Here’s What It’s Really Like To Do IVF: One Woman’s Story

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IVF is not for somebody who’s terrified of needles or who does not have time to hang around on the physician’s workplace each 24-72 hours for weeks on finish. It’s additionally not for somebody who is not ready to spend 1000’s and 1000’s of on one thing which will or might not work. 

Going by infertility and fertility therapies hits us on each degree: emotionally, bodily, financially, and even spiritually. This demanding course of additionally rocks ; it can be very isolating to undergo infertility, as most individuals do not brazenly talk about their expertise. That’s why I based pregnantish—and why I used to be thrilled when Anna Beard agreed to share her expertise with me so I might share it with the readers of Prevention. —Andrea

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Anna’s story

I have been TTC (making an attempt to conceive) with my husband of 5 years since June 2015. Even although I suspected I would have a difficulty on account of spotty intervals and unusual cycles, I did not go to a fertility specialist till October of 2015. Initially, I did not assume I would attempt IVF: I would heard it was a nightmare, plus I figured I’d simply want some minor intervention and be on my solution to a wholesome being pregnant. 

MORE: 13 Things No One Tells You About IVF

That’s not what occurred. In January 2017, after a few years of making an attempt naturally, having many assessments and procedures, and experiencing a number of failed IUI (intrauterine insemination) therapies, my husband and I lastly determined to do IVF.

At the top of February, per week earlier than my interval was due, I headed to the fertility clinic to begin prepping my physique for the process.

MORE: 7 Period Myths You Need To Stop Believing

The week earlier than my interval begins

I by no means thought I would want IVF and am nervous to begin, however after so many failed IUI cycles, it is time. This entire factor is draining already.

I am at Johns Hopkins Fertility Center at Green Spring Station in Timonium, MD. It’s a educating hospital, so it is regular to be seen by residents and college students. I am okay with this, as we’re studying about it, too. 

My husband and I are advised that earlier than beginning IVF, we have to get every kind of authorizations executed by our clinic’s Financial Coordinator and thru our insurance coverage firm. We are additionally instructed by the nurse to get all medicines ordered. It is lots of remedy. (Apparently you get every thing you want up entrance as a result of based on your blood work you will not actually know what you need to take till day of.)

Being on the cellphone this week with the insurance coverage firm is demanding and time-consuming. It’s a problem to get the entire authorizations, and I am nervous we can’t get the remedy on time to begin this IVF cycle. 

MORE: 10 Silent Signals You’re Way Too Stressed

Ugh. I am confused and have not even began the medicines and injections but… I find yourself having to borrow some remedy from my physician’s workplace so it will not mess up my timing.

Meanwhile, my husband has to get one other semen evaluation. (It must be inside 6 months, so despite the fact that he is executed it earlier than for our IUI procedures, he must repeat it now). And we each should do blood testing for HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, and so on.

Week 1

On Day 2 of my menstrual cycle, I’m going in for the blood work and an ultrasound. Yes, throughout my interval. This a part of the method makes me so uncomfortable, however I am grateful it is fast and that they made certain I did not see any of the “mess.”

My husband and I’ve to signal a bunch of consent varieties on the clinic. More paperwork! We should resolve issues like what we wish executed with any leftover embryos, since our clinic is a part of a analysis hospital. This is a tough resolution and my husband and I can not agree. We have a tough argument and resolve to cease speaking about it for now. 

The injections begin proper after my blood check outcomes. I did not anticipate this and have a tough time with these photographs—many instances I both spill some meds or use the improper needle to combine—despite the fact that we beforehand attended an IVF class that taught us about all of the totally different injections and needles and combine remedy.

(Make certain you never make these medication mistakes.)

I am freaking out and worrying that I am doing all of it improper.

After being on medicine for a couple of days, I’m going again to the clinic for blood work and an ultrasound and am advised that I’ve 21 follicles and actually excessive estrogen. (Most ladies have 2 ovaries and every ovary incorporates follicles, sacs that every have an egg in them. At the beginning of IVF, the ovaries are within the “resting” stage, and after a couple of days of remedy they begin rising in amount and dimension.)

The physician instructs me to chop my injections to half of doses. I guess every thing is rising quick. 

On Day 6, I’m going for one more ultrasound. 

MORE: 5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Ovaries

Week 2

I am beginning to go for normal blood work and ultrasounds on the clinic. They have to trace every thing to see how I am responding to the remedy and the way my follicles are rising.

I am actually fortunate I’ve a versatile work schedule as a result of I work for myself. I can’t think about how somebody who must go to an workplace daily can undergo IVF.

On Day 8, they inform me that I’ve 25 follicles. I am advised some follicles are on observe and above 13mm. This is an effective factor—follicles must be roughly 15-23 mm earlier than a physician can retrieve them—however I’ve a swollen stomach and am completely uncomfortable.

I return for one more ultrasound and extra blood work on Day 9, the subsequent day, and I am instructed to take a shot that evening to stimulate ovulation. The set off shot releases the eggs 36 hours later.

On Day 11, I am again on the clinic and put beneath anesthesia for my egg retrieval. They retrieve 25 eggs. This is nice, however I am groggy and really feel so uncomfortable.

On the brilliant aspect, half one in every of IVF is completed! Now that they’ve retrieved my eggs, they will attempt to fertilize them with my husband’s sperm. I ought to be relieved, however I really feel yucky.

The subsequent day I am on the bathroom nearly all day. I’ve prune juice as a result of I am so backed up and have excessive stomach bloat. I drink a ton of Gatorade as a result of that is what they advised me to do, however I want I had caught with Pedialyte or coconut water as a result of the Gatorade has a lot sugar and makes me really feel much more sick.

The clinic calls throughout this time and says that eight eggs fertilized. I am bummed by this quantity; I believed it will be increased since we began with 25 eggs, however they appear proud of the consequence.

Over the subsequent few days I acquire 5 kilos and really feel horrible.

Week 3

I begin new remedy, which features a steroid, an antibiotic, and estrogen drugs. I am additionally instructed to begin progesterone gel suppositories twice a day. They are getting ready my physique for implantation and making an attempt to stop infections.

Three days after my egg retrieval, the clinic calls to present me the cell depend and grade for every of the 8 eggs that fertilized into embryos. The purpose is to evaluate mobile improvement and transfer these embryos to blastocyst stage (a extra complicated embryo construction made up of about 200 cells) on Day 5.

My numbers do not appear that nice, however the nurse reassures me that she’s seen wholesome infants come from common embryos and that they may enhance by day 5 within the petri-dish. 

Five days after my retrieval, I’m going again into the clinic for my “fresh” embryo switch. (This is the purpose once they put the embryo that has been rising within the lab into your physique.) By now, I am feeling significantly better.

An hour earlier than the switch, I’ve to drink a full giant bottle of water, as a result of they should insert the embryo with a full bladder to allow them to see higher and have higher placement. I am so uncomfortable, and I be taught  totally different physician is on responsibility. I am upset as a result of I want my very own physician was right here to do the switch.

Keep hydrated with this sassy water recipe:

I believed this process can be like an IUI, but it surely was a bit painful for me as a result of they go increased as much as place the embryo in the best spot. Good factor my husband was in there so I might squeeze his hand off!

The physician transfers 1 “excellent quality and high grade” embryo and tells me they will freeze the opposite 4 embryos.

They give us a printout of the embryo they put in my physique and I am feeling hopeful. 

MORE: It Should Have Been Physically Impossible For This Woman To Get Pregnant, But She Did

Week 4

I am staying occupied but additionally taking it straightforward this week as a result of I could also be pregnant. I preserve trying on the printout of the embryo that the clinic gave us. Our little embryo is cute! I am feeling excited that this will lastly lead us to our child.

I’ve some lower belly bloat this week and really feel crampy. I’ve heard this may be symptom of late implantation and this excites me, however I am making an attempt to not obsess over each little factor. (In the previous, I’ve spent approach an excessive amount of time on TTC boards studying into every thing!)

I am fairly assured that that is it. After 2 years, it is lastly labored. The physician stated we had a “beautiful embryo” and I am feeling fairly relaxed and unusually having fun with the wait to seek out out for certain. 

Oh! And my breasts are enlarged and sore, I’ve lower back pain, and my pores and skin is glowing. This appears like being pregnant stuff!

Roll away again ache with these straightforward strikes:

My husband’s not often the nurturing kind, however he is being actually useful this week. He is aware of I had a tricky time with the retrieval and realizes I may very well be pregnant, and he is being very caring. (He’ll be a superb dad!)

I have never talked to my husband about my signs or the truth that I believe this has labored, as a result of I type of need it to be a shock (although with IVF, this old school notion of unusual your accomplice type of goes out the window since every thing is tracked). 

We get our outcomes quickly, 10 days after the embryo was transferred into my physique. I am feeling relaxed and hopeful.

Am I pregnant?

It’s 10 days later and the IVF nurse left a voicemail to say that the beta blood check was damaging. I am completely shocked as I used to be certain it labored. She sounds upset. I do not wish to settle for this. Maybe I’ve late implantation. I imply, I would not really feel all of those signs, proper? 

I begin studying all of the boards once more and I see that possibly it is damaging due to late implantation, so I nonetheless have a glimmer of hope. I am additionally making an attempt to come back to phrases with the truth that it could really be a failed cycle and I am completely devastated. 

I am actually anxious to seek out out why this hasn’t labored. Is it genetics? Hormones? Adrenal? Have I been too confused and is that affecting my hormones? 

I electronic mail the physician as a result of my thoughts is spinning. He calls me again (which surprises me as we by no means speak on the cellphone), and he admits that he is additionally upset that it did not work because the entire workforce there actually thought it will. It was a gorgeous embryo. 

He suggests we transfer ahead with genetic testing for the opposite embryos we now have frozen, to make sure that they’re wholesome. It’s an extra price, but it surely looks like a good suggestion.

Right now I do not wish to do something however curl right into a ball within the nook….

Today (June 2017)

We determined to have the embryos genetically examined after which take a couple of months off, so the interval from March to June has been uneventful and fulfilling. I did not have to fret about ultrasounds, blood work, injections, remedy, consuming properly, consuming sufficient water, taking my nutritional vitamins, and whether or not I used to be getting an excessive amount of exercise. All the stress simply vanished.

Thanks to all of the remedy and concern of over-exercising, I placed on about 10 kilos within the final 12 months. But since my failed IVF try I began doing quick exercises daily and I am feeling nice. And I am hoping to proceed understanding and never placing stress on myself to be the proper IVF affected person as a result of I felt like I used to be dropping myself. We have a lot of stuff coming as much as put together my physique for a frozen embryo switch in July. 

Hoping for one of the best. 

Source: Anna Beard from prevention.com

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