Today I took my first birth control pill in the cycle leading up to our first IVF procedure.

I debated long and hard whether or not to start a blog to document our adventures. There are several reasons why we are being selective in whom we choose to tell about our infertility journey, and I was reluctant to put anything on the internet that could lead back to me or my husband in real life. (A month after starting my current job, my director mentioned that he’d found my other blog after my interview. What a relief that the most scandalous details he could get from that are the specifics on how I fudged the toes on the socks I knit for my mother-in-law one Christmas.)

However, so far in this journey, I have taken vast comfort in reading the blogs of other women who are going through this mess ahead of me. Among other things, they are a lifeline of information, sending along word to help others navigate this ridiculous path. Already I have felt better armed, thanks to what I’ve read. If I can provide another place for women like to derive some comfort and help, then I want to do that.

Also? Every girl needs at least one place where she can talk openly about the state of her vagina with impunity.

Today seemed like a good day, then, to get started. In addition to my birth control pills, this morning we both started a seven-day course of antibiotics, to eliminate the possibility of any bacterial infection that could prevent implantation. Ordinarily I try to avoid antibiotics at nearly any cost, but when my husband R. asked me if there were side effects, I had to snort. Given what’s ahead, I think the possibility of an upset stomach is pretty damn mild.

According to the materials I received in today’s mail from the clinic, the injections will begin on August 20, with Lupron. (By the way, reading through all that information the first time is a really good way to give your flight-or-flight response a poke. Hello, overwhelming.) That gives me 17 days, including today.

Before we knew that our third IUI would fail, I made a deal with myself. If we were to do IVF, then I wanted to make August the best possible month for me and for R. I created an actual list of things I want to do, to celebrate these few weeks of no treatments:

  • Dye my hair a crazy color. Appointment set!
  • Eat sushi.
  • Play racquetball. Last night, check!
  • Do a sprint workout.
  • Clean! This! House! I want to have the calmest environment possible.
  • Drink a bottle of our wedding wine.
  • Cook that recipe with sea scallops that R. hates.
  • Bake that cherry pie crumble dessert that R. loves.
  • Go on some good dates with R.
  • Pierce my nose. Misfire: I went to to this last Thursday, and they told me I need two months for it to heal properly before taking it out, even for just a few hours. The IVF nurse confirmed that I’ll have to remove all jewelry for the egg retrieval. So this one might have to wait until after that part of the game.
  • Consider a tattoo. I’m considering.
  • Happy hour with the girls from work. Scheduled!
  • Get together with my non-work girlfriends. Scheduled!
  • Buy shoes.
  • Buy new eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, with a slight palette change.
  • Use that vibrator that’s been hiding in my drawer for way too long. It’s great to have a machine of a husband, but what a waste to let the thing sit like that!
  • Get into a meditation routine.
  • Exercise my ass off. Running or other exercise every day so far. Feels great!
  • Get my body weight into a healthier range. I’m actually a little bit underweight, thanks to the stress of the last year. I really do apologize to the ladies who are coming at this from the side of needing to lose weight; I don’t mean to be insensitive to those who struggle to lose pounds. I just know that I need to get my body into the best shape possible before things begin, and this is the direction I need to go in.

This IVF bucket list is really about getting myself and my marriage into the best place possible before the onslaught begins. I’m not great at stress management generally, and whatever I can do to set myself up for a healthy experience is something I’m willing to try.

The hair, (delayed) nose piercing, and (possible) tattoo? I’ve always kind of wanted these things but I have been a little scared. Now that I’m doing something much scarier, I might as well go for the nose stud.

Anybody else out there have an IVF bucket list?