What IVF Is Really Like: A Day in the Life

lori shandle fox ivf really like

Women dealing with infertility always say that it feels like nobody around us really understands what we go through on a daily basis. So, I’ve documented my day (and possibly yours, too) here. Feel free to share it or, even better, print it out and wave it in the faces of family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, random passersby, and any other members of the clueless masses in your life.

7:00 a.m.: Get up, go into the bathroom, pee on a pregnancy test stick, take a shower, brush my teeth, get dressed. Yes, I’ve started making pregnancy tests a regular part of my morning routine. Call it a habit. (“Obsession” and “addiction” sound a little negative.) I wouldn’t be surprised if I find out that I am pregnant and still take the test every morning, including the day I get wheeled into the delivery room—just to be sure. I also wouldn’t be surprised if there is a 12-step program in my postpartum future.

7:20: Brush my hair and put on makeup so the IVF nurse won’t think I’ve deteriorated as much as I have.

7:28: Don’t eat breakfast. Knowing that I’ll go through the drive-thru after my appointment gives me something to look forward to.

7:29: Remember to bring a book. I have been to the doctor’s office already twice this week. I’ve already read the current People magazine cover to cover. I know who’s getting married, who split up and, oh yeah…who’s pregnant…again. And, although it was a surprise, she is “over the moon.” “Beyond thrilled.” Yay. That makes one of you.

(Depending on if I’m in a glass half-full or half-empty mood, I think: “That’s at least one perk of coming to the doctor’s office so often. I haven’t had to buy a magazine in two years!” Or: “Every week I get to read a brand-new People magazine. So far, a six-month subscription has only cost me $28,000.”)

8:06: Have an incident while I’m driving to the doctor’s office, which shall not be documented here, that includes a slow driver and my hand signals that, to the best of my knowledge, are not approved by the National Association of the Deaf nor the Department of Motor Vehicles. You’ll just have to watch the news like everyone else. I’ll just say that it wasn’t my fault. There should be a law. Angry, frustrated, infertile women hopped up on hormones shouldn’t be allowed to drive themselves to their appointments. There should be free transportation provided, like there is for drunk people on New Year’s Eve.

8:35: Waiting to be called in for my “8:15” appointment, check my phone. Nothing interesting. The woman next to me is on her phone. Let me see if she has anything interesting on hers.

Called in to give blood. There is a row of us with outstretched arms, sitting in these little chairs that have the little table that folds down in front of you trapping you in the seat.8:38: Called in to give blood. There is a row of us with outstretched arms, sitting in these little chairs that have the little table that folds down in front of you trapping you in the seat. Whew! I didn’t get Rose. Sweet girl but she couldn’t find a vein to save her life. Somehow my veins only roll on Rose. At least once a week, she’ll approach me and I’ll bat my eyelashes playfully:

“That’s okay. I’ll wait for Natalie. Tee hee. Tee hee.”

It doesn’t have to be Natalie. I could just as easily say: “I’ll wait for Debra…or Justine…or Claire…or the receptionist…or the cleaning lady…anybody but you.” I don’t want to hurt Rose’s feelings but I don’t want to walk out looking like an IV drug user even more. Please. One addiction at a time. I already have the pregnancy-test thing…and maybe a drive-thru-breakfast thing.

8:44: I leave the leeching room with a cotton ball stuck to the crease of my arm secured with a piece of masking tape. I mean, geez, not even a knock-off, store-brand crummy bandage. I’ve paid you a zillion dollars. You should be throwing authentic $4.91-for-a-box-of-20 Band-Aids at me. Maybe something in a nice Hello Kitty?

8:47: I move over to the examination room for my “8:15” appointment. I change into my backless gown. Celebrities are always wearing backless gowns in People magazine. How come they never look like this? And why, oh, why did I put on pantyhose this morning? What a rookie mistake.

8:54: The doctor comes in for my “8:15” appointment. He apologizes for keeping me waiting proclaiming he’s “not really a morning person.” I greet him naked from the waist down with my feet in stirrups. My husband should be so lucky.

9:46: After surviving another doctor’s appointment and taking my victory lap through the drive-thru, I arrive at work. Coworker asks me in front of 12 other coworkers how my appointment went and more specifically:

“Are you pregnant yet?!”
I shoot her a look.
She responds: “Oh no, was that supposed to be a secret?”
This reminds her to then ask me, with everyone still there: “Are you coming to Melissa’s baby shower? You didn’t RSVP.”
To which I respond: “Yes, I did. I RSVPed at 8:06 this morning to a slow-driving woman in a Chevy van. Why don’t you go ask her what I said?”

6:30 p.m.: Arrive home. My husband and I have a romantic alcohol-free, caffeine-free meal of leafy greens, lean meats, and seeds, but before filling my stomach on the inside, I pinch my fast food fat and give myself a subcutaneous injection on the outside. Then, for dessert, my husband puts alcohol and ice on my butt and gives me an injection back there.

9:26: Have sex with my husband because one of the doctors told me to.  Make sure the alarm is set for 7 a.m.

[Next day] 7 a.m.: Wash, rinse, repeat.

Lori Shandle-Fox

Lori Shandle-Fox

Lori Shandle-Fox is a humor writer and IUI / IVF /FET survivor. Her bits and pieces have appeared in: The Washington Post, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and on GrokNation.com and NPR. Her book, "Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility" is recommended by renowned fertility professionals around the US and abroad. For more, find Lori at laughingisconceivable.com 

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