IVF Suppression: The Calm Before the Stim Storm

So before you start shootin’ yourself up with IVF meds to turn your reproductive system into a hyperdrive, you’re often initially put on suppressive meds.  When you suppress your system, you shut it down, you calm it, you tell it to take a snooze so that you can then reboot it and turn each of your ovaries into something that is highly trained, efficient, innovative, and overachieving, yet cool and stoic under pressure: i.e. you’re aiming for the Nadia Komaniche of reproductive systems.

Suppression starts with birth control pills – yep, before you know why it sounds like the most asinine idea on the planet – stop trying to get pregnant in order to get pregnant. WTF, right?  Anywhos, you take The Pill so that your ovaries stop ovulating and so that your doctor can take over, time things very very specifically and get them to do tricks like circus animals.  Also, you are often synched up with other patients at your clients for quality control purposes in the lab.  It’s a team effort in many many ways.

I’ve taken the long road on The Pill and only this week did it start to feel long. Too long. You see, all over the internet are ladies in IVF talking about being on The Pill for a week, two weeks, a whopping 3 weeks. The internet can tell you that what you’re currently doing is wrong.  The internet can tell you you’re on the perfect protocol. People on the chatboards can tell you that what you’re doing is good/bad for you.  People can tell you that if you’re on The Pill for too long or too short you’re going to blow the whole deal.

Because everyone on a chat board has complete knowledge of what YOUR RE is trying to accomplish with your body.

Three words for you:




Because if I believed everything the internet and the chat chains told me, I would be rocking back and forth in the corner sucking my thumb and thinking that I was a complete idiot who was in the midst of a fool’s errand.  And yet it’s important to read that stuff – it’s how we education ourselves, have a sense that there are other folks in the same boat, figure out what questions to ask (and I suppose, figure out if your RE is potentially bonkers and full of poo).  The internet is ultimately good, if you keep it in perspective with that delicious tiny granule of sodium.

See – I’ll end up having been on The Pill for 5 weeks total (all active pills).  The first three weeks, just the pill and then these past two I’ve added estradiol and the androderm patch.  When you are eager to get going, five weeks can feel like Mother Effing Forever…..especially when you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a long time already.

But you know what? In the end, it’s what my RE is trying this time and I trust her.  If we have to do it again maybe I’ll have a different protocol, but for this first IVF The Russian wanted my system to have time to calm down, time for my body to absorb a small cyst that had developed from the follistim I took for the April IUI (coinkydink: The Pill is often what’s prescribed to help your body reabsorb small cysts, who knew), and time to add testosterone (androderm) and estrogen (estradiol) – both of which have been shown to be beneficial to older gals before kicking the system into high gear.

In reality, the suppression itself didn’t suck – the amount of time did, because I’m eager to get this action started.  And next week I will.  I’ll take ganirelix Monday and Tuesday, then get all the baseline business knocked out a few days later and then on to stims.

If you had told the 8yr-old version of myself that I’d one day be looking forward with eager anticipation to giving myself shots for a few weeks, my 8yr-old self would have kicked you in the shins, called you a big fat doodie and thrown tropical punch Kool-Aid in your face.

But here I am, counting the days until I can shoot myself up.

What have I become?

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