Let it go, Let it go! Releasing control during IVF
I’ve been compelled to write this post on letting go all week – it’s been a long, hard week of disappointment, confusion and fear as we head into our 4th embryo transfer and I’m hoping that by the time I come to the end of writing this post, I will be a bit lighter, a bit freer and a bit more accepting of the things I can’t control.
IVF is tough – no one will tell you any different, but it’s the fact it’s tough on so many levels that means we constantly need to try and build coping mechanisms where we can.
I’ve now been through 3 IVF cycles. I feel like an old – timer who’s been through it all and still ended up without a baby. Surely there’s nothing more that this process can throw at me that I haven’t seen, experienced, fought through already? This is what I said to myself a few weeks’ back, but this 4th frozen cycle has been harder, more confusing and has tested my resilience beyond compare.
I do, however, continue to learn a lot about myself throughout this process!
This week I learned that I am very fearful of the drugs.
My consultant wanted me to double and even triple my dose on some of them and I absolutely freaked out…
How is it possible that my levels low?
They’ve never been low before – what’s happened?
It’s too many drugs, I’ll forget to take them!
It’s too many drugs, they must be damaging by body!
How is a baby going to survive swimming around in all those unnatural chemicals?
These were a few of the panicked questions I threw at the clinic this week– luckily, I have a very understanding clinic!
I’m sure I’m not the first person to react like this, but by the end of the day, after having spoken to the nurses, the consultant, my acupuncturist, my IVF friends and my partner, I felt more reassured and confident that upping the doses was ok, that my body wouldn’t freak out and go into meltdown and that I needed to do this to improve my chance of success.
One important point my acupuncturist made was this: “Everyone is doing everything to try and get you pregnant”. That is so true, there’s no conspiracy at play here, no one’s trying to trip me up or give me things I don’t need. If the doctor is telling me this is what I need to do, then this is what I need to do! And that requires a huge amount of trust and relinquishing of control on my part so I’ve got to choose between pretending I know best or going along with it…
I really don’t want to scare people who are about to embark on their first IVF cycle and everyone will have different experiences of the drugs, the emotional aspect and success but I think it’s important to be prepared for how you will cope if things don’t go according to plan at the various stages of the process. One of the best ways of doing this is to recognise and accept that the body is not a machine and it won’t operate the same way from one month to the next. This for me, has been the hardest thing to accept but I continue to try!
Ways of letting go
Write down all the reasons you’re doing this – what are you aiming for?
It sounds really obvious but so many days I wake up in floods of tears not understanding why I’m still putting myself through this and I have a colourful page in my diary that helps to remind me!
Trust – in your doctors, in the drugs, in your body, in your God, in the universe…
I find this one particularly difficult to do (as I found out this week!) but it’s so important for peace of mind. All of these things are trying to get you pregnant, don’t fight it.
Focus on what you can control
There are so many things that you can do something about that will help you through this process ie. Taking your supplements, eating well, exercising moderately, meditating, doing yoga, seeking support from your “tribe”, writing a diary…
Work out what you need to be reassured
When things don’t go according to plan, what do you need to get you back on track. Sometimes it’s a call with the doctor, it might be talking to an IVF buddy who’s been through the same thing, or seeking encouragement from your partner. Knowing what you need saves a lot of worry in the long term.
Believe that this is what you need to do to get your baby. If you can believe that this is the right thing even though it might not feel like it and you will learn to be more at peace with it.
So, we’re at the end of the post, and you know what? I do feel lighter and more able to trust and let go! Excuse me while I go and down another 4 pills…
Has the idea of letting go resonated with you this week too? How have you coped when things don’t go to plan in your IVF cycle? Wherever you are on your fertility journey, I’d love to hear from you.