- During the stimulation phase of IVF, my cat and I were taking the same steroid. It was even the same dosage.
- I like to wear fun socks to amuse my doctor and nurses (and myself). During IVF there are many, many appointments, and my socks have been giving me something fun to look forward to each day… “What kind of conversation will my socks start today while I’m in the stirrups?”
- Human eggs hatch. I’m serious. After the egg is fertilized and begins to divide and grow, it needs to hatch in order to attach to the endometrium in the uterus. We employed the technique of assisted hatching to help the embryo implant after the transfer.
- It hurts a lot when an injection hits a nerve. Heating pads help.
- Bedrest doesn’t have to be boring. My mom has been a wonderful activity director during my bedrest — keeping me occupied with a rotation of activities like looking through magazines, watching Friends and movies, reading out loud to me, and taking time for phone calls, texting, and looking at kitties on instagram. And Matt has been a great chef, preparing yummy and healthy foods for me, in addition to making sure I have enough chocolate!
As we prepare to begin the stimulation phase of IVF in a few weeks, I have been thinking hard about all of the things I’m feeling… and it’s certainly a mix. Many people assume that I’m feeling very excited and optimistic, and while I certainly do feel those things right now, I also have some darker feelings that I need to acknowledge. It’s most important for me to acknowledge them to myself, but I figured it can’t hurt too much to share some of them here for anyone seeking validation on their IVF feelings or anyone wanting to know how I am really feeling.
So I won’t lie. I’ll be honest. I’ll admit my feelings — the good and the bad.
I’m feeling scared about IVF. Scared of the numerous needles, injections, and blood draws. Scared of surgery. Scared of all of the side effects that might occur. I had to sign 44 pages of consent forms, and while not all of those were related to the medications and procedures, many of them were. I’m scared of how I’ll feel when I know the final mature egg count, the fertilization count, and healthy embryo count. Mostly I’m scared of what we’re going to do if IVF doesn’t work.
I’m feeling disappointed. There was a little hope inside me that a miracle would occur between October (when we signed up for IVF) and now and I’d get pregnant naturally. I was hoping I’d be one of those people who’d sign up for IVF and my lucky pregnancy would happen and there’d be no need for IVF. I’ve known for months and months that our chances of natural conception are ridiculously small, but it’s hard to silence the little internal voice that hopefully whispers to me, “what if this is the month?”
I’m feeling a little surprised that we’re going to do IVF. The surprise feeling is two fold. First: I’ve written about how I never thought I’d do IVF, but here we are. Second: we fully expected IUIs to work. My ectopic pregnancy was the result our first IUI after all, but in the three IUIs following my pregnancy, our male factor infertility problem was confirmed and there’s some concern about how much damage my ectopic pregnancy might have actually caused. Therefore, even though I’ve come to terms with our decision to pursue IVF, it’s still a little surprising to me that we’re actually going to do it — we thought we’d already found a successful treatment.
I’m feeling a little angry. And before anyone judges me and thinks that I shouldn’t be angry — bear with me, because infertility truly sucks. How could it *not* cause some anger? How could my pregnancy loss *not* cause some anger? These experiences are horrible. They are heartbreaking and difficult. They are unfair. They happen to good people who don’t deserve it. So yes, I’m feeling a little angry that we’re at the point where the challenging process of IVF is our best option. Natural conception aside, we were *so hopeful* that the other treatments we’ve tried would work, but they didn’t. After nearly two years of treatments, we’re very frustrated, and a little angry, to still be without a living child in our arms.
Luckily I also have some good feelings about IVF — I’m starting to feel excited about the possibility of success. I am starting to feel optimistic. Right now IVF looks like our best chance for bringing a baby into our family. Dr. Two believes that our odds for success are good, and that is exciting.
I’m also feeling grateful that we’re good candidates for IVF and that we’re able to move forward and give it a try. Not everyone who experiences infertility is eligible for or able to do IVF and I’m thankful that we are. I’m glad for the opportunity and so grateful for the support we have as we pursue it.
All of that said, the emotion that’s really ruling the day right now is feeling ready for IVF. At least as ready as I can be. How can one truly prepare for this anyway? I believe I’ve done as much as I can to prepare for what’s ahead. I have read and read and read; I have showered my medical team with questions; I have asked previous IVF patients about their experiences. And I am ready to give this treatment all we’ve got. I’m ready for needles, blood draws, and injections. I’m ready to keep track of hormone levels and dosage amounts. I’m ready to handle the bruises and manage side effects. I’m ready for ultrasounds. I’m ready for surgery and transfer.
We’ve been waiting and waiting for some good news and we’re ready for it. I’m ready to become pregnant and bring home a healthy baby in the end. And if the outcome of our IVF cycle is bad, I’m not sure that any amount of preparation would have been adequate… so we’ll take it one day at a time, and survive together — good news or bad. I am scared and disappointed and surprised and even a little angry. I am excited and optimistic and full of gratitude. But I’m also ready, and at this point, I think that’s what matters the most.