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Trying to Embrace This Round of IVF Treatment

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Here I go again — into round two of IVF treatments with another retrieval cycle. It’s daunting, it’s overwhelming, it’s frustrating, it’s confusing, it’s a whole mess of emotions I expected and some I didn’t all rolled into one. Since this is the new normal (for now at least), here’s a list of ways I’m attempting to embrace this round of treatment. Because hopefully this is the start of a beautiful story I’ll tell my child one day when asked, “Mommy, where do babies come from?”

Good morning!

And I don’t just mean mumble a hello to the phlebotomist/techs. Ask their names. Find out their weekend plans. Learn their kids’ names or at least if they have kids. Then ask them follow-up questions every time I’m there. Because I’m there every week, every couple days, every day for however long I’m going through assisted reproductive technology (ART). Having a human touch during those procedures will make it seem less procedural and more just a routine part of my day.

Be prepared.

It’s pretty much impossible to be prepared, and that is about all I can prepare. It’s only been two days, but so far retrieval round two is nothing like the first round for me. There will be some similarities, though. I know I’m going to give myself 30 or so shots over the course of 10 to 12 days. I know those shots are going to push my ovaries into hyperdrive, causing me to gain weight and become uncomfortable, tired, anxious and depressed. I’ve prepped my boss as best I can as to when to expect my absences. I alerted my closest circle of friends that things have started again. So when I start to sink from the stress and anxiety of it all, they can help keep me afloat just one more day.

Treat yo’self.

I know I can’t use dance or running to combat anything that’s happening, so I need to find alternatives. Writing helps, so I’ll keep doing that. Dance class has started again, so although I can’t participate, I can watch. The weather is still nice enough for after-dinner walks. I bought myself a few new books I’ve saving to read for the surgery/procedure days. The hubs and I will have our “hopefully last alcohol drinks out” date right before implantation. I can schedule a mani/pedi for the day after procedures, and grab hold of any little thing that brings a smile to my face and savor it during treatment time.

Speak loudly and carry a big purse.

Over this last year, I feel like I’ve gained enough medical knowledge to sit for the MCATs. Then other days, I feel like I don’t know anything at all, up to and including my name. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I tell my medical team to give me all the info, they either can’t or won’t. So now I ask questions. I ask questions that may or may not be relevant. (How do I know unless I ask?) I write questions down so I only call once a week. I’ve called twice in one day because there was stuff I needed to know. The big purse is to hold the notebook where all the questions (and answers) are kept.

Be the change.

I love Gandhi’s quote, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” If I’ve learned one thing in the last nine months of this process, it’s that regardless of how caring your medical team is, they aren’t going through what you’re going through. I suggest seeking out others, whether it’s virtually or in real life, who are dealing with similar issues. You may learn from them, or they may learn from you. In my experience it can be a combination of the two. You may discover questions you didn’t think to ask, and you may have answers to their unspoken thoughts. And it may help.

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Thinkstock image by Thomas_Zsebok_Images

Originally published: August 30, 2017
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