There is no better advice than advice from someone who has actually been there.
So we turned to a brilliant woman we found on Instagram who is on her third round of IVF, @Love, Hope & IVF Science, and asked her to talk us through her tips on how to survive the injections!
Third Time Lucky
One full ICSI cycle with Blastocyst Culture, 15 eggs collected, 13 eggs inseminated, 5 embryos stored, one fresh embryo, one frozen cycle, one Endometrial Scratch, two frozen embryos transferred ….and a whole lot of jabs in my belly (sung in the 12 days of Christmas tune).
This is my IVF/ICSI journey so far
I’m a 25 year old Primary School Teacher, which potentially isn’t a job that goes well with supporting IVF treatment, but that’s a whole different article in itself!
I have a really supportive fiancée, he really has ‘got’ the IVF and has supported and survived with me through two IVF cycles and BFN’s… definitely a keeper.
One advantage of this being my third round is that I’ve learned how to overcome the side effects of the dreaded Down Regs and Stimms (with some help of a family friend who’s a fertility nurse – my IVF guardian angel!)
Below are some of my tips I’ve learned along the way. No I am not a scientist or medical professional, however if my journey can help anyone then I look at it as a silver living in a massive storm of injections, highs, lows and a lot of probing!
Down Regulation Tips
0.5mg of Buserelin between 6-8pm daily. Down Regs is a bitch. Such a little injection yet it can be so powerful.
Buserelin is known for its headaches. They are relentless and yes they have left me bed bound, lying in a dark room wondering if it is possible that my head could explode. But…. I then found out that you should drink 3 litres of water or squash every day and so I did and the headaches literally went! So drink up!
I’m 25 and basically being put through the menopause WTF, but the random sweating really got to me.
I could be midway through a maths lesson and all of a sudden go bright red and start sweating, it’s hard to style out. Drinking helps a lot but during Down Regs, I also wear lots of layers. This way I can just strip off and layer back up during these ‘moments’ that I am far too young to be experiencing.
This should be on the bottle. Crying is my greatest side effect! I think the psychological side of IVF is the toughest for me and down reg makes me feel so emotional.
For me I don’t fight it, it’s okay to have a little cry, but then I just need to remind myself it’s the Down Regs. Nothing else. I’m very black and white and I just tell myself… this is what you need to do for your end goal so have a little cry and carry on with your day!
Stimms & bloating “Oh you’re not pregnant are you?”
This is the biggest kick in the teeth for me. You bloat, you bloat more and more. During Stimms I could genuinely pass as pregnant. How cruel. This is only made worse when you have days off work, go off certain foods, start saying no to your favourite cocktail, the odd glance at your belly and then you get the … ” Oh you’re not pregnant are you ?”. To which I normally reply no I’m not. To be followed by “Are you sure?” At this point everything inside me is normally screaming yes I’m bloody sure, my pin cushion belly proves this.
However much you feel people are being insensitive (which a lot of people are) they do not deserve the wrath of Down Regs or Stimms anger! They don’t know the full story. Yes it hurts, it kills me a little bit inside as I long to say yes I am pregnant, but one day I will have that moment. Yes you will feel sensitive, you’re still on your IVF rollercoaster, but I have made a vow to myself this round. Change the things I can control.
- My wardrobe. Keep yourself comfortable and find something to relax you. I won’t wear my favourite jumper as yes I do look pregnant. That stops the belly glances and I feel less conscious.
- My diet. Another key thing is to ensure you are eating a well balanced diet. This doesn’t mean you have to start popping avocados in everything and cut out all of your favourite foods as drastic changes aren’t going to help you right now but if you eat junk / heavy stodgy food and feel bloated it isn’t going to help you or your self esteem. My fertility nurse /Guardian Angel advised me to eat small meals little and often. This helps ease digestion alongside bloating and keep any discomfort after meal times to a minimum. It’s worth a try!
- Do things to make me happy. Whether it’s a night away, a movie evening or even just lunch with a friend that I can reel off all the shit I’m going through & discuss the last probing … do it! This is your cycle and no one will truly get it apart from you and your partner.
- Don’t dwell. We all go through the ‘why us ‘ phase but why torture ourselves. I saw a lot of this on New Year’s Eve especially on Instagram. I love an excuse to get dressed up and drink strawberry daiquiris but this year the truth is that Down Reg had turned me into a nocturnal freak and I was bloated enough to get away with maternity clothes but that was fine. It is what it is. New Years Eve, Birthdays, Pregnancy Announcements are going to hurt but they don’t need to be a time to dwell on the BFN’s, bad IVF results and multiple violations we are going through. It is really fair on us to bring up all of these emotions on every occasion? My point is , the downs of IVF can catch you off guard at any moment so don’t use occasions as a time to punish yourself with all the negative feelings you have probably experienced hundreds of times already .
These little hints have got me through 2.5 IVF cycles (middle of cycle 3 now!) and I’ve learned through friends and experience. Pass them on, share them in the IVF community which is so supportive and just give them a try! If we can make our IVF cycle easier and help others with our experience, it’s worth a try!
IVF is a bitch but there are thousands of success stories and one day it will be ours!
If you have any tips relating to your fertility treatment that you think others would benefit from, we’d love to hear them! Drop us a line email@example.com