As most of you following my story know, we are awaiting our CCS results in the next couple weeks or so. It’s an anxiety-ridden time (to put it mildly), as many others who have gone through the same can testify. However, considering everything, I have been doing pretty well. Having my parents around, of course, has been a great distraction. They’re about to leave this weekend so I have been spending a lot of time with them, taking them out etc.
Today, we decided to go to our neighborhood mall for another such jaunt. We were on our way when I saw K’s number flashing on the screen. Before I could pick up, the call got disconnected. Mom’s phone rang soon thereafter. I could only hear her part of the conversation. “… okay we’ll come back right away”. What’s happened, I asked her even as my heart plummeted to unfathomable depths. She said he hadn’t told her, just requested us to come home urgently as there was a call from CCRM. My mind exited and my heart took over as I imagined the worst. I didn’t know how they had the results so early but I wasn’t about to think anything rational. My heart was racing, my mouth had turned dry and my head was spinning as I sped the car back towards home.
I have no idea how I managed to park and get out but as soon as I was out, I started running towards home. Crazily enough, my body had turned to mush in response to my emotional state so I half limped, half dragged myself home. I threw open the door and one look at K’s face reflected my worst fears. I sank in a heap to the floor as he said, extreme sorrow and pain written all over his face, “all our 9 blasts arrested”. As I said before, rationality had deserted me ages back so I could not even comprehend how seemingly good looking embryos (as per the embryologist’s call two days back) had suddenly all disintegrated. I was a huge, gaping wound that was tearing up faster than I could breathe. I screamed a guttural scream and it went on forever. My pain was too great to even cry. I just kept screaming, a terrible, animal sound that was very out of place in this small, peaceful apartment community we live in. Sanity walked out of the room as I clawed at the floor, tugged at the carpet, any physical action to relieve the pain that was ripping me open. There’s been times in the past (especially when our first IVF failed) when I wanted things to end. Not like a physical desire to harm myself but more a ‘let me never wake up to bitter reality again’. Today was different. Today I wanted to end this agony. This non-stop vortex of soul-sucking loss and despair. It scared the living daylights out of me.
K told me, anguished and stricken, that the nurse had called and given him the news. He had asked her to check the chart again as it made no sense but she called ten minutes later to repeat the same damn thing and said that Dr. S wanted to talk to us. Talk for what? I spat out. What the heck good will talking do now. He also said that he had asked for the embryologist to call us because we deserved an explanation as to how this happened in the first place. Just then the phone rang. I picked it up. The embryologist asked me what the nurse had told me, even as I continued howling on the phone. I repeated what we had been told. And then, she said this:
“That is completely wrong. I have no clue why she told you this but you need to know that your blasts are perfectly fine and nothing has happened to them. I am so so sorry that you had to go through this”.
I was stunned. K looked like someone had kicked him in the gut anew. Wait, I half-sobbed, half-shouted as I asked her to tell me again what she had said. I don’t remember correctly but I think I did this several more times. She was extremely kind and empathetic as she kept repeating the same thing over and over and apologizing profusely even though it was not her fault in the least.
I cried and cried on the phone as I said thanks to her. When I hung up, K looked thunderous. He could not believe how careless the nurse had been. We weren’t fans of her to begin with; she was curt, often condescending and she never inspired confidence so I made sure to remain on top of things through the process, never trusting her completely. But this? Who the fuck makes a mistake this colossal??!!
The phone rang again. It was her. Before she could say hello, I roared at her “How could you do this???? How could you make such a massive mistake? Do you have any idea what we have gone through in the past half hour?” She said she was sorry. And she said that a couple more times. And then she gave me an explanation that made me want to scream. She saw my report and it said that there was a total of 18 fertilized embryos. 9 had arrested and 9 had made blasts. For some God-forsaken reason, she completely ignored the 9 that made it and just chose to see the ones that hadn’t. And then she called us and you know the rest.
I was stunned at her carelessness. How does a clinic that takes thousands and thousands of hard-earned money from scores of couples justify keeping a person like this on their staff? A person who cannot even be relied upon to read a damn report? You might say, mistakes happen, we’re all human and I would say yes, you’re absolutely right. I could have found it within me to forgive her for that oversight had my husband not requested her to please go see the chart again. To overlook the same thing twice in a row is nothing short of an enormous stupidity. This is not a student’s final grade. You work in a medical setting where the stakes are enormous. We emptied our life-savings on this clinic not to have our hearts ripped out of our body for something that did not even happen! You can feel heartbroken when life doles out misery but how the heck do you rationalize going through mind-numbing grief for something that never happened! As K rightly said, it’s like telling the family of a patient that he died when in reality he is getting better.
This is not like getting bad news. No once can be held responsible if embryos don’t turn out normal or if they don’t implant. This was AVOIDABLE. This did NOT need to happen. For there is no excuse in the world that will justify what we all went through in that half hour. My parents were devastated. To see your child writhing in agony and vocalizing a desire to not live anymore is not something any parent should have to witness. Or a husband whose entire world revolves around his wife. My husband was stricken. I saw him briefly lose control and witnessing his naked pain was more than I could handle. Again, there is terrible unfair sadness and loss happening all around us everyday. But this did not need to happen.
I was doing so well. I was hopeful yet guarded. I was living each day fully, feeling closer to God than I have ever before. I feel destroyed right now. I do not know how I will pass the days leading up to the result now. I do not know how I will stop myself from hyperventilating every time the phone rings. Once again, innocence has been killed. The innocent anticipation with which I awaited our results is now gone. In its place is a physical ache, an anguish that will likely keep me up several nights.
For all of you reading my blog, today I humbly request you to please pray for us and our baby blasts. It’s been a heartbreaking journey for the past three years and we really need some good news. On any given day, your prayers and your wishes would mean the world to me but today, they just might help me breathe a little easier.