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Today, I’m bringing to you the list of things I wish I’d known before starting invitro-fertilisation and fertility treatments. Essentially, my best IVF Tips – things that may have saved my sanity or prepared me for the road ahead. I’d love to hear from you if any of these IVF tips are helpful – get in touch with me through my Instagram or Facebook to let me know!
So when I was entering the world of infertility, what kind of pre-conceptions did I have? What are the things that I wish I had known before I started? Here we go.
all the tests
Boy, are there a lot of tests involved when it comes to infertility. I never knew that there would be so many tests and also such invasive tests involved. We had all sorts of tests. I have all sorts of people who looked at my manush and Ross had people who were touching him as well, which I’m glad for because I didn’t want it all to be me. He needed to be involved in this in several regards. So that was quite good. But oh my goodness. All of the tests. And I wish that I had known right from the start to always get a printout of my test results.
If I can recommend one thing, please get the results from those tests so you can see for yourself. But I had no idea that there would be so many tests. And I didn’t know that I would be spending so many of my mornings at the fertility clinic getting my bloods taken.
Even if it’s just a tracking cycle in the month, you go for several blood tests to get your hormones measured. So like a the very beginning of your cycle, everything should be at zero. Then as you come up to ovulation, your estrogen should be rising. Then you have what’s called luteinizing hormone surge just before ovulation that then triggers ovulation and your luteal phase. Your luteal phase is the second half of your cycle. And that’s when your progesterone starts to rise. And the follicle stimulating hormone rises at the beginning of your cycle as well. So they need to measure that because there’s all these rises and falls and things going on. And that’s how they tell whether or
not you’ve ovulated. They check your progesterone to check if that’s high enough to see if it’s viable for a baby.
And so there’s all of these things that they need to test at multiple times in the month. So many, many times I would have to drive to the hospital, which is where my fertility clinic was located, and have these blood tests. And also the tests when you first get analyzed and you get tests for all of the STD’s. You get physical exams. You get an HSG. So all of these different tests.
and THE INJECTIONS
Yes, you have to inject yourself. You get your own sharps container. I used to have a sharps container by my bed. Sometimes I’d have to inject myself at work. But also what I wish I had known is that the injections would be like nothing. I think whenever we first start needing injections, it’s a big deal. But then when you come a few cycles in it becomes like a daily routine. Injections become no big deal. And that is the second thing that I wish I had known.
everything takes longer than you think
The third thing that I wish I had known about all of this is that it all takes so much longer than you think it will take. Everything takes longer. You have to wait months to get into the clinic. Then you have to wait months for your next appointment. Then you have to wait for the test results. Then you have to wait for the thing they tell you that one result
showed X, Y, Z. So then you have to wait for that. Then you have to wait…
When we decided that we were going to do IVF, I then had to wait for three months because we needed to go to a counselling session and an information session. So then we had to wait. And you just want everything to happen yesterday because you’ve been trying most likely on your own for some time. You’re freaking desperate.
I was so desperate. I just wanted this all to happen yesterday. And we went fast through our cycles. We did two ovulation inductions and two IUIs. We went through things fairly fast, but everything still took months.
In that time, we completely put our lives on hold in the pursuit of having a baby. We stopped going on holidays. We didn’t live life. I wasn’t drinking and I had a really strict diet. I lived in hope that in the month in
between my cycles, I would fall pregnant, but I completely put my life on hold in the pursuit of falling pregnant expecting everything to happen sooner. And everything took so long. Everything takes so long.
the eggs always drop off
If you’ve had a retrieval already, you know this. When you’re going for an IVF retrieval they’ll do an ultrasound to see how many follicles you have and how big they are. The numbers for this vary considerably. You could have three or you could have 40. But no matter how many you have the numbers always still drop off.
Let’s say they retrieved 12, then they see how many survive, and then how many fertilize for IVF. You can go from a high number like 12 to a low number like 3. And then if you have any left over, then it’s how many survive to freeze, and then how many survive to thaw. That number can get low really quickly. I wish that I had known that the numbers always go down. And that’s totally normal.
People won’t understand and they will always ask too many questions.
I was really, really open on our journey. I told everyone when our retrievals were. And then it blindsided me because then everybody wanted to know whether it was successful or not. It put me in an awkward position. I got to a point where I started saying to people, Don’t call me, I’ll call you. When I have good news that I want to share with you, trust me, I will let you know. That was probably the best thing that I did.
I wrote this post about what to say to someone going through infertility, and another on what NOT to say here.
The procedures aren’t actually the hard part
It’s all the mental stuff. It’s the waiting, and the lack of control you feel, the disappointment month after month, feeling like everyone around you is falling pregnant and you’re not.
Sometimes the really easy part is trusting in our medical team and their procedures. The really hard part is going to be the mental marathon. I wish I had known that it would feel like a marathon.
live your life
The very last thing that I wish I had known is that I shouldn’t put my life on pause. That I should leave my life every day. That one month,like foregoing one cycle so that I could go on a holiday and actually live my life.
One cycle here and there will not make or break everything. It does not depend on one cycle. And when it’s your mental health at stake, keep living your life. That one drink or there won’t make or break everything. Go out and live life. Seize every opportunity. Lean into what feels good. Make sure that you’re looking after yourself and getting the most out of life.
Those are the things that I wish I knew before IVF. I would love to hear from you.
Comment below and let me know if any of these tips were helpful and what things you wish that you’d known!