Gulliver’s travels come to an abrupt end…

Hey Kids.

Well, it’s been a very difficult few weeks – maybe the most difficult few weeks since we started trying to bring you into our lives.

We tried another IVF cycle…but it’s finally been cancelled – didn’t get to transfer. And somehow, this cancelled cycle was harder to cope with than the negative first cycle.

So, following my theory of blogging being my cheap-ass therapy, I thought I’d tell you guys about it…then I can move on.

Before I start, I best point out that all facts and figures are subject to correction…I have a pretty useless memory (maybe, when I was a foetus, it developed on the same day as my shitty pituitary gland!!). In fact, my memory’s about as useful as a waterproof teabag. That’s one of the many reasons I keep your mom around…she’s like a living breathing calendar, diary, PA and fact-checker all rolled into one adorable package. Which means that all the numbers, dates, facts & figures will no doubt change not long after I post this, when your mom sends me a scathing email correcting all the inaccuracies in the post…

We decided on CD1 to go ahead and have another go at IVF. It was a last-minute decision because there’s been a lot going on in your mom’s life the last few months, and with her women’s prerogative to be difficult, we weren’t sure when exactly her previous cycle would end – so planning wasn’t really an option with her being so irregular lately.  But, as fate would have it, her period started just the day after all the hectic work stuff was over (and she’d seemed to have dealt with the scattering of her mom’s ashes a few weeks earlier as well). So, even though we’d planned to leave it another cycle before plunging into IVF#2, we didn’t.

We got the meds, and she started shooting up as required. BTW our cleaning service who come in once a week must think we’re running some sort of drug den. With the amount of paraphernalia in our bedroom bin hitting an all time high when your mom’s stimming, over and above my weekly plethora of jabs…honestly, it’s terrible. I can only imagine what they say about us behind our backs. In fact, I’ve taken to cleaning out all the bins before they get there…just to hopefully prevent the imminent police raid.

Then it was scan time…CD8. We were excited to see how things were developing, to get a handle on the clutch your mom was brewing…the fantastic Dr S arrived and proceeded to wield the wand…and we were all surprised to see one follicle way out ahead of all the others! This one was huge (I’d write here that it was already 15mm while the other 5 or 6 were only 6 or 8mm, but your mom will correct me, so I won’t).

I immediately named this one follicle ‘Gulliver’, because he was making the other follies look like Lilliputians. I took this as a sign of my genetics at work – I’m a big guy whilst your mom is vertically challenged. I don’t want to be rude (well that’s not strictly true) but no-one from your mom’s side of the family has ever seen what’s in the top of a kitchen cupboard – they need a ladder to change the light-bulb in a bedside lamp – they still use those little padded booster seats at the hair-dressers – they can only buy items from the bottom two shelves of their supermarket …lets just say she comes from a long line of short-arses (how’s that for euphemism).

But anyway, there was Gulliver – storming ahead and making all the other follies look like midgets.

Over the next few days and scans, the Lilliputians made a gallant effort to catch up, but it was just too big a task for them – there was Gulliver, taking up two or three seats in the ovulation waiting room, probably taking the lions share of the hormones and nutrients, overshadowing his miniature maybe-siblings.

As we approached Retrieval, things were looking good – your mom’s lining was thickening nicely (thanks to some increased meds), there was Gulliver raring to go, and 5 or 6 smaller follies – smaller, but still at an acceptable size to give us hope of a good haul during ER. Your mom gave herself the trigger injection on the Wednesday night, and Friday morning, we were at the clinic before dawn had cracked, ready to aspirate us some eggs.

I was nil-by-mouth again, just in case my sample had regressed back to a zero count. I was still nervous at this precaution, more because it seemed to signify that the doc/prof thought this might actually happen, than anything else…saying that, the thought of the prof playing hide and seek with my testicles, whilst holding an excruciatingly sharp instrument, still didn’t excite me!!

I was a little nervous, but was actually looking forward to what comical and embarrassing things your mom was going to say or do when still under the influence of the sedative.

The nurse came to collect your mom, and the lab tech came shortly afterwards to hand me my trusty sterile container… So, while your mom was having the walls of her vajayjay poked full of holes as they navigated the shortest route to her ovaries, I was back in the andrology room once again. I was startled to notice a new addition to the pathetic ‘inspirational’ material…a photographically illustrated guide to the Karma Sutra…I thought this was definitely worthy of investigation…how wrong I was…it seemed to me, in the 5 second flick through, that the photographs seemed to consist mainly of shots of some guys bum and a women’s legs and feet…in different positions I’ll grant you, but still hardly worth the hassle (and definitely not in the least bit inspirational).

Anyway, I did what I had to do, making sure to tell my sample in no uncertain terms that there damn well better be enough swimmers in it to prevent me from having to have my balls shaved within the next few hours! I handed my no-longer-sterile container to the smiling lady, and resumed my seat in the IVF theatre waiting area.

I short while later, Dr S came out with a disappointed look on his face. I was expecting him to tell me there was going to be an extra charge for the procedure because Gulliver had turned out to be too big for the extraction needle and they’d had to improvise using a rubber hose and a toilet plunger to get him out of your poor mom…but it was worse than that. They’d only recovered two eggs. The remaining follicles were empty – just full of mucus. He assured me they’d had an extensive rummage around, and in fact, called in the other embryologist (Hodges the White Coated Wonder who it turns out is quite the dude!) and asked him to double-check. Very disappointing, but, I was assured, 2 beautiful eggs.

I knew immediately that this was buggering up our chances, that it was going to take a ‘lottery-win’ style lucky streak to achieve our baby this cycle. The doctor said he wanted to make an appointment to see us in a few weeks time, regardless of how this cycle panned out, and this immediately started me worrying that this was a sign of things to come, that we were going to be told we had female factor infertility issues to add to the equation.

I didn’t really have much time to mull this over before they wheeled your mom out of the IVF theatre. She was awake, and this time not sobbing…I thought this was good news, but it didn’t take her long to start – she was absolutely distraught at only getting 2 eggs. And, to top it off, it seems the shock of the bad news brought her round much quicker – she never said anything funny or embarrassing, which was very disappointing!

The following day’s Fert report just piled bad news on top of disappointing news – only one embie showing signs of fertilisation…and even that one was behind the curve…only showing two polar bodies, when we would expect it to already be showing two pro-nuclei…so not good at all. Still, we were basing things on our previous cycle, so were still holding thumbs. And the news over the next couple of days just confirmed our fears – the one remaining embie had fertilised, but failed to cleave (divide).

We were due to go in on the Monday for Transfer, but the nurse called us when we were literally 5 minutes from the clinic to say that they wanted to postpone till the Tuesday to give it one more day to see if the embie did divide and develop. Got a call on the Tuesday morning to say the Prof was cancelling the cycle – Gulliver never progressed past the Fertilisation stage – two pro-nuclei, but no division/growth…and that was that.

These last two paragraphs really cannot convey the stress and emotions over the period from Friday’s ER to the cancellation phone call on the Tuesday…these were some of the hardest days we’ve ever had to endure, and certainly the hardest days since this journey began. The terror that we were both experiencing that this may be a sign of egg issues and a resulting death knell to our bio-kid dreams, was indescribable. Your mom spent the most part of these 4 days sobbing her heart out, and I spent them trying not to. I told myself (and your mom) that this was just one of those things, just a bad cycle, nothing to read too much into…but as much as this felt like the truth, it didn’t stop the worry and fear that this wasn’t the case.

The nurse, during Tuesday morning’s cancellation call, asked us to come in and see the Prof the same day. So, just a few hours later, there we were, in the clinic waiting room yet again. We were a lot calmer, we’d both really given up hope on Gulliver after Monday’s phonecall, making Tuesday’s phonecall just seem like the inevitable conclusion to a terrible few days. While sitting in the reception area and marvelling how quiet it was (two of the three docs were out all week), one of the nurses came over and sat with us and had a chat. She was so genuinely sad and apologetic (it turned out she was the one who had been making the update phonecalls to us all weekend). I’m even positive there was a tear in her eye as she expressed her sadness and tried to encourage us. It was really special.

Then it was in to see the Prof. He was incredible. He started off saying that he wanted us in to go through the cycle in detail and to encourage us. To allay our fears that the bad egg numbers were not a sign of disaster, that based on your mom’s blood work results previously, that we shouldn’t be worried, that this was just one of those things – a bad cycle. He reiterated that every cycle is different, that we shouldn’t give up hope and that he wanted to discuss our plans going forward. It was then that he explained that it was the clinic’s policy to refund as much as possible in the case of a failure to get to transfer – to make it easier for patients to have another go. There was also the fantastic news that my sample provided on the day of ER was showing an incredible improvement over previous result – 1 million little swimmers and 40% of them a-swimming – not too shabby for someone who had absolutely zero just a few short months ago. And so, with the Prof’s encouragement, the encouragement of all the nurses we saw, the vastly improved semen results and the considerable refund, we left the clinic two very different people.

Yes, of course we’re still devastated that this cycle went so badly, we’re obviously gutted that Gulliver’s travels (and his siblings) never progressed further than the lab petri dish, but we haven’t given up hope. We’re feeling positive again and planning the next cycle. There are some tweaks and details to take care of in the next month or two, but we will get right back on this horse, because that’s the only way we will defeat this IF demon.

So we will try again, and we will succeed…


~ by HopelesslyTTC on 08/10/2010.

11 Responses to “Gulliver’s travels come to an abrupt end…”

  1. Your posts always make me cry! They are so heartfelt and true. I am so sorry things didn’t work out this cycle. But you and MiW have so muh love and so much hope. You are such an awesome team and you have travelled for far, you absolutely cannot give up. Sending you both much love and wishing you peace and healing as you prepare for your next cycle.

  2. I know it is easy for me to say, having not started this journey myself, but, ONE MILLION!!!??!! I mean, that is GREAT news right!? :0)
    Big hugs to you both…

    • Hiya Claire,
      yeh, 1 million is great considering where we were just a few short months ago…still a ways to go before we could dream of a natural pregnancy – wouldn’t that be a shocker after all we’ve been through!! Hell, you need 20 million to be considered for IUI, which would also be a big improvement on the cost/impact/complication of IVF. But, at this point, a successful IVF would be superb!
      You’ve mentioned starting your journey a few times over the last few months…how are you feeling about that? If I remember correctly you said your hubby’s clock was already ticking, but that you were nervous considering what it would entail for you…any closer to making a decision?
      Thanks as always for reading, commenting and being supportive. Take care.

  3. I can identify with your disappointment, although it’s not an exact replica of my cycle it’s very similar. I went through all the same emotions and fears – only 2 eggs? Only 1 ovary??? It was shocking. But over time I’ve come to realise that it was merely a speedbump along the way and that we’re still running the race, with a bit of a detour. You will defeat the IF demon! There is no giving up now. Sorry again for the disappointment….it’s great to know that all is not lost and you’re still in it!!! Good luck with the POA going forward, I’m still standing on the sidelines cheering you two on as you enter the ‘uphill’ stage of the race…soon soon you will reach the downhill with the end in sight.
    PS – thanks for such an entertaining and honest post – I always enjoy reading your blog.

  4. You take hit after hit after hit. I am sorry for the cancellation and failure to continue dividing.

    It is wonderful to see your optimism for January. Gotta have that or this will choke the life out of you.

  5. I’m so sorry–I’ve been there are it’s so hard. Glad you have such a positive outlook for e next cycle. You’ll get there!

  6. Not making it to transfer is pretty awful, after all the effort that went into the preparations.
    Glad to hear the professor was encouraging though.

  7. Once I forgot to grab another sharps waste container from the clinic. So a few nights later had some syringes and needles to dispose of (as you do when one of your hobbies is injecting yourself with random prescription drugs). I could have dropped by the clinic, but I was going out for a friend’s birthday – some of the pubs near the waterfront have sharps disposal things in the bathroom. I went to the loo & into a stall and disposed of a couple of them, but although it was empty when I started I couldn’t get all my syringes and needles in. I didn’t have any other ‘business’ to do, so just went into the next stall and didn’t close the door before filling that container up too. And of course someone walked in on me doing this. Not anyone I know, but I was mortified! And of course this is Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, yes, but still in many ways a small time. I’ll probably wind up seeing this person somewhere, recognise the face but not remember where from, and smile like I know her. And she’ll look at me an wonder how a druggie like me can bear to show my face in public. Sigh.

    I offer you this embarassing story of myself because I don’t know what to say about the rest of your post. I wish there was something I could say or do that would erase the great pain and stress this cycle has caused you. It’s just not fair; it just shouldn’t happen. I’m soooo sorry. I’ve been there, and it’s just unspeakably awful.

    I’m in the middle of filling out forms and paperwork for the possible egg donor cycle. One of the last pages of my profile asks ‘Describle your attitudes / philosophy in life’. I didn’t know what to write for a few days, but suddenly it was quite obvious: We haven’t failed until we stop trying.

    • ROFLMAO – classic!
      And you know that the next time you see her it will be across the table when you go for a job interview!!

      I’ve been waiting for an update on your ‘half donor’, while at the same time holding thumbs and crossing fingers for the two snow-embies you’ve just transferred…hoping that this is finally your turn.
      You’re so right, and so, we will keep trying…

  8. Dear HTTC,

    It amazes me to read about yours and your wife’s ongoing courage and hope, as you forge ahead in your fertility process. I am sorry to hear about the cancellation of your last IVF cycle, and yet I admire you and your wife for keeping your spirits up, as you face that “IF Demon”.

    My positive thoughts are with you and your wife, as you continue on this journey. As always, please keep us posted on further developments…

  9. Thank you for your story. It’s nice to hear from a man’s perspective. It certainly is a journey of tears & laughter but your determination to beat this “demon” is encouraging.
    We have had a failed cycle & recently a cancelled cycle. It’s frustrating but we move on like life does. Another day closer to having the baby we dream of.

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