Sunday, 30 September 2012

Brighter side of infertility and its journey

All these past months I have been going through this whirlpool of understanding infertility, its causes, and taking the treatments. And all the while I have felt very stressed about it all specially while in the middle of treatment...

Few days back I sat down to think that there has to be something good in all this. And here's few things that I realized has made me a better person through it all:

1. I have learned a lot about gratitude. 
Life is precious, you don't know how long you have.
Be grateful of each day that you get, try to make full use of every moment!

Gratitude about infertility... Sounds very ironical, when all I could feel was bitterness about my inability to become a mother. But this bitterness was not getting me anywhere, it was rather making me more alienated from all the good things. That was when I decided that from now on I will embrace my infertility and learn from it. Feel thankful that I am healthy, can cherish the beauty around me. Grateful of all my blessings.

2. Empathy. Sometimes when you engross yourself in your pain and struggle too much, you fail to notice what people around you are going through. If you look around you, you will notice there are many others who might have gone through worse. It made my suffering much bearable. I realised that if I tried, I could give solace to others also despite my own pain.

3. My love for my husband has gone up a level. He has been extremely supportive all this time. 
Helping me smile. Taking my real bad mood swings & sometimes harsh words in his stride and holding my hand.
And very unlike him, he has learned the art of pampering me :-) Could I have ever imagined him getting me bed-tea !!! Not until we starting walking this path.

On a lighter note:

1. I had been suffering from hair loss for quite some time. And during the times I was on progesterone I realized that my hair loss reduced significantly. So thanks to fertility treatment atleast I still have some hair on my head ;-)
(And yes, a bit of research on internet tells me that progesterone helps stop hair thinning.)

2. Finding ways of staying away from unsolicited advice. I am the kind of person who finds it very hard to say 'No', and the kind of person who finds it hard to be rude to someone even when they are saying things which are hurtful to you. Now when I talk to someone; I have learned the art of weaving a safe topic in my conversation, as soon as I realize the person would very soon bring up the talk of my getting pregnant. I am happily staying away from their advices of meeting Dr 'X' who is a great gynecologist Or starting to eat 'Y' as it supposed helped 'Z' get pregnant!

3. Being lazy guilt free :-) During both my IVF cycles, the two week wait has been the time when I tried to rest as much as I could. Before all this happened, if I took a nap in the afternoon, I would feel very guilty that I have wasted that hour sleeping where I could have done something better with my time. But now I am rid of that guilt, I have spent hours watching some videos / movies without thinking twice that I could possibly do something more constructive :-)

I have found ways of keeping my peace of mind.

Lastly, Believe in yourself, keep the faith. This too shall pass.

Monday, 24 September 2012

My Life Mantras

Some quotes that I keep going back to when I feel low:
  1. Be positive! Keep smiling. Your attitude will transfer your power to others.
  2. Life does not give me the choice of what battle to fight, but just the choice to fight it or not! And I decide to fight the battle.
  3. Nothing in this world happens by chance.
  4. People move in and out of each other’s lives, and each leaves his mark on the other. You find you are made up of bits and pieces of all who have touched your life, and you are more because of it, and you would be less if they had not touched you.
  5. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.
  6. The darkest hour of the night comes just before dawn. - Paulo Coelho
  7. You have to go through the worst to get to the best.
  8. What is past is past. never go back. Not for excuses. Not for justification, not for happiness. ― Mario Puzo
  9. Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality. - Earl Nightingale

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Want to understand the reason ...

Its darkness again!!!

It was time for me to find out if my IVF #2 was successful or not. Did an HPT in the morning of d10 and it came negative! Had been having a bad feeling since past 3 days and realized that the bad feeling was turning into a reality. Still had hope that maybe the HCG levels are not good enough to be detected by the HPT, went to a nearby lab for blood test. It was tough to wait till evening when the report was to be ready. And as I was suspecting the blood test report also showed that I was not pregnant !

Not again! 

People say that "Everything happens for a reason, Nothing happens without a reason!"
Trying to find reason behind all this. Is it that God is trying to tell me that my dream of wanting to become a mother cannot be fulfilled!

Excerpt from the book I was reading recently. Have been reading this particular portion many times to help me get over the pain and disappointment:

The alchemist answered. "What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we've learned as we've moved toward that dream. That's the point at which most people give up. It's the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.""Every search begins with beginner's luck. And every search ends with the victor's being severely tested."The boy remembered an old proverb from his country. "It said that the darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn."

I had thought that my dawn was just arriving but it is not to be! I don't know how long can I endure being tested by my destiny.
What is it that God wants me to learn from this???
How do I accept this failure and make myself look forward? 
What do I look forward to?

It is hard, very hard!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Hakuna Matata

I am a sucker for animation movies and have been watching some of my all time favorites. What would the world be without Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Movies!

Jungle Book, Lion King, Ratatouille, kung Fu Panda, Finding Nemo.... the list goes on and on.

My first memories of animation movies are those of me sitting with my siblings and watching Jungle Book, those were the days when you got movies in a video cassette and needed a VCR to play them.
I still turn into a kid whenever I watch those animation movies... 

Most of these movies show the pure, unadulterated love in relationships (be it between friends, teacher-pupil, parent-child). True meaning of relationships and living upto those relationships, I wish everyone in this world followed the same principles and it would uncomplicate lot of things. Like I read in the newspaper quotes a couple of days back "If girls were as nice to each other in real life as they are in Facebook comments, the world would be a different place to live"! So true!

I feel so energized after watching these movies. Feel like dancing like Baloo, the bear from Jungle book OR sing Hakuna Matata like Pumba & Timon from Lion King. Can watch them as many times as anyone would ask me to !

Follow your dreams and chase them with all your heart and your dreams will definitely be fulfilled. Follow your dreams and you will realize your destiny!

BTW: Hakuna Matata, it means no worries. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The dreaded 2 week wait

The agonizing 2 week wait has started and I keep thinking what do I do to keep myself sane!

I had been meaning to re-read one of Paolo Coelho's book, have been saving that book for these 2 weeks. I am trying to go slow with it so that I can hang onto it till the end of my 2WW. Reading has always had a calming effect on me. This particular book is a brilliant work to help me see the good things around, the positivity around me. It definitely has been working this time too :-)

Whenever I am in a gloomy mood, retail therapy has done wonders for me. So though I cannot go out for these initial few days, I can always do virtual window shopping! I have been visiting many of the online stores and putting jewelry, clothes, bags to my favorites list. Eventually most of it might end up just being on the favorites list, but who cares; at the moment I am enjoying it.

There have been few things which are not helping me though. 
As has it with Murphy's Law, my housemaid has fallen ill (arrrrrghhh) and just a couple of days back I had told her that I will need her help all the more during next few weeks. And just at this 2 weeks, she had to call in sick :-( Looking for a temp maid for a day or two is not an easy task. To think of it, I should stay as calm and relaxed specially now, hmmmmf.

Every few hours, I fight the urge to search the internet for interpretation of any change that I feel in my body. A slight pain here, a little spasm there... and I want to know what it could mean. But this time I have promised myself that I will not try to read the symptoms and just wait for the day when I am ready to know the result of my IVF. Till now I have been able to keep my promise, but controlling the urge of wanting to search the internet for my symptoms is still work in progress. 

Writing too has been very helpful in keeping me calm. Its good to release your emotions. You cannot control your emotions but you can definitely learn to peacefully live with them; that way you are able to manage them very well. And that is what I am trying to do every day during these 2 weeks.

And as someone said after ET, not much is in our hands, its nature that takes its course! So here I am at the mercy of nature and trying to make the path easier by keeping myself stress-free and happy!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Random thoughts

Went for ET yesterday, and it felt as if I was going for some college exam result where you get the verdict of having passed or failed!

A day before when I called my embryologist, I was told that at the moment both the embryos are looking good and only next day morning will we know if they reach blastocyst stage or not. I agonized trying to find more into what she told me (did she sound positive or was she apprehensive). In the end called my doctor to see if she had any more comforting words for me :-) I debated with her if it made it any better if we were to do the transfer that day. She convinced me that even if the transfer was to happen on day 4 and it were not to happen the chances are same as transfer on day 5; So we might as well wait for day 5 transfer where we can pick from the blastocyst embryos.

The day of ET arrived; we waited to meet the doctor. She told us that one of the embryos reached the blastocyst stage but the other was not looking a good quality embie. Infact it seemed to have deteriorated. After the initial excitement of getting 6 eggs, when I was told that we have only 1 embryo which reached Blastocyst stage and good enough to be transferred, I felt miserable (and that literally is an understatement of my feeling, I really can't say how disappointed I felt in myself).
But looking at the brighter side, I have atleast 1 embryo which has sustained till Blastocyst and who knows might be able to sustain further in my uterus!

The transfer went smooth and after resting there for couple of hours, I went back home to rest more. While resting I read and read about what really means blastocyst. What is the probability of a successful implantation with a blastocyst transfer Vs a 3d transfer? What are the chances of having a baby with blastocyst transfer? And many more such questions hounded me. Internet as they say is a boon and a bane depending on how you use it. Sometimes I feel reading too much about something can also cause you unnecessary worries. I should just believe in my doctor and in God. 

Was it wise for us to have decided to wait till the blastocyst stage, only time will tell.

My references on blastocyst:
2. There are many sites on blastocyst transfer and its success probabilities.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

How are my embryos doing

I don't think I have done more research on any other topic than what I have been doing since past 8-9 months on IVF. And needless to say, with every research I do I learn something more on the topic of IVF. I can nowhere compare my knowledge to a fertility expert but I can definitely understand some of the jargon they say :-)

Today is day 3 after my egg retrieval. And everyday I have been calling my embryologist to know how my embryos were doing!

I searched on the internet to understand what is the average development cycle of embryos. Below is a chart from that research. It helps in knowing whether I am doing as per what prior studies indicate Or there is some exception in my case.

Day 0
Egg retrieval
Insemination of eggs with prepared Sperm
Day 1
Eggs checked for fertilization (the presence of two pronuclei or PN's)
Day 2
2-4 cell stage of development 
Day 3
6-10 cell stage of development 
Day 4
Embryos at the compacted morula (16-32 cell) stage. 
Day 5
Embryos at the blastocyst stage of development

While researching on this topic what I also chanced upon was many females stating that they conceived and had healthy pregnancy even when the embryo development was slower than what above chart says (ex: 4 cell embryo transferred on Day 3 resulted in a baby boy for someone). So what I mean here is that every embryo behaves different ( I assume it must be depending on egg quality, sperm quality, genetic code of these); So I will not be the best person to be judging on my embryos. I will leave it to my embryologist and my fertility expert. They are the best people to tell if it is all seeming normal or not.

On the evening of my egg retrieval day, I spoke to the embryologist and was told that out of 6 oocyts obtained from my ovaries, only 3 are mature eggs. And all 3 have fertilized.

Day 1: I was told that all the 3 embryos were looking good and we can hope that they keep on developing well. 

Day 2: the embryologist told me that 2 of the embryos were developing well. One is 4-cell and other is 5-cell. However the 3rd one stopped growing. So now I am left with only 2 of the original count of 6 :-(

Day 3: Today morning I got a call from my embryologist. She said that my embryos are now 10-cell & 11-cell in their development. I found this a very encouraging news considering that in 1st IVF cycle it was 2-cell day 2 transfer. She said I should talk to the doctor to discuss on when should we be doing the transfer.
I had a detailed discussion with the doctor on whether she should do the transfer now or wait for blastocyst stage.

My prior research research on Blastocyst transfer indicated that it results in higher pregnancy success rates than a day 3 or day 4 transfer.

I left the decision to my doctors advice on what should be done. She explained that if we wait, it may so happen that the embryos do not reach blastocyst stage. And if we do transfer today, then also a similar possibility is there. We eventually decided to wait for blastocyst.

I think I will want to give a call tomorrow to my embryologist and see if the embryos reached the day4 stage or not. 

Science still has not been able to understand human reproduction to its full. I presume its because all female bodies behave differently (after all we have unique genetic coding).
All that I can do is stay positive and trust that whatever my doctor is doing is the best she (or any other fertility expert) could have done.