When my husband and I embarked on our IVF odyssey, I thought I was ready for the emotional roller coaster I was about to strap myself into. Ha. Ha hahahahahaHAHAHA. Ha. That’s like saying “Well, I’ve been on a trampoline so surely I can base jump.”
6 Things I THOUGHT I Knew About IVF
1. Your hooha is Grand Central Station, and not in a fun way.
When starting this journey to expectant mommy-hood, I knew that my lady bits would need to be examined pretty thoroughly by a doctor or two. But in the four years since we started this whole process I have been poked and prodded by so many different doctors, technicians, and nurses that I’m not sure why I even bother wearing pants to the doctor’s office any more.
I have to ‘disrobe from the waist down’ every time I visit just so the Doc can wave the sonogram wand over my tummy to check the thickness of my uterine lining. JUST KIDDING! It’s a transvaginal sonogram. SO FUN! The best part? It’s the second or third day of your period. You know, the time of month YOU don’t even want to be around your vagina.
2. “You need these medications…TOMORROW!”
When they give me my medication schedule for the next couple of weeks they warn me that I need to make sure I get all of the medication as soon as possible. Because the first dose has to be taken TOMORROW! But all of this is specialty medication that most pharmacies don’t keep in stock! Oh, don’t worry. You can use online pharmacies who specialize in fertility medication. The next day you’ll get a box with a few thousand dollars in medication dropped off at your door. Sure hope someone is home, because some of it has to be refrigerated!
I don’t know about you guys, but I get antsy having a $10 Amazon package sit on my porch for an hour let alone a FEW GRAND in medication I have to start using pretty much the second I get home.
3. You get to give yourself shots! Yay!
Hey, all of that medication you just ordered and carefully catalogued to make sure they sent everything and you just paid a month’s salary for? Now you get to inject that into yourself! Every. Day. If you’re lucky they are just little subcutaneous injections. Unfortunately, I’ve graduated to intramuscular progesterone in oil injections. There’s nothing quite like drawing a bulls eye on my butt cheek just to be sure my husband doesn’t miss the shot.
4. ALL the appointments!
Let me paint a picture for you guys. This is a typical schedule for a FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) cycle, which is the EASY one. You have to go in on the second day of your period. If everything looks good, two weeks later, after you’ve injected, ingested and inserted whatever medications you’ve been prescribed, you get another appointment. Everything looks great! Yay! They can forecast the likely embryo transfer day! Oh, but you still have to go in like three more times next week just to be sure everything is going okay. Plus there is the transfer appointment. Then you get to go in and get your blood drawn for the pregnancy tests. If you get the big fat positive, you then return for more blood tests to check to see if your progesterone levels are increasing like they should.
A fresh embryo cycle is even worse. Imagine that you’ve been injecting yourself with the ovary follicle stimulation medication. Your lady balls are full to bursting with eggs. Yeah, now’s the time for our good friend the transvaginal sonogram! The doctor has to press on your ovaries to measure the size of the follicles. It’s kind of like period cramps linked to the wave of a wand with the conductor of the pain symphony calling out numbers for you to write down. (My doctor is a lovely man and he SAYS he understands how uncomfortable the whole thing is…) Then they collect the eggs which is a whole other blog post.
5. You can do everything right…and it can still go wrong.
I’m not talking about the fact that you don’t get pregnant. No, I mean I went through the six weeks of medications, ultrasounds, and doctor’s appointments and got the thumbs up to proceed. Then the day of the frozen embryo transfer, I started to spot. Just a little bit of blood. No big deal, right? Wrong. The doctor cancelled the transfer. “You don’t want to build a house on a shaky foundation.” He said.
Plus it wasn’t like I was rolling in embryos. I had 1. The tragedy was my little embryo wasn’t good enough to survive re-freezing. So, it went to embryo heaven and I got to start all over. And after another six months, a hurried diet, and another few thousand dollars I find out…
6. Getting pregnant might not be my problem…it’s staying pregnant.
After my second inexplicable loss of a chromosomally normal embryo (we sprang for genetic testing, because miscarriages suck) the doctor suggested that we run a thrombosis panel to check for a blood clotting disorder to see if there is something that may be causing these losses. Part of me is like “Why the absolute &*#^$* didn’t we do that before even started this mess!? The answer of course is cost. I still don’t even know if my insurance will cover the test. I love checking the mail every day to see if I have a surprise $1,000 bill waiting for me! (Note to self: Write more blog posts.)