Please Hold….Sep 25, 2022
Sometimes during a cycle especially, the end of the cycle when all I can do is fantasize about cheeseburgers, pizza and wine… (man I just miss food so much during this time, anyone else or is it just me!) I find myself just wishing and hoping. Wishing and hoping for all those things you are thinking I would be wishing and hoping for right now, like getting healthy eggs and getting healthy embryos and all that fertility stuff. But surprisingly and maybe weirdly I also find myself wishing and hoping for my life back. Wishing and hoping for the life I want right now and that life I thought I would have at this point. You know what I mean, wanting and wishing for what could have been what I wish was instead of going through treatment after treatment and loss after loss.
Look, I feel guilty even writing that or saying that out loud. But it is the truth. IVF is so hard, and it is so challenging, and it changes every aspect of your life. Every single part of my life changed for years. Really, my whole life just stopped for all those years going through all those IVF cycles, procedures and treatments. And I was dedicated to the process, to my fertility journey because I had to be. I wanted to succeed and overcome my poor odds of conceiving my own child that I did what I needed to do and what I could control to have that dream become a reality.
But it is okay to say that you long for your old self or your pre-IVF life back. It is okay to feel loss around the life I want right now, the life I thought I was going to have or the way I thought it was going to be like.
Basically, going through IVF is like being stuck in time. Your life just stops. Everything is just on hold. You can’t plan for the vacation in a few months, you can’t schedule your hair cut or manicure appointment, and you can’t schedule that fancy dinner you want to go to with your husband just to relax and have some quality time together. You can’t even schedule the let’s have a date night with popcorn and a movie on the couch this weekend. Why? Because IVF sucks the life out of everything. Oh and because you can’t eat popcorn or have wine or get a manicure while going through IVF if you are a poor responder, advanced maternal age (blah!), or are like me and have diminished ovarian reserve and were given a 2% chance of having your own child. So I was not able to eat or do any of those things because I had to do everything I could to maximize my egg quality and my fertility. I had to do everything I could to maximize my 2%!
So yes, IVF sucks. It sucks the life out of you because it just does. And you know you can’t plan anything because you just can’t. You never know how long the cycle will take or last. You never know how long the follicles will take to grow to your egg retrieval. You don’t know when you will get your period to start your next cycle. You don’t know if you go through this egg retrieval if you will get healthy eggs or if you do get mature and healthy eggs, will the eggs fertilize and make healthy embryos.
You wait and wait and wait some more. And sometimes that waiting turns into resentment and anger about the life you really long for. You see everyone else around you just living. Smiling, laughing, planning. They are planning summer vacations, they are planning date nights, they are planning family dinners. And they look good while doing it! They look rested. They don’t look stressed or shameful that their bodies aren’t doing what their bodies are supposed to do. They don’t look worried about the next thing because they can plan the next thing. And you. Well, you can’t. That is one of the things I hate about IVF. It's one of the things that just doesn’t feel good ever. After so many cycles you are still just waiting. Waiting for everything you dream of to start. Waiting for everything you want to begin. Waiting to be like the rest of the world, normal.
And if you are a planner like me, IVF is just more torture. It goes against the very grain of your existence. Being able to plan and organize just decreases the anxiety and now you can’t plan for anything. So that anxiety, the feeling of uncertainty and fear, well it just creeps up on you. And each day that you feel less in control because of all this uncertainty and all that you can’t grasp and hold on to, the more likely that anxiety will increase. That is when your body and your mind just start disconnecting and you feel even worse about yourself, about your fertility and about this whole process.
That’s the part that isn’t great for your fertility or for your IVF cycle. Anxiety and stress will just wreak havoc on your fertility and on your IVF cycle. And everything that I mentioned above will start to make your mind and body disconnect. Anxiety, stress, thoughts and emotions like this, can make things shut down that you don’t want to shut down. This is the opposite of optimizing your fertility and your chances.
So yes, is this all true. 100%! Because IVF just sucks. It sucks the life out of you. It sucks the life out of everything. It just sucks. But what’s the other option? For me, there was no other option because I wanted my own child. I wanted my baby. And I had to go through IVF to reach that goal because of my fertility diagnosis. So going through IVF was the only option for me. And so even though this whole thing sucks, and I can say it sucks and its okay to say it sucks because I am going through it, it is what I have to do to get to the other side. So as much as it sucks, I am still waiting and hoping for you. For you baby. For my life to start with you. And one day all this waiting and hoping will stop because I will have reached that goal. I will have completed this part of my journey and I will have succeeded. And that is really all that matters. So, for now, I will get mad and annoyed when I wish I was eating a cheeseburger instead of salmon and spinach for the fourth time this week and I will remember that although it is hard and I wish I could just sulk and cry, I am going to fight. I am going to stay strong, and I am going to win. I am going to keep moving forward even though I feel stuck. Because in reality I am not stuck, if I am continuing this fight. If I go into battle every day, I am not stuck I am moving forward and moving closer towards you. I remind myself of this everyday and every moment I want to think otherwise. I remember I am strong. I remember I can do this. I remember I am Fierce. I am Fiercely Fertile.
Check out my online course, Fiercely Fertile: Optimizing Your Fertility and IVF Journey to help you succeed during your fertility journey!
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