Thursday, 17 April 2014

A Real Tale of IVF: Part 1

As I'm sure you know if you've been following my bloggity blog for a while, Boy and I are currently in the midst of our first cycle of IVF. I've come to realise recently that most people actually have no clue at all what IVF involves, and though they may be curious they don't necessarily like to ask. Or even Google, which you would hope those nearest and dearest to someone going through it would... But apparently not. So I'm here to explain what I can and describe what the process has been like for us!

The real experience of IVF, told by someone who has gone through it

I'm not going to to start with how we got to the stage of IVF, because that's all covered here - feel free to pop over and catch up if you're unfamiliar with our story so far. I'm just going to jump straight in at the first stage of treatment.

There are two protocols for IVF: the long protocol and the short protocol. I was on the long protocol, which lasts around 6 weeks. The first stage of this is down regulation, or "down regging", which means that I was basically preventing my pituitary gland from releasing the hormones which normally stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs and ovulate.

To do this, I had to inject a drug called Buserelin every 24 hours in a dose of 0.5ml. This really doesn't sound a lot, but when you've got a thing about needles it feels like it takes an eternity at first to get all that liquid in!

For the first few days, Boy administered the Buserelin, which was injected subcutaneously (which means into fatty tissue under the skin - I did mine in my tummy but some people do them in their thighs) - but it didn't take long for me to sack him relieve him of his duties and do it myself. As much as I hate needles, at least if I did it myself I could control the pain and make the task that little bit less unpleasant.

As you can see from the pictures above, the needles used to inject this are 13mm long. At first, I really struggled to get the whole needle in without wanting to scream but I did eventually figure out a method that worked for me. I found that putting ice on the area I was going to inject into for 30-60 seconds beforehand made the initial prick virtually painless, and pinching the skin between my thumb and forefinger of my opposite hand to the one holding the needle also helped. When it came to getting the liquid in, slow and steady was definitely preferable to me over just getting it done ASAP.

I noticed after a few days that my skin seemed to be getting tougher to penetrate (nice huh?!) so I began alternating which side I injected into. The injections left small bruises in the early days (usually - except for one that was huge!!)

It took about a week for me to notice any side effects. I found myself feeling unbelievably tired, and I mean tired like I've never felt before. Waking up on a morning was nigh on impossible, getting to work drained whatever tiny amounts of energy I had tucked away, and I spent my day yawning my head off at my desk. By the time I got home on an evening I was only good for one thing: crawling into bed. A lot of people suffer with hot flushes, but I had the opposite; I would be shivering and piling on the layers in an attempt to get warm, even though everyone around me was wearing short sleeves and complaining about how hot and stuffy it was.

Towards the end of down regging, I had to go into clinic for a scan to see how the drug was working. Thankfully, it worked like a dream! I had had a bleed during the down regulation, and at the scan I had very little lining in my uterus and no activity at all on my ovaries - exactly what they were looking for! While this was great news, it meant I was ready to add in another injection to my day... Which I will tell you all about next time!

This post originally appeared on my old blog and has been imported to Living for the Victories


  1. I think it's great that you're sharing your story. I think infertility is something people sometimes shy away from talking about. (But it shouldn't be.)

  2. I'm glad that everything is working out the way it should be. When I get my B12 injections, I always pinch the skin and exhale when the needle goes in.. the more relaxed you are and less tense, the easier it is. Before no time this journey will be over and you'll be preggers! XOXO

  3. Well I'm glad that things are going according to plan and hopefully you'll be pregnant and it will all be worth it soon!

  4. Wow, I'm glad that you decided to share. What a struggle. Goodness. I am hopeful, however, that you get that baby in your belly real quicklike. Good luck! :)

  5. Oh my goodness, Jenni, that bruise looks mean! Poor you!

  6. Well I'll admit that I'm guilty of not knowing much about the whole IVF process, so this was super informational for me; thank you so much for sharing your journey! I'm sorry that the process was so horrible, but it will all be worth it in the end, I think... it seems like it's going so well so far! Sending lots of positive thoughts and hugs your way!

  7. As this journey might be in my future I am so appreciative of your honesty!!!

  8. I love that you are explaining all this. Those bruises look horrific :( it shows how much you want this and how dedicated you are. All the luck in the world to you xxx

  9. I actually know nothing about IVF, so this is really interesting. I think you are so brave for conquering your fear of needles! I know I would have a hard time doing what you have done! I'm so glad to hear it is going well! That's wonderful news!


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