Things You Should Know About IVF

As promised, here is my list of tips and helpful information for anyone going through, planning, or even thinking about going through IVF. Unfortunately, it’s not my original list–somehow it got deleted from my iPad (wahh!)–but I sat down yesterday and tried to remember as much as I could to make this one.
    **If you’re not going through or planning on going through IVF, this is probably not a very interesting post for you!**
  • First and foremost, if you don’t like or feel comfortable with your doctor or clinic, go somewhere else. This can make or break your experience! I LOVED every doctor and every nurse that I met at the office I went to. (In the NY/CT area and looking for a great fertility clinic? RMACT was AMAZING). They made all the difference! The girl who took my blood even hugged me the last day, and was sincerely caring the entire time. My nurse was helpful throughout everything, and every other person I dealt with in both the Danbury and Norwalk offices were understanding and amazing.
  • Talk to someone in the office (we had a financial coordinator at ours) about payment plans, because they’re sometimes available and would make your life a lot easier (less stress)!!
  • When you receive your medication…don’t freak out. You don’t take it all at the same time, and you should get a detailed instruction list from your doctor/nurse on how and when to take these medications. Don’t be afraid to call them with any questions–because remember! This is serious stuff! You CAN NOT do it incorrectly or it won’t do what it needs to. They WANT you to call if you have any questions.
  • There were so many times I had questions but forgot to ask, so write them all down! Even bring a pen with you to write the answers if you want, that way you have something to look back on rather than having to remember it all (trust me there’s A LOT to remember).
  • It’s okay to freak out the first time you do injections…your sticking yourself with a needle…it’s weird…don’t beat yourself up about it–remember I hesitated the first time for 15 minutes! The next day, I hesitated for just 5, and then I had no hesitation at all after that. It’s just something to get used to!
  • The medication I took (Menopur) did burn unfortunately (something I wish I knew prior to taking it!), but I had a little routine I started after the first day. A half hour prior to my injections, I started icing my stomach (and took my other medication {Follistim} out of the fridge) and by the time I did the injection, I didn’t feel the needle what-so-ever (I’m not exaggerating at all), and the burning sensation was minimal. What also helped, was injecting the medication veryyyyyy slowly. The only thing about icing the skin, is that your skin gets kind of hard. It’s basically freezing the skin, so you have to push the needle in a little harder than you think. I had a few times where I injected and it didn’t go all the way through so I either injected again or pushed it in. I know that sounds gross but if it’s iced I promise, you don’t feel it. The needle is teeny tiny and super thin! Honestly, I didn’t feel the injection even when I didn’t ice the first time, I just didn’t love the burning sensation, so I decided to ice.
  • I try to eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle….so injecting hormones into myself was the last thing on earth I ever thought I’d be doing. I rarely take Tylenol for goodness sake! Although I didn’t love it, I didn’t let it get to me. I told myself as soon as it was all done, I’d go back to my normal ways, and I did, and it’s fine! If you stress out about things like that, it does no good!
  • If you don’t need to tell people, don’t. It puts pressure on you can get stressed out. (More) stress is NOT needed! I told a few family members and a friend who went through it to conceive her son.
  • If you’re fertility clinic offers any kind of girls night or something similar to it, I suggest trying it out. I went to one, and although it was nice to talk about what I was going through, it was also…really sad. I wasn’t in the same state of mind as some of them, I was excited and hopeful and it was more of a downer for me. All the girls were amazing and the idea of it was great and so helpful, but I think it depends on the individual and what they’re going through.
  • If you have to travel far to get to your clinic (RMACT’s Danbury office was an hour away, while the Norwalk one was an hour and a half), try and keep your gas receipts along with everything else you’ve paid for, as you might be able to get a tax return for everything, depending on where you live!
  • My “trigger shot” (which was actually two–Novarel {or HCG} and Lupron), the last shot(s) you get before your retrieval of the eggs, didn’t hurt at all! Both used different syringes which didn’t really allow me to go slow like I did with the Menopur, so I was nervous and waiting for the burn, but had nothing. It was suchhh a relief, as it was the last of the shots!
  • This is personal and may be different for you, but the hormones didn’t affect me what-so-ever. I didn’t have mood swings, no headaches, and I didn’t bloat. The only thing I did get was a bruise a few times I injected. The first time was definitely because I was pinching my skin so hard though! Another time was air in the syringe (at least I’m pretty sure that’s what it was) –always make sure there are no bubbles!
  • Make sure you have enough of your medication so you don’t freak out like me (another freak out I forgot to mention yesterday!) when you’re out of the one kind and need it the next day but the pharmacy doesn’t have it and the place you order from online doesn’t deliver on Sundays! That can make you want to throw up…. Always. Check. Write a list if you must so you know what you need to order and order it days before you need it. You don’t want added extra stress! (Btw-I was able to pick up the medication for my doctors office thankfully!)
  • Have a little bag to keep things organized if you’re ever out when you need to take any of your medication. (Though I always tried to be home for it, especially the first set of hormones that needed to be refrigerated).
  • If you can afford to, stay home from work…unless you do a lot of sitting, work can stress you out and you shouldn’t be stressed or putting any sort of pressure on your body as your uterus expands and grows lots of eggs!
  • Retrieval day…..stay home!! I was knocked out for the procedure so it wasn’t scary at all–even fun if anything because you’re all high on the anesthesia! lol But that didnt last very long! This is definitely TMI, but it’s also something you should be prepared for–you will probably (everyone’s different!) get the WORST gas pains ever!!–Sorry! I wishhh someone told me about this one! I could barely walk after a few hours, which is why I suggest staying home! I did some yoga poses and that was helpful, but really, time was key. I felt somewhat better by the next day and completely better by about 4 days after the appointment.Β  After reading up on it and finding that list (that seemed like it intended to scare rather than help–thanks goodness I read it AFTER I went through most of everything) that I posted about yesterday, I listened to her and drank some prune juice and….let’s just say that didn’t help….at all!! If anything, it made it worse! It was trapped gas, so the prune juice was just adding to it!
  • I suggest staying home for the transfer (when they put the embryo(s) back in) as you should be completely relaxed as well– though you won’t be in any pain! πŸ™‚
  • Do yourself a favor….don’t take a pregnancy test. Wait for the blood test! I read and read and read about when you can take it and took one….it came out negative. I didn’t let it affect me, as I also read a hundred times that you could get false positives and false negatives. So I don’t even know why I did it! I even read that some women took one THE DAY OF THEIR BLOOD TEST and it came out negative when they were actually pregnant! So trust me…..DON’T TAKE IT!
  • After you find out the good news….take as many pregnancy tests as you want! I took two just so I could see that positive sign I never got to see month after month πŸ™‚
  • If you’re like me and end up having to do the progesterone shots…in the bum…with the 1 1/2in needle…don’t freak out until you get the shot. I know this sounds crazy, but the only thing you feel is the slight pinch of it going through that first layer of skin…for like a millisecond. The scariest part was the lead up to it. I imagined it was going to hurt once going into the muscle, or when the medication was actually distributed, but I kid you not…..nothing. I know, weird. And there were even times that I didn’t feel it break the skin at all! Those were the best! Because you’re waiting to feel that little pinch and then the next thing you know, they’re saying “all done!”
  • Even after knowing the intramuscular injections didn’t hurt, looking at that needle was still FREAKY!! It grossed me out like something in the movies! (It’s HUGE).
  • Super important, and this is something that your doctor or nurse will tell you, but I’m still adding it here because it freaked me out opening that box of medication. There’s a 1 1/2in syringe with a SUPER thick needle, and one with a thinner needle. YOU’RE NOT STICKING YOURSELF WITH THE THICK ONE!!! That was my biggest freak out! I saw that thick one and said “how can that even break your skin?!?!” and my husband came over to rub my shoulders and I screamed at him to get away from me and not to touch me…..lol poor guy.
  • If you know someone who can give needles (ex: a nurse) they’re now your best friend. I love my husband, but no way did I trust him going at my bum with that needle! Originally, I didn’t want anyone to do it who didn’t have any experience giving a needle before, but after driving to the doctors every other day (at 8 in the morning and an hour away) I couldn’t deal with it anymore so I had my mom come in with me and learn. Mommy’s the only one I trusted!
  • Have your nurse or doctor draw a circle where you can inject and every time it starts to fade, go over it again (yes, I had black circles on my buttcheeks for over a month lol). When I found an area didn’t hurt at all, I drew a smaller circle around that specific area and only injected there.
  • Always remember to have the person aspirate (which means once the needle is in your skin, to pull the syringe out a little to make sure you didn’t go through a blood vessel), because I had blood in my syringe a few times. It won’t kill you if you inject it, but you still don’t want to because it won’t administrate the way it’s supposed to. BTW, they should teach you this in the injection class so don’t worry.
  • Try getting the needle laying down, and standing up to see what you like better. I ended up standing up for mine because it was more comfortable–just always remember, no pressure on the side your injecting!! I always put all the pressure on my other foot.
  • After the injection, massage the area, and keep a hot compress on it (if I were out, I used the air activated hand warmers and when at home, a microwaveable rice hand warmer that I made). Don’t put any pressure on the side of the injection!! Limp if you must walk! There were days that I had things to do after getting the shot and had to walk, and oh my goodness, my bum would hurt!!! There was one day it was so bad I had to walk around using a broomstick as a cane! So no pressure on the side of injection! Just sitting/laying down and relaxing!
  • If you have to take the Crinone progesterone gel applications (along with the injections or by itself)…..email me. That’s a little too much information to put on here! lol
  • Sonograms each week are amazing! I miss seeing my little baby that often! They are the vaginal ones opposed to the abdominal, but who the hell cares…after what you went through, to see that baby grow and hear that heartbeat is freakin’ awesome!
  • It’s so important to talk to your significant other about what’s going on (in your head), because it’s easy to keep things inside and take it out on them. Although you’re going through a lot more physical and emotional stuff, your significant other is having a hard time with everything as well. There were a few times that I found myself not even wanting to be around my husband, and then I realized one day, this isn’t his fault, nor mine, it’s no ones fault and none of us would have chosen it! And though he doesn’t express his feelings like I do, I knew he was stressed out with everything as well…and ever since that “epiphany”, I never felt or acted that way again.
Here I am warming my bum after an injection! This is the day I had to walk around with a broomstick….hence the face….but seriously, that was the worst day. After that, I knew not to walk around and to put the heating pad over the injection site and I was good to go! P.S.-I’m allowed to use this against my kid when they don’t listen right??? lol
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**If there’s anything anyone would like to add to this, feel free to comment or email me! But I’m not making this list to scare anyone, only to inform and help out others who are going through, getting ready to go through, or thinking about going through the IVF journey.**
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32 responses to “Things You Should Know About IVF

  1. I wish they had the technology for women to have biological children naturally after they have a complete hysterectomy. Sounds like something out a science fiction novel, right?
    This post is quite useful and informative for those considering IVF and going through IVF. ツ

    • Hey, who knows, maybe they will be able to figure something out….I feel like the way technology is now, anything’s possible! Thank you for reading!

  2. You are totally allowed to use this against Baby B at any point! I tell Monster when he has to get shots, “It will be okay, I promise! I got 3 a day to have you and I survived! You’re getting a teeny tiny thing, it will be okay, I pinky swear!!” Big Man did all my shots for me, big and small, to be competely honest, I am terrified of needles, massive panic attacks, scared LOL so you can imagine the thrills we went through with shots. It’s fantastic your sharing the information, there is so much sometimes it is overwhelming and easily forgotten. Little tips are usually not shared because there is just so much else going on with information about hormones, appointments and everything else. Enjoy every moment, so many don’t understand the gift they have been blessed with!

    • I used to be terrified of needles….and then I don’t know what happened, I just didn’t care anymore….it was a great thing lol. I just kept reminding myself that everything I was going through was going to be well worth it. I knew from before we even started that we’d get pregnant….maybe that’s what kept me so calm throughout everything….I just knew. I had no doubts (except the occasional times I’d look online for help–worst decision ever!), it was just about when!

  3. Pingback: This Week in Birth Blogs #7 | Portland MamaBaby Center·

  4. Hi! Thanks for all the great info. Your right. That Menopur stung like a bee-sting!

    I just had my eggs retrieved yesterday. And I start the Crinone today. Any tips/tricks would be appreciated.

    The gas is the worst. WORST! I can’t wait for it to go away!

    • Ahhh good luck!!! The worst is over πŸ™‚ and the gas goes away I promise! πŸ˜‰ I googled some gas relieving yoga poses and they seemed to help somewhat…Also, don’t eat anything that would normally cause gas because it traps it and makes it ten times worse! If you can, just lay/sit down and relax…that was the most helpful thing for me…it wasn’t bad when I was laying down, but as soon as I’d stand up, ahhh….so bad! If you want, e-mail me at diaryofamadcrafter@hotmail.com …I def have some tips and info for the Crinone…are you taking the progesterone injections as well?

  5. Thank you so much for posting this! My husband and I have been TCC for two years. We began fertility treatments a little over a year ago, and just completed our third and final IUI. IVF will be our next step if the most recent IUI did not work. Although I am trying to remain hopeful (our two-week wait ends in two days), I am also trying to remain realistic. At a low point yesterday, I began looking online for IVF tips, and your blog was the first I came across. Thank you for being so practical, honest, and encouraging! Such a breath of fresh air in the infertility world!!! THANK YOU!

    • I’m so glad you found my list helpful! It makes me happy to know that I’m helping others by putting what I went through out there…..I wish you both the best!!! Good luck πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you for the info! My husband and I are doing IVF in October. Im on bc right now and I have already been freaking out about the needles. I feel a whole lot better knowing that I’m not alone. Unfortunately, I dont have family close by to help with injections, so I have to put all my trust in my husband. πŸ™‚

  7. Oh, this has been so helpful! We are starting with IVF this week when I get my period. Although it will be hard and overwelming, I still feel very happy that this treatment exists and we can get help! What I love about this article is the positive approach. I am from the Netherlands and let me tell you… the internetpages about this subject are pretty depressing. So thank you, I feel so much more confident and happy (because I don’t feel depressed about having to go through this).
    xxx

    • That’s exactly why I needed to write this! Because when I was going through it, I felt like everything I read was so depressing , it could make this part of my life scarier than it already was! I’m glad you found it so helpful and good luck to you!!!! πŸ™‚ Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or even if you just need to talk πŸ™‚

  8. My husband and I are currently starting our ivf journey. I’ve just started taking bc for 21 days, and I ordered all the meds.. Woah there are a lot. Thank you for suggesting your mother go with. I trust my husband as well, but there’s a certain comfort and bonding experience that I will share with my mom. She’s going to the injection teaching class with us. I related to pretty much all if your story including wanting to be a mom ever since… Pretty much birth. And I as we’ll have parents, married at 19, that waited 6 yrs to have me, the first born.. They as well said, wait, and enjoy your marriage. after dating my husband for almost 3 yrs, I was ready to have a baby! His cancer left sperm trapped in his testicle and ivf was our only option. Wish us luck! Just waiting for my next period so we can start the shots!

  9. Ohhhhhh good luck!!! Aren’t we lucky to have mom’s who have no problems with stickin’ us with needles! lol! I’m so glad you came across my post..I hope it helps you through your IVF journey πŸ™‚ Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or just want to talk! Diaryofamadcrafter@hotmail.com

  10. Hi,
    I found this list this summer when I was doing more research for IVF. It was hugely helpful! I bookmarked it, and reread it at various points through our IVF process. Thank you for putting this together! It means a lot to those of us out in the world looking for some (sound, practical, positive, realistic) advice.

    I had a couple of things to add to the list that might be helpful for some.

    1. If you are worried about having your partner give the shots:
    I knew I would eventually need my husband to give me the Progesterone injections in the hip muscle. So when we first started out (Lupron in the belly for me), my husband watched for the first week for moral support and to see what was going on. Once I added a few more shots to my protocol (3 per day), I had him do the evening shots every other night, even though I didn’t really need him to. That way his first time sticking me with a needle wouldn’t be the huge 1-1/2″ Progesterone one. He hated it as he does not like needles. But I thought the practice was really important for him. And although he didn’t like to do it, he definitely became more at ease with the process.
    What I didn’t expect is that I would freak out when I saw him holding the needle and coming for my belly. So I was also glad I had him practice, so that I became more comfortable and trusting that he would do a really good job.
    [Because he hates needles so much I really worried about the injections for a long time leading up to having to do them; he really stepped up. I think I probably underestimated how much he wants to a baby too; willing to do whatever is necessary, which includes sticking his wife with a needle every night!]

    2. Great idea to put circles on your hips! Because of this tip, I had a nurse draw one on both sides before our first injection. I found another idea on a different site that helped us too: Inside in the big circle, draw a big Z. Then alternate between a different point on the Z on each side each night. That gives you 8 set points, so you won’t duplicate a spot for over a week! We numbered the points and then I could keep track on the calendar (Right-1, Left-3, etc.). This was helpful for the first week or so while we got used to the whole process. After that, my husband got used to doing his thing and I didn’t have to worry about it (just had to remember which side we were on).

    Good luck to everyone reading this blog post!

    • I’m so glad my post was able to help in anyway! Thanks for your great advice, I’ll definitely add that in when I get a chance, I think it will be super helpful for anyone worried about having someone (who’s never done it before!) inject them with that needle. I wish you and your husband luck! πŸ™‚

  11. Thank you for sharing this ! We have been TTC for the last 8 years, one failed IVF abt 4 years ago. We decided to try one last time and then adopt. I am now 36 and not at all sure abt a pregnancy, but want to try “my very best” before I give up. I fear another failure, but what the hell πŸ™‚

  12. I just wanted to say a quick thank you to you as well! Out of the blogs and information I have looked up (and let myself look at as not to freak myself out) yours has been the one that has calmed me and eased my mind. This list is just what I needed to see! It was all the things I have been feeling and experiencing!! We have been trying for 2 years and started on our journey in July. We had 4 unsuccessful IUIs and have started on the IVF process. Today is day 5 of my Lupron shots and my freak out time before injections has reduced to about a minute! Thank you for telling about the different medications (I’ll be on the same ones) and the needles! I plan to read more of what you have written. THANKS!!

    • I’m glad I could help! Good luck!!!!! And seriously, feel free to email me/message me on Facebook if you ever hsve any questions or want to talk πŸ™‚

  13. Thank you for your blog and for the great tips. My husband and I are getting ready to start IVF this month after 3 years of trying. The amount of information seems so overwhelming at times, so it really helps to hear about the experience from someone who’s already been through it. I’m trying my best to stay positive and go with the flow. Thanks again!!

    • I agree! I’m glad I could help. Good luck!!! Feel free to email me if you have any questions or just want to talk πŸ™‚

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