I did my first round of IVF back in 2015 after two and a half years of ‘oh well, hopefully next month’, and was lucky enough for it to work first time around. At the time however I do remember wishing I had someone to experience this with. To ask questions, share stories and compare who has the best looking doctor (jokes!).
Which leads me to this. My IVF journey! (Round 2) (Because I wasn’t organised enough to document it all first time around!)
Why IVF your probably thinking? That’s a story for another day, but in a nut shell my husband had tests which showed that his sperm had below average mobility and stamina, basically giving us a very slim chance of conceiving naturally. Thank goodness for IVF!
So how does it all start? As this was my second round I skipped the consultation and had to call the nurses when it was Day 1 of my cycle. Your first (of many) blood tests is scheduled for Day 2 and its also when you pick up your medication, which is when it all begins….
I feel like I’m a pro at blood tests now. I really love it when you can run in and out and not go over the free 15 minute parking at the hospital! (Cheap thrills…literally!)
I should probably begin with What is IVF? It stands for In Vitro Fertilisation where an egg and sperm are placed together outside the body. I was placed on an antagonist cycle (which is said to be the quicker and easier of the cycles as its more in line with your normal cycle) with frozen embryo transfer next month. Why not transfer this cycle? My doctor said that there’s a good success rate with frozen embryos being transferred in a natural cycle. I did the same thing last time around and after it working I was happy to roll with it again. I also did ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) which is where they inject a single sperm into each egg using fancy fine equipment, this is opposed to regular IVF where they place the egg with many thousands of sperm and hope for the best.
Hot tip #1: Always keep your phone on you and not on silent when your on an IVF cycle. You get called most days by the nurses and it’s so much easier if you can answer their call rather then chase them up, these women are busy people!
I begun my Bemfola injection (used to stimulate follicles) on Day 2. I found it better to do the injections myself rather than have my husband do it (he was far to keen with that needle in his hand for my liking). I always did mine in my lower abdomen area. The quicker you go the easier it is! Oh and always do it around the same time each night. 9pm (after my 2 glasses of vino) worked for me!
Day 2 with Bemfola Injection
Over the next four days I continued taking my Bemfola injection each night. Had a few cramps here and there but nothing too bad. You have to remind yourself that you are pumping your body with hormones so you might just have some days (or nights) like this one…
Not sure how to caption this one…. ‘Crying Picture’, ‘Big Wuss’ or ‘Too many episodes of the Handmaids Tale in one night for me’.
It was quickly fixed with an episode of Real Housewives and a glass of red!
On Day 6 I begun my cetrotide injection which turns off your hormones and prevents premature ovulation (release of eggs).
Cetrotide involves mixing powder with liquid and drawing with a syringe… hubby enjoyed doing this.
On Day 8 I had my first ultrasound (internal yes). Which brings me to my Hot Tip #2: If you’re lazy like me and never got around to getting laser (you know where) then you will HATE the ongoing maintenance needed for an IVF round. Ultrasounds didn’t take too long. They’re looking for how many follicles you have and are measuring the size of them. Today: Five on one side, four on the other, all looking good. What’s the ‘norm’ you ask? The nurse said around 10 is ‘normal’ but I guess everyone is different!
It was around this time that I begun to feel a little sore in the stomach region, like sore to touch. It’s very normal so you just suck it up and move on! Ooh Hot Tip #3: Stay positive. This can be really hard particularly when your getting bad news or feeling shit but I kept a positive mantra through this whole journey and I really do think it helped. Just keep your mind on the prize!
On Day 10 I had 10 good follicies which were growing well and a nice thick lining, go me! Today I had to bring my toddler with me. The nurses are always so friendly with him when he comes in and are happy to entertain or help distract him while I’m getting blood tests or ultrasounds.
Please don’t touch anything!
Now if your like me and you’re a hormone related migraine sufferer then stock up on your pills! This is when they kicked in for me. Three in two days! I also began to be quite sore around my lower back and side area (aka muffin top), the nurse said it was all normal. Cramps were also very prominent and I was quite moody (lucky hubby). I got the call to say I was booked in for my retrieval on Day 15 which I was super happy about. Not only did it line up with babysitting for my toddler but last round I had my retrieval on Day 13 and after not having many eggs that were mature the doctors said it could’ve been because I went in a day or two too early for my retrieval.
Now it was just my luck that the retrieval was booked in for after lunchtime. This means that not only do you have to fast all morning and watch your husband and son scoff down a coffee and delish brekky roll at our local hot spot (hangry Lauren may have appeared) but you also have to get up at a ridiculous hour to take your trigger injection (which triggers ovulation). It’s supposed to be taken 36 hours prior to retrieval so in the early hours of Day 14 (2:50am to be exact) I had my decapeptyl injection. I woke the dog on the way down to the fridge, woke my husband getting back into bed and then woke the toddler knocking my phone off the side table. Bravo to me! Cue 3am party in the McGill house!
Retrieval Day: Another migraine. I wasn’t sure if I should pop my pills or not as I was supposed to be fasting, I did anyway. The anaesthetist later told me popping was a good idea…phew! I was excited for the retrieval, no more injections, no more sore stomach and you get a general anaesthetic! Woo hoo! (Great, now I’m sounding like an alcoholic and a drug addict!)
After filling out a shitload of forms, sending hubby off for his ‘job’ and gowning up I was ready to go. Wish me luck….
Happy because I’m starving and thinking about the delicious sambo, crackers and cup of tea I’ll be getting when I wake up!