IVF 2: mind over matter

People talk about the dreaded “two week wait” – the period of time between embryo transfer and the first pregnancy test. What they don’t tell you is that it is far worse the second time round, after the first cycle ended in miscarriage. That’s not to mention the years and years (not 2-3 but 10+) of fertility problems before that. What I hate about infertility and this whole treatment protocol (IVF) is that it has robbed us of our innocence. I feel like I’m completely cynical, waiting for bad news, expecting the worst, trying to prepare myself for disappointment. And it sucks.

Before infertility

Before I ever started thinking that I might have some “fertility problems”, I kind of figured I’d probably have two children in my twenties (ha!) and my whole plans revolved more about preventing the possibility of pregnancy rather than trying to get pregnant.

Now, I think, “How naive!” when my friends say things like, “Oh, perhaps I’ll start trying for a baby [in my late 30s] after we get married.” I think they don’t even understand that it might not happen straight away. It might not happen for years. It might never happen. Because, of course, for most of my friends it does happen.

IVF cycle 1

I feel like our previous cycle had us in a completely different frame of mind. Actually, I think T is in a similar frame of mind as the first cycle. To him, it’s a numbers game and it will happen eventually and we just have to think positive. In cycle 1, we did think positive. Everything was new and exciting. It was a bit like, if we just do it right, do everything they say – we’ll get pregnant. And we did! Until the scan showed no heartbeat and delayed growth rather than a baby. The little blob with a heartbeat that we saw in week 6 was as far as we got. So much pain.

IVF cycle 2

I’m having such a hard time with this cycle. I really am someone who tries to be positive, or at least pragmatic, but I find the whole thing depressing. I’m on this massive cocktail of drugs to try and treat the immune issues. There is so much scepticism about immunology treatment for infertility/miscarriage but quite frankly I’m willing to give it a go. But we are sort of neck and neck to where we were in cycle 1 (down to 1 blastocyst on day 5, 3BB transferred, no frosties) and we know how that ended. The effects of the drugs the second time round seem so much worse when I don’t have the optimism to sustain myself through it.

I am finding it really really hard to deal with other people’s pregnancies who I know in real life. It seems these natural conceptions are in my face all the time. At work and on Facebook (which I have resumed, cautiously, as of this week because I needed to try something, anything, to take my mind off this). It sounds stupid but I feel like it’s unfair when people conceive without any worry and nothing to overcome to get pregnant. This is my problem, not theirs, but the feeling is so hard to deal with.

T says I need to be positive and optimistic, but I just don’t feel it. He is great and lovely (he’s T: his superpower is kindness) but it doesn’t stop my mind running. This time round I’m thinking, “Do I feel any different?” and I don’t know whether anything is wishful thinking, grief, hope, or whatever. I more or less feel normal. My boobs actually seem to have gone down, which is both easier to deal with and worrying (because surely if I was pregnant, they’d get bigger?). They’re still bigger than normal but not as big as when taking the IVF drugs. I’ve felt a bit sick/hungry but then I think that could just be psychological. It’s a good thing I have T and Dog to cheer me up or I think I’d be utterly despondent.

Last time I managed to hold off testing until the day they told us to test. I didn’t have any expectations and was completely shocked when it worked. But this time I am thinking, I want to know. I want to try and get my life back if it hasn’t worked. I need to prepare myself mentally. I’m seeing my sister on test day and I think that at least she will understand (if you read my past posts, in a stupid irony, they went through the same thing a few months after us) but equally I don’t know if I will be such good company. Also there’s all the complex feelings of: What if she gets pregnant before me? Everyone else has; why not her?

I want to feel like it will be okay, but right now it feels completely overwhelming. Even if we make it to a positive pregnancy test, we won’t be able to enjoy that. It’s just one hurdle of hundreds and it seems inconceivable (ba-dum-tish) that we will ever jump all of them. (I’m short and bad at jumping hurdles anyway.) I think before maybe I had this dream life of what might happen – T and I talk about it all the time – we even have the name for our child picked out and we refer to him (or her) and I can feel the dream fading away. Like it just doesn’t feel real to me.

What’s different this time?

Quite a lot is different this time round. The actual IVF protocol is almost the same but with Menopur instead of Gonal F. Even though we retrieved only 7 eggs (instead of 12 in cycle 1) the end result was 1 grade 3BB blastocyst on day 5 so… I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It still means only 1 embryo to pin our hopes on.

On the job front, I’m about a million times more chilled. I’m working my notice period whereas this time last year I was working a really stressful job. Notice period is nice! Everyone’s nice to you and nobody expects much. It’s like you’re doing them a favour just turning up to work! I’m doing like a hundredth of the work I usually do because I can’t do certain stuff on my notice period (eg I can’t do client work as I might steal clients!). I’m actually fine with this pace of life!

I spoke with my new boss on the phone today as well. It was great. I mean, I could have it completely wrong but we totally clicked in interview and it makes me so psyched to work there. I’m sure it will be a challenge and stuff but it’s different to what I’m doing now, and it’s more aligned to the type of work I like doing, so I think at a minimum it will be nice just to do something different. Also I’m getting a pay rise! Finally breaking a target salary amount that I always wanted to break! So on a personal professional level it makes me feel like I’ve achieved something. It feels like a good opportunity and I guess if everything doesn’t work out with this cycle then at least I’ll feel I’ve got something else good going on in my job. I think the worst last year was the realisation I was going to have to stick out my current job instead of going on maternity leave. (We haven’t even thought in detail about maternity leave as I probably wouldn’t be eligible for a lot, given my start date at the new job – but really I don’t care at this point and we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now I’m happy to give T most of the leave and he would be happy to take it – whatever it takes! We would be so happy to have a live baby.)

There isn’t much news with the new house but it’s still trundling along. We are trying! In the UK it seems to be a dark art. We are waiting on lawyers to sort stuff out. Really we are ready to move quickly once contracts are exchanged. I really want this to happen this month so it’s not happening when I’m starting my new job. Here’s hoping.

So right now we’re just waiting… on everything.

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49 comments

  1. sbach1222

    T sounds a lot like B with the positivity and the “It has to work eventually” mentality. I hope that they are both right!

    Still thinking of you and hoping that all goes well with this little one. You are doing everything you can to make this work.

    And congrats on the new job and the pay raise!

    Like

    • Nara

      Thanks! I hope they are right too! I think it’s quite a male trait to see it that way… I mean, if I was looking at it from the outside, I would too. It’s just that I now know how gruelling a cycle is, and the thought that we just have to keep doing them in the hope of winning the numbers game is really overwhelming. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  2. babyangelb

    I understand your feelings. I am just now 19 weeks and I feel like I am still waiting for the bottom to fall out. It is such a hard road and not many people can truly understand it. I had a friend recently get pregnant naturally and she was so upset because it took them 3 months. Ha ha ha!! Really?!? She has no clue.

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  3. Amy M.

    I understand how you feel about the innocence being taken away and being frustrated with everyone around you who can just get pregnant on their own. I thought of this yesterday with my whole BP thing…”regular” pregnant people don’t go to the Dr every single time worrying that this will be the time that the Dr will tell them that it’s over. They just go in thinking they’ll get their healthy update and life will continue to move on. It’s not fair. I’d like to say that one day it will get easier, but realistically I don’t think it will. Try to stay at least a bit calm during your TWW. Maybe find a good book you can get lost in to try to get through some of the time? Sorry I don’t have any fabulous suggestions, just want you to know that I get it and I’m sorry that life has to be this way for some of us, when it can be so easy for others. *hugs*

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    • Nara

      Thanks Amy. I have been reading… I think going back on FB probably hasn’t helped (not from friends posts but various discussion groups I’m on! As they suck you in!) – I’ve just tried to do anything to distract myself!

      It’s totally true what you’re saying. I long for the naïveté of just going to the doctor and progressing to the midwife (as we do it here!), without fear! It just kind of feels overwhelming right now. Thank you for your support! Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. theskyandback

    The second cycle is definitely tougher, I felt that way, too. I remember thinking that I SHOULD feel positive because I knew IVF worked for us, even though our cycle one ended in miscarriage as well. But it’s just hard. Loss taints everything. And I know the immune meds are crazy, but if you can just keep telling yourself that they are a good thing–a weapon in your arsenal that you didn’t have last time. And I also hear you on how there seems to be sooooo many hurdles, even if you do make it to pregnancy. It’s very overwhelming. But if this embryo sticks I have utmost confidence that you can do this! You can make it through all the hurdles. One Day At A Time has been my mantra through all of it, and it does seem to help (sometimes), as simple and common sensical as it is–maybe it can give you some comfort as well. Hang in there. Xo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      This is so true! When I read this I almost cried: “Loss taints everything”. Like before, my worst fear was IVF not working. Now it’s the idea that it works, and then ends in loss…

      I am thinking of the immune meds as positive. I just have to keep going. X

      Liked by 1 person

  5. dubliner in deutschland

    It’s great you don’t have any stress in your job this time around at least. I know what you mean about other people sounding so naive and innocent when they talk about trying for a baby. Most of my friends here seem to be extremely fertile and all of them either got pregnant within the first 3 months of trying or even accidentally when not trying! And they can have chats about how many children they would like to have and what sort of age gap in between them. It must be so nice for them to be able to plan their family like that. Anyway, I hope the next two weeks flies by for you!!

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  6. wonkygenes

    I’m tall but terrible at jumping hurdles as well…I just ran through them at school sports day (haha!). I’m sorry you’re not feeling that positivity…I didn’t on my second IVF two week wait either. But I know two friends who both got pregnant on their third and both were feeling pretty negative…so I don’t think that you positivity or negativity affects things too much…as long at your mainly calm and relaxed (which it sounds like you are). Really glad that you have other positive things in your life…I think its really important. I know it’s tough…but you’re doing great. You’ve got this hon. XXX

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    • Nara

      Haha! I did that too!

      Yes it seems a lot tougher this time round. Although I’m sure IVF 3 would be even worse. I think I’m naturally extrapolating to the worse cases! I agree I don’t think positivity really affects the outcome. Does make the wait easier though! Thanks for your support. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. AKL

    Yes, yes and yes! The more I go through the more i think I am turning into a miserable old b1tch who can no longer be happy for anyone – even yourself. But it’s good that one of you is positive. It kind of balances things out I think. My hubby is also the positive one, but I like to think that’s because it’s easier for them to be positive. They don’t have the drugs and the symptoms and the not being able to jump up and down, just in case. But be kind to yourself too. You’re doing your best. xx

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    • Nara

      I know you get it! I am definitely the miserable old B!
      And yes it’s much easier when they’re not pumped full of hormones, ha! X

      Like

  8. dinksbydefault

    it will probably all happen at once – new job, first trimester of pregnancy, new house! also, I totally get annoyed when couples think that they can choose exactly when they will get pregnant (“we don’t want a winter baby so we are waiting to try until XXX”, umm bite me!).

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  9. spiteorflight

    My first two IVF cycles ended in miscarriage, and the way you’re feeling now is totally normal. My third round was finally successful, but I spent my entire pregnancy expecting terrible news. It does get easier (especially once you make it past the point of your previous losses) but it never really goes away. I didn’t really feel like it was going to *really* happen until we were on our way to the hospital and I was in labor!

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    • Nara

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m glad that your third cycle was successful! I don’t think we would believe it until we actually had a baby either!

      Like

  10. The EcoFeminist

    I don’t think you *need* to be positive and optimistic – just take care of yourself and allow yourself to have whatever feelings come through your mind! My thought process is that I get 5 minutes to feel grumpy/bitchy/sad when the feeling comes up, then I have to move along and focus on something else – that way I can feel it but (usually) not obsess on it. Our first round was optimistic, our second round was all over the map, our third round was numbing pessimism, and so our fourth and final round we’ve decided to go back to optimism land but with an out-of-town trip planned right after results day to deal with whatever comes. I swear, after the first no, grieving in Paris was SO much better than grieving in Portland! 🙂

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  11. Maybe baby

    Oh how I wish that I could be as naive as I was once in terms of fertility. I too thought I’d have 2 boys and 1 girl by my mid-twenties…then 3 years of trying naturally, 3 failed IUIs (oh the shock when the 1rst IUI failed) then 7 failed IVFs later…(1 chemical pregnancy and 1 miscarriage) and with that all my naivety out the window. Now life is all about waiting for the 2nd shoe to drop.
    Ladies, I sincerely hope that your all coping better than I am!

    Like

    • Nara

      Gosh, I honestly don’t know how you coped with all that. I’m only on the second cycle and already I feel way worse than the first one. It took over 10 years to actually get to IVF though so I have some kind of idea of the scales… It’s so gruelling. Good on you for getting through it in one piece! X

      Liked by 1 person

  12. babydreamsandlove

    I got ya hun. Through and through!! Positive thinking is hard during that wait! The news is either the best ever or worst ever! I am praying you get the first option and that the wait whizzes past for you ♡

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  13. Babyscienceproject

    Good luck in 2ww hell! I wanted to knock myself out every single time and wake up two weeks later. It’s an absolute mind f*ck but ….you know that. Good to try to keep calm/stay positive anyhow (I failed). Nothing wrong with testing early and often if that’s what you feel like doing, lots of women do that. If it helps you keep a grip on your sanity then GO FOR IT!

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    • Nara

      I know you get it!! It totally screws with your mind! Right now I’m just thinking that I don’t feel any different to normal and trying to think if there are any symptoms I had last time round… Argh. There should be a little deep freeze we can put our brains into for a couple of weeks!

      Like

  14. EmilyMaine

    Ugh it really is so tough when your last experience is a miscarriage. It is harder to believe in at that point for sure. So I feel where you are at. T is like Eric – it is a numbers game to him too. And in many ways it is and he isn’t wrong about that. Just do what you need to do to get through. The immune protocol that you are still on is probably screwing with you a bit too. It is all normal. Not long now chickie xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Thank you. It really helps to have support from others who understand as well as the ever optimistic T! The hard thing is trying not to compare it to the last time and symptom spot. Obviously I’m taking different drugs this time round… Argh! Thank you for understanding! X

      Like

  15. My Perfect Breakdown

    It sounds like everyone above in the comments has already said everything insightful. Particularly theskyandback who said “Loss taints everything.” She is 100% right, loss does taint everything and it takes away all the innocence (as if IVF hadn’t taken away enough). All I know is that the drug cocktail you are on now is the one that is known to work, so while it may be screwing with you at the moment, it is likely to help and if you end up with a little wiggling baby in 9ish months it’ll be worth every single injection, bruise, weird drug, etc.
    Sending you so much love!!

    Like

    • Nara

      Thank you so much! You are right… It would be worth the pain if we get there in the end. I think the fear is that we would never get there… And there are so many hurdles to get there… We just keep going though. X

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Infertility nonsense

    I totally relate chicky. Everyone is pregnant around me including best friend at work, tried for 2 months and earlier than she had planned to try due to my situation scaring the shit out of her. People just don’t understand that fertility is not always a given, a bit like me before I started all this. Everyday it triggers me into a feel sorry for myself mode.
    It’s so hard to stay positive as you do more cycles. It feels like a tug of war between hope and despair. Give yourself time to feel all the shitty feelings and also make an effort to do nice things for yourself. Your doing your best and you have to look after you. Big hugs xx

    Like

    • Nara

      That’s so hard, isn’t it? (Btw do you have a blog? I keep trying to follow you but can’t!) I think I am not being positive but I don’t think there is a huge amount of evidence to suggest that it makes any difference to the outcome. I’m not stressed at least, with the work situation. Thanks for understanding. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Infertility nonsense

        Yes, even the nurse I met with yesterday told me there isn’t a lot you can do to change the outcome of the cycle and I think she’s right within reason.
        Hmm I checked out my settings but I can’t see where I’ve maybe set it up wrong…I’m not sure why you can’t see my blog..xx I’m not overly tech savvy so it could be my issue

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      • Nara

        I think your blog is at infertilitynonsense.wordpress.com? And on your profile it says fertilitynonsense.wordpress.com. If that’s it then you just need to change your profile to list the correct blog URL! ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Paigeed

    So many hugs sending your way. I am sorry the joy has been stripped from you. All I can say is that I am praying you get a BFP and a healthy growing little babe in there. It’s hard to be around people in real life that are triggers of emotions. You aren’t alone in that though. Stay hopeful!

    Like

  18. RJ

    I’m glad the job is going well, hopefully that makes you feel good and takes your mind off of things.

    Doing anything a second time around (or third or more than that) is always hard when your prior outcome was not what you were hoping for. I’m glad T is positive for the both of you. You’re in my thoughts and I am wishing you all the best. Hugs.

    Like

    • Nara

      Thanks! Well I wouldn’t say it’s going well as such… I’m just leaving so it’s a bit easier, haha!

      You’re so right about second time round. I can’t even imagine about third or fourth. Hopefully won’t have to! X

      Liked by 1 person

  19. 30yr old nothing

    Preach sister!! I’m glad T is positive. It really helps. I always fly off the handle when we get “bad” news then N just shrugs it off and makes me feel silly for over-reacting.
    That being said, it hard and I’m sending you so many hugs. xx

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