While prepping for my last round of IVF (which was a conversion from stimming/ IUI to IVF so I had less than no time to be ready mentally for the viper pit I was heading into) I quickly realized google was no help to me.
I didn’t know what to tell my friends who offered to help me get through this, I didn’t know what to expect from my body, I certianly wasn’t prepared for that 2ww full of hormones and of course HOPE-because you see how perfect those embryos are and can’t help but think “this has to work this time” and certainly not at all for the FAIL that statistically is more probable than a BFP.
So here (in no particular order) are some of the tips, tricks and things that I would have really loved to know at the beginning of my IVF cycle.
Plan on a fail. Have your next cycle already planned out in case your 2ww ends in in a negative pregnancy test. This is paramount. The last thing you want to do after failing is to sit around and wait for your WTF meeting to come up with the next plan. The mental security this will give you during the 2ww as well as in the first few days after a negative beta is the only thing that might keep you sane.
Be aware that if it is a fail, your body will have a tough time coming off of the progesterone and estrogen support. The first 7 days will be absolute hell. The vast majority of women experience true depressive mental chemistry from the drugs alone, never mind compounded by the fact that you just went through all of that and still are not with child.
Plan to have a person who knows your pain (your go to person who knows better than to say its god’s plan, or whats meant to be will be) around you during the last few days of your 2ww and if possible for a couple days post your beta. I found my husband was not the right candidate for this as he was hurting too. You need someone who can force you to come out from under your bed and rage along side with you and let you cry when you need to.
Eventually that go to person will leave or you might not have a go to person to count on-so prepare for a fail by having your favorite things on hand in the house by beta day. Favorite wines, books, magazines, Lush bath products for those long hot soaks that you unfortunately can take. As soon as you have triggered you can schedule haircuts, color, massages, pedicures and facials starting a couple days after your beta (normally 16 days post trigger). Keeping in mind you can always cancel them up to 24 hours before without charge if you are pregnant and don’t feel comfortable “splurging.”
Between trigger and retrieval-you will feel way more uncomfortable than what anyone has prepared you for. HCG trigger shot provides the final push to mature all of the eggs you’ve made and help them pull away from the follicle wall. This actually increases the diameter of every single follicle you’ve made by 1-3mm more over a 36 hour period before your retrieval-to say it’s uncomfortable is an understatement.
For the actual egg retrieval, I found it immensely wonderful to have the following things with me at the hospital:
-My prescription for percocet and medrol already filled (ask your nurse on your last follie check to give you the RX for all of the drugs you will need on the day of retrieval so that you can fill them prior to retrieval and avoid sending your husband out for them or waiting in the car while he fills them).
-Lycra/spandex running tights I put them on post retrieval-and proceeded to wear them for 2 full days (and at night for a few more days).
-A bottle of water
-Slip on shoes
-A thermos of chicken noodle soup, mostly broth made with little stars to sip on post retrieval and car ride home (you will be hungry when you start to come around due to fasting, you will crave salt but your stomach might not be down with solid food-this was the perfect solution!)
-IPAD or E reader-no one is ever on time, ever.
-Camera/flip cam (especially if you are a blogger)
-Do not wear, put on nor spray anything that smells (this includes your hubby on transfer day)-apparently eggs and embryos are negatively affected by the chemical components of perfumes found in hair products, lotions, perfumes etc).
During recovery, expect to be swollen/bloated like your 5 months pregnant after the retrieval-it is par for the course, with a direct relationship between the number of eggs retrieved and the amount of recovery time you will need. Typically speaking the more mature follicles and higher estrogen levels, the higher probability that you will be more swollen and uncomfortable and will need more time to recover. Remember the retrieval is done under general anesthesia-so if you already know you take a while to feel normal after surgery, make sure to plan accordingly.
I found that drinking fluids at regular intervals 24/7 (avoiding overly hydrating) made me feel the most comfortable. This helped immensely with the bloating. I have heard that an increase in protein during recovery can sometimes help expedite healing-I can’t speak personally on that one but plan to give it a try this cycle. I did however LOVE sipping real chicken stock that I made while stimming and then frozen in zip lock baggies for quick access, coconut water (diluted 1/4 water) and Gatorade G2 (diluted 1/2 water).
Download/rent/pick up many books, movies shows etc to keep you mindlessly occupied for 4 full days-you can never have enough distractions. What you don’t get through during your recovery, you can use to help pass the remainder of your 2 week wait! Don’t forget you will have to be on bed rest for 24 more hours after transfer too!
One final note-put together an amazon wish list of things that can help you occupy your time (books, movies, etc) that way if family and friends want to “help” you there is a place they can go to-you’d be surprised how many want to put together care baskets, or drop something in the mail to let you know they are thinking of you or stop by to check on you with a little something-make it easier on them!
I wish you good luck 🙂