In my last post I shared Starting Your IVF Journey – How to Choose A Treatment Center and Getting in the Best Headspace. For this post I wanted to share the next major step which is starting your IVF treatments, medications, and what most women fear….injections. I’m hoping by sharing my journey through this process that I can help bring some clarity to it all as well as ease the worry because as mentioned in previous post, your headspace right now should be a major priority.
IVF Medications + Injections
Depending on what your doctor says and recommends your specific treatment, dosage, and days of treatment will differ. For me, I was fortunate to be on the lower end of the dosage requirement (per my doctor) and went through treatment for 12 days. Originally told 10-14 days, so I was right in the middle of that…below is a calendar of the last couple of days of my treatment.
The treatments that I took were –
Gonal is used as a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) to help our follicles mature to the ideal size for extraction (15mm-20mm). Some side effects can include; headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, injection site reactions, acne, and the list really can go on and on. You’ll experience most if not all of these symptoms once you’re pregnant so look at it as a teaser
Menopur is another follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) as well as luteinizing hormone (LH) which helps to stimulate ovulation. It is also used to stimulate your body to produce multiple eggs for your upcoming extraction procedure. Side effects of Menopur include the same as the above Gonal. One thing I do remember about the Menopur is that it had a burning sensation as you were injecting it into yourself. I tried injecting it quickly and slowly and can’t really recommend one or the other to avoid the feeling…more of a FYI.
Cetrotide is prescribed to prevent premature ovulation. IVF is all about TIMING…so it is key to prevent the mature eggs from releasing and keep your follicles in your ovaries until the extraction procedure.
I was fortunate enough to undergo my IVF treatments during the Thanksgiving holiday so I was not caught up with work and had cleared my holiday calendar so I wasn’t worried about cooking or prepping any meals. I also was lucky to not experience too many symptoms such as nausea, headaches, vomiting, etc. Although I didn’t experience much of the symptoms I did get some bruising at the injection sites (photo below). Additionally, I got extremely bloated by the final day of my treatment cycle as I later learned I had about 30 follicles between 15mm-30mm in size.
As mentioned above, I went through nearly two weeks and in between that time I went to the fertility center about every 3-4 days to get my follicles measured and blood tests to determine when to induce the ‘trigger shot’.
Once you’ve completed your IVF treatment cycle and its been determined that your follicles are at the right size to be retrieved then your doctor will schedule a trigger shot….the actual medication could be a few different medications but my doctor prescribed me with Lupron. Typically the trigger shot contains hCG which helps the ovaries release the mature eggs as part of ovulation.
Side Note: I was instructed to give myself a shot below my belly button for all of the other medicines but the trigger shot for some reason had to be injected in my butt….they even put a big X so my husband knew exactly where to aim LOL…also when giving yourself the injections make sure you switch sides to minimize bruising! I did and I still had some bruising through the process – _ –
In my next post I’ll go more into the details of the extraction procedure + playing the waiting game for your results….