Q~ #HeyMallory I’m approaching my beta day after transferring two embryo’s from my IVF cycle. I tested at 10dp3dt (10 days past a 3 day transfer = 13 days past ovulation) and it was negative. I have three more days to wait until my official beta (clinical pregnancy test) but I’m feeling hopeless. What can I do to prepare myself for an IVF negative? -Laura, 34
A~ Hi Laura. First of all, it’s not over until it’s over. So hang in there! You’ve been through a lot and it seems like every pill you’ve popped, every month that has passed, and every second you’ve spent thinking about getting pregnant has led up to this point: beta day. It’s all consuming and extremely exhausting. During my first IVF I tested a week before my beta when some people get their positive… and mine was negative. It’s heart wrenching. But it’s not the end. Again, it’s not over until it’s over – and you get to decide when that will be.
Hot to prepare for an IVF beta day:
- Tip #1: Ignore any and all pregnancy and AF symptoms you might be having.
More likely than not you’re probably experiencing a twinge here or there. A cramp. Possibly some spotting. You might feel as if you’re about to get your period. You might be bloating. Feeling emotional. Cold. Hot. Boobs are sore. Having night sweats. Hungry. Nauseous. Headaches. Or feeling totally normal. Whatever you’re feeling during the (longest ever) two week wait… don’t trust it. Ignore it. It means nothing. That cramp you feel means nothing. Your nauseous? Means nothing. Seriously. Ignore it. You’re experiencing symptoms associated with the massive amount of drugs you’ve been taking, are still taking, and the anxiety associated with both. The truth is… there’s no predicting this outcome. I hate to say it but… time will tell.
- Tip #2: Take a minute to think about both case scenarios.
The truth is, they are both possible. It’s a total crapshoot. It’s important to be prepared for both. Even if you have a perfect retrieval and transfer and everything looks perfect – still a crapshoot. Still a solid chance it won’t work. Similarly, if your retrieval and transfer went crappy, your embryo’s were “poor quality” and your lining wasn’t perfect – still a crapshoot. Still a solid chance it could work. Remind yourself anything can happen. Anything is possible. Nothing is certain.
- Tip #2: Have a plan for the day of the beta call.
When that nurse calls with your beta result… what’s the plan? I made sure I was at home, with my husband, and I had a plan for both results.
If it was positive: Well… that’s an easy one. I would cry in disbelief and call my mom… and cry… and hug my husband.
If it was negative: I had vodka chilled in the freezer. My favorite mixer. I ensured my husband would be off work whenever I listened to the message so I would have support. (I do NOT recommend answering the call while driving, alone, or at work) Our plan was to make a cocktail, immediately. Then go to dinner at a place I really like. And lastly, we went to the animal shelter. Where we eventually found out kitten.
I can’t suggest this enough… have a plan. Whatever works for you. But don’t answer the phone with no idea what you would do if it was negative. I was very thankful I had a plan so right after I hung up the phone Brad made me my favorite cocktail.
- Tip #4: Tell someone besides your spouse.
I advise people to not be afraid to tell their best friend, their mom, or someone else they trust about what is going on. Some people feel like this might promote more pressure on them… but in my experience, I felt like I had an army of support. All the time… rooting for me. You deserve the same. Open up to someone else besides your husband. Whether it’s your boss, best friend, or sister. Whoever you feel safe and comfortable with- let them in. You don’t need to go through this alone. I know, I know… you have your spouse. But that’s a lot of pressure on one person. This is a big deal and your relationship with your spouse has likely already been flooded with infertility talk for at least the past year. It’s a lot. Take some pressure off of your spouse and talk to a close, supportive and caring person in your life. If you get a positive beta… great. You’ll have them rooting for you as you are constantly googling every single fear and worry you have for the next 12 weeks before you open up to the world and enter your second trimester. If you get a negative beta… you’ll have them to lean on. You’ll have someone else understanding you’re going through something really difficult. You need support. And you deserve it.
Side Note: I recommend the same for your spouse. We can’t (and I’d argue- shouldn’t) always only have each other. You’ll be surprised how supportive and compassionate people really are. Brad opened up to a few of his best friends and some of his coworkers. He found it helpful to have his own outlet, as I was dealing with it myself, it would’ve been difficult to console him at the same time I was grieving.
- Tip #5: Remind yourself of the reality of the situation:
This is a big deal. What you’ve gone through and what you’re experiencing is real. It’s big. And it’s hard. Regardless of how the beta turns out. Remind yourself of the statistics – even when everything goes perfectly, sometimes it doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean you’re screwed forever. It doesn’t mean your next transfer won’t work. It doesn’t mean your embryo’s are all crap. It just means this time didn’t work. Just like a lot of people. A lot- Hi. Like me. It’s scary, no doubt, to have a negative. You worry “will this ever happen?” or “if IVF didn’t’ work. I’m really screwed!” But that’s not fair. More likely than not, statistically speaking, you’ll get pregnant. It just might take another transfer. Or two. Not to minimize the negative now or how hard going through another one is. Trust me, I know.
It’s not over until it’s over. And the power is in your hands. You get to decide when you take a break. When you start back up. Or when you decide enough is enough. It’s not over. It just sucks. Sucks. Sucks.
Take a deep breath. Pour a cocktail. Be brave.
You’re a badass.