Hi everyone, I just wanted to share some feelings after my first preparatory counselling session - bit of a brain dump really.
The session was very useful in preparing me for the IVF journey, but it did leave me feeling drained. Still, better to be drained now, when I have time to deal with it, than once I'm in the thick of hormones, needles and probes.
The main things we talked about, which I'm going to think about much further, and which I hope you may also find helpful are:
1) Understanding why we grieve if IVF is unsuccessful. I learned that you get to see the blastocysts before they are transferred, so there's a risk you build a bond with them there and then. If they don't successfully implant, then it's not just a failed chance at a family, but the loss of something very real. The importance of taking time to heal from this grieving (balanced against the fact that at 39 1/2, time isn't on our side)
2) Our strategy if IVF fails. How many rounds do we think we want to do? how will we decide when to try again (if at all)? does the adoption route appeal?
3) Can we accept our life without children? I'm lucky in that our life now is pretty much how we expected it to be, before children came on the agenda, so we need to think about how that can sustain us at the end of the journey. What is our 'moving on' plan.
4) Communication - the need for hubby and I to keep talking to each other as our view of the IVF journey may change as we go along it. What happens if one of us wants to try another round, but the other can't face it? Also, building a plan to deal with the considerable isolation that couples feel during IVF - who will we tell, how much, how will we handle the times when we don't want to talk about our treatment.
5) Christmas - I'll be right in the middle of my down reg meds then, so be prepared for low mood. It's important to take it one day at a time and get family and friends to understand that we can't commit to anything over that period - we'll turn up if we feel up to it, but we won't do anything we don't want to. Developing a 'secret code' that we can use if a social situation is getting too painful, then we both agree to make an excuse to leave.
6) Breaking the IVF journey into chunks - concentrating on getting through the down reg phase, then the second scan etc. Rather than looking at the whole thing as one 7-week long journey.
7) Being kind to ourselves - if our current social circle is too painful at the minute, as everyone else talks about children all the time, then it's ok to pull back from that for a while until the pain is less raw.
8) Remembering how lucky we are that we love each other and our relationship is strong - that's why we want a family in the first place, and that doesn't go away if we aren't able to have one.