Why?

I had my egg retrieval yesterday. Of 11 eggs that they retrieved, only 6 were mature and 5 of those six fertilized with ICSI and were frozen. The embryologist who called us today morning also informed us that 3 additional eggs matured overnight in the lab and that they would try to fertilize them today. I frankly do not have any hopes of those 3 even if they were to fertilize having scoured the web’s rather dismal statistics which predict very poor odds of these Day 2 ICSI’s making it to blast even, let alone turn out to be normal.

I don’t quite know how to describe what I am feeling right now. It’s almost as if there is a deluge of emotions knocking on my heart’s door but I have slammed the door shut on their collective faces. I feel like I am sinking, sinking deep down below into an abyss no one will ever be able to rescue me from. This cycle gave us so many heartaches, false alarms and yet despite all the catching up that my body did (with 14 follicles at last count) and despite the 11 eggs retrieved I am back to where I was with my first IVF with only 5 fertilized embryos. Which gives me a pretty darn good indication of what my chances of getting a chromosomally normal embryo would be like.

Yesterday, right after retrieval, when the embryologist came over to let us know our count, he also insisted we tell him right there and then whether or not we planned to go in for egg banking. K and I had spoken extensively about this and we were more or less decided that whatever the numbers we would bank just to give us the best odds possible. For, if these two cycles at CCRM do not give me a take home baby I have low hopes it will ever happen with my own eggs. Still, we were told we would have to take that call when we got the fertilization report from the embryologist the day after retrieval. Not like 20 minutes after coming out of anesthesia. That’s what we had been led to believe and the plan was that we would take Thursday evening to flesh out the issue and have a definite answer for when the call came on Friday. This pissed me off. What pissed me off further is when the embryologist (a really nice man) told me that with 11 eggs Dr Schoolcraft recommends egg banking. Which I found a ridiculous notion. If 11 implies egg banking then at what stage should one just proceed with the one cycle?? When you make like 20 eggs? 30? Isn’t that typically a PCOS thing and does not that typically imply poor egg quality? Where the heck were these numbers coming from? Dr S (Surrey) had told us that anything below 5 and he would strongly recommend banking. But of course he was talking about fertilized embryos. How were we to know that even with 11 bloody eggs we would only make 5 embryos!!! What. the. f—k.

As soon as K hung up with the embryologist, I felt the familiar mist of panic envelop me, pulling me down faster than I could escape it. I was choking, sobbing, heaving all at the same time. He tried to reassure me telling me that there were three more that could potentially fertilize by tomorrow but to my mind those were probably not good quality considering they did not come out mature from my body.

So, after 40+ injections, 7 blood tests, 9 ultrasounds, 1 egg retrieval, many sleepless nights and countless hours spent stressing what do we have to show for our big gamble on CCRM? The same results we got from our local clinic. And way more heartache.

I’m sitting at the airport right now, waiting to check in for our late night flight. We got here way early because we had to drop the car off. K is as crushed as I am and he is coping the only way he knows to –dissolving himself in his work. As for me, I look around the hordes of people here with little babies, toddlers, strollers and the odd pregnant belly and I want to set the world on fire. I am so angry. So furious.

I spoke with my mom earlier today. She was sad to hear what happened but tried her best to assure me things will work out. I am afraid I could not believe her words today. I was despondent, angry and immensely frustrated. I feel God keeps abandoning me in my time of need. I call out to him day upon day, beg him to give me this one thing, keep accepting all the trials that mark this journey with as much stoicism as I can muster. But does he listen? Does he give me any reprieve? No.

I don’t know where to go from here. I know I have to do this again and I also know that next time around this could go either way. My body keeps tricking me into believing that it will do great yet falters in the end each time. I know I will somehow have to brush off the dust and get myself up and going again. But right now that seems to painful to even envision, let alone execute. I know there are others like me, some in positions worse than mine who do not let this heartless disease sap them of their spirits. I admire them wholeheartedly. But I admit I am not so strong. Or perhaps I do not want to be anymore.

This is just so difficult.

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4 thoughts on “Why?

  1. I don’t know if my comments will help you or not. I haven’t been through what you have been, so my comments are solely based upon your feelings of your body working against you.

    When I was 14, I had an ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit removed. It had engulfed my ovary, so they removed it, along with my Fallopian tube on that side. From that surgery on, I was told that I would have an extremely difficult time getting pregnant. At 14, who cares. At 19, I was positive I didn’t even want kids. All along though, I knew if I wanted kids, I could have them. I never listened to the doctors and nurses telling me I would have difficulty. I was even told to expect very early menopause. (which didn’t happen, I experienced this wonderful lady event at the average age most experience it)

    Then I met the man I wanted to live my life with. That life included children. Parts of him and parts of me. We were blessed with 3 kids. The last one took a bit longer to conceive, but I was getting older. I only had one ovary producing eggs, but I never gave it a thought. Maybe I was just one of the lucky ones, but I never believed the negative statements from the naysayers in the first place.

    Two years ago, I had surgery to remove a nodule from my lung, which happened to be cancerous. Because it was early stage, I thankfully didn’t have to go through any radiation, or chemotherapy. My survival rate is 67% after 5 years. That is the number I am focusing on…not the 33% of those who don’t make it.

    The body works mysteriously at times. Sometimes, I think our thoughts play a role, sometimes I don’t. Focusing on the positive part of an issue helps with the disappointment–if there is any. You may not get the exact results you are looking for, but you will receive what you were meant to. (Gosh, I’m sounding a bit like a hippie)

    Anyway, I know it is easy for me to say, but focus on the positive number, not the negative number. It only takes one.

    Best of luck to you and your husband!

    • Thank you, April, both for taking out the time to write to me and for sharing your story. I admire your courage and resilience; your family must be so proud of you.

      Infertility has taught me many lessons. I must admit that before I got thrown into these muddy waters, I wasn’t the most optimistic of people. Slowly, painstakingly I taught myself to stay focused, to be thankful for all that I have and to appreciate each day for what it brings.
      Unfortunately though, my hope has suffered a severe blow each time I have invested in it. And perhaps that’s what hurts the most –knowing I did everything and that I kept positive and yet the outcome was not the best.
      I know I have these frozen embryos and they might well hold the key to my dreams but, knowing the way statistics play out, I am terrified of hoping too much.

      Thank you again, though, so very much for reaching out to me. It made me feel better.

  2. I know it is easier said than done, but please keep positive. I have just returned from CCRM myself and it has been the most exhausting journey – I know. I just did a FET last week and have been TTC for almost 2 years as well. Are you doing CCS on the 5 (or 8 frozen)? I am 36 as well, froze 8 and 3 came back as euploids. This is below average, but it is true that all you need is 1 euploid. I would just try to stay positive until you have all the information and try not to think about the statistics. You are in good hands – again, I know easier said than done, but the best advice I can give is to ignore the bits of doubts (b/c of course they are there and they are loud) and try to think of this time as your first time and be positive…

    • Thank you for sharing your experience! Yes, I am trying hard to ignore the persistent cacophony in my head but my previous record of all CCS abnormals continues to haunt me even though I try hard to shake it off. We are doing CCS on the 6 (only 1 from the second lot fertilized) that are frozen. I was just told that my eggs were a bit grainy so that further makes me feel anxious but then again, worrying will only get me that far. I am going to focus on the future and in getting my body in as best a shape as I can muster and then just hope and pray (with all my might!) for a positive outcome. I wish you the very best of luck for your FET!!

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