• Thu, Feb 13 - 11:00 am ET

Six Reasons Why IVF Treatments Actually Rock

173070256While I was blessed with thick hair and big boobs, the female parts of me that actually matter- my ovaries- are hideously haggard, so the only way baby number three is happening would be to try through IVF again. Since the annual fee on our frozen embryos is about to come due, we’re faced with the decision of donating the embryos to science, paying for another year of storage (meaning we’re never getting cable back) or attempting to have another child(ren).

At first glance, fertility treatments seem awful. They are very expensive with no guarantee of success. Imagine buying enough lottery tickets to pay for a Lexus and hoping to hit the jackpot.

 

IVF is hella stressful. There are so many steps in the cycle that have to go perfectly before you even get to implant the embryos  and  it’s easy to get overwhelmed and screw up  with multiple pills, creams and injections to keep track of. I remember going out for my sister’s birthday and realizing I had gotten so caught up in dinner that I was an hour late taking an estrogen pill. I was sobbing in the car, horrified that I had just ruined my chances of getting pregnant and wasted thousands of dollars. My poor husband talked me down and got me to take the pill (which come to think of it may have been why I was so emotional in the first place).

 

IVF hurts like a bitch. The medications have strong side effects, I had awful insomnia and when I did manage to sleep I had vivid, wake-up-screaming nightmares. And let’s not forget the injections- every day, with a needle so long you’re positive it will pass through you and out the other side. Oh, and be careful you don’t hit that super huge nerve that runs down the back of your leg and is right next to where you want to inject this stuff.  It’s been over a year and I still have lumps of scar tissue in my rump.

 

But they say positive attitude can impact the success of infertility treatments and it’s important to find the silver lining in circumstances when you can. Plus I think it’s important to look at all angles when making such a huge decision, so I’ve wracked my brain to come up with this list of why IVF ain’t so bad:

You can reach this post's author, Megan Zander, on twitter.
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  • Bethany Ramos

    <3333 You are so awesome. I don't know why, but I've always been very intrigued by the entire IVF process. I also have a close BFF that has been exploring some minimal fertility treatments herself. This article was really interesting and funny at the same time. Just awesome.

    • Megan Zander

      Aww thanks! I was curious about IVF too, even before I found out I needed it. I think it’s important and healthy to break down some of the taboo that surrounds fertility treatments. Good luck to your friend, I hope it works out for her!!

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    This is amazing. Oh those progesterone injections. You do end up in some weird situations because of them…I somehow managed to fit the vial and syringe in my teeny-tiny sparkly bag to go to a wedding once and of course my wife and I had to sneak into a bathroom stall to do it (the injection, though I’m sure people thought something else was going on). My first injection was done in the backseat of a rental car in the parking lot of a mall in Buffalo. And my amazing sister did one for me when we were visiting her because my wife got a migraine. I never was very good at doing them myself….I always ended up bending the needle.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      And the trigger shot! I had to chase my needle-phobic wife around our apartment for an hour and a half (and they tell you to be VERY EXACT with the timing of it so at this point I was flipping out) to give her that one.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      Oh oh oh and that embryo picture! My wife snapped a photo of our two embryos as they were projected on the screen prior to the transfer. I can’t believe I have a photo of my kid when she had only 8 cells.

      I showed the photo of my uterus post-transfer to my mom to announce the pregnancy to her. She stared at it for like 5 minutes until she finally asked what the hell was going on. Turns out she thought I was telling her that I had cancer. Why on earth she thinks I would do that by showing her a photo of it is beyond me.

    • Jallun-Keatres

      I follow the blog of a lady with Mito and she has a daughter by surrogacy. So cool to see that first picture of J as 6 cells!

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      AHHH, the trigger shot D: I did IUI so luckily that was the only needle involved, but I remember announcing that I was going to inject myself repeatedly in the half-hearted hope that my husband would offer to do it for me. (It felt wimpy to ask for some reason but if he asked then it would totally be OK not to have to jab myself in the belly fat.)

    • Surly Canuck

      I was lucky, the nurse did the trigger shot for me. I guess my husband’s reaction when the needle came out was quite comical because the nurse took a moment to reassure him that the giant needle was just to “limber up” her hand. After we left, he said, “when that thing came out, I just thought ‘it’s going to go right through her’”. I was, apparently, on another planet because I didn’t even notice.

    • Drstephaniedvm

      Your wife is not alone, I had to be chased around too!

    • Megan Zander

      Major props for even trying to inject yourself, I never could get up the courage.

    • dy

      a couple of high school cheerleaders walked in on me in a dirty fast food restaurant off the highway…just shooting up. I told them it was heroin.

    • ChickenKira

      A colleague of mine told me a story of being stuck on a train due to an accident for over an hour and her husband having to drive from home with her injection to the stuck train so she could inject in time.

      She explained what was going on to the train drivers and they actually let him get on in between stations (where they were just sitting) to get the needle to her.

      I had to inject in a few strange places (like during a meeting), but I can’t top that.

  • Rosa

    Thank you for posting. I’m in the middle of my second IVF (first one failed miserably). But I’m feeling much better about this round. Mind over body!

    • Megan Zander

      Good luck!!!!

    • Me

      Good luck. It is tough. But you totally can do it.

    • Surly Canuck

      Good luck! It can be tough to stay positive, but the above article is a great reminder of why we go through the whole rigmarole.

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      Good luck! Fingers crossed for you.

    • That_Darn_Kat

      Good luck! Sending baby-positive thoughts your way!

  • Me

    My favorite parts (aside from #6 – the actual baby) are #1and #3. Plus looking at the 5 sharps containers OVERFLOWING with needles, I feel badass for being able to know I gave myself nearly everyone of those shots and didn’t pass out.

  • Robotic Arms Dealer

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/22/us/utah-sperm-switch/

    juuuuust make sure… I dunno how, but do it!

  • Carolina

    Thank you for this. I think we’re going to do IVF next cycle if this current IUI (FIFTH) cycle fails. What’s the difference in the drugs? Just volume? I’ve done IUI with Clomid, injectable Gonapil (sp) and then the trigger shot. It’s not fun, but not overwhelming or scary to me. Is the IVF protocol much more dramatic?

    • Rosa

      Depending on the protocol the process can be a lot longer. It’s a lot more medication. It can be overwhelming but take it one day at a time and you will be fine.

    • Surly Canuck

      I haven’t done IVF, only IUIs, but my understanding is that the volume of drugs is increased. In IUI they are looking for only 1 or 2 follies, but IVF they want a lot more.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      It depends on the clinic, but after the transfer, we had to switch from the sub-cutaneous injections (that went into my wife – she did Lupron and gonal-f) to the intramuscular (progesterone in oil for the first 3 months of pregnancy, plus estrogen pills).

    • Rachel Sea

      Not much, I’ve done nine IUIs with different combinations of drugs, and one egg retrieval, and they were about the same, just different dosages. The big difference for me is recovery. I produce follicles like a champ, so pump me with a bunch of drugs and my ovaries blow up like water balloons. They don’t stimulate as aggressively for an IUI as an egg retrieval, so if the nurse or doctor was good, I’d be up off the table and back to normal after an IUI, but I couldn’t comfortably sit upright the two days before, and after retrieval, I was so bloated I felt like I was going to burst.

  • Jallun-Keatres

    Though I will likely never be in need of fertility treatments I have discovered the youtube niche which is IVF Vlogs. I love it. I’m learning something new every day!

  • Nica

    I have two beautiful babies – one via IVF and one via a FET two years later with an embryo from that same cycle. Was it the easiest path to motherhood? Nope, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The embryo pix are pretty cool, The injections, not so much. I think I totaled up all the injections for my sucessful cycle (I did three other full unsuccessful cycles and 2 canceled cycles) and it was 160 injections. Yes one-hundred and sixty. Sigh. Means to an end,.. Means to an end… And, BTW, the scar tissue from the PIO shots does go away eventually… Took about a year in my case. Ironically, I ended up with 2 very easy pregnancies, two spontaneous labors and two uneventful vaginal births. My RE and I joked (because you need a heaping helping of humor to get through all this) that the only problem was GETTING me pregnant…

    • Megan Zander

      congrats! And yes humor helps! When I walked into the procedure room for my transfer my RE told me to lay down and I asked him if he was going to at least buy me dinner first or put on some music, maybe some flowers?

    • Surly Canuck

      After my first IUI, I turned to my husband and said, “that’s not what I thought my first threesome would be like…” And then we giggled like loons.

    • Sunny girl

      I said the same thing to my husband after the first IUI as well. Then I followed it up with ‘I bet you weren’t expecting some girl on girl action when we walked in here’ (the nurse that did the the procedure was female). He completely lost it after I said that!

    • Daleth

      You women rock. :)

    • dy

      When my doc woke me after my egg retrieval, he said “Time to wake up, you’re all done.” To which I drowsily replied “up yours, dickhead.” When we did the transfer a few days later, the embryologist was standing next to my doc, staring intently at my party zone. I just said “Hey pal, like what you see?” he was mortified.
      I also love the embryo pictures- I shoved them smugly into my friends’ faces. My cousin was bragging about her “adorable” 6 wk old blob ultrasound. Awe, that’s cute- here are the twins as a couple masses of cells. suck it.

    • Megan Zander

      my cousin got pregnant again when her first was only three months old and she was Super Smugs McGee about it. she didn’t know I was having trouble, let alone trying, so when I went to visit her she was all fake sweet “when are you going to try?” And I whipped out embryo pic all- BOOM. TWINS. Admittedly not my finest moment, but damn it felt good.

    • darras

      Holy crap! If I’d gotten pregnant again when my son was only three months old I’d be SO far from smug about it ;)

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    Hey, about the birth control- people can and do get pregnant naturally after not being able to conceive and using IVF to have a child.

    • Natasha B

      Yes. One of my close friends had fertility treatments with first, IVF with twins, and then bam, surprise! she had number 4 the year she turned 38. They were not pleased.

  • Elisa Probert

    No real comments on the article, but that baby GIF! Aaaack it’s adorable!

    The dad thing would be pointless for me. My dad cracks so many dirty jokes about my life, I think he’s relieved to know that at least one of his kids is gettin’ it on.

  • AlexMMR

    My embryo picture showed that both were hatching so a big bubble with some little bubbles on the side. Hubby grinned and said “awww, babies first fart!”

  • ChickenKira

    I laughed so hard at #5, only because upon finding out I had IVF an old friend asked me “But, you’re not a virgin, right?”
    What?

  • Mama Of 4

    Great positive piece on IVF which can be so very draining – physically, mentally and financially. I did 3 rounds of IUIs before moving onto IVF. After 3 rounds of IVF, 2 FETs and two miscarriages I had a successful pregnancy on the third IVF. Beautiful twin boys! Just before they turned one my husband and I started talking about going back to the clinic to try for another child. Since we didn’t have any frozen embryos it would have meant fourth round of IVF. Turned out I was already 2 months pregnant with our 3rd son. We went on to have a fourth son. IVF helped my body learn how to get pregnant and stay pregnant.

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    My personal reason IVF rocks?
    My little sister.
    My father and stepmother were a bit older when they were trying, plus she had one collapsed fallopian tube, so conceiving was very difficult.
    After three tries, two which didn’t take and one miscarriage, they decided to try one last time.
    She fell pregnant with my little sis!
    She’s ten now and as mad as can be!

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