Everything starts with a blood test: IVF

It wasn’t a surprise when our fertility specialist suggested that we try IVF. I knew the odds of conceiving via IUI weren’t high; IVF was the natural progression. I was actually a little happy that we could jump ahead to a procedure with much better odds.

I read up on what the procedure involved. I expected pain during the egg retrieval, and felt prepared for that. I didn’t think too much about the fertility medications. I assumed they’d be no different to the medication I took during the IUI. This assumption was wrong.

My first cycle didn’t go quite to plan

Everything starts with a blood test. At least I was familiar with this part of the process. In the afternoon, the nurse called to say I was good to go, and I started the injections that night.  Injections are never fun, so I made Jay do them for me. 

After five days of injections I felt a bit bloated and uncomfortable, but nothing completely out of the ordinary. I went in for another blood test, and that afternoon the nurse called;

“we’re a bit concerned about how rapidly your oestrogen has risen. You’ll need to come in for another ultrasound and blood test tomorrow so we can figure out what is going on.”

I kept taking my injections as normal, but that night I struggled to sleep. I felt nauseous, the bloating hadn’t gone down, and that’s when the emotional side effects started.

The next day we went to the clinic early in the morning. Jay was taking notes for the sonographer. In total, there were 36 follicles. Jay ran out of room on the page and had to start writing in the margins. I knew this number was too high; at our first appointment the fertility specialist said she aims for 10.

I was on annual leave, and Jay was on school holidays, so we kept ourselves occupied with ice-cream and a visit to Paperchain bookstore. When the nurses called that afternoon, they didn’t hold back:

“I’m sorry, I don’t have good news…”

My cycle was cancelled. Apparently my oestrogen had risen too quickly, and it would be too risky to continue.

That night my stomach started to balloon. It got rock hard as it filled with liquid and I gained 2 kgs in just over a day. I felt nauseous, and cried in the shower (but I still don’t know why). I tried to sleep, and put pillows between my legs, and tossed to find a position that was comfortable. Nothing seemed to help. I eventually gave up, and Jay kept me company while I watched the latest season of Grace and Frankie.

IVF wasn’t fun. I’m feeling back to normal now, and hoping next time won’t be so hard.   Even if is, I’d still do it again, but I’ll make sure to stock up on ginger ale, wheat bags, and binge-worthy tv.


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