39: I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends (IVF Support)

July 3, 2024

Meredith has embryo news!! Aside from sharing which zygotes made it to blastocyst status, she’s going over best practices for checking in on a friend who is undergoing IVF.


I’ve got some big embryo news this week.

In college, my gay best friend and I joked that if we hadn’t found love by 40, we’d have a baby with each other.

Twenty years later, I’m pulling the ripcord.

I’m deciding on solo motherhood to choosing IVF.

I’m Meredith, and this is The Backup Plan.

And I’m going to make you wait for it.

Stay tuned.

This week, I thought talking about support would be really important.

Because as I’m going through the journey of having a baby on my own, I’m getting a lot of love in some cases.

I feel like I’ve been forgotten about in other cases.

I feel like people are just less interested.

Friends that said that they wanted to be there for every part of this, I just don’t hear from anymore.

And it’s the natural way of things.

After losing my dad, I realized that friendships change and morph, and there are reasons and seasons for people in your life.

So I don’t think I’m as heavily burdened by it as I was or would have been in the past.

But I don’t know, I thought it might be helpful to give some hints and tips.

Maybe if you know somebody who’s going through this, or maybe if you’re going through this, ways that you can reach out to your friends or sort your own feelings throughout the whole process of this.

So I want to talk a little bit about what my support system looks like going into being a single mother by choice.

So first and foremost, I have to mention Michael, because he is the gay bestie who’s making all of this happen.

And I would say that he’s like really meeting every need that I could have of him.

He, I mean, we’re both, we’re both Capricorns.

So I like to imagine that like we really know each other and know what the other person needs.

And he doesn’t burden me with a lot of questions.

But also when I reach out to him, he responds really, really quickly.

And also, when I needed sperm, he gave it to me.

He is top of the chain when it comes to the support system.

Secondly, I would say is my mom.

Obviously, she is financially assisting with this process heavily.

And she’s so stoked about it.

I mean, you’ve seen how excited she is.

Eight were mature and fertilized.

Oh, shit.

Eight out of 11?


Holy shit.

But most importantly, she’s making plans to be here for me, like here during the pregnancy, here during the birth.

And we’ve had a lot of conversations about what that kind of help looks like, because I don’t want her to be consumed by responsibility during her golden years.

You know what I mean?

In terms of who is the most here, obviously, it’s mom.

So kisses to Nana.

And then behind that, obviously, comes the friends that I have that are giving me so much strength through this.

As I said, there has been kind of a surprise, like in terms of like the drop off and the latch on of some friends.

But I got a shout out to the friends who are driving me to egg retrievals, driving me to surgeries, listening to me talk about baby names and items that I want on a baby registry and encouraging me when I’m blue.

I’m happy to say that I’m at a time in my life where I feel loved and I feel cared for.

And I’m really excited about what comes next in terms of friendship as well, because I’m meeting really cool people at every stage of this journey.

And it really feels like I’m building the support web that I need.

I mean, it’s a matter of like knowing what you need in the universe, putting it out and getting it back.

Okay, so all of that being said, I do want to go into a little bit about how you can better maybe support a friend that you have going through this.

I’m going to preface this by saying that like we all want and need different things, right?

And I am overly observant, a little too judgy for my own good.

So I decided to reach out to friends of mine who are single mothers to be or have gone through the IVF process to ask them what they’re looking for too.

So this is not just me being like, here’s what I want, because like I said, I recognize that everybody’s wants and needs are a little bit different.

So here they are, Meredith’s ways to support a friend going through IVF, especially if she’s a single mother by choice, but probably in all other circumstances as well.

Okay, first and foremost, if you want to be a part of the process for your friend, do it.

Like don’t, don’t chicken out.

Don’t just say you want to be a part of the process because that’s the nice thing to say.

Like if you really want to support and empower a friend who’s going through IVF, continue to show up.

That’s probably the first and foremost thing I can share and say.

Respond to updates that they have, offer to attend appointments with them.

Some of my followers mentioned that their friends came to their doctors, came to the ultrasound appointment.

One person even mentioned that their friend flew two hours just to be there for an egg retrieval.

And I mean, look at Christina.

She got up at like four o’clock in the morning, probably after sleeping for only an hour, to drive me to Santa Monica to do the same thing like a friendship.

Of course, being there for somebody involves a lot of like temperature checks.

Hey, how’s it going?

How are you doing that sort of thing?

I have found that the nebulous, how’s it going, is incredibly frustrating.

Because I have a lot of friends who tend to do that at literally the worst possible times.

I don’t know if they have radar for my emotions dropping or something like that.

Inevitably within like the same two hour time block of me feeling like absolute utter shit and just wanting to stare at a wall or watch a dumb reality show to forget about everything I’m trying to process.

That’s when I’ll get like three or four text messages with the nebulous, how are you doing?

Or how’s life going?

Or how’s the IVF process?

It’s such a big question.

And you never know when somebody’s just gotten rotten news or even good news that they’re not ready to share across the board.

For me personally, that generic, how’s it going, fills me with some kind of a social anxiety that I can’t even put a name to.

I find myself like as a people pleaser, good girl mentality, like I have to answer somebody when they send me a message immediately.

So then I feel really guilty if I don’t reply back.

But a lot of times I don’t want to.

And I’ve had to put that boundary up for myself.

So in some cases, I just don’t reply to the person.

I think a better way is to do temperature checks on like specific little things, right?

Like, oh my god, did you see that episode of House of Dragon last night?

Or we haven’t grabbed luncheon a little bit, kind of take you out.

Something very specific to get the person talking.

And then if they’re comfortable to share with you in that moment, they will or you’ll be able to kind of get a gut check on like, oh, okay, they are willing to talk.

And at that point, you can say stuff like, oh, if there’s anything you want to share, you know, I’m here.

Really excited to hear your next update.

It’s just like the pressure of how is it going?

So there’s so many things to say.

For the last go around, when I dropped from nine eggs retrieved to three fertilized, it was like, ugh.

And then I get this message to be like, how’s it going?

And I’m like, I don’t know how to succinctly put into the words the kind of grief that I’m feeling right now.

I know that those messages are sent with love and care, but it’s just sometimes it’s a little too casual for the kind of feeling that I’m feeling.

Does that make sense?

And here’s a weird like 21st century thing, but pay attention to the content that your friend is posting.

If they post that, you know, they just had an excellent egg retrieval and they’re really happy, celebrate that with them.

If they haven’t posted in a little while, maybe know that something good is not going on or if they start posting a lot of stuff.

Like I’m asking you to do some mind reading, which is difficult.

I understand that.

But just pay attention to what they’re posting.

There are some followers that I have that have started private accounts that they only share with a few friends and family members to update on the process.

Not like my big flashy, hey world, how’s it going?

Let me talk to you about my transvaginal ultrasounds.

These are like personal, private ones, right?

And they have friends that just aren’t following them, but aren’t replying or aren’t saying anything or are willfully ignoring in some cases.

I mean, even me here who is doing this very public thing, it’s very accessible, and I’m posting stuff on Instagram.

I have folks that come up to me multiple.

This is not me trying to call anybody out right now.

Lots of friends have done this, have come to me and said, Oh, I haven’t been listening to the podcast.

What’s going on?

What’s new?

And to go back to the last point I made, we’re not always emotionally ready to answer those questions.

And if you’re doing this on your own and you don’t have that partner to share those emotional moments with, or even if you were doing this with a partner who is emotionally unavailable and you need other people to share these moments with, to have somebody just kind of laugh it off that they haven’t been paying attention and then give me my own personal news update right here, right now at this party, it’s a lot.

It’s really frustrating.

I would say that’s probably the most difficult thing I’ve had to deal with at this point.

I mean, truly, I’m just going to start a bit.ly link, and if somebody asks me how’s it going, it’s just going to redirect to the website.

I think that’s what I’m going to start doing because it’s difficult.

And I know I put myself in a very special circumstance here.

I’m sure other people, and they get this question, it’s a little bit different because they’re not YouTubing every single week of the experience.

And maybe they’re not telling as much.

I mean, maybe this is why people don’t tell people that they’re going through IVF because of how uneducated most people are on the subject and because they don’t want to have to tell the same story over and over and over and over again.

But yeah.

Which all of this kind of goes back to my number one point.

If you want to be there for somebody, be there for them.

And I’m not perfect at this either.

I think what’s kind of hard about this stage of life and that when you get to IVF, a lot of people that are doing IVF are kind of in their 30s and a little bit later 30s.

And we’re all so busy doing things in our own lives that we don’t really have a lot of room to think about every single person around us and what their emotional roller coaster is at the moment.

So as I am recording this and I’m thinking in my head, I’m like, I know there are people I have to check in and see how things are going, but I will not ask them that nebulous question of, how’s it going?

Just don’t, just don’t, just don’t do that one.

Just frustrating.

And just like, no, it’s a long process too.

I mean, I decided I was going to do this at 36, and I will be 40 in six months.

I thought it would be done by now, and I don’t know when it will be done.

And I just feel like, I feel like we all have some kinds of versions of attention deficit.

And at this point, like, some people are just sick of my story, and I get that.

But I don’t know, if you don’t want to know the details in the middle, don’t ask me questions.

You know, wait until the baby gets here, and then buy me something awesome off my baby registry.

Okay, so you guys are all here because you said you wanted to be a part of my process, so now it is my responsibility to update you.

Are you ready?

As a reminder, this is my second egg retrieval, and it took place at the end of June.

11 eggs were retrieved.

Of those 11, 8 were mature and 7 fertilized.

I’m gonna interrupt this update really quick and let you know that they did have names.

Okay, so last go around, I had 3 eggs that were mature and fertilized, and so they became Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

When they became 2 embryos, it was Chip and Dale.

This time, since I had 7 embryos that were fertilized, they were, let’s see if I can do this offhand, Doc, Sleepy, Bashful, Grumpy, Happy, Sneezy.


Doc, Dopey, Happy, Sneezy, Bashful, Grumpy.


Bashful, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Doc and Dopey.

I forget, by the time I get to the end, I forget the beginning.

Okay, I’m going to stop laughing now, because now it gets a little bit more serious.

I found out that on the fifth day of development, one embryo was nearly at blastocyst level, and I got a little nervous about the way that the message was phrased.


Sondheimer said this was back on June 25th, so that would have been the fifth day.

She said, no embryos were ready today.

There is one blastocyst, but it is early.

One arrested, died, and the others we will watch.

I can give you an update again tomorrow.

So at that point, I didn’t know if seven had fertilized or eight had fertilized.

So it turns out it was seven that had fertilized.

When she mentions one arresting or dying, that was the eighth one.

So still the way that she just mentioned, oh, one is ready, it just made me feel a little nervous.

So then I asked her, are the others making any progress?

It’s sounding like there could only be one.

And she said the others are cellular, compacted cellular, and marula.

Those are all progressive stages, and after marula is blastocyst.

Hopefully, they keep progressing, but we need more time.

I will give you the update tomorrow, and we can see more then.

If there is no progress, then that will be telling.

Wah wah.

So that was a hard day.

Wednesday, I didn’t hear anything.

Thursday is the seventh day.

And that was when I learned that of the others that were progressing.

So at this point, I knew we had one that was probably for sure, and then one to three that were progressing.

One of those three made it through.

So in the end, I have two embryos.

If you’ll recall, from April’s retrieval, I also ended up with two embryos.

And one of those didn’t even make it with flying colors.

We are still waiting to talk to a geneticist about that.

So yeah, it’s disappointing.

I’ve ended up with the same results, even though I went through different kinds of procedures and processes.

But there is a silver lining.

Last round, the eggs that became embryos were rated 4BB and 4BA.

This time, we have a 4BA and a 4AA.

4AA is like as good as it gets.

We are talking literally grade A material here.

So it’s already surpassing the expectations my mom will have for grades in coming years.

That is helpful.

To see that grade was helpful in a weekend of feeling kind of like shit.

4AA is what I held on to.

So what am I naming these?

What are the names?

I should let you guys vote, but I’ve already chosen.

It’s pain and panic, because that’s just how I’m feeling.

That’s how I’m feeling about everything.

So now comes the two-week wait, and I’ve distracted myself with VidCon.

I have some big cleaning and organizational plans for around the house.

Mom’s booked a family vacation for the holidays, so I am researching all these little European towns we’re going to go to.

My gym membership has restarted, so I’m going to get moving again and just distract myself as much as I possibly can.

While I wait, we’ve probably got another couple of days.

I don’t want to give you the exact date, because I don’t want to get a bunch of messages asking me on that date, so that I can either celebrate alone for a couple of hours or be sad by myself for a couple of hours.

Sometimes we just have to be sad by ourselves.

It’s okay.

Anyway, that’s everything this week.

Thanks for listening.

Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to follow on social media.

Send me good baby vibes, and thanks guys.

You may also like…

40: Two Euploid Embryos (PGT-A Results)

Meredith got her PGT-A test results a week early! Watch as she shares the news with family and friends, talks about next steps, and shares tips for maintaining sanity during the process. Frozen embryo implantation comes next…stay tuned!

38: A Tale of Two Egg Retrievals

Meredith came out of her most recent egg retrieval with very different results! What were the differences in treatment? Did she keep calm, cool, and collected this time? Will this be her last retrieval?

37: Perinatal Psychiatry

Mental health is muy importante, so Meredith is sharing her journey from sad little girl to a healthy medicated lady. In preparation for pregnancy (and because of the influx of hormones in her system thanks to the second round of egg retrieval), she decided to get in touch with a perinatal psychiatrist early. Here’s how she found one and how her first appointment went.

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