Let’s recap: 7 months and 25 days ago, we started our first InVitro Fertilization cycle.  I hyperstimmed and we were unable to do the fresh transfer that cycle.  So we froze what we had and went on to do a frozen embryo transfer.  The first cycle, I ovulated.  The second cycle, I bled for a month due to a “confused uterus”.  The third time, we got to transfer and it ended with a BFN.  SO, now that we have been there and back again, I just wanted to look back at the madness of IVF and frozen embryo transfer for a moment.

Hormone pills and injections suck. Yeah, the Sub-q shots are not a big deal pain level wise, but after your stomach starts to turn black and blue and you find yourself craving cheeseburgers all the time, it starts to wear on you.  Also, let’s talk about how these synthetic hormones affect you emotionally, shall we?  They make you crazy.  Or they just take you to the precipice of crazy.  Just close enough to have a grip on where you are, awareness of how you feel, yet unable to get a handle on the level.  It’s maddening at times.

Blood-work. If something isn’t getting injected into you, it’s getting sucked out of you.  I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop with our blood draws.  Like we will get the call that my levels have gone off the charts and we will need to stop this cycle so I can go in for some strange battery of tests or something.  It sucked getting the call that I had ovulated halfway through our second try at transfer. You get so close sometimes and it just gets yanked away again.

Taking time off work. This one is a doozie.  Granted, I have been lucky as my employer is super flexible, but I am wondering how many cycles that good grace is going to last.  Early morning blood draws make me late and the transfer date is at least 3-6 days off.  With each failed cycle, I feel the pressure of all this.  Let’s also remember that it’s tough enough when your hopped up on hormones to stay sane in your private life.  Add a gaggle of work drones who have the sense of a spider monkey on top of that and it’s the patience Olympics.  I will confess I have been in tears more than once at my desk.

Cost. The choice between $500 Progesterone suppositories or Progesterone in Oil for injection (which is covered by insurance) was pretty clear.  Unfortunately, the PIO shots started to be a pain in the ass.  I mean that literally.  It started to hurt just to sit.  I had sharp pains in by my hip muscles whenever I stood up quickly or got out of bed.  It was bizarre, really sharp and painful!  I couldn’t have imagined doing that everyday for more than 3 weeks.  I am ready to eat the five hundred bucks and wear maxi pads next time if we can.

I have to give my husband HUUUUGE credit when it came to the cost factor.  He was on the phone with our insurance company and our doctor’s office trying to get anything that wasn’t covered, covered.  He called around to online pharmacies that specialized in IVF meds and found the most reasonable prices he could.  IVF / FET ain’t cheap, ESPECIALLY in a non-mandate state, so having him do all that hard work was a lifesaver.

THINGS THAT HAVE WORKED FOR US:

Injections: Ice the area.  Do it.  Even for the Sub-q’s.  It makes it easier and less painful when you inject.  For the PIO injections, use a heating pad after the shot and apply pressure to the injection site while gently massaging the PIO into the muscle.  It alleviates the knots and bumps somewhat.

Taking all those pills: I broke down and got two of those “Days of the Week” pill cases from Walgreens.   It helps keep you organized when you are taking Estrace 2-3x a day along with a Prenatal and goodness knows what else.

Taking time off work: I always get Dr.’s notes, make copies and submit to HR.  Yes, I feel like I’m back in school, but it’s worth the peace of mind in case anyone want’s to give me shit about where I was or why I was late.  Having said that, my work has been great about all this.  It helps that our CEO and his wife went through IVF.  Granted they were lucky and conceived with that cycle.  It’s obviously been a little tougher for us.

Taking mental health time & telling people about IVF/FET: It is absolutely ESSENTIAL that you treat yourself well during these cycles.  Be it IVF or FET.  IVF takes such a huge toll on your body, it’s no joke.  Looking back, I am glad that I napped when I was tired.  I don’t regret that mushroom and swiss burger, it was GREAT. That deep tissue massage didn’t suck, either.  Cook yourself a nice meal.  Draw a hot bath.  Meditate. Whatever works.

I screamed.  I cried.  I threw things.  It happens when you are a walking sack of hormones.  Just try to embrace it and control what you can.  Cry it out but talk it out.  Don’t hold it in. I am thankful each and every day that my partner in this crazy journey is the man that he is.  He has been an amazing co-pilot.  Always understanding and always ready with a hug and a kiss to make it better.  (Olive juice, babe.)

This goes for family and friends.  There is debate over the who to tell, when to tell, what to tell debacle.  Think it through and do what works for you.  We told our family every step of the way what was going on.  It gave us a support system. I told people at work.  It’s who we are.  Yes, it sucked when you get a BFN and have to tell everyone that, too.  But it also allows people to have data so they know what’s going on if maybe you glaze over with their story about how their 2 year old isn’t using the potty or something.  And yes, even if they know what you are dealing with, they will still pummel you with stories about their kids.   Lots of people just don’t get it.  Period.  Like I said, do what works for you.

Reading blogs, infertility sites and message boards: This is part of the mental health, but be careful.  You can go on obsessive overload.  I totally did.  ESPECIALLY in the two week wait.  There are tons of women, well spoken and very funny women, who have documented their struggle with infertility.  Go and read them.  Even if they were successful and are now blogging about pregnancy…GO back and read their history!  There is much to be learned from the struggles of others.  I am so, so, so grateful to all of them for sharing.  It made my own struggle a little easier.  It’s a part of why I keep this blog public today. Cyclesista has an updated blogroll and I have links in my sidebar but you can also get on the google train.

Facebook: There is a “hide” feature for status updates from over sharing Mommies and Daddies.  Use it.

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