After months or years of having trouble getting pregnant, all the action and the excitement of taking injections, going for scans, monitoring your blood test results and admiring your embryos is now over.
Your doctor has put your embryos back into your uterus, and now all you can do is wait for the final outcome, in order to find out whether the embryos have implanted or not. This wait is extremely frustrating: the outcome of the treatment is completely out of your hands, and there is no way of finding out what is happening to your precious embryos inside your body.
As any IVF patient will attest, the two-week wait after the embryo transfer is the longest fourteen days of your life. The symptoms after IVF embryo transfer-- physical and emotional-- can be hard to deal with. Do any of these sound familiar?
Every Physical Twinge is Significant
Your mind plays all kinds of games with you! Do my breasts feel more tender than usual? I am feeling nauseous - is this early morning sickness and does this mean that my embryos have implanted? Should I panic because I am not feeling anything at all? Does this mean that my embryos have died and that the cycle has failed? Was that blood in my vaginal discharge? Does that mean my embryos are falling out? Are my symptoms because of PMS or are they a side effect of the medications I'm taking?
Your mind is full of doubts and questions and there is really no one who can provide the answers. There's little point in asking your doctor, because most the time all he can say is, "We'll have to wait for the hCG blood test results to find out what's happening." Easy for him to say-- he has other patients to treat!
Consulting Dr. Google
You spend hours on the net, Googling your symptoms. You try to make sense of them by asking other more experienced IVFers on online IVF bulletin boards, so you can compare what's happening to you with their experiences. These expeditions often leave you even more confused and frustrated, because there's so much variability, and so many old wives’ tales!
What you need is emotional support to calm your anxious mind, but while your head understands this, it's very hard for your heart to come to terms with the fact that these fourteen days will also pass.
Testing Old Wives' Tales
You try to do everything possible to maximize your chances of success. Your friend's mother-in-law suggested that you should be resting in bed, so you spend all day lying down.
You read somewhere that eating pomegranates is good for your fertility, so you drink a bottle of pomegranate juice daily. The nurse at the IVF clinic suggested that you should be eating a lot of pineapple, so you eat a huge number of slices daily; and your online buddy suggested that royal jelly helps embryos to implant, so you dutifully buy this and consume it religiously.
Buying Home Pregnancy Tests in Bulk
You try to stop your mind from playing games, by using meditation and other mind-body control techniques, but nothing seems to work. You are dying to find out what's happening inside you, and you start cheating by doing pregnancy tests four days after the transfer, even though you know it's too early to really get an answer one way or the other. When you see a second line, you wonder whether it's an optical illusion, or whether you are actually pregnant.
You just can't understand why your husband is not as obsessed about the result as you are - and because he's busy and you can't keep on bugging him about your feelings and your symptoms every day, you try to bottle them up.
Test Day Jitters
When it's D-day and you go to have blood drawn for your pregnancy test, you are not sure whether you're happy that you are finally going to find out the result. You are so scared that you find yourself trembling with anxiety. This is not the sort of person you normally are. You are used to being in control of your life and to making decisions for yourself. You find it difficult to understand why you are behaving like a student who's waiting to find out whether she passed an exam.
And then starts the final wait for the results - and every time the telephone rings, you are never sure whether you should pick it up because the nurse may be calling with good news - or not!
Dr. Aniruddha Malpani is an IVF specialist with a brilliant career with numerous awards, educational distinctions and prizes. Dr. Malpani completed his postgraduate degree in Gynecology from the University of Bombay in 1986. He received further training in IVF from UCSF, San Francisco, and U.S.A. As a medical student, he studied at Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Yale. He practices in Mumbai, India along with his wife Anjali. He can be contacted at email@example.com, or learn more at http://www.drmalpani.com.