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Home + Family 5 months ago

IVF: helpful tips + things to know

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Hi friends! So you guys know by now Michael and I are currently going through our first round of IVF. I did tons of research and asked a billion questions and still nothing could prepare me for all that goes into it. I can’t put into words how thankful I have been for all of your DM’s – your prayers and encouragement or tips for what helped you when you were going through IVF.

I know this blog post won’t apply to everyone but for those of you who ARE considering IVF or about to go through it…I wanted to share just a few things that helped me and different tips you guys sent in, or things I wish I would have known.

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So, every doctor I’m sure does things slightly differently and has different protocols. For me…we did stimulation shots (or “stims”) for about 10 days prior to the egg retrieval. This is to stimulate your ovaries to produce lots of follicles which will hopefully release eggs!

Something I did not know going into it: towards the end of this 10ish day period, you will get INSANELY bloated and uncomfortable. I worked out during the first 5-7 days of stimulation (I did gentle, low impact workouts like walking and yoga and strength training. No jumping, no twisting). By day 8 of stimulation I was way too uncomfortable to even walk. I was INSANELY bloated and nothing fit other than big sweatpants haha.

I think how bloated and uncomfortable you get depends on how many follicles you have. I was very fortunate to have a ton of follicles and a ton of eggs…so I was very uncomfortable.

During stimulation, I was usually doing 3 shots a day – 2 in the morning and 1 at night. These “belly” shots weren’t too bad for me honestly. The needle is small. The first few times I had Michael do it and then after a few times, I wanted to do it on my own actually.

No major tips for this ‘stimulation’ stage other than keep in mind: you’re going to get very uncomfortable. Take it easy on exercise – walking, yoga, or honestly nothing if you aren’t feeling it. And also the stim shots made me kind of tired! So just rest when you need to.

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So after your follicles are mature, the doctor will give you a ‘trigger shot’ to trigger ovulation. (This one is in your butt and tbh it hurt SO bad. but it’s just a one time thing). After two days, you do your egg retrieval! They put me under for the egg retrieval (anesthesia) so, I actually didn’t feel a thing during that time. When I woke up though, I was in A LOT of pain.

I think this is another thing that like…everyone’s recovery / pain looks different during this time. My doctor retrieved 26 eggs which I think is a lot. So my ovaries were INSANELY swollen and I was in so much pain. They told me to go home and rest for the rest of the day. But honestly, for an entire week I felt terrible. I literally gained 10lbs over night because of how swollen my ovaries were. Had to pull out maternity jeans because my ‘bump’ was so huge. It was really hard.

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So my advice for your egg retrieval is: block off your calendar for a full week after. Maybe you won’t need that much time but I definitely did. Drink a TON of water. This will help with your recovery and also with constipation issues. I was SO constipated after my egg retrieval (TMI but I did not have a bowel movement for 5 days and it was so uncomfortable).

You should also drink a ton of electrolytes during this time. I drank 1 liquid IV everyday + gatorade. This will help with the swelling of your ovaries.

If you have the same constipation issues I have, here are a few things I did that helped:

  • Miralax in your coffee every morning
  • Magnesium citrate (I bought mine at target)
  • Milk of magnesia (also bought at target)
  • and drink a TON OF WATER!

Here are a few things that have helped me with all of the injections (I’m currently doing 4 shots a day – 2 in the morning and 2 at night). I started bruising on my belly really bad so I asked y’all for tips and of course, you were so helpful!

  • Ice for 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after (holding pressure after). This not only helps prevent bruising but also tremendously helps with the pain! But, you have to REALLY ice it for a while haha not just a minute
  • Warm up the progesterone in oil shot (or any injection you’re doing in oil). I stick it in my bra to warm it up haha because it helps the medicine go in quicker and easier
  • Arnica┬áis a natural cream that helps relieve pain and also prevent bruising. So I’ve started doing that twice a day

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Those are just a few of the things I wish I’d known going into IVF…and also some tips you guys have shared with me that have been SO insanely helpful. So truly, from the bottom of my heart I cannot thank you for all of the helpful tips and encouragement y’all have sent my way these past few weeks!

This journey has definitely been one of the hardest ones I have ever gone through, but I am desperately praying it will all be more than worth it one day.

Thanks for reading!

xo Lauren

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