Preparing for IVF / IUI / ICSI – Practically and Physically
Having been through four rounds of fertility treatment and two laparoscopies I have compiled a list of resources for you. While this one touches on preparing mentally ‘Preparing for IVF / IUI / ICSI – Emotionally & Energetically’ blog will be coming up soon. Join mailing list to make sure you get it.
Ps No affiliation to any authors or businesses mentioned here but the Amazon links do go through Smile which collects a charity donation for The Fertility Network Uk at no extra cost to you.
Get yourself clued up to what exactly is involved. I recommend this Fertility Network UK factsheet and official medical websites for the basics and ask your hospital for as much information as possible as all hospitals seem to have slightly different protocol. Note that what someone on a forum is experiencing may not be your treatment plan/experience.
Kate Brian’s book The Complete Guide to IVF is fab.
This book trails the entire IVF journey comprehensively and insightfully. It provides information in an accurate and balanced manner and the views it projects are shared by many couples and specialists alike. Couples who are about to embark on or already going through an IVF cycle will have in this book a useful companion at every step of the way. (Dr Tarek El-Toukhy, Honorary Lecturer in Reproductive Medicine, Guy’s & St Thomas’)
As is This is IVF. Have you recently found out you’ll need fertility treatment to get pregnant? Are you currently preparing to do an IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) cycle? Or maybe you’ve already had unsuccessful fertility treatment and you’re about to start another round. I’m so sorry that you’re having to look to science to help you to have, or increase, your family. It’s a shock and also very scary. I know, I’ve been there too. It’s natural to be excited and, at the same time, anxious and scared. But you are not alone.
Wouldn’t it be helpful and supportive to read honest, real-life experiences from those who have already gone through fertility treatments, such as IUI (intra uterine insemination) and IVF and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection)? All our stories maybe different, but one thing’s for sure, we all have the same goal; to get pregnant and to bring our baby home. This is IVF and other fertility treatments is a must-have read, especially if this is your first cycle. But it will still help you if you are on cycle number two, three or four.
Take one step at a time
Each stage of IVF should be celebrated as you “jump through the hoops” as my hubby says. Each injection is taking you one step closer on your family building journey. Be proud of yourself for completing each step. Also to be remembered if treatment does not succeed. Try not to view any treatment as a failure, there is much you can learn, obviously easier said than done. Practising Mindfulness and CBT can help with this.
Overcoming any fear of needles
This was a biggy for me and EFT tapping helped tremendously. You can learn how to do this technique here: EFT Tapping for Coping with Infertility and Enhancing Fertility
I recommend tapping with statements such as:
“Even though I have a fear of needles I love and accept myself anyway.”
“Even though it is not fair that I have to do injections in order to get pregnant, I completely forgive and accept myself anyway.”
“Even though I absolutely hate injections, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
If you are interested in learning more about using EFT then consider joining The Embrace Fertility Method online course which includes full library of tap along EFT videos.
I experimented with using numbing cream on my belly before doing injections, you can buy this from your local chemist. It means you cannot feel the needle going in. The same can be achieved by an ice cube on your belly for 10 minutes. I recommend putting the ice cube in a sandwich bag so cold water does not run down your belly!
Get your partner involved
My husband prepared and did my injections for me. I felt happier knowing that he was in charge and I liked the fact that he was involved in the process. If you don’t have a partner maybe ask a friend to support you physically or be there on the phone chatting to you.
Every evening after my injection I had dairy free chocolate ice cream as a reward. This was been so successful that when ever I thought ‘injection’ my mind thought ‘ice cream’! We would also watch an episode of one of our favourite comedies to get us laughing.
My down-regulation was injections first time round and sniffers the second (it depends on your hospital/clinic). I advise you have a glass of water ready following inhalation, oh and a piece of chocolate!
Assume and Affirm
Once you understand all the risks and success rates etc assume the best in a relaxed way, i.e. not demanding that it will work just being open to the possibility that it may work. This could be it! Again easier said than done, but I am a big fan of affirmations and find the following helped me:
“My body is responding perfectly to all medications.”
“My body loves these new hormones!”
“I am feeling strong, calm and confident.”
“Every day I am a step closer to meeting my baby.”
“I can do this! I am doing this!”
“This too shall pass.”
A warning note on affirmations/positive thinking, if you are stating an affirmation that makes you feel in any way anxious, upset or angry, then stop using it! For example stating “I am pregnant now” or “This IVF cycle will work” are unlikely to make you feel empowered if at the same time you are feeling anxious and desperate for it to work. Affirmations should make you feel excited, empowered and above all happy. A good starting point is:
“I wonder if I will get pregnant this cycle.”
Which opens you up to the possibility of it working and therefore can allow you to feel excited or:
“When I am pregnant I will feel…………”
Insert your own feelings and really revel in what that will feel like. For more on affirmations see Are you willing to love your future child unconditionally?
Watch these fab animations to help you visualise the process of conception and implantation.
Egg Collection Packing list
Originally written for my laparoscopy but helpful for egg collection too. Packing list.
The two week wait
The IVF 2 week wait is often referred to as a rollercoaster ride of extreme highs and extreme lows, add in the queueing, extended waiting times, the nausea and the fact that you can quite possibly end up back exactly where you started and I think they have it spot on. Read about my experience.
Can hypnosis increase success rates of IVF?
Yes it appears so. The Soroka medical Centre in Israel looked at the impact of hypnosis on 185 women undergoing IVF. It found that 28% of the women who had been hypnotised became pregnant compared to just 14% who had not. Check out my blog ‘Can hypnosis get you pregnant?’ and check out the Embrace Bundle which includes my popular hypnosis tracks.
Support during IVF
Anxiety, overwhelm, anger, jealousy, depression and exhaustion. Just a few of the words my clients use to describe the repercussions of infertility.
Calm, understood, clarity, comfort, hopeful are used by the end of our sessions. I offer one-to-one fertility coaching and therapy via Skype and Zoom so work with clients all over the globe. I also offer sessions from my home in South Oxfordshire. To find out more see 1 to 1 support.
3 Quick and Easy Ways to Stress Less & Enhance Fertility
Freebies for you www.embracefertility.co.uk/start-here
Over to you
What change are you going to make today to help you be less stressed and happier on your journey to motherhood? Add a comment below or join the conversation in our online support community when you join my mailing list.
The Embrace Fertility Podcast
Go check it out the “Embrace Fertility” Podcast on your favourite podcast player – search for ‘Embrace Fertility’ or listen here.
Disclaimer: I am not medically trained and all information posted is purely to share personal experiences and to inspire. If you choose to make use of any of the information shared you agree to take full responsibility for your own well-being.