Negative Talk

by Stephanie Fry

not preg

After my second failed IUI I said it for the first time.

“I just need IVF.”

After my third, I said it again. Only this time, I really meant it.

“I just need IVF.”

After my 4th, well, you know. Maybe you have said it yourself.

I got lots of positive responses to this statement. Here is the one response that I never got. The one I wish I had, “Your IVF cycle might not work”.

Yours might not either. There I said it. Please don’t hate me.

I’m saying this because I wish someone had said it to me. And yes, at the time there is a good chance I would have hated them for it. But I’m saying it anyway because I think it’s important. No, because I know it’s important.

Here is why.

My first IVF cycle went swimmingly. Everything looked good on paper. I even tested positive on an HPT – see I was right!! I just needed IVF!!! Phew.

(Side note / rant: HPT’s are awful, wonderful, terrible, gloriously addictive, wallet draining, sleep depriving, heinous little devices. I love them. I hate them. I have a closet full of them. Do I recommended using them? NO! Do I use them? YES! Should I use them? NO! Should you? NO! Ok. Rant over.)

So I go, no swagger in for my first IVF beta. What do I do? Of course I tell the nurse this is just a formality. I’m pregnant! I do remember the nurse who did my blood work had a level head and genuinely tried to talk some sense in to me but at that point it was too late. I was too far gone. The nursery in my head was decorated and I was planning my maternity wardrobe…what did she say? Oh, no matter…I’m Pregnant!!

When I got the call that afternoon my world was shattered. Shattered. To the point that I have never been the same.

It’s officially called a chemical pregnancy. I call it a devastating loss. One that still has the power to bring me to my knees in an instant. Chemical. Miscarriage. Loss. You say potato.

So that was the low point. And that is why The IVF Journal has an entire chapter dedicated to prepping for results – positive results AND negative results.

Here is more on why,

“The sad reality is that not all IVF cycles work. Success rates vary based on many factors including age, clinic, treatment type, and diagnosis; but even under the best conditions there are no guarantees. Due to this fact, you can and should be hopeful, excited, and ready for wonderful news, but you must also be armed with facts and have a plan in place if the results are not good. Planning can’t take away the pain of a negative result, but it can serve as a guide to help get you through what might otherwise be a very hard time.” – The IVF Journal, Chapter 10: Balancing Act, Prepping for Your Results

Chapter 10 will help you really understand and actually practice cautious optimism as you prep for your pregnancy test as well as both potential results. Chapter 11 takes it a step further and walks you through what you can do when receive your actual results – again for both positive AND negative results.

These were some of the hardest pages for me to write. Hard because of course I wanted to focus only on the positive, on hope. We all need to focus on hope. We have to. We absolutely should. But one too many times I read an infertility book that (wrongly) assumed my journey ended on a positive note.

This hurt. And it stayed with me. I didn’t want to do that to you.

So instead, as I learned to, I ask you to focus on balance and on the much and appropriately used term, cautious optimism. These chapters like the rest of the book, also provide worksheets, encouragement and concrete ideas so you can be prepared for and make realistic plans for both possible outcomes.

“This act of balancing hope and reality, or practicing cautious optimism, is not always easy during IVF. Stress and hormones, combined with everyday life, can cause your emotions to jump around constantly. You may have moments when you are sure the cycle worked, and low points where you feel sure that it did not. Prepping for your results can serve to alleviate some of those ups and downs and the stress that may be associated with the close of your cycle.” The IVF Journal

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy but it can absolutely help to ease stress. I hope you try it.