Fertility Treatment – Question & Answer
Dozens of women and men reached out to our patient panel with their fertility treatment questions. One question in particular – about how to live with the uncertainty of the unknown – resonated with everyone.
Question: “Hi. I am on birth control and about to start the injections for my first try at in vitro fertilization. How did you deal with the anxiety of the unknown? That’s the hardest part for me. What if it doesn’t work, what are the shots and my hormones going to be like when I’m on the drugs, all of that…..I just don’t want to drive myself crazy.”
Answers from the Fertility Treatment Patient Panel
Lindsay S: OK, so the unknown is definitely pretty scary. You don’t want to drive yourself crazy, but sometimes you just can’t help it! If you have been at this a long time, it starts to take over your thoughts and you are thinking about it all the time. We did 4 IUIs and 2 IVFs, and I am currently 7 weeks pregnant from the 2nd IVF. You can’t really let yourself go to the “what ifs” – that will really drive you nuts. Just remember why you are putting yourself through this and what the result will be. Also, the best thing that we ever did was join a support group. We were able to talk to people who had been through EXACTLY what we were going through because they were experiencing it too. In addition, I think my hubby liked being able to connect with other men who were going through stuff too. We ended up meeting 2 other couples who we became super close with and still hang out with a lot. We all had different stories, but the same desire. We could go out and do things and if the infertility thing came up, we’d talk about it, but if not, we had new friends who we enjoy being with. Good luck!
Tara: I had a situation where I never ovulated on my own and very abnormal menstrual cycle. I did get pregnant on my own and lost the baby at 13 weeks. I had been to other fertility clinics and did multiple cycles of IUI and I never conceived then I found Shady Grove Fertility…I met with the doc and I had a very slim chance I decided to not think about it. I went in with an open mind and for once did not stress or worry. I did my shots, took my medicine and went to my appointments. Me and my husband stayed busy, nights out with friends, movies and just had a lot of fun! Drank plenty of water and ate healthy! I made sure to rest and really take care of ME. When they day came I went in and did the procedure and did not stress! I had a clear open mind and was at peace with whatever happened! This 1st round of IVF brought me my sweet little boy all of the other times (IUI’s) I would just stress and say “what if this doesn’t work”…I went in with a completely different mindset and it paid off! I am praying for your miracle.
Jenn: I had a big problem with this too and absolute hate not knowing what to expect or what will happen. My advice would be to ask as many questions as you need so you understand everything that will happen. Don’t ever feel bad or silly for asking any question of your doctor and/or nurse. I also did a lot of googling, which can be both a good and bad thing. I found that as I started going to each appointment and found out what it was like and started each med and learned what that was like my anxiety would decrease. I also found a lot of support on the Shady Grove Fertility Facebook page where you can ask others to share how they reacted to a certain medication. Everyone reacts differently but it was nice to know what I might experience. Lastly, I think I just had to focus on the end goal and learn that all I could do was follow the instructions and do what I was supposed to and the rest was out of my hands. I learned to figure out a way to deal with things as they came up.
Christine: I just took it day by day, procedure by procedure and focused on one thing at a time. There was a lot of anxiety but I tried to focus on what I could control at the time. Each time I finished my shots felt like an accomplishment. I was concerned about the hormones but I was lucky and did not really have any side effects from any of them.
Kathleen: I got used to the cycles and the anxiety became easier to manage over time. Try to stay busy with work or exercise or a hobby.
Holly: Hi. We started our process back in March of this year and there was not a day that went by that I did not think “what if”, “am I supposed to feel this way”, “are we doing the shots correctly”, etc. It’s all NORMAL, I think at some point we just said “we are in this together. My hormones might get crazy, I might not feel well, when will we know but our end goal never changed and we knew we would walk to the ends of the earth for a baby. The one piece of advice (which is the hardest to do..) Stay off the internet!!!! My nurse was amazing and there were days that I emailed her multiple times and she always had an answer. She helped me keep my sanity!!! We are still patients at Shady Grove Fertility but to be honest…they helped us through and continue to help us every day…
Julie: As for the anxiety… I tried my best to keep myself busy with other activities to keep my mind off my fertility treatments. It didn’t always work, but it helped. As for the meds, don’t assume they will make you crazy! They had no emotional affect on me.
Yuliya: Our diagnosis was “unexplained infertility”, so nothing was wrong with either me or my husband, but for some reason, I couldn’t get pregnant. I was 29 when we came to Shady Grove Fertility. I was very anxious when we were going through our treatment. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because I felt like baby making was such a private experience. At some point though, I couldn’t keep it to myself any more, and I found out that talking really helps. None of my friends were in a situation like mine, but they were very understanding. I also talked to one of the Shady Grove Fertility social workers. They are trained to talk about these issues and mine actually struggled with infertility in the past too. It was a relief being able to talk my fears out. I think it’s also helpful to try to keep yourself stress free, but somewhat busy with nice relaxing activities like yoga, reiki, acupuncture, massage, swimming, or whatever else helps you relax!
Megan: The best thing to do is stay positive and take it day by day. Try and have other things you enjoy doing to focus your time on. The days will feel endless if you constantly think about the what if’s. The shots are hard to deal with, but just make it a part of your daily routine and you will get used to them. Try icing the spot where you take the shot for a few minutes before hand, it makes getting the shots each day more manageable. Overall the drugs didn’t change my hormones too much. But try and stay as stress free from other things going on in your life. IVF can be stressful itself, so keeping the rest of your life as calm as possible will help. Again, stay positive and try to have fun with your family and friends who are supporting you through this process. Always keep in your mind that you are doing this so you can have a baby. The end result is worth it.
Shavon: There’s been a lot of pictures out there lately, keep calm and carry on and many variations and I’d like to say it’s going to be that easy but it won’t. Trying to get pregnant can be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do.
I’d say take this challenge in steps. Step 1, actual diagnosis… woo-hoo. Step 2, your plan. Notice, I said your plan and not the plan from your team, but your plan. You need to figure out what’s next and how to tackle it, be it IVF, IUI, timed sex, surrogacy… what is your plan? There will be many things that you won’t be able to control during the process, how your body responds, how may eggs you’ll produce, whether or not you’ll get pregnant, but you can control your plan. Plan how many times you’ll check online for symptoms, plan how many people you’ll keep in the loop, plan time to just not think about, but come up with a plan and stick to it. It’s your plan and only you will know when you’ve had enough and only you will know when to move on.
But remember it’s such a wonderfully scary process that you tend to forget that every day gets you one step closer, so as hard as it will be, just enjoy it and the moment. Be scared, be joyed, be freaked out and just be and then carry on.
Our 1st IVF cycle didn’t work. It ended with me having a myomectomy to remove several fibroids. The hardest part was not that it didn’t work. The hardest part was my husband, his mother and my mother just so determined that it would work. I couldn’t just grieve when I knew that it hadn’t worked. I had days of calls from both moms telling me to hold on, but I had all of the signs saying to let go. I also hadn’t prepared myself for the what if. I didn’t have a plan. I just knew it would work, and then it didn’t and finally I made a plan. We decided to limit what the moms knew, and we decided how much we wanted to share online, and we decided to keep trying. So keep calm, make a plan, be in the moment, and keep trying…. Hopefully that all fits on a picture
If you would like to discuss your fertility options or to schedule an appointment at Shady Grove Fertility, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.