Going through IVF isn’t easy. Three is so much new information about the reproductive system that you never learned at school. The added physical and mental strain of something so invasive. Not to mention all of the money involved. So here are the 6 lessons I learned from IVF.
How the menstrual cycle actually works
Sure I learned about the menstrual cycle at school, but that really only covers the basics. Now I know that your body often gives you signs of what’s happening on the inside. From hormonal acne to cravings to cervical mucus, I know my body better than I ever have before.
Privacy is overrated
You get to know yourself up close and personal. Along with knowing how the menstrual cycle actually works, I learned where exactly my ovaries were. It was really easy to tell because they felt like they were the size of oranges. Did you know that your cervix can be open or closed, as well as high and low? I had more people see my privates in the lead up to a pregnancy than had ever seen them before: doctors, nurses and several different ultrasound technicians.
Help is given to those that ask for it
Apart from our initial ‘counselling’ session, which was more like a private information session, I attended two more sessions with an IVF counsellor. The first one was after my egg collection but before my transfer. The second one was just after we found out the baby’s gender. During these sessions, I came to so many conclusions by myself, just by saying my thoughts out loud.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of
Apart from my husband and immediate family, no one knew of our struggles to fall pregnant. I was ashamed. And I blamed myself. I didn’t want anyone to take pity on me. I didn’t want anyone to know that I wasn’t perfect.
Anonymous support can be amazing
I joined a few IVF facebook groups. One nationwide, one for the clinic’s brand and eventually an IVF babies due in October, an offshoot of the nationwide group. I rarely asked questions in these groups, mostly giving my thoughts, experiences and encouragement.
Mind over matter
In general, I am not very good with needles. Things like vaccinations and tetanus shots I can deal with. Having blood drawn is another story. During the IVF process, I had approximately 20 blood tests, sometimes every two days. I had to learn to cope with that. It’s a real inconvenience to faint during a blood test. They will generally make you wait there for at least an hour, and they might not let you drive home. On top of the blood tests were the numerous hormone injections, 38 to be exact. I chose to do these myself. I did not want to be faced with the idea of having to them myself after relying on someone else to do them. What if they weren’t there and I wasn’t able to do it?