A summary of IVF #1:
What I feared: Crazy hormone side effects, bruises from injections, severe bloating, weight gain, that I would forget or mess up my medicine, the retrieval, the two week wait
What I got: Crazy hormone side effects from birth control only, everything else was fine. Injections went well. I didn’t bloat hardly at all, although I still complained about the bloating that did happen. I haven’t weighed myself but I don’t feel like I gained any significant weight. I did mess up my medicine but I ended working it all out. The retrieval was fine. The two week wait was rough.
What I learned:
- Take nothing for granted. I really should have learned this by now, but I am foolish enough to continue to assume things. I remember those days when A and I were so naïve (like in June) when we sat around having lengthy discussions about what to do with the millions of embryos we’d have leftover in cryopreservation. Should we donate them to science? Adopt them out? Risk having a bigger family than we had planned? Well, the joke’s on us because my eggs suck and we have nothing in cryo and it’s likely to stay that way.
- It’s different for everyone. I had none of the scary Lupron side effects I had been warned about, but my BCP was awful. I had very manageable pain post-retrieval, when I expected the worst.
- It’s out of my hands. Duh.
The worst part: The fertilization report. I don’t think I have ever been so heartbroken in my life. It was far, far harder than finding out I wasn’t pregnant, being diagnosed with PCOS, or any pregnancy announcement I’ve ever seen or heard.
The best part: Getting the phone call that our one embryo continued dividing and would make it to transfer. How quickly one went from being not nearly enough to meaning the world to us.
What I’ll remember most:
- On our way into the hospital for our initial consultation, I told A that someday we’d tell our kids how they got here, and this moment would be part of that story. It had been raining and there was an earthworm on the sidewalk. A picked up the earthworm and returned him safely to the grass and said “I hope you’ll remember to tell them that their dad is the kind of man who saved an earthworm from getting squished.”
- Leaving a party at a winery to go get my Lupron out of the lunchbox in my car and inject myself. It was a surreal moment for me and I thought “is this really my life?”
- On the way to the retrieval, we stopped to get fast food and got a cup of ice water for our two dogs. We have a big dog and a small dog. I said “He needs to drink first because he has a little tongue. She can get all the way down to the bottom of the cup when he’s done.” He looked at me and said. “That’s a good point. You’re going to be a great mom.”
What I will keep in mind for next time:
- IVF is not your life. Keep doing things. Don’t let your life revolve around your next injection.
- Make sure your phone is charged because Angry Birds really takes the edge off of waiting room anxiety.
- Make sure you always have more medicine than you need for at least the next four days.
- Post-IVF periods are awful.
- It might not work.
- That doesn’t mean it will never work.