Counselling to prepare for IVF journey

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.

17 Replies

  • Hello seekingpeace glad u posted all this to be honest I am too scared to talk about all what if it doesn't work for us .. just a thought of it makes me sick and angry .. my partner got 4 children from previous relationship and I have no kids .. even his ex that I can't stand is pregnant again withsecond child after they broke up and it's no helping me at all .. just angry and sad all time .. so all this I better no even think about what we would do next .. think time will show and u can't really say what u goin to feel and want after unsuccessful if xx will see .. good luck to you hope it goes all well x

  • Oh Miroslava, I'm so sorry to hear how tough your situation is - that must be awful. The counsellor said something about being jealous of people who have children, but not specifically jealous of individuals. I thought 'you're so wrong lady, I am totally jealous of certain individuals'!

    You're right that you can't know how you feel until the time, and I think that's how I'd planned to proceed, but since I've started to think about the alternatives, I'm feeling more relaxed. I'm lucky that i have another 4 weeks before I start the meds while I can still think clearly.

    Take care, thinking of you - where are you in your journey?

  • Thanks for your reply ... made me feel like bad person too but then I was reading book about and posts and they say its normal .. speacially when its happening too close to u and u see mothers who dont deserve to be mothers not looking after their children and stuff .. we were bit lucky so far that my partner had Pesa done and we got sperm frozen for 6 cycles .. now just waiting phone call when my blood tests are back and we find recipient for egg as we decided egg sharing programe will help us and someone else hopefully . Xx so fingers crossed january .. x

  • That's really lovely of you to share all of this. Thanks so much. I have just done my first injection - was so scary, I could not inject myself so hubby did it. Just prior to injecting, and looking at the needle, I went from fear to fits of laughter within minutes. IVF Craziness.

    All the best with your IVF, when do you start? I have been downregging with sniffing Synarel for 3.5 weeks already. I should have injected earlier this evening but i have some nights out planned, so wanted to inject with hubby when I get back. It's all a faff, we then took so long to read and double check everything I ended injecting at midnight! Oh well. At least I know I will definitely be home at that time each day for the next few weeks.

  • Hi YellowRose, good luck on your journey! I start my meds on 13th December. Got my prescription on Friday, but was holding off getting it made up as I was really hoping to have conceived naturally this month - period arrived yesterday though about 2 hours after the counselling session :-( I had a many many tears, and talked hubby through everything from the counselling and now feel a little better.

    I've also booked acupuncture sessions starting next week, so feeling more positive today.

    when is your scan to check the down reg has worked enough?

  • Thank you..... They are kind words. I'm sitting here streaming as it's looking like we're going to fail on our second try ( unfortunately we haven't managed to get to EC as I'm a poor responder). They're giving me one last push on max meds until Monday. It's our second try. Havent undergone any counselling, but may look to speak to someone. Sending you lots of love X

  • Oh dearie, I just don't know what to say to you. Nothing can make it better for you right now, but try to stay positive. They wouldn't be doing the max meds thing if they didn't think there was a good chance it would work, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. There must be a good proportion of people who do respond to that option or they wouldn't have developed it as a treatment and they wouldn't put your body through it.

    Thinking of you xx

  • Thank you seeking peace. I read your post just at a time I needed to cry. We only found out yesterday. We have been given another glimmer of hope so we're praying hard until Monday. Unfortunately I found out yesterday that it looks like my left ovary doesn't work at all and if they decide I'm not a candidate for IVF due to poor response, my right ovary, although trying its best will never enable me to conceive because my right tube is blocked so my eggs never make it. Depending how it goes, I'm going to push for tubal surgery. Grasping at straws, but we've been trying for 5 years. We're the same age ( I was 39 in sept). Hope you remain strong. Sending you lots of luck XXXX

  • Sorry to hear yr troubles. What a mad, upsetting time we have to go through just to be parent. So sad. I know you are pushing forward with your treatment, and that's the right thing to do, so you try every possible way you can. But if you do need a plan b, and you do get to the stage where you need another option I.e. having a donor egg then message me. I couldn't have Ivf using my own eggs, it broke me initially. But I did get my head around having a donor. my first attempt did fail sadly, but I did fall pregnant, but miscarried at 6 weeks. But I am riddled with endometriosis and 42! Anyway we are trying again with the saved embryos. Just wanted to offer support and say message me in the future if you do need a plan b. Wishing you every success xx

  • Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that - such a cruel blow from nature. I don't understand why you wouldn't be a candidate for IVF - surely that is the whole purpose - to take eggs when you have them (and you do) and put them where they can't get to on their own. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you xx

  • Thanks for sharing this. I can relate to lots of what you've shared. I went for acupuncture a few months ago and found it quite relaxing. I had a break while we had various tests done but have a session booked for next week and I am also doing a session of counselling. I feel very angry with the situation at the moment so I'm hoping both help! Good luck x

  • Oh dearie, sorry you're feeling angry, but acknowledging it and having a label for your feelings is a good thing. I'm just spending every waking moment feeling sad and regretful for all the things I could have done differently in the past, and fearful of future failure. I haven't even started the injections yet so I dread to think what I'll be like in 4 weeks' time.

    I know I have so much to be thankful for and I keep focussing on that, but my mind so easily wanders to the negative.

    I booked another counselling session for Friday and also have my first acupuncture, so at least I'm doing positive things.

    Take care xx

  • It's hard not to think about this constantly! There is nothing you can do about the past so try not to dwell on it (easier said than done!) I hope you enjoy the acupunture. Take care x

  • Good to read that. So thanks for posting it. Sounds like you had a very good session at your clinic. Definitely worthwhile as you see things from a different perspective. I'm 42 so I know how you feel about the journey at this late age! You made me chuckle when you said "yr so wrong... I'm totally jealous of certain individuals!" Right with you there! I recently heard of someone who didn't want to care for her toddler anymore so he went to live with his dad. My god I was SO cross! It's not right is it? The people like us that want to have a family so bad and just to be a mum, and we have to go through all this! And yet people like that can get pregnant really easily. Grrrr

    Good luck with everything and as your session said, be kind to yourself and eachother, that's very important for sure

    I had to have a donor egg as my insides are screwed! It did work and I was on top of the world. But I did miscarry at 6 weeks. Very tough. But it did work. We will try again in January

    Good luck! Take care xx

  • Aww hope23, I'm so sorry to hear that. You must be so heartbroken. I really hope it works for you this time. They do say that they learn so much from your first round that they can do things a little differently with the second. Good luck on your journey x

  • hi SeekingPeace. This is a great post, can you tell me if counselling BEFORE IVF is standard regardless of which clinic you are at - we are Newcastle C4L and I have a feeling you are too if i'm remembering correctly? We have our consent appointment Tuesday so just wondering if they will mention any counselling at that appointment... great news you start meds in a few weeks!! Exciting although not ideal to happen over Christmas which can be stressful time anyway. xx

  • Hi there, first of all good luck for Tuesday, for me the consenting appointment was the first real step on the IVF journey. You'll get an info booklet at the start of your consenting appointment which contains the contact details for the counsellor (that's also where I found out about this forum). It's totally up to you if you wish to contact her, and also up to you how many sessions you have. I hadn't really intended to contact her, but I'm really glad I did.

    Good luck, let me know how it goes xx

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