After all the lead up to your embryo transfer (medications, ultrasounds, blood draws, more medications, injections, more ultrasounds!) being left to your own devices (and google) for the 9-11 days between embryo transfer and the first beta HCG bloodwork feels like roughly 250 agonizing years for most women… who knew time could go SOOOOOOOO slow?!
This post is to help you prevent completely losing your marbles during the wait. Hang in there, it really isn't 250 years & this too shall pass! (And yes, it's absolutely normal if you repeatedly/covertly press your upper arm into your boobs to determine if they are sensitive… this is par for the course!)
Concept #1 Gratitude!
how to do it: Either alone or with your partner, start by making a list of at least as many things as you have days until your BETA HCG test that you are grateful for. If you have 9 days until your test, list 9 or more things you are grateful for (yay day 5 transfer!), if you have more than 9 days, I'm sorry! Then, after making the list pick one or two things each day and try to think of as many ways to celebrate, honor, or amplify your gratitude for this thing.
examples: I'm grateful for my dog… take your pooch to the park or on a long walk, play fetch, go to the pet store and get a new toy or treat, take some pictures of him/her at play, make a slideshow or print a picture and buy a cute frame, snuggle on the couch. I'm grateful for my partner… leave little notes around for them, text a sweet message, meet for lunch, have a movie night at home and pop popcorn and hold hands, make out, give each other a massage...
what it does: Gratitude is AMAZING, it offsets depression & anxiety, increases prosocial behavior (fancy for makes you want to be helpful), improves relationships and more. When you focus on what you have vs. what you do not have it helps keep your mind more in balance. PLUS, these are the things you will continue to have regardless of what your next pregnancy test tells you, they aren't going away. Conversely, these are the things you are excited to share with another little human-being, they are wonderful things about your life you want to share with a child and that is a beautiful thing.
Concept #2 Stress Scales
how to do it: Picture an old fashioned balance scale, on one side, imagine all the things about this process that make you feel stressed, anxious, frustrated and clenched inside (shots, appointments, money, missing work, pregnant women all around, did it work?…). Instead of feeling bad or MORE stressed about these things shift your focus to the opposite side of the scales. On this side, picture all the ways you could feel less stressed, anxious, frustrated and clenched (maybe breathing, going for a walk, a date, watching a movie, exercising, journaling, meditating, getting acupuncture or a massage…) then DO these things!
examples: You feel a twinge on your lower left abdomen and suddenly start to panic about what it means… then catch yourself and think, "I need to remember to breathe when this happens!" and take 3 mindful breathes. Your breasts were hurting yesterday, now they feel less sore today, think, "I'm going to call my partner and plan a dinner date and go for a walk together after."
what it does: Many women worry about the side of the scale that has the stressful stuff loaded on it, then they feel stressed about feeling stressed!? Ugh! The things on that side of the scale are real, they are truly stressful, and there is no way of avoiding them if you are going through IVF, so to feel bad about them or even more stressed only makes them worse and thinking you should get rid of them, well, that'll just make you feel like you are failing or driving yourself crazy. Instead, bringing your focus to adding things to the other side of the scale helps you let go of your focus on the stressful stuff, it also helps you feel more empowered and liberated from your fears and worries. It is good practice for pregnancy (because if you think the stress of waiting for the pregnancy test is bad, just wait for the first ultrasound!) AND if you are not pregnant it will be helpful in navigating your next steps and emotions as you move through grief and forward.
I hope these will give you lots of very doable, DIY options to help stay sane (er) and get through these crazy making days. It really will pass… and I hope you have even more crazy making days in your near future!