Best of luck!
Just want to wish you well and offer some support. IVF can be stressful but there are things you can do to make the ride a bit easier. Here are my tips…feel free to ask any questions and make sure to take care of yourself!
[B]Understand Your Treatment[/B]
The unknown is scary and feeling like you are in the dark can add greatly to the stress of an IVF cycle. Before you begin your cycle, make an effort to understand your diagnosis and your treatment plan. Ask your doctor to explain the goals and phases of treatment and the potential responses that you may have to medications and procedures. Having a better understanding of the entire process is crucial to managing the emotional ups and downs that many patients experience.
Create a cycle management center. Keep all your important phone numbers, instructions and cycle documentation in one place so when you need something you will know where to look for it. Preliminary research can simplify your cycle and help to reduce stress. Find out as much as you can about cycle logistics, expenses and any insurance coverage you may have. Research your options for monitoring facilities, testing locations, pharmacies and complementary therapies so you can save time, money and headaches when the need arises. If this feels overwhelming, get your partner involved by putting them in charge of researching and organizing your options.
[B]Schedule Time for Change[/B]
IVF cycles follow a basic timeline but each cycle is unique and will evolve over time so it helps to get into a flexible mindset before you begin. Because each cycle step hinges on the next, one change can have a ripple effect that plays havoc on your emotions and on your schedule. Have a few back up plans in place if you think you will need short notice coverage at work or at home, and be ready to alter your plans for that extra monitoring day or unexpected early transfer.
[B]Be Ready to Wait[/B]
IVF cycles involve lots of waiting. You wait for the cycle to start, you wait for appointments, instructions, test results, procedural results and of course you wait for the big news. Make a list activities that you can engage in to fill up these waiting periods. Plan activities of varying length that reflect your personality and are based on your possible moods so you will have lots of options when time seems to be standing still.
[B]Consider Your Stress Threshold[/B]
Whether it is a tough family situation, a difficult friend or a big presentation at work, we all have certain situations that are more stressful than others. If possible, consider re-scheduling any high stress events during your cycle. This is especially important during your first cycle or if you are using a new medication or protocol, and you can’t be exactly sure how things will affect you. The benefits of having a calm and happy cycle may be enough to make it worthwhile to skip a few events or wait a month for treatment.
[B]Plan A Support Network [/B]
The IVF process is not easy and having access to your own personal support network can be a lifesaver when you are faced with a small bump in the road or a larger emotional or physical crisis. Your support network can include organizations, private therapy, support groups, friends, books, complementary therapies and more. Anything that can help you cope, learn, celebrate, vent, decide, relax or accept is a support resource. Resources should be about quality, not quantity but as you plan a support network you may want to give yourself a few options because an IVF cycle comes with many moods and as your mood changes your needs may too.
[B]Prepare for Your Results[/B]
Having a results day plan can serve to alleviate some of the anxiety and stress that may be associated with the close of your cycle. You should always be cautiously optimistic, but it is equally important to plan for both good and bad news. Take the time to understand testing and notification procedures and make a plan for results day that involves being able to access a safe space and comforting surroundings should you need them. Outline specific steps to take based on a negative or positive outcome and you will have a basic guide to get you through should you need one.