So I know a lot of people who are still here know at least a little bit of my story, but my reproductive journey has been complicated—a miscarriage, then 2 consecutive ectopic pregnancies, then a healthy baby girl, and now another probable ectopic pregnancy. At this point our risk of another ectopic is approximately a coin flip and I’m considering IVF as a way to mitigate risk (although I know, for me, it would still be about 1 in 10). But I don’t know a lot other than the basics and a few, likely exaggerated stories, from a cousin. DH and I are very fertile and I’m not squeamish about needles, but I’m wondering what the hormones are like and how physically taxing or painful the whole process is. Anyone care to share?
grapefruit / 4043 posts
I'm so sorry you are going through all of this and now thinking about IVF. I do think that a lot of people are extremely dramatic when they talk about their IVF journey. It truly is a huge event, but not really anything that needs to be dramatized. I did IVF in 2015. I was only going to do it once because of the cost. For me, the gamble of spending so much, and not having a guaranteed baby at the end was the biggest stress. I hated needles (as in, I still brought my mom if I needed to give blood well into my 20s), but I got through daily IVF needles fine because my husband was awesome about it. Usually IVF doctors are open so early in the morning, so doing IVF doesn't have to interfere with your work, if you work. I took a couple days off after the egg draw because of hyper stimulation. I already had the mindset going in that I may not ever have a baby, and I had a contingency plan in place for if I didn't end up pregnant that I was really looking forward to. I had no problems with the hormones at the time. I did end up with a quarter sized ball in my hip for about a year and a half from the progesterone in oil that just hardened and stayed in place for some unknown long amount of time. All in all, I was really happy I did IVF. Even if I didn't get pregnant, I had the peace of mind that I tried all I was willing to do. There was no need to be dramatic about it. Let me know if you have any specific questions.
kiwi / 662 posts
I'm not sure what counts as being dramatic, but my feeling is that everyone will process what is an emotional, stressful situation in their own way. We paid out of pocket, so there was a lot of financial stress. We were not able to be open about the path we were taking with those around us, because there were those who we knew believed those who did IVF were committing murder and would go to hell (talk about dramatic). The secrecy added another layer for us. We graduated to IVF after five IUIs (three canceled for various reasons, two failed), so at that point, we'd been in treatment for about a year. '
The process itself was straightforward, especially if you're comfortable with needles. My DH did the shots himself and was a champ. I did not have bad bruising or the lumps that others have. What I DID have that was a bit different was a major hormonal swing with the progesterone shots. It wouldn't be until months later that we would realize that I was experiencing daily prenatal anxiety attacks. The moment I stopped the PIO shots, they vanished overnight. I so, so, so wish my provider would have asked me the right questions and for us to have learned about it at the time. Instead I suffered for a while thinking that this must be normal preggo fears. I'd never been pregnant to know the difference.
The peace of mind is something we thought too and what led us to IVF. We wanted to know that we'd done what we could. Happy to answer any other questions you might have as you contemplate this.
ETA The hardest part for us was waiting to see which embryos made it to day 5. That was the absolute worst part for us. We only had 5, and only 1 made it, so every day the number went down down down. That was harder than the physical toll for us.
grape / 87 posts
I'm sorry you're going through this. I think IVF is overwhelming and time consuming, but definitely doable. We ended up at IVF since we struggled to conceive again after we lost our first pregnancy at 19 weeks due to a termination for medical reasons. We did 3 IUIs that were all unsuccessful and did 1 IVF cycle that resulted in 10 embryos. The first transfer was a chemical pregnancy, the 2nd gave us our daughter, and we just did a 3rd transfer last week, but I found out today it's a chemical pregnancy as my HCG is super low.
IVF is expensive if your insurance doesn't cover it, which is stressful as well. The cost weighed on me a lot throughout our cycle, but at that point I was willing to do anything to have a baby.
The shots and appts weren't too bad overall, but with a full IVF cycle with an egg retrieval you will be at the RE for monitoring super frequently - both bloodwork and ultrasound. The hormones for the egg retrieval didn't give me any real side effects. It all went pretty smoothly and I didn't have any bad reactions.
Overall I am super happy we did IVF as it gave us our daughter and I'm hopeful the same batch of embryos that gave us her will also give us her sibling.
Best of luck
pomegranate / 3809 posts
Maybe I became numb to the process at some point having done 8 retrievals, but hormonally, the meds didn't effect me at all (the only thing that did effect me was 3 month lupron depot where I had a few hot flashes), and physically I found it to be a breeze (other than my one close call with mild OHSS). I'd leave my RE's office right after and walk 3 miles back to my grandparents apartment in NYC. The worse part of it all for me was the emotional aspect of infertility of course and all the waiting and uncertainty.
pomelo / 5563 posts
I think your reaction to the hormones kind of depends on what dose you’re on, and how your body handles hormones. I was on a really high dose because I didn’t respond much. The pre-filled needles were fine - I really hated needles but these were so thin they were pretty easy. I put an ice pack on for a minute before and didn’t even feel it. I was also lucky to not really have any side effects. I found it stressful though worrying that I was going to screw up - I was very aware that I was injecting, like, $100 worth of medication into myself every time and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was going to screw up and blow the cycle. My second round was also a bit of a scheduling nightmare - my doctor was an hour west of my house, my job was half an hour east, so every day I got up at 4, drove to the doctor to get there for 6, did bloodwork and ultrasound, and then drove 90 minutes the other direction to get to work.
Generally I found the process much more emotionally taxing than physically - harvesting the eggs was fine but waiting for that call every day to say how they were doing was terrible! My first cycle they put in two eggs and it didn’t work. My second, we only got one egg, and that egg is now 7.
persimmon / 1409 posts
Thanks ladies, this is really helpful. I’m glad to hear that it isn’t as bad as it’s been made out to be. I agree that the emotional side will probably be a challenge, but I’ve (unfortunately) gotten used to losing embryos at this point. And I’m hopeful that our history of making lots of embryos that are strong enough to implant/survive in my tubes means that maybe we’ll be successful if we go down this path.
grapefruit / 4043 posts
@karenbme: If you do IVF, you could also consider the genetic testing. I didn't do genetic testing for a million reasons, but that is something to look into. Best of luck to you.
persimmon / 1479 posts
The hormones didn't seem to impact me at all. I also didn't find the injections to be bad at all. For me, I thought the worst part was the 8 week progesterone injections that I had to do after the transfer. For whatever reason they seemed to be really irritating to my skin. It was definitely worth it though!