Words of encouragement when IVF doesn’t work—from somewhere who is there, too

Sometimes things don’t make sense and today we are just trying to figure out how to deal with that.

Words of encouragement when IVF doesn’t work—from somewhere who is there, too

My husband and I have been struggling with infertility since 2012. We kept our situation private for so long—only our families and close friends understood what exactly was happening. In the beginning of trying to conceive, I feel like your feelings are too fresh.

I can't even count the times someone would ask us when we were going to have kids, and I just brushed it aside with a generic response: "Oh, you never know” or "We will see!'

When really deep down, I would go home and just be so frustrated, sad, mad, sad again. We had tried everything. Clomid. Femara. NOTHING had been successful. After endless rounds of testing, blood samples, medications, more testing... I was told that I had PCOS and hormone imbalances. We were informed that we had a less than 1% chance of ever getting pregnant on our own and maintaining a pregnancy to full term wouldn't be a possibility without medical intervention. I was devastated.

We took a break and decided to wait a while. Having a child in our life didn't define our relationship. In fact, we looked around and saw how lucky we were to have such a wonderful life. After going through what we had experienced already, we felt that the right option would present itself in the future.


Enter IVF.

My husband, Jarrick, and I knew that this would be our best—and quite honestly—only option. IVF is such a weird thing. For so many people, it’s this dramatic final “last chance.” For others, it is an amazing way to plan your children.  For us, we were just excited. After all these years we had finally found this golden pot of options at the end of the faintest rainbow. We researched where we wanted to go and instantly felt this strange connection with our doctor. I can't say enough amazing things about her: She was so helpful. She reassured us we weren’t crazy after so many doctors before seemed to not care. She cared. She still cares so much.

Being the planning couple we are, we wanted to ensure we did everything possible for this little embryo to be successful. We had some ups and downs during this process. A softball sized fibroid was removed from my body in October 2016 before we could even consider starting IVF. This set us back a few months and honestly was such hard news to accept when we found out. During this time, all I could think was, “At least I’ll have a baby by the end of 2017. The wait was going to be worth it! I was going to be pregnant.”

The entire IVF process was new and exciting. Who would have thought I would anticipate poking myself in the stomach and hips with needles? Soon, this seven-month IVF process would all be a blip in time and we would know in March if we were going to have a baby.

We did the shots.
We had the retrieval.
We did the genetic testing.
We discovered out of six fertilized blastocysts, two were viable.
We implanted out little boy blastocyst.
We waited.
We were patient.
We were so hopeful.
We were going to have a baby.

Then life had a different plan.

At 5 p.m. on March 13, 2017, I got the call: “I’m so sorry Michelle, you did not have any HCG present in your blood test, you are not pregnant.”

To say I was shocked wouldn’t be true. I remember the nurse saying, “I'm so sorry Michelle. Please let Jarrick know we are so sorry.'' But I mostly remember that I sobbed. I don’t know if I have ever felt physical pain from words. I did then. I cinched my stomach, curled up and cried.

It just didn’t work.

I had kept a personal journal of my IVF experience. I hadn’t even shared it with Jarrick. I couldn’t wait to announce “I’m pregnant” and have this journey all drafted out on paper. A physical representation of my path to motherhood. My child would read it one day and think how special they were that this was how they came into this world. All of those words are so painful to read now, I can’t even look at it. I’m sure one day I’ll be really glad I have some of my feelings written out, but right now those emotions are so raw.

How does this happen? How? We had done everything right.

It was a boy.
I was supposed to be pregnant.

I was going to grow this little boy. He was going to have blonde hair and blue eyes. I was going to let his hair grow out. We were going to make homemade play dough and build sculptures. Our holidays would be filled with new traditions and love. We would have this little soul in our home that I had envisioned myself always having. He was going to be my baby. I just knew it.

We didn’t take any home pregnancy tests during those long 10 days before our blood test.

I didn’t drink a drop of caffeine.

I avoided deli meat and sushi. I obsessively read every article on “What to do to make your embryo stick.”

I had a morning and nightly ritual of shots, pills, suppositories.

All in hopes that this little embryo would stay.

How could it not work?

For myself, I have struggled with the feelings of not understanding the why.  When you follow steps to the exact word, how do things not work out?  The last week following the news felt like a blur. We had so many wonderful people in our lives reach out to us and made us feel SO loved. I had never really understood how loved we were, and how many people were rooting for this little babe to stick. We are so blessed.  At our doctor appointment I discovered I wouldn't be getting any definite answers. I wanted my doctor to tell me so badly that if we made a simple change it was going to work. Instead, we found out that we just happened to be part of that 30%. The group that IVF just doesn't work for even when things look perfect.

We had decided that this bump in the road was not going to stop us from being hopeful, excited and optimistic. We couldn't let this loss define us. We had determined that if there was a specific reason our transfer didn't work, and if there was an immediate change that we could make, then at that point we would implant our last embryo. If there was no reason it didn't work, we didn't want to put all the pressure on that single embryo we had left. It felt like too much—like we were betting on this one to work—and if it didn't we would be back to square one.

We have decided to start again.  Step 1. Retrieve some eggs. Fertilize those bad boys. Try again.

Sometimes things don’t make sense and today we are just trying to figure out how to deal with that. We are excited. We are optimistic.  We are so blessed.

Join Motherly


By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.


I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less

What you need to know about President Trump's Supreme Court pick

The President has reportedly selected his third SCOTUS nominee.

President Donald Trump has chosen his third pick for the Supreme Court—and he picked a mom.

The New York Times reports President Trump is choosing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee. An official statement is scheduled for Saturday.

Keep reading Show less