I wasn’t expecting to share our fertility story especially since we aren’t pregnant and are still in the trenches of it. During many of my sleepless nights, I would scroll through social media and read other women’s stories. It reminded me that I was part of a strong knit community of women who were full of hope, success stories, failures and everything in between. Most of the experiences I read were something like this: “after trying for many years, IVF was our last option.”
For us, we weren’t even trying to get pregnant but instead, after not getting my period for 6 months after getting off of birth control (I thought was cool but wasn’t normal), I went to see my gynecologist. We did blood work and all appeared to be fine so my doctor gave me medication that would force a period which would be followed by a round of Letrozole. Unfortunately, after 2 rounds of this medication, I was producing a ton of follicles but still not ovulating, my doctor told us we needed to see a fertility clinic. We were both COMPLETELY shocked. I remember holding back tears as I didn’t want to be a mess in the doctor’s office but as we got into the elevator I just bawled!!! It felt too soon to be told to go to a fertility specialist and didn’t make sense to me. I kept repeating that we weren’t even trying and it felt too soon. Looking back I am so thankful for my doctor – instead of putting us through months and months of disappointment we went straight to the experts.
We visited a fertility clinic that my doctor recommended and almost 4 hours later and being completely brain dead and exhausted, we learned that I do actually have PCOS (explains the high number of follicles) and IVF is the safest option. We weirdly both felt a sense of relief for having answers and a course of action. We took a month break to go to our friend’s wedding in Italy (terrible, right?!) which was exactly what I needed to mentally prepare for the next steps…
Here are a few tips that I have learned along the way:
- Have a support system – IVF can be extremely isolating and having someone else you can talk to besides your partner is a huge help. Especially if it’s someone who has been through IVF with a successful baby outcome!
- We visited two different clinics and picked the clinic that we felt the most comfortable with. Yes, stats are important and success stories but you spend so much time with the nurse and staff, you need to feel comfortable and safe.
- Plan a treat or something you look forward to after the doctor appointments. Going in every other day during that 2-week window gets old real fast. The blood work and vaginal ultrasounds start to become more uncomfortable as your body is hypersensitive. I have a favorite smoothie shop that I would treat myself to after every appointment. It’s little things like that which really do help.
- Don’t over schedule yourself during those 2 weeks of injections. I thought staying busy would help but I was absolutely exhausted and had zero energy.
- Have a list of movies or TV shows to watch while you’re recovering from the egg retrieval. You will want to take it easy for at least 2 days and having a show to look forward to was a big help to me!
- Comfortable and stretchy pants! I got extremely bloated while doing the injections and after the egg retrieval. This goes away but it took me a few weeks before my pants started to fit again.
- Miralax– my nurse told me to start taking this as I was beginning the injections but I didn’t 100% listen as I rarely ever get constipated but I paid for it after the egg retrieval. I couldn’t go for days and it hurt so bad once I finally did!
There are no truer words than saying this process is a journey. There have been good and bad days but most importantly I have learned and still learning about patience. I am first to admit that this has never been my strong suit, especially when it’s related to medical “stuff.” It’s a lot of hurry up and wait but at the end of the day, there are some things out of my hands and I just have to remember to BREATHE!
If you feel comfortable reaching out, I would love to hear from any of you going through similar processes. <3