After embryo transfer comes the wait to see if you are pregnant. Katy, 36, shares her experiences of this stressful time.
Katy has a five-year-old son (conceived via a successful cycle of IVF with her former husband) but suffers from unexplained infertility. When she met her new partner J, who has no children of his own, she was very open about her wish to have more children and the fact she would probably need to have IVF again – and soon! Luckily that didn’t put him off – and they made an appointment at Bourn Hall’s Wickford clinic just a few months later …
Ten days. 240 hours. 14,400 minutes…..
“I swear you feel every single one of those minutes tick by when you’re waiting to take a pregnancy test following embryo transfer.
The advice from the clinic is to try and carry on a usual. Don’t do anything that you usually wouldn’t (so now is not the time to take up marathon training!) And if you want to take it a bit easier, then do. But overall, it’s best to try and keep things as normal as you can.
Half the battle is trying not to focus on your body too much, though.
It’s SO easy to convince yourself that you are definitely pregnant. Or that you absolutely aren’t. The crinone gels don’t help with this either. Side effects include cramping and stomach pain (so you feel like you’re about to start your period) breast swelling and bloating (both of which I had when I was actually pregnant). And did I mention irritability? Think PMT multiplied by about 100.
My job as a magazine editor is one that keeps me super busy. So, I’m lucky in the fact that I can throw myself into that – as well as looking after my five-year-old.”
The waiting game
“J and I decided that we needed to do some extra nice things to keep our spirits up. So, while we waited for the minutes to tick down until pregnancy test D-day we enjoyed a couple of nights away with a bit of pampering. (I can hugely recommend chilling poolside at the Shard!) Mind you, turning down Champagne was a bit of a reminder of the waiting game we were trying to forget about.
The option for counselling is always there too. Though I haven’t taken it up, it is reassuring to know that there is a safe space to unload some of the emotions you have bouncing around.
Whatever you do though, I think it’s safe to say the 10-day wait will definitely feel like the longest ten days of your life…”
But then the scan
“Having lived through this once before with a happy result, I can confirm that if you do get a positive pregnancy test the next three weeks waiting for your early pregnancy scan will feel years longer than this.
And then the wait to your 12 week scan will feel like forever. The rollercoaster of emotions is literally just starting I’m afraid …”
Jackie Stewart, Independent Fertility Counsellor, says there are strategies you can use to cope with uncertainty, and distraction can help:
“Distract yourself when you can with whatever helps you to feel better emotionally. This way of coping enables you to feel you are doing something to help yourself. Using distraction is a great way of quieting the ‘monkey mind’ to help you cope.
Here are some suggestions:
- enjoy a new project, gardening, reading, exercise to YouTube class or take a walk
- listen to music, watch your favourite films/shows or try something new
- clean out the junk and spring clean to feel lighter and more organised
- meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercises, a bath with scented oils and candles
- talk to loved ones and friends more on the telephone or online directly, rather than just commenting on their posts!
- take up a new skill – cooking, baking, sewing, painting, being creative – whatever that looks like for you