I made a list here of a few practical things that might be helpful for anyone going through an IVF…
(and do you like the photo? She looks strong & brave!)
1. If at all possible, do not plan any trips, beach outings, parties, or major work projects while doing IVF. Danny and I just laughed at ourselves as we had previously thought about going on a trip while doing all the meds. Luckily, the schedule didn’t turn out that way and we were mostly home, where we needed to be. It would have been CRAZY to try and do it all from the road.
2. Write down your questions for the doctor. I mean…too often it’s easy to forget what you wanted to ask him/her when you’re laying on an exam table with your pants down. 🙂
3. Plan on gaining a little weight. It’s common. I gained a little. Not a big deal. But maybe helpful to know what to expect.
4. Find a ritual that is calming. I wrote about my calming little ritual here. I also added in some aromatherapy which I smelled right before we’d do the shots. I think it really helped me (or reminded me) to get into a calm state. I looove this organic balm from Badger.
5. Find nicknames for the drugs. 🙂 Danny had a funny/cute way of saying each one of the drugs when it was time for the next dose. It made us laugh each time which helped lighten the mood.
6. Set an alarm on your phone for the meds. There are so many times I would have forgotten the meds completely without that alarm. Though Danny always laughed at me. He said he would never forget.
7. Try to exercise, if you can. I flat out couldn’t do it on most days due to the swelling from the progesterone shots in my bum. But some days were better than others and I tried to take advantage. We did get in some wonderful walks at Prospect Park.
8. Work from home during that time, if at all possible??? I felt SO, SO lucky that I could work from home during all of this. Oh man. My heart truly goes out to any woman who is working during that time – especially if it’s an intense job. There are just sooooo many doctor appointments, phonecalls, strange routines and possible body/mood changes that keeping up with a strict work schedule would make things really tricky. I know working from home is not even an option at all, for many. In those cases, I would say to save some vacation and sick days to use during that time. And maybe tell your boss that you have some medical treatments that need to be taken care of over many weeks to at least ease some of the pressure you might feel from your boss.
9. Order dinner in or make big meals to last for days. The added time for meds & dr. appts. adds up…so the easier your life can be during that time, the better. We ate lots of delicious pho soup and other Brooklyn comfort foods from our neighborhood joints.
10. Save your rear end. The progesterone needles themselves do not hurt (promise). But the thickness (and amount) of the medication oil itself can cause some major pain/swelling the following day. And so, per my doctor…
1. Warm up the medication vial a little bit in a dish of lukewarm water right before the shot. This will “thin out” the oil a bit. (DO. NOT. SKIP. THIS or you’ll be sorry!)
2. After, massage the area (very vigorously!) for several minutes.
3. Move your body to get the medication moving (do some leg lifts and leg swings. And laugh about it while possibly doing it with a bare butt :).
4. Apply a hot compress for 20 minutes. This step is super important!! Danny made me some hot compresses with long socks filled with rice and knotted at the top. In the first few days, I didn’t have these yet and was just using a warm wash cloth. Not a good idea. That resulted in me barely being able to walk around the next day. I’m glad I figured out I needed a legit compress and needed to leave it on longer. [Note: if you have less of a cushion on your backside (yes, talking to those with bony butts), my nurse says you will likely feel more pain & have more swelling.]
11. Always use a sharp needle (the needles are often used to puncture the medication vial. But…if you use that same needle on yourself, let’s just say it will be slightly more dull, so get a new needle.)
12. Decide in advance that you will assume any and all emotional or irritating moments are hormonal. I was lucky that I didn’t experience any hormone changes. But I remember preparing mentally to just plow through it if it happened.
For any of you who have experienced IVF, could you add to the list? What tips or tricks did you find helpful? Thanks so much, everyone!