I admit it, I kind of went into IVF (in vitro fertilization) blind. All I knew what that after three years of trying, I was still not pregnant and not getting any younger. I knew my insurance covered infertility treatments to some extent, so looked up some doctors online and settled on one that seemed right for me (luckily I was right and had an amazing doctor). I was hoping for some doctor visits, some shots, and viola! Baby! And even though I did end up getting pregnant via IVF, there were sure some surprises along the way.
Round We Go
When people talk about cycles or rounds of IVF, I still get a bit confused. When anyone asks me how many rounds I went through, I answer, “three egg retrievals and one embryo transplant”. Depending on who you talk to or what you find on the web, a cycle can mean different things. I didn’t really think going in, that I wouldn’t have any viable eggs after a month of hard core prepping (see below) for my first egg retrieval. Then only one viable egg from the second egg retrieval. Then to my surprise my doctor firmly suggested that we go through another, third, egg retrieval before attempting an embryo transplant, not wanting to rely solely on one egg.
Take All The Things
When I talk about an egg retrieval or embryo transplant, there is so much that goes into the weeks and months leading up to the actual procedure. Shots, pills, vitamins, creams, and patches, oh my! I’d seen the pictures with the needles, so I knew I would probably become a human pin cushion. I literally needed a spreadsheet telling me exactly what to take and when each day. And if I thought I was just going to run to my local pharmacy to pick up these goodies, I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Some meds came from one pharmacy, some had to come from another, some from an apothecary, and even specialized online pharmacies. And I needed these meds stat! So after getting my latest results at an appointment or blood draw, I would run around town trying to get my meds and then I was on the phone calling for the ones I needed to be overnighted in special freezer boxes.
IVF Doesn’t Take a Holiday
And who would have imagined spending weekends and holidays at your favorite doctor’s office at seven in the morning? The facility I went to was open every day of the year except for Christmas Day. This does make sense though considering your body does not take days off or go on vacation. So I would find myself many a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday waiting to see the nurse or to just have my blood drawn. Did I mention I lived two hours away from my doctor’s office? Luckily, that is not the case for everyone, but it was my reality which made for many an early morning.
I could go on about weird little nuggets that no one tells you about infertility treatments beforehand (who has the time since there are so many?), and everyone’s experience is different. And I firmly believe in being educated about your body and what you are intentionally doing it; but sometimes a little mystery is a good thing. I’m glad I didn’t really know beforehand all that I would have endured for over a year and a half; the medications, the surgeries, the emotions, the miles, – it would have been so extremely overwhelming on paper. But of course, looking back, I would do it all ten times over to have my sweet baby girl.