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IVF Summary – Things You Are Not Told About IVF

imagesSunday, January, 20, 2013

I have finally come to terms with us not being able to have kids.  If we do decide to adopt down the road there is always time.  We have kept our heads held high through this infertility process.  Remember to keep smiling as this is a long road no matter what your outcome may be.  I am proud of us as a family!!  We never gave up and did everything we could for the best possible results. Make peace with yourself and your partner, husband etc. and you can move on quicker.  After months and months my body finally feels normal again.  I still have my IVF weight, but I am working on it.

Below is my summary of IVF and the things the doctors and nurses do not tell you.

  • Insurance – if your insurance covers any part of IVF get the pre-approvals ASAP.  In addition keep track of your out of pocket maximum as my insurance messed up the dates I had reach my out of pocket.
  • IVF Calendar – you will receive an IVF calendar based on your period and blood work results.  This part drove me nuts because I am such a planner.  I was itching to get this calendar ASAP.  But you just have to wait.
  • Excel Spreadsheet – I kept an excel spreadsheet calendar for each IVF cycle.  This helped for history purposes.  I also kept a tab for the budget.
  • Binder – I kept a binder with all of my IVF documents, pamphlets and insurance forms for easier referencing.
  • Google Calendar – I used my gmail calendar for all of my appointments.  This way myself and my husband could see when everything was scheduled.
  • There will be a lot of shots, which may seem overwhelming.  But take one day at a time.
  • Boxes – You will receive this huge pile of boxes with meds at your door.  Do not let this alarm you.  These meds are everything you will need for your IVF cycle and possibly a couple more cycles.
  • Blood tests and ultrasounds –  These will occur every other day, take it in stride and make these appointments when they are convenient for you.  For example I did my blood work in the morning and some of the ultrasounds during my lunch hour.
  • Syringes – Make sure you pull out the syringes straight.  If you pull them out crooked you will bleed more.
  • Band Aids – Keep those small circle band aids on hand.  Sometimes some spots will bleed slightly.
  • Heating Pad – after  I was given the shots I would sit on the sofa with the heating pad on my stomach.  This helped to make me feel more comfortable
  • Shots on your own – Learn to give yourself your own shots.  This way you do not have to wait for your husband to get home from work.  It is better to be able to give yourself the shots on your time.
  • Bloating – You will feel bloated throughout the whole IVF cycle.
  • IVF Bump – This is similar to a baby bump.  You will get bloated and gain weight from the IVF meds.  I gained about 12 pounds on IVF.  I dressed up my stretch pants so I could wear them to work. I also bought a couple of cheap yoga and sweat pants at Old Navy to wear on the weekends.
  • Food – I drove myself crazy trying not to drink caffeine, cold foods etc.  Do try and eat healthy just don’t go over board.  I am not so sure the pineapple core rumor is true.  Do drink lots of water!
  • Alcohol – I was very careful with drinking alcohol.  I did have one glass of wine during a couple of my IVF cycles.
  • Acupuncture – I did take acupuncture appointments.  I do believe this helped me to relax.  I ended up going to a regular acupuncturist because my insurance covered some of these visits if the doctor was in network.
  • Husband – Be a team!!  Your husband or partner must take time off of work for the egg retrieval.  This support is a must so you do not feel alone.
  • PGD Testing – Do NOT do PGD testing.  It is not worth the extra $5,000, no matter what the doctor tells you.  Only do this testing if something runs in your family
  • Counsyl – DO the counsyl kit testing instead.  This is just extensive blood work and it is worth the piece of mind.  This is usually covered some by insurance.
  • Egg Retrieval – Relax, do not feel nervous.  Being nervous and anxious just makes it worse
  • IV & Prepping – Make sure the nurse numbs the area before the IV is given.  Your husband is allowed in your room while you are being prepped.
  • Post Egg Retrieval – You will feel crampy but not so bad.  We always went out to breakfast afterwards.  Once I got home I would crash in our lounge chair.  You will need the next day off of work.  Unless you want your co-workers to see you walking like an old lady :).
  • Embryo Transfer – Take your Valium 30 minutes before arriving at the clinic.  Once at the clinic they will give you more.  Take advantage of this, the more relaxed you are the easier the process.
  • Bladder – After the embryo transfer do not let the doctor drain your bladder with a catheter.  If you can wait the 30 minutes that is required after the transfer to pee.  I had my bladder drained once and got a bad UTI infection.
  • Progesterone Injections – Have the nurse draw a circle with a sharpie marker where the shot should be given.  This is a good guideline for your husband or partner to follow.  Do the progesterone shots in the morning so it can move through your system easier while you are walking.  If you can stand the shots do not use the suppositories.  They are messy and for me more painful to insert vs. the injections.
  • Pregnancy Test – Do NOT take a pregnancy test after the embryo transfer.  This will always come out as a false positive due to the progesterone you will be taking.  Wait the 14 days, do the blood work and let the nurse tell you  if it is positive or negative.
  • IVF Brain – It is difficult to keep track of stats, ultrasound, blood work, RE appointments and acupuncture.  You may find yourself wondering did I feed the dogs this morning?…, slip off your memory.
  • IVF Blogs – Yes join some IVF blogs, clubs and or meetings.  I was on a couple of IVF blogs and this helped me to talk to other IVFer’s.
  • Everything is about the baby – Every decision and move you make, you wind up asking is it safe for my ovaries, embryos etc.  Can I go for a hike without damaging anything.  Can I exercise, I have to watch my heart rate, do not get to stressed at work.  Literally this is an every day obsession about a baby that is not even here yet.
  • Pinterest – Yes I planned a nursery and baby items board for my virtual baby.  I do not regret this as it is fun to look back on the boards to see how cool it would have been.  You also get to know the top items in the baby world.
  • Blog – create your own blog so if you do tell friends and family members they can read along without calling you every day.
  • Egg Quality – In the end it depends on your egg quality.  My egg quality was always low, therefore my chances of getting pregnant were low.  Do not beat yourself up over this.  It is what it is!
  • Husband and or Partner – your partner and or husband must be there for you.  Remember any type of gifts, flowers etc. will show her that you care what she is going through.  This is a tough road for everyone but especially for the woman. Empathy is a must!
  • Keep Connected – It is really easy not to feel close or intimate after going through all the medical procedures and appointments month after month after month.  We made the mistake of not keeping our closeness through the IVF cycles.


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