IUIs and you have now reached a crossroads. Coming to terms with what lies ahead is very daunting. You thought you had already mustered up all the courage in the world to make an appointment at an RE's office, show up with your partner, get tested and begrudgingly wear your badge of honor in the IF club.
After your first IUI, you had reached a level of comfort and ease -- knowing your way around the clinic, the nurses, the protocol -- and you were still able to take a big gulp of Hope every day along with your Clomid. Before you knew it, one cycle after another had eaten away at your spirit (or worse, you had a BFP but went through a miscarriage) and now, you are staring at yourself in the mirror wondering if you can truly accept becoming an IVFer. Sure, the title is not stamped on your forehead, but it's like that unrelenting zit that you think everyone notices but no one talks about -- you know it's there and that's all that matters.
Going through IVF is demanding on all aspects of your life -- your body, your emotions, your wallet -- so it takes a certain kind of spirit and strength to get through it. You cannot underestimate the importance of the support system you are going to need in order to cope. This is where you and your partner have to be on the same page. And while you will physically be carrying the heavier load of this burden (your stomach will turn into a pincushion, your arms will put any heroin addict to shame, oh and the raging hormones will have you seeing red all day!), he has just as much vested in each cycle as you do, so don't undermine his feelings. You need his love, strength and care. Especially if at the end of the month you are back to square one, you're going to want your rock to prop you up.
Next comes your friends (and/or family); whether they are real life friends or the virtual ones (you'll need some of both), you will want someone to speak to in your moments of fear and anxiety. Trust me, there will be many instances when you will need to be listened to and comforted. There are countless blogs and chat rooms, filled with women who are in your shoes (or even better, veterans who have invaluable advice). So reach out to them.
Like a black hole, IVF will suck anything and everything out of you. It is very easy to lose yourself in it and let it control your life. It certainly swallowed me whole, but I did eventually get to a turning point where I physically forced myself to come out of my cave of misery and live again. A big part of it was to see a therapist (mine was the wonderful Jen, my only real life IF sounding board). I encourage you to make time to speak to someone once a week. Having that time allotted to finally get out of my own head was always an unexpected relief. I would also urge you to do something that is non-IVF related during your cycle (working like mad does not count!). Being able to focus, if only for an hour, on something that makes you happy, takes your mind off, and reminds you of who you were before IF crashed into your life. Cook, bake, paint, garden, read... Whatever it takes to hold on to who you were and still are under the dark cloud of IF.
While going through the motions of your first (hopefully, only) IVF cycle, try to remember that IVF is not a last resort; it is a means to an end -- just a long and traitorous journey before you reach the finish line.