Going through IVF was far less terrible than I expected. Going through online forums and the testimonials that highlight the experiences of others can get you truly terrified. As long as you’ve chosen the right specialist, however, IVF isn’t going to be such a nightmare.
When doing IVF for the first time, however, there will be tons of things that you’re going to be unprepared for. Here are some of the IVF specifics that I didn’t expect and that nobody prepared me for. Hopefully, my experience will make things less stressful for you.
Your ovaries will be producing a much bigger number of follicles than is natural. You’ll also be injecting yourself with serious amounts of hormones.
As a result of the injections and the big number of follicles expanding in my ovaries, I felt bloated from day two or three of the stimulation. The feeling continued even after the egg retrieval.
Abdominal bloating is one of the side effects that most women undergoing IVF treatment will experience. If you’re lucky enough to get pregnant the first time around, the bloating and distended stomach will continue.
Since my first IVF attempt failed, I suffered from the abdominal bloating for a couple of weeks after egg retrieval. After getting my first period following the stimulation, things got back to normal quickly.
Giving Yourself Injections
Chances are that you’ve heard about the fact that during IVF, you will have to give yourself shots, Otherwise, you’ll have to visit a medical facility one or two times per day.
My stimulation started with a single shot of Gonal-F. Provided in the form of an easy to use pen, this shot was the easiest one. Once you get over the fear, you’re not going to feel it at all.
In a few days, there were Merional and Cetrotide added to the mix. The final one is a nasty little thing. The injection itself isn’t painful but the medicine produced a burning and stinging sensation that continued for a few hours after giving myself the shot.
Giving yourself shots isn’t fun. You practically stab yourself in the belly a few times per day. while it’s not painful, the procedure does get annoying. There may be some bleeding and bruising, even if you follow all of the recommendations. In the beginning, I was quite afraid about making a mistake. After three days of giving myself multiple shots, however, I’d become a pro.
You are giving yourself shots of hormones. What do hormones do to many women? They cause powerful mood swings.
I wasn’t an exception when it comes to the emotional rollercoaster that comes with the IVF procedure. The effects were felt a day or two after the start of the stimulation.
It’s weird that I found myself annoyed by small things that I wouldn’t have paid attention to in any other state of mind. I had a pretty good idea about the fact that my behavior was irrational. Still, there was very little to do about it and I found it nearly impossible to control my annoyance with insignificant things.
Luckily, I am blessed with a patient and respectful significant other. He took all of the rage silently and didn’t retaliate even once. Having someone to support you and stand all of your hormone-enhanced antics is going to be incredibly important.
Ob-Gyn Exams Almost Every Day
The fertility clinic is going to become your second home. Due to the fact that I suffer from PCOS, I had to visit every single day. sometimes, I even visited two times per day – once to have my blood drawn and once to analyze the results.
You will be naked a lot and you’ll have ultrasound exams a lot. You’ll get so used to things getting shoved up your vagina that you’re going to start feeling completely indifferent about it by the end of the procedure.
While they are annoying, the ultrasound exams are particularly important. They shed a lot of light on the growth of follicles in your ovaries and on the manner in which the lining of the uterus thickens. Thus, you will have a pretty good idea about what’s going on and how your body is responding to the stimulation.
It’s Time Consuming
Stemming from the previous point, you’ve probably guessed already that undergoing IVF is very, very time consuming. Things become even more troublesome if you don’t live close to the clinic or you’re traveling from another city.
The daily exams mean that for 14 to 16 days, you will have to modify your daily routine. Working women have it particularly hard, trying to squeeze their appointments early in the morning, during a lunch break or after the end of office hours.
If you are visiting a reputable clinic that has many other patients, it’s also possible to spend hours in the waiting rooms. Sometimes, it’s difficult for experienced and demanded IVF professionals to stick to a schedule. Get used to waiting and practically spending half of your day in the clinic.
Needless to say, the expected outcome justifies all of the inconveniences and weird things that you’ll have to go through during IVF. Still, having a little bit of information in advance will take some of the stress out of the equation. Make sure that you have an idea about what you’ll be going through. Don’t be hesitate to ask your doctor and the clinic staff questions, even if you feel that they’re ridiculous.
Also, there’s no universal truth when it comes to IVF experiences. Some women have a very hard time, others breeze through it. The fact that a lady you know had a painful egg retrieval doesn’t mean that the same is going to happen to you. Try to be calm and don’t let worries settle in your head. While this may be difficult to accomplish, it will be of paramount importance for maintaining your sanity during the procedure.