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My IVF journey part 11: What happens after IVF

My IVF journey part 11: What happens after IVF


Melissa Willets

posted in Pregnancy

Throughout my IVF journey, I assumed once I got a positive pregnancy test result, a huge weight would be lifted off my shoulders. A sense of peace would come over me, and I’d know deep inside that all the pain and worry I’d endured was worth it.

To a certain extent, those assumptions were true. But the day I found out my IVF cycle was successful, was hardly the end of my journey. In some ways, it was only the beginning.

Now, I faced a new set of doubts and fears. This probably had a lot to do with having recently lost a pregnancy late in my second trimester, after traumatic and shocking events I still struggle to accept.

But anyone who has endured IVF, did so because being pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, produced intense suffering. Bottom line: the road to baby hasn’t been easy if you are willing to inject yourself with hormones for months, without a guaranteed outcome. I have to believe those of us who are lucky enough to get pregnant have those fears about another loss of some kind in common.

Meanwhile, I required hormone injections for another month after my successful transfer cycle. I understood my growing baby needed that progesterone, but let me tell you, facing huge needles every night was still no picnic.

After IVF

To help me get through the shots, I’d clutch a onesie we purchased for our baby the day we got our good news. Other nights I looked at an ultrasound picture, as I braced my body for that all-too-familiar pinch.

I also created a countdown calendar to help me focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. I’d gleefully cross off each day with a big “X” the instant my husband finished administering my injection.

After my final injection, again, I assumed I’d feel hugely relieved. Instead, a heavy sadness blanketed my heart, as I reflected upon everything we’d been through to get to this point.

That’s the thing about IVF: how you are going to feel at any step along the way is unpredictable. One of the most shocking moments was when I was discharged from my doctor’s office. Instead of jumping for joy, I cried the whole way home for reasons I still don’t understand.

In the end, I’m so grateful IVF exists, and that we did it, because I was able to conceive a child who won’t be affected by the crushing genetic issues our sweet angel baby suffered from. But the process turned out to be far more physically and emotionally grueling than I ever could have imagined.

Here’s what I learned after all of it: I am so much stronger than I thought I was. If I can do this, taking other risks aren’t so daunting. Not all of them will pay off. Either way, I have so much more faith in myself after IVF.

Most importantly, I have so much respect for anyone who has endured a loss, and has the courage to not give up on their baby dreams. Especially if it means their journeys take a completely unexpected path, as mine did, toward IVF. And they come out on the other side, no matter the outcome, and keep on going.

Read more about my IVF journey:

My IVF journey part 1: Saying yes to help getting pregnant

My IVF journey part 2: 5 things you must commit to, fully

My IVF journey part 3: What the injections are really like

My IVF journey part 4: What happens to the body during egg stimulation

My IVF journey part 5: The cold reality of morning monitoring

My IVF journey part 6: All about egg retrieval day

My IVF journey part 7: The agony of waiting for results

My IVF journey part 8: Making it to the transfer cycle (not everyone does)

My IVF journey part 9: Embryo transfer day – it doesn’t get any realer than this

My IVF journey part 10: Waiting for pregnancy test results

Photos: Melissa Willets

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