Post # 1
A friend and her partner are currently doing IVF. She’s 35 and in good health – just finished the month of fertility shots and had eggs extracted (is that the right word?) Tuesday/yesterday. Today she tells me that 6 of the 8 are good…again, not entirely sure what that means, but it seemed like a good sign. Friday they go to have the eggs put back in and then she said it’s a 2 week/14 day wait until blood tests with the Doctor (although she’s the type to do pregnancy tests after 10 days).
I’m not good at baby stuff. Only one of my friends has a baby and I wasn’t close to her during pregnancy. I personally don’t have/want my own and don’t feel at all maternal but I’m thrilled for her that so far things seem to be going well. I feel awkward about conception/pregnancy and need advice about what to say or not say to her. I don’t want to give her false hope since I know IVF doesn’t regularly ‘take’ on the first try and she’s a little older than she wanted to be when they started trying. I want to be positive but realistic, because very early on, my sister told quite a number of people she was pregnant and then lost a baby at 2 months(ish) and it devastated her because she’d become so attached to the idea and all the pro-baby “you’re going to be a great mom” stuff she kept hearing.
Any things to stay away from saying? Do I stay quiet until she’s actually confirmed as pregnant? Do I just say all the positive “yea! You’re going to have a baby” stuff and hope it’s true? Do I send her a Good Luck cookie basket or something for Friday? I’m just trying really hard to be upbeat and supportive but I’m scared if she doesn’t get preggo this time that I’ll have contributed to her high hopes.
Post # 2
Well, I’d definitely NOT say “yea! you’re going to have a baby” during the two week wait. I would say nothing suggestive that it works (cause it doenst the first try for a LOT of people), nothing negative. Depending how she is, I would even stay away from being overly hopeful, cause if she isn’t, then your happy go lucky hopefulness could just piss her off (or at least it would to me). Just go off her cues and wish her luck. Or really, don’t say anything at all, just listen to what she has to say cause sometimes one may just want to vent and get it out there.
Post # 3
I think the cookie basket is a sweet idea. And I think you’re a great friend for thinking about her and trying to be sensitive to the situation – that puts you ahead of many people who will just make comments without thinking (even if well-intentioned). IMO, true friends offer a listening ear even if things are uncomfortable or they might not know what to say exactly. There are no magic words. Rather, what mattered to me when I was going through it was the people who remembered, who showed up emotionally, and some who even went out of their way to learn about the IVF process to try to understand more about what we were going through. It’s highly technical. There are a lot of hard decisions. It’s extremely time consuming with almost daily monitoring at points (but she’s finished that phase for this cycle). After my egg retrieval, I was sore and needed a lot of help for several days as I moderately hyper-stimmed and could barely walk or turn over in bed without help. The real stress though is waiting. Omg, so much waiting. Every day (or most of them) for the 5 days she is in now, she is likely to get a report from the lab on how many eggs survived. As many as half can stop dividing or maturing EACH day. So it’s a very real possibility to get to the end and have nothing to transfer. Many people don’t understand this. Then the 2 week wait is hell. Call or text most days and ask how she is, don’t be intrusive, offer that you’re free if she feels like talking. Or just say “Thinking of you” and “hoping things are going ok,” “you’re doing great,” “you have been really brave,” “how can I help?”. Offer to come to appointments or, better yet, have a pizza or casserole delivered without being asked. During the two week wait I found friends who helped me stay busy to keep it off my mind the most helpful. Like you don’t even have to talk about IVF. You can say – this is a really stressful time for you, wanna see X movie on Friday night together for some relief? I think being specific is such a help bc it saves someone in a hard situation from asking or reaching out. Dozens of people will say “let me know if you need anything” but only a really great friend texts your husband to see if a pair of hands to walk the dog on Saturday aftn would help or shows up with movie tickets and says, let’s go! She’s lucky to have a great friend like you and you are doing a great job 🙂 Hope things work out for her!!!! It is soul-crushing to invest so much hope, physical pain, time, $ etc and not have it work out. Thanks for being a good friend to someome going through this, even though you haven’t been through it yourself – that is especially wonderful!
Post # 4
rjay: thanks so much for the insight! I really appreciate it and I’ll definitely take your recommendations 🙂
Post # 5
Don’t tell her horror stories about other people. Don’t ever say that they can always “just” adopt.
Do be a shoulder to cry on only if she asks. Do take her out for a manicure or a movie or an easy walk to take her mind off the waiting.
And embryos are “transferred”, not “implanted”.
Karen, survivor of 4 failed cycles. 🙂
Post # 6
sunshineno5: That is amazing you are being such a great friend! Me and Darling Husband are looking to start our first IVF cycle sometime soon. I would say the most important thing is just not to tell her some cliche things some people say, like “relax” “stress is bad for you”, “I know it will happen”, etc. If anything, symphasize with the process, tell her it is OK to feel the things she feels – stress, worry, anxiety, etc. If possibe, learn a little about the ivf process, ask her questions so she feels you are engaged. Listen when she wants to talk, and maybe ask her to do some fun things during waiting period to keep her busy. Sounds like you are doing a great job so far in supporting your friend 🙂
Post # 7
Kudos to you for wanting to support your friend! The people who stepped up for me during IVF meant so much to me. It’s an emotional time and just knowing people were thinking of me meant so much during a very stressful time! My SIL ordered dinner for us one night during the TWW, just as a nice gesture to tell us she was thinking of us. I loved that – just to have one night off from cooking and knowing that she wanted to do something nice for me! I liked when my friends would just send funny/happy texts/e-mails to keep me distracted. My clinic had me do bedrest for 3 days after transfer – that’s fairly common, though not universal, so I appreciated a friend who gifted me some DVDs of movies she knew I loved. Distractions during the TWW were fabulous! I agree with PPs about not saying things too positive like that it’s going to work. That just made me feel under a lot of pressure. Let her know you’re there to listen, but I appreciated when friends would just check in and ask in general how things were going and if I was doing okay rather than asking me anything too specific, since sometimes I was emotional about things, like results of my embryo reports.
Post # 8
pinkshoes: rjay: karen12: solnishko1186: jetsetbee: Thank you to all the bees who offered advice! Fingers crossed that all goes well today and that there’s good news for her in a couple of weeks.
Post # 9
sunshineno5: the most important thing is just being there to listen. Check in on her and ask how she’s doing. She might not want to bring it up herself. When I was struggling with infertility, it was so helpful when my friends reached out and allowed me to vent/talk. Just go off her cues.