Another guest post today, from the lovely Lindsay Gardner (aka Fizzy Peaches) all about her experience of IVF and her tips. Thanks for your open and honest account, Lindsay x …
“IVF can be a tough process, I mean really, really tough at times. However, it can be the most magical adventure too – I’ve never experienced such an emotional rollercoaster!
Getting pregnant for me wasn’t easy. As I’m in a same-sex relationship, we explored different options before we started ‘trying’ and eventually settling on IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) as it was the most non-evasive fertility treatment that involved no drugs at all. Sadly, after two rounds and two very difficult ‘chemical pregnancies’, it wasn’t looking hopeful. So at my next consultation, when the doctor suggested we moved onto IVF my heart sank and chills ran up my spine. All those needles, an operation, all those hormones – I couldn’t do it! Could I?
But I did! I went through a round of IVF in June 2016, which I’m pleased to say was successful and now our daughter Violet is six months old and honestly, we couldn’t be happier!
Now I look back, the actual process of IVF wasn’t as daunting as I’d expected. In fact, I’d actually go as far as to say it’s actually one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done and I couldn’t be prouder to be an ‘IVF Warrior’. And of course – the best thing? We got our perfect result, a baby girl…finally. I admit, it’s hard not to freak out when that first delivery of medication arrives – all those needles and little glass bottles, I did have a massive wobble. But we soon got in our groove with it all and took each day in our stride.
So, to help anyone in the same situation, if you are about to go through IVF or just considering it – I’ve put together a list of the things I did that kept me sane throughout the journey. I also believe it gave me the best chance of success too!
- Read up on the process
I read everything I could on IVF. There are some great books available and online resources. However, the thing that got me by, was reading blogs and watching YouTube videos – real life experiences I could relate to at every step of the way. They reminded me I was not alone.
- Join Forums
I couldn’t have been without the BabyCentre IVF groups. Every month in the IVF Cycle Buddies group there are new threads set up so you can speak to people going through the same as you, on the same dates! You can ask a question at any time of the day and get replies back from your cycle buddies or experienced members who may have been through IVF more than once. This support was priceless to me.
- Get lots of sleep
Your body needs you at your best so make sure you rest LOTS, get a full night’s sleep every night and take it easy at all times. I actually cleared my schedule and didn’t see many of my friends for the 6 weeks I was going through the process as I wanted to just rest and allow my body to do the hard work.
- Don’t think too far ahead
There are so many different stages of IVF. When our doctor presented me with my diary of medication and procedures I looked at it in horror. However, I soon found the best way to cope was to just look at each day individually – work from one injection to the next, not thinking too far ahead about what was to come.
By taking it daily the process seemed so much easier, some days I only had to think about it for 10 minutes to do my medication, some days when I had to go into the clinic it was longer, but ultimately, break it down and don’t worry about the future!
- Learn to inject yourself painlessly
Learning to inject myself was easier than I thought. It really is mind over matter as you soon realise it doesn’t hurt at all; it just doesn’t feel natural to stab a needle into your own skin. Some simple ways I overcame this was to fully numb the area before my injection – I used EMLA cream which is available at all pharmacies and held an icepack on the area for 10 minutes. I injected myself every day for over 14 weeks and now wouldn’t even blink if I had to do it again, it became second nature and really not painful, at all.
- Prepare your Body
Give your body the best chance by looking after your diet, eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, cut down on alcohol and smoking. Plus, before you start your IVF treatment, start taking your prenatal vitamins so your eggs are in the best condition and ready for creating babies!
- Be kind to yourself
IVF is tough, I am not going to fluff it up, so just look after yourself. If you feel tired and all you want to do is watch Netflix – that’s totally OK. Your body is working so hard on the inside, make sure you look after yourself at every opportunity and be kind to yourself.
- Be prepared for side effects
Pumping your body full of hormones is never a natural thing to do. Instead of ovulating 1 egg, I ovulated 14 in one go, so there is no wonder I was feeling a bit hormonal! With 14 times the normal levels of hormones pumping round your system you are bound to feel side effects. I had headaches, hot flushes, broken sleep and exhaustion – my partner also told me I wasn’t the friendliest I’ve ever been either, but it all passes. It’s just temporary and tomorrow is a new day.
- Think positive
You are going on the adventure of a lifetime, be excited! This isn’t all medical procedures, doom and gloom, it’s the start of life, there IS light at the end of the tunnel – think positively and believe in yourself – YOU CAN DO IT!