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Starting IVF and feeling guilty I haven't tried hard enough

(20 Posts)
Sweetheartyparty76 Thu 18-Jun-15 17:47:29

Hi ladies,
I'm about to start IVF on Monday and I had good intentions to have a clean diet, exercise and get my self in the best shape possible before the treatment. None of that happened though and I feel like I've wasted this cycle before I've even started. I've not had a great diet, had a few coffees, a couple of glasses of wine now and again and I haven't really done anything. It's not as if I'm young either as I'm 39 on Monday too. I feel like I don't deserve a baby because if i really wanted one I would have tried harder. I feel horribly guilty now. Is it out of my control anyway? In my county, we have 3 attempts so I will put everything into the next attempt if unsuccessful. I would love some personal stories whether good or bad in regard to getting yourself healthy for IVF.

KittyBennett Thu 18-Jun-15 17:50:19

I think you would want to look back with no regrets whatever the outcome. Best advice would be postpone for a month or two and really focus on doing all the things you planned to do.

Sweetheartyparty76 Thu 18-Jun-15 17:57:15

Thanks Kitty. Am I able to delay the start so close to treatment? I would really like to as I've just started a new job so I feel like I need a few more months to settle in.

Northernlurker Thu 18-Jun-15 18:05:14

Umm no experience but is there any evidence that you going without caffeine etc and jogging up hill and down dale before you start treatment will improve the outcome?

There are lots of theories about fertility and what helps and what doesn't. Some have evidential base, some don't. But even those things which may impact are still only maybes. We all know plenty of people who drink like fishes conceive every day (and night). IVF is an invasive procedure which has a high chance of not working. But if it doesn't work for you it won't be because of the coffee you had last weekend and a failure to swim 50 lengths. It will be because for many complex reasons successful fertilisation, implantation or foetus growth has failed to take place. It will not be, CANNOT EVER BE, your fault.

So what we're looking at here is do you feel emotionally ready to take this on next week? That's a whole different question. I would take a few deep breaths, try and talk to your partner about the anxiety I'm sure you feel. presumably you're worried it won't work? That's the risk you take, the risk you have to take. But you need to be ready to take that and readiness for that has nothing to do with physical behaviour.

lucieloos Thu 18-Jun-15 18:23:54

Brilliant advice from northern lurker!

juneau Thu 18-Jun-15 18:33:45

I agree with everything northernlurker said, although if you're overweight and really need to lose some pounds before you start I know that is one thing can really impact fertility treatment outcomes. If its just a case of 'clean living' though, I wouldn't stress too much.

However this I've just started a new job so I feel like I need a few more months to settle in would make me postpone. The early months in a new job can be stressful and stress and making babies aren't a great combo. I'd get comfortable with the job, then try. Good luck!

Sweetheartyparty76 Thu 18-Jun-15 19:06:17

Thank you for all your replies.
Northernlurker, your advice was so much on the ball that it almost made me cry. I don't feel ready yet, both emotionally and physically. Am I just scared though? Will I ever feel ready enough, I don't know? I know that I feel stressed about what and if I will tell work. They pride themselves on being a family friendly, ethical company but once I tell them, that's it. There's no going back. I haven't told my partner of how I feel either. To tell you the truth, it is me that is driving this by my fear of getting too old. My DP doesn't really want to do it anyway and prefers to let nature take its course so I feel a bit isolated as no-one in my immediate circle of friends have ever had problems conceiving.
i might ring the clinic tomorrow to see how easy is it to postpone for a couple of months. It might be too late in which case we will go through it. Thanks ladies.

HopefulHamster Thu 18-Jun-15 19:13:06

I have had IVF three times and it is very stressful on the mind and body. It can be even more stressful to push yourself into behaving 'perfectly' in the run up.

I think you are understandably anxious but I doubt your lifestyle will have any measurable affect on your treatment. I had one failed cycle and then two successful and probably got more lax with each one.

Bear in mind that some clinics sort of treat the first cycle like a test - ie they don't know yet how your body will respond to the drugs so they will start cautiously with the intention to change things next time if there has to be a next time. Please don't worry too much.

HopefulHamster Thu 18-Jun-15 19:13:44

Personally at your age I would not postpone, the wait between cycles can be very frustrating!

Northernlurker Thu 18-Jun-15 19:45:10

Sounds like you're in a difficult situation. I think finding out what your options are is a good plan. It's normal though to be apprehensive about the enormity of parenthood. I think a lot of people look at a pregnancy test after planned TTC whether by 'natural' or 'assisted' means and think 'What have we DONE!' Thinking that and acknowledging it allows your brain to start to process it. With IVF you take a big gamble and you know if it doesn't work it will hurt you a lot. It's hard to take these steps. If your dp isn't too keen also, do you perhaps feel if you articulate that he'll turn round and say that in that case you won't go ahead at all? That's tricky if that is the case. It's ok to feel how hard this all is. Perfectly reasonable of you and worrying about it doesn't make you undeserving of either the treatment or being a parent. We put such a lot of pressure on ourselves to enjoy every minute. Truth is being a parent is the hardest thing I'll ever do. The stakes are higher, the risks are there and I wouldn't change it for anything but I'd be lying if I said I always felt equipped for this, always enjoyed it, always felt capable of it. I don't and I don't think anybody does. We all have phases when we feel on top of our game but God willing I'll be parenting my three for the rest of my life and that's a heck of a long time to avoid screwing it up sometimes grin.

Regarding work I always advise people to say nothing at all until as late as you can get away with. The law is on your side, common human decency is on your side but still we all know that sometimes employers behave badly to pregnant women and even to women they think may become pregnant. You can't make any decisions on the basis of how somebody may or may not choose to act though. It's beyond your control. I can't say it won't all go pearshaped jobwise. It does for a distressingly large number of people. What I can say is the law is on your side and whatever happens you can work it out. So try and take that out of the equation.

Good luck whatever you decide to do smile

Persipan Thu 18-Jun-15 19:53:42

Hi Sweetheart. I'm 38 and just gearing up for my second cycle of IVF (the first was earlier this year, and unsuccessful).

I also had all kinds of good intentions before round 1, and then utterly failed to do any of those things. I was awful, and ate cake all the time (and I'm not being hyperbolic there; I really mean it) while constantly telling myself that tomorrow I'd turn over a new leaf and sort myself out; and then eating more cake.

For that reason, I'm a bit cautious about the idea of postponing treatment to adopt a magically irreproachable lifestyle, because my worry is that it turns into a stick to beat yourself with. I, personally, just couldn't do it last time around. No amount of deciding to be 'good' could get me to do it. If I'd waited a couple of months, I'd just have eaten a couple of months' more cake!

This time around, I'm actually much more able to eat sensibly and have laid off the sugar and piled on the protein. But I think it's largely because it is my second time that I've been able to do that. I'm not intimidated by the process because I've done it before, so I can stop being such a sugar-fuelled stress-monster.

At the end of the day, IVF is a process that you can't control and that, sadly, usually has a larger chance of failure than success in any given cycle. So, I don't in any way blame the cake for my last cycle not working; and if this one doesn't work it's not like it'll be down to whether I did or didn't eat quite enough quinoa.

I suppose my advice would be, examine your reasons for wanting to postpone, and ask yourself whether they're truly going to change over the next couple of months if you do postpone. And remember, it's really normal to feel scared and overwhelmed in the runup to treatment.

Good luck, whatever you decide!

Sweetheartyparty76 Thu 18-Jun-15 20:01:28

Thank you for all your kind replies.
We've had a really difficult year. We got pregnant last year after 4 years of trying only for to have a TFMR as he was incompatible with life. I've never shared this before but when i was pregnant i kept thinking did i want this baby. I'm ashamed to say that i was worried about no more sleep-ins or money and our lives turning upside down. I still feel really bad about it and undeserving of a baby. Not a good place before starting ivf i think x

Sweetheartyparty76 Thu 18-Jun-15 20:08:28

Thank you Persipan, i can really relate to what you posted. I was always going to start eating healthy on Monday but one bad thing (mainly cake too) would send me in a spiral of bad eating until the following Monday. IVF always seemed like ages away and now i gave regrets. I think i am stressed and eating is a way of getting through it. Im all or nothing when it comes to dieting which i think is pretty destructive in itself x

Sweetheartyparty76 Thu 18-Jun-15 20:09:57

Good luck Persipan that 2 times is the charm and you a have a lovely baby at the end of it x

Persipan Thu 18-Jun-15 20:16:36

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.

I do just want to take a minute to give you absolute and wholehearted permission to want a baby whilst acknowledging having felt (and probably still feeling) nervous and ambivalent about actually having one and what that would mean for your life. Actually, it can be the case that people who have a baby after fertility treatment really struggle with that aspect - they've wanted that baby so much and waited so long to meet them, that they feel they can't say or think anything negative about the experience at all, ever; when of course it's really tough and having a bit of a moan would be incredibly helpful for their own well-being. So, from my perspective, there's never, not ever, anything wrong with thinking or expressing those thoughts. Please don't feel guilty for having had them; they're normal and you did nothing wrong in thinking them. Thank you for trusting us with them, and please don't feel guilty about them.

Sweetheartyparty76 Thu 18-Jun-15 20:52:14

Thank you Persipan, you've made me tear up. I think i am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by it all and probably why I'm having a bit of a wobble today. Good luck to you in your upcoming treatment xxx

CatnipMouse Fri 19-Jun-15 08:11:39

Hello there, it sounds to me as if you are getting some excellent advice and support. I just wanted to mention that you should perhaps check the rules for IVF funding locally to be sure of the upper age limit. Where I live it runs out at 40, everywhere is different, but it would be crap if you bumped up against it. It is great that you got three funded cycles, that's brilliant!

I am very sorry to head you had to have a tfmr, that must have been very hard. flowers

Northernlurker Fri 19-Jun-15 08:22:29

I'm very sorry to read about your loss too OP. You do deserve a baby and whether you go with the treatment on Monday or delay, I very much hope you have a baby soon. All the best.

NoCupcakesOrCocktails Fri 19-Jun-15 10:30:55

Hi Sweetheart, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I just wanted to reassure you if you do decide to go ahead this month. I have had 3 cycles of IVF. I was so good for the first one. I lost weight and got my BMI down to 23. I didn't drink for a few months before. I was so careful what I ate. My first one didn't work and my lifestyle slowly crept back to drinking at the weekends, eating way too much and my weight returned to normal. I was probably the least healthy I had been when I came to go through my 3rd cycle (although I was careful with alcohol etc actually during the cycle). Of course that is the cycle that worked! My consultant always said that being happy was much more important and if that meant going out for nice meals and having a few glasses of wine that's what I should do. The only thing he was insistent on was trying to keep BMI below 30.

Please do not beat yourself up, you are only human and it will certainly not be your fault if it doesn't work. IVF can be tough going, mainly mentally. The best advice I ever got was to consider it as a 3-4 cycle process as it will work for the majority of people with that many goes. They certainly learned something from each of my cycles. Of course it does work for some first time and I really hope you are one of them. All the best x

NoCupcakesOrCocktails Fri 19-Jun-15 10:34:33

Oh and I forgot to say please do not feel guilty for how you felt when you got pregnant. I have certainly had the same worries at times and have even wondered if I have made a mistake! I think a lot of pregnant women have the same feelings. Because of how we have got here I think we expect ourselves to be so grateful we won't have any of these feelings. I'm actually due today and am making the most of my last few lazy days as I'm dreading the sleepless nights grin

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