Call me Debbie Downer but in my heart, I’ve always known that it wasn’t going to go our way. Right from the start, the odds were firmly stacked against us and it would take a miracle for us to get the happy ending.
Miracles have never happened to me.
But you know, just because there wasn’t much hope doesn’t mean that I wasn’t holding out for a dream come true. Because with every procedure, there is always a faint glimmer of possibility that it might just work. You hear of stories, good stories that have happy endings, and you wonder, maybe, just maybe, it is my turn this time.
But maybe next time.
In a strange way, though, I am thankful for having gone through this. No, not glad, because nobody who wants a child deserves to go through hell for it. It isn’t fair. But this infertility shit has shown me just how strong and strong-willed I can be. I’ve cried my fair share of tears, I’ve lain in bed feeling sorry for myself but I’ve never allowed myself to stay down. And that’s something nobody can ever take away from me.
But you know what, I could never have done it on my own, as strong as I think I am. Without my darling husband, who patiently took over some of my household duties when I was all choked up with nausea, who never showed signs of giving up hope, who bought me chocolate milkshakes because he just knew I needed one, I would have crumbled. He’s my beacon in the night.
And oh, all those other people – some friends and some strangers – who brought me so much love and encouragement. Someone once told me that the support of friends is very important for those going through IVF and it’s true. The support that I had envisioned from my usual quarters did not materialise; instead, the cheers came from people whom I have never, ever expected to hear from. And it meant so much to me, to know that people were rooting for me.
Special mention to:
My friend the Queen of the Prairie – for oohing and ahhing at the right times, for christening my little underdog embryos, for sending me those lovely, lovely flowers, for giving me hugs over Whatsapp even though she is far away in Kansas.
The wonderful Miss Ene – for texting me regularly and asking how I am, for helping me with you-know-what (I don’t want to jinx it by saying it out loud!)
My cousins/godsisters – for just being there and never, NEVER saying platitudes like, oh it will work. They kept it real. And I appreciate that.
The Squirts – for bringing me dinner when I was sick, for coming over to keep me company just because, for having that super cute baby who makes me laugh all the time.
Yuling – for always, always sending me the sweetest messages that never fail to bring tears to my eyes. She’s a mother of one but she gets it. She just gets it.
Everyone who has ever left encouraging comments or emailed me – you have no idea how much those messages mean to me. They made me smile and they kept me going. Your comments allowed me to be real, to be me. Thank you Serene, Dot, Bookjunkie, Pleasure Monger, Lady J, Sherie and oh, so many others!
The cleverest, funniest Dr Y – poor him, for being stuck with a high maintenance patient like me, always bombarding him with text messages. But he did his best and he was always kind. He’s also probably the most positive person in the world. I’m so glad to have found him. Although I don’t think he shares the same sentiments.
So what’s our next step going to be?
Husband and I have talked it through and we have some ideas. I’m going to let this poor little body of mine detox and have a rest before starting on another cycle. We’re going for a quick holiday in two months’ time and in the meantime, there’s going to be plenty of beer guzzling, wine sipping and sashimi slurping.
I’m going to bloody live again.
Leaving you with this beautiful song by my two favourite singers that’s made me cry and cry when I was at the lowest point. I just hope that there will be something for us to look forward to this coming Christmas.
Unexpectedly, the embryologist called to confirm, again, that none of our remaining embryos were good enough for freezing. That I knew. I took the opportunity to ask about the quality of my eggs and she said that yes, they were developing a little slower than normal. Again, that I knew.
The kicker was when she said, well, let’s hope for the best and Dr Y will advise you on your protocol for the next cycle.
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of my heart breaking into tiny little pieces and the embryologist crushing them with her feet callously.
She might as well have said outright YOUR EGGS SUCK, PRESS THE BUTTON AND TRY AGAIN.
I burst into tears immediately after I hung up the phone.
But it turned out fine.
Because once the tears had dried, I decided that there was no point being all sad and mopey about it. Yes, Bryan and Bryna, bless their little underdog status, may decide that Camp Womb is a great place to stay in for the next nine months. But there is also a greater possibility that they won’t. I can’t put all my eggs in one basket – pardon the pun – and hope that one of them will stick. I can cry a little, mourn our inability to get pregnant just like that but at the end of the day, I cannot and will not let myself get stuck in the trenches of depression and guilt.
Sure, the Universe may be screwing around with us. Yes, it’s been a hellish journey. I am 30, look 50 and feel 60.
But you know what, I’m not going to give up and go running back to my mama crying just because my reproductive bits are not functioning as they should and some random cosmic lottery dictates that we are not meant for the easy shag-and-reproduce way out.
If it’s a fight you want, it’s a fucking fight you are gonna get.
I’m just one step away from what I want and I will do whatever it takes to get my damned happily ever after, no matter what form it takes.
This morning, we received some depressing news: the remaining three embryo siblings of Bryan and Bryna have stopped developing and we will not have any embies to freeze.
That means, if neither Bryan nor Bryna implant, we will have to do a fresh cycle all over again the next time round. It is going to be the works all over again – daily injections, scans, bloodwork etc. Back to square one, let’s start at the very beginning again.
Needless to say, I was all choked up after ending the call with the very nice embryologist. Doubt and worry flooded my mind. What if the two embryos in me are of similar quality and do not develop? Does that mean this cycle is a bust? After all the time and effort I had put in?
Right from the start, the odds have been against us. During stimulation, I was in quite a bit of discomfort. All that nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and lack of appetite! I can’t recall the last full meal I had. All these ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome symptoms were supposed to manifest AFTER the administration of the HCG trigger shot and I was having them BEFORE the damn injection.
Thankfully, the doc prescribed me a medicine that helped to curb the symptoms BUT (there is always a BUT) it gave me the additional side effects of gastric pain and nausea. So I have had to take one more drug to alleviate the gastric.
Anyhow, our statistics don’t look too good. Of the 16 eggs retrieved, only 9 fertilized and by day three, we were down to five. The best two – Bryan and Bryna – were transferred and well, we know what happened to the other three. All my hopes of day five transfer and frozen embryos flew out of the window.
Right now, all I can do is hope for the best even if chances of success are slim. I have tried my best, I have borne all the physical discomfort with as much grace and dignity as I could muster. I couldn’t have done anything more to change the outcome.
Just FYI – I didn’t come up with these names. It was my friend the Queen of the Prairie who insisted on calling you thus. You see, she thinks that she is very hip and loves calling you and your fellow embryo siblings ‘bryos. From there, it became Bryan and Bryna. But really, it’s better than the names I have given to her yet-to-be conceived Alaskan babies.
They are called Salmon and Salmonella.
Because she will be going salmon fishing when she is in Alaska.
Am v funny and witty!
Anyway, so the two of you are now safely ensconced in the Sentosa Cove of wombs ie. MY uterus. And CONGRATULATIONS, you were selected because you were the most outstanding among your siblings! Well, as outstanding as you lazy buggers can get anyway. While most other embryos are already in the 8-cell state on the third day of retrieval, you two are only 6-cells big. Oh no, I am not comparing, not at all. And no, you don’t need to get 100 for your spelling tests in future, just 98 will do.
What I didn’t get was how fast and furious you eggnoids were growing in my ovaries and then suddenly when faced with the sperm boys in the petri-dish, you became laggards. And then it hit me. I am convinced that it is all because of your Dad’s lazy boys! I knew it! His boys were always slow and sluggish (bad, bad motility) so they must have been lousy influences on all of you! Hmph.
I’m a wee bit sad that your grades aren’t outstanding. In the world of embryo quality, you guys are considered decent but not outstanding. Sigh, now that’s my fault and I take full responsibility. But you know what, I created you, okay okay WE created you (although your Dad did nothing but wank into a tiny plastic jar) and so I love you wholeheartedly. You guys are OUR precious little underdogs and we will be cheering you on. Even if you only have 30-odd percent chances of surviving, it is still better than all those empty dreams we have had for the past two years.
Damn hormones, making me cry.
Just know that you may not be the best embryos out there but that is okay. I was never the coolest or prettiest or cleverest girl too. I laugh too loud, talk like a fishmonger, am socially awkward, say the wrong things to people, have eye bags the size of marbles, have terrible skin and my hair is never straight or neat. I treated myself as an average girl and used to blend in with the furniture. But no longer. I now embrace my individuality and am not interested in being your average everyday girl. Am now v Fabulously Gorgeous! And very noisy!
You don’t have to be perfect. In fact it’s great that you are NOT perfect because that makes you our little fighters. So what if you are just 6-cells big? It sucks but it doesn’t make you LOUSY. It just means we are all too school for cool! (as Pink sings)
So go on and have a party inside! Find a spot that gives you the best view (cervix or tubes lalala), burrow in and pop the champagne!
Just don’t get drunk and drop out. Noooooooooo.
STAY IN THERE!
It’s now up to you two and God.
That’s Bryan on the right and Bryna on the left. Aren’t they imperfectly adorable!
So tomorrow, the eggnoids will be sent back to the Mothership where they will hopefully stay and grow.
I don’t know how I should feel. Excited? Eager? Scared? Worried? Maybe all of the above. I just know that I have this creeping thought that it’s not going to go well. I mean, after all these MONTHS of disappointment, it’s really hard for me to move on to optimism and positivity. I know, I really shouldn’t feel this way but I’m just so terrified of having high hopes and crashing back into the earth with the most painful thud.
Plus, I just had a tough phone call with my mom. She was fab but all she could talk about was Rai and how cute he was. It just made it all that tougher for me to tell her how hard it has been for me and what I have gone through. I just felt like she didn’t need to hear all the bad stuff when she is finally in a good place right now. I ended up not saying anything other than that the transfer is tomorrow.
Maybe I’ll be able to talk more about my experience once the procedure has been done. Thank you for your kind words and in the meantime, please, wish me hope and luck will ya?