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

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


Melissa Willets

posted in Pregnancy

Over the next 8 weeks, we invite you to come along on an IVF journey, step by intense step. From making the decision to go forward with in-vitro fertilization, to the meds involved and what they’re really like, and to finding out whether this emotional and sometimes painful roller coaster ride yielded the results so dreamed of and prayed for. BabyCenter blogger Melissa Willets will be documenting every detail in a series of blog posts. 

Egg stimulation. Sounds kinda sexy, right? The reality is that the first phase of IVF makes you feel anything but.

When I started the egg stimulation process I had no idea what to expect. My doctor prescribed me a battery of injectable medications, with the goal of stimulating my body to produce as many eggs during one ovulation cycle as possible.

Egg stimulation meds

Typically, just one egg is produced during ovulation. So you can imagine where the body is pushed to during this process.

Things ramp up pretty quickly. The meds, which are hormones, made me feel moody and anxious. Since I was also grieving following a recent traumatic pregnancy loss, um, yeah. I was a mess.

During egg stimulation, doctors monitor you very closely. So you’re going into the office every other morning, early, or every morning, for blood work and ultrasounds. Not only do you feel like an emotional basket case because of the meds, and because you are going through all of this without a guaranteed outcome, but you’re exhausted and vulnerable.

In the afternoon, my nurse would call with the results from my morning monitoring (more on that next week). I’d be instructed whether to keep going on my current meds or add more, depending on how my body was responding.

I’ll tell you how my body felt: bloated. Not just like you ate too much cheese bloated. More like I was afraid I was going to pop, or that I’d swallowed an anvil.

I was instructed to stop exercising. Even bending over became painful. My clothes felt tight. At first it was extremely uncomfortable. Then I worried my body was being pushed too far.

I went back to one mantra to keep me going: “Never give up.”

Keeping spirits up during egg stimulation

After a few long weeks, it was time for my retrieval. I will detail this procedure, which is done under anesthesia, in a future post. For now, I’ll say that although I wasn’t looking forward to going through the procedure, I felt relieved that the egg stimulation process was over.

Now it was time to worry incessantly that after the pain of the injections, and the toll they had taken on my body, and my emotions, retrieval would not be successful. Was this all for nothing?

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

What was your experience with egg stimulation if you have experienced it?

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