Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Our IVF success story - a test of determination, love and professional support

It was the 3rd year of our marriage -2011. We lost our first baby girl at full term due to meconium aspiration. Just 2 days before this fatal day I had lost my mother to another doctors’ negligence. As a precaution, I had insisted our ob-gynaecologist on the next day of my moms’ death to perform C-section on my wife and then I could also break the news to my wife. She ignored my request despite my in-laws visiting her on the same day with my request to her clinic. All along she kept telling us that it was a precious pregnancy , a successful IUI outcome after diagnosis of mild endometriosis. A well planned c-section was indeed, as the medics would say, a part of “Protocol” having also done prophylactic os-tightening ( cervical stitch) on the same lines. To me, I had definitely read a single para on a webpage dedicated to meconium aspiration as the last hurdle to successfully complete a precious pregnancy like ours. I even had pinned it in my mind. But my mom’s illness and treatment seemed to divert my focus while my wife was at her parents place for last 2 months. Plus the doctor kept telling us all is well. Thus the tragedy happened.

But the actual credit for the success of that IUI was more to Dr.Malpani’s free second opinion service than our existing gynaecologist who had prescribed us Anti-TB treatment for 3 months after carrying out diagnostic laparoscopy simply because she got a borderline positive (false positive) result.

Dr. Malpani advised us through email after going through our electronic data to ignore the anti-TB treatment as there was no credible basis indicating the need.
We took his advice and had insisted our gynaec perform the IUI. That was successful in first attempt. That’s when our faith in Dr. Malpani took roots.

Back to story, my dear wife was uninformed by in-laws about the death of my mother as per my directions , and was therefore unaware of our shocking loss and was dreaming of our precious baby to arrive. I did visit her once and cracked a few jokes, choking the tears in my eyes and gulping the lump in my throat.

Anyways we headed down the hospital after 2 days of my request being turned down due to labor pains. It was a Monday morning. Everyone in hospital were getting warmed up to their weekly routine at our cost. And what they kept telling us was a normal delivery by the end of the day, became an emergency C-section in just under 2 hours of our admission. We lost 2 important persons of our lives in 4 days.

The test actually begins here. You see I have a father who suffered a stroke because of the 2 shocks and a sister who was once again preggers for 6 months who had also lost a baby at exactly 6 months just a year back before then. There is no way we could afford another loss.

We broke the news of the 2 losses, back to back, to my wife as soon as she regained complete consciousness in the hospital to avoid post-partum psychosis. That was the next day after the C-section. Hoping that 2 negatives would effect something positive. Yep, instead of suing the negligent gynaec I thought it prudent to protect my wife from mental shock. We succeeded as will be seen later. And I am sure the gynaec will never sleep peacefully without this incident haunting her.

We collected ourselves and devoted each second to look after my pregnant sister. My wife did each and every chore for my sister who obviously was in no state of enjoying her pregnancy but awaited re-birth of our mom in the form of her baby as told by me.

Imagine the predicament of my wife who attended my sister within 2 weeks of the loss as we try to appear normal with baby inside the tummy of my sister!

We dedicated our next 3 months to my sister’s care and she delivered a healthy boy by the end of 2011. Of course, I had no option but to lie that my moms’ last words were she would return as my sisters’ baby to ensure my sister did not lose her baby due to excessive grieving.

My wife insisted on going for IVF but I kept resisting the idea, as IVF to me, was the last resort. At the age of 32 yrs, I thought that was a little to early a call. Plus, I wanted my wife to be subjected to as few fertility drugs as possible. After all, I wouldn’t want to lose my soul mate to ovarian or any other type of cancer because of frequent usage of these fertility drugs.

So now we started TTC again and mis-carried 3 times (2 out of 3 were natural cycles). Of course we had changed to another gynaecologist. But they all start their script from scratch.

We then approached Dr.Malpani in early 2012 and looking at our file he simply said that he guarantees that we will have a baby. But he cannot do IVF for each and every patient who comes to him and we should do IUI at least twice before we see him again.

All that he said made sense to me. Yes, you bet one can say he is a very sensible doctor in the world. But not to my wife. She was growing desperate despite me calming her every now and then.

Finally after 2 more D & Cs we decided we had battled enough and that time had come to see Dr. Malpani. After all we had lost time (almost a year), money and overexposed ourselves to fertility medicines. All medicines do have some side effects no matter what the doctors say!

So we visited Dr. Malpani in mid 2013. In hard economic time, we had barely managed his professional fees for the ICSI procedure.

After following his protocol we extracted 22 eggs of which 8 were of grade A and frozen at day 3. Dr. Anjali Malpani wonderfully explained to us (me and my in-laws) about the procedure and precautions to prevent OHSS later on.

Unfortunately my wife’s’ endometrial lining was irregular and thin so we could not transfer the embryos in that cycle. This could have been due to numerous D&C’s and/ or side effect of Clomiphene Citrate during earlier IUIs,

So the transfer was postponed to next cycle. To me this was a blessing in disguise as I was worried about OHSS affecting my wife if transfer was done in the same cycle.

But when the clinic informed me that there would be additional costs for the postponed transfer it is needless to say that it came as a shock. It did not make any business sense to me, I being a businessman. I had already paid for the entire IVF cycle including the transfer. And when the transfer was postponed due to non-favourable lining I had also paid the fees for freezing the embryos.

Well, being an honest and straightforward person I spoke to Dr.Malpani about my discomfort with this fee policy and requested him to consider a discount - after all , I did not want anything for free. I understood the value of his time as well as his overheads that would be at our service during the next transfer.

I still remember his exact words. He said you don’t get anything until you ask for it. So I asked for a discount. He asked me how much. I said whatever he could afford. I don’t know if that was smart or stupid, still. He said that I actually deserved none , to which I protested and requested for a 50% discount.

He graciously accepted it adding that he is well off anyways. Our eyes lit up like small happy children.

But our next challenge was growing a good endometrial lining. And though we both were anxious, we did have faith in Dr. Malpani. It is such situations that we need to be calm, patient (though medically, we have been patients long enough) and keep faith in self and the doctor.

So in the next cycle we started a drug protocol to improve the lining. Unfortunately it did not look good as we were passing the transfer point. And Dr.Malpani dropped another bomb of suspicion of uterine adhesions and a possible hysteroscopy for adhesion removal. This meant more waiting time and more financial problem. We did an ultrasound immediately and found it to be negative thus relieving us.

Imagine the roller coaster my wife is riding mentally. I can only hold the roller coaster with firm mind and prevent it from taking off from standstill. I just can’t allow it to run.

Dr.Malpani then increased the dosages to see an appreciable increase in thickness of endometrial lining , though it was not still exactly tri-lamilar. We even took supplements like Vitamin E and L Arginine since Dr.Malpani had no opinion on these supplements , negatively or otherwise.

Finally a call was made to transfer 3 grade A embryos and these were transferred by Dr.Malpani in my presence. We right away started feeling pregnant as soon as he put the embryos in the uterus . Yeah, that’s what he had asked us. And that’s what I had answered at that point.

After the anxious wait of the + UPT, we found out that we were carrying twins making us very happy as well as more anxious. Intermittent spotting due to sub-chorionic hematoma kept us worried but Dr.Malpani calmed us down by telling us not to worry and that it will resolve. My wife was off her toes for 12 weeks though not strictly bed rest but under house arrest nevertheless. This meant I had to cook, do the dishes and deal with her food aversions.

At 12 weeks past 3DT, the hematoma was gone and our twins were jumping to the radiologists prodding.

We are now off the hormonal support as per Dr.Malpani’s advice (hesitantly though, due to online stories). It is more than a week now and we are doing fine eagerly awaiting the arrival of our twins.

Hope our story becomes a support and inspiration to souls married to each other for life to welcome another beautiful soul whom they can call their own with Dr.Malpani’s support.

And I wish Dr.Anirudha and Dr.Anjali Malpani all the very best in their endeavour to help couples like us to find a happy solution.

Disclaimer: I am writing this true story of mine not for Dr.Malpani but for couples like me; remember, Dr.Malpani is  well off!

Prasad Girap

[email protected]

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