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Trying Times – Diary of an IVF patient: Receiving news from the fertility clinic

Trying Times – Diary of an IVF patient: Receiving news from the fertility clinic

The good, the bad and the ugly: Receiving news from the fertility clinic

March 25, 2011: 

“I’m at work. I stand in a hallway, away from my desk for privacy, processing the sincere apology from the nurse on the phone that no, I’m not pregnant this time either.

I am calm, circumspect and almost OK with it, but then I crumble realising I have yet to call my husband and break the news. 

That’s the tough bit.

I’m ok with failing if it’s just me that stands to be disappointed. 

But Dave so badly wants to be a father. And he’d be such a great dad.

The frustration I feel at this wasted chance is so futile. It must be so hard for him to be standing on the sidelines waiting for things he can’t influence to happen.

Fighting back tears, I grab my sunnies and wallet and head for the door to go for a drive to clear my head, only to realise I won’t get far without the keys. Sniffling and avoiding eye contact I return to my desk and dig through my handbag until I find them. 

I announce to my nearest colleague that I’m going out for a bit. She is aware something is wrong, but in too harsh a tone I bark, “Everything’s great” as I march out the door to my car.

Inside the car, it’s hot and the air-conditioner struggles to soothe me. I wipe away tears and sniffle some more before gripping the wheel. I back the car out and leave the car park, not really sure of my destination. I drive for a bit and eventually I pull over on a stretch of uninhabited road in the industrial park near the office and kill the engine. After a few deep breaths so I can calm down, I ring Dave.

It’s not fair to give this kind of news over the phone, but he had sent me a text message earlier in the day asking me to call when I knew the result of that morning’s blood test. 

So then, alone in the car with no witnesses to see me sob, I call his mobile expecting him to answer and walk out of the room for a private conversation. It doesn’t ring but goes straight to voicemail. I’m not going to leave a message I think to myself, and dial his office line instead.

He answers quietly. I guess he’s been expecting this private call for a few hours now.”

By this point in my fertility struggle, I’d learned a lot about being frustrated with our lack of progress. 

I’d learned that positive thinking is great and all, but hoping wasn’t helping us get there. 

More importantly though, hoping isn’t the same thing as coping. Being upbeat and perky despite the dashing disappointment is exhausting and a damned near impossible task to pull off. 

After this experience with life altering news sideswiping my day, I set a boundary around my emotional energy for things like results phone calls. 

I asked the clinic to let me know when the results of future testing were likely to be available so that I could call them instead. Handling the calls this way around allowed me to create some mental space to focus better on what I had to do at work instead of being distracted and operating in a holding pattern waiting for the call. 

So,on the days we were expecting to know something (like after blood tests, or on development days for embryo fertilisation) the clinic staff were to give me a time after which I could call them, if I could create some privacy for the outcome.

Adjusting things like that to suit the way I knew my mind worked helped me take back some control. Because no one likes living in a constant state of “what if?” or panic. And when we finally did get our positive news I was able to go straight home to hubby to celebrate!

If you want to feel calmer, more confident, and have more control over your quest to add to our family, then please get in touch for a chat with me about how easily that can be possible for you.

Am I the right person to help you while you add to your family? Make a time to video chat on zoom with a BYO beverage here.

Ready to start working together? Awesome, let’s get started here 

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What is the Freedom Fertility Formula and how does it work to support IVF and mental health?

What is the Freedom Fertility Formula and how does it work to support IVF and mental health?

The Freedom Fertility Formula is a life-changing blend of coaching, counselling and mind-body techniques aimed at helping couples welcome their longed-for baby sooner.

 

Freedom Fertility Specialists Claire Caldow and Mandy Worsley join Reproductive Health Group’s clinical director Professor Luciano Nardo to discuss how the Freedom Fertility Formula could help you.

This amazing video explains what I do and how I can help – even when you can’t get in to see your clinic soon enough for you.

The ladies in the video are fellow specialists in my community, based in the UK, and we are working toward the same goal of helping women and couples welcome their babies sooner. #communityovercompetition.

They are speaking with a doctor from the UK based fertility clinic Reproductive Health Group, who are in partnership with our community of Freedom Fertility Formula specialists to support their assisted reproductive technology (IVF) clients towards better success rates. Mandy and Claire are both patient support partners there.

It’s a succinct discussion that anyone struggling with fertility frustrations would find informative.

It explains what is involved, how it helps, and why this type of mind-body connection work is an important part of the treatment of fertility concerns.

So, if you’re struggling and would like some help, please get in touch or book in with me using the buttons below.

I can’t wait to help you.

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What your partner needs you to know about IVF and dealing with fertility treatment

What your partner needs you to know about IVF and dealing with fertility treatment

what your partner needs to know about IVF

Fellas, You might think that your contribution to the fertility treatment process ends with providing a sample or two of your little swimmers – but you could not be more wrong about IVF.

You are not just a bystander.

Buckle up buddy, because you chose each other to take this crazy ride together.

For you and your partner, this is about to get real.

She is going to need you like never before – literally in ways you haven't been prepared for.

This is not PMS. This is not a drill.

Chocolate and tissues are not going to be enough.

In case you weren't already aware, there are going to be good days, bad days, rough patches, good and bad news, and needles – hundreds of fucking needles – taking blood, injecting hormones and, just for fun, you might like to try acupuncture while you throw everything at this menace called 'unexplained infertility'.

And you, my friend, are going to have to step up and be there for her like never before.

So let's get clear on What she doesn't need from you during IVF (actually ever, but especially now):

  • Pity or blame;
  • Pettiness and frustration;
  • Pressure in the bedroom;
  • Pressure to be awesome in all other aspects of her life right now;
  • Penny-pinching: because heads up, treatment can get expensive really quick, so I recommend the pair of you set some limits and expectations now about the resources you have as a team to put toward your shared goal of parenthood.

You can access my guide to making decisions together ahead of IVF here.

What she actually needs from you is:

  • Understanding that her body is going to go through a lot and it's going to drag her mind along for the ride. She's not crazy, she's trying really hard to make you a Daddy;
  • Unity – you're a team in this mess and she needs to feel that she is enough for you – with or without a baby, even if it would crush you to not be a father with this perfect creature, your other half. You are whole and a family already;
  • Unconditional love – A shoulder to cry on, arms to hold her and make her feel safe, loved and supported even on the darkest days or for no reason at all;
  • Unlimited patience and the space to come to decisions, feel her feelings and deal with them in a healthy way, especially if you experience loss;

And if you do suffer a loss, she'll need:

  • Unlimited time to grieve, in whatever way she finds healing.

Your grief is important too, and your way of grieving will be different to hers, but it is just as necessary for you to grieve your loss too. So, please remember to look after yourself when you are looking after her. And please don't underestimate the power of a good cry, an angry boxing session with a trainer, or time taken writing out your thoughts to clear your head.

That goes for both of you.

Ultimately what she really needs is YOU. In her corner. AT ALL TIMES.

But especially when:

  • Treatments get too invasive, painful or just too much;
  • Someone makes an insensitive comment about your situation that sets her off;
  • Your mother asks you again when she's going to be a grandmother;
  • She knows her body better than anyone – including the doctors – and she needs you to help her stand her ground;

And I can't recommend strongly enough that you seek out the support and guidance of a professional to help you steer through the choppy waters ahead.

It doesn't have to be me, but I am here for you if you'd like to talk. I see women individually or with their partners, and please believe me when I say the process works much better when couples face it as a team.

Fertility is not a women's problem, it is a family issue, and one that is better coped with when supported by our loved ones, like you.

I wouldn't wish fertility struggles on my worst enemy, so please don't leave your partner to manage all of this on her own and expect her to present you with baby at the end of it. It's rough and harsh and you'll both be changed in the process, whether you admit it now or not.

Take care of each other whatever happens, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Much love and baby dust,

your friend in fertility

The IVF Silly Season Survival Guide

The IVF Silly Season Survival Guide

Your IVF Silly Season Survival Guide
Your IVF Silly Season Survival Guide

Christmas is coming! And you know what that means:

Countless social events with workmates or colleagues, family functions and everybody else’s kids everywhere.

Nightmare, right?

I found Christmas really tough during our IVF years, especially after a November miscarriage. So I thought I’d share with you some of my tips for navigating your social calendar with grace and good humour in the coming silly season.

I call it: Aunty Sandi’s IVF Silly Season Survival Guide for Grown-ass Women who don’t want to talk about when or whether they’re having babies.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: RSVP ‘No’ to the events you simply don’t want to attend

  • Be unapologetic about it, or lie if you need to – but it’s is incredibly important that you stand up for your needs.
  • And if it’s going to be altogether too much to handle and you feel you can’t stand up for yourself, then think about planning some time away or hang out at home, not because you’re hiding, it’s just where you’d prefer to be right now.

Step 2: If you do attend a function, then plan ahead.

Will you be drinking alcohol? If you would normally enjoy a drink, then the lack of it is a flashing emergency light to gossip hounds and curious friends or family.

One simple, sure-fire trick to throw them off the scent: Fake your alcohol intake!

Here’s how:

  • Make your own drinks, or have your partner bring you your drinks. The key is to make them look like they are alcoholic – a glass of soda water with cordial and garnish, like a lime wedge, could easily be a vodka, lime and soda, or a glass of tonic with ice and slice could be a G&T… you’re the only one who’ll know for sure.
  • Nurse the one glass for a while as though you were savouring the cocktail, because smashing through them and not appearing tipsy could be a red flag too. Slur your words if you have to, daahling.
  • Drive yourself: Volunteer to be the skipper and moan about it being an imposition; roll your eyes and sound put out… but not too much to attract offers of lifts and questions about why you didn’t take a taxi. After all, designated drivers can drink as much soft drink as they like without issue.
  • The skipper routine works best when teamed up with an excuse to leave the party early like: “I’m so busy at work/uni right now, so no I can’t drink, I have a report/thesis to write when I get home…” OR “I have an early start tomorrow, but I wish I could stay…” Do the rounds and excuse yourself, be polite but brief. Ask a question of them and then excuse yourself to the bathroom, or to the bar.

Step 3: Dodging insensitive questions

Small talk at parties and functions is a real minef…ield. People who barely know you, or have only just met you, can easily ask questions that sting without them realising how deeply they’ve cut you. 

Let’s put up a bit of a barrier to your most sensitive nerves right here, right now, with these little conversation tricks:

  • Talk first – when you run into someone you think may ask an insensitive question, you can save them from putting their foot in their mouth by offering up your latest news first.

Or better yet:

  • Ask them questions about them and their interests to get them talking and guide the conversation away from opportunities to talk about you. You’ll have them talking at length and they’ll love you for showing an interest.

“So Derek, Tell me more about your XYZ project/trip to ABC/renovating your house…”

A final thought:

The best gift you can give yourself this Christmas is a beautiful pair of big girl panties and a big gift box of healthy boundaries.

I lovingly encourage you to care for yourself first.

So go ahead, print off and sign the permission slip I’ve put together for you below, and keep it somewhere you can read it whenever you need a reminder that it’s perfectly OK to put your needs ahead of others.

My gift to you for yourself:

Your permission slip

IVF Silly Season Survival Guide permission slip
Your permission slip

If you’d like to your own customised IVF Silly Season Survival Guide where we discuss how to set and honour healthy boundaries around your fertility struggles, then please book a chat with me here: https://sandifriedlos.as.me/coffeechat.

Find a time that suits you, mix yourself your BYO beverage of choice and let’s get some strategies in place to help you feel like partying again soon, whatever your future holds.

Wishing you a wonderful silly season without awkwardness and insensitivity.

Big love,

Aunty Sandi.

Simple tip to control your unhelpful thoughts so they don’t ruin your day

Simple tip to control your unhelpful thoughts so they don’t ruin your day

control unhelpful thoughts

The mind of a wannabe pregnant woman is a busy, busy place. It's filled with questions, fears unspoken and countless other unhelpful thoughts that keep her overthinking everything.

It's busy calculating timings and dosages, counting days of their cycles and how many coffees she's had, and running a constant commentary on her life. As if hyper-analysing will make that second line on the pee test turn up faster.

She knows it won’t help, but she does it anyway because an anxious mind hates silence. The unhelpful thoughts fill the uncomfortable void created by waiting for something to go right. And she's waiting for her big fat positive pregnancy test result.

But that constant chatter does damage to her self-esteem, her confidence in her body to do things for itself. It keeps her running in flight/fight mode, on edge and on high alert.

Sound familiar? Yep, I did it too.

So how can you quiet the noise and rein-in your overthinking, so the unhelpful thoughts no longer dominate your internal monologue?

Simple: Don't think those unhelpful thoughts right now

Sounds basic, but hear me out.

I use a little trick with my clients that we call Worry Time. It’s not a new concept, and I learned it from someone else, but it is a simple and powerful tool. It will help you to contain your worries and those unhelpful thoughts for a time that you can focus on them, rather than having them interrupt your day whenever they please.

The way it works is when you notice something is starting to worry you or cause you to be anxious, simply tell it to come back later. Literally say out loud:

“Not now, come back at 7pm and I’ll deal with you then.”

And then at 7 pm (or whenever you told it to come back), you need to set aside 15 minutes for you to focus and think these things through. It's so much better than have your day hijacked by negative thoughts and feelings. It gives you the space to handle it better because you can look it in the eye and see it for what they really is, when you are calmer and feeling more in control.

How it works in practice

I was asked by a client recently:

“But what if I have nothing to worry about when worry time comes around?”

And I looked at her saying nothing.

Then the penny dropped for her and we both smiled. She got it. And I was so proud of her.

You see, that is the entire point.

Most of the time we worry about things because they are urgent, in our face demanding our attention right now! But when those worries are told to come back later the ones that aren't also important go away or resolve themselves somehow.

It’s so liberating!

It put her in the driving seat. She can now control when she puts her emotional energy into worrying, which gives her the chance to consider solutions for her concerns. And even better, she's no longer at the mercy of random thoughts sweeping her up in the moment and tossing her around in the raging torrent of an anxious mind.

And you can easily do this too

The basic rule of thumb is that if a worry comes up for you check in with how you’re feeling right then and there. If it's something you can handle easily now, go ahead. But if not, then set your boundary, say it in your head or out loud if you’re somewhere safe.

If it bubbles up again try once more to put it off to later, at your set time.

We’re talking about things that aren’t life-threatening – like whether a pregnancy now would ruin your travel plans, or mean you’d not be able to host Christmas lunch at your place this year… y'know, logistics and the general fluff of life that in the grand scheme of things won't matter later.

It's all 'workoutable' from the right state of mind, even if you need some time or support.

And don't worry, if what you're worrying about is truly important, then it will show up for your appointment. Anything else will fade away and leave you to wonder what all the fuss was about.

I'd love to hear how this helps you out, so please comment below.

And if you'd like some support or to see if working with me will help you smooth out your bumpy path to parenthood, then please book a chat on zoom at a time that suits you and we can get to know each other over BYO beverages soon. https://sandifriedlos.as.me/coffeechat

Much love and baby dust

Sandi