Friday, May 29, 2015

IVF - Expect the Unexpected

Here are a few words of advice and things that I wish I had known but didn't regardless of the ridiculous amount of time I spent researching "what to expect". As always, if you have any questions at all please feel free to comment or e-mail me! 
  • You will become BFFs with your IVF nurse.  Seriously though when you see someone at least 3x a week its impossible to not become friends because cracking jokes makes everything much more bearable.  At my last appointment I had a follicle hiding behind my uterus I jokingly asked if she wanted me to do some jumping jacks and I was serious because at this stage of the game; one has no shame and would do almost anything.
  • The trans-vaginal ultrasounds are not painful but they are also not very comfortable.  Holy sensitive lady bits.  I have a high tolerance for pain but there have been quite a few times where I "EHHHHH..." myself through the uncomfortable, and do yourself a favor EMPTY YOUR BLADDER.
  • After a couple of days of injections they probably wont phase you.  At this stage of the game any fear of needles should be squashed that is until the trigger shot.
  • Your schedule is much more "booked" than imagined.  I blogged about freeing up my schedule but between work, monitoring appointments, injections and acupuncture there is no free time. Also, forget about making plans. I recently had a dream that we won a trip to Paris last night and without thinking we jumped on the plane and then realized we forgot my meds at home and had a monitoring appointment on Friday.  Which brings me to...
  • No matter how hard you attempt to try to stay sane you will drive yourself insane.  I have prepared myself as much as I could emotionally for this period of time and I am still driving myself bananas.  Go with the flow as much as you can and don't beat yourself up when you find yourself in a web of anxiety.  Just observe the crazy, grab a pint of ice cream and then quickly snap the hell out of it because its not good for you or your follicles. 
  • Your first IVF cycle is a crap shoot. No matter how much information your RE has they are making guestimates towards how you will respond to the medication.  My IVF calender is not even worth following anymore. That's how well I responded to my RE's guestimates. Then again everything can go as planned for you. EVERYONE is different.  
  • Be prepared that you may have to order more medication.  I personally have had to order 2 additional 900iu cartridges of Follistim and 5 vials of Menopur.  Yep $$$. Speaking of medication be prepared to be scared shitless when you cannot be home to sign for the medication and you have $4500+ of medication sitting on your doorstep.  Do yourself a favor and arrange for the medication to be delivered when you are home and able to sign for it or have a neighbor pick it up. I subscribed to UPS alerts and when I saw it was delivered called my Father in Law to check our doorstep. Make sure to keep the ice packs that come with your medication they are perfect if you have to take your medication on the go.  Throw the meds and ice pack in an insulated lunch bag and you are good to go!
  • Find what relaxes you and make it a ritual.  I have personally fallen in love with acupuncture and have always found comfort in writing. I look forward to my acupuncture appointments and my anxiety has decreased dramatically because of it.  It could be something small like spending 30 minutes in the morning meditating, evening walks etc. Whatever makes you calm and relaxed - do it and do it often. Avoid stress to the best of your ability.  IVF is stressful in itself.  You need tranquility.
  • Find yourself a couple of friends who are going through IVF or who have been through IVF.  This has proved to be so important to me during this time. I now have 2 people I can count on who can somewhat understand my thoughts, feelings and fears.  There is a great support system on Instagram, just search the #IVFjourney, #IVFsisters, #TTCsisters to name a few hashtags.  There are also several Facebook groups including IVF/IUI Sock Buddy where you go to find a 'sock buddy'.  A sock buddy is another woman who is going through something similar to you who will be there to encourage you and vice versa.  This buddy also sends you a pair or socks and sometimes other goodies to lift you up during this trying time.  Why socks? Going through infertility treatments means lots and lots of appointments in stirrups and egg retrievals in ugly hospital gowns.  Whats better than a pair of fun socks for your constantly stirrup-ed feet? 
  • There are always added unexpected expenses. Whether they are simply the ridiculous amount of electrolyte beverages you stock up on or bigger expenses. An example: I just received a phone call regarding my need to bring a separate check for the anesthesiologist.  My meds were also almost double as expected. Just breathe.  
  • The time between stims and the trigger shot will go by much faster than you anticipate. 
  • You will freak out about somehow screwing up the trigger shot.  It will be okay.  Just breathe.
  • Follicles can hide. I was pleasantly surprised by my egg count after retrieval, but again its quality over quantity.
  • Take the day after retrieval off. I personally was in no shape physically to return to work the next day, and emotionally I was exhausted. Take the day off. Take however long you need. Also, your body is different than everyone else's body. Give it the time it needs to recover. 
So those are my takeaways from the stimulation phase and egg retrieval part of IVF. Hopefully, I will be back in a few months with some egg retrieval takeaways. 

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