Thursday, July 15, 2010

An IVF Primer

People can be very opinionated about IVF, so I try to keep our efforts quiet.  One thing is for sure though - all the shots and appointments are the easy part!  Nevertheless, let's go over some details of the whole process because some friends and family read my blog and I'd like them to know what's involved. I have compiled some interesting links posted by others. If you're an IVF veteran or are doing it now, please add anything you think people should know about IVF, share your tips for surviving it, or link to your best IVF posts! Now let's get started:

Here's a good quick overview, though it doesn't mention the hardest part of IVF, which is the hell known as the two week wait (2ww) between when your embryos are transferred (hopefully) and when you have the pregnancy test.

Here's a video in which one woman displays and explains her shipment of IVF supplies.

Most of the IVF shots are subcutaneous (SubQ for short) and done with a 1/2" needle in the belly. The rest (progesterone and sometimes the trigger shot) are intramuscular (IM) with a 1 1/2" needle in the rear. Since I will not be posting footage of myself injecting my bum [cries of disappointment from the crowd] the curious can view videos here of how all those shots are done.

There are also MANY blogs about IVF which you can find at The Stirrup Queen's Blogroll.  You'll see a lot of abbreviations and acronyms on infertilty blogs.  If you need a little help deciphering it all, look here.

One reason IVF is so stressful is that it can come to a screeching halt at any point. You may be forced to quit right at the start because of a cyst (my big fear). Or you can respond so poorly to stimulation meds that you don't even make it to the egg retrieval. Or you can go through retrieval only to end up with no good embryos to transfer. Or you can make it through transfer only to find you're not pregnant and did all this for nothing. Or you can get pregnant only to have your baby die. It's nerve-wracking to think of how many ways things can go wrong. I'm trying really hard not to.

Right now, I'm at the beginning of the process - on Lupron to suppress my hormones.  Since I've already had plenty of practice with subQ injections, that part of it is drama-free. Side effects, on the other hand, include a constant headache and some hot flashes at night.  It's a preview of menopause.  Looks like menopause sucks.  One more thing to look forward to.

Next Tuesday is my baseline ultrasound and assuming I pass, I'll start stimulation meds on Friday. That means two shots in the morning (low dose of Lupron and 75 IU Menopur) and one in the evening (100 IU Follistim). Retrieval is projected for August 2, but of course that's just a guess.


Lizzy said...

Thanks for the info! It helps a lot, I don't want to hear the "sugar coated" version! Thanks for posting - good luck!

Lori said...

Here's one that people (especially my nurses and RE) continually told me and I hated, hated, hated hearing: "Every cycle is different, every person is different and it ONLY takes ONE!"

I hated that because I was constantly, constantly comparing my cycle to everyone else's--on boards and blogs and in real life. And I got frustrated and aggravated (because neither fresh cycle was very fabulous)...

But both were successful. Even when they really 'shouldn't' have been. And it DID only take one.

So my best advice would be to try as hard as one could to NOT compare cycles--there really is a science that goes into it all and it just depends truly on each individual. On a lot of the boards, there were women who had WAY better cycles than I did (and yes, I was jealous!) and yet...they didn't get pregnant and I did. I was shocked and saddened for them, truthfully, but it really drilled home--your cycle is YOUR cycle and can't be compared, so don't let it get you down if it doesn't seem to be going by the book. Mine certainly didn't and I've been proven that they don't have to in order to be successful!

Hooray for starting meds soon!

Rachel said...

This info is helpful. It raises awareness and educates people (such as myself). I have a close friend who I'll be passing your blog address along to, as she and her husband are finding they have fewer options in regards to their infertility.