Coping with IVF failure

Monica Moore, MSN, RNC
Founder of Fertile Health, Fertile Health

Emotions and Support, Failed IVF Cycles

IVF failure and how to cope with that
From this video you will find out:
  • How can I work on changing my thoughts?
  • Is there something that I can do right now to take care of myself?
  • What kind of coping mechanisms can help me?
  • If movement is so important, how can I incorporate it in my daily life?
  • How can I deal with others during my journey?
  • How can I work on getting good quality sleep?

How to deal with IVF failure?

Watch the webinar with Monica Moore, a women’s Health NP, where she is talking about dealing with IVF failure and emotional support.

- Questions and Answers

I would like to try again with donor eggs this time, but my husband doesn’t want it, he doesn’t want to talk about it either. How can I try to convince him or try to discuss it at least?

It’s so common that partners are on different pages, and that core values exercise that I brought up is helpful in relationships too because your husband or partner may have a different core value. Theirs might be to let’s say protect you, without investigating what that is, you might think he’s not considering my feelings but he might think, you know what, going to do donor egg is going to be too stressful for you, or it’s going to be something that you didn’t think about, this is his thought to protect you. I think the first step is to find out the kind of the why behind the why. Why are you feeling this way? You may need to do it through an objective third party. This is where it would help to have a therapist who can ask the deeper questions if he’s unwilling to do it. I did the core exercise with my husband because some things drove me crazy and what I found out is that again it’s a positive intent, so some of the ways that he went about meeting the core values that he thought were meeting my needs were so, let’s just say interesting that I didn’t get it until we had a conversation about it and it might be a good conversation starter. If you still are kind of not getting too far, you feel stuck that way, then I would ask for help with the therapist who can ask the right questions, and then if he’s willing to go to the therapist, he’s going to be receptive to talking about this a little bit more.

I’m trying to take care of myself and waiting for my new agency and clinic to find a surrogate. As I’ve been through 12 IVF attempts, I’m getting very anxious (yet again). I find that I wake up suddenly from a deep sleep, and this will happen over and over to the point where some mornings I have chest pains and thinking what on earth is happening to my body as I know my thoughts are manifesting themselves physically. I’m pretty active and move a lot but find I don’t know what else to do as I’m so busy researching everything.

I think my 3rd side was that you are stressed because this is incredibly stressful looking at your situation. I can tell you what on earth is happening to your body, you’re in a fight because you are through an incredibly stressful situation. If you think about it, we are told, you study hard for a test, you do well on the test, you train for a race, and you do good on the race, you lift weights, and you get strong. Here is something that you could have done right, and it still hasn’t happened to you. It’s incredibly stressful and what it takes away is your sense of agency, and I used that word before, but I didn’t explain it, and what that word means is that what you do matters, and I think a lot of times when we go through the cycles, we feel like we’re doing everything we can and it doesn’t matter, so that’s what I think is probably happening to you and then your body is in this constant state of fight or flight. Although I think the movement is incredibly important, and I’m glad that you do it, I also think maybe you need to explore some of your other very specific empowering coping mechanisms, I also think that maybe what I tell people is to bookend your day, so right before you go to bed maybe listen to a meditation. I love Insight Timer, I think it has like 30 000 or something free meditations and picks a meditation before you go to bed that makes you feel how you want to feel, it’s like ending your day with that, and it’s sort of like that is the thing that you’re putting into your subconscious before you go to sleep. If you wake up and you’re unable to get back to Steep, I would say to go to another meditation if you can. I tell people to frequently use that because you just need to stop that loop in your brain, which is so difficult to do from thinking what if because you’ve had at least 12 what-ifs. Your brain’s like this is not going to work for me, and you need to figure out a way to get out that loop, then when you wake up in the morning to set an intention. That intention or to do something intentionally, that could be meditative, that could be a couple of minutes of mindfulness, it could be reading an inspirational book or reading something that makes you feel good. It could be getting outside if it’s a nice day and feeling the sun, anything that’s sort of like on your mind. I love the journaling. I’ve mentioned that before but what I find is if you decide to journal and like let’s say you do it at the end of the day, your journal, and then what you do is when you close the journal that night, that’s a signal, I’m done thinking about that because you got all those thoughts out, they have somewhere to go because you’re probably thinking like I don’t want to forget this, I don’t want to forget to think about this, or you can journal in the morning so that you start the day off like that. Then you’re thinking at night about all this stuff, and you’re like, you know what – I’m going to put my meditation app on now because when I wake up, I can journal this, so at least your thoughts will have a reservoir to go so they can get out of your brain.

I don’t eat at all, so I lose weight, and I also sleep a lot. Anything you can advise?

Nutrition and sleep often go together when one is poor – the other one is often poor as well. Sleeping a lot is usually a sign of maybe feeling sad or depressed, and I don’t mean to say that you have a deep depression, but that’s how the body copes, the body wants to regenerate in that way. When you go to sleep, you must be thinking a certain thing, and then when you predict how you’re going to feel when you wake up, let’s say from a nap or sleep, you’re going to predict, you’re feeling a certain way. That’s your behavioral loop, your cue is maybe – I can’t take this, I just have so many things going on, I just need to close my eyes and then afterward, I’m going to feel balanced, peaceful, calm whatever the word is. The problem is that action, the action of sleep isn’t sustainable, you can’t probably live that way, so you have to explore when you feel whatever it is that preceded the sleep, what else can you do to create that sense of calm, peace, completeness. You might write down 20 things, and you have to try them out, and it might be two or three things but I think a lot of times it just has to do with all of these things going on on your mind and feeling powerless, so getting them out of your head in some way and then finding strategies that help you feel a certain way, the perception of sleep, how you feel is going to be really important. In terms of not eating at all, that is probably, what happens when you get into the fight-or-flight response. The blood flow goes to the brain, the heart, the lungs, and it goes away from the stomach and actually away from the reproductive organs because they’re not important quoting fight-or-flight response and so what you might feel is that you’re not feeling hungry at all, some people feel the opposite because the digestive system is not getting innervated with blood, so if you can figure out strategies that you’re not in this constant fight-or-flight and maybe it is I can bring up these meditation apps. If you’re feeling that way and you can get out of the fight-or-flight, you can get into that rest and digest part that parasympathetic, there’s ways to activate what’s called the vagus nerve. Another great way to activate the vagus nerve is breathing, and it’s breathing from the belly as opposed to chest breathing, so if you put your hand on your belly, it’s weird to feel it first but breathing from your belly is a very quick, easy way to innervate the vagus nerve and to make your exhale longer than your inhale, that’s another important kind of aspect of it, so any way that you can get there might let the digestive enzymes go, may get you out of fight or flight. In the beginning, you’re going to have to keep telling yourself to do that until it becomes a habit, that’s where that habit loop comes in.
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Monica Moore, MSN, RNC

Monica Moore, MSN, RNC

Monica Moore, MSN, RNC is a women’s Health NP and is the founder of Fertile Health, LLC, a consulting company with two arms. One is a nursing education business created to train and empower nurses in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) and the other is a health coaching business for women who are attempting pregnancy or just trying to achieve ideal health prior to pregnancy. Her first job was at the Cornell Center for Reproductive Medicine over 20 years ago and since then, she has worked as a donor nurse coordinator, nurse manager, nurse education and as a writer. She has published print and online journal articles, written book chapters on infertility, and writes a regular blog on her website www.fertilehealthexpert.com and for RMA of Connecticut. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
Event Moderator
Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka is managing MyIVFAnswers.com and has been hosting IVFWEBINARS dedicated to patients struggling with infertility since 2020. She's highly motivated and believes that educating patients so that they can make informed decisions is essential in their IVF journey. In the past, she has been working as an International Patient Coordinator, where she was helping and directing patients on their right path. She also worked in the tourism industry, and dealt with international customers on a daily basis, including working abroad. In her free time, you’ll find her travelling, biking, learning new things, or spending time outdoors.