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Nicole the Fertile Chick: Letter to the IVF Newbie

Nicole The Fertile Chick

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Dear IVF Newbie,
If I’m correct, you have just come to the decision to try IVF after a few months, maybe even years, of infertility. You have grown tired of the many failed cycles and have decided to grab your destiny in your hands.

If you are at the very early stage of the process, you are probably prowling the internet, searching for every piece of information you can get. It is very important for you to be as informed of the process as you can possibly be. Find an online community, join it, and read experiences of people who have walked, or are walking, that road. The IVF process is such a complex one that it is important that for you to know what could, or couldn’t, happen.

Deciding on the clinic to use is crucial. Before, when there were fewer clinics that offered the service, the choice was an easier one. But now, there is literally an IVF clinic around every corner. Please do not make the mistake of making your choice based on aggressive advertising. I made this mistake for my first cycle, and regretted it terribly. Before you choose a clinic, do your homework. Research all your options, ask around for people’s opinion, investigate their success rates and processes, get factual and not fictitious information. The next stage is to visit these clinics yourself, talk to the doctor(s) in charge, observe how their patients are treated, see how well your spirit accepts the place. No matter how wonderful a clinic is, if you feel uneasy, it’s best you check out the next place. I’m a big believer in gut instinct and intuition.

After you have chosen your hospital, spoken with the doctor and left the hospital with the information pack, you’re probably on a high and filled with so much excitement about starting the process. Enjoy that excitement for as long as you can, because the roller coaster experience has not even started.

Before you are scheduled to start your medication, you are allowed to give in to daydreams about the baby/babies that will soon be yours. Enjoy this calm before the storm.
When you get your medication, try not to be overwhelmed at the sight of the tiny bottles, syringes and needles. When the nurse gives you the tutorial about administering those stomach or thigh injections, don’t worry, it’s really not as bad as it first of all seems. If you pay close attention, and learn how to inject yourself at the skin surface, and not by drilling multiple holes, you’ll be fine. Hopefully, you will have enough stomach or thigh flesh, but even if you don’t, if you learn the technique, you will be fine. Mixing the medication can also be overwhelming, but you’ll soon get a hang of it.

If you’re on the short protocol, you only have about 10 days of stimulating shots, but if you are on the long protocol, like a lot of women, get ready for a rather mind numbing 5 to 6 weeks of shots. The 3(ish) weeks of down regulating can be an extremely boring affair. And if you’re unlucky, you might have some of the nasty side effects as migraines, mood swings, vaginal dryness, etc. Take heart, it will be over soon. When your period finally comes, it is such a relief, as it means you can finally move on to the more exciting stimulating stage.
Don’t be obsessed with numbers when you have your scans. Try not to compare the number of eggs you have to how many the other members of your online community have. Everyone is different.
If your doctor is satisfied with your progress, you should be too, even if you only have 2 eggs. But be sure you are being well monitored, and are on the right dosage of medication to avoid over stimulation. OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome) is not a joke!

The day of your trigger shot soon arrives, and it is imperative that you stick to the time given you by your doctor, as it is incredibly time based. As you get closer to your scheduled egg retrieval, you might start to feel some tightness in your abdomen. Don’t be afraid of this. It usually means that your eggs are ripe and juicy and ready for plucking.
Don’t be afraid of the egg retrieval process. I was terrified of mine, the first time. Don’t worry. Soon, you’ll be under anaesthesia and will wake up when the deed is done. Be prepared for the ensuing soreness though. That is almost inevitable. It is usually best to take time off work, at least from your egg retrieval day to after your embryo transfer. Trust me, there’s nothing better than being able to lie in bed during this period.

Around the time of your egg collection, your partner will be giving his sperm sample. Don’t underestimate this process for him. Yes, you’re the one who will have instruments inserted in your lady parts, but he is also under quite some pressure. Give him some morale boosting and be there for each other.

The wait for the results of your egg collection is an extremely anxious one. Even though you will have a rough idea of the number of your eggs from your scans, finding out how many they were able to retrieve is still nerve wracking. Then comes another anxious wait, getting your fertilisation report. Some couples are lucky to have almost 100% fertilisation, with all their eggs fertilising. Some are unlucky to have 0%, i.e. none. My prayer for you is that you have a good report, and can proceed to the next stage.
Before this stage, you and your doctor would have agreed how many days you will allow the embryos grow before transferring them to your uterus. The average number of days is 3, but some doctors prefer to transfer as quickly as possible (day 2), while some prefer to grow the embryos to blastocyst stage (day 5). No one approach is better than the other, but is a thing of choice. Whatever day you agree to transfer your embryos, be prepared mentally, and try to arrive the clinic with as much positive energy as you can possibly muster.
The hardest part of the embryo transfer process was the full bladder. You need a full bladder for the procedure, so if you’re one who gets uncomfortable with this (like me), try to prepare for it. Aside the full bladder, this is a much easier process. Save for the discomfort of the machinery going up your vajayjay, you are awake for the process and can even see what’s going on through the monitor. So that’s quite exciting.

Regardless of what you will read, I am a firm believer of bed rest for as long as possible. My own opinion is based on my own experience. My first cycle, I was on my feet almost immediately, and the cycle failed. Second cycle, I was on full bed rest for the first 4 days, it was successful.

Whether you choose to bedrest or not, my advice to you in the wait before your pregnancy test, is to stay as mentally positive as possible, but also be prepared for any possible outcome. Stay happy, watch what makes you happy, be around people that make you happy, eat what makes you happy. Try to be in a positive place, because the last days of the waiting period can wear thin even the sunniest of temperaments.
The day of your pregnancy test, be prepared for any outcome. It could be positive….or it could be negative.

I pray you get a positive outcome, and can immediately begin the new exciting journey of pregnancy. But if you happen to get a negative outcome, take the time to grieve….it’s okay. Cry if you want to, scream if you want to, retreat into your own space if you want to. Go through your process, but make sure it doesn’t go beyond a month. By month 2, you need to get right back on the wagon and try again. It’s never as bad as the 1st time….trust me.
Good luck, my dear friend. I wish you all the best!

Yours truly,
Nicole!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Monkey Business Images 

Nicole is a woman in her late 30s, with a passion for all things fertility related. She suffered infertility for the first 3 years of her marriage, and found it extremely isolating. After she had her kids, she started The Fertile Chick (www.thefertilechickonline.com) to create a community and happy-place for all women, in various stages of the fertility journey.

31 Comments

  1. sigh

    November 17, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Thank you. That’s all I can say. It’s hard to describe the emotions.

  2. Scared Homo Sapien

    November 17, 2014 at 9:04 am

    E-hugs to all women who are going through this process, Victory is yours in the end.
    As i kept on reading, my heartbeat kept on increasing and i got quite scared. Oh Lord, bless everyone who seek the fruit of the womb, with good fruits. Amen!

    • AAsh

      November 17, 2014 at 10:37 am

      AMEN

  3. Marilyn

    November 17, 2014 at 9:06 am

    God bless you…for sharing.

  4. Tess

    November 17, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Hello Nicole thanks a lot for this piece. This is my first IVF cycle and i have done the initial consultation and assessment, but it was discovered that i have a polyp or fibroid,, they say i have to do a hysteroscopy to find out what exactly it is and remove it as well..i am so scared i cant stop crying. But i will do that and then start the IVF cycle.i pray it is successful, me and hubby tremble at the thought of the injections he will have to give me,cos i doubt i will be able to inject myself…#sigh#. God help us

    • Anna

      November 17, 2014 at 10:26 am

      Take it easy Tess, all will be well by God’s grace. It is indeed a scary process, but with God by your side nothing is impossible

    • AAsh

      November 17, 2014 at 10:38 am

      May GOD see you and all others going through the same emotions to a positive end in Jesus Name.Amen

    • Nicole

      November 17, 2014 at 10:49 am

      Dear Tess, you have nothing to worry about. Like Ann said below, the hysteroscopy is easy. I’m wishing you all the best for your cycle. And don’t worry about the injections! My husband and I are the worst needlephobes ever. He wasn’t able to get over his needle phobia to help with my injections (chicken…lol), but if I was able to do it, so can you. You can shoot me a mail at [email protected] if you want to talk more. Good luck!

    • ekalor

      November 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      It is well….. This will become a thing of the past….. By GOD’s grace

  5. hawwy

    November 17, 2014 at 9:34 am

    nicely done!

  6. Taiwo

    November 17, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Wow!! Thanks for the insight. I used to feel it was just a simple procedure involving one or two injections, didn’t know what women go through in respect of the IVF procedure.
    God bless everyone going through this procedure and may you be blessed with wonderful kids in Jesus name.

  7. Ann

    November 17, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Thanks Nicole for this beautiful write up. I enjoyed it. I have travelled this road three times. Succeeded twice but lost the babies. Will still try again.
    @Tess, Hysteroscopy is easy. There is nothing to be afraid of. I did it. Remove fear and you will be fine. It will help you. Good luck dear as you go through it.

    • Nicole

      November 17, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Dear Ann…I’m so sorry for your losses. May God be with you as you try again. Are you changing clinics for cycle 3? Please be sure to stay on progesterone for as long as possible with your next pregnancy (I was on it till my 30th week of pregnancy), and also insist on a cervical stitch (cerclage). Good luck!

    • Ann

      November 17, 2014 at 11:16 am

      I did the cerclage but the water keeps breaking before I am full term. Ok, will do that on the next cycle. Thanks so much Nicole.

    • ada

      November 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      I tried two times with one hospital it failed. with encouragement from family and friends I tried with another hospital and was successful. All this happened in my 7 years of marriage. The key, I have learnt is to remain positive and surround yourself with positive people. Pray, Pray and Pray!!!

  8. KWAKWACITY

    November 17, 2014 at 10:51 am

    What I want to know is the wedge recection on the ovaries, how effective is it? A doctor has adviced me to give it a try…..I have been on clomid and haven’t taken in. I want to start with Metformin but I really need something more effective as IVF remains my last resort.

    • Nicole

      November 17, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Do you have PCOS? Sometimes, metformin is needed to stabilise your blood sugar for the clomid to be effective. Try that with the clomid, and see how it goes. As for the wedge resection, this is a rather aggressive form of treatment, which helps with ovulation and cycle regulation, but could potentially damage the ovary (low possibility, but a possibility nonetheless). Start with the metformin and clomid first, and hopefully it will work for you.

  9. ivie

    November 17, 2014 at 10:53 am

    thankss for sharing

  10. Anonymous!!

    November 17, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Nicole nwa nne m, God bless you as you continue to be a source of encouragement to women having infertility issues. After long talks, shouts, tears and prayers, my sister and her husband has finally decided to embark on this IVF journey. My BN fam, please pray with me that she will rejoice at the end of it all .

    • Queeneen

      November 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Your sister and her husband will be successful in Jesus name. You will be an aunt to bouncing beautiful babies in Jesus name. Make sure you come back here to share the testimony with us o.

  11. D

    November 17, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Reading this gave me the chills… we just started on this whole fertility journey, but we have not started considering IVF quite yet, I am supposed to be placed on some medication (I am hoping pills) for now. Needles???? lawd…I hope God blesses us with kids prior to getting to that point. I was asked to take shots for migraines and I just could not do it.

  12. Ebabe

    November 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    This post lifted my spirit today as I just did my PT and result came negative after IVF. Thanks for sharing and encouraging.

    • Tess

      November 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Am so sorry, i pray you get your miracle soon

  13. Ade

    November 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Ann,

    After a round of IVF and FET and an early miscarriage at 8 weeks. We had yet another devastating loss at 22 weeks due to my waters breaking too early in March of this year. As our daughter was not at the 24 week mark the doctors couldn’t do anything for her and we sadly had to let her go. At the time we were told that there are only two reasons waters break early – infection or mechanical activity i.e the bag of waters banging against the cervix due to cervical weakness. As soon as I got out of hospital, I did a full infection screen with serum-ivf (a clinic in Greece – the women on my fertility forum swore by Serum and I did not have to go to greece) and found out I indeed did have an infection – the silent killer – Chlamydia. My husband and I were put on antibiotics for 25 days to clear the infection. By this time I was losing my mind, frustrated, stressed and crying every day. Thank God for awesome friends like Nicole who were willing to share their experiences. I ate healthy and my husband and I decided we would cycle again in December of this year. Well God had different plans! I fell pregnant naturally in May ’14 and now due January of next year. As Nicole advised please stay on progesterone till 30 weeks at the least. My doctors have kept me on it for months to keep things quiet. Now 28 weeks and counting. I did have some funneling and my cervical length was shortening at 24 weeks and again Nicole just prayed with me and encouraged me and 2 weeks later funnelling reduced and cervical length had increased. …. Its been a rollercoaster of a journey to say the least, we are now aiming for 35 weeks at the least and I’m trusting God, this fighter of mine and I will get there. So I recommend that you get an infection screen, have friends that pray and encourage you because for people like us who don’t particularly have it easy it ain’t a joke and believe that your children will surround your table and when you do fall pregnant rest, rest and rest. God bless and Good luck.
    Nicole Lovely write Up as usual – Thank you for sharing !!!

    • Nicole

      November 17, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Ade, I wish I could give you big hug for this! Thanks so much for sharing with your experience with Ann! I pray she gets a happy ending, just like you!!! xoxoxo

    • Addy

      November 19, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      May God Almighty see you tru this period till you carry your baby in Jesus name, AMEN!!!!

  14. jcsgrl

    November 17, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Hmnn IVF…I’m not sure I will ever be ready for it. Jehova the shildren provider meet us all at our level of faith

  15. McKay

    November 18, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Hi Nicole, thanks for your articles. This is something women and men in Nigeria should really be aware of.
    To all the ladies and men going through IVF or infertility,I will say a prayer for you all and I pray that by this time next year, there will be testimonies of healthy beautiful bambinos for all of you and for others too. I cannot say I understand what you are going through but I will say Jisieike!!! God is with you all and may He fulfill His promises. I read somewhere of a woman who prayed over her womb with her husband every day and despite all the doctors said, she has four beautiful children!!!

  16. spromak

    November 18, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Hi Jcsgirl,
    Please consider it with an open mind.nor do like me way just start after 40.The younger you are the better your chances. You need a high level of faith for a +ve PT after the whole process.
    God bless us all

  17. Anonymous

    November 18, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I only wish I found such a local forum to give support when I did IVF… 1st cycle failed, was devastated. Second was successful, and then my boys were born 2 months early. I am grateful that they survived and are doing well. I look at them, and the injections, bad OHSS, pain…. all worth it.
    May God give everyone their testimonies, and bundles of joy.
    God bless.

  18. Anonymous

    November 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Thank you Nicole. God bless you. I waited 5years to have my first and when he was 4 I couldnt wait anylonger so I went the IVF way right away. I had done the clomid, metformin etc etc during the initial 5 years wait. It was the best decision – 6 weeks of injections, crazy side effects, at a point I was giving myself 3 shots a day. When you want something bad enough you’ll overcome any phobia trust me. -:) My son is 6 months…..the most important thing I did was before starting this process at all I sought the face of God. I prayed ..prayed…prayed. Before the egg retrieval oh my…I prayed even harder….

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