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BLOG: My IVF Diary

Things I Learned While Going Through IVF Stims

By Infertile Myrtle on Oct 2, 2014
  1. Benefiber and Colace are your friends.  The meds may make you feel constipated and if that happens, it is quite embarrassing when your doctor can’t get a good view of your ovaries with the trans-vaginal ultrasound because your engorged bowels are obstructing the view. 
  2. Wear a skirt or a dress for ultrasound monitoring.  You will go so many times during stims and it makes it so much easier than dealing with pants.
  3. If you have a phobia of needles, IVF will either cure you or break you!  Between self-administered shots and blood draws throughout the entire process, you will probably get stuck by needles upwards of 60 times!  Time to put on your big girl pants.
  4. You will become very aware of your ovaries because of how big they get. You will feel extremely bloated and will not be able to exercise because there is a risk of ovarian torsion. Look it up.  It isn’t pretty.
  5. It helps to be organized.  The IVF calendar from my clinic was just a printout with lots of blank spaces.  They gave me medication instructions after each monitoring visit so the meds and dosages changed a lot.  It wasn’t good enough for me so I made my own calendar in Excel with color-coding and more detailed information.  This pleased my control-freak side. As the stimming phase went on, my nurse would email me the progress of my hormone levels and the growth of my follicles.  I put all this information in another tab in my spreadsheet and it really helped me get a clear picture of how I was responding to the meds. Having my spreadsheet gave me a small sense of control and certainty and allowed me to ask informed questions.
  6. First cycle of IVF is really a gamble. The doctors are basically guessing what kind and how much medication will help you produce a good number of great quality eggs based on your blood work. But really, anything can happen. I was a slow responder. My E2 levels weren't going up high enough so they dialled up my dosages. My doctor even discussed the possibility of canceling the cycle or stimming for quite a bit longer than usual if I continued not to respond. Thankfully, by day 8, my levels had risen enough that we all breathed a sigh of relief.
  7. Egg retrieval hurts. Not during because I was knocked out for the 10-15 minutes it took but afterwards, walking was tough and peeing hurt. The discomfort lasted for a few days. I even worried that I'd be in too much pain 6 days later when it was time to put the embryos back in. On day 6, I was feeling fine but my cycle had been turned into a freeze-all because some of my embryos hadn't developed into blastocysts yet by day 5. This meant no fresh transfer and more waiting but I was okay with this. I had read that sometimes Frozen Egg Transfers (they thaw them first, of course) are better because the body has time to recover from all the hormones.

I had a total of 17 follicles by the end of my 10 day stim phase. They retrieved 17 eggs or oocytes and 12 of those were mature. They fertilized them via ICSI and 10 made it to zygote stage. By day 5, 8 embryos were still developing and on day 6, they biopsied and vitrified 7 blastocysts. Next post, I will be writing about the genetic testing done on our embryos.

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