So, you’ve confirmed that your uterus hates you and you have decided to go through with IVF. What next? After making this decision with my husband, we signed on many dotted lines in a huge pamphlet that I, obviously, had not read one word of. Despite agreeing to begin the process just one month later, my knowledge of IVF didn’t extend beyond knowing needles and fits of rage would likely be involved. If you’re thinking of signing on the dotted lines, here’s what your doctor probably hasn’t told you:
- Your clinic will own you for one month. I had some vague idea that “monitoring” would be involved and frequent trips to the clinic were part of the process. But, especially if your clinic is a commute for you, don’t plan on ever doing anything other than having a stranger take a dildo-viewed ultrasound of your ovaries and drawing your blood for the first three hours of your day. Every. Single. Day.
- The injections are really not bad. I will acknowledge that this point of view is coming from someone who has been self-injecting medications for years, but it’s all in your head. I promise. If pricking yourself with something slightly thicker than a strand of hair skeeves you, I want you to put logic in place. If nothing else, remember these two things: 1. No health professional would ever tell you to stab yourself with something that is actually going to do any kind of major damage to you (ok, maybe Dr. Kevorkian and a few others but, really, not your IVF doc). 2. It might hurt, sting, cause discomfort for about 30 seconds of your day. Please don’t let 3o seconds of your day cause you any kind of distress. It just doesn’t make sense.
- You might not get pregnant. I was thirty years young at the time of my fresh embryo transfer. The embryo made it to the blastocyst stage and my cycle had proceeded beautifully. I have given birth before, making my odds of becoming pregnant again statistically stronger. Everything was in my favor, and success rates for my personal IVF profile were cited as high as 80%. Almost every woman I knew had success in their first round, even with much more dire prognoses. I was convinced I was getting pregnant. How could I spend $16G and a month of my life to not get pregnant? Well, I promise you it happens. Because that other 20% is real. And I’m part of it.
- Your embryo transfer is easier than a Pap Smear. I had some anxiety over the embryo transfer. I’ve always been of the opinion that with anesthesia and some pain meds, there isn’t anything that I can’t do. Well, you’re not under anesthesia for transfer day, and you’re not given any mind-numbing medications. That freaked me a little. Much to my glorious surprise, I didn’t feel a thing. A pap smear is truly more uncomfortable, so don’t sweat it. You’ll be in and out of there in no time, feeling like the Mother Mary herself.
- Hormones might make you happy. Now, I can imagine that with the very different medication protocols and diverse causes of infertility, that this last piece here is likely to be very different for each patient. I expected to be crying over Pampers commercials and to be throwing grenades at my husband’s head. I thought my
already problematic skin would be splattered with cystic acne and ten fatty pounds would make their way to my ass quicker than a Eurostar trip from Paris to London. My skin became not only flawless, it was glowing. I lost five pounds, and felt anxiety literally melt away from my mind. Well, the anxiety melted until it boiled when..
- The “Two Week Wait” felt like two years. The time between your embryo transfer and your first blood pregnancy test at your clinic will be about two weeks. If you’re anything like me, I would make a few recommendations: 1. Buy an enormous mother-load box of Home Pregnancy tests off Amazon well in advance, or you may find yourself spending the funds set aside for IVF Round #2 on CVS HPTs. 2. Set any method you have of connecting to the internet on fire. If you don’t follow this last piece of advice, you may end up killing so many brain cells reading blogs like this very one I am writing here that you won’t have enough left to mother a child.
Stay tuned for more on the new infertility channel of Dear Evangeline! I’m not sure where this story is going because I’m eating Ramen Noodles in an attempt to compensate for all the funds spent on very unintentionally NOT producing a baby. But, keep clicking to hear more on the backstory (and hopefully a future one, too).