Type A Survival Guide To Preparing for IVF
By Abby C.
It is no surprise that I have a Type A personality. I grew up with some pretty awesome role models (thanks, Mom and Dad!), and my Dad instilled in me this Type A-ness that I carry with me today.
My dad was always up at the crack of dawn, getting a workout in, heading in for a day at the office, and he still always managed to make it to our sporting events after school and home for dinner. Watching him “do it all” inspired me. In college, my friends dubbed me “Type A + Wild” because I was so organized and determined to get sh*t done but could never miss a Thirsty Thursday or a football tailgate. WE ARE!
I have spent the majority of my life setting goals and planning for how I would achieve them. It makes me feel good. I love planners, wall calendars, lists—anything that allows me to stay organized and feel accomplished. I love to clean and declutter and make sure everything is in its place. All of this can be to a fault at times.
I am lucky that I married someone that is pretty much my opposite. He’s incredibly determined and hard-working, but if a sock is left on the floor, a dish isn’t put away, or the blinds are hanging a little crooked, it’s no big deal. That stuff doesn’t phase him; meanwhile, I go NUTS! Ha.
Now here we are, fully invested in our first IVF Cycle. The ultimate mountain to overcome for anyone, let alone someone with a Type A personality. Someone who is so used to having control, who is used to planning for those next steps, who is used to working hard and reaping the benefits.
The moment our doctor said she was very worried about my AMH at our initial consultation and put IVF on the table, I shed two tears then went into problem-solving mode. I will never forget walking out of the fertility clinic and my husband saying “I’m really surprised at how well you kept it together in there.” Moments later I was basically hyperventilating in the car, but for those few minutes of post-life-altering news, I immediately wanted to know how I could fix this. How could I overcome this diagnosis? What was it going to take?
Walking into IVF knowing that there is no 100% guarantee is by far the scariest decision we have ever made as a couple, but it took us all of three minutes to make it. We knew in our hearts that we needed to give this our best shot. We are putting our faith and trust in the amazing doctors at our clinic and are hoping for the best right now.
Since receiving my diagnosis in July I have become obsessed with gaining some semblance of control in this process. I started by leaning into The Fertility Tribe like it was the only thing holding me up. I do not think I would be where I am today without the immediate and genuine support of each and every woman that is part of this community. So that’s my number one piece of advice in preparing for IVF — Find. Your. Tribe.
IVF Support Groups
It amazes me that fertility is such a taboo — but finding the right support group to join and Instagram accounts to follow really helps. There is bound to be someone out there that has gone through or is going through a journey similar to yours. I’ve seen this phrase so many times, but it’s so true — “Worst Club, Best Members”.
The next thing I did was order several books. The two I found most helpful were It Starts with the Egg by Rebecca Fett and Yes, You Can Get Pregnant by Aimee Raupp. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about my cycle, which supplements would be beneficial for my diagnosis, and each book provided helpful tips for lifestyle and well-being during this process. I found that learning more about myself and my diagnosis was empowering and I felt more in control of what I was getting into with IVF.
Podcasts have been another amazing resource for me. I started to listen to several that helped me to understand not only my diagnosis and what IVF was — but what other women face in their fertility journeys. These podcasts normalized what I was feeling and helped me to prepare for this first IVF cycle. They also opened my eyes to this world of infertility and allowed me to shift my perspective and be more empathetic. My most recommended podcasts currently are Me, Myself, & Millie, Fab Fertility, and The Egg Whisperer.
Fertility Meal Plans
Keeping a routine has always helped me, and I stand by that statement times ten right now. My routine has certainly shifted as I’ve started listening to my body and making sure I take care of myself first these days, but routines always help me feel more in control. I love to plan out my week. I am a notorious meal prep fiend and love writing out an organized grocery list. I will spend a few hours on Saturday or Sunday prepping breakfasts, lunches, and some dinners for the week and always have a plan for our weeknight meals written out on our fridge! For me, this takes the daily struggle of “what should we eat?” out of the equation and helps us eat healthy meals on a regular basis!
A new part of our daily routine is now the nightly IVF injections, so before my medications arrived I ordered a few organizational drawers and a label maker to help me keep track of everything. We try to wind down around 8 PM and get everything set up for a smooth injection process. My husband is doing all of my injections right now, and I am grateful for that. After we wrap up I usually have a little sweet treat and relax with the heating pad until it’s time for bed!
Fertility Meditation & Exercise
Mindfulness and exercise are two things that truly bring me back to my center. Prior to my diagnosis, as I was struggling month to month with anxiety and confusion as to why I wasn’t pregnant yet, I took a 3-day meditation course with a few work colleagues. It taught me the basics of meditation and really opened my eyes to the world of breathing to feel better and reduce stress. I am by no means a meditation guru, but when I incorporate it into my weekly routine I do notice a significant shift in how I feel. Keeping up with walking, yoga, and light lifting exercises (love using the Fit On app) has made me feel as good as I can right now!
Ultimately, you will need to do whatever feels right for you as you prepare for your IVF journey. No one’s journey is the same and it will cripple you if you compare your journey to someone else’s. Leaning into your tribe, setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, and knowing when you need to put ‘you’ first is going to be the best advice that I can give!
For someone who was so used to having control, giving it up has been a huge hurdle that I have had to overcome on this journey. But realizing that I do not need to release all control to IVF has helped me work through each day. Always remember: You are enough. You are brave. You are strong!
Abby C. is 32 years old and was recently diagnosed with Diminished Ovarian Reserve. She is currently undergoing her first IVF cycle. Abby has been married to her husband for 4 years. They live in Northern Virginia and have two cats, Hall and Oates! Abby is an Elementary School Administrator and her dream is to be an Elementary School Principal. She loves to read, clean, and maintain a healthy body and mind. She is ready and eager to become a Mom and to see her husband become a Dad.