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Surviving Infertility: Trust, Self Advocacy, Breath


In order to survive infertility, my best IVF advice is to develop a healthy combination of trust, self advocacy, and deep breathing.

In an effort to give you all a bit of a rest from all the IVF talk and keep the majority of it in January (I think that we could all use a break, yes?), I wanted to close out the month with some thoughts on my first IVF cycle. 

I think if I were to give any advice on going through IVF, it would be to develop a healthy dose of trust and self advocacy, as well as the ability to take a good, deep breath. And I don’t mean that in a patronizing way.

 IVF Advice: HOw to sruvive infertility with a mixture of trust, vigilance and self advocacy, and deep breaths @Suzlyfe

Surviving Infertility and IVF Advice: Trust, Self Advocacy, and Deep Breaths

All of this is to say….


The IVF patient MUST trust her doctor. You must trust that you are in good hands. If you don’t, find another doctor. 

The IVF patient MUST trust the process. You are not the first patient to do this. If it can work for you, it will.

The IVF patient MUST trust her partner. Trying to conceive is high stress enough, and then you add a bajillion hormones to the mix? Could be a recipe for disaster if you don’t have stable relationship. Having a baby will not fix a broken partnership, remember! Also, not being able to have sex? This is when you find out what your relationship is really built upon.

The IVF patient MUST trust herself. This is your body. Yes, there are going to be times when you are going to be confused by your body, but you know when something is wrong. Even if you make them do a “needless” test, if it gives you the peace of mind that you are ok, then it is worth it. THAT SAID, don’t become a hypochondriac. 

Self Advocacy

Now, as much as I trust my doctors (which I do, 100%), I am not a doormat. If you do not understand what they tell you, make them spell it out for you as many times as you need them to do so until you get it. If you don’t hear from them when they say that they are going to call, get on the phone (or via your messaging system) and call them. Don’t do so at midnight, and if it is a medical emergency for the love of God call 911.

As much as the doctors have things down to a science, let’s face it: you are one of sometimes hundreds of patients handled by a single doctor and various (highly competent!) nurses. There are going to be times when they are going to need to be gently reminded who you are, which medications you are on (particularly if your insurance only covers certain meds), and certain lifestyle choices that you make (the fact that I am a runner with Crohn’s Disease, for example. Sure, my chart says Crohn’s, but the psychologist knowing that I was a runner was integral to that first discussion), and other major medical notes.

A few examples of self advocacy:

My Snafu with the Refills They apparently told me to stay on top of my refills, but I don’t think I really got it, or even heard it.

My Embryo Transfer The transfer doctor was fairly convinced that we were going to transfer 2 embryos. Alex and I raised the alarm, and she conferred with my doctor who also confirmed that I was a single embryo transfer.

Also, I was told that I would hear from the lab on Tuesday to confirm my appointment for my transfer. I didn’t hear from them by 1 that day, so I MyCharted (messaged) them and got my confirmation. 

An instance where I wish I had pressed a little harder (and I will, in the future) is that I didn’t know how many follicles I had at each ultrasound. Next time, I will ask–not to be nosy, but because there was a time when the tech (who only does the scans, does not “read” them like the nurses do) didn’t see follicles and assumed that I didn’t have any on one of my ovaries. Turns out they were hiding, but she didn’t know, and I had to go back. Also, I think that knowing the number of follicles would have helped with my surprise at only getting 5 eggs.

This tri-part approach helped @suzlyfe through #IVF but can apply to so much #life #infertility Click To Tweet

Take A Big Deep Breath

For a fewer reasons, stress management/nerve calming (because, DUH, you are going to be nervous) and because of that damn ivf 2 week wait. 

One of the biggest stressors for IVF patients is self created stress. Like I said in the risks and side effects of IVF post, IVF patients are, by their very nature, driven individuals who are willing to do just about anything to have a family, and IVF is their last change to have their own children within their own body. Alex and I just arrived at that point a bit more quickly than most. 

IVF is a high risk, high reward pursuit: you are investing thousands of dollars–this is a substantial part of our savings, and the only reason it isn’t our entire savings is because we are lucky to live in Illinois–and putting your body at great risk as well as you mental state as you turn your daily routine upside down and change the physical nature of your relationship with your partner. 

But if I can say anything, one of the most beneficial things that I did for myself during this first IVF cycle was to only dig as far as I needed to. I turned off fertility group posts on Facebook. I stayed away from sites telling me that it wouldn’t work, or that people had been trying for years and years with no success. 

If you are committing to a cycle of IVF; be just that: COMMITTED #infertility Click To Tweet

Because you need to go into each cycle that you commit to as just that: COMMITTED. You need to be realistic but hopeful. You need to have hope and to believe that IVF will work–remember, they aren’t going to take you on in some desperate attempt because you are going to mess up their numbers! Plain and honest truth–but you also need to level with yourself and weigh your risks and side effects, as well as your chances per your doctor

Other IVF Posts:

And My Personal IVF Story

And now I am going to try to give you guys a bit of a break for a while. Of course, feel free to shoot me any questions in the comments or via email, and I will answer them as appropriate!

If you have struggled with infertility, what did you struggle the most with?

If you are fertile (lol), what is a similar situation where you have had to demonstrate a similar measure of trust, vigilance, and stress management?

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