IVF: Five Years Ago Frozen in Time


IVF memory This week marks the five year anniversary of my last IVF cycle, my last egg retrieval and embryo transfer. I was doing my best not to dwell on it but how could I not? That experience and Thanksgiving are forever joined together for me.  Rather than sequester the memory as I’ve tried to do the last few years I’m going to face it head on. I located my journal entry and read what I wrote on this very day five years ago.

In so many ways it shocks me. I had just undergone surgery to combat my not altogether understood infertility and yet I seemed so calm and matter of fact as though I was writing about the results for someone else to read. (Well now you can.)

IVF: Wednesday, November 20, 2002

The call came in this morning a little past 8:30 am. I was tucking into my bagel and having my first cup of coffee after a long, mostly restful sleep when the phone rang. (Mr. PJ) answered thinking it was one of his clients in the Midwest.  “It’s Dr. M’s office…” he shouted down the hall, which snapped me out of my stupor.  I hurried to the phone remembering suddenly that it was a “reporting” day.

L, the REI nurse, calmly informed me that out of the nine eggs retrieved only seven were mature enough for attempted fertilization. Of the seven, two had fertilized “normally,” two had fertilized “abnormally” and three were not yet showing any signs of activity — but, she cautioned, it is still early and they may still develop. I inquired about the two abnormal embryos asking what constituted abnormal. She matter of factly explained that they had too much genetic material and therefore were not transferable. (Sigh. Better to know now than to discover a miscarriage later, I thought to myself.) Of the two termed normal, I asked if they looked good — attempting to elicit a more encouraging description. She didn’t take my bait and simply responded, “they fertilized normally.”  She then ticked off the medications that I was to begin effective immediately: resume one baby aspirin once a day, two Doxycline (antibiotic) tablets twice a day, four Medrol (steroid) tablets four times a day — both until Friday, and beginning this evening Progesterone suppositories taken three times a day. She noted that my embryo transfer would occur Friday at 12:30 p.m. assuming that the two normal embryos continued to develop. About the three remaining laggards, I observed, “you won’t be calling tomorrow with any news – so Friday is the soonest we’ll know about their progress?”

“Yes,” came her response, “we will not disturb or look at them again until Friday morning.”

See also  Getting Comfortable in My Barren Skin

Looking at this entry today it’s as if I’m reading someone else’s journal. In one way I’m detached. I think that’s just my defense mechanism preventing me from reliving the memory too viscerally. On the other hand, I feel as if I could hop in the car this Friday and go to hospital for the transfer itself. It would be as easy as waking up from a long sleep — as though five years hadn’t really passed. But they have, and yet while this entry is frozen in time it’s still so fresh, so much a part of my life.


17 Responses

  1. Lori

    November 21, 2007 5:04 pm

    I was eerily right there with you. Your numbers were better, but this post took me back to my own frozen images.

    Hope the head on approach brings you some relief this Thanksgiving.

  2. Samantha

    November 21, 2007 9:57 pm

    It’s amazing how clinical and detached we can be about something so emotional. I know I’ve got some posts like that too.

    I hope you have a restful and happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Jenna

    November 21, 2007 10:11 pm

    These landmarks in time haunt me too. I was just looking at a post from a previous Thanksgiving and it was also eerily present in my heart.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so heartbreakingly fresh.

  4. loribeth

    November 22, 2007 12:31 am

    These “anniversaries” are ingrained in our memories, aren’t they? Especially when they’re associated with holidays & other events that are supposed to be happy. You think you’ve moved on, and then you suddenly find yourself right back where you were. (((hugs)))

  5. Beth

    November 22, 2007 1:23 am

    I don’t know the right words here. All I know is that I’m sorry… Sorry that you have those land(mines?)marks to live thru, sorry that they are tied to holidays. {{{{{hugs}}}}}

  6. Anla

    November 22, 2007 4:14 pm

    I am sorry that you have to relive such a bad time every year while others around you are joyful. I think you have immense strength to go on and persevere every day despite what has happened in your life. I don’t think I could go on in the same manner. I think that my emotional baggage would dominate my life. Wishing you all the best.

  7. peesticksandstones

    November 22, 2007 4:23 pm

    I’ve been keeping journals since I was 10, and sometimes it just brings me to tears to read about painful experiences from then. The emotional memory is still so fresh and raw, it’s really shocking. And that’s not even IF stuff (which is an emotional galaxy unto itself).

    Thinking of you today! Wishing you peace, comfort and joy anywhere you can find it.

  8. Bea

    November 23, 2007 2:14 am

    I love that you went back and read this. It’s so strange to read back, be transported back to where we used to be.


  9. Deathstar

    November 23, 2007 6:32 am

    Ah, yes it’s your Thanksgiving, isn’t it? And with it, memories of families and turkey and fun, but also needles and pills and embryo transfers and ….sigh. It’s pretty much how I feel about Christmas and Valentine’s Day now. My thoughts are with you.

  10. lady macleod

    November 23, 2007 2:00 pm

    I wish I had some wonderful magic formula to dispel your pain; but all I can say is that this post left me with the smallest of ideas of what you have been through. When I read it, I felt a cavernous hole in my heart, a place dark, cold, and empty. I can never truly know your pain, but you are indeed doing an excellent job of educating those of us previously ignorant of this situation. I send out warm thoughts to you.

  11. Geohde

    November 24, 2007 10:59 pm

    So well written, as always PJ.

    Courtesy of computer failure on my end, I’m probably wishing you a happy thanksgiving a little too late. I hope the memories don’t crowd out your day too much,



  12. Yodasmistress

    November 26, 2007 7:16 pm

    Reading your own words from the past is really weird. Like a sweater you long forgotten and then after you find it you put it on and find out it doesn’t fit the same as it used to but it’s still comfy and yours…

  13. kareno

    January 6, 2008 12:20 pm

    If only our memories lost the sharpness of emotion connected to it, but I guess it’s only our strength (earned through lots of these memories!) that makes us able to stay standing strong…

Comments are closed.