Thoughts from a BFP

I am truly hoping that people find this post helpful and not at all upsetting. I have always kept an eye on this forum since I became pregnant, as I could see so many people battling their way through the process and asking the same questions that I used to ask, and struggling with the same things that I used to struggle with. All I can say is that as time goes on 'after BFP' you start to see things with different eyes as you are in a different place emotionally. I decided to write a post to share what I learned through my treatment process and also the 'what happens next after BFP' which you so rarely hear about.

Other people:

Like I say, I do not wish to upset anyone as the fact is that I am now 34 weeks pregnant - and I know myself how sad it is to hear about other peoples pregnancies, the guilt associated with feeling annoyed and resentful, and also how fed up I used to get at hearing about IVF success stories as if they had some kind of bearing on what I was going through. People mean well but being told that 'my next door neighbours cousin had IVF and got twins', or 'my work colleague had failed IVF 7 times then a year after they gave up fell pregnant', or some other anecdote, just did not help at all. It would if anything just make me angry. Everyones treatment journey is different and sometimes all that we want is for people to acknowledge just how crappy things are for us right now. We don't need to be told to 'think positive as the treatment might work', we know this, it is why we are doing it!! We need our fear that it might not work to be acknowledged and understood, even while we are still trying. We are of course all different, but for me THAT is what helped me to get through it. I found the one friend who said "shit it sucks to be you" easier to talk to than the one that said "think positive and I know it will happen".

What did I learn?

Think about who you tell about your situation & treatment. I applied a simple rule: unless I am going to gain something from telling you, I am not telling you. This worked really well for me, I told my bosses and got a huge amount of understanding and flexibility from them. I told a couple of friends who I knew would give me support and understanding. The family and friends that I knew would not understand or who would throw the anectodes, 'think positive' advice, or 'why dont you just adopt' responses at me.. I just didn't bother telling them.

My Clinic:

One, two, three years ago I would have given anything to get my elusive BFP. I struggled through diagnoses of endometriosis, scarring from chlamydia/PID, blocked tubes.. 3 lots of surgery (eventual removal of both tubes) and 2 lots of IVF. I now feel hugely lucky that I had a great GP, consultant and clinic, and although hugely frustrating at the time I now recognise that they were following a process and everything was done as it should be done in my case. I know a lot of ladies unfortunately do not get this lucky.

What did I learn?

1. Make an effort to understand the process as much as you can. I found this book helpful and matter of fact:

2. Think about and write down your questions before you see your doctor, then write down the answers. If you are still not clear next time, ask again.

3. If you are not happy with how you are being treated, explain that to them, and that you need to be communicated with better. Don't just take it, push to get the info and action you need. Try and get a GP on your side, if you can't, change GP.


I remember googling symptoms probably 10 times a day during my first IVF cycle. It didn't help. I never found what I wanted to find (which was a clear message that my latest twitchy leg/cramp/mucus/boob ache meant I was definitely preggers) and in fact only found more things to stress about. I do not think that any 2 women have the same symptoms. I also now realise that a lot of what I was noticing, twinges etc, actually happen all the time but I had just not noticed before I was on the IVF rollercoaster. For me, both rounds of IVF gave me sore boobs, crampy feelings, discharge, tiredness and dizziness. One resulted in a BFN and one in a BFP - so there you go - it tells us nothing really.

What did I learn?

1) After transfer, don't google symptoms and always remember that no 2 people or pregnancies are the same

2) Each time you get what might be a pregnancy symptom, think to yourself, 'could this just be a normal life thing that I actually get all the time and don't think about?'

Failed IVF:

My first IVF attempt ended dramatically as I started a very heavy period a week before my test date. My consultant believes my embryo(s) implanted but were rejected probably as they were not chromosonally normal. I was utterly devastated obviously but knew it to be just the (bad) luck of the draw that time, not my fault.

What did I learn?

It is good to focus on things like having a healthy diet etc, mostly because they give us a sense of control over a process that we really do not control. However obsessing about having had '2 cups of tea today and will the caffeine blow my chances' just causes more stress, and those 2 cuppas are not going to do ANY harm in the bigger picture. I believe that general healthy living without stressing the detail is the best way to keep a sense of doing everything you can but not obsessing or panicking.

If IVF fails, it is not our fault. IVF success is based on a huge number of factors all being aligned. Being told to think positively, stay healthy, not stress, relax etc are all good advice but only if you can accept that if your IVF does not work, it is in no way because you failed to do any of these things. It just is how it is.

Life after BFP:

My second attempt (frozen transfer) gave us our BFP. I am grateful every single day for this and still cannot quite believe how lucky we are. I sincerely wish this for every single one of you.

However, during IVF we all focus SO much on getting those 2 blue lines that we don't think about what comes next. Some people bleed, and this bleeding can either end very tragically or can be nothing to worry about. For me, I lost one of our 2 embryos at 7 weeks. We thought it was totally game over so the relief to discover at our 8 week scan that we still had one little baby was immense. My clinic refuses to do scans before 8 weeks as you cannot always clearly see a heartbeat and this can cause more stress. This meant I had 2 weeks of bleeding on and off before we got to have the scan. I could have gone to A&E (a lot of ladies do) but I do not believe personally that this is the right thing to do as an early scan may not tell you enough anyway, and frankly there is nothing that can be done if it is bad news. My midwife and IVF clinic both told me to just sit it out, and I was glad that I did. I appreciate that is easy to say as for me it was ok.

Early pregnancy:

The first trimester after IVF is hard. You are super happy, got what you wanted so desperately and would've given anything for, are headed full steam towards the life you always dreamed of, so why do you feel so damn shit??

1) You are still taking hormones. This means that all of the usual pregnancy symptoms are exasperated 10 fold. I could barely move for tiredness, dizziness and nausea. I know, when you are desperate for a BFP you would happily take any amount of discomfort on the chin and this is still true, but that doesn't mean it is easy. When you get pregnant via IVF, the first trimester seems unbearably long as you are 3 months into drug-induced-symptom-hell before you even got so far as the BFP. By 10 weeks I had just had enough of feeling dreadful. If I tried to talk to friends about this, they told me 'you can't complain, I thought this was what you wanted'. I used to get so mad: why are women that get pregnant naturally allowed to whinge about feeling crap, but I am not? How is that fair, especially when I feel SUPER crap because I have hormone overload? My answer was to pick and choose who I spoke to very carefully, and only talked to the friend that I knew would give me the sympathy I wanted - and advice on how to feel better.

2) You are scared out of your wits. I told a few people at 10 weeks then a few more at 12 weeks. What I found hard to deal with was the congratulations! I didn't feel like I was quite ready to accept that I was truly pregnant, and was so concerned with the risks and what-ifs that I couldn't just fall into the 'happy happy joy joy' camp just yet. Suddenly I found myself being treated like any other pregnant woman, but I didn't feel like one, I felt like I was still in this medical process and hanging on day to day by a thread. I couldn't handle the well meant baby advice being thrown at me, and actually lost one friend as a result of her not understanding why I still felt so delicate and didn't want her advice on parenting at that point.

I think in fact it took until my 20 week scan (and learning the gender) to truly accept the reality of my pregnancy. We have decided not to tell anyone the sex until after baby is here, and it feels absolutely wonderful to have that secret, when even the conception of our baby involved about 10 people!! It is our secret, personal to us, and the one thing that makes it all so amazing.

So now I am 34 weeks. I have started NCT classes to prep for the birth, and 99% of the time I feel like a normal mum-to-be. I do get annoyed and frustrated at other women stressing about the (for me) minor details of childbirth and want to scream 'all that matters is that you have your baby, not whether or not you can light your bloody scented candle in the delivery room!!!!'

The last few months have made me realise that the trauma of fertility treatment does not just vanish when you have your BFP. Yes, you got what you desperately wanted. Yes, you are over the moon with happiness. But is it easy? No. Wonderful, yes.

I am now starting to freak about childbirth but remind myself every day how lucky I am and how grateful for the support that I got from this forum. I truly wish the best of luck to you all, and if you actually managed to read to the end of this post then you deserve a medal just for that alone!!!!! :)


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20 Replies

  • Hello, just want to say what a lovely post I found this to be. I can relate to quite a bit of this.

    In March I got a bfp after our first I've cycle, which was just fantastic, but the anxiety I felt until week 12 was palpable. And feeling horrific with sickness and not feeling able to complain lol, that was very real :)

    however sadly we lost our baby at 16 weeks. And have to say I've been so grateful for those friends and family who have acknowledged how sh*t it is to be me, for that to happen after 3 years, and Ivf- it's been nice to have people say "you know what, you are strong and you will bounce back, but it's okay to scream and shout that you don't want to bounce back, that youre sick of the sruggle and you just need a break" some do still give the advice to try again and miscarriage is so common, but most of our close friends who know our journey know that this does not make me feel any better right now.

    I see the support you give to so many on this forum and think it's lovely. You must be so excited at the imminent arrival of your much longed for baby- enjoy it, you deserve it!!! xx

  • Fabulous post. After failed IVF I conceived naturally and I am 36 weeks pregnant today. I can relate to you alot. I found this website at the start of my journey and I remain on this website because I will try to help women with advice etc as and when I can, despite having got my wish. I wont forget those raw feelings I had to feel for such a long period of time and it is part of my life and it will be a story I share with my little girl when she gets older. Whatever the journey and whatever the outcome sticking together is a great help xxx

  • Yep, we all need to feel like someone has our back sometimes don't we. I didn't want to just get pregnant and run away and not give back any support to those still in the process. Good luck for your birth, not long now!! x

  • I enjoyed reading your post Katrina13. If I do get a BFP I can imagine feeling the same way. Best of luck with the arrival of your little one. Not long to go now! x

  • Great post and I can relate to so much of what you've written. I am 18 weeks pregnant and still finding it hard to accept. I have slight feeling of dread every time I tell someone our news, and keep a mental note of who knows so I can tell them if things don't work out. Some friends and family seem so frustrated that I haven't splashed our scan photos all over Facebook or why I don't seem more excited. To me we're just that next step closer in the process, not quite there yet. We have our 20 week scan in a couple of weeks so hoping after then I'll finally be able to accept that it is in fact happening!!

    Thanks for sharing, and good luck to everyone on the forum whatever stage you're at xxx

  • Wow, I don't normally comment on these forums but wanted to say what a brilliant and insightful post. Wishing you luck, love and happiness with the rest of your pregnancy and beyond x

  • Aw what a fantastic post Katrina13! I absolutely luv this forum, everyone's so supportive. Not long now until you meet your wee bundle of joy. Wishing you all the very best for the future 😊 x x

  • It's very helpful post I could imagine for us all. Thanks for sharing here. Have your bundle of joy healthy and happy xx wish you good luck xx

  • This answered so many questions for me. Thank you for posting it.

  • Thank you for posting this brilliant piece! I think this just sums up how everyone feels and no one can understand unless going through it! Reading things like this really really helps as its so difficult to stay positive at times like everyone tells you to!

    I have some frosties so just waiting for the next step... Another month 😔

    I had my mother in law go on about adopting, I love her but I was boiling inside! That's the last thing you want to hear at this stage as you hope it won't get to that.

    Good luck with everything, you deserve all the happiness after going through this Ivf journey 😘 xxx

  • Hi! thank you for sharing your post, it is inspiring.

  • Wow, I am amazed by all of your lovely comments. To be honest I think writing this post was a bit cathartic for me as I am still working on 'letting go' of all of the fertility treatment and making sense of it all emotionally. I am so glad that it can help other people too.

    Best of luck to you all, we all deserve to get our magic babies xx

  • This post is so lovely, I have always found your comments so helpful and insightful Katrina. Thank you. Good luck with the birth and early days with the baby, you sound like you'll be a wonderful understanding mum xx

  • Would just like to say what a lovely post and wish you good luck for the birth of you baby xx

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I echo what everyone else has said, such a lovely heart felt post. All the best with the rest of your pregnancy. I'm sure you will be a fantastic mother.

  • Fabulous post! Thanks so much! I've just started meds for our first cycle of ivf. Goes without saying that after 3 1/2years & 1 miscarriage we are hopeful about the outcome, but realistic that we may have to face further heartache. Realistic, heartfelt posts like yours are what keep me on this site. Gives a true perspective from someone who really knows what the 'jorney' of ivf can throw at you!!! Wishing you every happiness with your future bundle of joy!!!

  • This is a fantastic post thank you so much for writing it :)

  • Hello. Thanks for all the info. Great read xxxxxx

  • This is such a great post - thanks so much for writing it, very insightful and helpful :) x

  • Wow what great post that I can totally relate to. Sitting here 7 weeks pregnant not believing it's actually happened and not allowing anyone to mention it. I have been so focused on getting a BP that I had no idea it would be so hard after!

    Your post makes me realise it's OK to feel like this and no the average person will not understand

    good luck to you in the future x

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