep track of appointments, drug coupons, fees to pay the doctor’s office, drug costs and order dates, dates to begin and end each medicine, and dates for husband’s antibiotics as well.
- Eat healthily
- Take prenatal vitamin
- Clear calendar as much as possible due to appointments that will be scheduled day to day due to the importance of timing during IVF
- Follow doctor’s rules on what you can eat and drink (or not)
- Stay off the internet and out of fertility chat rooms!