IVF: What I did in Phase Two {STIMS}

I don’t know about you but I like knowing what’s coming. I typically don’t like surprises and I LOVE biographies. I am so appreciative of the couples who are writing posts about what they experienced in the various phases of IVF, IUI, and other infertility facets. I wanted to share my own insight of what to expect when you’re stimming… practical advice and symptoms check.

If you aren’t going through any treatments, then you can blow right past this post. It’s a long one with lots of detail that may bore you. 🙂 There. I’ve warned you.

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PRACTICAL ADVICE

I had a very busy schedule during that phase. I really tried to take it easy and keep my obligations at bay but I couldn’t get rid of some of them. Regardless of the schedule, I tried to do as much as I could to support what my body was going through. Below is a list of a few things I implemented during this phase. Some were doctor prescribed and some were common sense & instinct.

  1. LEARN TO SAY NO! Don’t feel bad about saying no. The sad reality is that people will try to guilt trip you into pushing yourself. Doing so is the selfishness in them. I mean hello? Don’t they realize what you’re going through??? You may feel bad about standing your ground but believe me you’ll need to. I tried to keep my schedule clear. For the first half of this phase, I still ran my beef deliveries, went to church, attended my scheduled meetings, did my housework & chores, etc. But by Day 6 of the stims, I made sure my schedule was as clear as possible. Aside from making dinner, keeping the house picked up, going to the grocery store, blog writing, church, etc. I didn’t do much, especially physically (definitely no beef deliveries or farm work).
  2. EXERCISE! On a normal basis I run and strength train. As soon as the stims started, I stopped running. I only walked enough to get my heart rate up. But, no jagged movements. I did this throughout the whole phase as much as I wanted. As far as strength training, the first half of the phase I simply lowered my weights. The second half (day 5 and on) I didn’t do anything. I basically didn’t give my body an opportunity to twist or squish my ovaries. I may be too cautious here but I wanted to be safe. I will warn you though your belly will be sore. Just sitting up from the lying down position was painful. 🙁
  3. PROBIOTICS, PROBIOTICS, PROBIOTICS! Eat your sauerkraut! I believe it was a Divine appointment for me to attend this fermenting/probiotics class right before starting the stims. In Phase One, we both struggled with our digestive systems because of the antibiotics and this phase was no different for me. Because 80% of our immune system is in our gut, I felt it important to focus on keeping that part of my body in good health. My reproductive system was already going through so much and a lot of my body’s energy was going to support it. So, I felt the need to support my gut in the meantime. In the morning, I added milk kefir to my protein shake. Not to be TMI, but that really helped keep me regular. The stims already make you feel bloated and backed up. This ensured that this part of me wouldn’t be another problem. I also regularly ate homemade sauerkraut and drank water kefir. So thankful for that class!
  4. WATER, WATER, WATER! Stay hydrated for sure! Drink ample water! Yes, you will pee a lot but do it.
  5. A word to the husbands – BE KIND & COMPASSIONATE! If you have a wife that holds a lot of weight in the home or in your life, be ready that she won’t be doing much during this phase. She doesn’t feel well, she DOES NOT feel sexy in fact she feels hideous, she may not feel like cooking dinner, the clothes may not get washed, folded, and they def will not be put away 😬. But remember this is only for a short season. Support her, love her, treat her, offer to help make dinner, hug her, kiss her, ask her what she needs, surprise her, do things with her, encourage her, assure her. She’s going through a lot not just emotionally but so much physically.
  6. Ladies, in relation to the above, be patient with your man. He doesn’t know what you’re going through. Work with him and teach him (kindly & softly). To ready your household for the stims, I recommend trying to get as much done before hand. So, getting all of the laundry done the couple of days before you start, creating some freezer meals or crockpot meals, getting the bills done, etc. Handling this stuff ahead of time, will free your time up for when you find yourself sleepy… so very sleepy… and nauseous… and with a migraine…
  7. Keep your unrefrigerated meds and supplies in a tote or basket. It keeps everything in one place and easy to carry around. IMG_4171
  8. Throughout your monitoring ultrasound appointments, ask our RE for some pics! Just one or two at each appointment. It’s really cool to see the progression of your follicle growth side by side, have some keepsakes, and have something to show your support group. Plus, I’ve seen some really neat things to do with them on Pinterest. IMG_4176Also, keep your trash box of syringes, vials, etc. Again, look through Pinterest for ways to use them in your pregnancy announcement. I personally have other ways I’ll be doing my announcement but I will be using my “trash” for embryo transfer graphics. Really, check Pinterest out.

STIMS SYMPTOMS!

I also wanted to give you guys a run down of the day by day symptoms that I experienced. Please remember our bodies are different. My body’s reactions may not look like yours. But, I do find it helpful to generally know what to expect and what others went through. So, below is what I recorded each day for symptoms. They didn’t necessarily happen all at once but just throughout the 24 hours of that day.

Sunday 6pm First Injections: We injected our first dose of meds. Two injections total. One was Gonal-F (at 150). The other was Menopur (1cc of liquid and two vials of the powder). Almost immediately I had headaches. 😣 We administered the injections in the outer thigh and I was a bit sore afterwards. The Menopur burned a lot today.

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First night doing stims… Taking it slow since we really and truly don’t know what we’re doing… 🙂

Monday Stims Day One:  After getting over the initial nervousness of having Brooks stabbing me 🗡 last night, headaches and sleepiness were the two biggest obstacles for the day. Tonight we injected the meds into the “smiley” of my abdomen and felt NO PAIN, not even the Menopur! I recommend doing them in your abdomen especially if you have some fat there.

Tuesday Stims Day Two: One REALLY COOL thing that happened is I felt fluttering in my ovaries! 💓 So weird. I also experienced a burning sensation in both of them. Feeling pretty strong, though. I slept like a rock last night! Not to sound arrogant but it’s almost like “this is a piece of cake!”. It’s still very early, so I know this isn’t all there is to it. All day headaches, but lots of energy and hope.

Wed Stims Day Three: I’m feeling a little more sluggish today. My schedule has been super busy all week so that may be some of it.  As always, I had headaches all daaaayy. Also, some cramping and feeling like the bloating is coming. 🐡

Thursday Stims Day Four: OH MY GOODNESS, today has been the worst yet! The injections themselves are remaining pain-free, thankfully. But, I am having a lot of symptoms today. I’m very sleepy – so much so I literally don’t feel I can keep my eyes open.

I’m also experiencing some moodiness. I can’t tell if it’s the drugs, stress from my busy schedule, the sleepiness, or maybe a combo of all of them? I’m def well aware of the fatigue induced mood swings and I hurt for Brooks. I hope he knows it was not of my heart!

Lots of cramping/burning and gurgling feelings in my ovaries. Starting to feel a bit more bloated although my pants are still fitting the same.

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First ultrasound after starting stims. This was after 4 sets of injections.

It was, also, our first ultrasound day after beginning the stims. Eggs are looking great and measuring between 8-11mm. Doc thinks another 5 days of stims are on tap for sure. No dosage increases but wants to start the Cetrotide on Saturday.

Friday Stims Day Five: I didn’t want to wake up this morning. Please just let me sleep in… till like tomorrow morning. 😴 Cramps, headaches, slight bloating. By the end of the day, I felt my abdomen getting tighter. Overall felt a lot of “activity” going on in my ovaries.

Saturday Stims Day Six: As usual, I woke up feeling sick only this time those sick feelings didn’t go away. I progressively felt under the weather and sick to my stomach all day. Lots of cramps, burning, and a headache.

Today was the first day that I felt a definitive need to lay off of anything physical. My abdomen was sore, swollen and just slight movements made it feel jostled. Seriously, when I walked I felt my ovaries moving around. At least seemingly so. I happened to be on my feet for most of the morning and I definitely felt the ramifications of the activity.

Another thing I noticed was that any form of abdominal usage was painful. So for example, using my core to sit up out of bed or on the couch was painful. I am starting to have to use my arms more to support my movements.

Also, this morning I found myself to be 2 lbs heavier and my stomach is starting to distend.

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Added Cetrotide to the mix… 3 shots now!

Added Cetrotide to my regimen tonight. For me, it itches! The shot didn’t hurt but as expected my abdomen was working and responding to all of the dosages throughout the evening.

Sunday Stims Day Seven: It was SO great to wake up and not feel sick today! But, it was short-lived. By the time I got back from church I was feeling sick. A little nap did me good. Abdomen continuing to stretch and puff out. Only a very slight, short-lived headache! Yay! But very, very sleepy.

Monday Stims Day Eight: I felt so good today! No headaches, no nausea, no fatigue. I had a ton of energy! Still had cramps and bloating but nothing too bad. My belly continues to distend and its most poochy in the evenings. My. Boobs. HURT! OUCH! 😣

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Ultrasound on Stims Day 8! Say hello to my: “I’m trying to hold this pic, align my camera, push the button, avoid lighting from the sun, and smile at the same time while not looking too narcissistic in the Kroger parking lot taking a selfie” face… 🙃

Also, it was another ultrasound day. Measurements are at 13-16mm at this point. Doc says my body’s response to the meds is “above average”. Yay! He is estimating roughly 20 useable eggs at retrieval time.

Tuesday Stims Day Nine: No headaches again today. Wahoo! Cramping and general feelings of being under the weather. I feel heavy in my abdomen like I’m definitely carrying something around… fluid and follicles! My. Boobs. HURT! And I had KA-RAVINGS LIKE KA-RAZY! Had to get me some Chuy’s today. Thanks to Brooks & his posse for helping me satisfy that need. 😎 #OnlyGirlInTheBoysClubToday

Look at those huge follicles! Last ultrasound before the egg retrieval.
Look at those huge follicles! Last ultrasound before the egg retrieval.

Ultrasound day again. Follicles are measuring between 16-22!!! Whoa! No wonder my abdomen is not feeling well. Doc says we are ready to go. Egg retrieval will be on Thursday morning which means tonight will be trigger time! We were prescribed Lupron for our trigger drug. It was administered with no pain.

Other notables:

  • Many folks find the shots to be very painful. Thankfully, I didn’t. I had a few times where some of them burned but that only happened 2 or 3 times.
  • Also, I was told they will cause bruising. I didn’t have too much of that; only 2 or 3 small ones.
  • Cramping everyday. Expect it.
  • Initially in this process, I woke up feeling sick, like I had the flu, but those feelings were gone by mid morning. Then, on Saturday that pattern changed.

Additional Links:

IVF: An Intro & First Steps

IVF: What I did in Phase One {BCP & Antibiotics}

IVF: Phase Three {Egg Retrieval}

Finding JOY in Miscarriage

So, How Much DOES Infertility Cost?

Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor! Consult your own physician before starting any new regimens (medicine, food, exercise, and the like). What was described above is my personal account of the IVF procedure. Your own experiences may look different (and likely will). This is to be used as a simple example & guideline for one woman’s procedure. Happy IVFing!

4 thoughts on “IVF: What I did in Phase Two {STIMS}

  • July 12, 2016 at 4:13 AM
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    Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m on day 3 of stims and it sounds like I am on the exact same protocol as you! It’s good to know what to expect. So far, I haven’t had any headaches or negative side effects, but I also haven’t felt any action in my ovaries yet, which worries me a bit.

    Reply
    • July 12, 2016 at 8:40 PM
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      It took some time for me to feel really really different. I had a pretty good experience with IVF. Only had a couple bad moments. Stay positive and take it one day at a time!

      Reply
  • May 18, 2016 at 11:54 PM
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    Thank you so much for sharing so openly. We’re doing IVF in September or October so this info is opening my eyes to the whole process on a much easier to understand level than what the doctor said. Also, this makes me know I want to journal it like this when my time comes!

    Reply
    • May 19, 2016 at 5:48 PM
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      Definitely, definitely, definitely journal it and get those pics! So glad you are going to be doing IVF. I know there’s a lot of scary info out there and I think some folks tend to dramatize it a bit. At least for me, the process hasn’t been too bad. It’s a lot of new territory for us (injections, planning our course, etc.) but overall with most of it behind us we are finding it’s not too bad.

      I am so glad that you are enjoying the posts and find them helpful! I will be doing an egg retrieval post soon. I will also be doing a transfer post however we are keeping the timing of the transfer a secret. So, that one may be a while before it gets posted.

      Be blessed in your IVF journey! <3

      Reply

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