An Insider’s Guide to Surviving Infertility: What You Really Need

By Shelley Skuster

Shelley works in partnership with First Response to share her pregnancy stories. This story was originally featured on her blog, Shelley Writes

I remember walking out of the Infertility Clinic in Omaha, Nebraska, eight years ago armed with syringes, a red “Sharps” container and prescriptions for injectable medications to stab in my thigh and butt for two weeks.

The nurse handed me a detailed calendar with our cycle for the month.

"This should be everything you need!" she said optimistically as she walked my husband and me out the door.

Except it wasn’t.

While the medications, scheduled ultrasounds and blood draws were important, they weren’t everything we needed.

In fact, we needed a lot more to get us through the following year.

While I’m no medical expert, I have walked the long road of infertility and come out stronger on the other side. Based on my experiences, here’s what I believe every woman really needs to survive their infertility journey:

1. A Stash of First Response Early Result Pregnancy Tests

stash of first response 

The First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test is the only brand that can tell whether you’re pregnant up to six days before your missed period. ALLELUIA for those of us self-proclaimed POAS (pee-on-a-stick) addicts.

Bonus: You don’t have to wait to use the first morning urine! While your first morning urine contains the highest level of hCG (pregnancy hormone), you don’t have to wait until morning to test.

Stock your cupboards, ladies!

2. A Support Group


Surrounding yourself with other women in the battle against infertility is one of the best things you can do to maintain your sanity.

Need a pep talk before an upcoming baby shower or gender reveal party? Or some validation from someone who can relate to the discomfort in a hysterosalpingogram?

Ask the staff at your infertility clinic for a referral to a local support group or head to to find local infertility warriors to connect with.

3. Cute Socks

Let’s face it. From ultrasounds to inseminations and transfer days, you’re feet are going to be in stirrups A LOT.

Get yourself a variety of comfy socks like this positive-affirming pair from Lottie & Co., an Etsy shop with swag designed especially for women trying to conceive.

4. New pajamas

There’s nothing better for days of bedrest than a new set of comfy pajamas.

While you’re picking out your favorite PJs, snag yourself a pair of these. Your feet will love you.

5. Tissues

You’ll appreciate having tissues close-by. After all, the hormone-induced roller coaster of infertility may cause uncontrollable, random episodes of weeping.

6. A New Calendar

A New calendar

Start your infertility journey by picking out a new calendar or personal organizer. Two weeks of stimming, multiple blood draws, ultrasounds and procedures can be a chaotic schedule to follow. Stay organized with a personal planner and “X” off the dates during the two-week-wait!

7. Heating Pads

Nothing soothes achy, bloated stomachs better than a heating pad. It’s nice to have a few on hand, especially after specific procedures (like embryo transfers) to keep that uterus warm.

Bonus: Heating pads can be used after infertility treatments are over! In fact, this one is still used regularly in our house.

8. Good Books

Books can offer some of the best encouragement during your infertility journey. You can get lost in a chapter while sitting in the waiting room waiting for a blood draw or lounging on the couch with your feet up for a second day of bedrest. A good book is a great way to ease your mind about the journey you’re on.

The Universe Has Your Back | Gabreielle Bernstein
Laughing is Conceivable | Lori Shandle-Fox
How to Make Love to a Plastic Cup | Greg Wolfe
Every Drunken Cheerleader: Why Not Me | Kristine Waits
Every Bitter Thing is Sweet | Sara Hagerty
Love Warrior | Glennon Doyle Melton

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