What every woman should know before her first IVF roundMar 01, 2022
When exploring what IVF would look like there are so many unknowns. How will it impact life physically? How will it impact life emotionally? Will it negatively impact a marriage? How much does it really cost? And most importantly, will it work?
So often the medical side and the emotional side are intertwined! As a 3 time IVF Warrior, an IVF mom and a certified life coach that specializes in working with women going through IVF, I am here to support you on the emotional side. This means you’re in the right spot to receive tools, advice, inspiration, support and guidance as you navigate the emotional rollercoaster associated with IVF.
For the medical side, the time we get to speak one-on-one with doctors can feel rare. The encounters can come in quick bursts and it can be difficult to come prepared with everything you want to say and ready to take in everything you’re hearing.
Throughout my fertility journey and in having an infertility coaching business, I have built some very strong relationships with fertility doctors I’ve worked with along the way. Some of which I feel lucky enough to call my friends.
One of those doctors is Dr. Sukhkamal Campbell, the Director of Fertility Preservation Services at UAB Medicine. We hosted an infertility workshop to share what we want first time IVFers to know—from both the perspective of the patient and doctor.
I hope you’ll check out the full conversation here, and read this post for some valuable insights from the conversation.
Starting IVF: Preparing for the shots
When I spoke with Dr. Campbell, she pointed out that the hardest part for her patients going into IVF is the injections or the fear of the injections – the idea that you or your partner will actually give you shots, and do so repeatedly. There’s a lot of anticipation with both the shot itself as well as how your body will react to those hormones.
We both agree that the shots are rarely as bad as you might think they are, as we both see happen with almost everyone, you will be a pro in no time!
Starting IVF: What to expect emotionally
Most women worry and stress about the needles (see above) and the impact of IVF on the body. It’s not until after you’ve been through a round of IVF that you’re more aware that the emotional toll is worth paying attention to.
The sooner you make an effort to take care of your emotional well being while going through IVF, the better. This is what I specialize in, as both a certified life coach and as someone who’s been through IVF and is done trying. I had the IVF round that didn’t work. I had the IVF round that ended in a miscarriage, and I had the round that ended in the happy and healthy baby. Taking care of your emotional well being while going through IVF is my job and it’s what I’m sharing daily through social media, weekly through my newsletter and ongoing with my clients.
Starting IVF: Plan to not have a plan
It’s difficult when starting off with IVF because there is so much unknown. Dr. Campbell mentioned that many IVF patients come in with a planner and calendar and want to map it all out, but you can’t necessarily do that with IVF.
As a planner myself, I can certainly relate. Anyone else?
And all of this while managing a busy career. You might find yourself wondering how are you supposed to go through this without concrete dates on the calendar?
The answer, my IVF sister, is one step at a time. And whatever plan you had in your head on how it would look is best to have thrown out the window.
Starting IVF: It’s a numbers game
Dr. Campbell shared that one of the most surprising aspects to new patients from a medical perspective is that the approach with IVF is to be greedy. The goal is to get as many eggs as they can get (unlike with IUI where they only want 1 or 2, maybe 3 eggs).
With IVF, your doctors want as many eggs as they can get, and this number varies on a patient by patient basis. If they retrieve 20 or 30 eggs, what surprises her patients most is that this does not mean 20 or 30 embryos. There is a steady decline in the numbers through each step after the retrieval that are normal. Many factors go into how many embryos you’ll ultimately get on day 5, 6 or 7, and how many of those will be genetically viable. It’s important to address these misconceptions early to set realistic expectations.
It’s also really helpful to know at the beginning that IVF doesn’t always work on the first try. According to Dr. Campbell, your first IVF cycle is diagnostic in many ways. So remember that just because it hasn’t happened yet does NOT mean it can’t happen.
The best part about supporting IVF warriors
Going through IVF will not be a walk in the park. Going through IVF will challenge you. It will bring doubt and worry front and center. It will also show you how strong you are. Going through IVF will also show you how committed you are to following your dreams. How resilient you are.
Please know that we see this in you.
One thing Dr. Campbell and I share deeply is why we love our jobs so much. And it’s because of you. You see, IVF warriors make the most determined patients and clients. IVF Warriors are strong. IVF Warriors are committed to the goal. IVF Warriors are willing to do whatever it takes to get to the end goal of a healthy baby. IVF Warriors are resilient, empathetic and brave.
If no one else sees this in you, know that we see all you do. We see the woman who is trying everything in her power to become a mom. If it feels like it’s getting harder to keep trying, you’re in the right place!
The clients I work with tend to be high achieving women. Women who’ve done everything right, but it’s not working yet. They’ve achieved so many things in their life and hit so many goals, but struggle to make a baby. They are at a point where infertility and IVF is all they think about. It’s become consuming and it’s become their identity.
So if this sounds like you, I can help you. I can help you stop being triggered by pregnancy announcements. I can help you protect your marriage from this challenge. I can help you love your body. And I can help you stop being consumed by your infertility. Ready to get back to the old you? Then let’s schedule a FREE call to talk about how coaching can help you!
Interested in learning more about first-time IVF? Watch the full workshop for more emotional support tips and medical knowledge from Dr. Campbell including:
- Information on genetic testing, costs and insurance
- The benefit of back-to-back cycles vs. taking a break
- Can you take stored embryos to another clinic?
And MUCH more.
Ready to get the support you need so you can stop putting your life on hold during your IVF journey?
Learn about my More Than My Infertility program!