How to survive IVF - Its stress; its heartbreak; and still keep looking forward.
I thought I would share what has been helpful for me through the journey...
- Support System. It is essential to have someone to offload to. IVF can be very stressful and it is important to have the right support.
a) Your partner is the best person to hold your hand through it all. Whenever my IVF attempt failed, he was the one to tell me that its alright to cry and to also look forward to other beautiful things in life. I know, he wants to be a father as much as I want to be a mother (maybe even more!) but his being there gives me support to think on what should we be doing next.
b) Your best friend who can understand what you are going through, without being judgmental My best friend was the one with whom, I could just talk and she understood that I was not looking answers/opinion from her but just someone to talk to about it. Someone who would know when to call; would understand when you wouldn’t return her call.
c) Join a support group/forum. It helps to share your fears, your apprehensions with people who have gone through the same path or are still going through it.
- No Blame game. Don’t blame yourself or each other. Even if infertility is due to female or male factor, but now its shared problem that you must face together. Remember your love for each other and remember this is just a bad patch you have to tread together so that you can have a beautiful baby and build your family.
- Be kind to yourself. Take one day at a time. Don’t jump to any conclusion and do not try to anticipate when everything will happen. The whole process might turn out to be much different from what you anticipated. During my second IVF cycle, we were told about 3 fertilized embryo and my husband and I debated whole day on how many embryos to transfer. He was of the opinion that I should get only 2 transferred and I wanted to get all 3 in for better chances. Eventually by the time I was ready for ET, we had only 1 good embie for transfer! Now I think back on the day my husband and I argued about it and laugh out aloud; imagine we were debating 2 Vs 3 and we never got the choice of picking how many J
- Eat healthy food. Eat lot of green leafy vegetables, eat high fibre food with each meal, drink lot of water. Foods to avoid - Avoid caffeine, avoid empty sugars (things like soda, soft drinks, packaged juices), avoid processed and refined white foods and grains such as white bread etc.
- Remember your life outside of IVF. Do not just live cycle to cycle. Take time off between treatments. Plan for a vacation, do activities that you both enjoy. Talk about all the other aspects of your relationship. Try not to let becoming parents be the whole sole key to your happiness. Practise forgiveness
The 2 Week Wait
- Bladder and Transfer. You need to have full bladder for ET, but not too full. During my second IVF cycle, a nurse kept monitoring on how full was my bladder. About 10mins before the transfer, she noticed that it was too full and had me empty some of it. This also helped in the 20mins wait when you must lie down right after the ET. I read somewhere that best is to empty bladder 30-45mis before transfer and then drink half-a-litre water; then you are just ready for the ET.
- Progesterone suppositories are messy. These can get messy as most of the REs recommend tabs which you need to insert. Lie down for atleast 20mins after you have inserted the tab. But keep in mind that once you get up there will be leakage and that is normal. So do make sure to buy panty liners well in advance. They come in handy to control the mess.
- Rest. Take sufficient amount of rest and do not try to climb Mount Everest during the phase ;-) No long hours at the office; give yourself a break from keeping the house spic and span. Hell won’t break loose if things are scattered around. Do not just sit and brood; stay busy to keep your mind away from the constant thought of IVF and its outcome.
- Pamper yourself. Get a pedicure / manicure/ facial / massage/ shop/ window shop (whatever works for you ;-) Do things that bring joy and make you laugh (I used to watch lot of animation movies, funny videos, feel good movies).
- Food: Research on internet indicates that pineapple is helpful in implantation. Pineapple contains enzyme bromelain which thickens the uterine lining. However there were contrarian views also about Pineapple. Too much of pineapple can cause contractions and early miscarriage. However eating in moderation is advised for helping implantation (eat 1 or 2 slices in a day from the day of retrieval till the bHCG day).
- The wait! Do lots of different things to help get through the 2WW. Read books, watch movie, go out for dinner. Practise stress reduction therapies; meditation, yoga, pranayama… Whatever works for you to keep you stress free. But please do not break any rules your doctor set for you, you might be pregnant!
- The symptoms: Try not to read too much with your symptoms. The sore breasts could just be due to whatever medication you are on (progesterone is what attributed to in my case). The need for frequent urination is also probably just because of medication. No implantation bleeding does not necessarily mean that its BFN, and cramps do no always mean implantation is successful!
- Set your limits and boundaries. If it stresses you; stay away from people who may ask too many questions about your IVF. I prefer to stay away from talking to friends who have recently becomes mothers (as all they want to talk about is their babies and that upsets me).
I will try to update this page with any additional information that I gather from my experience (or from other’s experience that they share with me).
Please note this is just from personal experience and in no way replacement of medical advice.
Best Wishes and Good Luck to all going through this journey!
May you find strength through it all!
No matter what, stay Positive!