A Calm and Supportive IVF Embryo Transfer Day
Updated: Aug 19, 2019
Embryo Transfer Day. This is such a big day.
I get tingles just thinking about the courage I see in women on this day. All the possibility and all the big feels.
The goal of navigating this day is not only to stack the cards in your favour for a successful pregnancy. It is also to care for yourself.
To tend to your heart and make room for your feelings.
Doing so will make days like these a little more do-able.
I don't know All The Things, but I am a keen observer. As an Acupuncturist working with fertility, I have treated thousands of women on the day of their embryo transfer. I am always keeping notes in my mind about what appears to make this day run smoothly for women.
Here are 7 ways to optimise your transfer day - for yourself, for your outcomes and for your sanity.
The Overarching Theme:
To Keep Things Beautifully Simple.
1. Create Ease with Time
If possible, consider taking the day off work.
Since embryo transfer days can be a little unpredictable until they are almost upon you, that might not always be possible. And that's okay. Work with what you've got.
Either way: remove any time related stress as best you can.
Arrive and park at the place of your embryo transfer with plenty of time. That way, if you can't find a park easily, or any unpredictable curve balls get thrown in you won't have the added pressure of them making you late.
If you arrive early, you don't necessarily have to sit in the waiting room with the other nervous folks for all that extra time. Have a think about what you might like to do. Consider taking headphones and listening to a guided meditation. Or going for a wander for some fresh air and movement - there might even be a lovely park in walking distance. What feels right for you?
If you're having acupuncture on the day of your transfer the same applies. Allow extra time so you don't feel rushed. And if you are pressed for time getting back to your scheduled acupuncture appointment, just call ahead to let them know. That's okay. Don't worry about it. Any acupuncturist that works around IVF knows that these things happen, and there will always be a solution to any timing issues.
2. Get Acupuncture
When it comes to getting your body and mind settled and strong for transfer I'd be crazy not to mention the benefits I see for women having acupuncture on the day of their transfer.
Acupuncture may reduce anxiety at embryo transfer.
Acupuncture may also have significant benefits when compared to IVF alone in regard to both clinical pregnancy and live birth rates.
I definitely recommend starting acupuncture before your IVF transfer day. That way you can become comfortable with the clinic space and the experience of acupuncture before the 'big day'.
I'll be writing more about Acupuncture and IVF at some point soon, so stay tuned for that.
3. Explore Nature
The mother of us all.
Green trees. Fresh air.
Such a great way to find clarity, perspective and ease.
4. Lean into Kindness for Yourself
For many women, this day is an exciting one. Filled with joy and potent potential.
These can also be tough days. Days where thoughts about your body and your ability to become pregnant can follow like a shadow. And that's okay.
If this is the case, here is a five minute exercise to consider:
Close your eyes and take some time to see yourself through the eyes of yourself five years from now.
As you sit, eyes closed, find your future self standing with you.
Feel the compassion she holds for you.
See how she knows that you are doing the best you can.
That you are doing such a marvellous job of a tough situation.
Feel her love. And know that it's coming from you.
5. Avoid Situations that Hurt
This is a day for gentleness.
If there are people or situations that don't spark the sense of compassion we're trying to foster here, this is not the day to engage with them. Don't feel bad if you don't take their call.
6. Rest if it Feels Good
Some women find it hard to sleep the night before their embryo transfer. If this is you, consider spending some time resting.
Women who've slept poorly the night prior to transfer will often drift into a peaceful sleep during acupuncture the morning of their transfer. So beautiful. And then, when they rise, they feel more ready. More prepared. Which is lovely.
What is most important is to follow the guide of your body. So if you have slept well, you're feeling strong, and it's a beautiful day outside, you don't have to rest. It's not a requirement! Some women report that they feel like they go a bit stir crazy when they rest too much - their thoughts with too much room in when their body is still.
And remember, resting doesn't necessarily mean lying down and staring at the roof all day. Watch an incredible comedy movie! Do a meditation that supports the IVF process.
7. Occupy Your Mind With Things You Love
A patient of mine about ten years ago would always have her head deep in a big chunky novel when I would come get her from the waiting room. I asked her more about it, and she said that in the midst of the IVF rollercoaster, story was a really lovely companion to her. And I love her idea. A beautiful novel can hold you in a way that mindless scrolling of social media never will.
And the more women I've suggested this to, the more women that have found joy in it, and the more patients I find myself getting from the waiting room who also have their eyes deep in written words.
Of course, it doesn't have to be reading - although reading is a good one if you're spending lots of time in waiting rooms!
Drawing. Writing. A puzzle. A cross stitch. I've had a few patients that have knitted their way though IVF cycles. Pouring their intention into something beautiful during their trickiest life terrain.
Any form of joy and play where you can loose yourself in time will help you nurture and care for your heart on big days like these. To help keep all the what-if's at bay.
And also know:
That if All The Things don't seem to be going your way on embryo transfer day - if you running late to get to the clinic, have had a really stressful morning at work or a fight with your partner - that's okay too.
You are human, afterall.
Know that there are no such things as The Perfect Conditions. Create what you can. Close your eyes when you can. Centre yourself when you can. Take a deep breath right down into your beautiful abdomen when you can.
Stack the cards in your favour.
Do the best you can with what you have.
Find compassion for your current reality.
Create space for emotions to flow -
let tears pass, or laugh or dive head first into your creativity.
Rest or sleep or gently move.
Care for your heart.
Everything else can wait.
These suggestions really apply for the whole Two Week Wait.
And, fascinatingly, these tips for the beginning of a potential pregnancy are almost the same ones I offer to women many months later, at they approach the closing end of their pregnancy.
That is, feel in touch with your power, your strength and your couragiousness. Make conscious choices. Care for your heart. Give yourself the space to do what really matters to you. Centre yourself in ways that feel right. Lean on your support crew how you need to.
And let the rest slide way.
You got this.
How can you use this information to positively impact your IVF experience?
Use this info not as an exact prescription, but to get the cogs of your own mind turning:
How can you schedule or unschedule your transfer day so that you can best listen to your body, and have the space and courage to act on what you hear?
And if you're in Melbourne, and want to know more about the role of Acupuncture around embryo transfer, come find me at Fertile Ground Health Group.