Following IVF transfer you are informed that you will have a few tests…The first to monitor your estradiol and progesterone levels, the second is a pregnancy test, and the third is a pregnancy test. Then you are told you have weekly blood work and ultrasounds through week 10.
With each step your excitement grows, but you are not quite ready to let go of caution. Each test is anxiety producing. Instead of just learning if your baby (or babies) are healthy, you are also looking for confirmation that you really are pregnant.
Once the idea kind of soaks in that you are probably really pregnant, the next question is…. with how many? It is possible to see multiples on an ultrasound as early as Week 3.
Which brings up the next question. How far along are you? Well, that should be simple enough to calculate since you went through IVF and you know your transfer date….but, doctors calculate things a bit different with IVF – and what you thought was Week 3 is actually week 5, and your due date is almost 3 weeks earlier than what you calculated based on your transfer date. Wholly moley, you mean I could find out how many babies there are this week!
As things progress you get to hear the heartbeat(s). You finally start accepting that this is really happening and start feeling a little less like a science experiment. Eventually, you are able to feel the baby move which also makes it more real.
Your belly continues to grow and the baby becomes more active. You no longer question if the pregnancy is real, but each appointment you still enter with heightened caution. What is going to happen next? Are things still going well? Was there any side effects to the fertility treatments?
People start sharing their pregnancy and delivery stories. Oy vey! Although you appreciate their experience, you feel they have no concept of what you are going through. Where they were miserable because their ankles were swollen – you love your swollen ankles. You resent the fact that they speak of the experience in terms of the most miserable parts, instead of focusing on the joy of pregnancy.
Your due date is approaching and you look back at all you went through. It was tough, and most of the time you didn’t know what you were doing, when you did it or how you got from point A to point B. You know you will not be able to fully accept and relax until you have a healthy baby in your arms. People continue to tell you your two favorite words “just relax”, which as we all know does the exact opposite.
Finally the day comes and you get to hold your little baby (babies). You feel a sense of relieve that the infertility treatments are over, for now, and you can move forward with parts of your life.
It doesn’t take long for you to realize, that your issues with infertility do not disappear when your baby (babies) are born. It is just a start of a new way of looking at them.
Learn more about infertility:
National Infertility Awareness Week® (NIAW): http://www.resolve.org/takecharge