What is an IVF Cycle Really Like?

As many of our recent posts suggest, we recently went through IVF to give us this little girl who is due in June. I thought it would be nice to talk about what it’s like going through IVF. It’s good information to have not only for those who are thinking about it themselves, but also people who have friends going through it or just wonder what it’s like.

Our little kiddo will be born sometime in June and as soon as we meet her, I have no doubt we would do it all over again.

For anyone not familiar with IVF, it stands for In Vitro Fertilization. It essentially involves collecting eggs during what is called an “egg retrieval”, growing them in a petri dish for 3-5 days, and then placing them in your body as part of an “embryo transfer”. It sounds pretty quick and easy when in reality it is so much more. Here are some of the biggest things we learned during our IVF cycle:

The IVF Preparation

Often, IVF involves test after test before you can actually begin a cycle. Doctors want to check to make sure there is no glaringly obvious reason why IVF may not work. This involves so many tests that by the time you get to the actual IVF, you are ready for all the appointments to stop. Except it’s just the beginning. For us, it involved 6 IUIs (intrauterine inseminations), a surgery, a failed IVF stimulation period, and eventually a successful IVF Retrieval and Transfer cycle.

The Appointments

If you thought IVF would involve going in for a couple procedures and calling it a day, you would be wrong. Yes, there are a couple appointments for the actual procedures, but that doesn’t even graze the surface of how often you will be seeing your team lovely nurses, ultrasound techs, and fertility doctors. There is something called monitoring. Basically what that means is that you go in to the doctor regularly to make sure the meds are the proper protocol for you. IVF can be dangerous if the medication is not properly prescribed. For this reason, you could be going in every single day.

The Toll it Takes on Your Body

As you are chugging along through your IVF cycle, you will have a whole mess of side effects. Of course it’s different for everyone, but many women experience headaches, hot flashes, cramps, mood swings, and many other fun hormonal issues. It’s exhausting and it will be very difficult at times. Which leads me to the reason behind all these crazy symptoms.

The Medications

Everyone always tells you to get ready for the massive amount of medicine you will have to take. It’s hard to understand exactly how much that amounts to until you physically see everything all together. Even when you are undergoing IVF, you don’t fully grasp everything you are putting into your body. I took this picture at an infertility event and I think it does a great job of visually exposing how demanding the IVF meds really are – both financially and emotionally. It’s really incredible to see and makes you more aware of exactly how intense the process can be.

IVF Meds in Crib |Bottles & Banter

The Needles

This one fits in with the topic of medication, but deserves its own section because it’s one of the scariest parts of IVF. You will be giving yourself injections nonstop. And many days you will have to give yourself 2-3 shots per day. The first few attempts are tough. But the good news is that it’s all uphill from there. You get used to it. You barely feel it after awhile. And when it’s all said and done you will feel like you just earned your nursing degree.

A SHER Institute patient shows true definition of love.
A SHER Institute patient shows true definition of love.

The Waiting

One of the hardest parts of the entire process. Everything is insanely planned out and it becomes impossible to focus on anything else. Time stands still waiting for answers and waiting to see if the cycle will be a success. We planned as much as we could to keep us busy. You will still be distracted, but it makes waiting just a little bit easier.

The Result of IVF

After going through it, I can say it wasn’t always smooth sailing. It’s a lengthy process and at times, a bumpy road. However, talk to anyone that has an IVF baby and they will all tell you it was completely worth it. Our little kiddo will be born sometime in June and as soon as we meet her, I have no doubt we would do it all over again.

You may also like:

What is Secondary Infertility?

Does Yoga Really Improve Fertility?

11 Things We’ve Learned from Infertility

It’s Important We Talk About Infertility

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