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I often get emails and messages from women asking me for tips on IVF. After going through three IVF cycles, I consider myself an IVF pro. I was recently reflecting on some of the IVF mistakes I made, especially during my first cycle. I thought it would be helpful if I compiled them here so you won’t make the same ones!
One of the most challenging parts of IVF for me was the scheduling. All the trips to the lab for blood tests and the doctor’s office for monitoring really add up. Add a couple trips to the pharmacy for extra meds (or Fed Ex for pick-ups), and you’ve added several hours to your week, or even your day!
Things can get even more crazy if you want to go to acupuncture, a support group, or counseling. A lot of your appointments may be last-minute, and it will be hard to schedule them in advance. Plus, giving yourself all your injections and medications can take awhile until you get the hang of it. So do yourself a favor and clear your schedule of all non-essential commitments before you start your cycle.
Forgetting to rest
IVF makes you tired. I’ve battled fatigue during both my fresh cycles and my frozen cycle. In addition to reducing your commitments, you’ll want to intentionally find ways to help yourself rest and relax. Have a nice dinner with your spouse, watch a fun movie, or do something enjoyable and low-key.
Spending too much time on Google
I love the internet and I hate the internet. The amount of information available to us is both incredible and maddening. It’s so easy to compare your cycle’s progress and your body’s symptoms to everyone else’s. But comparisons are useless. Resist the temptation to predict or diagnose via Google. If you have a question that you really need answered, talk to your doctor instead.
Keeping track of your medications and their dosages is vital for IVF success. You don’t want the added stress of running out of medication and trying to get refills on short notice. I highly recommend you make an inventory of all your medications and supplies. Try to update it at least every other day so you can get your refills stress-free.
After you’ve made your inventory, you need to make sure you don’t forget to take the doses at the correct times. Many clinics will give their patients detailed schedules. If your clinic doesn’t automatically give you one, don’t feel bad about asking them to create one for you. You are paying them a lot of money, and they should be more than happy to give you detailed instructions about the timing of your meds.
Once you have your schedule, write them all down on a calendar and set a timer on your phone. You can also use an app like Naula to organize everything.
Not documenting your journey
You might not think that you’ll want to remember your IVF experience, but I think it’s important to document it somehow. You don’t have to go as far as starting your own blog or Instagram account; you can journal (I’ve heard that The IVF Journal by Stephanie Fry is great), type up your notes, take photos, or make a collage.
Whatever you do, it has the potential to be a creative outlet and it may come in handy as a reference if you do future cycles. The most compelling reason, however, is that if you have a successful pregnancy you’ll be able to show it to your child one day.
Want more tips surviving IVF? Check out Preparing for IVF: Approaching Your IVF With Confidence and Courage.
All photos are courtesy of UnSplash, used under Creative Commons Zero License.