To say this experience has been disappointing would be an understatement. If it wasn’t for my Facebook IVF Support groups, I think I might have lost my mind. If you’re going through IVF right now, go join those groups on Facebook, I got the BEST tips from those warriors – from injections to side effects to emotional support, they were more helpful than my doctor on a few occasions.
I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll start at the beginning. Immediately after getting my period following our final IUI (intrauterine insemination) my doctor’s partner (so the one I don’t see regularly) writes out a prescription for the needles and tells me I begin that Friday. I found this abrupt.
For some reason I thought there was more time between Aunt Flo and the needle show. I am also terrified of injecting myself. I ask the nurse if she can inject me that Friday and she tells me yes, but then tells me I’m still going to have to do it myself on Saturday and Sunday at the very least. Dilemma.
So I go in that Friday and have her draw circles on my body for where to inject and have her do the first one for me. SHE MIXES THE MEDS IN FRONT OF ME. At this point I am fully about to panic because I did NOT know I would be mixing THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS worth of medicine into a small vial to then inject into myself with a needle – as if I went to professional chemistry and needle jabbing school to acquire these skills. She shows me on a ball how to insert the needle into my own skin. She then injects me for real with my needle. It burns a little but it’s nothing compared to the mounting anxiety I’m experiencing about the next injection because I’ll be doing it myself. That night I couldn’t sleep because I was so anxious.
All day the next day I had a knot in my stomach. I kept staring at the clock knowing at 5pm I would have to stick two needles into my stomach. At game time I was not ready. I was very scared.
My hands were shaking too much to mix the meds so mercifully Baby Daddy stepped in to do the Walter White part. Then I did what I had to to make myself do it: I had Baby Daddy film me on my Instagram story so that I would have no choice but to follow through with it. I know that’s so weird but something about having an audience made me focus on the task and step out of the fear. So thank you because without knowing you were watching I might have totally bailed out. I stuck it in, you can hear #TheHandful say “You can do it Mommy” in the video of it. It sucked naturally but I did it. Now repeat. I won’t bore you with a week by week recap of ALL the injections I’ll just say this: you do different ones on different days and the side effects increase each day.
So step one of IVF is to harvest your eggs. I was injecting myself with a drug called Follistem to make my follicles swell. I also had to take Estrogen which gave me gnarly headaches. Once you get a good crop of follicles they knock you out and retrieve them one by one with a scary looking probe that looks like the one they do the transvaginal ultrasounds with but with a HUGE needle on top. DO NOT LOOK AT THE EQUIPMENT YOU DUMB IDIOT. After looking at the thing, I grabbed the anesthesiologist and said NO ONE IS TO TOUCH ME UNTIL I STOP TALKING and proceed to sing the ABC’s terrified that they were going to start before I was unconscious.
They didn’t. I woke up with the worst cramps of my entire life. I was pissed the doctor didn’t tell me I would be in so much pain, he told me many women go back to work after – when I had been warned via Facebook groups that this was a days long recovery. They got 14 eggs. I was bed ridden for two days and it hurt to cough or laugh or move for a week after that.
But fuck recovery, I had MORE shots to do. Now this is where things take a dip for the bad. When I was pregnant with #TheHandful I had hyperemesis gravidarum, meaning I puked all day everyday for the entire pregnancy. I begged my doctor to find any other way to do this without using Progesterone as me and Progesterone have never gotten along (one year I did birth control that was progesterone based and puked every morning that year).
I don’t last three injections. After my second dose, I begin to vomit.
I am supposed to take a ton of pills orally in the days leading up to the blastocyst transfer — AKA the day they put the embryo in me and I’d be considered pregnant until proven otherwise. I don’t stop vomiting for 7 days. Day 2 of not being able to even keep water down we call a mobile IV service to get me hydrated as I can’t even get out of bed.
We call the clinic’s emergency line and they say if I can’t get the pills down the procedure is cancelled.
Weeks of injections, pills, exams, side effects, overall discomfort to find out we can’t do the final step. And, based off of my reaction, I am truly unsure if I’ll ever do that again knowing that two injections of progesterone resulted in a week of non stop vomit.
I’m laying in bed with the IV drip thinking the worst of it’s over because they put some Zofran in my drip. Hours after the nurse leaves, the vomiting comes back. I continue to vomit continuously for days, Baby Daddy is calling out of work to care for our daughter and we wind up driving to the ER to get some Zofran.
It’s June, the transfer was scheduled for April 4th. I haven’t taken any hormones or meds since and I am still recovering from the shots. I’m still bloated, my periods are still off and I still have that “super smell” I got when I was pregnant where I can smell EVERYTHING.
If you had to do this to get pregnant you are nothing short of a warrior.
So now you know why I’ve been radio silent these past few weeks. I’ve literally been coping. I feel better now, I’m still disappointed in the outcome and the overall experience.
I do have tips and pointers for people going through IVF and I’ll post that in a more up beat post, but I know I left everyone hanging will all those injection videos on Instagram, so I wanted you all to know why they stopped.