Contact me !

If you need to contact me , please write to me to this email ID : I will be happy to help.

Monday, July 30, 2012

An Indian woman's IVF experience and how to make the ART field in India better?

This is a guest post from NP who has gone through IVF treatment in India. With her wonderful e-mails and compassion she has become my good friend too! In this post she has shared with us her IVF journey and I am sure it will help many people going through infertility struggle to become more positive and  better person as a whole. This post is a result of hard-earned wisdom. People who undergo infertility treatments do have a lot to learn from this. Thank you very much NP for sharing it with us. We wish you lots of good luck and may all your dreams come true!

The term ‘infertile’ was coined by doctors and thrown on us. In the beginning I and my husband were in denial mode.  He couldn't accept that there was a problem with him and gynaecologists said that I am fine. It took me 3 years to make him understand that indeed there is a problem with him after educating myself about our problems from internet. Yes, the doctors were of no use! They gave me least information and wasted my precious time. After lots of conversations between us, my DH agreed for trying IUI; but it failed and we were told to go for IVF treatment because of poor sperm count and morphology. IVF is an invasive procedure and my DH refused to take that route. He was afraid that there would be a negative effect on the child born via IVF. Because of his conservative view he didn't like this kind of baby making. Again so many months went wasted. I was learning about the IVF treatment; reading; trying to be happy in front of him yet persuading him to visit doctors. Finally, he agreed and when we started our IVF journey, I was 33 years old. I always knew time is precious in infertility treatment and it is passing by. When my first IVF cycle started, the doctor gave us shocking news just a day before the egg retrieval, ‘NP, you just have 4 eggs and they are all luteinized, we will abandon this cycle but we will do the necessary tests for you.’ I am wondering within myself, luteinized? What is that? During the IVF process every time a new terminology cropped out and like kids we have to learn many new things! The test results came back and I was found to have low AMH-1.8 ng/ml. The doctor on seeing my AMH results advised me to take up the donor egg route. What's that? I asked her. What rubbish are you talking doctor? She said excitedly ‘Oh! Don’t worry, I can get u beautiful models, intellectuals, bollywood heroines, young girls with healthy eggs, beauty with brains with similar DNA profile as yours’. In my heart, I cried; in my mind I asked myself, ‘what is all this nonsense’? Am I looking forward to have a child or am I selecting a vegetable from market? Isn’t love the necessary ingredient in baby making? This lead to the discovery that; here in Delhi, donor eggs, donor sperms, surrogacy is a huge market. People sell them for monetary gains. As I used to wait for doctors at the clinics, I could figure out touts, surrogate women, egg donors, customers etc. I never ever thought that infertility could be marketed in such a big way. It shattered my soul beyond my imagination. Is it so difficult to get the basic requirement of a living being? You said it right Manju, people do not even understand the words when they give us suggestion of donor egg or adoption. My heart would sink seeing children abandoned or my friends aborting their babies because they don't want a second child. My God! It was my dream to have 3 kids of my own ever since I was a small child. Being the eldest in the family my kid brothers was born in 1 year and 3 years gap and I had been like a mother to them ever since I was five myself! I took care of my relatives and neighbours children all when I was a kid myself.

Well, Then I went to another doctor. ‘You search and I will come along with you’ were the words of my DH. I searched and searched. We went to Mumbai to visit our relatives and luckily I found myself at Dr. X’s clinic. ‘She is the best’, I was told. I thought to have her opinion too. She scanned my ovaries and said ‘your left ovary is too small; you do have poor ovarian reserve’. You can try ICSI but the best option would be donor eggs’. I asked her ‘What are the chances of success and the cost?’ I was told that my chances are 10% and the cost of ICSI is 2.5 lakhs. It's an absurd amount with such low chance of success and the necessity to stay in an alien city also added to the stress. So I searched in internet again for clinics in Delhi.  This time we did another ICSI cycle using ‘long protocol’. They retrieved 6 eggs, 5 fertilized and all are 4 cell grade B two days after ER.  I was ok with the doctor but I did not like the junior doctors and the environment. The clinic was swarmed by Afghanis and there was complete chaos. I regretted my decision but I was in the middle of the cycle. I did not conceive : (. I was alone when the reports came. I went to see the doctor. I waited from 11 AM untill 6 PM holding my tears and fighting with my emotions. I was getting angry at her because of the lack of time management. When she came, she simply told me to go for donor eggs. I asked her ‘why did it fail, you said embryo quality was fine. She replied that it is because your uterus did not accept the embryo or because of your DH’s sperm which has poor morphology. I never went back to her. I read the information on Dr. Malpani's website and all his blog posts. They gave me a clear understanding of ART field. Coincidentally, whatever happens with me during my IVF cycle, he would write a blog post about it in a few days. So when she said poor morphology was the reason, I knew she thinks I am a fool! I know that sperm’s function is just to fertilize the egg and even sperms with poor morphology can create beautiful babies.

So, I started my IVF again in Bourn Hall Clinic, Gurgaon. The clinic in Gurgaon is a UK based one run by the IVF pioneer who created the first test tube baby.  Though the doctors are Indians they are trained by UK doctors.  I was impressed by their professional attitude and by the stringent rules with which they maintain their laboratories. This time I had antagonist protocol (this July) but the cycle was abandoned due to fewer (only 4) follicles and they were less than 10mm despite a dose of 450 IU Gonal F for 7 days. On seeing my ovaries response to gonadotrophins the doctor is not hopeful. But I am. If I see my entire journey in a broader prospect, I have not lost anything. Money yes, time yes, mental piece yes, relationships yes but nt my fighting spirit. I am a fighter and I can fight against the odds. I will accept it if I cannot have kids of my own in the end, but I am not lost as an individual. I have many aspirations, dreams to fulfil. I lost my smile, my friendly nature, my creative side for a few years now but I am bouncing back with double the energy. I keep meeting wonderful people from all over the world, different age, different struggles but they are all living happily, helping others. This inspired me to LIVE TODAY.

 Now, I am back to my walking schedule which I love, yoga is my passion and I am keen to take up dancing classes, learn driving, interacting with new people from all quarters of life and help many others who are struggling with infertility. I am becoming a better person!

NP’s experience in the field of IVF is an eye-opener for everyone who is going through this process. I am very happy that NP came forward to share with us her journey. I appreciate her good-will and courage. When I read NP’s journey again and again; I note several important points and questions which every couple undergoing infertility treatment should be aware of. I will make a short summary of it:

1)  Indian men (might be males all over the world!) are very reluctant to accept the fact that they can be infertile too. They even refuse to undergo fertility tests! The scientific truth is males account for 40% of infertility issues and females 40%. A combination of both partners may account for 10%, and the other 10% of infertility cases are from unknown origins.
2)  When a man takes long time to come to term with his infertility, he is also indirectly wasting his partner’s precious fertile period by postponing the infertility treatment.  In the field of infertility, the age of women matters the most. Woman’s fertility start to decline rapidly after the age of 35 and by the time a man accepts the fact that he needs fertility treatment to father a child, the woman’s fertility can also be compromised. As a result of this they have to suffer a double whammy - sperm issues + the egg quality issues. This can make the fertility treatment futile and can also destroy your chance of adopting a baby too (The combined age of both the partners should be less than 90 for being eligible to adopt a baby!). Time is too precious as far as infertility is concerned; try not to waste it because of your ego and ignorance!
3)  When you are an infertile partner in a relationship please learn to give proper respect to the rights of your fertile partner. Be open to the treatment options available. This will give a chance for you and your fertile partner to procreate! If you are not open to treatment options you are curbing the basic right of your fertile partner too!

Now some questions to ponder!

4)  Why are many IVF doctors insensitive to human emotions? When a doctor gives a talk about donor egg isn't his or her responsibility to be empathetic and compassionate? Should doctors behave just like a business man or woman? Why is the moral and ethical value associated with doctor profession completely lost?
5)  Why is IVF so expensive? Should money determine the availability of a scientific invention? As patients, what is our responsibility in bringing down the cost of IVF? Should we just be passive and believe foolishly what we are preached by the doctors? Why are IVF rates so variable? Shouldn't there be a fixed price for ART treatment?
6) What can we do to fellow infertile couple who are unable to afford costly infertility treatment? Should we just leave everything to God and foolishly believe the philosophy that having a child is only in God’s hand?
7)   How can we believe the success rates advertised by Indian IVF clinics? What is the proof? Why don’t we have a committee to regulate IVF/ICSI cycles performed in India? Don’t we need a central registry where every infertility clinics ART cycles are recorded and their success rates evaluated? The information thus collected should be freely available to public use. It should be made mandatory for every patient to report their cycle details to the central IVF registry. Who will make that happen?
8)  Why don’t Indian newspapers and magazines write about these problems which are haunting the field of ART in India? Why do they focus only about the emotional and social issues associated with IVF treatment? Who will write about dishonest IVF doctors who just work for the huge amount of money they earn?
9)  Why don’t insurance companies in India fund infertility treatment? Why don’t infertile couples who undergo so much emotional torture and financial problem fight for their rights?
10) Why Indian patients are so reluctant and lazy to learn about the scientific details of the most important and costly process they undergo? Why they allow themselves to get tormented and cheated?

I want every infertile couple who read this come forward and share their ART (IVF/ICSI) experience. Please, make the world know what you are going through! This will help fellow infertile couples to have a better treatment in the future. I wish everyone should make their voice hear by some means - it can be a blog, a newspaper or whatever media is available! If you have a blog please let me know!

If someone who has undergone IVF/ICSI in India is reading this post please share your experience with me (actually with us!). If you want to be anonymous I am perfectly OK with it. My e-mail ID is Write to me so that you can speak about your experience through my blog. People who want to submit  reviews about Indian IVF doctors are also most welcome to do it; be frank and be honest when you write a review!

Little drops of water make the mighty ocean! Let us do our best to make the field of ART a better place for Indian infertile couples!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Infertility is.......

1) the love we carry for our unborn child

2) the happiness we feel when we see small children

3) the respect we develop towards all forms of life

4) the love we feel towards our understanding, supportive and selfless partner

5) the surprise - when we hear how our friends get pregnant by accident!

6) the wonder - when we see the growing belly of a pregnant woman!

7) the affection we develop towards couples who lead a happy child-free life

8) the wisdom we gain in life even though we are still too young to learn all those lessons

9) the gratefulness we feel towards people who do not make awkward suggestion, awkward comments and ask awkward questions!

10) the tear we shed when we read about an unknown, unwanted baby abandoned in a dustbin

11) the refinement we attain in our thoughts, words and deeds!

12) a blessing which keeps us appreciating the beauty of life and all life forms

In short, infertility is everything (every positive emotion) in an infertile woman’s life. Infertile women don’t have an evil eye but an empathetic view of everything. Infertile women don’t have a jealous heart but carry motherly warmth in their deeds. Infertile women are not possessed with spirits but they try hard to live life with a positive spirit.

If you are struggling to have a baby and when people hurt you with their words and deeds just remember one thing – a happy person doesn’t hurt anyone. Only people who lead a miserable life filled with guilt, suspicion, superstition, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, pride and fear desire to hurt others. If you meet them by chance; have pity on them, be diplomatic, smile and move on! That is what I do!

And friends, if you know someone who is striving hard to have their baby; please avoid this question for God’s sake – Is there any good news?’ If you think having a baby is the only good news in your life – we are sorry for you!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My advice for someone starting their first IVF cycle

Schematic representation of IVF process

1)     Learn !

If you have decided to embark on an IVF cycle, the first thing you must do is to learn about the entire process scientifically. I agree that this may be challenging if you are an arts or commerce graduate,  but please do not underestimate your abilities-  the learning process can be be very interesting ! It’s always a good idea to exercise your grey matter  !  Learning doesn’t mean that you have to read complicated scientific papers – just start with the basics. All our reproductive organs have a name and a particular function. Educate yourself about,  your ovaries, follicles, egg, fallopian tubes, uterus, endometrium, cervix, sperm, embryo etc., and their functions. If you have understood this, half your job is done !  There are many audiovisual resources to help you learn at www.ivfndiacom. Next, you need to learn about the medicines used in the IVF process. Learn their names use the search box on and google to findout more about what they do and their side-effects. . When you understand this basic information , you will start to understand what your doctor is talking about. Many doctors do not have the time or patience to teach the patient all these basic information. The more you know about the IVF process the better you feel in the clinic. Otherwise, when you are poked and prodded , you will end up with a feeling as if you are treated as an experimental animal! The more you feel alienated from what is happening in your body, the more you will hate the process. It is not only embarrassing to lie down with your legs high up in the stirrups ,  when your private parts are being manipulated, it is also scary! The more you know; the better you feel. Knowing will also boost your confidence and you will be able to ask intelligent questions to your doctors and nurses.

In short, try to cultivate a passion for knowing things. You are undergoing a very important process in your life , which is not only costly but also emotionally very demanding. Educating yourself about the process will prepare you to face the twists and turn inherent in an IVF cycle. This will save you from lot of heartaches!

2)     Select a competent IVF clinic

When I say competent clinic, it should have skilled, experienced physicians; compassionate staff; and full-time embryologists. From my experience, I have learned that an empathetic doctor is as important as a skilled physician. You should have a doctor who can hear your concerns and answer your questions with patience. He should have the minimal courtesy of saying or writing a few comforting word if your IVF cycle fails. Emotionally, you depend on your doctor for support during the process. When the process fails, naturally you turn to him/her . I heard from one of my friends that when she informs her doctor about the negative outcome of the cycle, she gets back a mail which asks her to plan for the next IVF cycle. Only when people undergo an IVF cycle will they understand how devastating such an experience can be! If you do not get any reply at all, then it is evenworse . So, find a humane, skilled doctor who owns a competent clinic.

How will I know which clinic is competent enough and which doctor is good? The only way to find this is to use multiple sources of information. The usual way people decide which clinic to select is through the information they get from their neighbours, relatives and friends. Actually, this method is easy and convenient. There will be people who have attended a particular clinic , and if they are successful in their endeavour and have a baby, they will recommend that particular clinic. Internet search is another good option. Most clinics have websites today Many websites are very colourful (with beautiful baby pictures) and attractive; with many positive patient stories. But, neither method is fool-proof. So how will you decide which clinic is best? Here are a few points to ponder:

1)     How experienced are they in the field of ART?
2)     Do they have a full-time embryologist?
3)     How easy is it to approach the doctor?
4)     Do they answer all your questions sincerely and promptly?
5)     Are the staff warm and compassionate?
6)     Are all the facilities (from routine hormone tests to egg collection facility) situated within the clinic? (You obviously do not want to run here and there for every procedure!)
7)     How transparent are they in their functioning?
8)     If they own a website, look for how informative it is , rather than how attractive it is!

This is the basic information you should look for. But, the final proof is in the pudding! Only when you enter a particular clinic and work with them you will be able to judge for yourself. The field of ART is becoming very competitive and this means most clinics are striving hard to give their best in order to survive the competition. This is compelling them to be more patient-centered and patient-friendly, which is very good news for IVF patients!

3)     How will I identify a good IVF doctor?

1)     A good IVF doctor will not promise you a baby but will promise you quality service.
2)     A good IVF doctor should not be like God-always invisible! You must be able to meet him in his clinic, without any mediators in-between!
3)     A good IVF doctor is friendly and easily approachable.
4)     A good IVF doctor knows what he is speaking about. He is knowledgeable!
5)     A good IVF doctor discusses the various treatment options with you before taking any decision. He must treat you as an intelligent partner in the treatment process, rather than an ignorant patient.
6)     A good IVF doctor will be honest and transparent in his approach.
7)     A good IVF doctor will be patient enough to answer all your questions.
8)     A good IVF doctor will not raise your hopes too high , but at the same times builds your confidence!
9)     A good IVF doctor functions keeping your best interest in mind rather than his monetary benefits. He will not order unnecessary tests and insist that you use costly medicines when cheaper alternatives are available
10)  A good IVF doctor will not talk using medical jargon. He should use  simple language so that you can follow what he is talking about.
11)  A good IVF doctor remembers you as a person.
12)  Last but not the least-he should be empathetic, humane and respectful.

4)     Treat the hospital staff with compassion

Always remember this golden rule ‘Treat others as you wanted to be treated’. When you enter the clinic, the first faces you see are the staff. They are the connecting bridge between you and the doctors. Actually, they are the people who take care of your personal needs in the clinic (from providing you with proper medicines, injections etc., to offering a few comforting words and positive stories when you are down!). They work long hours and their work is more hectic than that of a physician. When you enter the clinic , never carry all your anger  pain and frustration with you. Learn to smile and be caring and compassionate. Do not complain about petty things. Even though you pay for the service you get, you can’t make everyone smile and behave compassionately just for money. If you find a chance, get to know them a bit and behave in a way that they treat you with love and affection. Most importantly, learn to say ‘THANK YOU’. I am not asking you to put up an act. Of course, these things should come from within you. When you are friendly with them and if they get comfortable with you, the service you receive from them will be far better. This makes your stay in the clinic pleasant - for you and also for them!

5)     It is OK to be inquisitive!

When your treatment starts, be inquisitive! There are no stupid questions except the ones you did not ask. Asking appropriate questions about your treatment and medicines will help you to acquire knowledge and will also keep the doctors and hospital staff on their toes ( which is good for them as well !) . The more the questions you ask about your treatment, the more careful they will be about what medicines they are giving you and how they treat you . Never take any medicine without asking : what it is, why it is used and what are its side-effects. Remember, there are lots of patients and your physician sees many everyday. There are chances that the staff may confuse your details with another patient. So The involved you are in your treatment, the more protection you get from unintentional errors. The more knowledge you gain, the more questions you will able to ask, and the more attention you will get!

6)     Insist on seeing your embryos

Seeing your embryos created in an IVF lab is a wonderful experience. It makes the whole process appear real and worthwhile! Every good clinic will be ready to show you the embryos. Ask the embryologist to explain the different stages of an embryo and how they look at each stage. You can also learn a lot about embryo development and how they are graded. Looking at your embryos and understanding their quality will help you to learn a lot , and is the best marker for how competent your clinic is in creating good quality embryos!

7)     Demand your medical records

I did not say you should ask for your medical records or request your medical records – demand them! Your medical records are your property. They carry all the vital information about your IVF cycle. If you decide to switch clinics, the information you carry with you in the form of medical record will save you from repeating many expensive tests. It will also give your present doctor a clue about the further course of action. A good clinic, acting in a transparent manner will provide you with your medical record without asking for it. If they do not provide this, then you have a legal right to demand a copy !  If you make this request in writing, no clinic will dare to ignore this.

8)     Be cautiously optimistic

You have crossed the various stages of treatment involved in an IVF cycle and your embryos have been transferred into your uterus – what next ? What should you expect?

The 2ww is the most draining phase of an IVF cycle. You will be excited and at the same time fearful of the outcome. The people around you will start treating you like a pregnant woman. You will be happy and at the same time you will be unsure how to react? You know that you can’t be pregnant until the embryos attach and start producing HCG. When you tell them the fact they will look at you very seriously and say ‘BE POSITIVE’. You wonder within yourself what it means to be positive - ‘Should I decide that I am pregnant?’ Your husband wants you to be careful all the time and will not allow you to do anything which will make you feel normal. Your doctor will say bed rest doesn’t matter. Your friends will ask you to eat pineapple core to make the embryo stick! Your mother-in-law will ask you to avoid all the heat generating foods (whatever it is!). Your mother will be praying to all the Gods in the world and she will be insisting that you pray too! You will for sure be confused. You do not know how to calm their excitement. Even the simple question, ‘How are you ? ’ triggers frustration within you. People do not realise that they are instilling lots of fears in you and putting all the responsibility on you by their kind actions. They want you not to think about the embryo transfer and be stress free, but each and every action of theirs will remind you of your prescious embryos within you. You worry what will happen to their expectations if the cycle doesn’t work and how you will be able to face them if the result is negative . You will be also wondering about your embryos-what are they doing inside me? You suddenly become aware of your body all the time, you will be sensitive enough to note even the minute changes that happen. Every pain, every cramp will make you wonder whether it is a pregnancy symptom. When you read about early pregnancy symptoms on the internet , you feel that you have all of them - or you will get all of them the next day itself (your mind is so strong, it has enormous control on your body!). It is hard, very hard!

The only wise advise I can give you is – Be cautiously optimistic! IVF is a process which has its own limitations. There is only 40% chance of success if you are below 35 years. So, theoretically the chance of failure is more than the chance of success! Not every embryo transfer will result in a pregnancy. But there are also woman who succeed in their first attempt! Try to have a realistic expectation. Even before starting a cycle prepare yourself to undergo at least 3 IVF cycles. This is the average number of cycle most women will undergo before finding success. It is very natural to expect things to turn out for the best but in an IVF cycle there can be many unexpected twist and turns that could stop things from happening as you expected. There is a lot of uncertainty involved because we are dealing with a biological system. If you are fully aware of this, you will learn to expect the best and prepare yourself for the worst! Being blindly positive will not help you and for sure will not help your embryo to stick. Being too positive might break you into pieces if the cycle fails and will cause you to carry a grudge about everyone and everything involved in your IVF cycle. If you want to protect your sanity; learn to expect the unexpected!

9)     Be kind to your physician

A good physician has your best interest in his mind and works for you. A doctor is a human too and he expects proper recognition for the work he does. I do not know how many people take time to say thank you and appreciate a doctor’s work when the cycle succeeds. But the first person whom most people blame when an IVF cycle fails is their doctor! It is human nature to blame someone or something else for their failure. The blaming nature becomes worse when the person is naive about the IVF process. ‘My friend did her IVF cycle in another clinic, she is pregnant now. Since I did not get pregnant it should be the fault of the clinic’. This appears to be a logical argument when people do not understand the limitations of a biological process. The more ignorant they are, the more likely you are to carry grudge about your doctor for the failure. Remember, you selected the clinic and you are going through the entire process by choice . When you are not satisfied with the quality of service you receive, you should talk to the doctor then and there and solve the problem. A good doctor, like a good teacher, will address all your concerns and try to clear all your doubts , whether they are logical or not. If you do not clarify your doubts and carry them with you all the time, they will be magnified 1000 times if your cycle fails.Whether your doubt is logical or not depends on how knowledgeable you are about the IVF process.

Another reason to hate and blame a doctorwhen your cycle fails is the huge amount of money you have spent on the process. Today, a doctor-patient relationship is solely materialistic. The patient sees doctor as a businessman who is waiting to grab all his money. A doctor just sees a patient as his source of income. Trust is the main ingredient which is necessary for a good doctor-patient relationship and in today’s materialistic world , it is completely lacking! Only when you trust your doctor will you feel good while working with him, especially, when doing IVF. We must accept the fact thata doctor will charge for the knowledge he has , and for the services he provides. Does anyone of us work for free ? Will anyone of us compromise on our salary? It is not wise to see a doctoras a personwho works just for the money you provide.  Be kind to them and appreciate their work! Respect them as you would like to be respected. A doctor travels with you through your IVF journey. He will be happy when you succeed and when you fail to conceive , it is his failure too! Be kind to your doctor when the cycle fails. Do not allow money to play the spoil game. After all, your attitude will often determine whether a doctor works just for what he is paid , or whether he is ready to go the extra mile for you! A good relationship with your doctor will make you feel as if you are cared for in your mother’s home , and not like in your mother-in-law’s place ; )

10)  My IVF cycle failed - should I change the IVF clinic?

If you are comfortable in your present clinic; if you are satisfied with their service; if you trust your doctors and their expertise; then I would say it is not advisable to change a clinic after a single failed cycle. Your doctor needs time to study how your body reacts to the drug. He may design a better stimulation protocol the next time around ; or he may have a better idea which will improve your chances of success . Remember that your doctor has limited powers . Even if a cycle goes perfectly,  he has no control over what happens inside your body. So, be patient! There is no guarantee that you will end up getting pregnant in a new clinic. But, if you could find a clinic which boasts of a 60% success rate (like CCRM in USA) instead of a 40% success rate in your present clinic, then I would definitely give it a second thought.

11)  When should I give up the IVF process?

If you are someone who is blessed with all that you need for doing an IVF cycle, never give up! That would be my personal advice. But there are many factors which could decide how many IVF cycles you can go through before you taste success , or before you decide to quit. Financial status, your ability to bear stress, your relationship with your partner etc., are some of the most important factors which will determine how many IVF cycles you can go through. I would say stop the process when both your heart and mind says enough! I sincerely wish every woman going through this process finds success as quickly as possible, so that they never have to think about quitting. It is wise to have a back-up plan so that you know what to do when IVF doesn’t work!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The pain of a failed IVF cycle and how to deal with it!

After 2 days of horrible emotional suffering I feel a lot better today. It is hard, very hard! I understood what a depression means and how it can drown you if you do not deal with it effectively. I felt as if I am drained of all my energy. I had no hunger and every step I took, every work I did felt as if I am moving a big mountain. I wanted to lie down all the time. Every thought brought in a bundle of fears. More I thought more fearful it was. What if I end up with empty hands and empty pocket? What will happen to our future? Will I ever live happily here after? Will I be able to smile normally? Will I see my DH smile and joke with the same spontaneity as he always used to do? Will my mother bear when I tell the test result to her? Will I ever be able to work again? Will my brain function normally? Will I be able to think clearly? I even told my DH, sobbing uncontrollably – I want to quit working! I don’t think I can work again!!! All kind of irrational thoughts raced within me. And the best thing is I survived all this!

Yesterday evening was too good. Our friends came home. I felt life can never go out of my hand. I cooked with the same enthusiasm. We had a nice dinner. We talked about so many different things. My DH’s sense of humour was so good and I enjoyed his wonderful smile to my heart’s content! The aftermath of the pain is very positive; I could perceive and receive even the simplest joy with so much gratitude. I just love myself and my life!

A failed IVF cycle is very painful. I would even describe it to the emotional pain, we experience, when we have to say our last good bye to our dear ones. Going through an IVF cycle is no joke; it involves everything you would dread to part away with - your hard earned money, your routine, peaceful life and your beautiful baby dreams. Each IVF cycle is financially and emotionally very challenging and every failed cycle reminds you of the fact that it can happen again too. The uncertainty of the process can drive us mad. After some point your brain refuses to believe that a cycle can end up in a positive way. Sometimes I do think of giving up and living peacefully. I feel I have no strength to go through this journey which is filled with uncertainty. But, I do wonder what is there in life if I do not fight for what I desire most. If I give up now won’t I be regretting later? Actually, doesn’t this challenge make my life more interesting? My mind says ‘why do you have to go through this?’ Save money, enjoy life, adopt a child and move on! But my heart’s desire is very hard to quench.

How do I deal with the pain of an IVF failure? I resort to the comforting words of loved ones. Nothing is as healing as that. I read books which could enlighten me with positive thoughts. I become very philosophical and it really helps. Now I have this blog and writing down what is bothering me gives me immense relief. I try to learn more about the process scientifically - what went wrong, what can be done to make it better, etc. I also believe that, however horrible a pain might be it doesn’t last longer. Our brain has such an amazing buffering capacity; it always tries to get back to normal as quick as possible.

What gives me the strength to move on? Belief! I still believe this process will work out and I will be successful. I just need some patience and perseverance. When I read about women, who went through several IVF cycles before achieving their dream, I feel reassured. I hope I can also inspire people with my positive story one day : )

In short, not keeping your expectations too high, learning to expect the unexpected twist and turns, understanding the limitations of an IVF cycle, knowing the process scientifically, giving enough time to heal before starting another cycle, being financially stable, good relationship between partners - all these will help  you to deal with an IVF failure effectively. Last but not the least, you should have an empathetic physician who will not send you the plan for next IVF cycle when you inform him/her that you have just received a negative beta :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"This too will pass"

It's a negative again! At this moment so many different thoughts are running in my mind but "This too will pass". Thank you for each and every wonderful person who prayed for me and did their best to keep me happy. Only all your kindness, keeps me going. 

It is hard, I did cry but I did feel peaceful within me after knowing for sure this is what it is. I haven't told my mom yet. I am gathering courage so that I can tell her without crying. Obviously she will tolerate the negative but not my sadness. I have let so many people down. I might have also shattered many of your dreams.  I have a friend who is also going through this. She told me 'Manju, if you get success it will give me lots of confidence to carry on'. Sorry! I know many people like her would have looked at my posts in search of some inspiration. Please remember-our baby making machinery is not so effective! Even couples without any problems need few months to a year to conceive. Do not take me as an example. I can show so many people who conceive with IVF/FET. There are so many people who conceive with a thin endometrium. Might be, I am just an exception who needs to fight a bit hard. I am not going to give up and every failure makes me stronger! I have 5 more frozen embryos. So hopefully when we are ready we will start the process all over again. My DH is calm and composed as always. I sometimes wish he breaks down as I do  - so that he will not accumulate the stress inside.

I still think my blasties looked so good and competent.  I failed to provide them the best : ( I just wish I accumulate enough patience, perseverance and persistence to go on with this process. As Winston Churcill said :

                  Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  

Take care everyone! How much I wished I could put a picture of postive HPT in this post!!!! : ( 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Why am I like this?

I can do a home pregnancy test anytime now and I will know the result. But, I have no courage. I feel very pregnant and I do not want to break the happiness. I am sad that I am behaving like an ostrich burying its head in the sand. I didn't even buy a single pregnancy test. I know that instead of going in for a blood HCG measurement and getting the result from an unknown person, knowing my fate in the comfort of my own home will be the best. Even then, I am sitting and brooding here doing nothing! I love the pampering I am getting from my DH and friends. If the result is negative everything will come to an end. My mother is eagerly awaiting the result. How will I comfort her if the result is negative? Any words of wisdom? Have any of you felt the way I am feeling now? Is it even normal!!!!

My blood HCG measurement will be on wednesday. I wish that wednesday never comes!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A letter to my embryos - with LOVE !

Dear Blasties, (I wish I could call you children!)

How are you both? Hope you are feeling fine inside my uterus! Is it warm and comfortable enough? Does my activity disturb you in anyway?  I know that the bedding I have provided you is not so great. Is it difficult to snuggle in because of that? Have you apposed to the endometrium, had a successful cross-talk and started to invade? Did the endometrium welcome you with appropriate adhesion molecules , cytokines, growth factors, proteinases and neoangiogenesis factors? If it doesn’t, please do not give up. Coax it to produce all that you need for successful attachment. You can do it!  When I saw you both on Friday, after the thaw (after defreezing) you both looked perfect - as if you have woken up from a nice sleep (of course, it is a sleep but cold sleep!). You didn’t even show the slightest strain of the vitrification process. I even felt that you both smiled :) I thought how competent you both are! Even the embryologist commented how good you both look! So never ever give up the struggle!

I know it will be hard inside. The place you both were formed (in the petri dish in the IVF lab) is so different from the environment within my body . For 6 long days you spent your life in an artificial set-up, and then you both were kept metabolically silenced for 7 long months! I do understand it will be scary inside the uterus. You meet so many different molecules and cells you haven’t met before.  But, remember little ones, this is the place you belong to! This is where you can be happy. This is where your real developmental potential is tested.  This is the place which gives you scope for further development. Of course, life in an IVF lab incubator is easy and cozy. There you are fed at appropriate time, supplied with proper nutrients and the embryologist must have pampered you a lot! But, only obstacles and struggle make you stronger , and not the pampering. Without struggle there is no progress in life (both in yours and in fully developed organisms)! That is the norm in this world. This is the first lesson you both have to learn. If you want to come out with flying colours, fight against the obstacles. When you overcome each and every obstacle inside the uterus , you are one step closer to becoming a full-fledged baby. 

Are you aware that you became blastocysts from the supernumerary embryos which they wanted to wait and watch in vitro before they could freeze you ? You passed that difficult test and that is why you are inside my uterus today. The other embryos which were with you failed to develop and were discarded. The difference between you and all the other discarded ones are- they gave up the fight, they gave up the struggle to survive!  So, whatever way I look at you both- YOU ARE SPECIAL! You definitely have the potential to develop into beautiful babies! Please do fight hard to come into this world. I will not promise you that life on earth is as easy as pie, but for sure it is very beautiful! You have very good people to protect you and take care of you.

There are lots of people longing to see you as babies. The most important person is your dad. I am gifted to share my life’s journey with him. He is a very calm and composed person. Normally, he doesn’t show any overt emotions in his face or speech (be it happiness or sadness!). When we both saw you through the IVF lab microscope , I could not understand what kind of emotions were playing in his mind. He never talks about it. He didn’t allow me to enter the kitchen until now. Yesterday, I tried to cajole him so that I could gain back my territory (I cook super duper good food!), but he refused my plea and went on to  cook some beans with tomato. Sadly, the dish was horrible, but I ate it quietly without any reaction. When he tasted it, he also ate quietly and after few minutes he said- sorry Manju! :) I could not control my smile but to tell the truth, because of the love he mixed with the food it was very palatable ! Now-a-days, he gives me a foot massage. It is a soothing gentle touch, and I love his hands rubbing the sole of my foot. This is one of the most relaxing moments for me. He knows that very well but he never did it on his own -  I would have to plead for a foot massage every time. But, now-a-days, even if I say no, he takes my feet , keeps it on his lap and rubs it gently. Do you understand why? It is  for you both! He wants you both to snuggle in, attach and become his children. I carry you both in my uterus but he carries you both  in his heart. Are you listening? Does it feel good to hear about him? Please young ones , please attach to me and grow into healthy babies! There are also so many other people who are praying for you and waiting for you too – if I have to tell you about everyone , I will need several more pages!

When I talked about prayer, I remember on the embryo transfer day, Dr.Malpani asked me,  ‘Manju, which God are you praying to?’ To tell the truth I prayed to nobody and I do not want to pray to anybody. I told him the same. I asked him whether he believes in God. He said yes and I asked him why ? He said ‘I do not have a rational explanation and I also think it is ok for the heart and the head not to agree with each other :) When he transferred you both inside my uterus, he again said ‘pray’! But I didn’t! I was so adamant! I am not angry with God and neither am I blaming God for my situation. I simply do not believe that praying will help. I just enjoyed the moment you both went inside me and relaxed. But, little ones, when I think of it now , I wonder whether I should have said a short prayer to some God? What do you both think? Will it have helped you? Have I spoiled your chances of becoming a baby? But, still I believe, if I pray or not,  nothing is going to change. Prayer can bring about a sense of relaxation but on that day I am surrounded by good people and I am actually very happy and relaxed. Even if you both become my babies I am not going to teach you about the concept of God. Being good and being a theist has no connection. I will teach you to be good human beings and you have to decide whether you need God or not when you grow-up! I think, in this way I can safe-guard you from the unnecessary guilty feelings most humans suffer in the name of God.

Today is the 5th day of your stay within me. I sit here wondering what is going on with you both. I wish you could send me some signals so that I could feel your presence all the time. Carrying you both in my uterus is not difficult (even those 9 months won’t be difficult!) but carrying you both in my mind is driving me crazy! I wish the test date never comes! It feels so good to be pregnant , at least in my heart . I have lots to say. But all that can wait. The main message is NEVER EVER GIVE UP! My love to you both! Fight as much as you can. Life is a beautiful struggle and struggle is what makes you HUMAN and keeps you human!

Waiting with lots of love,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...