Before we did IVF, I genuinely didn’t know what to expect. I mean, we all probably know someone who has been through it but despite chatting to those people, I wasn’t totally sure of what would happen, how I would feel and how easy/hard it might be. So here are 7 things that will happen when you go through IVF*…
1. At least one person (more likely several people) will say “HOW EXCITING!” when you mention you’re looking at IVF treatment. “Hmm, no,” I’d think. “Not exciting….” Usually, someone who’s about to embark on IVF has been through years of fertility problems and treatment and quite possibly a fair amount of heartache. Reaching what could be the final option (an option which will cost an arm and a leg, and involves lots of injections and invasive procedures) is probably not exciting. You know, on an excitement scale of dental check-up to Disney World.
2. You’ll realise that injecting yourself every night isn’t actually that bad. This was one of the things I was dreading most about IVF – how would I possibly be able to stick a needle in myself? But after the first one, which felt a bit like standing at the edge of a cliff with a bungee cord attached, telling myself to just step off, it was actually OK.
3. You’ll discover that fertility nurses are some of the kindest people on this planet. They do this stuff every day yet they still make you feel reassured and important. Hooray for fertility nurses.
4. Nothing will prepare you for the bizarre experience of the egg transfer. “Just like a smear test” they said. Yeah, a smear test where a catheter is slid up to your uterus and you’re told you must relax more. Hang on, let me turn up the whale music in my head and close my eyes because THIS feels just like a spa!
5. Having to relax and take it easy for a week or so, following the egg transfer will secretly be the best bit. So I’ve got to lie on the sofa, watching Gilmore Girls and eating salt and vinegar twirls all day? If you insist!
6. But you’ll find it impossible NOT to worry that the embryo might fall out of your vagina, when you first have the transfer done. What if it falls out when I’m having a wee? (This is when I reminded myself that the wee comes out of a totally different hole. Biology was never my best subject at school…)
7. If it doesn’t work, you’ll find yourself dreaming about ALL the things you could have done instead with that money (me: I wish I’d gone to Vegas and bet £6,000 on red).
*These things might not happen to you when you go through IVF. Clearly. But they happened to me, so I’m going with it!
Thanks for your honesty Alison, I am glad to hear the fertility nurses were kind. The Gilmore girls and salt and vinegar twirls sounds good too.
You’re absolutely right about the injecting thing – it took me nearly an hour to do my first one, and then I was fine! And about the falling out thing. Which is ridiculous really, given that when I’d fallen pregnant previously I’d jumped straight up, showered, gone for a swim, and drunk beer all night. But it’s so hard not to agonise over every tiny thing. What I now wish is that I’d had Netflix and salt and vinegar twirls. My consultant told me to drink 2 litres of milk every day for some bizarre reason – and it was before Netflix, so I just lay around fretting. I’m firmly convinced that there’s not much you can do to harm your chances. And also of the need to have a blowout in Vegas!
Yes, I think the milk thing is for protein! I was told this too.
Sorry, I think I might have been one of the ‘How exciting!’ people. Sending love, Alison; you’ve been in my thoughts an awful lot of late xx
TBF though Amber, you’ve been through it yourself so I don’t think I minded when you said it!
Different experience of #2 but for a blood phobic who wnded up with gestational diabetes I was finger-pricking like a pro after the longest time trying to to puke/hyperventilate on day 1. And with #1 I can totally understand why that would not be helpful at all but in the interests of never wanting to be the friend who just doesn’t say anything about something huge for fear of getting it wrong – what were helpful things people said on the journey (presuming there were some)? I think it is all too easy to feel too guilty to have conceived without struggles when it isn’t happening for someone you care about and I can’t imagine not talking about it is the right thing either – or is it?
I think it’ll be different for everyone, but probably stuff like “Oh blimey, that’s a big deal” or “How are you feeling about it?” is probably safe and supportive.
My friend went through the IVF programme – She count bear the thought of injections so she came to me every day to do it for her……
Long story short with all the things she had to go through – she has a beautiful baby boy
The staff at st Mary’s in Manchester were amazing
I hear you. Went through it five times and it was a veritable rollercoaster without the fun bits! Great piece.