I came across a lovely article recently in Fertility Road Magazine titled How to Plan a Pregnancy. It had lots of helpful information about health, lifestyle choices, and tests that you can do to optimize your body and chances for successful conception. I’m glad that this information is out there, and I agree that these are all important issues to think about and plan for before getting it on. But for whatever reason, maybe it’s the hormones I’m currently injecting, I found myself chuckling about what I might say to someone about how to plan a pregnancy IVF style. So here goes, but reader beware, the sarcasm is strong with this one.
Step 1: Check with your insurance to see if they cover infertility treatments.
Read all the fine print to see how many procedures and medications are not actually covered. Oh wait, your insurance doesn’t cover infertility? Yeah, probably not. Move on to step 2.
Step 2: Find money.
Check your bank account to see how much money you have saved. You should also revisit your budget to see if there’s any money you can set aside to fund your treatments. This might include making decisions about necessities versus luxuries. Do you really need cable TV? How about those dinners out? Can you ride a bicycle to work to save on gas? Do you really need soap? Yeah, you’ll be stinky and bored if it means getting a baby. Don’t forget to check under the couch cushions for change. It adds up.
Step 3: Check your schedule to make sure that you have time for infertility treatments.
Do you have a work trip coming up? A family obligation? Planning a vacation? Wait – vacation? You can’t afford that anymore. You basically need to cancel your whole life for the next few months. You’re going to busy with lab draws, ultrasound appointments, and googling how to make PIO shots less painful. You won’t have time for anything else.
Step 4: Call your RE to make an appointment.
Be prepared to find out that the clinic’s timeline for when you can start IVF does not in any way match up with your anticipated schedule as outlined in Step 3. You can begin to rearrange your life now. Again.
Step 5: Surprise!
You need one more test. It will take one month to get the results, so your start date will be delayed. Rearrange your life again.
Step 6: Order your IVF medications
This is going to cost an inordinate amount of money. Good luck with that.
Step 7: Wait for your period.
For those of you who have a regular cycle that starts exactly on the same day every month (what? they exist), this will be the first time in your life that your period is late. Get excited because you just might be pregnant while waiting to start IVF! Just kidding. Your period will start the day after you get excited. For those of you who have never had a regular, predictable period, this will be the longest cycle of your life. You may need to get a shot or take pills for 5 days to jump start your period. These pills turn you into a raging bitch.
Step 8: Your period finally arrives.
For the first time ever, you’re thrilled to bleed all over your new Victoria’s Secret panties. Time to call the clinic and go in for your baseline ultrasound and lab work.
Step 9: Inject yourself daily with your prescribed cocktail of medications.
This step also involves crying because you saw a Facebook photo of a cute puppy sleeping with a baby, yelling at your significant other because he/she left the cap off of the toothpaste, crying some more for no actual reason, gaining ten pounds, then injecting yourself some more. Try to avoid the bruises while injecting.
Step 10: Shave your legs and lady bits so you’re prepared for multiple vaginal ultrasounds weekly.
Note that your partner will get excited in the beginning when you shave because they’ll think they’re getting lucky later that night. But they won’t be. You have been cut off from having sex anymore. So lay back and enjoy the ultrasound my dear, because that’s the only action you’ll be getting any time soon. But don’t get too excited, this wand doesn’t vibrate.
Step 11: Egg retrieval day.
Kick back and relax, you’ll be getting a nice cocktail of anesthesia in your arm. It will be the best sleep you’ve gotten since you started infertility treatments. When you wake up you’ll either get wonderful news about the bounty of perfect eggs that were retrieved and you’ll feel elated that all your effort has been rewarded, or your heart will be ripped out as you’re told that they got 1/10th of the number of eggs you expected. It will be one or the other. Oh and your male partner, if you’re using one, will need to jack off at some point during this day. Gee, he has it rough.
Step 12: Wait.
Wait to see how many eggs fertilized, wait to see how many make it to blastocysts, wait to hear PGS results, make up shit to wait on. It doesn’t matter. This step will take the longest. No, I lied. Step 14 will take the longest so read on, but this is a close second.
Step 13: Embryo transfer.
On this day you’ll get the first precious picture of your “maybe baby”. It will look like a blob of nothing, but you will cry with joy anyway as you picture this blob in a bonnet. You and your partner will stare intently at the ultrasound screen to watch as this tiny embryo is inserted through a long catheter into your uterus. Your RE will point out the spot in your uterus where the embryo is placed. You will swell with emotion and love, but you won’t actually be able to see anything where the RE is pointing (although you’ll both pretend you do). This is normal. Note that if you have gone through this step multiple times in the past, you will realize that the best part of this day is the valium.
Step 14: Engage in the dreaded two week wait (TWW).
Over-analyze every twinge, change, fluid, swell, burp, craving, and sneeze. Compare these “symptoms” to every list of early pregnancy signs that you can find on the internet. Make sure you use multiple search engines to maximize the number of lists retrieved. Each time you pee you will need to have good lighting in the bathroom so you can adequately scrutinize the toilet paper after you wipe to look for any sign of implantation bleeding. Squeeze your boobs several times a day to determine if they feel sore, until they become sore. You’ll find yourself shifting from elation and optimism that this cycle has finally worked and you are pregnant, to absolute certainty that it has failed. This will be the longest two weeks of your life. By beta day you’ll be a blubbering shadow of your former self.
Step 15: Beta day
This will either be the best day or worst day. If it’s the best day and you get a positive result, you will proceed to an entirely new list of paranoias and procedures. Congratulations! If you get a negative, you may find yourself back at Step 1. But look at the bright side: you’ve done it before so the next time will be easier! Right? RIGHT???!!! (Ha ha ha you poor fool.) Good luck.
Hope you enjoyed this, but if you didn’t it was probably the hormones.