This blog has been helping. I’ve gotten great feedback from people going through fertility treatments now and there’s a lot of information out there. So I thought I would dedicate a post to some helpful information regarding how to sort through all the information provided.
Here are some tips based solely on my experience. Please let me know if you have any you think I should add to it.
1) Google isn’t infertile. It’s very easy to become an “expert” about your own fertility and everything. But there is so much information out there, much of it from unreliable resources, that you may have a hard time sorting through what’s “real” and what’s a fact. By the time we did IVF, I was an “expert” on my levels and what I thought they “should” be. Go to reliable places for information such as RESOLVE.org, the national infertility network or the Mayo Clinic. Google isn’t infertile or hormonal.
2) Message Boards can be evil. My IVF cycle buddy and I were so informed about our infertility that we questioned our doctors at various points during treatment. Being educated and questioning your care is certainly a priority; however, the information needs to be reliable. These doctors know more about you as an individual than any message boards “general” comments. Message boards can be great for support, but they can be dangerous. Some of the people on there are the extreme cases of infertility and some are new to it. It’s hard not to read their posts and comments about how Clomid made them feel, or how they responded to certain injections and not relate it to you. Bottom line, trust your doctors. If you don’t, seek new ones.
3) Love your doctors and their nurses. Infertility is stressful. Stress can play a part in the success/failure of a treatment. It may not be the primary cause, but it helps to be as comfortable as you can both with your doctors and their nurses. It makes a HUGE difference. My IVF buddy and I both got monitored locally in between treatments and hated the local doctor’s office. We both left crying everytime we went. Both of us decided, it was well worth the 4 hour round trip to see our IVF doc than to put up with the local docs just to save time. The nurse at our fertility clinic that told us about each of our miscarriages was the kindest, most gentle woman in the world. I can’t imagine having her job, but I can’t imagine getting that news from anyone but her. She was so caring and delivered the message in a way that was so sensitive, you felt like she was right there with you. I will NEVER forget that amazing woman and how much I appreciated that she was the one calling me. She was the first one at our doctor’s office to meet our daughter after she was born and I will send her pictures every year until she retires. Our doctors were amazing too, but the nurses had the most contact with us about medications and questions. They become part of your family.
4) Know your body. Trust your instinct. Over the years, I have met countless women both online and in person going through fertility treatments or thinking about it. Here’s what I learned. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. There are no two cases alike. PERIOD. Just because 17 people comment on a message board that they all reacted poorly to Clomid doesn’t mean you will. That happened to me, actually. I had a great response to Clomid as far as side effects go, I just didn’t get pregnant on it. Living proof…..my IVF buddy, who was also successful with IVF, is the same age as me. Same height, same weight, same doctors, same reason for infertility. We were put on different medications, we responded differently and our cycles were completely different. I produced only 5 good eggs in one cycle and she produced like 13. No two people are alike. Please trust your body and your instinct.
5) Research your doctors. IVF isn’t widely available in our area. So for the first 2 years, I was seeing a local fertility “specialist”. It was clear during our first meeting that I was too special for him. 80% of women with fertility issues have the same thing I do….so why am I too difficult? That should have been sign # 1. I should have left. I didn’t. I lost two years with that doctor. I started learning more about IUI’s from message boards and realized that all of the other women were having certain tests done to confirm ovulation before an IUI. So I asked my doctor and he said that it wasnt necessary to know if I was ovulating….uh….what???? You have to ovulate to get pregnant? WTF….I researched more and ended up with some doctors in a shared risk program (read upcoming blog post about that later on)….and I knew from the very first appointment that I was in the right place. Their office was serene, their staff was kind and they also looked at me like I had 3 heads when I told them about the care I’d received. They were all to familiar with my previous doctor…..but when you research him, he is just as he appears to be….totally legit. He just also makes a profit and never really provides true statistics on the number of successful pregnancies. My tip, I quietly asked nurses in our area what they knew about him. I asked friends, posted on message boards if anyone had seen him…..silence. Should have known then what I know now. Good doctors get RAVE reviews….we shout it from the rooftops.
6) Be open to receiving support and love. I struggled to get through many days over the years. You’re putting on weight, your hormonal, they ask you to quit caffeine…..my best friend, diet dr pepper was no longer…..and you’re not telling everyone around you necessarily WHY. Many of my colleagues and friends probably thought I was just fat and moody. Well, yes, I am generally moody, but you put me on hormones…..HELLO. It rhymes with witch. I have amazing friends and family, but ultimately, they couldn’t fully understand what it felt like to be in my shoes. I sought counseling to deal with the grief and depression and to be able to “let go” of my expectations that I’d put on myself. It wasn’t a psychiatrist…she was a licensed therapist. I prefer going to a female for this personally because she can relate to a woman’s biological desire to become a mother. She cried with me. She helped me realize that I really was being too hard on myself, and she helped me realize that no matter if our child was bioogical or not, we’d get to be parents, somehow…someway and we’d be great at it.