There is so much I wish my friends knew about IVF. But to be honest, what I wish they knew goes deeper than the actual process itself. I think so many know that it’s a process. They know that we have to take hormones and that it’s expensive. But there is so much more I wish they knew.
What I Wish My Friends Knew About IVF
There is so much waiting.
I wish they could see how even though we want to start “trying” for a baby, we don’t always get to. We have to go through testing, blood work, ultrasounds, and other exams before starting medications. I wish they could see how frustrating it is to have to be told to wait to start your family. I wish they could know how tiring the waiting gets. And how we have to wait to see if our bodies respond to the medications we are given. We have to wait to see if we produce any eggs mature enough to retrieve. We have to wait to see if our eggs fertilize and become embryos. Then, we have to wait to see if any of those are normal.
The fears that we carry are heavy.
The fear of possibly not having any embryos to transfer and the fear of hearing bad news. I wish they knew how scary it is always to be waiting for test results, waiting for doctors to tell you if and when you can move forward with building a family.
Guilt comes with IVF.
I wish they could see how bad I feel when I have to put our savings into procedures that will hopefully help my body reproduce, hopefully helping my body do what most of theirs does for free. I wish they could understand how guilty I feel when all I can think about are my next appointments and my next steps instead of allowing myself to live in the present moment. And I wish they could see how guilty I feel running to appointments and spending most of my time at the doctor’s office rather than not scheduling my life around IVF.
I am jealous.
I wish they could see how jealous I feel when I hear women announce their “accidental” pregnancies or their “we only tried for a month” pregnancies. I wish they could see how ugly I feel for feeling jealousy. I wish they could see how depressed I feel when I see a pregnant woman, even after giving birth to my rainbow baby, because infertility never leaves you. I wish they knew how these things are all triggers that haven’t gone away because infertility and IVF have become a trauma for me.
A failed transfer is a loss.
I wish they knew how attached I am to every single embryo I create and how every time that embryo fails to transfer, it is a loss for me. I wish they knew how hard it is to try again. I wish they could see how many steps we have to take to try to transfer another embryo.
The side-effects of the drugs are awful.
I wish they knew about the night sweats that happen daily while on medications and while coming off of them. I wish they knew how uncomfortable it is to sleep on so many added hormones. How hard it is to feel like myself and how hard it is to give myself shots every single day. I wish they knew how much I hate the bruises I get from these hormones and how frustrating it is to gain weight because of the IVF medications.
IVF can be very depressing.
I wish they knew how depressing it is to have your hair fall out, your skin change and your body feel physical pain daily because of IVF. I wish they could see the tears that stream down my face when I don’t feel like myself most days.
Stress and feelings of inadequacy are constant companions.
I wish they knew how inadequate I feel most days. I wish they knew how many fights my husband and I got into because of IVF. How much pain he also felt and yet how hard it was to communicate about it all. I wish they knew how stressed we were financially and how much this puts stress on our marriage.
I cry—all the time.
I wish they knew that I cried every day. That I laid in the closet in tears after every failed transfer. And that I cried in the shower daily because IVF is hard.
There are no guarantees.
I wish they knew that IVF is not a guarantee. That I don’t get to choose the sex of my baby and that I don’t get to just have twins. I wish they knew that you don’t always have embryos to transfer and that IVF might lead to surrogacy and donor eggs for some. I wish they knew that saying to me, “just adopt” is very hurtful and that “it will happen when you least expect it” makes me feel like IVF won’t work because IVF is planned.
I had to give up so much.
I wish they knew how much IVF took from me. I wish they could see how I lost my smile and how I stopped being me. I wish they could understand that IVF is a full-time job and that I actually stopped teaching yoga because I couldn’t handle going through IVF and teaching at the same time.
IVF can still lead to miscarriages.
I wish they could see how even though I saw a heartbeat, I never graduated from the fertility center that year. Or how my miscarriage lasted months because my hormone levels weren’t coming down. And I wish they knew that IVF didn’t mean we could just try again. Instead, it meant I had to do another egg retrieval since I didn’t have any more viable embryos.
I miss my friends. So much.
I wish they knew that IVF changed me and, in turn, made me push them away. I wish they knew that IVF took them from me because I didn’t know how to be around them without feeling sad and frustrated. I wish they knew all of this so that we could still be close friends.