IVF: planners, beware...
Modern technology has made it so that practically every woman who wants to get pregnant, can. Notice I said practically. IVF does NOT work for everyone, but the statistics are definitely in your favor, so don’t give up. But, I wish someone had told me that when I began this journey. Winning the insurance victory felt like I was already pregnant - I was jumping up and down with excitement as I felt we overcame this tremendous hurdle. IVF was going to get us pregnant, I was absolutely sure of it. IVF is an incredible process. Once you can get past a bruised abdomen and ass, it really is so fascinating what you’re doing to your body. But it’s also not natural, and with that comes some really unwanted and incredibly unpleasant side effects. Weight gain and bloat is nearly inevitable; finding a resting position was impossible. My skin was breaking out and taking spin classes was quickly eliminated from the equation. Those ASPCA commercials? Cue the waterworks. Not to mention, my first IVF cycle was in July - and the summer of 2016 we experienced an extreme heat wave. Because they don’t want your body temperature to elevate, I was pretty much a prisoner to the indoors rewatching Gossip Girl from the very beginning (perk!).
The side effects are absolutely not the worst part of IVF. Getting shots each morning and evening became a part of my routine - I didn’t even mind it. And my husband definitely enjoyed playing doctor two times a day. What’s worse is the roller coaster you’re on… So buckle up.
How many follicles do I have? What time is my trigger shot? How many eggs were retrieved? How many were mature? How many fertilized? Will I do a three day transfer or five? What’s a morula? Will we have to do ICSI? How many embryos should we transfer? Will we make it to PGS?
My two IVF cycles, two months apart, were nearly identical. The same number of eggs were retrieved, which were considerably lower than anyone had anticipated, and the number of viable embryos was even more devastating. We never had any of embryos make it to blast, and we are smart enough to know it was not a good sign.
If you don’t understand a word I just said, consider yourself lucky. But if you’ve been aboard the IVF train and these words are a part of your daily vernacular, you’ll understand the associated pain and anxiety. With IVF there are so many unknown factors. It’s important to remember that IVF is a phenomenal process that works wonders for millions of women. For me, I have not been successful in this journey and will likely not be returning down this path, but again, this is my journey, and I am not an expert.
Tip: Though not a religious person in any sense, one of my favorite sayings has come to be “when you make plans, God laughs”. I’m admittedly a type A personality. I like things done my way, I like my closet color coded, and I hate when my husband doesn’t make the bed. Control freaks need to learn to loosen their reins; of all the pills I’ve had to swallow on this journey, this was the toughest. There should be fine print associated with the dozens of IVF paperwork you have to sign that says, caution: Planners beware! Endless game time decisions ahead.