Tag Archives: failed pregnancy

The much-dreaded 2WW comes to an end!

Now that the much-dreaded two-week wait (2WW) post IVF is over, I wonder if it was (is) overrated. I am certain most women would disagree with me. I don’t mean to dismiss what they’re going through as I, too, have been there before right from the time we first started our TTC journey. The anxiety of peeing on a stick (POAS) builds every minute since you think you ovulated (if TTC naturally) or since you got home after the transfer. I have read about so many women on multiple babycentre forums talking about “to test or not to test”, “when to test…is it too early? 6dp3dt? Or 9dp3dt?”, “it’s a faint line – what does it mean?”, “I got a BFN but was it early and is there hope”. I am not trying to undermine what they’re going through at all… in fact I am saying that I have been there and it is so damn silly!

Just yesterday, I was telling DH how tempting it was to just grab one of those home pregnancy test (HPTs) and POAS since I was already 13dp3dt. We had a couple left over from our last failed pregnancy…they were sitting right there under our bathroom vanity waiting for me to pick one up! My mind was playing games on me but I chose NOT to POAS and wait for today’s blood test results.

Here’s why:

The restless me started going to some of the blogs I follow last evening trying to get a sign – I knew I shouldn’t test but why I was I getting so restless?? Fortunately, I got my answer from Manju’s blog and of all the wonderful topics she blogs about, it had to be ‘When should I test for pregnancy after embryo transfer?’ Guess it was a good enough sign for me to not test 🙂

I suddenly got clarity on why a beta HcG blood test is worth waiting for instead of just taking an HPT. From past experience, I can vouch for (1) not taking HPTs too early and (2) waiting for beta HcG blood tests instead of taking HPTs with IVF/ICSI or maybe even IUI.

Firstly, a positive HPT – also known as the ‘BFP’ (big fat positive) – does not mean a viable pregnancy neither does it mean you have a baby in hand. Sorry to be crude, but that is the truth (told you I am a realist borderline pessimist now!). Yes – it does mean a step forward but I have had not one but three BFPs in the past and with the exception of the first one, which came with excitement and anxiety, they have only made me feel oozy about the unknown. For a split second, my mind raced through days and months ahead…I started calculating the due date, planning our next nine months, and imagining the nursery. Unfortunately, these BFPs were followed by several beta HcG blood tests and a series of not so nice news followed by graver uncertainties about my fertility. At these times, the pregnancy failing or miscarrying without intervention becomes good news. It is so very difficult to ‘be normal’ and gather courage to TTC again after the ray of hope you developed seeing that faint second pink line is crushed…

Secondly, after starting the IVF journey, I have only recently started learning the true meaning of the word ‘patience’. Every step of the IVF process takes you (well, it has at least taken me) to a whole new level of being patient.

I have learned that being patient doesn’t end at starting your IVF journey, it doesn’t end when you begin your injections, it doesn’t end when your doc tells you “I am sorry, you are not responding. We will try another course of treatment the next time, but I think we should cancel this cycle”, it doesn’t end when the new treatment begins, it doesn’t end at egg retrieval, it doesn’t end at that stage where you wonder for each minute for three days straight how your embryos are progressing, it doesn’t end on egg transfer day – the true test of patience is when you have a full bladder for hours and all you try to keep in mind is your end goal, it doesn’t end after transfer day as you told to ‘be patient’ for what probably feels the longest 14 days of your life.

But dear me, I will be so wrong to think that being patient ends here. Today, I only had one beta HcG test – it may be positive or it may be negative. If it is negative, we go back to step one of IVF and will continue to patiently hope for our miracle some day ….this could be one cycle or many more cycles. If it is positive (God willing!), my patience will be tested each day from waiting (and wanting) doubling HcG numbers, to ensuring it’s a viable pregnancy, to hearing that heartbeat and knowing that the little bean is growing well and healthy. And trust me, I don’t think it will end even after I have our little miracle in our hands…isn’t parenthood all about being patient and waiting-it-out?!? Then, the 2WW should be anything but dreadful in front out our end goal…shouldn’t it?

I guess what I’m trying to say is, that though DH and I have come a long way, this is just the beginning and we have a much longer way to go from here today (in which direction…I am not too sure!) If I can’t get through the much-dreaded 2WW right now and have some self-control about POAS, I am only inviting trouble for myself in future! 🙂

 PS: I just re-read my post and it seems a bit daunting but promise that’s not the intent…just trying to prepare myself in the best way I can…!

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The ‘Ring Theory’

My dear sister forwarded me this very interesting article on ‘How not to say the wrong thing’ – a simple ‘Ring Theory’ of kvetching. The article talks about medical etiquette and can easily be applied to infertility etiquette.

I am seriously considering sharing this with our core family (parents, in-laws, siblings and their spouses). Since my first ectopic pregnancy in 2010, I have had issues establishing boundaries with core family. It is a concept that our families (particularly DH’s family) doesn’t quite comprehend and while I do understand that they have their best interests at heart, I don’t find their unsolicited advice comforting, neither do the ‘sorry’ faces make me feel any better about our situation.

After multiple failed pregnancies, DH and I have learnt what to share and not to share with core family. The “advice” we receive now has come down drastically since we first conceived three years back, but we will still get the occasional one-off comment every now and then.

A very recent example of this was couple of months back, a little after our first cancelled IVF cycle. Our core family knows we are going through IVF and we’ve been sharing only as much information as we want with them. DH and I live with my in-laws (a commonality in Indian families), so they know how often we go to Dr. N though they don’t know what happens at the doctors and we don’t divulge in any details besides headline information like, “treatment started”, “treatment is not going as expected”, “treatment cancelled”. They don’t ask us more questions and we don’t share more information.

I thought all was going fine, until one day my father-in-law was livid about not ‘keeping them updated’. He didn’t like the fact that he didn’t know what’s going on with the treatment or us. He said, “You go everyday and you come back and we don’t know what the doctor is saying”. DH calmly retorted with “But you never asked us any questions.” The reason he might have been upset was something else altogether where our medical issues weren’t discussed together as a family and he was being kept out of the loop. For us, this was (and still is) a personal matter between DH and I. This wasn’t about him, it was about me and about us as a couple.

Going into IVF, DH and I both explained to our respective families that the IVF journey is not an easy one. It will be a long, drawn-out treatment, which will test our patience as individuals and a couple, drain us emotionally and me physically. Since I was getting the much-needed support from DH, I needed our families to support him. Everyone was in agreement when we spoke then, but I honestly don’t think they understand how difficult it is to deal with failed pregnancies or infertility and IVF treatment. Honestly, I don’t expect them to but at times, when I try to look at things from their perspective, I realise that all they want to do is help. My in-laws are very sweet and caring but coming from traditional backgrounds, understanding the ‘whys’ of infertility are probably beyond them (or even my Dad for that matter) and I try to not blame them for that. At the same time, it is my sincere hope that they understand that the best way they can be of help to us is by offering us comfort and DH the support he needs in order to deal with me.

So, coming back to the article. These were my favourite bits:

  • Listening is often more helpful than talking;
  • Offer comfort and support but don’t give advice;
  • Being supportive to the principal caregiver (in our case DH) may be the best thing one can do for the patient (in our case me thought I don’t like being called the patient!);
  • Don’t just avoid dumping into the center ring, avoid dumping into any ring smaller than your own;
  • Comfort in, dump out!