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Can I (as sensitively as possible) ask for some advice from people going through IVF?

(11 Posts)
GoodEggy Sun 06-Mar-16 22:28:45

My beloved sister is going through IVF at the moment. Heartbreakingly the 1st attempt failed. They harvested 12 eggs and not a single one fertilised. To say she was upset is an understatement. We all were, obviously. They're waiting to start another cycle (the doc wants her to have a normal period before trying again). This will be their first baby after having tried for over 2 years. She's 40.

In the meantime DH and I have started TTC...and unbelievably we conceived the 2nd month of trying, took 18 months last time, we never expected it to be so quick this time. I'm now 6 weeks pregnant. I had thought I'd wait until my sister has another round of IVF and (please please please) becomes pregnant too before I tell anyone but I'm not sure if this is the best thing to do? Just to complicate matters we'll both be at a hen do in about a month's time and if I'm not drinking it will be obvious so I'll have to tell her before then won't I? This is my 3rd baby so at 10 weeks I'll probably have quite a visible little bump too. I feel so heartbroken for her and I know this is going to feel so incredibly unfair. I want to make it as painless for her as I can but I don't know how to? sad

westergille Mon 07-Mar-16 04:52:09

Some of it depends on what sort of person your sister is. For me, it is the strain of putting on a happy congratulatory face when yet another person announces their/their partner's pregnancy. You're starting from the advantage that you know she's TTC and having problems so when you tell her present it as neutrally as possible ie not "Great news! You're going to be an auntie again!" - just state the facts and don't expect/demand a good or bad response. Telling her in person is probably best but make sure it's just the 2 of you, or just her and her DP, and it's a situation where she can go away and process it cry. My SIL told me she was 5 weeks pregnant at a Christmas party we were hosting. She knew we were TTC and I guess didn't want to me to hear from anyone else or wonder why she wasn't drinking but the party meant I had to stick a smile on my face and carry on even though I wanted to run away and hide
The key thing is to allow your sister permission not to be immediately happy for you. I'm sure eventually she will be happy at the idea of another niece/nephew but she will need time to process.
I'd tell her well ahead of the hen party so she can have done some processing by then and can prepare herself for other people's speculation about why you're not drinking.
And definitely tell before / very soon after telling other family - nothing worse than hearing it secondhand.
Hope this helps a bit. You can't make it painless but you know that which is already the biggest first step. Be honest, straightforward, don't expect anything and ensure she has time and space to process before she needs to face the world again.

GoodEggy Mon 07-Mar-16 07:46:31

Thank you westergille, that's really helpful, especially not expecting immediate congratulations as that probably won't be her instant feeling.

cheapredwine Mon 07-Mar-16 09:47:41

Tell her. It will be hard for her (and you) but I wouldn't hide it, if it was me it would make me feel worse in the long run. It will be tough on her though and she'll likely be very upset, as happy as she'll be for you. Be straightforward. Don't let her find out from someone else or feel like she has to flat out ask. If it wasn't your sister is say don't do it face to face - I know it sounds like the right thing to do but it's actually (IMO) much harder for the recipient. But if you're very close then that's different, if that makes sense. I really hope her clinic are going to revise how they approach this second cycle - to have no fertilisation from 12 eggs is unusual and I think she needs to ask (not easy) some serious questions to be frank. Wish you both all the very best OP

GoodEggy Mon 07-Mar-16 13:09:18

I do know what you mean cheapredwine, in fact when I talked to my best friend about it today I suggested I might email my sister to tell her so she can react however she wants/needs to without having to put a brave face on for me. I'd explain the reason for emailing rather than phonecall or face to face was so she didn't have to congratulate me until she was ready to and that I totally understand that she'll have very mixed emotions about it all.

Typically the first attempt was their NHS freebie which failed so completely. Apparently what happened to them only happens to about 4% of couples. I don't know the technical terms for the processes but basically they put freshly harvested eggs in a dish, mixed sperm in and waited for conception to happen. It didn't. The next step is to strip away a layer from the eggs and actually fertilise them. That sounds more hopeful to me, better chance of something happening. I don't know if she'll need to go through the whole hormone injections and harvesting process or if they'll have saved and frozen the initial 12 eggs and will just use them? I bloody hope that's the case.

PotteringAlong Mon 07-Mar-16 13:12:28

I rang my sister (4 failed Ivf's, twins on her 5th cycle) and told her and then she didn't speak to me for weeks. She completely failed to acknowledge the birth of my first baby for the first month of his life.

My second DS was born when her twins were 6 months old. That was a lot easier for all of us.

PotteringAlong Mon 07-Mar-16 13:15:01

What I was trying to say is that either way it's not going to be easy for any of you and sometimes it's hard to do right for doing wrong. I just went with no expectations and hoped for the best.

Theresadogonyourballs Mon 07-Mar-16 13:23:17

Hi OP, ivf veteran here. Unfortunately she will have to go through the stimming and harvesting again - the original eggs will not be suitable for freezing or trying again, (sorry). On a positive note, it sounds like she's having ICSI next time round, which is a much better bet for conception. I got pregnant on my 2nd go after having ICSI, and my eggs were really pants, only got 4 each time, and only 2 fertilised and divided - but it still worked! It only takes one good one. Best of luck to your sis, and you sound lovely to be so concerned. thanks

libertydoddle Mon 07-Mar-16 13:23:18

While I was having IVF my brothers and a close cousin had 7 DC between them. It was always hard to hear about a pregnancy but what helped was telling me on my own or by email / text message. That way I didn't have to put on a happy face in a group. I liked the texts etc as it meant I had time to have a cry or whatever and then compose myself to congratulate them properly. I would have hated to not allow them to express their joy.

closephine85 Mon 07-Mar-16 14:43:46

Hi GoodEggy

I think it probably depends on just how close you and your sister are. If you are really close and don't mind her being upset/think she will mind being upset in front of you, then perhaps tell her in person. But like someone said above, just the two of you and somewhere she can escape quick to if she wants/needs to.

I am suffering from secondary infertility and due to having many mum friends I have had to deal with a lot of pregnancy announcements lately. By far the easiest to deal with was from someone who knows our situation and sent me a sensitively worded text message at a time she knew I'd be home to receive it (rather than out and about) - it meant I could cry at home and gave me time to think of a response. The worst was recently on a play date when my friend told me totally out of the blue, I had no idea it was coming and felt so silly unable to control my emotions in front of her. I wanted the ground to swallow me up but I couldn't leave as our sons were playing and it was just awful and awkward.

Good luck, it won't be an easy thing to do but you obviously care having asked for advice so I'm sure you'll find the right way to do it for you.

GoodEggy Mon 07-Mar-16 17:06:56

Thanks so much everyone for giving your advice and opinions, it really is very helpful.

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