Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Poster Child of Flexible Thinking Takes A Tumble From Her Pedestal

I feel like this cycle, even more than my other cycles, has been a lesson in learning to be more flexible.  But I also feel like I’m not a very good student.  I’ve been so proud of myself for adjusting from my initial attitude about using donor eggs.  I started out seeing this cycle as an admission of my own failure, but now realize that having a life growing inside of me is what I want, and it is okay if that happens in a way that I hadn’t anticipated initially.  Yep.  Lately I have been patting myself on the back, crowning myself The Poster Child of Flexible Thinking.  But then…today happened.

You may remember that the donor coordinator told me on Wednesday that I should call her today, between and , for an update on my donor’s progress.  So today, after staring at the clock for hours…willing the second hand to move faster… I called the donor coordinator at .  She answered my call by asking what I needed.  She had completely forgotten that I would be calling for the update.  I ignored the initial pang of irritation I felt, as I was still excited at that point…waiting to hear how great things are going with the donor.  Instead, the donor coordinator said: “It still looks like Monday may be our likely egg retrieval day.  The donor is doing well and has about 12 to 15 follicles developing.” 

I know…in a normal cycle 12 to 15 follicles is great.  But we are doing a “split cycle,” so we only get half of the eggs to work with, and some of those will inevitably be immature.  Of the mature eggs, some won’t fertilize.  And out of those that are left, some won’t divide properly.  That’s not great odds anymore.  In our donor's past cycles (in which she's had 25 eggs each time), the recipients (who were not splitting the 25 eggs) ended up with 7 to 9 embryos.  So...halve that for the split cycle (3-5) and halve that because she has half the follicles now (1-3)...and you can see why I am concerned.  This math occurred instantaneously in my head when I heard the phrase “12 to 15.”

Panicking, I asked the coordinator “What happened?”  She said “What do you mean?  It’s early still.”  I said “But she usually has 25 eggs, so shouldn’t she have twice as many follicles as she has now, since some of the follicles will be empty?” 

The coordinator (who has clearly tired of my constant pestering) said “Well we don’t always carefully measure all of the follicles and, like I said, it is early.  But 15 is a good number.” 

I wanted to scream “That’s easy for you to say.  You’re not the one pinning all of your hopes (and a large sum of money) on this cycle.”  But I didn’t. 

Instead I called my husband and complained to him.  The Prince told me to knock it off…that 15 is a good number.  I went through the explanation of everything I mentioned above, and he said “Whatever…it’s a good number.  You can’t plan your way into getting more eggs, so let it go.”  He wasn’t being mean, but apparently he has tired of my constant pestering as well.  Perhaps I should send The Prince and the donor coordinator to lunch some time so they can both get a break from me and my constant worrying.

I am so upset with this situation.  First, why would the fertility center not measure every follicle when there are two recipients who are waiting to hear how many follicles have formed?  It isn’t much of an update if “12 to 15” could mean “12 to 15” or “20 to 30.”  Second, shouldn’t the coordinator know if this is a normal number for my donor at this time…and whether the donor will show 12 to 15 now, only to have almost double that at retrieval day?  This is my donor’s third cycle.  Why do we not have a better idea of how long her cycles take and what is typical for her at this stage?

As I type this, a little voice inside of me is saying “What is wrong with you?  Even with only 15 follicles, you would still probably have at least 4 or 5 good quality eggs to work with, and you are only planning on transferring 2 embryos…not such bad odds.  And give it a rest with the donor stats.  Even with the same person, each cycle is totally different, remember?”  But that little voice is getting pummeled by the much larger and very unreasonable part of me…the part that had her heart set on having mature eggs to work with, based on the donor’s past cycles. 

Why can’t I take this news and say “It’s quality not quantity that is important” or “I know how quickly cycles can change and it is way too early to even react to this news because it could be meaningless” or “It’s so great that things are moving forward on the anticipated timeline so I don’t have to adjust my schedule.”  Why am I so rigid and controlling that I freak out about anything that falls outside of the scope of the fairy tale I’ve written in my head about where this cycle is headed?  I’m not just disappointed with the news from the coordinator…I’m really disappointed in myself and my very negative reaction to information that isn’t even that negative.  I know that we all have internal dialogue and we all have the ability to choose which voice we place our focus on.  So I guess I will just have to try to keep focusing on that poor pummeled whisper that is telling me I’m crazy to let this rattle me and to stop being such an obsessive worrier.  Perhaps that voice would like to attend the aforementioned lunch as well.


New Year Mum said...

Your clinic lady really does sound quite dismissive... would make it so much easier for you if she was more helpful and compassionate. I would feel exactly the same as you if I were going through this... 15 follicles is good and likely to significantly increase by the time of ER but you're right - they should be able to tell you more about what was happening at this stage of her previous cycle. If she's had good results in the past, I would imagine that's likely to happen again.... and from what our FS has told us after getting 17 eggs.... the more eggs that are retrieved often means poorer quality and less chance of ultimate success. All my love, wishes and thoughts are with you and your donor heading towards the retrieval xoxo

Lindsey said...

Have you talked to the doc or clinic manager about this woman? She sounds like a real bitch. Being in the position shes in requires a good level of empathy and she doesn't seem to have any! On a happier note if you assume that those 4-5 embies are good quality that potentially means 4-5 babies, thats a lot of babies!

Anonymous said...

First, after you have completed this cycle you need to make a formal complaint about this woman. People working at an IF clinic, or any clinic, should be caring and considerate. Yes, everyone has a bad day, but this is not the cause with this B$%#h.
I can understand your disappointment with the egg number when you were expecting much more. But you are right; quality is MUCH better than quantity. Also, not matter the reason, that is what is present. Try not to worry about the past and why nots and focus on the 'it wills', like it will work out, you will have embabies and you will get pregnant :) xo

China Doll said...

I understand where you're coming from... it's hard not to get a plan in our heads of how each cycle is going to work out. And when you've got your donor's past cycles to base things on, it's even more likely that you'll be anticipating a certain outcome.
Don't cut yourself up about this... as you said, just try to focus on the voice that knows a few good eggs are better than a tonne of mediocre ones xx