Friday, August 01, 2014

A real life infertile story - straight from the heart

This is from an email Manju sent me, which a reader shared with her.

It's full of valuable insights, which both doctors and patients can learn from , and I am privileged to share this with you.

My Infertility story...

I am 33 years old and DH is 38 and we have been married for around 9.5 years. Ours was a love marriage and there was no pressure from either family on babies. We started planning for a baby 6 years back and that was when my gynae told us that I had PCOD. I was put on Metformin and folvite and asked to lose weight(I am 5'5" tall and weighed around 70 kgs). I took the advice pretty seriously and joined a gym and successfully lost weight and actually, started loving the work-out. How I wish it was that easy to conceive a baby....The visits to the doctor continued and I started maintaining an entry of when my last menstrual period(LMP) was..funny, how you start learning these oft-repeated terms while going for numerous visits to doctors' clinics. The doc advised to try naturally for conception, with what is known as timed intercourse. A follicular study is done to assess the status of the follicles over a speriod of several days, usually starting from the
8th or 9th day of the cycle till the eggs get released. It means going to the clinic/hospital everyday for a 2 minute probe while waiting for a reasonable 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Just realized that recollecting all these details today, after so many years is making me feel strange..hurt, rather.

The moment of timed intercourse is anyways a pressure time for DH since the act of love making just gets transformed into a mechanical act, hardly pleasurable. Also, for a couple like us, who have had sexual problems from the beginning of our marital life, it was all the more difficult. DH seldom got the urge for sexual activity naturally and took a long time to come to terms with it. Few years and several tests later, we got to know that he had ED(Erectile Dysfunction) apart from being on medication for hypertension and thyriod. He was prescribed Caverta, to be taken whenever reqired, to a maximum of 8 in a month. He was scared to take those medications and several cycles went by with no action. We never revealed to the doctor that we were not really doing anything during those crucial days. I started becoming bitter towards my husband, whom I love deeply and can't imagine myself without him. I started to say nasty things to him and we would fight
endlessly and the process became so can't even imagine. For the record, we both are qualified people who had no idea of how to maintain calm in such scenarios. I was a mess and couldn't control my emotions at all.

The doc then suggested an IUI and we agreed to go through with it. The attempt failed and we changed the doctor since her money minting attitude got revealed. She was working for a hospital and also had her own clinic. She would frequently ask her patients from the hospital to come to the clinic and in my case performed the pre-release(of the egg) IUI in her clinic and charged for the entire process. Then asked me to go to the hospital where she would do the post-release IUI. The hospital billed me yet again, even though it was the same cycle. I was disheartened and upset with everybody, including the Lord Almighty. I asked Him why he would not guide me with the right path, at least.

Time passed and I found myself in the company of friends who were getting pregnant at will. I was angry at them and God and everybody else who checked on the pregnant woman's well being. I was convinced that sharing these details of our life could get me some sympathy but hardly any patient ear. So, I decided against it. People were too happy to notice anybody else's unhappy state of mind...or at least they seemed too happy. I complied and pretended to be happy around all these people, but inside I was hurting. My sister-in-law got married three years after our marriage and was pregnant within the first year of marriage. She delivered a bonny baby girl, who both my husband and I, love dearly. My mother-in-law and the rest of the extended family showered all their love and attention on the mother and the baby. I continued to battle with my new found bitter heart. At that time, nobody in the family knew that we were undergoing fertility treatment. Few months later, my sister-in-law, basking in the new found glory just said something that made my heart bleed, that we would never have a baby girl and hers would be the only one who would get all that affection(my husband's family has very few girls). I know it doesn't matter what anybody says or does but who can teach the heart to ignore such words, especially when you are hurting inside already. In the meantime, pressure starts building up from in-laws who now want a grandchild from their son too. My mother-in-law continues doing all kinds of pujas and sending me prasad from such rituals. Let me also tell you that the prasad in these pujas is really not a sweetmeat that you would love to have. It has ranged from a banana burnt in the holy fire to burnt dry fruits, with the taste of ash sticking on the glistening burnt ghee. And, I had to take them since these were sent from Kolkata and I could not lie about having/not having them. However, DH always stood besides me and also shared the prasad each time.

I got a reference of a good gynae from a friend. This doctor turned out to be really nice and precise. She suggested we do an HSG to assess any blocks etc. and so we did. She told us that the test was ok and that we must have patience. She also advised to try naturally for six months, which we did, with no result. In the meantime, my very dear friend wanted a reference to a gynae and I suggested this doctor's name. She seeks consultation from my doctor and is diagnosed with PCOD(she did not know that I had PCOD as well) and in five months time, she conceives naturally. I thought to myself that God is having a lot of fun at my expense, while I was losing all humour from my life. I sometimes thought that I was forgetting how to be happy...thoughts of my never ending hospital visits coupled with the bitterness towards people in general clouded my brain and I stayed the calmest when I was alone. Even this is difficult since DH is very social and has lots of friends. Going to friends' houses and inviting them over was unavoidable for me. We even fought over this since neither of us wanted to do what the other wanted.

We were pondering over IVF by this time and much as we would have liked to stay with our current doctor, we could not. This was because the hospital that she was associated with, did not have the complete facility for processing the semen etc. This we learnt from our past experience of the IUI since we had to do a lot of running around, with time as the critical factor. So, we consulted another doctor who had her own IVF hospital and we were completely at ease with her treatment methodology. She suggested to try naturally for some time and made a few alterations with medicines etc. However, nothing happened. She told us that it would be fair to do a hysterescopy laparoscopy and then give an IUI a shot and it was again a failure. N reasons were cited and we were told that this was a case of unexplained infertility.

We took a break from all these hospital visits for a couple of months since we wanted to get the focus right and then in Nov 2013, we started our IVF journey. We started on a high since staying positive helps, however, after all the injections and ultrasounds etc., it was a BFN. DH was pretty down since he was the one dealing with my varied moods and accompanied me everywhere and felt pretty torn. A few eggs were frozen during this cycle and the doctor suggested we do a FET and soon after we did that. It failed as well. In both the cases, the maturation was done for 5 days till the blastocyst stage, but the embryos did not implant. DH broke down one day and cried his eyes out. I have never seen him this distraught and was so upset and for a while blamed myself and my uterus for not doing this much for my DH.

The doctor had not closed the door on us for any IVFs, but still my now disturbed mind told me to leave the path of medical intervention since this was some kind of karmic retribution that we were supposed to fulfil. We started thinking of adoption and are still thinking about it...however, the vision of holding my own baby and handing him/her into my DH's arms does not leave me still....

I read about how your IVF journey has made you calmer and more positive, especially the write-up 'how to tackle infertility blues'. It just makes me feel that I have just not handled it the right way. I have allowed all these bitter feelings to grow inside me and hold a grudge against anybody and everybody. I wish I could be more like you, learn from you and so many other women who have dealt with this struggle in a much better manner. The only constant that I have discovered is the bond between me and DH, which has grown stronger manifold. So, I'm learning and trying to think about going for another IVF while I still have age on my side.


P.S.:- There were too many details, medical and personal that I wanted to include...but got brain is always occupied with too many thoughts....hope to derive a lot of inspiration from your blog and positivity. Loved it...Good luck to you

  You can email Manju at [email protected]

Her blog is at

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