I was chatting with a girlfriend going through IVF and realized that it might be helpful to share my experience in hopes that it could help others navigate the process as well.
During my third round last year, I made the discovery that by changing my attitude towards IVF, it wasn't as mentally and emotionally daunting as it had previously been. Was piercing myself with needles (or letting my husband do it for me) a party? Well no, not quite. There are however a lot of uncontrollables during IVF, so feeling emotionally stable and maintaining a positive attitude was an absolute victory. I learned to accept the process, perhaps even embrace it rather than resent it. I let go of being attached to the outcome, and THAT helped me make peace with IVF.
I am in no way diminishing the emotional and physical hardships associated with IVF. I don't wish the experience on anyone. I just made a decision to look at the process differently than I had been and set other goals (like getting mind/body healthy,) so that I could win no matter the outcome. Perhaps three (rounds of IVF) was a charm, but I am convinced that my efforts to take care of my overall health paid off. It still took a lot of effort on my part, and I couldn't have done it without a community and support system. My doctor, nurse, and husband were the best team that I could have dreamed of, and the support group from CCRM provided ongoing inspiration.
I learned to not underestimate the importance of the right doctor. Just because a doctor did wonders for your friend does not mean that he or she is the right fit for you. If this sounds like the position that you are in, look for a doctor with good credentials, that you vibe with, and who is attached to excellent labs. Also make sure that you really like your nurse. Your nurse will be your lifeline.
Only you can control how you feel. I found my peace through prioritizing my needs. You will likely need the support of friends, family and possibly a like-minded community during this time, but you will also need to give back to yourself. This was a rather awkward and difficult new habit for me to embrace but it became yet another silver lining on the journey.
And one more thing... No matter what anyone else tells you, including me, nothing can really mentally prepare you for the IVF process. It is not for the faint of heart and you are a rockstar to travel this path. Remember that you are not alone and you do not have to suffer in silence.
I've put together a cheat sheet of the main points that I believe helped me optimize my outcome and feel decent during the process. My hope is that these insights will help support your journey and make the ride a little less turbulent. Read on to Part II to get started.