Preparing for Potentially Bad News Post-in Vitro Cycle

Updated on April 11, 2010
L.F. asks from Pasadena, CA
13 answers

Hi - My husband and I have been trying to conceive for a few years now after having our son. We have tried two inter-uterine inseminations (IUIs), and have just completed our first in-vitro fertilization cycle. We will get our results in about one week.
The in-vitro procedure has about a 40% success rate. We've been trying for so long, that I know better than to run out and start buying baby clothes. I am optimistic, but realize that the odds are that I will not be pregnant.
My question is - for those of you that have struggled with infertility (the month after month of disappointment), how did you emotionally prepare yourself for bad news? I am of course holding out hope, but I have to be realistic about this too. Did you plan a trip in case the news was bad? Treat yourself to a spa day? Allow yourself one day of crying and naughty food? Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks!

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B.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had several years of infertility and loss. I know it is very hard to deal with but I am now 26 weeks pregnant with my second child. I had 3 rounds of IVF 2 successful and 1 failed. I think the 40% odds are very good. I had similair odds the first time but this last I had less. I am 40.

Please try and keep positive. It really does help.

Good luck

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

We did IVF after 4 years of trying, and we got lucky the first try. I have to tell you, the waiting 2 weeks after putting the embryos in me was nerve wracking. I remember coming home after Valentines Day dinner with my husband and just crying my heart out because I felt nothing different and I was sure nothing worked. My husband just hugged me and said it's hard but wait for one more week and see what the blood test says. I went at the 2 week point, and they took my blood and they said they'd call back with the results by 2pm. I was on pins and needles waiting for the phone to ring. 2pm came and went. I didn't know what to do with myself. Finally, 6pm and the phone rings. The lab got a little backed up and they were running late. Congratulations I was pregnant! I just had to sit down and cry from sheer relief. I waited a month before I told my Mom. Our son is 11 yrs old now and our pride and joy. The waiting and the wild swings between hope and despair are quite a roller coaster ride. I've got my fingers crossed for you and I hope it all turns out alright.

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A.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I so hope that your first try is successful. Or that you get pregnant before! But realistically, it might not be. Preparing yourself in case you don't is not 'being a downer' or 'being negative'. It's being realistic. Be kind and gentle and good to your self and your husband both (he too, will be devastated - include him in the chocolate or spa day!).

I'd do whatever feels right, should you not be succesful in the in-vitro (and best of luck to you, by the way!). It is a monthly cycle of high hopes and terror and waiting. But set a reasonable limit in your head/heart. And MAKE a plan for the next step if you don't conceive - I believe that to be vital.

Why? our story. We were pregnant exactly once, and for only 7 weeks. We tried everything advised by the doctors (before and afterwards), and did not conceive again. It was a rough couple of years with each month hoping, hoping, waiting and yet terrified for bad news. Our lovely, wise OB-GYN had counseled us to set a limit - time, or money, and stop when we'd reached it. And to make a real plan for how we were going to have a family without me getting pregnant. Frankly, when that date/$ amount was reached, I was ready to liquidate savings and ask a much younger sister to be a surrogate. . .try more aggressive in-vitro (even though the odds were far far less than yours at that point). . .but; we heeded Dr.'s advice and stopped. We grieved for the family we could not biologically make. And then, we started adoption procedures. (which was our alternate plan - we'd selected an agency and done our basic homework). Fast forward some 6 years: I can tell you now that our 5 year old daughter could not be any more 'family' or 'daughter'. And I am so, so glad we listened to the Doctor and didn't bankrupt ourselves (or risk our marriage) in a gamble with spiraling costs, increasingly lousy odds and more and more medical procedures.

I wish you much luck and happiness

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A.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am thinking of you and your husband and I hope everything works out for you. I don't have much good advice, but I have been through the same thing and nothing is more nerve wracking than fertility issues and waiting to find out if you are pregnant. We went through this for a year and a half, and I remember just living for that test each month.

You are going to think about it, so don't try to ignore your anticipation. Just stay busy, think positive thoughts, but be cautious.

I was very lucky in that we finally found a treatment that worked, but the whole first trimester I was a nervous wreck. I cried almost everyday thinking about the worst possible scenario. I spent a lot of time trying to focus on doing the things I loved that made me happy - ballet classes, reading a good book, etc. So I would suggest getting into your hobbies. Also, try not to talk to anyone about it. You don't want to have to go around sharing the outcome if it is negative. It's hard not to talk about it, but pick one close friend who you can really depend on, not a lot of people who will not know how to react or console you. We made the mistake of telling everyone in our family when we found out how bad our fertility problems were because we were in shock. Then we had to live with the consequences of being under a microscope while trying to get pregnant. It put more pressure on us than was necessary and added to the stress. You also have to listen to dumb advice all the time - eat this, sleep like that, drink this, or my favorite "just stop thinking about it and it will happen naturally."

On the positive side, now that I'm at the end of my second trimester I feel like my baby is the most special baby in the world. Going to all the specialists, the crying with my husband, worrying over the different treatment options have just made me so in love with my baby because he's our miracle. We cannot wait to meet him and dote on him. I know it will be hard trying for another baby, but I also know we can get through it no matter what the outcome. Also, my husband and I have never been in a better place in or marriage. This is the hardest issue we have ever had to deal with in our relationship, and we've come through it and are more bonded than ever. No matter what happens with your IVF procedure, you should lean on your husband and let him take care of you.

I don't know if any of the above was helpful, but I wish you the best and hope you end up with a happy, healthy baby as a result of all your efforts. Just take it day by day and let yourself express the emotions.

Good luck!!!

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M.K.

answers from San Diego on

Hi,

I love all of the feedback you are getting. I have to say that posting my feelings on mamasource was the single most healing action I took. I received so much support and personal stories. Instant relief! When I found out I wasn't pregnant (over and over) I treated myself to a little wine and a little "me" time!

I have recently been doing acupuncture as well and still have hopes!

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M.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi L.,

I just want to share something with you to encourage you. My g/f had been trying to get pregnant for 4 1/2 years. This January we had fasting and praying at our church. Of course a baby is what she wanted most. SHE IS PREGNANT...... Please dont give up hope. I know the disappointment month after month.

I also know another lady of had tried for 8 years and the one day she was pregnant.... I know this isnt much in the time of sadness but when you are menat to get pregnant sweetheart ...YOU WILL. Believe that.... and just watch and see. I will be praying for you that your dream of being a mom will come true.

Good luck and I would love to hear when your miracle comes to [email protected]____.com

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M.W.

answers from St. Cloud on

My way of dealing with getting my period each month was to pretty much go out and buy cute new clothes (off the clearance rack though) from Gymboree for the 2 kids we do have...... My husband understood. I didn't go completely crazy either. Plus, they did need some clothes.

But do whatever makes you feel better!

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C.P.

answers from San Diego on

Try and be kind to yourself and your husband. That's my advice. Its extremely difficult. You have had a son so your odds are WAY better than most doing IVF as you know you are capable of conceiving. My biggest advice if you keep getting bad news is to try IVF with an egg donor (if you are older). Your chances are way better that way. Most of us doing IVF have like a 10-15% success rate so 40% is amazing! I honestly don't know what heals the disappoitment. Just jump right back into your life and hopefully time will help. If you really want another child, explore egg donors. Its a weird idea at first, but seems more appealing as you learn more.
good luck!

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J.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

It is hard to prepare yourself for that news. Your either on top of the world or....not. Some times IVF take more than once. Everything really does need to line up perfectly w/ your body. I've done it three times w/ two successful. It is a very emotional thing to go thru, so hopefully you will get good news! But if you don't....you should jump in there and do it again. You already have all those hormones in your system...you mite as well. Good Luck,Jenn

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L.K.

answers from Boise on

Finding the balance between hope and being realistic month after month is one of the (if not the) hardest thing when going through fertility treatments, imo. Of course, you're optimistic or you wouldn't seek the treatment. I really wish I had words of wisdom for you but I think it's an individual thing. We went through treatments for our first (3 yrs) and one of the things that helped me get through was to have a "mantra" of sorts....."I will be a mother someday, somehow, someway".....for us, I knew I'd be a Mom eventually, even if it meant adoption so it was just taking the time to leave no stone unturned. That helped me get in the mind frame that if we got bad news that we were ONE step closer.......good luck to you, it is quite the journey!

FWIW, we got pg after 4 IUI's and 3 IVF's for our first child and only 1 IVF for our second.

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J.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

Allow yourself whatever time you need to grieve. My mom had 8 miscarriages - and the longest one was at 6 months when a drunk driver hit them. She kind of stuffed everything and now at 62 will sometimes cry when she thinks about it. She didn't know how to deal with the grief....and neither did my dad.

Not that you asked, but my mom was under regular chiropractic care for 1.5 years and finally became pregnant with me - pregnancy #9 - her FIRST full term pregnancy....and then my brother - pregnancy #10. Have you tried chiropractic and/or acupuncture?

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C.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

HI L.,
We just had our son in January of this year after three long years of battling with infertility issues. I thought I'd share this with you to let you know there is hope!!! Part of what we did during all of our endeavors to get pregnant was to ask for prayer support from friends and family. Since many of them had been through similar things, it was comforting for us to talk to them and see their beautiful children. Having someone to talk to who has been through what you are going through really makes a difference. They can offer the perspective of hope when all seems hopeless.
Also, I am not sure if anyone brought it up, but acupuncture was a huge help for me. Not only did it help prepare my uterus for the transfer it also was enormously calming when I was stressed out about our fertility issues.

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K.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

I'm sure you had your thyroid checked as part of the work up before the IUIs. If your TSH is in the high end of the normal range, please check again and ask for a thyroid antibody test. I tested in the "normal" range for years, but had symptoms of hypothyroidism (check the list of symptoms for yourself).
After my IUIs and two rounds of IVF I got a new OB/GYN who decided to recheck all my labs. This time I tested just barely over the range so I was started on Synthroid. My next round of IVF was successful and I had my first baby at 41. I got pregnant without help 2 more times after that - unfortunately one was a miscarriage. My message to anyone struggling with infertility is that the "normal range" for thyroid may not be normal for everyone. I'm not the only one to think so, apparently books have been written about this subject. Good Luck!

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